update: my company is issuing new work-from-home standards because we should have the hang of it by now

Remember the letter-writer whose company decided, six months into the pandemic last year, that people should be “used to” working from home by then and would be required to “eliminate distractions” (pets and family members) and follow a strict dress code on video calls? The first update was here (#2 at the link) and here’s the latest.

While I don’t have a whole lot to report on the work from home standards (since they never implemented them), things at the company have taken an interesting turn. As many commenters pointed out, the company culture is super dysfunctional, though it was relatively easy to ignore that while we were working from home. We slowly started returning to the office around the same time as our area became a hotspot for the delta variant… and the C-suite decided it was “probably fine.” As a note, our organization was part of our county’s ancillary COVID response, so while we’re not medical professionals, it’s not like they didn’t understand what was going on. They just got tired of COVID getting in the way of business, I guess? My team was one of the last to go back and a whole slew of issues cropped up: unvaccinated people going around unmasked in the office, many COVID exposures resulting in illness (mostly of vaccinated people), safety measures ignored… the CEO started roaming the halls to keep track of who was actually working from the office (which I guess is the best use of his time?).

A few weeks ago, we had a big meeting of all upper management in which the CEO and COO proceeded to berate everyone who worked from home during the pandemic at all. The gist of it was that work should have been more important to us than anything else, we should have been FIGHTING to come in despite the stay home orders, and essentially we have all been deemed low performers no matter how much extra work we took on to aid in the COVID response or how much revenue we brought in. It was also announced that there will be no work from home available for any employee barring VERY special circumstances that had to be personally approved by the CEO. They saw working from home as a vacation, and that we didn’t deserve flexibility because we were all lazy and “not dedicated enough.”

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one reading this that five people (out of 75) quit within a week of this meeting, and I know of more who are job hunting. It’s clear that we will all always be seen as low performers and it’s starting to be reflected in tangible ways. For example, my department’s budget (and that of several other department heads whose teams worked from home during lockdown) got slashed for the next fiscal year and raises/bonuses frozen, but another employee who worked from the office during the pandemic — including violating our state’s stay home order — got a raise, promotion, and expanded budget. Also to note, as a manager who came onboard in late March 2020, all of the instructions I received from HR were to stay home and have my team stay home until further notice … which apparently I should have known was just to have the proper paper trail, but we still should have been coming into the office. I’m not really sure how they expected parents with kids home from school to come in, but it’s worth noting that our C-suite consists only of men with wives who don’t work, so I’m assuming they didn’t consider it at all.

The good news is that some of the projects I’ve been in charge of have gained some positive publicity, and I’ve been getting contacted by recruiters fairly frequently over the past few months. Nothing has panned out yet, but the office culture has gotten so toxic recently that I’m now actively job hunting as well.

I moved for this job and didn’t know anyone in this city at the time. I still don’t. I have been mostly isolated for the past 20 months and it has been awful. I did buy a house to flip which has been keeping me occupied, but this experience has caused me to re-evaluate whether I want my job to dictate where I live. I have decided I absolutely do not want it to and am only looking for 100% remote positions now. I will say that the few interviews I’ve had lately have been a very different experience than pre-pandemic, with hiring managers contacting me first, them trying HARD to convince me to work for them, and me being the one to turn them down. It makes me hopeful for the future.

{ 185 comments… read them below }

  1. Jennifer*

    “Eliminate” pets and family members sounds ominous.

    I hope you find something soon, OP. Glad you have gotten some contact from recruiters. Sounds positive.

        1. CBB*

          I’m picturing Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. “Eliminate Gadget!”

          Though, ironically, he was an early pioneer of remote work and habitually worked with his cat on his desk.

          1. TiffIf*

            Though, ironically, he was an early pioneer of remote work and habitually worked with his cat on his desk.

            *giggle-snort* You win the comments today!

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        They do what great business leaders like Carnegie, Frick, Mellon et al did since the beginning of the Industrial Age:
        They put their wives and kids on a train to a resort town and visit them on alternate weekends.

