update: did I make a mistake by sharing my salary with a coworker?

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer wondering if she had made a mistake by sharing her salary with a coworker? Here’s the update.

Thank you so much for persuading me that sharing salary information is, in fact, the right way to empower your friends and coworkers. I think that the reason I questioned myself so much on this decision is because my friend is very soft-spoken and I knew that he would likely not use this information to advocate for himself and, instead, would simply be discontent without taking action. I ended up being partially correct: I don’t believe he asked for a raise following our discussion about salary, but he did speak to his leader about being interested in a promotion. But this is where things get even more banana crackers! His boss responded by giving him more work, more responsibility and several direct reports (he had none previously), but in exchange he got neither a promotion nor a raise. This additional work was sold to him as an “exciting opportunity” and, strangely, my friend did buy into the hype and was excited to have more responsibilities heaped on his already full plate without any additional benefits.

And herein lies the real problem I was having that I didn’t address in my previous letter: My former company is a cult. Perhaps not a Manson-level cult, but certainly it is a place where cult-like thinking is the norm. While I’m free from it now, I still find myself impacted by the brainwashing and fear at times. As such, it makes me doubt myself when speaking to those who are still working there.

It’s a large company that is highly regarded and it’s the type of place that people say they have dreamt of working since they were a child. People from all over the world move to my town in order to live out this dream, and the company uses this extreme affinity amongst its employees as an opportunity to convince them that they are lucky to have this job, no matter what is thrown at them. Speaking ill of anything the company does is simply not tolerated: Not just at the upper levels of management, but also it is self-policed by the employees themselves who are rabid fans of the product and believe that the company can do no wrong.

The toxic positivity within the company has led to a situation where my friends are either fully drinking the Kool-Aid and therefore I have to tread lightly when speaking to them, or they are aware of the environment at some level but are afraid to speak out or advocate for their best interests as this sort of independent thought is not regarded well. Most people I know who work there think of their employment at this company as a defining characteristic of their identity, and they would be very fearful of doing anything that would jeopardize their future with the company. I was never fully on board with this sort of thinking, although at times I admittedly bought into the “I’m so lucky to be here” mantra as well due to how pervasive it is. Now that I am free from this environment I feel as though a massive weight has been lifted off me, but I also can’t help but feel sad for my friends who are continuing to let themselves be taken advantage of. They do not want my help as they truly believe the cheery message that’s being sold to them (even as they reach increasing levels of burnout and are visibly miserable with the toll it’s taking on them mentally and physically), and sharing information that helps them to see the inequity of things like pay does not necessarily make them feel empowered like it should.

All of that said, your advice, and the words of all the commenters who chimed in on the post, inspired me to continue sharing salary information with others. Unsurprisingly, it has exposed a huge amount of salary inequity amongst my peers. Will they ultimately use this information to negotiate on behalf of themselves? Perhaps not (or not always), but if by sharing this information I help to poke holes in their belief that their employer is without flaws, then I’m happy with having opened their eyes just a little.

{ 248 comments… read them below }

  1. Observer*

    OP, your particular piece of information may not light any fires. But it could plant a seed, or jsut be one more drop in the the kind of drip drop that wears down bulwarks. So, don’t stop sharing this information.

  2. TwinClover*

    I’m happy to see that sharing the information is encouraged. If you work for a good company and the topic of wage disparity is brought up it should at least put it on their radar for more conversation. Unfortunately when I tried to advocate for myself I was written up for “gossip” for having the conversation with my peers and left feeling like I did something wrong.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Wow I think that’s illegal (in the U.S.) I think there’s laws about retaliation for discussing wages.with co workers, unless your at supervisory level or something.

      1. MBK*

        That’s correct. If you’re an employee covered by the NLRA (whether in a union or not), you have the right to discuss your compensation. The only real caveats are: a) be careful discussing it during work hours (unless other non-work conversations are permitted, in which case you’re protected, and b) if communicating electronically, avoid using company resources to do so (email, Slack, or even a personal account accessed over the company network).

    2. Observer*

      Unfortunately when I tried to advocate for myself I was written up for “gossip” for having the conversation with my peers and left feeling like I did something wrong.

      In the US that’s illegal. If this happened in the recent past, and they actually put it in writing, it’s the kind of case the DOL loves. Because the company did the work for them.

      1. Candi*

        I’ve taken the view that even if I don’t have the bandwidth to pursue a case, I’ll still report to get it in the Dept of Labor’s files, if/when it comes up.

        I’ll also talk about how people don’t need lawyers to file a DoL complaint, a belief I found running around a comment section elsewhere. No idea if “need lawyer to file complaint” is an organic weed, or something someone deliberately created.

  3. lyonite*

    I know it’s not the point, but I can’t help speculating on the company. Hershey’s? Lego? Google? Whoever makes Cool Whip? The mind, quite frankly, boggles.

    1. Kenobia*

      I was racking my brain about what company this could be, too!

      I strongly doubt it’s Google.. Maybe it’s Disney??

      1. former ICP*

        My brain went instantly to Disney – that “defining aspect of their identity” rang so true to some current and former employees I still have added on Facebook.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          So did mine, but at the end of the day most of the roles there are not likely to breed this level of loyalty.

          (Though I will say most people I know who have worked there in some capacity definitely seemed to like their jobs a lot more than, say, the job I had as a teenager slinging funnel cakes at Six Flags. I came close to dropping out of college my sophomore year and the prospect of that being my future is what kept me there, despite it perhaps not being the best choice for my mental health at the time.)

        2. Aerin*

          I also thought Disney. Parks is mostly union, so the pay is laid out in the contract. I don’t know about Imagineering or Studios. (But those are based in the LA metro area, and people move there for a lot more reasons than just Disney, so maybe not.)

      2. Anon for this*

        I don’t want to harm OP in my speculation, but I am so curious to know just how many large companies make their brand feel existential to employees! All I will say is that Google famously has an anonymous pay comparison spreadsheet started in 2015, so it’s probably not them.

        1. Julia*

          Apple, Disney, Microsoft, Tesla, computer game companies, book publishers, Marvel and DC comics, film companies. If it was academia any of the ivy league schools.

          1. Green Beans*

            I can’t speak for all Ivy Leagues but at least where I am, the students buy in really hard to the hype but the staff tends to get pretty jaded quickly. Professors tend to be in between the two. I definitely wouldn’t describe working for an ivy the way the OP has.

            1. Taketombo*

              The Ivy League school I worked at had published pay grades for each admin job. Mine was 57 (one above union.) aaaand the grad students just unionized.

          2. Meep*

            My first thought was Apple. They make it impossible to talk to coworkers about anything, even if they are working on the same project. And iPhone users are very culty.

      3. ALC*

        WE Charity in Canada (AKA “Free The Children”) fits like a glove. The timing of the layoffs fit too.

        1. pancakes*

          People who actually work for Tesla have been quite vocal about allegations of racism, sexual harassment, homophobia, and lack of attention to safety, and a number of them have sued the company. The cult-like devotion to it on social media is from strangely obtuse people who don’t work there.

        2. SaaSsy*

          My thought too. Their pay is notoriously uneven and pretty poor for tech, outside of a few roles.

