update: our employee forged the owner’s signature on his mortgage documents

It’s “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager! Every day from now until the end of the year, I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose colleague had forged the company owner’s signature on his mortgage paperwork? Here’s the update.

Thank you so much for publishing my letter, and your great advice! As it happened, when the letter was published I was on my first vacation since 2019, so I missed replying to any comments made, but I did read all of them when I got back home, and was very appreciative of everything said. Here is my update:

Most importantly of all, John’s wife is fully recovered, and doing great!

The IT company John uses recovered the files Rob deleted, and they were all of a personal nature. Nothing bad, but also nothing that related to the business, thankfully.

John did have his lawyer send a letter to Rob and the mortgage company regarding the forged mortgage documents on his own accord, and never heard back from Rob or the mortgage company, so he still doesn’t know if the forged documents were corrected, or not. Or if Rob got the house, or not. The only thing we know for sure is that Rob will have no reference from John after three years of employment, John has made that clear. Sadly, Rob is the type to think that he WILL be able to list John as a reference, AND get a great one. He is just that kind of person.

When I wrote my letter to you, it was literally the day after everything had happened, and I was just…enraged. I am definitely a “want to see justice done!” type of person, and it is something that I have been working on over the years, sometimes with success, sometimes not. But I did step back in this situation, and did not push/suggest to John to do anything beyond what he wanted to do on his own. I just listened to him vent/process the situation, and was there for him as a friend.

After the dust settled from Rob’s departure, and it came time to hire a someone to replace him, I put your advice to use, and suggested certain things regarding vetting the new hire, and John followed all of my suggestions.

This is where the update takes an odd, but ultimately good turn. John hired someone to replace Rob, and they had great references, etc. Total rock star. I was thrilled, he was thrilled. Until…yeeeaah…it all went bad.

The new employee lasted just a month, before walking out mid-shift one day, and the reason for them doing so was that they decided the client account they were in charge of was “fake”. By this I mean they thought the practice, doctors, staff, and patients didn’t exist. Seeing as how I have been doing the billing for this client for years, have been in their office numerous times, know the doctors, staff, AND the patients…I was whopper-jawed. As was John. The whole situation was truly Kafkaesque/Twilight Zone material. John and I had a lot of discussions about this situation after it happened, and in the end, could only conclude that there were some personal issues going on with the employee, that caused them to quit like they did.

At that point, I recommended that John hire my former assistant office manager, who was looking for remote work, and he did. She came on board in October, and has been just as great at her new position for the billing company as she was when she worked at my office. All is well that ends well, and all is better than well at this point.

I also want to add that I found the “Ask A Manager” site shortly after the pandemic shut down in March 2020. I went from working 50 hours a week to 10, so I had a LOT of time on my hands, and spent it reading everything in your archive, as well as many of your book suggestions. : ) Since then, I have recommended AAM to numerous people, and it has made me a better manager. It is an invaluable site, and I am so grateful for the all the advice on it!

{ 118 comments… read them below }

  1. A Simple Narwhal*

    ….that took quite a turn!

    Glad that it seems everything worked out in the end, with a weird detour along the way.

  2. EPLawyer*

    The new hire was … weird.

    At least Rob didn’t do any damage to the company. But make sure you have something in place to keep this from happening again. Like don’t give them an overnight to turn in their log in and access card. If they have to be gone immediately, then you need the stuff from them immediately.

    But YAAAY John’s wife is fully recovered.

    1. Hazel*

      And even if they don’t turn in that stuff right away, your IT folks can revoke their access right away.

      1. Candi*

        I’ve learned three basic ways to do so in my IT class this quarter. OP’s company’s IT co. should know way more than that, and should have someone who works off business hours -on call or mid/swing shift- so it can be done by the time the boss is done saying, “You’re fired,” regardless of when it happens.

  3. CatCat*

    Sadly, Rob is the type to think that he WILL be able to list John as a reference, AND get a great one. He is just that kind of person.

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall when someone calls for that reference.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Same. Please follow up, OP, when it happens. I don’t even care if you don’t share what John says. Just need to know if it happens!
        I imagine that the prospective employer will be a branch of the bank he used for the mortgage.
        Some people just glide through life.

