update: should I expose my boss for her mean and gossipy Twitter account?

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 whose former boss was posting confidential information on Twitter, including tweeting about an employee’s abortion and another’s sexuality? The letter-writer was wondering whether she should tell anyone at the company. Here’s the update.

I followed the advice of the Ask a Manager column and commenters – I sent in the posts anonymously via snail mail to more than one company official. I actually checked in on her twitter account – she tweeted about having an upcoming meeting with someone important that she hoped was about her promotion, and then a couple hours later her account was deleted. That detail is probably the one that will satisfy all the Petty Labelles and Tom Petties out there.

That was the only information I had for a few weeks, and that could’ve meant that she was fired or it could’ve meant that she was disciplined about social media use, and agreed to take it down but was not let go. I honestly figured that she was still working there given the needs of the business and some of the relationships she’d cultivated with higher ups. It took a few weeks before I heard more. A former coworker – someone who didn’t work with us directly but who I knew socially at work – texted me to say “[Former Manager] was fired really suddenly a few weeks ago, do you know anything?” Since the person texting me often seemed to know the gossip and company news ahead of time, the fact that they didn’t have any clue indicates it was probably handled pretty quietly. I have not talked to any former coworkers who were her other direct reports. I knew that a few of them were looking for new jobs before all this went down, so I’m hopeful I’ll see happy announcements on linkedin soon.

I hope that Former Manager is okay, that she is leaning on loved ones and that she hasn’t suffered too many financial consequences.. I feel less and less conflicted or guilty about my part as the weeks have gone on. As my therapist says, it’s never too late to return to situations later, with more perspective, and say “hey, the way I was treated wasn’t right.” It doesn’t undo what happened, but it does help us heal the hurt from those moments, and it also helps us recognize and articulate our own standards better in the future. I’m glad I said something and I do believe that for all her faults, she is someone who will learn from this big, potentially destabilizing lesson and manage people differently if she stays on that path. I hope.

{ 215 comments… read them below }

  1. The Original K.*

    She needed to be fired and she needs to not manage people until she gets some sense and/or management training.

  2. Hills to Die On*

    I am glad you did it anonymously – there is no reason for this to blow back on you. I think it was ok in this instance because it was alerting them to the proof of the behavior rather than making anonymous claims.

    1. Emotional Support Care’n*

      Petty Betty checking in with a full camera and sound crew to film this meeting for posterity. Don’t mind us. Please, act natural.

    2. TransmascJourno*

      Petti Smith here just wrapping up sound check, with lyrics on standby. TEST PETtty two three TEST PETty two three.

  3. Freelance Anything*

    OP is being far more generous towards Former Manager than I would be. It would be nice if OP was right though.

    Glad FM was fired and not surprised it was done quietly. I shudder to think of the lawsuits.

    1. Just Another Zebra*

      I’m proud of OP for looking at this with as much grace and kindness as they are. I would be cackling with glee (in private, but still).

      Also not surprised it was handled quietly. Not just for lawsuits, but the PR blowback a large company like this would probably be dealing with.

    2. Observer*

      I think that the company was right to do this quietly. There is no upside to being public about something like this.

      The account went down, so I suspect that FM did learn a lesson. There is no way to know if it was the RIGHT lesson, but at least she seems to have realized that putting stuff like this out in public is not a good lo0ok. That’s a good start, on a practical level.

      1. OhNo*

        That’s the approach I’m choosing to take here. If the account went down, at least the FM learned something. Alas, as someone who teaches for a living, I know all too well that you can’t choose what students take away from a lesson, only hope that whatever they learned serves them well in the future. I feel like the same rule applies here – whether she learned not to do it, or just learned to hide it better, at least we can hope that it bodes well for any future direct reports she might have.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          I’m less generous. I think she was told to take it down. I think that not threats, but promises were made.
          If she did post confidential company information, it could have been actionable. Clients discovering a rogue employee posted information was not good for anyone.
          But then again, I’ve been petty a long time.

          1. Observer*

            I’m sure she was. But the point is that she now knows that this stuff has to stay off line. That alone is a good thing, whatever else she may have learned (or not).

      2. Candi*

        I put it under the same category as getting people to stop -ist behavior.

        They may still think awful thoughts, and may curtail their behavior only because they don’t want a massive smackdown at their job/other group, but them stopping their behavior is still a positive step.

        (I also hope that doing non-nasty behavior patterns over and over will lock in those patterns eventually, which in turn will affect the mind, and make them a better person overall.)

  4. starsaphire*

    Happy to embrace the petty moniker and say that I’m glad to hear she got fired.

    She was way over the line – like, you couldn’t see the line anymore from where she was – and I’m glad she had to face the consequences. And deleted the Twitter account.

    My hope is that she learned an important lesson here, and that in future she’ll be a better employee.

  5. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    It sounds like you’re thinking of this as something you did to her. She could have 100% avoided this by not repeatedly tweeting confidential business information, personal details about her employees, and mean-spirited gossip to the public. It’s really really easy not to do that, but instead she chose to continue doing this for years. This wasn’t a momentary error on her part. This continued behavior shows something about her character, and it’s something that makes her not a good manager. You did not do this to her. She did this to herself.

    1. AGD*

      This. There are so many things she could have done not to set off the alarm-bells of people with a normal sense of ethics.

    2. Zennish*

      This. It continues to amaze me how many people don’t seem to get the concept of professional boundaries, and how it might be beneficial to not stomp all over them, set them on fire, then run past them, screaming off into the distance.

      1. quill*

        Yep. Former Manager loaded that bridge with dynamite, lit the fuse, and OP just said “hey HR, I can smell smoke.”

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I think this is an excellent way of putting it. When someone else is all of the problem it is not your fault for pointing out the problem.

      2. Candi*

        It’s like that OP who quit their job in spectacular fashion, and who wrote in to Alison to ask how he should handle everyone talking about how he stuck it to Neopotism, Inc.