        1. Kanye West*

          As far as I am concerned the guesses could have just as well stopped after the first mention of Apple. Marvel has a cult following moreso than Disney but Apple is on another level including the well documented abuse of the cult leader (now passed away) and the secrecy and everything else.

        2. Berry K*

          When I worked at Apple I experienced none of this cult-like behavior. In fact there was a Slack channel devoted to griping about the company. (Well, not actually Slack, but the Apple equivalent.). Perhaps, though, that was just my department, which was largely staffed by a employees of couple of companies Apple bought and turned into my department.

        3. Perilous*

          Yep. A relative started at Apple not long ago. Shortest honeymoon period in history. Frankly my eyebrows were raising at some of the onboarding things she mentioned, much less what she’s seen since starting.

        4. NotJane*

          The only reason I don’t think it’s Apple (or Tesla, Google, etc.) is that OP wrote, “people from all over the world move to my town in order to live out this dream,” which seems like an odd way to describe Cupertino, or Silicon Valley as a whole. Orlando, on the other hand? That’s a place I can see fitting that description. Or I could just be reading too much into OP’s wording.

      4. AnonNow*

        I live in Orlando and have many friends have worked or currently work for the Mouse. No one I know is hesitant to point out the downsides of working there. One guy I know has a countdown app on his phone, counting down the days until he can retire.

        1. The Original K.*

          Yeah, I’ve known people at Disney and they all said it was a bad place to work. They stayed because Disney looks good on a resume but they had exit strategies- it was about the next job.

          1. Candi*

            My sister refused to work for Disney when she found out about the worker/working conditions for most staff.

            She’s a very good artist, won (small, local) award pre-covid, has sold or traded her work, etc. So people said she should animate for Disney. She took a look at their labor conditions and noped right out. (And this was the 1990s.)

        2. Maiden of the Spear*

          The description also fits for the Florida Park Service. I surprisingly encountered rangers and managers who did not think salary information should e an open communication, even though all FL State employees pay information is publicly accessible online because of Sunshine Laws.

      5. Daniel*

        I was going to go with ESPN…

        …but then I took a quick spin to Wikipedia and found out that ESPN is now owned by Disney!! That’s something I hadn’t known before.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          ESPN has been owned by Disney for 25 years. That said, if OP wanted us to know where, they’d have named it either explicitly or given a more vague direction to think in.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Yep, it is; this is why you can get ESPN in the Disney/Hulu bundle. They also sucked up National Geographic, both the channel and the magazine.

      6. Former Coca-Cola Employee*

        I think it’s Disney but it sounds a lot like the environment at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta

    2. Jonesy*

      My suspicion is Epic but that’s just cause it’s local to me and the cult like culture and overworked young people moving to the area fits to the a tee.

      1. Stargazer*

        We know it isn’t Blizzard or Ubisoft – any more at least! But this has been how the games industry has gotten away with so much for so long. Indy publishing too – and so much “We’re family!”

      2. shedubba*

        Definitely not Epic. My sister worked there until just recently, and there are plenty of employees who don’t buy the hype and who talk about it, especially with the way the company responded to covid.

      3. MCL*

        Ha! My partner works at Epic. It’s certainly got its own ethos but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as cult like, nor would I imagine that people dream of working in medical records software since childhood. ;)

        1. Attractive Nuisance*

          Ha, I thought this too (enterprise SW for the win) but I bet they’re referring to Epic Games.

      1. BridgetS*

        My guess is Ramsey Solutions (as in Dave Ramsey). Google the news articles on him and his company from the last couple of years – many of their business practices are shocking and definitely cult-like.

        1. Mrs. Vexil*

          I am in Nashville and Ramsey definitely is a cult but not sure if people have lifelong dreams of moving here to work for them.

      2. swe*

        I interviewed at Nike (for a software engineering job). I almost blew it before I even left the house to go to the interview because I almost wore …(gasp)… the Columbia Sportswear coat that I always wear. A competitor’s coat! Clearly someone who does that will be a terrible software engineer.

    3. High protein double cheeseburger*

      Kool whip is a Kraft-Heinz brand. I like ketchup as well as the next person, but I have a hard time imagining it inspiring a cultlike devotion in… well, anybody.

      My guess was Apple or Google, but they might be too big for the dynamic described. Scientology? Amway?

      1. allathian*

        I doubt it’s an MLM like Amway. My guess is Apple or Facebook (because I don’t like either of them), but they’re probably too big.

        1. Simone*

          It’s definitely not Facebook – not likely anything in big tech because people speak pretty openly about compensation and are also quite mercenary about it.

      2. YinzeYall*

        This has nothing to do with the original speculation in this thread (i.e. I doubt the OP is talking about Heinz), but I had to respond to your comment “have a hard time imagining it inspiring a cultlike devotion in… well, anybody.” If you lived in Pittsburgh. You would not say that!

        I moved to Pittsburgh about 17 years ago, and over that time, I have mostly absorbed the local devotion among yinzers to Heinz ketchup that can only be described as cult-like. During the first pandemic lockdown when stores shelves were often unexpectedly bare, you could go to the condiment aisle, and every last bottle of Heinz ketchup would be gone, but the other brands would be untouched. The Heinz History Center has an animated ketchup bottle logo that used to be on a Heinz plant here in the city. The sign is iconic in the city landscape. People acknowledge Heinz as the “only” ketchup.

        No city is perfect, but this weird devotion to things is one of the things that makes Pittsburgh a charming place to live.

          1. Doodle Brain*

            Vacations have been soured for less if the area uses Hunts or just food service brand. Heinz is the only acceptable ketchup.

            Grew up and still live (just a different direction) 20 minutes from downtown.

    4. Midwest4Ever*

      Glad to know I’m not the only one thinking this. I’d have to put Koch Industries on the guess list.

      1. Ad Astra*

        While the vibe certainly sounds right for Koch, I’m not sure many people would say they’d “dreamt of working there since they were a child.” Or at least I hope not!!!

    5. Noodles*

      Reminds me of SpaceX. I’ve known people who worked there that lived and breathed it and thought Elon could do no wrong.

      1. Three Flowers*

        I was thinking Tesla, but any Musk brand seems to fit…and there are more than I can keep track of.

    6. Fruitwondering*

      Why did I think of the fruit tech company? Guess because I am from out of US and it fits the bill of people I know from all over the world that go to CA to work at the HQ and act like they just found the Nirvana.

    7. Richard Hershberger*

      My mind frankly boggles at the idea of a dream since childhood to work for any particular company. I can certainly see how that would give the company a lot of toxic power over its employees. We see this in sports all the time, even apart from any particular team. Some kid knows he isn’t a great athlete, but dreams of working for a baseball team. This leads to a lot of overworked and underpaid staff.

      1. alienor*

        I honestly don’t think I dreamed of working at all as a child or even a teenager, much less working for a specific company. I just wanted to be left alone to pursue my interests and also magically have enough money to live on. :-P

      2. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        If you love watching cartoons or animation and love to draw, I could totally see wanting to work for WB or Disney as early as childhood. If you love video games, I could see a lot of kids wanting to work for Nintendo to design the Next Big Thing.

        1. Oh hey hi*

          My 7 year old is obsessed with someday working at Nintendo. So there are some companies that are appealing for children!

