update: my best employee quit on the spot because I wouldn’t let her go to her college graduation

Remember the manager back in 2016 whose best employee quit on the spot because he wouldn’t let her go to her college graduation? She had been raised in foster care and had no living family, was homeless for a while, and managed to get herself through school and graduate. He wanted to “teach her professional norms” (!!) after she quit because he wouldn’t give her the time off.

I think all of us who read that letter have long hoped the employee is doing well. This week I got an email from someone who appears to be her, saying she had just found the post:

This is about me. I know for a fact it is because this exact thing happened to me in that time frame. And I know exactly who it was.

I’d like to tell this person that I have a general idea of the social norms but (redacted — medical conditions) make it impossible to stay on this side of reality very long. I did however get medicated and become a GM myself that would never be a jerk like he was.

And it wasn’t about the graduation. At freaking all. It was so much more than that. It was about having one day that was just mine.

Joke’s on him though. That diploma has gotten me further in life than I would have gotten without.

{ 315 comments… read them below }

  1. Unkempt Flatware*

    I can die happy now. Alison, thank you thank you thank you! This was by far the best letter and answer I have ever read and the question that got me hooked on this blog. I still need to know about the boss’s progress through life all these years.

    1. I’m screaming inside too*

      Same here – it’s these bright spots that give me hope for our collective good! It’s especially heartening to know that the updating LW has made it her goal never to be a terrible manager like the fool who fired her. LW, I wish you all the best.

      1. I’m screaming inside too*

        Argh – “like the fool who mistreated her and then blamed her for his own bad actions” is what I should have written.

      2. Deejay*

        Dear Alison,

        I, the manager, think I should educate ex-employee about professional norms.

        Dear ex-manager,

        I, the ex-employee, would like to reassure you that you’ve already given me all the education anyone could need about what not to do.

    2. Hummer on the Hill*

      OP: I cheered when I read the original post years ago, at what you did to stand up for yourself. I thought to myself “I’d hire that person in an instant!” Bravo! So glad you are thriving.

    3. FrenchCusser*

      LW, we were all on your side, for sure.

      A good manager would have given you that day off with pay, as well as a nice, thoughtful graduation gift.

      A great manager would have had a party so all your coworkers could share their joy in your accomplishment.

      So glad to hear you are thriving; we are all cheering for you.

    4. Catherine Tilney*

      The update we always wanted, and just as good as we hoped it would be. Living happily is the best revenge.

    5. Bug*

      I’ve been rooting for you all along, and I know I’m not alone. You are a rock star! Thanks for reaching out to Alison.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      I’m halfway there – I need to hear from the poor Leap Year Birthday-haver to make life complete, but this one makes my day. That letter is probably the one that stuck in my craw the most because it was so wrong and unreasonable from top to question.

      OP, I am thrilled for you and glad to hear that you’ve had success and no longer have to deal with the likes of your former boss. Best wishes for good health and living well.

      1. Justice4LYB*

        Omg right!!!! So glad we got an update from college graduate – waiting with bated breath for leap year baby

      2. Name (Required)*

        The leap year letter was from the actual insane manager that insisted they were right in denying their employee a day off for their birthday. The level of crazy in that whole situation still boggles my mind.

        I WISH that leap year herself would write in. I’d love to hear that she somehow got revenge, but she probably doesn’t even know she was ever the subject of a letter here.

    7. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I wasn’t having a bad day, but this update makes it a totally great day! OP, thank you for this, and I’m so happy for you. You absolutely deserved to have that day for yourself, and I’m glad you’re in a much better place now.

      Also, I’d also like to know how the boss has fared since he wrote in. He was raked over the coals, and deservedly so, but maybe he learned something.

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        There was something in his post that made me believe he could learn but also that he likely would want to put it behind him and forget about it. I hope he writes in one day.

      2. Katiekins*

        I WAS having a bad day, but this letter turned it around! I never thought I’d live to see the day when our graduate wrote in. Glad you found AAM and wrote in, and glad you’re a GM, which must surely stand for Graduate Megastar.

    8. TW1968*

      Second this! While we’d love to see the bad boss named & shamed, I have a secret hope that the LW-college grad finds where bad boss is now (either at same place or if he’s moved on), and sends the whole horrible story to everyone at his current and previous company with the note “if you have a problem with people quitting with no notice under this manager, this MIGHT just be the reason why”

    9. The Rafters*

      OP, I am teary-eyed with happiness. A bit of the discussion in your former manager’s post was us wondering if we would ever hear from you, because you had such a good head on your shoulders. Looks like you still do. This internet stranger is so very proud of you!

    10. Erin*

      +1 I have wanted an update from the employee in this story! I was so incredibly happy that she went to her ceremony, and I love that she’s doing well!!

  2. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    EXCELLENT update. Thanks, Alison, and I hope this person goes on to great success.

  3. arjumand*

    And I hope you never thought any of us were on the GM’s side in this issue – it was obvious that they were completely clueless and somehow vindictive with it.
    I am so happy for you and wish you all the best.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      WOOT! Thank you thank you thank you for this update!! I’m so happy you are doing well and are paying it forward. Congratulations!

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Yeah, I really hope the LW read the comments on that post! And this one, come to think of it! I’m so happy that they got away from that boss.

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      OMG! I know I am among many others who have been WAITING for this update. The way the manager treated OP has haunted me all these years. So glad to hear you’re doing well. Best wishes for everything going forward!