        1. Carol the happy elf*

          “My former boss, John, can be reached at 1-800-555-LIAR”, and if it sounds like glass clinking in the background, it’s not a restaurant kitchen, and I’m not getting a drinking buddy a beer to pose as John, ‘kay?”

    1. JohannaCabal*

      As long as John is truthful it’s all good.

      Of course, once Rob figures out he’s not getting a good reference, I bet he’ll create a fake work history or have a friend stand in as “John” for the reference.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Sigh. I wish I could say ‘at least karma catches up with people like this’ but…it often doesn’t.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          The problem is how many innocents you need to hang to get karma to catch up to this one.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        But even if John tries that all it takes is one person to google the name of the company and call the main line for that little subterfuge to blow up.

      3. NerdyKris*

        Most reference checkers know to call the main line and be transferred, not the number provided by the applicant.

        1. JohannaCabal*

          You would think so….

          I worked at a startup that would not allow me to conduct reference calls, even if the candidate gave me a list. I was told “Oh, they just give you the names of people who’ll say good things about them” and “companies give very little information anyway these days.” (Personally, I think they felt reference checks were for “stodgy, uncool companies”–eyeroll).

        2. PT*

          That would be an excellent way to not get in touch with a lot of references at all, though.

          I’ve encountered the following: Reference doesn’t have an office phone or reference doesn’t have a traditional 9-5 M-F deskbound workday (retired; seasonal job; front line or service sector job; hybrid/flex/ or roaming schedule), reference is still with the company but has transferred locations and calling the main number will get you a very confused front desk receptionist who does not know how to handle people calling for other buildings, reference is still in the same job but the main desk refuses to forward calls properly or take messages because “we’re too busy with our real job.”

          1. Candi*

            I think the conclusion is reference checking should be a mix-and-match activity, checking both submitted numbers and calling past companies through main lines and HR/dept extensions.

            And one of the things to watch for is major inconsistency in accounts. Minor ones can be attributed to imperfect memory, but major ones, especially multiples, means someone’s fibbing.

    2. NeutralJanet*

      Given that John seems reluctant to follow up on Rob’s bad behavior, I’m guessing he won’t tell the whole story to any reference checker, but I hope he does at least say that there were a few incidents that threw Rob’s integrity and honesty into question, some of which had legal repercussions.

      1. Elenna*

        Honestly, even if John doesn’t say anything specific, “he worked here but I can’t give him a reference” is still pretty telling.

        1. NotRealAnonForThis*

          “I’m permitted to confirm his dates of employment only. Sorry, its company policy.”

          Have used one time in my life.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Heard once
            “Yes they worked here……They aren’t eligible for rehire….. Sorry, I’m not able to answer any other questions….. No, sorry, I’m not able to give you their dates of employment….. Yes, really, all I can say I have said about John Smith.”
            John was the office legendary cautionary tale – still being told five years after he was gone, which is when I worked there.

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                I never met him – he was “removed from the company” five years before I applied.

                However his very brief tenure (if I remember correctly it was like four or five months tops) necessitated the hiring of both an in-house legal department and an in house HR department – both of which had been handled by contractors prior to his employment. He was the ultimate saunter boldly up to the letter of the rule and see how far it could be twisted before he actually got in trouble from the wild tales I heard in training.

                1. Candi*

                  Any time one person causes major changes in a company, you can bet they were the explosive and leave devastation in their wake kind.

                  (Sometimes they were the kick butt and take names to improve the business, making major and necessary constructive changes. But usually they’re the destructive type.)

          2. calonkat*

            I used to ask for the person listed as the supervisor when calling references. My favorite was “well, he was a good guy when he wasn’t drinking, but since the fistfight in the parking lot, we wouldn’t hire him back.”

            Still makes me giggle.

            1. NotRealAnonForThis*

              The funniest part about “I’m only permitted to verify dates only…company policy.” was that I was the person in question’s supervisor.

              One of the many reasons I noped out of retail.

    3. Excel-sior*

      Honestly, I think Rob is much more likely to just try and forge a reference by pretending to be John on a different phone number than actually list John.

      1. Candi*

        This is just asking for a “he tried to forge a reference before” humorous comment, but I can’t think of one that’s not cringey.