      2. ecnaseener*

        If you take a look at the original letter, what they had in mind for dogs at least was “lock them away in another room.” Hopefully they wouldn’t advocate the same for children BUT STILL!

        1. Mannequin*

          Even disregarding the cruelty, if I locked my dog in another room while I was working to “keep him quiet”, it wouldn’t work, because he’d be throwing a noisy fit wanting to get out.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m imagining the employees turning from their computers to zap any and all distractions with their laser eyes

      1. e271828*

        The tracking software will know if they’ve turned away from their computers and give them a shock through the control collar, though.

      2. Jennifer*

        That’s what I thought of too! Like it’s some weird CIA-esque organization and they aren’t allowed to have any personal relationships.

      3. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        Considering what we know this swarm of evil bees has already done, I wouldn’t put it past them to insist that kids AND pets be locked in another room. (And God help those dogs if they bark even one yip!)

        That stuff is a moot point now, since everybody’s evidently back in the office (delta be damned). But from a health and safety standpoint, that sounds even worse.

        I’m glad the LW is working on getting out of that toxic mess, and I hope others keep doing it, too. I don’t expect that TPTB will get the hint that they might possibly be doing something wrong, but the more who escape, the better!

    2. Pam Poovey*

      At my job when we have meetings it’s literally the opposite — try to eliminate distractions but kids and pets are always a-ok.

  2. Mary Richards*

    Gah. I hate this company. LW, I’m so sorry this has been your life for the last almost two years. I really, really hope you find an amazing new job soon and get a happy ending.

    1. curiousLemur*

      I hate this company too. I hope it implodes. The good news is that it sounds like it probably will.

    2. Hey Nonnie*

      Letters like this make me wish the LWs could name and shame so the rest of us know which organizations to avoid. Yikes.

      1. Bug*

        Oh I do too. Hang in there, LW. Your next employer will have to be sooo much better since your current company is bottom of the barrel awful.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      OH, you will get this references, then!!!
      The whole “email from HR stating we will follow federal mandates was just a paper trail for the government.”
      Like Frank Burns under anesthesia telling Margaret to get the red accounting books, not the blue one we show the IRS.

  3. Red*

    That’s so awesome in your last paragraph! I’m sorry the job turned out so awfully and mangement is so pig headed in their ways. I wish you all the best in your search and I hope you find that 100% remote job that pays more and respects you more then this one does!

  4. Mia*

    Gosh OP I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I hope you find a great job soon and are able to live where you want to! I hope you’ll send us an update when you get something better.

  5. Paris Geller*

    UGH this update is maddening but best of luck for your job search OP! I hope you get to send us another update in a few months with good news.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      YES. This is crazy, and I really hope OP gets out of there as soon as possible.

      Good luck on your job search OP, and I do hope you’ll update us when you get out of Dodge.

    1. Malarkey01*

      They’ll be the first to tell their friends, neighbors, anyone who will listen at the grocery store that “nobody wants to work anymore”.

      1. YetAnotherNerd42*

        “Nobody wants to work any more” is the new “All my exes are psycho.” (Not mine, sighted elsewhere on the Internet.)

        1. Mannequin*

          I was just thinking about inequality in society.

          If a man says “all my exes are psychos”, the chances are he’s a gaslighting jerk.

          If a woman says “all my exes are psychos”, we nod sadly because we know the chances are they were all gaslighting jerks.

  6. EPLawyer*

    Having some work from home standards is fine. In my courthouse alone we have had to tell people to:

    1. Wear pants to hearings.
    2. Not have kids wandering in and out of hearings especially CUSTODY
    3. Don’t drive and try to conduct a hearing.

    but to actually tell someone nope, you should have violated the Stay At Home Orders because your job is the most important thing in the world, is a whole other ball of wax. Then to call the staff lazy for not violating the law takes to whole special circle of hell.