  4. ZSD*

    Thank you for this update! Congratulations to you on all your achievements – including a well-earned day to celebrate yourself – and on your career success! We’re all so happy for you.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Yes everyone deserves a day JUST TO THEMSELVES.

      Your manager was unreasonable and had no idea how to deal with a really good employee. She shoudl have been bending over backwards to make it work for you, not being punitive.

      1. Zephy*

        The employee in question didn’t even want the entire day off, to hear the manager tell it – she just wanted to come in a few hours later.

        1. Candi*

          I was really annoyed.

          First, they’re supposed to have the day off.

          Then, rollout of whatever it was meant mandatory working on days when they would have been off.

          When Awesome Employee asks for her day off anyway, she’s denied.

          When she tries to compromise by asking just to come in late, boss refuses even that.

          So glad she walked.

  5. The Tin Man*

    Hey, letter writer. You’re a hero. I wish you the best and hope that bad bosses like this are in your rearview mirror.

  6. Justin*

    I have never understood this sort of BS (butts-in-seats) management. Is the job getting done well most of the time? Let them exist. There’s your social norm.

    1. I went to graduation*

      I think the job in question was coverage based. But the issue was very different from just butt in seats!

      1. Elio*

        I have a degree and a job and I’m literally taking time off work to play a video game next week (Horizon Forbidden West!). Because it’s my PTO and I canbuse it for what I want. That’s professional norms in a non-crap workplace.

    2. anonymous73*

      A coverage based job isn’t the same as “butts in seats” mentality. You literally need butts in seats to cover shifts. If you’re running a help desk and need 5 people to cover the phones, you can’t have them all show up and leave whenever they want. That’s not how it works.

      The manager in this letter was 100% out of line by not working with this person, but that’s a completely different issue. It’s about making exceptions for unique circumstances. Graduating from college is an exception. Going to a concert is not (unless they bought the tickets well in advance of the change in schedule).

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        This wasn’t even the employee asking for exceptions–her graduation was on a day she wasn’t normally scheduled for work. Nobody expects to have to tell their boss “I need Saturday the 15th off. Yes, I know that the office isn’t usually open on Saturdays, but just in case, I won’t be able to work that day.”

        1. quill*

          Yes, customer service tends to switch your schedule around but a competent manager would have some sort of idea of what to do when someone says “I can’t be scheduled that day, I’m graduating college.”

          1. PT*

            I’d bet money that the answer was that the manager herself was going to have to cover the shift, and she just didn’t want to.

            Which is selfish. I *always* covered shifts for people as a manager if they had a good reason to not be in. You will give up a handful of your hours one week, and you’ll keep that good employee forever. It saves you time in the long run, because you won’t risk replacing them with someone unreliable who leaves you in the lurch time and again.

            1. TootsNYC*

              covering someone’s shift would be a plus, actually–it would give me so much information about how their processes are working.

              1. Candi*

                Plus, if you run into a Not Always Right customer, you get the glee of saying, “I AM the manager!” >:D

            2. Robin Ridley*

              I also covered for employees. Among other things, your staff will have your back because you have theirs.

        2. anonymous73*

          The letter stated that people had to work on days they were normally off work, so yes it was an exception. Either way, why TF are you nitpicking at me? It’s not the point of my comment.

          1. Beany*

            From the original letter by Clueless Manager, the other employee *had* bought tickets in advance of the schedule change. I don’t know if it counts as *well* in advance, since that’s somewhat subjective.

    3. Nephron*

      I disagree with statements that this is a coverage rather than butts in seats issue. This sounded like a call center job, and having your best employee come in 2 hours late might cause an issue with coverage but you are going to then get the rest of that work day with your best employee. Depending on difference in skill 6 hours of best employee could still be more tickets closed than an average or bad employee there for 8 hours.

      Call center employees have range of speed and ability and being fixated on having every employee work an 8 hour shift instead of letting a good or great employee come in late and work amazingly for 6 hours can cost you the entire day of work or mean the employee either slows down due to burn out or leaves with little notice. If your best employee is clearing more tickets that everyone else per hour, than you need to work on how many hours you get from them and keeping them happy sometimes and not strictly requiring they be there every day you can get them in.

      1. Zephy*

        The original letter made it sound like the team was customer support for a software product, and they were anticipating a jump in call volume right after an update was launched. It sounded like this is how product launches normally go (the first X days after launch see a Y% increase in support calls so CSRs work OT for those days). Although the manager didn’t indicate how often the launches happened, it’s probably safe to guess that this one specific day just happened to coincide with another big, important, one-off event in this employee’s life, and the manager decided that she couldn’t ask anyone else to cover phones for two hours (or, heaven forfend, do it herself), on this one occasion that is unlikely to come up again for at least a couple of years, if ever.

        1. SpaceySteph*

          “If I make an exception for you to miss 2 hours of work, I will also have to make an exception for every other foster-child-formerly-homeless employee with a huge personal educational achievement. Its simply untenable! The organization will crumble!” Mmhm.

  7. calonkat*

    Please read the comments and know that we would all have loved to be at your graduation to support you. And we wish you nothing but the best through all the challenges of life. You are awesome!

    1. Momma Bear*

      Yes. I was so proud of the employee for putting herself above this manager’s perception of “professional.” Glad to hear this update.

  8. MI Dawn*

    OP: Congrats (very belated) on your hard worked for diploma, and I am so very happy that you are doing well and thriving in your new job. You’ve obviously shown your old manager that you do know social norms, and one of them is treating others well and fairly – a norm they apparently didn’t know.