      3. It's Growing!*

        A relative of mine dreamed of working for Industrial Light and Magic since childhood because of Star Wars. He did work there for several years before they sold to Disney and all the magic rushed out like the retreating tide. Now he works elsewhere.

      4. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Oddly enough, three of my first four jobs were with two companies I had dreamt of working for as a child (I worked for one of them twice).

        One I’d go back to tomorrow, but the other’s industry is just too volatile for my adult tastes.

    8. hack in training*

      probably because i also work in this industry, but my mind went straight to ESPN — the way their employees call it the worldwide leader has always felt a little cult-y to me.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        ESPN became the devil for me when they dumped figure skating. I won’t get the Disney bundle even though it would save money because I would never watch it.

    9. mreasy*

      I have worked for much smaller & less famous companies that were cult like because their work was extremely well-known within its niche. Never again! As OP said…they get away with (or try to) so much.

      1. I sleep when the sun shines*

        Somehow I don’t think WeWork is the kind of place children dream of working at.

    10. OP*

      I should have known this would cause much speculation! I will say that the company in question has been named in this thread (and it’s truly not hard to guess as the well of major companies with a cult following is only so deep). I think someone mentioned WeWork. I will say that’s not it, but watching that documentary was VERY much the culture where I worked.

      This is not to say that everyone bought into the hype. I know others who did not (or not fully anyway), but those who did not were generally pushed out to make room for those who were more enthusiastic (or better at faking enthusiasm). Many are simply unwilling to jeopardize their employment though. I’ve had several friends/former coworkers make comments to me since I left them seem to imply (or outright suggest) that they think I’m simply not working now. At first I was very confused as I am thriving in my new business and I wasn’t sure what made them think I was unemployed. Then I slowly realized that, in their mind, leaving the company means you simply don’t exist anymore. That there is no life – no work – unless it’s here. This has happened many times now so it’s not a one off thing. And it still chills me every time I have to explain to someone that you can be happy and healthy elsewhere, and it’s not “trading down.” But honestly, I don’t think they believe me!

      1. MBK*

        That’s just nuts. I get being excited to work for a company you’ve always admired, but not to such a reality-warping degree that you don’t acknowledge that opportunities even exist elsewhere.

      2. KeinName*

        Sounds like academia! Leaving has been described like a death and certainly, After I left, people have forgotten to mention me when naming all coworkers while I was in the room.

        1. AGD*

          Am academic, can confirm. When people leave for industry jobs or other opportunities, everyone just acts like their existence has become irrelevant.

        2. Call Me Dr. Dork*

          Yep, although I hope that it is changing for the corner of academia I come from. Last I heard, there were actual discussions about what percentage of grad students would need to work outside of academia eventually, and it was closer to 100% than 10%. But yeah, when I left, it was like I died to everyone outside of my immediate cohort that was dealing with finding a job post-postdoc.

          1. Kat in Boots*

            Except that in academia a culture of cheeriness is not the norm…also I doubt that children dream of working there?

      3. Ginger Baker*

        “The well is not deep” – except, as we can see from this thread, there are quite a few cult-following companies! Lisa Frank was the one I thought of but it’s legit bizarre just how MANY there are. I would think *one* would be TOO MANY :/

      4. Media Mouse*

        I have a suspicious feeling it’s the media company (owned by Disney) b/c of the mention of “town” that it is located in and people moving there from all over the world. There is a cult-like atmosphere and you do drink into the Kool-Aid (I know I personally have many times).

        Good for you for realizing how the toxic positivity there is affecting people now and overwork and burnout are a real thing there (not that the company is encouraging people to take time off rather than give lip service at the moment).

        1. Media Mouse*

          Addendum I have to add for context sake. The atmosphere at my company fits the OP’s descriptor like a glove. The lack of salary discussions, pay bands being hush-hush and cult-like atmosphere. Independent thought is “encouraged” but then rejected under the guise of “leadership training and getting to know the business” in which you are “encouraged” to think in the way of your bosses’ mentality.

          Toxic positivity has taken over the company in an effort to boost morale. I still working for the company that fits this descriptor and am actively trying to get out (though hush-hush since I still need a job and insurance) as this past year with the Great Resignation going on has really opened my eyes (and also the on-going pandemic basically has made me realize that my job isn’t everything and that it is truly time for me to move on even if I can’t quite save my team nor the sinking ship).

      5. Elizabeth West*

        Eek! And I thought NonProfitJob having a company cheer (no, really!) was bad. This is bonkers.
        I’m glad you’re thriving, OP. Keep saying that to them; maybe it will penetrate and help them escape at some point.

        1. COHikerGirl*

          I worked at Best Buy over a decade ago and every morning meeting would end in a chant of “Revenue is king!”. I felt so icky saying it that I just…didn’t. Revenue is important but I refused to upswell needlessly. I had enough customers thank me there and at other retail jobs for not overselling that it made it worth it.

    11. GoodDog*

      Kraft Heinz makes Cool Whip and I can confirm from experience that no one who works there feels cult like attachment. Lol.

      1. ThatGirl*

        The reference is to Kool Aid, not Cool Whip, but that’s a reference to the Jonestown cult and massacre. Which actually involved Flavor-Aid. All this to say that the Kool Aid reference is not a hint.

        1. Texan In Exile*

          And the people who drank the Flavor-Aid drank it at the point of a gun, which is a fact that most people who talk about “drinking the Kool Aid” seem not to know. (I hate that phrase.)

          1. Portial*

            I hate it too; I am old enough to remember what it was like as the horrible news trickled out over days and the scale of what had happened there became clear.

            (I also loathe jokes based on “Oh, the humanity.” It seems like Herbert Morrison’s response to watching 35 people die — and believing it could be many more — was a sane and compassionate one. It’s not any kind of a punchline.)

            1. PT*

              It’s like that South Park episode where they negotiate over the appropriate amount of time that must pass before AIDS is allowed to be funny, to discuss the principle of horror dulling over time. It’s actually fairly sophisticated for South Park.

            2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

              That was only in 1978?! Man, I always thought it was much longer ago.

              Maybe I was getting it mixed up timewise with Johnstown, which was in 1889.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Yeah, Time magazine made it a cover story with a picture of corpses and a large washtub of purple liquid. I remember it vividly. My Language Arts teacher had put several current events magazines in her classroom, including that one. You can google it if you want but I don’t recommend it.

              2. Kit*

                It helps if you remember that Rep. Jackie Speier (representing SF, home of several cult-like companies itself) was an aide to Leo Ryan at the time, and she’s only just retiring from the House now. It’s definitely a living-memory sort of event.

            3. Candi*

              One thing that gets forgotten a lot is that before the mass murder/suicide via poisoning, some of the cult murdered people who were trying to leave and the people who came to help them. Including Representative Leo Ryan, who flew thousands of miles himself instead of sending a lackey.

              But most of the stories focus on the poisoning itself, and forget the politician who actually cared.

          2. IndustriousLabRat*

            I also find the Kool-Aid reference troubling any time it pops up- I think a lot of people either don’t associate it with any real event, and use it just as a saying, or mistakenly associate it with the Merry Pranksters. So, I get it, and I definitely get that it has become such a part of the lexicon that it’s probably here to stay, and almost always used innocently. But I’ll never forget the feeling of ice cold horror when I was reading the history of Jonestown and got to that part.