    4. buddleia*

      Same. Was also thinking that Rob is going to be in for a rude awakening if he thinks he’s going to get a great reference from John!

  4. PinkMask*

    There are just some stories that will leave you curious forever. I need to know what was going on in her head that made her think those clients were fake. Just fascinating.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      We once had a controller who left his resignation on the owner’s desk on a Thursday afternoon (knowing the owner wouldn’t be there Friday). Come Monday morning, everybody was wondering where he was, until the owner came rolling in late.

      (It turned out he quit because he realized he’d . . . forgotten to make payments to two state tax agencies, both of which are known for being pretty brutal in their enforcement. His replacement spent his first year negotiating with them to reduce the penalties, with surprising success. It was hilarious to walk by his office while he was on the phone, describing what had happened without using the word “idiot.”)

      1. Candi*

        I’ve seen you tell that story before. I’ll always wonder how much of that “forgotten” money wound up in his pocket.

        I’m imaging the replacement using an online thesaurus to look up synonyms for “idiot”, then trying to structure his arguments without using them.

    2. Constance Lloyd*

      I’m not going to theorize, but I can say my gut instinct on that one was an awful lot of worry and compassion.

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Since this is during the last year, I’m going to guess they saw billing/treatments for COVID and well…we know there are still those that go around screaming FAKE! even almost 2 years into it, so it’s not a huge leap after that to decide the whole business must be fraudulent.

      1. OP*

        This particular client doesn’t treat COVID/test/vaccinate for it, so it wasn’t due to that, I know that for sure. In another reply later on in the comments, I explained that the employee attempted several times that day to contact one of the doctors on the doc’s cell phone, but she was mistakenly dialing the main office line, and then a line to a local hospital, and could not reach the doctor…so decided everything was “fake”.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Doctor’s office with Covid paperwork & messages, etc and she didn’t believe in Covid?

  5. Observer*


    But, I’m glad that John had his lawyer send that letter. I understand why he didn’t want to pursue anything any further. But this way, no matter what happens, he’s in the clear.

    On the other hand, I would be VERY surprised if that mortgage came through. And I would not be shocked to hear that this negatively affected his credit rating.

    Also, if he really does try to use John as a reference, he WILL face consequences. “Yes, he worked here for 3 years. No, I cannot give him a reference” is going to be a major red flag to any sensible hiring manager. So you can be confident that he’s not going to get away with this scott free, even without reporting it to the relevant authorities.

    1. Meep*

      My former toxic manager/current toxic coworker was trying to get me fired Summer of 2020 and one of the reasons was I was looking for a house (yes she is just that petty – she was mad I could afford a house). I remember having to put my place of employment down and feel like I was lying because I was TERRIFIED she would run her blabbermouth (the only mouth she has, honestly) and tell the company she was on the verge of firing me. She had told EVERYONE prior to the last guy she was firing that they were going to fire him and then told EVERYONE (including complete strangers) that they had fired him for six months after the fact (sometimes even now 2.5 years later) so I wasn’t merely paranoid.

      Still, I gave them the company phone number and they verified it. I only know this because the first time they called no one but me picked up! lol. (It goes to the owner, then her, then my personal phone.)

      What I cannot imagine is the mortgage company didn’t call John to confirm before Rob spilled the beans.

      1. Candi*

        She’s ticked you were promoted to be equal to her, isn’t she? (Her being demoted would be good, too, but not as good for you.)

        I’ve noticed toxic people tend to have poor money management skills _and_ are bad at asking for help, especially if they’d have to pay for it. So I’m theorizing (spitballing) that her lack of ability to get a house was primarily on her.

    2. NerdyKris*

      “Yes, he worked here for 3 years. No, I cannot give him a reference”

      John can state outright “He was fired for forging my signature on mortgage documents”. Or even just “He was fired for a major ethical lapse”. It’s a common myth that companies can’t give bad references. They certainly can, as long as they don’t lie.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Or even just “Rob was fired for forgery.” You don’t necessarily need to get into what type of paperwork the forgery was on.