  9. Scout Finch*

    I am SO proud of you. You are worth so much more than how you were treated.
    Thank you for updating us.

  10. Agnes A*

    Interesting, but I don’t think this kind of situation is so unique (unfortunately) that someone can be 100% sure the post was about them.

      1. Yvette*

        True, details from the original letter, “She was raised in a few dozen different foster homes and has no living family. She was homeless for a bit after she turned 18 and besides us she doesn’t have anyone in her life that has ever had professional employment. This is the only job she has had.”, help to make this uniquely identifiable.

        1. Salymander*

          The employer shows a lack of respect for the employee when they casually put all those personal things in the original letter. The original letter just screamed patronizing, self righteous, pedantic, disrespectful obtuseness. Being so snobbishly entitled toward the best employee and their totally reasonable desire to celebrate years of hard work just because some other employees had concert tickets was just cruel and stupid. Employer’s snobbishness and disregard of common decency was so very obvious to anyone with even a shred of decency and common sense. I am so glad that the employee didn’t put up with any more crap and is now doing so well. That employer was horrible, incompetent, and a huge jackass.

          Reading this today was the best.

    1. TypityTypeType*

      Well, this isn’t a general “kind of situation” — it’s a specific circumstance, with details including traded shifts refused, concert tickets given priority, and her own graduation. I’d say we can take LW’s word that it is indeed her.

      (And congrats, LW — I’m so glad you’re doing well.)

          1. Red 5*

            Yeah, as angry as I was reading that letter, the “I forced somebody else to switch shifts because this guy had concert tickets and that involved a monetary expense so I thought it was justified” was what made the flames come out of the side of my face.

            1. Salymander*

              I know, right? Made me want to scream. Actually, I think this is the letter that did make me yell, but that was because I was eating while reading and I was so shocked by the employer’s awfulness that I bit my tongue really hard and I ended up spitting blood on my phone and all over the front of my shirt. So I guess that this employer was so terrible that it literally made me spit blood. What fun.

          1. Beany*

            Though to be fair, you get the value of the college education from attending classes, studying, and having your work recognized through the awarding of the appropriate diploma or degree. The graduation is important, but it’s purely ceremonial.

            1. Dutchie*

              Don’t people in the US usually hire robes for a graduation though? Plus people usually get pictures taken on graduation day, right? Just having to hire your own photographer later would be more expensive. So I would say there is a monetary value in attending the graduation.

              (And it seems pretty clear that “walking on the stage to get your degree while people applaud you” also has a clear value, although not monetary and the fact that the boss didn’t see that still makes me see red.)

              1. Beany*

                I agree that there’s some expense (perhaps considerable) involved in attending the graduation ceremony, but (a) it’s a tiny, *tiny* fraction of the money spent on attending college, and (b) attending the ceremony isn’t actually compulsory. They don’t withhold the degree if you’re already off working, or on vacation.

                I’m not trying to nitpick here, but I was replying to a comment that suggested that the expense wasted by missing the graduation was that of the “college education” itself — and it manifestly isn’t.

            2. Anonymous Hippo*

              If I remember my graduation correctly, there were expense directly tied to the graduation itself, like robe and a graduation fee.

            3. Observer*

              Yes. But the actual graduation DOES cost money. And it’s money that needs to be paid in advance. Why is the “ceremonial” value of the graduation less important than a concert?

              1. Beany*

                I never said the graduation ceremony was less important than a concert.

                I *did* say that it was less important (and much less expensive) than the actual college education itself.

                1. Observer*

                  I never said the graduation ceremony was less important than a concert

                  I know, you did not say that. The MANAGER apparently thought that, though. According to them, they “needed” to help the person who had a concert but “couldn’t” help the college graduate.

                  I’m sorry I wasn’t clear.

                2. Beany*

                  OK; thanks for clarifying. Perhaps I was being oversensitive.

                  (Didn’t realize there was a limit to the nesting on AAM.)

    2. Ashley*

      I hope that the LW is right because I hate to think there are multiple managers doing this to their best employees who have done so much to better themselves and then be treated like nothing when they are asking for so little.

    3. NerdyKris*

      Did you read the original letter? There were a lot of identifying details, not just “She wanted to go to her graduation but I said no”.

    4. Persephone Mulberry*

      You know what? Even if the writer is mistaken and the original letter wasn’t about them, I don’t care. I am happy to celebrate that this individual is succeeding at life after all the obstacles, including a terrible manager, that have been thrown in their path.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Right on!
        And if another person writes in saying a similar thing, we will all get together and cheer them on also. It feels good to cheer for people!

        1. Candi*

          I mean, this commentariat has cheered on formerly bad managers who updated with “I realized I was being a jerk, and I’m trying to do better”. This place loves celebrating people’s triumphs.

      2. Salymander*


        And it wouldn’t surprise me if this manager has a whole army of brethren out there, ruining everyone’s work day and messing things up. They are legion, and they suck.

        And I am thrilled that the employee has scraped the scum of that terrible workplace off their feet and sauntered off to a new, awesome life.

    5. Plunkett*

      this feels like a pointless comment and inadvertently mean honestly. The LW had a circumstance that was similar enough that she recognized it, overcame incredible hardships, and is rightfully proud af of herself, and your response is “probably this isn’t you”?

      Odd take. Odd response.

      1. Agnes A*

        And your comment isn’t mean, is it? I appreciated other comments explaining what made the original post unique, but not yours.