          3. ThatGirl*

            Yes, I also hate it. I knew there was more to Jonestown than snarky references, but we recently listened to the You’re Wrong About episode about it which was fascinating.

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          The comment they are responding to lists “whoever makes Cool Whip” as one of their guesses for the company. They are not responding to the kool-aid reference in the letter.

      1. IndustriousLabRat*

        As a child of the late 80s/90s… this response made me smile. I loved art as a kid but was discouraged from pursuing it professionally. I would have been in heaven getting to basically doodle in neon colors all day and get paid for it!

        1. pancakes*

          I believe the response here is alluding to Lisa Frank’s reputation as a lousy employer to work for. High turnover, low pay, etc.

          1. IndustriousLabRat*

            Sure but Wee Lab Rat, Age 12, wondering what it wanted to be when it grew up, would have been completely ignorant of the possibility of workplace toxicity in a place full of unicorns and glitter. This is in reference to the OP claiming that people grow up hoping to work there someday (which I assume is also the #1 reason that Disney is #1 on the “I’ll bet it’s…” list).

    12. LinuxSystemsGuy*

      The comment about “ People from all over the world move to my town in order to live out this dream” made me think Hershey. It’s the only lifestyle company of that magnitude I can think of which is also focused in one fairly small town. Disney is a global company, you don’t need to move to Orlando to work for them, and even if you did not many people would call Orlando a “town”.

      1. Low Key*

        I don’t think that many non-Americans love Hersheys, though. From my European perspective, the chocolate is considered pretty poor and almost everyone I know prefers their local brand of chocolate.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          It is pretty poor from an American perspective, too. Chocolate is like beer. Until relatively recently, Hershey’s and Budweiser were what we thought of when we thought of chocolate and beer. We were only distantly aware that there was a whole world out there of vastly superior products. This is no longer true for either. Good chocolate and good beer are both readily available in all but the most benighted parts of the US. Some people still go with Hershey’s and Bud, but that is on them.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            When I was a child, I thought Hershey would be the coolest place to work ever. A whole town revolving around chocolate, with Kiss-shaped streetlights? Making candy all day? It was so very Willy Wonka.

            But if it’s culty? Nah. FWIW, the chocolate used to be okay but they changed it and now it tastes like acid burps. Those little Moser Roth chocolate bars at Aldi make much better S’mores. In fact, I rarely eat American chocolate at all anymore.

      2. NotJane*

        Re: Disney, I was thinking specifically the theme park, as opposed to the studio (which I’m guessing is headquartered in LA), or the media conglomerate as a whole, with offices all over the place.

    13. Red Sky*

      I was thinking Pixar, what with the childhood dream part and cultlike devotion, so basically Disney.

  4. Fikly*

    Sharing salary and really, just norms on how promotion and raises should work is so critical, because it’s the best way to prevent companies from taking advantage of employees.

    I remember when my former manager told me, point blank, that to prove I was ready for a promotion, I had to do all of the work of the promoted role, without getting the promoted role or of course a raise. It sounded not quite right, but I didn’t know enough to really question it, or push back.

    She also told me, after I had gotten a promotion, that I should be able to do all the extra work with no problem, even though none of my previous work had been removed, because being promoted meant that I could do the previous work faster, which was blantantly not true given the nature of the work. Ah, what a dumpster fire of gaslighting that was…

    1. Disco in the toilet*

      For some reason, my company does this too. I don’t quite get it. But before you get promoted to Manager, you have to work as a manager for 6-12 months.

      Management here is otherwise pretty good, though. And my boss explicitly explained this to me.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        It saves them from having to develop an actual training program and, you know, actually training people.

        1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

          And actually paying them a FAIR salary for the time they’re working as managers, of course.

    2. Ugh*

      Fikly – I played this game twice! Both times I did the promotional job for months (years even) and then they still made me interview for the promotion once it came open. I was told it was “just a formality” but (the first time) my boss ended up hiring her best friend instead and then wanted me to train her. I left and the same thing repeated at my next job, but when they asked me to interview for the promotion I was already doing they made it clear that even if I did get it I would still have to keep doing my old job too as I was handling doing both sooo well. At that point I just stopped playing the game, resigned and started my own company! Gaslighting is absolutely right.

  5. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    OP, I am so glad you are out of there and are in a healthy place. Your discussion of your former coworkers sounds a lot like trying to get a friend or loved one to leave an abusive relationship before they are ready to.
    Looking back, do you have any wisdom to share that could help people identify the horrors of companies like this during the job interview process?

    1. Me*

      Nobody is moving from all over the world to work at amazon. And truly every warehouse worker is pretty vocal about how bad it sucks in my experience, there’s definitely not a cult like love for Bezos

      My immediate assumption was a Disney theme park.

      1. Anonanon*

        I live near a Disney theme park and have known many people who’ve worked it. They hire mostly locals and lots of high school & college age young people. This is a big tourist area in general, working at a Disney park isn’t as big deal to people who near one as you might think.

        1. Deanna Troi*

          That hasn’t been the experience of my husband’s niece. She had a “leadership” internship there while in college, which was extremely competitive, and works with a ton of other people from around the world, and their big reward for getting into this academically rigorous program is to….walk around the park as minor characters taking pictures of people and trying to sell them to them. But she said there are many more people from all over the world who want to work there than there positions available for them.

      2. Patty Mayonnaise*

        People definitely move across the country to work at Amazon corporate or in the tech arm, but I don’t think the employees have that kind of cult mentality.

      3. Observer*

        And truly every warehouse worker is pretty vocal about how bad it sucks in my experience,

        While I doubt it’s Amazon, there really seems to be a MAJOR disconnect between the warehouse / retail folks and the “back office” people. To a bizarre extent, I would say.

        1. pancakes*

          Not really, no. There have been a number of exposés about the terrible experiences of its white collar workers.

          1. Observer*

            True. But the warehouse workers are a whole different level. Yes, Amazon pays fairly well. But the way they mistreat these people is very, very bad. And they try to gaslight everyone about it. The white collar staff are not facing risk of injury that is several times as high as comparable workers, but in the warehouses, that’s what is going on.

            Which is to say that I’m not defending Amazon’s treatment of ANYONE. Just that their treatment of “unskilled labor” is especially bad.

    2. Wendy*

      Luckily (or depressingly), there are a ton of plausible guesses on this thread so hopefully the OP doesn’t worry they accidentally gave something away. Silicon Valley giants seem likely, but I can think of half a dozen other things people get weirdly passionate about, too!

    3. GoodDog*

      Crying at your desk at Amazon is extremely common. Even the people who like working there usually outwardly express that it’s kind of the worst.

  6. Penny4*

    One reason I like working a union job is the clear salary structure. Columns and steps are online for all to see.

    1. Not Australian*

      Agreed. I’m not in the USA but I’m totally gobsmacked that salary bands are not made clear from the word ‘go’; there may be flexibility *within* a band according to experience, qualifications etc., but there is generally approximate parity throughout it.

  7. Cleopatra, Queen of Denial*

    I’m sure we’re all going to have fun speculating which company this is, so before Alison moves all these to a single subthread, my money is on Disney.

    They recruited at my college, and during the informational seminar they gave to my department, they told us that everyone working at Disney had to spend at least one season working in the concessions/guest services at the park after graduation.