      2. Imaginary Friend*

        Being sued is expensive, even if there’s no way on earth that the other party will win that suit. So companies often think it’s better to avoid the whole issue by refusing any kind of reference at all beyond employment dates.

      3. Observer*

        John can state outright

        Sure. My point was not that John can’t tell the whole story. My point was that even if John doesn’t want to get into it, or is worried about a nuisance suit, a statement like this, maybe followed by “no, he is not eligible for rehire” is a problem all on its own.

      4. Candi*

        John can do that, but OP didn’t say one way or another how petty Rob might be. What we do know is he’s willing to lie to get what he wants, and some people willing to lie to cover their mistakes and misdeeds are also willing to sue if people truthfully talk about their wrongdoing.

        If John doesn’t want to risk a nuisance suit, “no reference, would not rehire” is one way to go.

        (Although that Rob would be out the cost of the lawyer’s fees once his lawyer realized what was really going on -I doubt Rob will outright say he committed fraud- is a wonderful idea. But not one worth John’s peace of mind.)

  6. Yvette*

    Thank you for the update. Please, please, please let us know if a potential employer calls John for a reference for Rob. Did I say please?

    1. Carol the happy elf*

      You have to say “Pretty please with a cherry on top.” My 4-yr-old granddaughter just taught me that last week. (No, she wasn’t being a brat; Gramps was snoring and had promised to play UNO with her.)

      Also, my Belgique mother often got Americanisms wrong, or with a different spin.
      One time when I broke up with a boyfriend, and my sister was unfairly fired by a nightmare boss (on the same day), Mom sat us both down together and said very lovingly, “Do not despair, my girls, there is sometimes great pain in this life.
      But remember darlings,

  7. JohannaCabal*

    I can understand John’s refusal to take more action. The legal system can be intimidating, even if you’re not the one on trial. Years ago I received a jury notice in the mail. Where I live you call in the night before to see if you’re still needed (a lot of cases get settled before trial), and when I called it said that my number was in the Not Needed group.

    Still, I called that number three more times to be sure! I was so worried it would turn out to be a mistake and the judge would send the deputies to round me up lol.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Definitely! Pursuing legal avenues can be complicated, and expensive, and there are often big consequences to screwing up. Especially with his wife in the hospital I don’t blame John at all for deciding he didn’t want the headache.

  8. Dogismycopilot*

    I was half expecting to find out that the company did not actually exist, that Rob had creatively made an entire fictional company and maybe even added them to as co-signers to his mortgage application!

    In seriousness, I am disappointed that Rob didn’t have to decency to reach out and apologise. But hooray for happy endings!

    1. Observer*

      Someone who pulls what Rob did is never going to apologize. In fact, if he did reach out, I’d be trying to figure out what pocket he’s trying to pick this time.

      1. Candi*

        Thank goodness for social distancing.

        Bilbo would probably leave Rob a box of silver spoons in his will.

  9. Fancy Owl*

    I feel like three years from now someone is going to send a letter to AAM with the title, “I walked out of a job because [insert life and/or brain issue] convinced me a client was fake. Should I reach out to them?” Actually, I think there was a letter like that recently where someone ghosted an employer and wanted to contact them to explain years later. Brains are scary, man.

  10. Beth*

    Wife recovered, former assistant got a terrific job, job got a terrific former assistant, Rob is history — great news!!

  11. Falling Diphthong*

    Rob is a cautionary tale of gumption gone awry.

    The replacement I think you are wise to chalk up to “… must have some major personal issue stuff happening” and moving on.

      1. JohannaCabal*

        Honestly, if she’d focused on researching and developing a better blood test, that would’ve been a lot less work than the scam!

        1. Candi*

          A couple years back, someone in the Not Always Right forums calculated how much the average crook tends to profit from their attempts at minimum effort for maximum gain.

          It’s amazing how much work some put into their efforts to be lazy. But then, crooks tend to also be really bad at sunk cost analysis. And really good at magical thinking.

      2. PeanutButter*

        I will admit to making a sarcastic reference to “and make sure the Pfizer letterhead is straight” when some MBA making more money than I ever will started going on about wishing the lab staff “looked nicer” (admittedly, they do often roll in wearing sweatpants at noon…because they are changing into scrubs and were in the lab at 0200 that morning to hit a time point.)