    One thing the Pandemic should have taught employers, people don’t live to work. Their job is not their whole existence. Clearly this CEO didn’t get the memo (someone working from home must have sent it to him)

    1. AnonEMoose*

      I remember seeing one on YouTube in which the judge busted the guy for taking the Zoom call for a hearing about a restraining order…from the apartment of the girlfriend who had the order against him. Pretty sure I shorted out a couple of synapses on that one.

            1. Mannequin*

              Simple. He’s an abuser. He feels like he has the right to control his victim. Who cares what the law says? He is certain he’s right.

      1. Sandangel*

        There was another one I heard about where a doctor took a Zoom call for traffic court, while actively in surgery.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I think if they took a poll in 2019, people would not have predicted “pants” as one of the first things to fall to a global pandemic.

      1. Selina Luna*

        In any given poll about the first thing to fall, clothing-wise, pants are always a good bet. Pants with buttons and non-stretchy waistbands are seriously uncomfortable, and I’m surprised people put up with them.

        1. Anonybonnie*

          One upside of pandemic pregnancy is that I didn’t have to try and be subtle about making the switch to my stretchy pants because I’ve been wearing them all along.

        2. Aggretsuko*

          I refuse to wear jeans again at this point. When I finally went clothing shopping again, it was for baggy hippie pants.

        3. Lenora Rose*

          But it seems like several of the people I personally know who are wearing things other than work pants are wearing shorts, which I would think have the same issue…

          I wouldn’t know, though. I’ve been in (loose) skirts over 90% of my work time for at least a decade.

          1. Mannequin*

            Some of us are more comfortable in tight or fitted pants. I have sensory processing disorder, and to me, loose pants feel horrible. Sweat pants are the opposite of comfort wear for me, they feel gross and disgusting and make me want to scream.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        predicted “pants” as one of the first things to fall
        I see what you did there. :)
        and I salute your shorts.

    3. Your local password resetter*

      Violate the safety orders on their own initiative, and while going against the explicit instructions from HR no less.

      Its like the mutated plague version of “you should have known what I really wanted”

  7. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    I really, really, really want to know what kind of health-care adjacent industry this is. So I can make sure I never spend any money there.

    1. OP*

      We aren’t exactly healthcare-adjacent, we provide a business service (not specific to healthcare but has been in-demand by healthcare facilities during the pandemic) that can easily be done remotely but traditionally hasn’t been.

      1. TPS reporter*

        That’s the key- easy but hasn’t traditionally been done this way. The old dogs are on their way out! Sane companies are realizing that we have to do what makes the most business sense. If people are more productive bat home you’ve got to put aside your weird control issues. Let these people fail and be on your way.

      2. Cynthia*

        OP, the second you are safely out of that awful place, I seriously hope you put some of this on Glassdoor. Best of luck with your next role!

  8. Bookworm*

    Oh lordy. I’m SO sorry OP and am sad to read such a sad update. I wish you all the best and hope it works.

  9. Justice*

    “our C-suite consists only of men with wives who don’t work, so I’m assuming they didn’t consider it at all”
    I knew something like that was coming, but it still annoyed me to my core.
    Throw this whole company in the trash.

    1. Tech writer by day*

      Of course, the fact that they don’t have jobs doesn’t mean they “don’t work”. No need to slam stay-at-home parents.

      1. I'm Done*

        It’s not about slamming stay at home parents. On the contrary. It’s about the fact that these men never face the repercussions of their awful decisions because someone else carries the burden for them.

      2. Batgirl*

        I read that as “don’t (go out to) work”, because how else would their spouses have gotten the idea all this stuff can just get invisibly handled? These women work harder than you would do at a job, or as an ordinary stay at home parent with a helpful partner, because they’re tied to dead weights whose entire lives they manage.