    6. Dutchie*

      Just for the sake of my sanity I’m going to pretend there is just one boss who would deny a person who overcame that much hardship their graduation ceremony. (Or rather anyone, but especially someone who had to work that hard to get where they were.)

      I don’t think I can bare the thought there are two or more people who would be so cruel.

  11. Bagpuss*

    What a great update! I am so happy that you got to have that day, and that your hard work paid off in terms of being able to get on in life.

    I think that was one of the earliest I read on this site and I was appalled by the managers approach and, like most of the other readers and commenters here, rooting for you and your shiny backbone in having quit and gone to your graduation.
    I’m not surprised that they were a terrible manager in other ways as well.

  12. Data Nerd*

    Everything else she had going on, and medical issues on top of it? This employee is superhuman. Best Employee, I’m so glad you’re doing well and you’re thriving in your life.

    1. Properlike*

      THIS. This too. And now a GSM who has come to read Ask a Manager for whatever reason, but found herself here! The universe is beautiful!

  13. Not My Money*

    What I never understood was the LW wanted 2 hours – not the whole day – and couldn’t be accommodated. I mean, 2 hours! I would have filled in myself for those 2 hours if not straight up insisted LW take the entire day to celebrate. I hope that manager learned the right lesson. Now if we could just hear from Leap Day Birthday employee…

    1. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

      We did! On 2/27/2020 (I just searched for “Leap Day Birthday”)

      1. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

        Oh silly me, we heard from the letter writer (not the employee). I’m with you! Where are you employee?

      2. Wonderer*

        I think what everyone wants is to hear an update from the employee … the update from the manager was in 2018 originally and it just cranked up the level of craziness in the whole thing.

        1. Anonymous Mouse*

          That was less an update and more of a “screw you, i’m right, and don’t care what you think because you don’t support me” letter

          1. Candi*

            I found part of the response rather rote, like LY boss had explained “This is totally legal” a LOT. Which had me wondering just how many people had gotten on their case about the ethics of benefit denial.

    2. Fish Microwaver*

      Had I been Best Employee’s manager, I would have insisted she take the whole day, paid, covered her work, sent someone to the graduation to applaud her, then arranged for flowers and a congratulatory card to be waiting when she arrived at work the next day. I like to see people winning.

  14. By Gandalf's Grey Beard!*

    You nailed it, original letter writer! You gave us the update we wanted and the update we needed. Huzzah!

  15. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    Way to go, LW! All of us who read those incredibly dense posts by your EX-boss KNEW that you’d make a success of your life, but it’s absolutely wonderful to have you confirm it! Kudos to you and I’m SO glad that you rightfully left that old job – Ex-Boss didn’t deserve an employee as great as you, and I’m sure he realized it after, oh, about the first day without you…(wicked chuckle. ;)

    1. Yvette*

      Marzipan …”dense posts by your EX-boss…” Posts? As in plural?? Did I miss where the boss respond in the comments or was this just a typo?

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        I’ve studied this story like an investigative journalist….it was just the one letter from the boss. Likely just a typo or think-o.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      First day – I bet he was sorry in the First Hour. When you have one person the whole staff has dumped on continuously, and they decide they rightfully have had enough and quit – well, boss your stuck with the staff you trained to rely on the other employee to always clean up the messes.

      Enjoy the stupid prize you won from playing stupid games.

      1. Candi*

        You know how many Not Always Right Working stories have exactly that happen, plus a few here in updates? OP removes themselves from the dump zone, and the department/workplace practically implodes. Or at least enters crisis mode.

  16. The Original K.*

    I am SO HAPPY you are doing well, OP! The way you were treated at work made me see red, so I’m really glad you were able to move past it and thrive.

  17. SebbyGrrl*

    The link I saved as my Askamanager.org trigger is that column so I see it almost daily.

    It’s such a profound exposè and human story.

    It still teaches me stuff everytime.

    Thank you for sharing w us. We’re all rooting for you.

  18. MicroManagered*

    I’m curious if there was any information that didn’t make it into the post, that Alison used to connect the two? Like if I wrote to you and said it was me, would you publish it? Or did the person who wrote to you say that the manager’s name was Dave and the original email came a Dave or something like that?

    1. I AM Sparkling }:(*

      I assume Alison has some back-and-forth with folks in these situations before publishing the letter, so that she feels comfortable in saying “yes, this is that person.”

      Personally, I sure hope there aren’t two bosses shitty enough to prevent someone from going to their own graduation, especially one who worked that hard for it!

      1. Darsynia*

        Adore your username! One of the best responses that came out of that particular letter’s comments, IMO!

    2. Red 5*

      It’s possible, but the original letter was -incredibly specific- with identifying details. So I suppose a random person could come from nowhere and claim to be that employee if they wanted to, which is a mean trick to play on all of us and a super weird thing to do after all these years.

      But it’s one of the most popular and oft cited posts in a popular advice column, so the likelihood that the person it was about saw it and recognized themselves seems high to me. Especially because, again, the original letter was -super- specific.

      It seems far more likely to be true than not.

      1. MicroManagered*

        Or the person read one of the most popular letters of all time and became familiar with the details that way. I know Alison only publishes letters she is reasonably sure are truthful and one of the moderation rules is to take LW’s at their word. I’m not calling the letter a fake, but since it’s certainly possible, I was curious if there was a specific detail (even if it wasn’t shared) that made her believe this letter was truthful.

        1. Red 5*

          I was pointing out that the specifics were how the person knew it was (probably) about them.