        Commentators there pointed out that that OP didn’t actually burn the bridge. His previous company were the ones who soaked it in napalm and lit the match.

        I think it’s the same here. Former Manager planted charges, piled kindling, and spread around oily rags -OP just pointed out the fire hazard.

    3. Hosta*

      Not only did she do it to herself, she was outed in the kindest, quietest way possible. Imagine if someone had gone to the media, or asked about it on the company’s public Twitter!

        1. Candi*

          And OP’s actions prevented it from going that route. Which in the end is better for the company and the people who work there. This kind of PR explosion generally results in less money coming in for a while, maybe a long while, and that can mean pay cuts and layoffs.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Agreed, by exposing everything quietly OP may have saved the jobs of some people she liked while also stopping the rogue posting manager.

            It’s human to feel bad when we see bad things happening (think of Bob’s I feel Like A Failure manager from an earlier update – Bob was more than canned for cause, but the manager still felt badly about things getting to that point). OP – you are handling this with grace, and maybe, even though she got burned, the former manager learned a thing or two from this.

          2. Deejay*

            If anything, it could be argued that OP did former manager a favour by heading off a public blowup that would have permanently damaged her reputation. That’s the most likely outcome if OP hadn’t done anything.

    4. EmmaPoet*

      Agreed. All she had to do was not post mean/way too personal things about her employees, and not publish confidential information. This isn’t all that hard to do. And she chose to do so, and kept right on choosing to every time.

  6. Bernice Clifton*

    Maybe I’m too cynical, but I feel like the company probably cared more about announcing the merger before it was public than the other stuff.

    1. El l*

      Me too. Few things will answer so clearly the question of “Is this employee worth the trouble?” than the vision of the SEC (or similar Feds) running around the office.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Same. Depending on what information was posted and when, this loon could have violated insider trading rules, or the specifics of the contract leaving putting the company in legal trouble.

    3. Hippo-nony-potomus*

      I’m not sure if it “cares” more about the merger announcements; it’s simply that it has little recourse but to fire her upon learning those things. There really aren’t other alternatives; you can’t figure out if she’s doing that again in the future, so there’s no way to, say, put her on a PIP and hope it all works out. “Now, Jennifer, tell us all about your secret social media accounts in which you give out company secrets.” You can’t have someone in that role who cannot be trusted with confidential information.

      1. Candi*

        And unlike the OP who leaked to a friend who happened to be a journalist, the manager does not have the excuse of naivety, youth, or not comprehending confidential means confidential, to everyone.

        Combined with the EEOC smackdown just waiting to happen, bouncing her fast was the only safe (for the company) solution.

  7. Mrs. Featherbottom*

    ‘As my therapist says, it’s never too late to return to situations later, with more perspective, and say “hey, the way I was treated wasn’t right.” It doesn’t undo what happened, but it does help us heal the hurt from those moments, and it also helps us recognize and articulate our own standards better in the future.’

    Thank you for this. You did the right thing.

    1. chirp_chirp*

      Being in therapy = repeating nuggets that other people might find helpful so that they receive a microdose of free therapy. Gotta pay it forward, lord knows it cost too much to just hoard it all for myself.

    1. Crinckle ball*

      Nothing, nothing, nothing at all, OP! Former Manager is the type of person that goes about life destroying what they touch and you put a firewall to her destructive path.

  8. Susanna*

    I’s a great update, LW, but why do you hope she is doing well? Her behavior was ATROCIOUS and hurtful. The fact that you let the appropriate people know of the awful (and actionable) way she was behaving does NOT make you the bad guy. YOU are not responsible for her firing. She is.
    Bravo to you!

    1. Typing All The Time*

      Agreed. That Old Manager chose to post and make fun of people’s private information online. You helped put this to a rightful end.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      I read the update as the LW hopes the Former Manager will learn and grow from this experience (as in, not tweet about other people’s private lives). Schadenfreude might feel good for a little while, but if the Former Manager only wallows in misery she is likely to continue to mistreat people in the future.

      1. Allegra*

        Exactly. I’m surprised to see so many people taking issue with that line of the update–it’s kind to hope that someone who wronged you is in a better place, especially when you feel sure (like OP seems to) that the root cause was the person’s own insecurity. Obviously no one’s required to extend that kindness to people who’ve harmed others, but…weird to pile on about it.

        1. thestik*

          A small part of me wonders if the reactions stem from the discussions about the stalker behavior that was treated somewhat benevolently in light of a somewhat recent update (where Sally had a huge crush on Bob and had said some mind boggling things to Ted in light of it). Those discussions started out with people feeling bad for Sally’s mental state but then shifted over to people thinking she should not be forgiven so easily. Is this response a course correction from all that? It could be, at least from where I’m sitting.

    3. Hiring Mgr*

      That’s all true but it’s not like the manager is history’s greatest villain. Why not hope she’s doing well? Plus, in the original letter the OP mentioned that the mgr wrote a letter of recommendation for them that they used to help get their new job… These things aren’t all black and white

    4. Smithy*

      Only speaking for myself – but when I worked for a very toxic/dysfunctional employer, there were many coworkers (including my manager) who provide laundry lists of legitimate reasons to be angry at them.

      With more and more time away from that job, there are times where I see their behavior with more understanding. That because of terrible reasons due to how we were structured, people were put in impossible situations and lashed out. Those situations were made worse because of some really awful leaders, and so that lashing out was often more egregious. And then of course, those bad structures weren’t changed.

      While those are not people I ever want to work with again, I find that personally I am happier and also reflect more kindly on my own choices while at that job when I do hope that people find ways to not be in environments like that. I will never intentionally work with them again, but I’m more at peace.

      1. Trixie Belle*

        As Mo once said on The Simpsons, I’m a well-wisher, in that I don’t wish you any specific harm.

    5. Librarian of SHIELD*

      One of my former bosses was absolutely terrible and when I say I wish her well, I mean that I hope she’s been able to gain perspective on the world and that she’s able to treat her current employees better than she treated me.