  12. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    I think the best news is that John’s wife has regained her health – in all the crazy and scary health news from pandemic times, hearing that someone recovered and is again healthy is heartwarming.

  13. PollyQ*

    I feel bad for the first replacement, since that’s almost certainly some form of mental illness. Nothing LW can do about it, of course, but I hope he’s getting the help he needs.

      1. Samantha F*

        Yes, this sounds like a fit. Of course we should not make internet-diagnosis of people, but maybe it’s helpful for the OP to know there are documented mental health conditions that cause this kind of behavior (and likely nothing that could have been weeded out in the interview or prevented during this replacement’s employment).

        1. Susan Ivanova*

          There was a post on bestofredditorupdates recently about a man whose wife suffered from that, and he said it happened pretty much overnight. The good news was that she got therapy and is getting better.

        2. Candi*

          I think discussions from the perspective of “X can cause Y” are useful, just to let the OP know Y does have documented, logical (if sometimes odd) causes.

          The problem comes when people insist “Jane must have X, that’s why they do Y”, when it could be Z causing the problem.

          And when an OP says, “These are things about me” that match up with Y or Z, it’s always worth urging them to look at their care options. For me, the day I was able to put the Asperger’s Syndrome/ASD label on my weirdness, the day I knew there were others like me, still makes me well up with happy tears. It’s good not to be alone.

  14. NeutralJanet*

    Obviously Rob’s behavior was worse, but I am honestly more interested in the new hire! Rob had a pretty clear motivation in the initial forgery, and I can stretch myself to understanding why he was petty enough to delete files after getting called out on it, but the new hire’s behavior is just inexplicable to me!

    1. OP*

      Ha, glad you like it! Neither had I or my husband until a few years ago, when his former very…not so good…boss used that term in one of his bi-annual reviews to describe her reaction to my husband not saying “Good Morning” to her the way she wanted it to be said. “I was whopper-jawed at the lack of enthusiasm from Fergus when he said “Good Morning” to me on 8/31/2016″. Direct quote from his review. So now he and I use it all the time for weird situations, because it cracks us up to say it out loud, and also be grateful he has a much better boss now!

      1. jackers*

        That is rather hilarious (now years after the review). That would make for a fantastic ask the readers post – direct quotes from reviews. I once wrote out a rather detailed self evaluation of my accomplishments and areas for improvement and my manager gave me a 4 word review: “I agree with jackers.” Ah, well thanks?

    2. Ama*

      In my family we pronounce it “whoppy-jawed” — but I’m realizing I’ve also never seen it in writing before (or heard of anyone else using it but my mom and her mom/siblings , I thought it was just an old family joke ). We also tend to use it more to mean something being physically off kilter (example: “well I took the Christmas tree out of the box and the branches were all whopper-jawed so I had to take some time to straighten them out.”) My husband thinks it is hilarious.

    3. Candi*

      I heard it exactly once before, and I doubt it was meant in this context.

      Teenagers, a box of the chocolate candy Whoppers, and one teenager shoving their mouth so full they couldn’t close their jaw. Another called them “Whopper-jawed” while they were all laughing, because teenagers.

      I was worried about having to do a firm smack on the back, but the kid managed to get them all down without choking.

  15. awesome3*

    With the new hire that’s just a specific situation you couldn’t have prepared for. I would just chalk it up to “it happens and I hope they are ok.” Great news about John’s wife!

    1. Imaginary Friend*

      Yeah, but this is someone who had already admitted to committing fraud, plus the behavior surrounding the files deletion was worrying. From the original letter:

      >> Rob then went back to the office LATER that night and deleted several files from his work
      >> computer, and then when he came in the next morning to turn in his keys/login info, he
      >> somehow managed to delete about 100 other files from his computer, claiming that while
      >> he was gathering his personal belongings, he somehow unplugged his work computer and
      >> had to plug it back in.

      And that’s a lot of “somehow”. Poster went on:

      >> When confronted by John about this, he lied and said he hadn’t done
      >> anything, even though John had a record of it through computer logs. When presented with
      >> the evidence contradicting his lies, he continued to say he hadn’t deleted any files.