      3. The Original K.*

        It’s not a slam at stay at home spouses; it’s an acknowledgment that they DO work in the home, because their work enables these c-level men not to think about everything that goes into running a home. They don’t have to think about that work because their spouses do all that for them, so they assume it just magically gets done. The issue is that their blindness to that work and to their privilege means they assume this work just gets done, without acknowledging that the rest of the org has to do it themselves.

        1. Massive Dynamic*

          +1 – that’s the slam: on these men not their hardworking wives. They don’t see their own wives’ labor as of value therefore they can’t imagine their employees needing to ensure this same labor for their own families, usually outsourced, and why that all went to hell when the lockdowns started and childcare centers all closed.

        2. J.B.*

          OMG I hope the link that follows makes it out of moderation, because it is fabulous. If it doesn’t google “magic coffee table”

      4. LKW*

        It’s also about the complete lack of empathy. Where one spouse is regularly the primary caretaker, the secondary caretaker rarely has to worry about child care and the challenges that brings. Where both parents work – and their child care options are nil – then they both should be splitting the child care load. The C-suite should have some ability to understand that not everyone has a one income / one care taker household.

        1. Catherine*

          Maybe, maybe not. I was not a C suite wife, but a big law wife who did not work outside the home for over a decade. We did not have a nanny or house cleaners.

          I hired occasional babysitters, once a season yard help, and occasional house repair people. The rest of it I did myself while my spouse worked and spent all the time he wasn’t working with the kids. He was well aware that my unpaid work taking care of all things kid, house, and family were what allowed him to work the hours he did.

    2. hbc*

      Our parent company is the same, except it’s at pretty much all levels. They live in a red part of the state where no one followed restrictions, in-person schools closed for about a minute, and if you don’t have a wife at home to take care of your kids, you have tons of extended family in the area who never worried about bubbles. So the execs look at our on-site staffing levels and emergency family leave rates and go, “People must be milking it.” Yeah, well, the pandemic is over to you, but the single dad’s afterschool care still hasn’t reopened, and there aren’t a lot of babysitters available that he can afford on a blue collar salary, so….

      Of course, they don’t mention the fact that we had zero on-site spread while they had departments crippled several times by colleague spread.

      1. curiousLemur*

        I keep wondering why people like this haven’t been convinced that they’re wrong when a lot of people end up catching COVID. Maybe they think the people who are sick are exaggerating?

        1. Mannequin*

          Plenty of people would rather double down on bad decisions than ever admit they are wrong.
          Cognitive dissonance exists, and denial is a helluva drug.

    3. Ground Control*

      I may be biased (ok I absolutely am biased) but executive level men with stay at home partners should never be allowed to make big decisions. They just don’t understand how the world works.

      1. Pikachu*

        Yes. So many of them are completely detached from reality.

        I spent the first four years of my career in a very conservative, male-dominated industry. Even in the home office where we saw absolutely no customers, most men wore full suits on a regular basis.

        I will never forget the day I was chatting with a VP level exec over lunch. It was a Friday, and the company had done that stupid thing where if you donated $5 to some charity you could dress casually. I made some off-the-cuff remark about how nice it was to have to iron one less shirt that week.

        That was the day I learned that this guy just assumed that everyone just had their work wardrobe dry cleaned and pressed on a regular basis. He mansplained how he just has it picked up and delivered and pays a monthly bill. Yeah dude, I know how dry cleaning works, but if you think I can afford that shit on your entry level salary, you are delusional.

      2. LizM*

        This wasn’t in the private sector, but I work for an agency where the attitude has traditionally been “move out to move up.” Basically that to get promoted, you need to move to a different office in a different region to gain a broad range of experience.

        Unsurprisingly, this attitude has been challenging in a era of dual career households, not a lot of people have spouses who want to move every 2-3 years when they’re trying to build their own career.

        Early in my career with this agency, we had a presentation by a panel of senior execs. One person asked about this exact problem. One of the men, I kid you not, went off about how great it was he had a “good (agency name) wife” who supported his career and raised their kids, and didn’t even touch the premise of the question.