    6. JSPA*

      So: she was a solid jerk. And a bad manager. And a huge liability for the company. And insufferable.

      But even those of us who are not religious occasionally try to, if not exactly love our enemies, at least wish vague happiness and a better path forward, for the people we’ve known. (Even the solid jerks who are bad managers and insufferable.)

      Maybe it’s a function of living in a country where someone can go from “rising star” to “homeless” in a shockingly short timespan? In that context, it feels crueler than it otherwise would, to wish full comeuppance on everyone.

      Or if you prefer: ex-boss is not magically banned from business for life, so it’s better for all concerned if she gets her head screwed on right, finds a better equilibrium, and basically, gets rehabilitated as effectively as possible.

      Swearing off the sort of deep-seated hatred that gets trivialized as “mean-girl behavior” is, in itself, healing and liberating! We’re on the same side as ex-boss there; if she’s really “better” (happier in her own skin and less driven to self-sabotage, while sabotaging others), that’s a great outcome, for her and for everyone who crosses her path.

      In contrast, having a new story to tell herself about rising from extreme adversity, if she ends up living in her car? That’s likely to fuel her viciousness, or be a distraction from actually learning the key lesson.

      1. chirp_chirp*

        Thanks for this comment. You explained where the conflicting feelings are landing for me. She could learn & grow from this, look back on it, and say to herself “I never should’ve done that stuff,” and be better to the people around her or, she could harbor a huge “it’s not fair” chip, especially if there are big consequences like the ones you mentioned due to very few safety nets. Either way, I don’t (and never have) hated her. I did see some extreme ugliness in her that made her difficult to work for and made my life stressful, even outside/beyond what was in my letters. I’m glad to be away from her. But I don’t wish ruin on her.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Chirp, the way I’ve put it in the past is: “I don’t wish you I’ll, I just wish you away.” In that I’m wanting you and any fallout away from myself and my family/friends/coworkers. If you going away helps you learn from the mistake, wonderful, but if not at least I’m not one of the people roped into cleaning up the fallout.

          Honestly – I hope that she does reflect and learn from this episode.

    7. ecnaseener*

      Because losing a job can be catastrophic. I don’t feel bad for her bc she brought it on herself, but I hope she doesn’t starve or lose her home.

      1. Mannequin*

        I don’t wish people like that ill, but if they starve or become homeless *specifically* because they continue to engage in toxic behavior, and that behavior has negative consequences, I don’t feel particularly bad for them, either.

    8. Despachito*

      Perhaps because of her own sake?

      It is healthier not to stew in hatred, even if we have been wronged. If we ruminate it over and over, we let the wrongdoer poison us again and again.

      This does not mean that you do not recognize that what she did WAS awful, absolutely NOT your fault and that you do not want to see her or talk to her again. It is just that you avoid hateful thinking which can do more harm to you than to the original perpetrator.

  9. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

    These updates are becoming very fanfiction-esque. Her tweeting about a big promo a few hours before being fired? That’s something that happens in a screenplay. This update season has either been “I did nothing & the problem solved itself” or scenarios that are a little too just-so. Very suspicious.

          1. Insert Clever Name Here*

            Jack Straw is referring to the fact that in response to letters where the letter writer is dealing with people saying bonkers things to them, Alison frequently will suggest a response like “what an odd comment to make” because 1) it’s professional, 2) it lets the bonkers person know you don’t agree with them, and 3) doesn’t really give the bonkers person any more fuel.

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

      In this past year, with people who should know better, have been putting on social media, and doing in real life…I don’t think it’s fanfiction at all anymore.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      She tweeted about being called into a meeting that she *assumed* was to announce a big promo for her. The meeting was to fire her over the (extremely fireable) tweets. I see nothing suspicious here.

      “I did nothing & the problem solved itself” is what happens in real life 90% of the time. Again, nothing to be suspicious about.

      1. Worldwalker*

        Exactly.

        It’s like the doctor to the patient who has a common cold: “You can get plenty of rest and eat chicken soup, and you’ll feel better in 7 days. Or we can aggressively treat this, and you’ll feel better in a week.”

        A lot of problems, especially interpersonal ones, solve themselves if you don’t poke at them. Annoying co-workers quit, annoying neighbors move, some annoying people even get a clue. Of course, some problems get worse if not addressed. True wisdom is in knowing which is which.

    3. The Smiling Pug*

      Unfortunately, these are fanfiction-esque times. Everything in life has been thrown out of whack.

    4. chirp_chirp*

      Nothing fanfic about it. One of the things I didn’t elaborate on in my letters was how many of her tweets were also bragging about the ways she succeeded in interactions with company leaders, the way she felt like she was on a fast track to be in an even higher position soon, her pay, her raises and bonuses. Actual dollars and percentages. Alison got it right in the comment section of my first letter where she said that some people need to use this form of gossip and bragging to feel important, that they feed off the engagement. I sensed in her a lot of insecurities – maybe some of the same as my insecurities – that she allowed to make her mean-spirited at times. Run her mouth. Boast.

      So yes, her last tweet was actually along the lines of “meeting soon, I bet it’s about a promotion” because she was under the impression that that would happen for her. And then her account was gone. Does it sound “too good to be true”? Totally. I’d say it’s one of those “so good, you couldn’t write it” moments. I’d show you the screenshot of her final tweet, and the screenshot of the “This Tweet is from an account that no longer exists.” but then the people in this situation would no longer be anonymous.

      1. JimmyJab*

        Do not fret, most all of us believe you! Nothing outlandish about your story, just a sadly insecure person damaging her own career and reputation.

        1. Candi*

          First rule of the world: Reality is Unrealistic. Fiction has to make sense, while the universe can be as bonkers as it pleases.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            First time I am hearing this, but so true. I once sent a short story in to one of those writing contests where they assign you the genre and the setting, etc. Mine was supposed to be a horror story. I had my character go on a run in the woods and have a maniac follow them there. I copied the maniac extremely closely from a creepy coworker I had at the time. Did not advance to the next level because my story lost points for the completely unrealistic maniac character.