      …when he could have just said, “Yes, I deleted some personal files” which is a reasonable and expected thing to do, you know?

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      I wouldn’t think that’s a bad thing to do at all. Shouldn’t you clean that up before you leave? I don’t know why he would deny it though, unless they were specifically accusing him of deleting company files. But if they were his personal files it seems like he could simply say “I had some tax/insurance/emails/whatever saved down and I was just clearing off those personal files before I left.”

      (I know you’re really not supposed to but I definitely have some personal files on my work desktop–I don’t think they would care if I delete them though since any important work files are supposed to be saved on the shared drive anyway. Some of them, like tax files, I’ve never figured out how to save them down without doing it on my work computer because I can’t seem to get to the site from my personal computer!)

    1. OP*

      She did give one very specific reason. She said she tried to call one of the doctor’s on their cell phone, to discuss something, and that “other people kept answering the doctor’s phone” that “weren’t the doctor”. She was in fact calling the doctor’s OFFICE, and not their cell phone, so of course, the receptionists were answering the phones, and not the actual doctor. She then found what she thought was another cell number for the doctor, and called that, but now she was calling one of the hospital’s the doctor is on staff at. We have a master list of all of our clients cell/office/home numbers, so we have no idea why she wasn’t using this list to locate the cell phone number, but clearly, she wasn’t.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Does she really want her doctor to answer random non-medical phone calls while they’re seeing her?

        OK, I suspect she hasn’t thought it through that far–but if I thought the contact number I had for a doctor was their personal cell phone, I would expect it to go to voice mail, and I’d leave a message.

        1. OP*

          All we could figure was that she decided she absolutely, positively needed to talk to the client that day, and she couldn’t fathom why the client (who was seeing patients) didn’t answer her calls. Leaving aside the fact that she was calling all the wrong numbers…even if she had called the correct number, the client would not have answered, and she would have had to leave a message, as you say. Yet this was her hill to die on.

          1. Observer*

            All of this is bizarre enough that I agree with the folks who are saying that this really sounds like someone who has something going on that has nothing to do with the job.

            Of course there is nothing that you can do about it.. And I give you credit for not getting into that speculation here. I just hope that folks recognize that it’s probably not a funny (as in HaHa) situation.

  16. OP*

    If a future employer ever reaches out to John for a reference for Rob, or if Rob or the mortgage company ever reaches out to John, I will most definitely send in an “update” to this update! I am just as curious as others to see if any of this ever happens. I do know that John initially said he would only verify Rob’s dates of employment for a reference, but now is willing to be a bit more forthcoming, if asked about Rob’s job performance/reason for no longer being employed.

    As for the Rob’s replacement who walked out mid-shift, when she did, John immediately called his IT person, had the computer access/login’s/etc turned off for her, and then he called a locksmith and had the locks changed. He called the employee and said she could pick up her belongings whenever she wanted (she left a few things behind), and when she picked her stuff up, she didn’t say one word to John or his office manager, wouldn’t even return a “Hello” from either one of them. We all were actually surprised she even came back for the stuff, as it was minor things like a mug and hand sanitizer.

    I purposefully used the term “personal issues” to describe why John and I decided the new employee left the way she did, because I don’t want to “armchair diagnose” her with anything. During the interview process and the time she worked there she gave no outward indication of having any mental, emotional, or physical issues that she was going through . So while I have my “gut feeling” on what may have been going on with her, I will never actually know. I certainly DO hope that she has found employment somewhere else and is doing well, because I really, really liked her, and she was truly a “rock star” while she was there.

    1. PeanutButter*

      The whole doctor’s office-is-fake based on calling the actual office is so weird. When I was a paramedic, if I called someone’s regular doctor for whatever reason, if I DIDN’T get a doctor’s office/hospital switchboard/answering service greeting it was pretty much immediately “sorry, wrong number” because I had no idea who I was talking to, and I didn’t want to just rush ahead and assume I had Dr. Finglonger, Proctologist on the line and start describing poor Mr. Soarbumm’s medical complaint in detail to a random stranger. If the doctor needed to answer on their personal phone, the office got them the message and they would call back!