    I thought, who in my professional design program would want to do that instead of getting a real internship?

    Well, the line to talk to the Disney recruiter afterward was at least 40 deep.

    1. Cleopatra, Queen of Denial*

      (Not to say there’s anything wrong with working guest services! It’s just after four years, you usually want an internship in your direct area of study.)

    2. Anon for This*

      That actually kind of makes sense. I knew a lot of kids in college who had no soft skills, and working guest services at a park would definitely test those, or encourage them to grow if you don’t previously have them.

      1. The OTHER Other*

        I also think this is a good idea, maybe not as an internship but as a way to make sure everyone in the company is focused on the primary role of the company and understands the work involved. I’ve worked retail and it was apparent when people in upper management had no customer service experience. Likewise I worked in a call center and much of the support staff treated call center employees (who were the reason their own jobs existed) with contempt.

      2. Cthulhu's Librarian*

        It could make sense, if that was the reason it was done.

        Call my cynical (I’ll say “yes?” if you’re in the same room), but I suspect it has a lot more to do with “oh, free labor!”

        I may be biased by my recent internship in a Masters degree program, and the absolutely foul taste it left in my mouth to have to work somewhere for free (and pay for the priviledge of doing so, because you still have to pay the college for the credits it counts as), while having been in my field for more than a decade.

    3. pancakes*

      I’m not sure why you’d think she’d consolidate the guesses rather than simply delete them, since it’s against the rules here.

    4. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I know someone who worked at Disney Media. According to them, the only pro were the office perks and health insurance.

  8. Anonanon*

    I come from a city near one of the Disney parks and have known many people that have worked at it, at every level from maintenance to entertainment. They hire mostly locals, lots of high school & college kids, and believe me, even the ones who are Disney fans aren’t fanatically devoted to their theme park jobs. It might be a more fun or interesting job than some others, but it also kind of sucks to work for (dress code is WILD), and people who work there know this.

    1. AnonNow*

      I live in Orlando and can confirm. The people I know who work for the other parks (Sea World and Universal) seem much happier with their employer. Though I don’t doubt there are people who have moved here for the opportunity to work for Disney.

      1. Ugh*

        I also live in Orlando and will confirm that literally every single one of my friends who works at Disney moved here from another part of the country in order to have their “dream job” (and yes, they’re all miserable but pretend like they’re not). These are corporate office jobs though. I can’t speak for the front line workers.

    2. pancakes*

      That’s an image the company has put a lot of effort and money into cultivating, but have a look at a 2011 Florida Law Review article titled, “The Wonderful World of Disney Visas,” and a 2015 NY Times article, “Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements.”

  9. Scout Finch*

    I work in a state institution of higher education. Our salaries are listed in a public database, easily found & searchable.

    For all the issues and quirks in higher ed (and my present employer/school is MUCH more sane than my previous one), this is a tool that helps to ensure current & prospective employees (especially POC and women) have this information to make career decisions.

    1. Scout Finch*

      I know that private companies won’t have such transparency, but pay/step bands are not too much to ask for in the private sector.

      In the 80s/90s, I worked for a private company (not education related) that actively forbade sharing pay information. I was supposedly their best llama tech. While cashing my paycheck at the bank, I became aware of a coworker’s (much larger) paycheck amount. I (and most every other llama tech there) had to bail this llama tech out repeatedly.

      When I asked my supervisor about the disparity, I was told he had more experience than me and a family to support. Well, his experience wasn’t taking (as we all had to clean up his messes) and I had a mother to support. It just gave me more determination to finish my degree.

      I was young & needed a job. But I shudder when I think of that place (there were many more issues).

    2. Peppermint Moksha*

      I’m a cog in Texas state government, and the Texas Tribune has a searchable database of Texas government salaries you can peg to any employee earning above $50,000. It used to list all levels (I saw my own for a brief period), but at some point they limited it to $50k and above.

      1. Scout Finch*

        Wow. Way to hide how little some are paid, I guess.

        Our state’s shows EVERYONE’s salary – from janitorial staff to chancellor – for every state-controlled institution of higher ed (including community colleges and vo-tech type schools).

  10. Deanna Troi*

    My husband’s niece worked at Disney, and it was just as you described it. She always wanted to work at Disney, and got a bachelor’s degree in something like Business Administration with a specialization in tourism. She did a special internship for college students that is supposed to be a leadership academy for working there. And when she was done with that, she STILL had to work on the ground as a minor character, taking pictures of people, etc. for a couple of years before she was allowed to apply for an entry level “professional” position. Very very cult like.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Uh, actually I don’t see anything wrong with doing a season on the front lines. I did one season working in an amusement park when I was in my teens. It was eye opening. It’s an environment unlike any other.

      In one season I saw:
      Fence jumpers
      Lotsa shoplifting
      Random things catching fire
      Rides stranding people and fire truck rescues (rides did not get daily emergency checks)
      One religious group took over an entire building for their service they had to have. No one knew what to do so the service went on. Other non-group customers could not use the building. Conflicts like this were regular but management had no SOP on what to do.
      People pooped and peed in public- again management really did not know what to do.
      Candy and other wrapped foods eaten or covered by mouse poop. For the latter, clean off the poop and sell it anyway.
      Unpaid, mandatory overtime
      No one was allowed to drink water on the job so there was plenty of heat sickness. You were not allowed to talk about the salt tabs they gave you.
      I haven’t even gotten to the rats, drinking/drugs, peeping toms, sex on the job, stealing, etc.
      In short it was a Wild West of Workplaces and no description can totally convey all that was going on. You actually had to be in it to see all that was going on.

      I don’t think that expecting employees to do one season on the front lines makes the place cult-like. There’s more to cult-like behavior than that. I do think it is a good people filter because people can actually get a real feel for the environment and determine if this is something they want to continue on with. Some people can thrive in this environment because they are able to ignore the chaos and focus on their assigned job. From the little I saw, the techie people were okay- they just focused on repair/maintenance and let the other stuff slide by them. Because these were much needed people I think that there was a tendency to keep the chaos away from them, also. Just my opinion and based on very limited experience, though.

      1. Boof*

        Working concessions/tickets for a few weeks? Perhaps reasonable. Working for months-years? Really inappropriate to demand someone applying for say, graphic design, business administration, software development, etc to do that. The only think you’ll filter out are people who aren’t “disney or bust”.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          If I’m applying for a back-office position in a very small company, I could expect to maybe wear another hat or two when we were shorthanded. But in a company the size of Disney or Six Flags (or whatever), I’d feel like being forced to work concessions was a huge bait-and-switch.

      2. pancakes*

        You don’t see anything wrong with people “doing a season” at a job where they’re not permitted to drink water? There are plenty of ways to learn that exploitation is bad without that experience, or more generally feeling that they’re on the front lines of a battle.

        1. PT*

          Not permitting people to drink water in a hot environment is an OSHA violation. People getting heat exhaustion on the job is an OSHA violation and they’re eligible for worker’s comp, if they require medical attention.