            1. Candi*

              It’s a trope, as named by the TV Tropes site. A stellar resource for writers, as far as I’m concerned.

              You won’t find an AAM page there, since they’re explicitly about fiction, and troping real people is specifically a don’t do that.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        As you can see from my name, I’m petty af. And more cynical than that. I know it happened.

    5. AY*

      It seems to me that 75% of the updates are “I couldn’t solve/address the problem, so I found a new job.” Which rings pretty true in the time of the Great Resignation!

      1. Zephy*

        Tbf, plenty of Alison’s answers do boil down to “find a new job, this one sucks and isn’t going to change.”

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      The whole point (and fun!) of reading advice columns is the premise that they’re real. Why ruin it?

    7. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah – the overlap between people who post EVERYTHING online and the people who are convinced that only good things happen to them has been very strong in my experience. I could very believably see what happened in this case playing out.

      1. DyneinWalking*

        Moreover, the people who post EVERYTHING are also the people who would absolutely post about it in real time when they’re invited to meet the big bosses

    8. quill*

      Site policy is to assume everyone is telling the truth. And please do remember that when people are hearing things secondhand and/or going back into their memory to write it down, they arrange things in the order and time frame that makes the most sense emotionally… which is also how people write stories.

      1. Olivia Oil*

        I have no problem believing most advice column and updates are true but, honestly?? I don’t care if some of them are fake. Even if the LW didn’t experience the situation, SOMEONE somewhere did, and can take something away from the letter and the advice. And I think advice columns are useful when they include both unusual situations as well as common ones.

    9. EZ Like Sunday Morning*

      You keep making comments like this lately- what’s your point exactly? This isn’t reddit, scenarios here are rarely so far-fetched.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes – “when you have ruled all else out, whatever remains no matter how strange must be true.”

    10. Jaybee*

      Have you been reading the same updates the rest of us have? And are you accusing Alison of writing the updates…?

      Also, what kind of updates are you hoping for? Most workplace issues are going to end in ‘I did nothing and the situation resolved itself’.

    11. MissBliss*

      Survivor ship bias: the people writing in updates are people who feel like there are updates worth writing.

      1. quill*

        And also the people with the most memorable original questions, often. Because we paid those threads a LOT of attention.

        1. Candi*

          On the “call for updates” post, people were asking for “boring” letters to get updates, since the more mundane LWs often don’t think their updates are worth sending in. But as someone there pointed out, sometimes they’re the most amazing!

          1. quill*

            I mean, I was overwhelmed by the double whammy update of “I will confront you by Wednesday of next week” and “Cheap Ass Rolls.”

    12. Insert Clever Name Here*

      You frequently take this approach in comments about updates. What does a realistic update look like to you? Have you ever had a situation work out nicely for you? Have you ever head about something happening to a person and thinking “they got what they deserved?”

      These things do happen in the real world.

      1. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        We don’t need seven-nine updates a day. The “I did nothing & then something happened” isn’t useful on an advice column. Curated updates written by people you can’t vet that seem more like a screenplay than real life? I’m skeptical and don’t see how it’s useful here.

        1. Clefairy*

          I mean. That’s YOUR opinion. But frankly, I think most of us here enjoy hearing the resolutions to these situations, whether they are mundane or not. If you don’t like it, there’s literally nothing keeping you here?

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            I agree with Clefairy. It seems like maybe this is not the site for you. If you feel that what Alison is posting isn’t useful or worth reading, then don’t read them! Use your time to do something that doesn’t make you want to complain. Unless of course, that complaining about it and raining on everyone else’s parade is what you enjoy spending your time on, in which case, go ahead and think those thoughts but maybe them to yourself, because it’s those comments that I think most of us here don’t find useful here. Updates aren’t like normal questions and comments. For most of us, update time is enjoyable whether it’s “useful” or not.

            1. Olivia Oil*

              Yeah…the point of updates isn’t to be “useful” to the readers. It’s because many readers (if not this OP) are interested in knowing what is going on with LWs.

        2. Empress Matilda*

          Then…maybe don’t read the column? Alison has been pretty transparent that it’s going to be mostly updates for a while, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to you at this point. Not to mention you’re reading the site for free, despite all the hard work Alison puts into it.

          If the problem is that you don’t like what a particular author is writing, it seems to me there’s a pretty easy solution…

        3. Environmental Compliance*

          Y’all, we’re on the internet. If you don’t like it, just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling….

          This is how this site is structured. If you do not like it, please feel free to move on.

        4. Dahlia*

          I like the updates, and I also like Allison getting some time off. Do you really think she’s taking vacation by writing 7-9 updates a day?

          1. Nannerdoodle*

            Depending on what Alison is using to do her site, she’s most likely able to schedule when posts appear. And with the updates and recirculation of old letters, she has to decide what to post when (probably takes the most time), copy them from an email or old post, proofread, and schedule when the post becomes public. Those last 3 parts can take ~5 minutes per post when you’re experienced at it.

            I’m not trying to speak for Alison, just saying that it’s entirely possible that she did a bunch of pre work by scheduling all the posts leading up to vacation so she barely has to check her computer. Part of my job involves webpage updates and posts, so I’ve done similar stuff.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              I think the poster you’re responding to was refuting the notion that the updates are fiction, not the practical set up of the site.

            2. kt*

              I believe the previous commenter agrees with you/understands that, but is also pointing out that it would be a lot of work to write fanfiction updates to hundreds of letters, so perhaps it is more likely that they’re actually updates from readers who’d previously written in.

            3. Dahlia*

              She uses wordpress and I am indeed aware you can preschedule posts through wordpress, as I have posts on my own blog scheduled into March.