        To this day, I regret not following up by asking what heterosexual women who didn’t have wives should do to advance their careers.

        1. Overeducated*

          I might work in your agency and I’m still doing shocked Pikachu face at the sheer obliviousness of that exec!

  10. A Teacher*

    Its legit been the week of WTF on Ask a Manager. I keep waiting for mundane “your boss sucks and it isn’t going to get better” letters. Every day has been a new level of WTF or WTH.

    1. Mannequin*

      Right? I’ve been reading for years and this is a whole new level of astonishing.

      It’s like all the crappy management can see that it’s become the era of employees having power, so in response they are doubling and tripling down with the BS.

      1. RJ*

        Alison used up her “use infrequently so it doesn’t lose its impact” f-bomb way too early this week.

  11. Lucious*

    Three months later, the LW’s CEO & CFO :

    “ ..our turnover and vacancy metrics are through the roof this year. Clearly, this is because Americans are unwilling to work anymore and are too entitled.”

      1. PollyQ*

        They sort of already are, given their insistence that people who WFH (when it was legally mandated) are lazy.

        1. Mannequin*

          Anyone who insists that someone is not a dedicated employee because they didn’t break the law and endanger their lives to put more ducats in the coffers of some faceless corporate entity is irrational to the point of pathology.

    1. HungryLawyer*

      Don’t forget the pointed barbs about “the younger generation and their lack of respect for the American workplace!”

    2. Autumnheart*

      Followed by an op-ed in the New York Times: “Should American Workers Be Paid At All? Slavery, was it really so bad?”

      1. Grumpy Old Sailor*

        Don’t give them ideas; you just know one of them will see that and be “Hold my beer!”

  12. ostentia*

    ” The gist of it was that work should have been more important to us than anything else, we should have been FIGHTING to come in despite the stay home orders,”

    I feel so sad for anyone who genuinely feels this way about work. It’s one thing to love your job and be passionate about it. It’s another thing entirely to consider your job more important than *anything else* and to *fight* to come into the office during a pandemic.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Post-vaccine I did start pushing a little – for myself! no one else – if only to get out of my house. It was probably safer then than it is now tbh and my already tempid mental health had just plummeted.

      But definitely not out of loyalty or brainwashing.

    2. mf*

      I know, right? Can you imagine being so fixated on your job that it’s more important than the people you love? or your own health? I feel genuine pity for these tone-deaf a-hole executives.

      1. Schuyler*

        I’d argue they don’t really have people they love if their work is more important than the people in their lives.

    3. mcl*

      Especially galling since OP says that they have been working 60+ hour weeks, and clearly HAS been giving this job their all. Seriously, working this hard and then getting shamed for trying to stay safe. F this company. I hope the whole team gets together and writes “I QUIT” using fish fillets and walks out en masse.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Get like ten cans of tuna salad, write “I QUIT” on the inside of the microwave, set it to cook for ten hours, leave.

    4. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      ” The gist of it was that work should have been more important to us than anything else, we should have been FIGHTING to come in despite the stay home orders,”

      I’m getting mixed messages; is work important or fighting (with whom?) to come into the office?

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Do I sense a little bad faith there? You know that work and the workplace are interchangeable concepts, since people WFH are all lazy and butts in seats is all that counts.

        /s because you never know

    5. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      You might – might – be able to get away with that for an actual ER doc, or a priest, or a firefighter. But 99% of jobs, no.

    6. Eliza*

      Yep. My work is important to me, but if the people I work with start treating me like crap, I can work with people who don’t. I’ll probably get more done that way too.

  13. LGC*

    “but it’s worth noting that our C-suite consists only of men with wives who don’t work”


    Wishing you the best of luck, and wishing that your company’s C-suite gets everything they deserve. :D It sounds like you’ll find the position you want, given how things are looking.

    1. Mannequin*

      Exactly this.

      If I’m busting my arse for a job and they tell me I’m not good enough just to try to get me to work harder? They will get exactly the opposite- the minimum I need to scrape by. I don’t respond to guilt trips or mind games.