      [Wild Speculation below]
      As to the walking out – was this the first time she’d had to track down a doctor by telephone? Did she have experience doing medical billing stuff? As someone not NT who finds talking on the phone really REALLY difficult, whenever I was on track-down-consults rotation at my job, it was AWFUL. The entire time of having to play consult phone tag was like torture because I couldn’t “close” the task in my task list and get it out of my head while waiting for the call backs. (I was really good at it though which meant doctors kept requesting me be handling the calls ha ha haaaaaaaaauuuuugh!)

      I can see how if that hadn’t come up before then (but she suddenly realized it was actually probably going to be a BIG PART of her job duties) she might decide to bail…and panic and say “I think it’s all fake!” This is wild speculation but it’s the first thing that popped into my head as what I would haaaaaaate about that job.

  17. Apricot*

    I know it was stated that there were valid reasons why Rob couldn’t work remotely, but I find it interesting that his replacement has been hired as a remote worker, and had Rob been allowed to work remotely in the first place all the ensuing craziness would have been avoided… well, until Rob did something else crazy, which it sounds like he is the type to do. No criticism intended, just having a “isn’t it funny how the world works” moment. I’m very glad everything worked out in the end!

    1. OP*

      Oh, the list of things that Rob did during his tenure of employment that were “not okay” but weren’t egregious enough to get him fired before he forged the mortgage documents was endless. My personal favorite was when he showed up at John’s house on a Sunday morning, unannounced, and when John answered the door, Rob said “I wanted to let you know I am quitting, effective immediately!”. As John was trying to take that in, Rob said, “Early April Fool’s Day joke!”, and drove away….Rob really is a class act. Or should that say class ass?

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Why am I not at all surprised. I get the feeling that Rob will be the gift that keeps on giving (in the sense of randomly found things in files) that make you go “what in the world?!?!?!?!” for a bit longer.

      2. Candi*

        That makes me wonder if the refusal to let him work remotely was less about the job and more about character.

        My other thought was the problem was because Rob wanted to move to another state, which usually means different employment laws. (Because US.) Does the former office manager live in the same state as the business.

  18. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

    Wow, thanks for coming back to tell us the rest!
    I’m also thrilled that you used an expression I’ve only heard in my family: “whopper-jawed”.

    1. OP*

      So happy to see someone else out there who knows the expression! I was pretty much thinking it was me, my husband, and his former manager, lol!

  19. HD*

    This Rob character is fascinating. It’s like he wants to be a shady, scheming type but can’t manage to pull it off because he keeps making unforced errors. Forging the boss’s signature and then telling him about it, deleting a bunch of files that were recoverable and then fruitlessly trying to lie about it, and I’m sure much more. The guy seems to have no ability to properly plan a scheme and follow through.

    1. OP*

      He is fascinating, in “WTF is wrong with this guy?” type of of way. He considers himself a “good guy”, a pillar of the community. Yet his actions are diametrically opposed to this. Total conundrum to me. And probably a total conundrum to himself.

      1. Candi*

        Magical thinking. They and their ego want to be awesome, so in their tiny territory of mind, they are. Often seen in wannabes and those who just can’t, but really want to.

  20. Maid Dombegh*

    Wow, this has been up for a whole day and no one has changed their username to “Whopper-jawed” yet?

    Seriously, I am so happy that John’s wife is recovered and the company now has a reliable person doing the job.

  21. Hacker For Hire*

    Re: the original letter, I’m surprised that the company didn’t block computer & physical access for Rob immediately after he was fired. This is common practice in many companies, and surely Rob’s behaviour warranted that.

  22. Ebar*

    I wonder why we keep using the term ‘Rock Star’ which I would associate more with drug use, hotel room destruction, questionable personal hygiene… possible sex crimes. Maybe that’s just me.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      I mean, while certainly there is some amount of overlap between rock stars and people who behave that way… that’s not what *makes* someone a rock star.

    2. Candi*

      That was maybe half-a-dozen groups (at a stretch) that became really famous and were notorious for drinking, drugs and destruction. Cue all rocking being tarred with the same reputation brush.

      Rock star in the context used in the work world involves someone being so good at what they do few can compare, much less pass them. Like a genuinely talented musician who makes it on the strength of their ability, without needing good marketing and in spite of the record companies.

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