              I meant writing as in “making up”, as others have pointed out. I do not think creating 7-9 updates a day from space would be restful LOL hence I don’t believe Alison is doing so.

        5. The Dogman*

          1: We can have as many updates as Alison wants to upload.

          2: This is 100% believable and I think it is odd you can’t believe it really. People like the Former Manager written about exist in most industries.

          3: You are not forced to be here.

          4: Being nice to other users is important here. You are being pretty accusatory and a bit rude really.

          5: You are not being forced to be here. Or forced to comment. You are free to ignore any posts you do not like.

          Happy Holidays too.

          1. Myrin*

            6: Sure, updates aren’t “useful” in the traditional sense but on a site like AAM which answers, what, seven or eight questions a day, I think it’s completely fine to have the occasional “just for fun” post (I think it’s fine regardless but it’s especially not a big deal on a site as active as this one).

            7: A lot of readers – myself definitely included – enjoy even the most mundane of updates and actively encourage former OPs to write in.

            1. Betteauroan*

              Me too. I love the updates feature. I love to read about how these problems got resolved, regardless of how dramatic or mundane that outcome might be. I think it’s one of the highlights of this site, actually. It wouldn’t be the same without it.

        6. Wants Green Things*

          *You* don’t need the updates. *We* are enjoying them.

          Nothing and no one is forcing you to continue reading content you don’t like. If you don’t like the updates and are skeptical as to their believability, then feel free to come back in January when the usual schedule starts over.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Right? Who’s “we”? the royal We?

            I like reading the updates because it helps me understand how the problems got resolved (or not). As someone who’s also not without my own workplace problems, the updates often provide new tools for my toolset.

        7. Prefer my pets*

          Then stop reading until January? Lots of us LOVE all the updates…I personally wish there were twice as many.

          You don’t need to participate in the parts of a free site you don’t enjoy. Personally I can’t stand listening to most audio so was a bit bummed when Alison experimented with the audio interview but lots of people enjoyed them & I just didn’t listen to them.

          1. Candi*

            Yup, that was me. Compounded by me having much more trouble processing heard info, especially if I can’t see the speaker.

            But it’s like, TV Tropes, I don’t like squishy subjective pages. SCP wiki, there’s certain Scips and Tales I don’t like. Death Battle, there’s fights I watch once and skip forever after. And so on.

            That’s the beauty of choice.

        8. Worldwalker*

          So … um … why are you reading them, let alone commenting on them?

          Life is too short to read blog posts that don’t interest you. They’re neither picking your pocket nor breaking your leg. Scroll on to the next one, or read something else until December is over. It’s not like this is unexpected. Like many people here, I *really* look forward to all the December updates.

        9. quill*

          The purpose of update season is also partially to allow Allison to have an actual vacation. You can always not read updates that you don’t think are worth it, just like you can skip the Slate.com reruns because you’re tired of keeping track of your allowed free articles.

        10. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Uhhhhhh, the readers of AAM requested that Alison get and publish updates. Every year there is call for updates in Oct/Nov by Alison, readers submit the questions they want follow-up on, and Alison trys to make it happen for us. This isn’t a new thing

        11. Loredena Frisealach*

          This is update month! It’s pretty clear that Alison solicits updates, she even asks the commentariat whose updates they most want to see. Maybe come back in January, because if you don’t enjoy updates this isn’t the right time to be here.

        12. Loredena Frisealach*

          This is update month! It’s pretty clear that Alison solicits updates, she even asks the commentariat whose updates they most want to see. It’s part of how she manages to take a vacation while still having an active blog. Maybe come back in January, because if you don’t enjoy updates this isn’t the right time to be here.

        13. JSPA*

          Alison runs reruns and updates when she’s on vacation. She’s allowed to take a vacation. You’re allowed to not read the reruns and updates.

        14. Eisbaer*

          Hey, if you go make your own advice column, you can run it however you want! Isn’t that wonderful?

        15. Umpire*

          We? Speak for yourself. I enjoy the abundance of updates.

          There are other websites if this one no longer suits you.

        16. Velawciraptor*

          If you don’t find update season useful, you’re free not to read them. But the overwhelming response tends to be that readers like the updates. Which is why more people seem to send them.

        17. Dark Macadamia*

          Do you know what I do when there’s a post that doesn’t interest me? I scroll past it or close the page. It’s much easier than complaining that a FREE website isn’t catering well enough to my individual preferences.

        18. Stopgap*

          I don’t understand why situations resolving themselves makes you think they didn’t happen. That sort of thing happens in reality all the time, whereas in fiction, it’s derided for being a “deus ex machina”.

        19. Olivia Oil*

          I personally don’t find anything suspicious about the update. It seems like a lot of commenters don’t either and you are in the minority in that perception.

          I also think you are overreaching in dictating how many updates this site “doesn’t need” and the types of updates are “useful”. That’s just not up to you, it’s up to the site creator. You are entitled to your opinions, but you’re being weirdly over invested in what Alison should/should not include on her blog. If you don’t like the content, just move on and read something else.

        20. Kicking-k*

          December has been “lots of updates month” for a couple of years at least. I think if you don’t care for that, you could just take a couple of weeks off reading, and normal service will resume.

          I like hearing what happened, however mundane, but reading updates is not obligatory.

    13. JSPA*

      People choose whether their updates are worth sending in, and then Alison chooses which ones to run.

      Having the occasional gem out of dozens of responses is hardly unexpected! (Nor is, “oversharers who speculate rashly will continue to overshare and speculate rashly, until the sh*t hits the fan.”)

      Besides, we see plenty of responses that add up to, “I sent something, no idea if it landed, but sending it made me feel better.”

    14. HS Teacher*

      What bothered me most about the original letter was OP’s assertion that it’s fine to do because the manager was single with no kids. I’m so tired of this attitude that those of us living on our own don’t have anyone to take care of. OP has no idea what other things are on the manager’s plate. OP didn’t even send the screenshots until a layoff, which they found a way to justify. I think it’s just petty, if it even happened.
      If OP really cared, they would’ve brought attention to it as soon as they noticed it. I think it’s fanfic, too. Not sure why people are lauding the OP’s actions, when it seems icky to me.