  14. animaniactoo*

    The best I can say about this is that I wish you well in finding a company to work for that is SANE.

  15. Falling Diphthong*

    I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one.

    Your management team does not seem to properly understand foreshadowing.

  16. raincoaster*

    It’d be really satisfying to report them to the labour authority and Covid Violator’s Hotline after leaving, if such things exist in your area.

    1. Alex*

      The way that you spell labor implies that maybe you live in a place where labor laws have teeth. In the United States, they don’t really (the ones that do have a very long process) and covid management is largely up to the states, who don’t tend to give stiff fines for fear of businesses moving to another state. Unless they live in a deep blue state and have hard documented evidence, just finding a new job is probably the most satisfying option. It’s nice to dream though!

    2. PT*

      Many states don’t have a Covid Violator’s Hotline. I think my city did and it was up to the police to enforce. Our state did not GAF in the slightest.

      1. TinLizi*

        Our county had one. We reported my work multiple times, but the boss is chummy with the police and convinced them we were being pranked.

  17. Heron*

    If you can do so safely, please review your workplace on Glassdoor once you’ve left, and warn others about the place! It sounds like a nightmare.

    1. JSPA*

      With a lot of people leaving at once, you could leave the review at “peak exit,” for greater anonymity.

    1. AnonEMoose*

      Right? I’m seriously peeved over being required to return to office two days a week because “we have all this expensive real estate we’re not using.” Still don’t see that as a me problem. And still don’t see why, when part of our team is already remote, some of us still have to be physically in the office. Where at least one of us is actually LESS productive for IT reasons.

  18. Mannequin*

    “ work should have been more important to us than anything else, we should have been FIGHTING to come in despite the stay home orders, and essentially we have all been deemed low performers no matter how much extra work we took on to aid in the COVID response or how much revenue we brought in. It was also announced that there will be no work from home available for any employee barring VERY special circumstances that had to be personally approved by the CEO. They saw working from home as a vacation, and that we didn’t deserve flexibility because we were all lazy and “not dedicated enough.””

    Translated: “people are lazy and entitled and nobody wants to work anymore!”

  19. Sick of Workplace Bullshit*

    Wow. The comment in the original letter about upper management wanting your homes to look more professional really made my blood boil.

    1. Gan Ainm*

      Especially since the leadership wouldn’t give any idea of how long they might be working from home, and I’m fact was saying they wanted the employees to return as soon as possible…. I’m not going to invest in rearranging my whole house / life for a wfh situation that you are openly telling me will could end any second.

    2. Amethystmoon*

      Are they going to buy a stipend for more “professional” furniture and decor, since most people can’t afford to buy a whole bunch of that stuff new?

  20. TimeTravlR*

    Wow! I really hope that if I had been in that meeting I’d have said F that on the spot and walked out. But I have the luxury of being at a place in my career that I could safely do that and I know not everyone does. What a shit show.

    1. Turtlewings*

      “if I had been in that meeting I’d have said F that on the spot and walked out” HARD SAME. I’m actually surprised no one did.

  21. Badasslady*

    Also, it’s weird to me that your bosses are being this horrible at a time of employee shortage when the job market is leaning towards employees. But cool cool.

    1. Elenna*

      But it’s not their fault they can’t attract and retain anyone! All them millenials are just too lazy and entitled to work these days! /s

      1. Anonymous Mouse*

        Any time someone criticises millennials, I just fire back with “well, you were the ones who raised them…?”

        Shuts them up EVERY time.

        1. TiffIf*

          Yes, this!

          Also–Millennials weren’t the ones giving themselves all those participation trophies, and pretty much all of us knew they were crap.

  22. yala*

    “I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one reading this that five people (out of 75) quit within a week of this meeting”

    It comes as a surprise to me! I’m amazed it was ONLY five (so far)

    1. David*

      Yeah same, I would have guessed more like 30!