          All letters in all advice columns might be fake. There’s not a ton of point to litigating that over and over, it’s something we all know and accept as readers, or else we’re on the wrong website.

  19. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    I’m delighted! Thanks for this letter. I think it was obvious you would go far even from your awful manager’s scathing description of you. What dignity, what drive!

    (still wishing that manager a carpet of Lego bricks wherever he goes)

      1. Worldwalker*

        The old TSR d4’s. The yellow ones. Modern d4’s have rounded ends. These could draw blood. You can guess how I know that.

  20. Middle Name Danger*

    Just re-read the original letter and was reminded that the manager intervened because someone had a concert. And that this employee wanted to COME IN LATE on a day that was OUTSIDE HER NORMAL WORK HOURS, not even take a full day off of her usual schedule.

    Even worse than I remembered!

    Good on you, LW. We’re all proud of you for graduating and for handling that situation the way you did.

    1. Snowball*

      Yeah, I just reread and lol at concert tickets having a cost involved and worth changing the schedule but a graduation being not worth the same

  21. Robin Ellacott*

    I’m so glad this person is doing well! And not surprising that the graduation debacle was only the tip of the iceberg.

  22. the cat's ass*

    Dear Best Employee and now GM, congratulations on your success, and thank you for posting. I wish you health, wealth and happiness.

  23. EmmaPoet*

    Best Employee, we all were pulling for you to end up well and happy and far away from Jerk Manager (and Jerk Coworkers, because the fact that not one single person was willing to cover for you says a lot about them.) So very glad to see that this did happen!

    1. Meri*

      That is one of the things that blew my mind. I mean, I’ve had good and bad coworkers. For the good ones, I’d have covered the whole day and wished them well. (And jokingly demanded a piece of graduation cake in payment.) But even for the bad coworkers I’d have agreed to cover the two hours. How mean do have to be to refuse to help out even that much?

  24. Excel-sior*

    Love the update, fantastic stuff. I can’t be alone in wanting more juicy deets, but this will more than do :)

  25. Mangled metaphor*


    The internet is a small place after all.

    I’m so glad you are doing well OP. Thanks for the update.

  26. Somewhere in Texas*

    I’d like to imagine this comment session as one belated celebration for LW hitting a major milestone AND knowing her worth to get out of a toxic situation.

    As such, please envision a beautiful/fun balloon garland in all your favorite colors and centerpieces of your favorite plants/flowers. I’ll also bring the hypothetical dip because all parties need good dips.

    We are proud of you and wish you continued success and happiness.

      1. Baroness Schraeder*

        The first rule of cheap ass rolls is that you don’t tell anybody you’re bringing them. Just sneak ’em right in there when nobody’s looking.

  27. Sea Anemone*

    Wow, LW! Whether the original letter is about you or whether there are two jerk managers in this world who won’t let someone attend their own graduation, congratulations on everything you have accomplished and I wish you the best in your career and life!

  28. Michelle Smith*

    Dear Former Employee,

    YOU ARE MY HERO!!! Thank you so much for showing us that we can set boundaries, achieve our goals, and thrive despite those who try to hold us back and don’t treat us with the respect we deserve. I respect the hell out of you and I’m so glad that you’re doing well and in a position of power where you can treat people better than you were treated. Best wishes for all the success in the world going forward.

    A fan

  29. Studying Worker*

    I thank the work gods I have the type of co-workers and managers that I would INVITE to share my future grad day with me! So glad this person is doing well!

    1. The Original K.*

      It’s crazy to me that the manager wrote all that out and apparently did not think to even acknowledge the employee’s graduation in any way. Not a cake, not a card, not an attagirl, nothing.

      1. Candi*

        Well, the manager didn’t see fit to recognize any of the employee’s triumphs in their life. There was a huge discussion on the original post on how the foster system often fails children, plus the homelessness, plus, from this letter, some mental health issues -and the employee triumphed over all and in spite of that!

        Heck, even the details about how employee was best employee, with the spreadsheet about all the coverage and whatnot employee had done, was in, at best, a factual rather than approving tone.

  30. Heffalump*

    Living well is the best revenge.

    It’s too bad we can’t transplant the LW’s genes into her ex-boss, the manager who thought his report was disrespectful about the mistake on her paycheck, the manager who made his report leave a work note at the grave of her peer’s recently deceased relative, etc.

  31. It’s all good*

    OP never forget what an amazing rock star you are. I hope you have the most successful career ever! Thank you for the update.

  32. Eat Dirt, Jim*

    Every time I think about this letter, I also think about the job I had right after college. I didn’t graduate on time due to a medical issue, and when I was offered my job I let them know that while I wasn’t taking classes anymore, I would need some days off to wrap everything up. It was no problem at all, and my boss even took me off of probation early so that my medical coverage would kick in sooner. I wish OP had a better boss back then, but glad they’re in a better situation now.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      Your username is highly appropriate for this update! And I’m so glad that this employee is doing well.

  33. managers managers managers managers managers everywhere*

    The original letter still baffles me. Your employee overcomes… everything… to become your best employee *and* graduate from college. You give her the day. At the very worst you give her the two hours and cover it yourself and then congratulate her when she walks in. But instead you help the person with concert tickets? And your awareness is so poor that you think you’re the one who was wronged? What a clown.

    Glad to hear this update and congrats to the Letter Writer for everything!

    1. Rolly*

      And the chef’s kiss of clowninanity was wanting advice to how to reach out to the employee to tell her about “professional norms.”