      1. JimmyJab*

        They are lauding her actions because they feel differently to you. Many people need their income and can’t risk doing something that could get them (unfairly) fired if it didn’t go according to plan. LW DID do something when it was safe for them to do so. I guess it’s technically possible she either made this all up (which is what fanfic is?) or only did take the action she did to write in and tell us all about it, but I choose not to assume the worst of people.

      2. chirp_chirp*

        If it matters, I also don’t have kids or other dependents to support. That isn’t what made it okay or not, something I should or shouldn’t do, it was just another factor in a jumble of thoughts and emotions as I talked through an issue I had not yet made up my mind about. I am someone who needs to talk or write my way through those thoughts – get them out of my head and into actual words – for the more important ones to stand out and for a path to become clearer. Almost all the commenters parsed my words and helped me sort out the important ones, and discard the less relevant ones.

        That detail about former manager was ultimately irrelevant, but you seem to be clinging to it. Why? Is it because you are also childfree and you feel this bias from parents in the workplace? Cool, join the club. It wasn’t my intention to perpetuate harm, but this is something that obviously reads as me doing harm to you. I’m not. Find someone trusted to talk about that with, cuz I ain’t it.

        And, my original letter and comments therein make it pretty clear why I couldn’t speak up earlier, and also why I had no recourse to speak up in the form of an exit interview. None of the things that held me back are because I “didn’t really care,” they were self preservation. You know, keeping a job in a pandemic as tens of thousands of people lost theirs? I’m not going to apologize for that.

        1. JSPA*

          Don’t apologize, and no need to defend. “Will my actions have completely foreseeable negative knock-on effects” is a humane and reasonable thing to factor into any decision.

          “No kids” vs “young kids” is a major determinants of work and life flexibility. It affects being able to downsize, being able to move at short notice, being able to take a job requiring a lot of travel, being able to switch to swing or graveyard.

          Sure, it’s not the only such issue. But it’s a common one:

          A person in a pickle can explain to other adults (lover, friend, parent) that the relationship will need to be remote for a while, or that they will be working different hours. A person in a bind can board a pet, or find a pet-sitter, or have neighbor stop in twice a day. If a person is not tied down by dependents who can’t care for themselves, they can hotdesk their way around the region, the country (or the world).

          Presumably, you’d also have taken other equivalent issues into consideration: if you knew her to be the only support for a relative with alzheimers, that could have led to a similar calculation. I suspect that reading her blog may also have given you some awareness of her spare time / where her spare cash was going.

          Basically, if someone presents themselves to the world, and you’re a human being in the world, you’re allowed to take that info into account, in determining your actions.

        2. Betteauroan*

          Don’t apologize. You did the right thing, with thought and care for the greater good of all involved. This could have been a lot worse and things worked out for the best.

        3. Kicking-k*

          It was pretty obvious you had thought hard around the question. I certainly don’t blame you for waiting till you were in a safe place to act.

      3. Candi*

        People often don’t feel safe speaking against their employer or a superior at their company while they’re employed.

        That’s why government entities like the Department of Labor and the EEOC have statutes of limitations on how long you have to file after your last day at the company that harmed you. Because the people who put those rules in place know that some people can’t afford to speak up until they’re out of there.

      4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Yeeeah, while the manager deserved it, and could’ve easily tanked the company with her tweets if she hadn’t been stopped, I did not get the reasoning of “she’s single with no kids, so it’s okay”. I’m basically single with no dependents. Does not mean I will be fine if I lose my source of income and health insurance, with no way of knowing when I’ll find the next. I have no second income to fall back on, and medical issues. I’ll be horrified if I were to lose my job. Granted, probably not as horrified as when I was divorced with two dependents, but it would not be a pleasant experience nonetheless. With all that, let me say it again that the manager was a ticking time bomb from the employer’s perspective, and a shitty human from the perspective of the people she’d tweeted about, and absolutely needed to go.

    15. Rabbit*

      Can you clarify why you are labelling this as “fanfic”? Is it because you think it sounds more juvenile than just “fiction”? Because Alison will know if the person sending in the update is the same one who wrote the original so presumably if this is fake then so is the rest…. which means they are updating their own original work! The accusations of fanfic we see on this site only really refer to commenters making assumptions or wildly speculating about details not included in the original letter

      (Not that I think this letter is especially likely to be fake compared to some others – if it was there would have been much more public humiliation for the boss)

    16. A Feast of Fools*

      I quit a job where the President (whom I was the executive assistant to) was a cocaine-snorting, gin-swilling, prostitute-expensing, sexually-harassing, clinically-paranoid POS.

      Months after I left, the Sales VP called to ask if I wanted to come back, quickly explaining that POS President was gone.

      The company had been bought by an Australian company, who had flown POS President to their NYC offices to officially seal the deal and celebrate. While the Aussies and POS were sitting in a conference room hammering out the details of POS’s role after the purchase, all of the VPs back at the purchased company called the Aussie CEO, who stepped out of the conference room to take the call.

      To a one, they said that if POS stayed on board, not only would they all quit immediately but they had resignation letters from 80% of the staff ready to go, too. It was a software company and 100% of the developers had said they’d quit if POS remained.

      I don’t know the details of the conversation but I was told that the Aussie CEO went back into the conference room and thanked the POS for bringing the deal to fruition but his services were no longer needed and his Golden Parachute clause would be activated immediately. He was on a plane back within hours.

      He had also been cheating on his wife — with actual mistresses and not just the prostitutes who he’d expensed to the company — and she divorced him shortly after he was fired.

      Fanfic-eseque? Absolutely. And it’s also 100% true.

      BTW, the POS President’s LinkedIn profile lists his current job as “CEO of POS President’s Trust”.