        1. mickey was my boss*

          Aside from Disney’s obvious leg up on detailed theming and the quality of general offerings from rides to food to atmosphere, it’s not really comparable to other theme parks. All Disney employees from popcorn sellers to park VPs go through the same initial orientation day, followed by weeks of individualized training. You have to learn how to point, how to scoop up trash in a smooth-flowing motion, how to count back change the “Disney way,” how to use a ton of special terminology, adhere to a pages-long dress code (which has admittedly been edited down a lot in the last decade), learn how to speak to children by their standards, etc. And those are just the universal training skills. There’s so much more expected from you in terms of soft skills- turning upsetting situations around by doing something “magical” that the family will talk about for years to come, anticipating problems before they occur, inventing creative backstories to preserve character integrity, seeking out what people are celebrating and helping to make it special, etc. Then, depending on your role, there’s a ton more training, even for the basic minimum wage positions – learning to safely fire a blank firearm as part of a ride operating system, learning puppetry, demonstrating proper safety protocols around pyrotechnics, training to help characters in and out of tricky costumes (I have “pantsed” the Beast in a curtained-off dining room of his Castle and given Piglet the internally-infamous “pork pull” to get him fully situated) etc.

          Lastly, other amusement parks rarely have VIP concierges who can escort you around the park for an exorbitant fee.

          FWIW we were allowed and encouraged to have water as long as we wore it clipped to our belt in a standard-issue black neoprene bottle sleeve. Hard to do when wearing women’s business casual, but other than that hydration was rarely an issue.

  11. Mare*

    I have a guess but I wish OP would just name the company! There is a company in my city which is the headquarters for said company and people DO come from all over the world to work there. Locally it is considered “special” and the people who work there are “special” too but…..I have not heard many complaints from those who actually work there. That could be because they are drinking the kool-aid, w ho knows. It is not a tech company. Think popular brand name products you find every day in the grocery store and probably have in your home.

    1. TM*

      I have a guess as to who this one is, but the person I knew who interned there was taken aback by the very vocal constant Christianity of the place. It was a very sought-after internship, but not a place where she ultimately wanted to work.

    2. The OTHER Other*

      For someone wanting the OP to name their company, you are being awfully coy about naming the one you are talking about, which is almost certainly NOT the one in the letter. OP has said in the comments that the company has been named already, and it’s not WeWork.

      I can understand the OP’s desire for anonymity, I don’t understand the paranoia behind anonymous commenters avoiding directly mentioning a company or brand. Or worse, giving blatant clues such as “Brazilian river company”.

      1. Mare*

        Clearly that upsets you and I’m sorry. I probably did not name the company because the city would be obvious if I named it and did not want it to link back to me. And I posted that before the OP clarified that the company had already been named.

  12. Hacker For Hire*

    While in general it’s very good to share salary information, I would advise to do so only with coworkers with whom you have a good relationship. I did that once when I worked at a toxic company where most employees had the “slave” and “crabs in a bucket” mentality. It turned out my coworkers were earning 10% less than me and, given the situation, I am sure they resented me instead of the company which exploited them.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      In toxic environments people are more apt to turn on each other than turn on TPTB who are causing the problems.
      We see this also in families, where siblings will be at war with each other and the real problem is the abusive parent(s).
      You’re right- revealing a higher salary in a toxic environment is kind of like wearing a bullseye target. Def know your workplace.

    2. Boof*

      I generally agree you have to be a little careful but OP said they were already out so the consequences to them at least would be minimal.

    3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I am sure they resented me instead of the company which exploited them.

      That’s my second fear.

      The first is that I’ll inherit everyone’s work when they quit after demanding a raise and not getting it; then I get the choice of Death March and quitting myself.

      I’d still answer honestly if asked my a coworker I trust, but there aren’t enough “**** no’s” for the idea of volunteering the information.

  13. Nursey*

    I have always wondered how salaries in the US worked and since I’ve been reading AAM and have more knowledge (previously my knowledge was zero), I’m appalled.

    Everyone has to negotiate their salary separately and blindly! This seems extremely unfair.

    In my country, we have an overall commission that sets pay rates and hours along with general things like uniforms across every single industry and for every age group from 12 years old (except drug dealers and street sex workers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a pay rate set for them), in order to make pay fair and equitable and most industries also have separate pay deals that are negotiated by the union for that industry and different employers within the industry and these are considerably higher than the rates set by the commission. And you don’t have to be a member of the union to get union rates. If your employer has agreed a pay rate with the union, everyone gets it. Along with everything else that the union might have negotiated such as working hours, breaks, laundry expenses, uniform etc.

    Example, every single nurse at level 1 is paid the same. The same penalties and the same hourly rate. You move up levels every year that you’re employed and get the same raises and also as you are promoted. So every clinical nurse at level 1 earns the same and so on.

    Office jobs are the same, starting from receptionist right up to office manager.

    The other big difference I note, is that over here, working for non-profits or the government means you get paid more and in government and non-profit jobs, you can salary sacrifice cash, entertainment and meals, pension contributions, cars, computers, phones, in fact lots of things which means you pay less tax.

    1. Boof*

      What country is this? Having the government set everyone’s pay rates would… not fly in america. Not saying it doesn’t work for some people and places but it’s pretty antithetical to USA founding principles.

      1. Nanani*

        Um… “set by the union” isn’t “set by the government” by any stretch.
        And setting pay rates and hours is a normal things governments do, even in the USA – you have a minimum wage, child labour laws, rules about overtime, government holidays and so on.

        1. pancakes*

          Yes. The idea that setting minimum wages and giving unions strong legal rights are antithetical to our “founding principles” in inviolable ways is pretty extreme. I think it’s also probably a pretty common view in the US, but that doesn’t make it a sensible or well-grounded one.

      2. Lora*

        Well, also the US is just too big and diverse for that. Cost of living in some cities is more than double what it is in a slightly smaller city 100 miles away. If your salary was stuck at rural Ohio levels and you’re trying to live in NYC, literally nobody would take the job for so little money; at the same time, culturally the US is extremely diverse to the point of “might as well be a different country with different laws” so people don’t want to move to a totally different culture even if it is cheaper cost of living. Think of how many people would be willing to move from Sweden to Poland: sure, there’s some, but not a whole lot. It doesn’t matter that the cost of living in Gdansk is half the cost of living in Stockholm, people don’t want to change their whole culture.

          1. Nursey*

            Correct, they do. The commission, which isn’t government, I think was set up in the 1990’s to ensure a liveable wage and the increases are tied to inflation rates.

            Each region then applies its own rates through union bargaining.

        1. pancakes*

          I’m not sure why you think diversity is antithetical to the type of system Nursey describes, nor why you think standardized wages would require people to “change their whole culture,” and I’m not sure I want to know why you think that!

        2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Even if pay scales were adjusted by location, can you IMAGINE the gerrymandering and wheeling & dealing that would go on to set pay scale districts? It would be a massive increase in corruption that would be pretty much unavoidable because the benefits would be so enormous. Think of a half a percentage point pay rate increase, multiplied across an entire city. That’s a monumental amount of power to hand over to some governing body and I absolutely do not trust any possibly government or industry body with it

          1. Nursey*

            Interesting that you say that as recently a city councillor and the major were doubt to be up to no good and have been sacked and are being prosecuted. It was about parking if I’m remembering correctly.

      3. Nursey*

        It’s not a government thing. I think it was set up in the 1990’s to ensure everyone at least had a living wage. Each year, the base rates rise in line with inflation and each region is different but no region or job can go below what the commission has set.