      1. jasmine*

        The way I see it, the most important “professional norm” is to treat employees like human beings – something the manager was horribly deficient at.

    2. Deanna*

      Yeah, the manager helping the person because they had gig tickets and therefore money being involved and yet didn’t allow this woman to go to her own graduation is the biggest part that sticks out to me. American higher education is wildly expensive, you silly hypocritical man!

      1. Candi*

        Even if best employee started at a community college (lower cost, more flexibility), it would have been expensive overall, especially once they moved to uni to complete the four-year degree.

        Source: Current (non-traditional) college student who took the CC-uni path.

  34. RabbitRabbit*

    Hooray! I’m so thrilled that you’ve grown and thrived in spite of it all. You deserve everything you’ve worked so hard for and more.

  35. Seeking New*

    This brings me such joy. That letter was my intro to this site and remains one of the most “WTF have I just read” letters ever. The covert meanness covered in cluelessness. I am so happy for you OP. You deserve your every success.

  36. Cheer Squad*

    Thank you for finding us and sharing the update.

    Like others, I had been hoping for you to land somewhere better work wise.

    Huge congratulations on your degree. That’s not easy! Especially with a medical condition getting in the way. (That medical condition piece is a part of my story too.)

  37. animaniactoo*

    OP, I thought you did an excellent job of standing up for yourself, and am happy to hear that you’re doing well now.

    I hope that you saw the comments on the original post, because while a few people did try and find some compassion and useful advice for him – mostly everybody said that he was just flat out wrong. So… your idea of professional norms was not even out of line. His was. But not yours.

    Even though he didn’t focus on it, yes, it was clear that it was about the fact that none of your co-workers would come through for you either, and it wasn’t just about his denial of the day – but the entire environment that you were working in.

    1. Observer*

      Yes, it was clear. I’m so glad the you are in a better place. And it’s really nice to hear that you are specifically going to be different.

  38. Burnt Eggs*

    OP, you have had so many people thinking of you and wishing you well over the years, I’m sending all my continued good vibes your way and wish you all the best. And your old boss can kick rocks.

  39. becca*

    So glad you’re doing well, OP (or….SOP? Subject of Original Post? This isn’t exactly the standard update format but whatever). I hope life continues to bring good things to you.

  40. Me*

    OP – we were all proud of you then, and we’re all proud of you now. Most of all I love that you know your worth.

    Kudos and all the best for your continued kicking a$$ and taking names.

  41. Sassafrassia*

    “I’d like to tell this person that I have a general idea of the social norms but (redacted — medical conditions) make it impossible to stay on this side of reality very long.”

    Language issues: I’m having trouble parsing this. Can someone with a better grasp help me out?

    1. clearlyMillennial*

      I think Alison added this part: (redacted — medical conditions)

      It probably said something about the letter writer’s medical condition, like ulcerative colitis or cancer or bipolar disorder, and I think Alison thought it best to remove it.

    2. Mx Burnout*

      I do not understand this either. I get that Alison must have redacted something, but the original letter was not about “social norms” or the employee’s medical status or their ability to “stay on this side of reality” (in the present tense?). I’m really happy for the employee and glad they are thriving in a new career today and am cheering them on 100%, I just don’t understand what they’re saying there.

      1. Observer*

        In the original letter the supervisor claimed that the employee was not sufficiently cognizant of “professional norms.”

      2. CatCat*

        I understood it to mean the OP has a condition that makes it hard to grasp norms. Like, “I may not fully grasp social norms, but at least I’m not a jerk like that guy.”

      3. ThatGirl*

        My guess is it’s a mental health issue and Alison didn’t want to specify for privacy reasons. But the point is that there’s something about those health issues that made LW feel disconnected from reality, but have since been addressed/medicated. It is a bit unnecessary since by all accounts the LW was an excellent employee, but that’s what I took from the sentence.

      4. Lady_Lessa*

        It could be that the boss-jerk didn’t know about the the person’s medical reasons or else they would have mentioned that.

        To the LW GLAD you are out; GLAD that you are doing well. May you have great success in life.

        1. Candi*

          Yeah. Even from the original letter, this was a boss who you didn’t confide sensitive stuff in -best employee probably learned that after telling them about the foster homes and the homelessness. And with this update, with the statement there was so much more than graduation day going on? Yeah, I bet best employee didn’t tell that manager about their mental health!

      5. Salymander*

        I took it to mean that Best Employee had mental health issues that have now been addressed because they have access to better healthcare now that they aren’t working for Jerk Boss. And likely, working with all those selfish, awful people and Jerk Boss only exacerbated the issue. Having all their needs and wishes trampled on and their awesome work ignored because Jerk Boss and Awful Coworkers are snobs and look down on people who were in foster care would make anyone feel terrible. The fact that Jerk Boss was so condescending about teaching Best Employee about proper norms while totally violating all those norms was infuriating. Working with people like that is enough to negatively impact anyone’s mental health. Surrounded by that much bizarreness, it is easy to start thinking you are the one with the problem.

      6. Birdlady*

        I read it as “my medical condition does not allow me to dwell in his distorted reality” for LW’s own sake. As someone dealing with anxiety and a long history of depression, that’s how I relate to it. But I could be wrong.

    3. I edit everything*

      Yeah, I’m having trouble with this sentence, too. I get the part about the redacted medical condition. It’s the rest of it that’s not quite scanning.

      1. Liz*

        I’m glad it’s not just me–native English speaker here but I read it a few times and still don’t get it.