    17. Tali*

      Maybe lots of the letters are fake, or exaggerated, or an unreliable narrator’s skewed take on a normal situation. It doesn’t really matter though, does it? The point of an anonymous advice column, for the readers, is to engage in the story, to give advice of their own for the characters, and to discuss how the story interacts with our world and culture–how it aligns or doesn’t with the world we know and inhabit. So updates add resolution to the story and have merit for readers. As long as the letter is plausible, for the readers, it doesn’t really matter how factual they are.

    18. Olivia Oil*

      I mean…I wasn’t aware there were parameters on updates. Updates are updates, whether or not the LW did anything or if updates are positive or negative. Even if the situation is still the same, it’s still an update, albeit a less interesting one.

  10. MadLori*

    I was almost the Twitter boss in this story.

    Years ago, I worked for a major retail book chain as a manager. I also had a LiveJournal (yes, this was the Olden Times). I rarely discussed work there but a couple of times I expressed some frustration about the supervisor who reported to me. Nothing so egregious as what the Twitter boss said – and nothing that I hadn’t discussed with said supervisor in person – but it wasn’t great. Supervisor found my journal and went to management. There were discussions. It didn’t help that supervisor had engaged in some questionable behavior about this incident. I got a talking to, but didn’t lose my job.

    But I THOUGHT I might lose my job, and to deal with that stress, I began looking for other opportunities. Long after the LiveJournal incident had blown over, one of those other opportunities contacted me, and I’ve worked for them ever since, a job that’s actually in my field with better hours and MUCH better pay. I definitely learned my lesson, and it indirectly got me a career.

    1. Pony Puff*

      Glad it worked out for you! I think most of us who were around during the Olden Times when the internet was a little more anonymous said things on a blog that were not suitable for a public platform. I know I did.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        I find it quaint how I believed that you could be 100% anonymous online while simultaneously saying ALL THE PRIVATE THINGS online back in the day. Thankfully most of my errors are on dead sites

        1. starsaphire*

          I know, right? Thank goodness for message boards that were too old and primitive to be Wayback Machined!

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      Oh LiveJournal, that really takes me back. Not nearly the same, but a friend of mine in high school got suspended for posting on her LiveJournal that she hoped a fellow student burned in hell (while that’s certainly a vitriolic, in her defense the other student was an absolutely horrible person). She was suspended on the grounds that she threatened a fellow student, though in my mind there was no threat, just a hope that once she died (presumably of natural causes) she went to The Bad Place.

    3. All Het Up About It*

      I think most of us who were around during the Olden Times when the internet was a little more anonymous said things on a blog that were not suitable for a public platform. GUILTY!

      I’ll see your Livejournal and raise you with Diaryland!

    4. Rabbit*

      Ahah, finally my habit or being a loner who is a late adopter of technology (and therefore hears everyone’s horror stories first) pays off!

    5. A Feast of Fools*

      Oooh… this reminds me of the time when a co-worker and I had said not-so-nice things about our manager on IM — ON COMPANY LAPTOPS — and then he was fired. (It was one of those forced-ranking companies where 10-15% of every team was fired every quarter; fun times).

      I had been diligently deleting our exchanges throughout each work day.

      He had not.

      So while I full-well know that IT could have accessed our IMs (and their history on the server) at any time, I also knew that they had no reason to go to all that trouble.

      But the first thing Worst Manager of My Life did after perp-walking my co-worker out was to log into his laptop and go through his emails and IMs.

      When I came to work the next day, she was standing next to my cube. I said hello and quirked an eyebrow like “Yes?” She said, icily, “You might want to be more careful what you say to people over instant message.” And I knew exactly what she was talking about.

      I was really good at my job so she couldn’t fire me but, holy hell, she went out of her way to make my life miserable after that.

      Nowadays, if I want to kvetch with co-workers about anything work-related, I do it in WhatsApp.

  11. The Smiling Pug*

    LW, you’re being very generous with Former Manager. In my experience, people like that don’t tend to change their behavior.

    1. anon e mouse*

      It really depends. Some people still have the mindset that the internet isn’t real life. (I think that was more understandable 10 years ago than today, but it’s still out there.) I knew a guy whose shitposting got him fired maybe 12 years ago when I was in my early to mid twenties and it kinda freaked me out and I started scrubbing the worst parts of my online presence and being more cautious about my posting. Some people have never had that moment, I think? It doesn’t necessarily make the person a better person when it happens but it at least teaches some discretion.

      1. The Smiling Pug*

        That’s true, anon e mouse, but I wasn’t merely referring to the Twitter account. I was also referring to the mean-spirited, Gossip Girl attitude prompting her to make the Tweets in the first place. And yeah, some do have the strange mindset that the Internet is a different world, but your accounts are still a part of you. What you described happened not too long ago. One of my college friends’ mom was posting some pretty inflammatory stuff and she got fired over it.

    2. Environmental Compliance*

      There’s nothing to lose in this situation by being generous. It’s far better IMO to spend a little tiny bit of mental energy thinking, man, I hope they/their life has improved and moving on rather than (often far too much) mental energy wishing someone the worst.

      1. Empress Matilda*

        Yeah, exactly. Humans are pretty complex creatures – it’s possible to acknowledge a person’s shitty behaviour, and also have empathy for that person at the same time. And for me at least, it’s much easier to forgive someone than to go on being mad at them for the rest of my life.

      2. The Smiling Pug*

        That’s true. I think it’s my own personal experience of being burned coming through. But OP’s thoughts are definitely far more charitable than my own would be in that moment.

  12. OhNoYouDidn't*

    You’re being very gracious about this. I hope you thrive at your new position. You and your co-workers didn’t deserve to have your business splattered all over social media. You didn’t get her fired. She got herself fired. I admire you for bringing her vile activity to light. I hope for nothing but the best for you!