      Although maybe that’s not so much surprise as disappointment that only 5 people are in circumstances where they can safely bail…

  23. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

    I REALLY wish there was a public list somewhere that people could post what their company was like, and how they treated employees during the pandemic.

  24. Andy*

    > I’m not really sure how they expected parents with kids home from school to come in, but it’s worth noting that our C-suite consists only of men with wives who don’t work, so I’m assuming they didn’t consider it at all.

    Some people, both men and women, who have this family setup don’t consider it just personal choice. They consider it the proper way of doing things and how everyone should be.

    For them, women being put of force due to pandemic is a feature. It is not a bug or issue. It is world becoming what it should be. And I suspect, these men kinda fit that profile to the.

    1. LKW*

      Yes, there’s definitely a vibe of “Your wife works out of the home too? Well just have the nanny look after the kids then!”

  25. Anonymous Mouse*

    I do love these stories in a twisted way. Watching a company willingly destroy itself and yet remaining completely oblivious

  26. CBB*

    Thank you for thoughts about moving for a job. When I was growing up, I took it for granted that people moved to a different city every time they got a new job, because that’s what my dad did, and his dad before him.

    When I entered the workforce, I didn’t hesitate to take a job 3000 miles from my friends and family. Now that I’ve lived here for 20 years, I’m finally beginning to understand the value of remaining in one place as a long-time resident and would be reluctant to move again.

  27. HigherEdAdminista*

    I’m so sorry you had to deal with this LW. I hope this management reaps what they sow big time. Like I don’t mean to be so blunt, but they deserve to suffer and struggle, and I hope they do.

  28. learnedthehardway*

    WOW – All the best in your job search, and that of your colleagues and team members, as well. I hope you all find great roles with great companies, and gut your current employer.

    I’ve seen a lot of willful blindness to the realities facing the rank and file employees, but this kind of privileged thinking from senior executives really takes the cake.

  29. DeeBeeDubz*

    I feel for you OP and I hope you find a suitable remote position soon so you can move back to your people and get away from this terrible, toxic company.

  30. HungryLawyer*

    It’s letters like this one that make me so glad my employer began embracing WFH years ago. It was a big pain at time trying to juggle hybrid schedules, cope with open floor plans (company removed some individuals’ offices as an incremental step towards majority WFH) , and technology issues. But I’m sincerely grateful that when the sh*t hit the fan last spring, all the hard work we did to transition people to remote work really paid off. Now, I’m on the same page as OP: when/if I move on, I will only be looking for remote jobs.

  31. Heffalump*

    If I were a toxic manager looking to abuse my subordinates in every way possible, AAM would give me a million ideas.

  32. Pork Chop*

    Best of luck in finding the position that suits you best!

    Some parts of your story are reminding me of the out of touch, top down and tone deaf nonsense we’ve dealt with at my job. But not quite at the level you’ve been dealing with. You sound like are taking it in stride, you deserve better than this BS.

  33. Alice*

    Oh my goodness, I missed the original letter last year as I was dealing with issues at my own dysfunctional OldJob, but I’m hoping to get another update soon that you found a better job. This place does not deserve you one bit!

  34. 2 Cents*

    OP, I hope The Great Resignation works out in your favor and that one day you can name this business. A place with this kind of lackadaisical attitude toward a global pandemic that’s killed more than half a million Americans (and countless more worldwide) doesn’t deserve my business.

  35. AuntAmy*

    OMG this place suuuuuuucks! I hope to read about your new job in a Good News Friday update very soon!

  36. cwhf*

    Am I terrible for wishing someone had recorded that horrific meeting where they showed their true evil pathetic colors and released it? This company sucks on a level that is just epic. Hope you escape soon, OP.

  37. Just stoppin' by to chat*

    Does anyone know if the OP shared the company name? I know people don’t often do that, but I’d like to know so if I do business with them, or use their products or services, etc, I can stop!