      2. Nina*

        The original letter purported to be asking Alison if it would be okay to contact Star Employee and give her a lesson in professional norms (e.g. not quitting on the spot).

        Star Employee is responding to this saying I’d like to tell [evil manager] that I have a general idea of the social norms [that evil manager wanted to teach me] but [I have a medical condition that] make it impossible to stay on this side of reality very long. I’m reading the last part as meaning her medical condition is an issue that causes her to struggle with distinguishing between reality and (delusions? dreams? hallucinations? something, anyway), but despite that she manages to be not a jerk.

  42. Daisy*

    Oh, congratulations OP!! You are such a strong survivor, and I hope you have a wonderful life and career, made all the stronger by knowing exactly who you don’t want to be as a manager.

  43. Lindy Circle*

    Dear College Graduate, I was so proud of you from afar when I read that story, and I’m even prouder of you now. Thank you for sending an update!

  44. Raven*

    The longest-awaited update! Thank you, LW, and I wish you the happiest joys and professional successes in life <3

  45. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

    HOORAY OP!!!! I’m sure it was, uh, less than fun to stumble across a letter from an obvious a-hole and realize that you KNEW that a-hole and he had the gall to write in about YOU, but I am so, so, SO happy to hear that you’re doing well out there! And hey, if you think it would feel good to tell stories about how much that dude sucked, we are HERE FOR IT. That guy was despicable.

    1. Salymander*

      I second that! We will all be thrilled to read more about how well you are doing, and how Jerk Boss was really even more terrible than we ever realized. Because it was obvious when reading the original letter from the Jerk Boss that there was just soooo muuuch more awfulness going on that Jerk Boss didn’t even notice, because when you are that much of a condescending self righteous pedantic snob it is impossible to see how horrible you really are.

      Best Employee, I am so glad you chose to write. I am really proud of you and I have so much respect for you. You made my day.

  46. Mockingjay*

    OP, I have thought of you often. I am so happy that your life has turned out well.

    Not that I ever doubted it. So proud of you! *Sniff.
    (Sorry, got some heartfelt Mom tears going on over here.)


  47. Belle of the Midwest*

    Team Graduating-And-Thriving Letter Writer for LIFE. So, so SO happy to read this update!

  48. JoAnna*

    So happy to get an update on this one (although I’d love to hear if the original LW ever learned from this experience).

    Kudos to you, OP! Belated congrats on the graduation, and glad to hear you are doing well.

  49. I AM Sparkling }:(*

    What infuriated me most about the original letter was that the pointy-haired boss was willing to let another employee have time off since they had concert tickets that they’d paid for, but didn’t give a flying leap about his best employee’s education, which costs a heckova lot more than concert tickets!

    1. Batgirl*

      The vibe I got from the original was that other employees could do things like go to concerts, but because this one had been in foster care she was some kind of charity case who a) needed to be more performatively grateful and happy to work whatever/whenever and b) if she didn’t have work advice on “professional norms” at home, then she should be getting it from the boss who would duly exploit the shit out of being an advisor. There was also a side of “Graduation, meh. Everybody takes it for granted they get to graduate… Don’t they?” That original letter gave me full body hives it was so classist and exploitative.

      1. Serin*

        We all saw Oliver Twist, so we know which employees belong to the class that has to say, “Please, sir, I want some more.”

      2. Candi*

        “Everybody takes it for granted they get to graduate”

        Let’s just mention the manager said the employee was going to school part-time -which means the employee would take longer to get through school and not be eligible for several types of funding that only go to full-time students. So employee was likely paying for a massive amount of their stuff -including the scam that is most textbooks- out of pocket. Probably part of the reason they were covering for everyone was because they needed the money!

        So no bad manager, the employee could never take it for granted until they got that final transcript saying, “All your credits for your degree are fulfilled.”

      3. Salymander*

        Exactly. I was trying to find a term that could explain the ickyness I felt about Jerk Boss’s description of the situation, and you summed it up beautifully. Jerk Boss and the Awful Coworker Bunch expected Best Employee to be performatively grateful, as if being employed was a favor they were bestowing upon Best Employee. What a terrible group of people they are. I wonder if they realize that we all see their snobbery and meanness and we are not fooled by the self righteous spin they try to put on the facts? I am so glad that Best Employee was able to walk away.

  50. Emmie*

    I have been rooting for you since I read that letter. Congratulations on your accomplishments. I know you’ll keep having a successful career.

  51. Tobias Funke*

    OP I am so happy to see you doing well – that dude was an asshat beyond measure and you deserve to be celebrated.

  52. Mischief & Mayhem*

    OP, if there were ever a good reason for AAM to throw a big celebration, your graduation and your accomplishments would be a great motive! Way to go! A very belated congratulations on clearing all the hurdles and living your best life, despite ol’ Clueless Grumpy Pants Former Boss.

  53. Lirael*

    Congratulations, graduate <3 you did so well and you quit with grace. I'm so glad you are doing well!

  54. Sick of Workplace Bullshit*

    YAY!!! I am so thrilled to hear this! I’m so glad you knew your boundaries back then, and recognized what an idiot that manager was, and prioritized yourself–especially with a medical condition! You are amazing and deserve every good thing.

  55. Magnolia*

    Employee scheduling 101 – when you schedule an employee when they told you they can’t work, you will have coverage issues.

    Shame on the manager for allowing such a clique-ish environment that employees only accept shift change requests from friends. If no one takes it, you beg someone to take, assign someone or work short staffed. I bet the manager isn’t faring well in this current worker storage climate.