  13. shedubba*

    From a game theory perspective, sending the screenshots anonymously through snail mail to multiple company officials is a stroke of genius. The only winning move for the company is to quietly fire her. I’m impressed.

  14. X-Man*

    The tweet + deletion is one of the most perfect examples of schadenfreude I’ve ever seen.

    That said I’m also very touched by the amount of grace you’ve extended her, OP.

  15. dresscode*

    OP, you definitely did the right thing. I have been in your position of contributing to getting someone fired and even when they deserve it, it can take a toll on you. I’m glad your talking to someone about it.

  16. MissDisplaced*

    Some are so clueless about social. If you’re going to have a bitch and moan or political trash talk account, don’t ever use your own photos, name, company info or ways you can be easily identified.
    I am shocked at how many people do this on LinkedIn even.

    I love the Petty Labelles and Tom Petties.

  17. Lobsterman*

    I’m lost as to why I’m supposed to be unhappy that an abusive boss who repeatedly and regularly violated confidentiality got fired. That’s . . . what should happen?

        1. Candi*

          Well, I’m unhappy she was an unpleasant enough person in the first place any of this had to happen.

          I’m very happy her account’s down and she’s been booted. Maybe the smackdown will teach her something.

        2. Loredena*

          The petty is taking joy in the bad manager posting about how sure she was that she was just about to be promoted and then bam. Not just being glad she was deservedly fired.

  18. Kate, short for Bob*

    I’m uncomfortable that being glad to see actions having consequences gets me labelled as petty. I thought justice was still an aspiration?

    1. chirp_chirp*

      The “petty” comment is about the specific scenario of the firing getting played out publicly on twitter – being able to see the absolute 180 of “this is my promotion!” to deletion/firing, imagining that moment of her knowing that the people she’s meeting with have already seen not only the tweet history but probably that very tweet from a few hours prior, etc., and feeling any kind of glee about it. The (very few, 2 or 3) people around me who I spoke with about this situation laughed _a lot_ about that part. I’d consider that reaction informed by pettiness.

      And, for what it’s worth, I’m queer. I think there’s a history of pettiness and shade in the way we communicate and tell stories. I have an inner Petty Labelle. I didn’t consider it an insult to say “hey, if you have some pettiness in you, you might like this part of the story best.”

      1. Hippo-nony-potomus*

        I like the part of the story best because it’s what a sane company should do. She’s a legal liability to the company and an emotional liability to her coworkers and direct reports. I’ve seen companies try to “manage” away character defects, as if a good training seminar will teach a grown adult how to not be a sociopath.

        1. Candi*

          I can see a company trying to get a decent to good worker to “bind” their reprehensible behavior while on the clock/when dealing with coworkers or reports. But they need to be clear that’s what’s going on, and there will be consequences if the person doesn’t shape up yesterday. Otherwise, they’re just putting toothpaste in nail holes.

  19. Worldwalker*

    You have nothing to feel guilty about.

    You did not get her fired. She got herself fired.

    Look at it this way: If you were someone else — say, the person at the next desk — who notified the higher-ups about this person doing abhorrent things, would you blame *them*, or her? They weren’t the one who was posting confidential information (and OMG what information!) on Twitter — she was. So you’d blame her, right? Not them? Well, it’s the same thing: You’re not the person who got her fired — she did that entirely on her own.

    Another way to look at it: If you printed out all of my tweets and sent them to my boss, he could keep the printouts by his bed to read in case of insomnia. Exactly the same action on your part — the only difference is in the actions on the part of the person generating those tweets. So, again, you’re not the person who got her fired — she is.

    And GOOD FOR YOU! Sure, I hope she does okay … after all the people who *deserve* to do okay, especially including those she hurt. I’m not as nice as most of the people around here — all my sympathy is with her victims.

  20. Elenna*

    “she tweeted about having an upcoming meeting with someone important that she hoped was about her promotion, and then a couple hours later her account was deleted.”
    Petty, sure, but I love it :D

  21. ecnaseener*

    “That detail is probably the one that will satisfy all the Petty Labelles and Tom Petties out there.”

    Guilty as charged, if the Cheshire Cat grin on my face at that part is any indication.

  22. Sunflower*

    Just like snail mail, we should go back to physical journals/diaries to vent and gossip when it’s serious stuff. It’s crazy to post everything and anything for the world to see.

    1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Shoot. I only truly get my vent on face-to-face or over the phone. Some things don’t need to be recorded for posterity

  23. Bookworm*

    You did the right thing. I’ll admit to venting on Twitter about work but I am careful not to name my co-workers, organization, etc. I certainly wouldn’t share info like THAT!! Eeeeek.

    Thanks for doing this, OP. This is not someone who should be in any position of managing people and hopefully it’s a lesson learned. Thanks for the update!

  24. learnedthehardway*

    I agree that the tweets needed to be exposed, but feel like the OP should have done so (anonymously of course) when she was still at the company. I mean, I get that she recognized that her motivation was partly revenge, partly to protect people, but really – the issues existed before she was fired and were just as serious then.

    1. Candi*

      Some people don’t feel safe reporting when they’re still working at the company. Even if they have a way to do it that seems perfectly anonymous. This is legally recognized with statutes of limitations that allow filing a case against a company for a period of time (6-24 months usually) after the person has left the company.

  25. Candi*

    Yay OP!

    Dang, I saw this headline and clicked so fast. What a great update.

    And OP? If she hadn’t spread kindling around in the first place, you wouldn’t have had to point out the fire hazard. Her losing her job was her own fault. Okay?

  26. Villainous*

    Sorry, this one makes me rub my greedy little hands together like a raccoon. Talking that kind of vicious talk on a public forum under your own name? You earned the loss of your job.

  27. LadyHouseOfLove*

    I loved this update. I just want to know why this boss tweeted about her employee’s abortion. Like did she think it was scandalous or funny or something to tell that to strangers?

    God, I get mad just thinking about it! I hope that poor employee never finds out.

Comments are closed.