    2. The OTHER Other*

      This will probably not be a popular opinion among the commentators here but I think the system you describe would have terrible drawbacks that would probably outweigh the advantages.

      For one thing, who is setting these wages, and enforcing them? It probably entails a lot of bureaucracy. For another, “every single nurse at level 1 is paid the same” means there is no allowance for different costs of living, or for different levels of skill or ability. If awesome nurse is paid the same as awful nurse, why bother being awesome?

      The same would be true of businesses as a whole. Maybe someone wants to cut costs and serve a hard-to reach demographic, or wants to charge more for better service; this would be hard to do in this kind of environment. In general, this kind of regulation may seem attractive at first but brings lots of problems.

      1. Nursey*

        It’s fine to cut costs but not if your workers will be living in poverty. And if charges go up, no business is a monopoly and people are allowed to shop around.

        I’m an awesome nurse because I care for my patients and because my wage for working 7 days per fortnight is equivalent to US$2500 net, I’m happy with that. And I’m only on level 4 as I’ve only worked in nursing again, the past 4 years plus I get penalties, shoes paid for, laundering paid for and 5 complete new sets of uniform per year so for me, I do the best job I can because I take pride in my work and enjoy it. And the money is nice too!

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Minimum wage is a different debate, and one we have (quite vigorously!) here in the US too. But that doesn’t depend on your profession- housing, food etc cost a certain minimum amount regardless of whether you are a rocket scientist, a nurse, or a janitor.

          In other words, if “fair wage” was defined as “not in poverty” then it would be totally fair to pay doctors $26k in my city, because that’s enough to live on. (Glassdoor has actual doctor’s salary at $127K average.)

          1. pancakes*

            You seem to have the idea that setting minimum salaries goes hand-in-hand with capping them / setting maximums. I don’t know where you got the idea that that’s a thing, or that anyone here mentioned that being a thing.

      2. Spencer Hastings*

        Yeah, I have some similar questions. If you pick up skills and improve faster, can you skip a pay grade? Or do you get situations where “well, Jane performs at the level of your average fourth-year llama wrangler, but she’s a second-year llama wrangler so of course she’s paid as such”? Can you leapfrog a coworker who’s been there longer?

        Or is it like when you’re in school and you’re essentially told “well, you’ve mastered long division, but you don’t get to go on to the next thing even though you’re ready for it, too bad for you.”

        1. Spencer Hastings*

          …That said, the system that’s the norm in the US has some confusing aspects as well. Like, what if I did find out that a coworker at my same level was paid more than me? What would happen if I went to management and said “hey, I just learned that Emily makes $55K to my $50K, can I ask why?” It’s not like they would pull out her performance review and explain it to me, since that’s obviously none of my business.

      3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        If awesome nurse is paid the same as awful nurse, why bother being awesome?

        The awesome nurse does get paid better than the awful one after the awful one gets fired. Flawed as that system sounds to me, too, there has to be a minimum level of competency required to hold a position for a significant period of time or the system would collapse before implementation was completed.

        There’s little incentive for being better than mediocre/acceptable.

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          A lot of the countries with this kind of system also have systems set up to significantly discourage firing people too, though. Or at least make it so you can only fire truly awful and not moderately lousy people. Which means the exceptionally awesome, the acceptably ok, and the moderately lousy people are all paid the same.

          So I would say there is little incentive to be more than moderately lousy.

        2. Lighthouse*

          I work in a place with public salaries and salary guidelines and there 100% is motivation and reward for doing a better job! For a start for your own personal enjoyment of a task you spend much of your waking life on. But also access to the more interesting tasks and crucially you need to do well to be qualified for promotions or lateral movements, and weaker performing employees find their career progress stalls in not as engaging roles. Which is fine for them if they like a routine job and our org has some of those that are kinda boring but need to happen. Anyway there is absolutely still reward for high performance.

    3. Bananas*

      Congratulations on your country. The US isn’t a monolith and those of us who live there don’t need your judgment, it’s rude. Just about every place people live has qualities that make it wonderful and qualities that need to change.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Not only that, but I think, “our uniforms are not set by a national commission,” decidedly does not need to change! I would show up in Washington with a large placard and my good walking shoes to protest if CLOTHING was being managed by the government or a quasi-governmental body. It’s totally none of their business!

        I don’t think pay should be set by a national body either, though if I squint I can see the logic. It would have major, major drawbacks (for one thing, consider how long it takes to change the Federal minimum wage, and that’s just a single number, not a whole set of them multiplied by every field and then multiplied again by cost adjustment in each location), but there would some advantages. Sort of.

        Actually, it sounds totally horrifying too.

        1. Nursey*

          For people who actually have to wear a uniform to work, knowing that the union negotiated that you must have 4 shirts, 4 pants, 4 jackets or whatever given to you free and paid laundering takes that pressure off them as they don’t have to buy these things.

          It’s certainly not mandated that we all have to wear types of clothes. I don’t live in North Korea.

          My understanding is that this system was brought in during the 1990’s to ensure a living and equitable wage. So no-one who worked was below the poverty line and it didn’t change overnight. It was well planned in advance. The government don’t dictate to the commission.

      2. Can we not*

        Also it implies that the US is the only country in the world where people don’t job salaries before they interview or have to negotiate which is absolutely not true.

      3. Nursey*

        It’s a shame that you thought my comment about how interesting it is that different countries work in different ways was a criticism. It wasn’t. And I wasn’t judging anyone or anything.

      4. Nursey*

        It’s a shame that you thought my comment was a criticism, it wasn’t. It was an explanation of how things are done here vs in the US.

        It’s a shame you misinterpreted it.

        1. Bananas*

          When you open with “I have always wondered how salaries in the US worked…..I’m appalled” it’s not difficult to understand. You don’t need to think it’s a shame I misinterpreted it. If that’s not how you intended it, then you phrased it very poorly indeed. Not my error, yours.

      5. Nursey*

        I’m sorry that you found my comment judgemental and rude.

        I was interested by the differences although also upset that perhaps people aren’t earning liveable wages.

          1. pancakes*

            Not personally, for a start. If you didn’t design the system yourself I don’t see a good reason to take criticism of it personally.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              You don’t have to take something personally to say it’s a tiring criticism here. And it’s very silly to say something is appalling and then say “how weird that you took that as a criticism, what a crazy misunderstanding” which they have now said in like at least three nearly identical comments.

    4. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      You have to remember that the United States is big enough to treat as a continent, so you’d have to imagine doing this for Europe as a whole.

      1. pancakes*

        A number of people seem to have read “we do things differently in my country, here’s how it works” as “my country’s system should be replicated in the US,” but that isn’t how I read the comment. I also don’t see why any country wanting to establish a works council-type system would overlook the fact that they are regional and localized in Europe rather than Europe-wide.

        1. Nursey*

          It wasn’t meant to be a “you should change how you do things”. You read the comment correctly.

          I find the whole thing fascinating to be honest but too many people took offence at my comment.

          I didn’t realise I would end up on the bottom of a pile up!

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            I reread it a few times and I still think it reads as if authored by someone who thinks that it’s a superior alternative to the United States’ system. I also still think it would work for a smaller region where the cost of living is relatively uniform, but would go off the rails quickly as that uniformity fades over larger areas or populations.