  38. Berkeleyfarm*

    “the CEO started roaming the halls to keep track of who was actually working from the office (which I guess is the best use of his time?)”

    “Look at me, I’m managing”

    In the last manager’s meeting (I am not a manager but mine told me), someone asked if our Call Center was going back fully onsite. Their director said “we’re not going back” and quoted the multiple metrics that the CC was already keeping – wait times, calls answered, etc – and the tools they had available for remote workers.

    Similarly my department is not going back to fully onsite because our management talks to us regularly and we have a chat and a project board that anyone can watch. They see stuff getting done so don’t need to see us.

    Other departments that didn’t have or didn’t develop metrics have managers pushing for “return to office”. Because that’s what they know how to do.

    1. irene adler*

      You mean, common sense was employed, and actual tracking data used to make a reasonable conclusion?
      That director and your department could be on to something here….

  39. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    This company has lost its mind and is determined to take you down with them.

    They blame employees for world events and consider you as below competent. You can’t be trusted to do your job unless they are cracking the whip – in person. And when you do well for the company they reward you by disciplining you and cutting your budget.
    The funny thing is that people leaving to them is confirmation that employees are ungrateful good for nothings. To them loyal employees stay, do what they are told, accept abuse and literally die for the company.
    Don’t let this stop you, get the eff out ASAP and if others have earned a good reference from you please offer it to them.

    You mentioned county’s ancillary covid response, would it be worth an anonymous tip to the county that you company is treating employees this way, now trying to infect them with covid, blaming and disciplining employees for preventing covid and should be monitored if contracted for any covid services in future?

  40. SwingingAxeWolfie*

    Aside from the WTF elements of the letter, one thing that sticks out is your perspective OP – you’re very reflective and are keeping a firm view of this situation when others would be pulled into the toxicity that’s abundant everywhere. Hard to say from a letter written from your PoV but all signs point to you being an excellent manager. Best of luck with finding a much better fit in the next job.

  41. agnes*

    So many companies have lazy managers that just don’t want to learn the skills necessary to manage a virtual workforce. I love the “Great Resignation” and reset. I think it will help good companies get even better employees and make poor companies up their game if they want to stay in business. Our company is seeing a huge increase in job applications because we are getting known in our small town as an employer that is working hard to respond to employee needs and interests.

  42. That One Person*

    I did a small gasp when I read ” “eliminate distractions” (pets and family members)” and then laughed cause that would be extreme. After reading the post I’m not entirely sure anymore…

  43. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

    I was in a state wide webinar the other day and kept my microphone on mute during the break away sessions because cats 2 and 3 were playing roughly on the floor of my WFH office and sounding like a heard of elephants. They live here, Dept. that Employees Me doesn’t. Thanks to chat feature I still could contribute and no one (most who had their cameras off) minded. I am fortunate enough to live alone and have a spare room for my office but I can almost guarantee that if I am live thru Teams I will have cat 1 yowling in the background, Dog see a squirrel thru the window and sound the alarm or cat 2 and 3 seeing how much noise they can make while playing WWF. Most coworkers (including Boss) who have witnessed this find it amusing not “unprofessional”. For the record Boss’s 2 dogs love to sound the alarm when he is in a call too.

  44. Legume Counter*

    This sounds a lot like my Old Job! When my young children were sent home from school in 2020, I made a couple of different requests, involving working from home partial days to reducing my hours, because they didn’t want me working from home. BTW-I am an accountant and 95% of my job could be done from home. My requests were denied.
    At the same time they put out an announcement to us that we could do what we needed to take care of our families, but every request for any flexibility was denied. This was a family business, that was supposed to be about family values. The VP’s daughter was allowed to just not come to work for six months, though. Needless to say, I have since left and am at a wonderful employer that understands and actually is flexible.

  45. Angry Cat’s Martha*

    The leaders at this company sound insane and intoxicated with power. There is no other reason to explain their insistence on disregarding employee results and output in favor of having laser focus on this one issue.

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