          2. DJ Abbott*

            It seems to be more common here lately for people to project their own stuff on my comments too. Many times in the last few months I’ve thought of posting a comment but then thought no, it’ll just start a big round of projection where they’ll all pile on me.
            I didn’t take offense at you saying you were apalled because I am too. Many Americans aren’t earning enough to have a decent life and the pandemic has made that worse. Something should be done about that.

            1. DJ Abbott*

              See, I was going to say it would be great to have a system similar to Nursey’s country but it would have started a pile on of people saying it wouldn’t work here, so I dialed it back.
              Something needs to be done though!

  14. LadyFiona*

    My vote is Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. They’ve got all sorts of fingers in different media, and they’re a religious group. That adds feelings of, “doing the Lord’s work” and the weirdness of the prosperity gospel belief system. If those employees wanted to get paid more, they should do more for God and then, like a trickle down effect, he’ll notice and give you wealth as a single that you’re beliefs are correct. If you’re poor/not well paid, it’s because you don’t believe the right things.

    And people do travel to visit Focus on the Family so why not traveling to work there too.

  15. I don't mean to be rude, I'm just good at it*

    I wonder if it’s a major league sports team. People walk around bragging that “I work for the ______” and in reality, they are ushers or stadium cleaners.

  16. C in the Hood*

    OP, you said that all you can do is poke holes in your former coworkers’ thinking. That is still something, though; after all, didn’t it take some hole-poking for you to decide to get out? Continue poking!

  17. Michelle Smith*

    Congratulations on escaping Disney and best wishes to you for the future. You did the right thing.

  18. River Otter*

    “he did speak to his leader about being interested in a promotion. But this is where things get even more banana crackers! His boss responded by giving him more work, more responsibility and several direct reports (he had none previously), but in exchange he got neither a promotion nor a raise”

    In general, having to fulfill the responsibilities of a more senior level role before being promoted to that role is pretty typical. At a banana crackers company, this will play out in a banana crackers manner. However, at a healthy company it plays out in a healthy manner.
    People seem to think that promotions are like college. That you automatically progress as you accumulate credits, and that once you have fulfilled all the requirements of being a Junior Teapot Designer that you get your Junior Teapot Designer diploma and move on to Senior Teapot Designer. That is not at all true. If all you do is fulfill the requirements of a Junior Teapot Designer, then you will always be a Junior Teapot Designer. To get to the senior level role, you have to start taking on some of the senior level responsibilities, and it is still not a guarantee of a promotion, just like taking graduate level credit as an undergraduate does not guarantee that you will get into graduate school.

    1. Ugh*

      While I see your point, OP stated that this person was already being underpaid and doing the work of several people who were laid off. I’m not sure that giving someone more work to “prove himself” is a positive move in this instance.

    2. Junebug*

      No. No. Noooooo. To get to a senior level role at a non-exploitative company, you interview for it and tell them why you think you’d be good in the role. They look at how you’ve handled things in your current and past roles that might predict how you’d do in the senior role, and decide if you’re the best candidate.

  19. LifeBeforeCorona*

    Good for you for getting out. Years ago I worked for a name-brand company and was proud of the recognition it received. Until I actually saw how the sausage was made, then disillusionment set in. Companies can really coast on their good name until they collapse into themselves.

  20. anon4eva*

    Yikes- Not much of a comment really, but children actively considering future companies to work for in their childhood? Like, just be a kid!
    When I was growing up, it was always the kids that were “type A” nerds obsessed with niche hobbies and/0r trivia that wanted to be an adult way too fast, then turned around and got way too expensive of an education, work in Consulting or Teaching, and tend to be sadly single or miserablely married. But usually it was a generalized “cliche” occupations that media/TV unrealistically glamorizes (think doctor, lawyer, cop, teacher, *yawn* etc.), not an actual specific company.
    I guess the Tech companies and monopolized organizations are getting the sheeple’s kids ready to be indoctrinated earlier and earlier. :(

    1. Jacey*

      I think this is rather harsh. Part of being a child is wondering what your future life will look like, and since kids live in the same world we do, they have a basic awareness of the brands and companies that produce the things they like. If you love to draw, maybe you want to be an animator, and Disney is a familiar brand that owns lots of people’s favorite animated stories. I personally hate that Disney owns so much popular culture, but kids aren’t stupid or indoctrinated for noticing that fact about our world.

      As a side note, I’m surprised you consider teacher and firefighter to be given the same level of idealization by media and kids… and I think the “yawn” after your list of commonly aspired to jobs is rude. The vast majority of the jobs you listed are dedicated to making the world a better place. Why are we calling literal children boring for wanting to help their communities?

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Part of being a child is wondering what your future life will look like, and since kids live in the same world we do, they have a basic awareness of the brands and companies that produce the things they like.

        I agree. Two of the companies I dreamt of working for are ones each of my parents worked for when I was young. I also never dreamt of running my own business after seeing their lives when my father had his own business. I simply won’t get enough hours on this rock to spend that many of them them that stressfully.

      2. pancakes*

        “Why are we calling literal children boring for wanting to help their communities?”

        One odd point of view on the internet doesn’t make for a “we”!

        1. Jacey*

          Sorry for any confusion—it’s a common turn of phrase where I live. I didn’t mean to imply more than one person was actually holding that viewpoint.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            I think that’s a pretty normal way for you to have worded your comment. It is basically a softer way of saying “why are you doing this” by including yourself in the question even though you are the one objecting–it just sounds less accusatory, I think that’s why it is a common way to do it online where comments often come off too harsh without tone so we use softer language in other ways.

    2. EBStarr*

      Wow, I didn’t know that there were adults out there who still thought it was an insult to call someone a “nerd.” Doesn’t that just mean that you enjoy learning, boiled down? That tends to be a pretty good quality to have in later life, even if it doesn’t necessarily make you popular in high school.

      Excuse me while I go check with my handsome, funny, brilliant, and very nerdy husband to see whether he thinks we’re secretly miserable in our marriage…

    3. pancakes*

      It seems more problematic that kids you grew up with somehow thought of TV shows as realistic rather than that they went to work in professions shown on TV. The happiness or unhappiness of their marriages is another matter entirely, and I doubt you’re well-positioned to speak authoritatively on that.

    4. Spencer Hastings*

      …Because single people are losers, you mean? I don’t know what you’re trying to say here.

    5. Nancy*

      Yes, kids certainly think it would be fun to work at a Disney theme park or Apple or video game company or whatever. Kids aren’t picturing themselves sitting in an office, they are picturing themselves having fun on the rides, playing games, animating, etc. And what’s wrong with liking hobbies and trivia as a kid? I thought calling these kids nerds as an insult was over?

  21. Fiddle_Faddle*

    Spotted this quote by the late Carl Sagan. It helps explain why we stick with cults and cult-like organizations, and why conspiracy theories gain such traction:

    “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

    We are our own worst enemies at times.

  22. Anna*

    I worked for a division of Disney until 2012 and I had a coworker who was fired for discussing salary. I know that was the reason because the HR manager told me “ that’s why she got fired, you know not to do that, right?” Ugh.

  23. All the podcasts*

    If you aren’t already listening to it the podcast A little bit culty by 2 former members of NXIVM is a fantastic listen and can help you heal from your journey. Good job getting out.

Comments are closed.