  56. Not a Blossom*

    I got angry all over again thinking about this, but the response brought me peace. I’m so glad she is doing well!

  57. Akcipitrokulo*

    So glad she is doing well!

    This was the first aam I read, and was so angry on her behalf.

    Happy now!!!

  58. All Hail Queen Sally*

    I am so happy to hear you are doing well! Best wishes for continued success in all you do.

  59. Happy happy*

    I wish I could send you flowers! Congratulations! I wish you could have known then just how much support you had from all of us at AAM.

  60. Kuododi*

    I’m over here doing the Happy Dance!!! Delighted for the update and my very best wishes for your long and bright future.


  61. SaraV*

    We shall all now do The Dance Of Joy!

    (For those possibly too young to understand, that’s a reference from the TV show Perfect Strangers)

    Congrats, LW!

  62. Moo*

    One of the best updates ever!!! I’ve been dying for an update for YEARS. Still occasionally go back to re-read it and balk at how clueless that manager was. Thank you for writing in so we could know how you were doing!

  63. Kate in Colorado*

    Hi, OP! This community is so excited to hear from you! You’re a hero around here! Thank you for letting us know you are doing well. Best wishes for continued success!

  64. StellaBella*

    Super proud of you OP. Well done for being so resilient and thriving. I hope you continue to do well!

  65. SurlyAF*

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments! Thank you for providing the update we’ve all been hoping for more than any other.

  66. New Job So Much Better*

    Also happy to hear from you!! If you haven’t already, be sure to read all of our comments after Alison’s reply on the original post. Congrats and Yay you!

  67. AnonInCanada*

    What wonderful news! And it’s great to know that her hard work paid off and she told that jerk to take his job and shove it. I hope whoever he covered for in order to see a concert while he wouldn’t cover for her graduation is still working diligently for him. /s

    Karma has a wonderful way of giving back, doesn’t it?

  68. RagingADHD*

    I am really confused about this update, particularly the part about “social norms” and “staying on this side of reality.”

    This doesn’t seem to jive with the original letter, which talked about the person being an excellent employee. The boss’s only complaint was that they called his bluff, and he wanted to take them down a peg. There was nothing about the employee struggling with reality or social norms in their behavior.

    That bespeaks a much firmer grasp on reality, social norms, and what’s actually important, than the boss had himself. The perspectives here are so very different, it sounds like they’re talking about two different scenarios.

    1. anonnie*

      It seems clear to me. The boss in the letter wrote that they wanted to teach her about professional norms. She is saying that she knows about norms but also to cut her some slack because of her medical conditions. I’d bet that she did just fine despite those medical conditions because as you say she was an excellent employee. But it reads to me like a very justified fuck you–‘you say I don’t know about norms, maybe I don’t because i have these medical conditions, but at least I’m not a jerk like you are.’

      1. Ace in the Hole*

        Agree. I’d just add that LW may have had no actual issues following social/professional norms at that job, in spite of whatever medical stuff she was dealing with. However, Boss Nasty seems to have been doing their darndest to convince LW that she was doing something wrong… which, when you are in a vulnerable position like that, can make it very hard to tell whether or not you were in the right.

        I commend LW for standing up for herself and working so incredibly hard to improve her own life.

        1. Salymander*

          Darn right. I bet a lot of the medical issues were a hell of a lot easier to deal with once all these nasty people were out of the picture. Being constantly lorded over by a bunch of selfish, incompetent snobs is enough to make the most self confident person begin to doubt themselves. That level of meanness any make any health problems so much worse. Jerk Boss is so ridiculous to think that they can teach the Best Employee anything at all other than How Not To Be. Good grief.

      2. RagingADHD*

        There’s also the fact that in the original letter, the employee didn’t even want the whole day off. They asked to come in 2 hours late. So how does that translate to “a day that was all mine”? What does that mean?

        This update is so vague, with allusions to unspecified bad things and “that’s not what it was about,” etc. So, what was it about?

        I’m glad the person is doing well, but a pretty straightforward “nope, I’m done” — that was clearly justified and a decision that many if not most people would make if they could afford to — has morphed into something much darker and more emotional, with much higher stakes, but I don’t know why.

        1. anonnie*

          Maybe consider this is someone who grew up in really hard circumstances and their life and writing isn’t as polished as you want it to be?

          1. RagingADHD*

            I’m not complaining about writing quality. The person is talking about something that sounds important, and if it’s important then I care about it.

            I don’t know what they’re talking about, and that matters because I care. Apparently nobody else knows either, it’s just odd that nobody else cares.

            1. Sassafrassia*

              100% agree. I couldn’t and still can’t parse that sentence — some folks upthread have replied to me but nothing has clicked — and now you’ve got me wondering if it’s even the same scenario. I wonder if Alison asked for the boss’ name to confirm, since it’s unlikely that the boss used a burner email to contact Alison.

            2. Not So NewReader*

              I just assumed that there was other crap going on. But this particular crap was the last time the boss was going to mess with LW. In other words, LW was hugely impacted by other things this boss did but we have not read about. When this happened LW said to herself, “I made it to graduation and have *I* got a graduation gift for ME!”

              She said she wanted her day. This COULD mean that she felt all the previous days belonged to someone else, like the boss.

              LW, may every day be YOUR day!

            3. Not So NewReader*

              I don’t totally get it either, but I do get that this is a person who went up against staggering odds and made it.

              It feels disrespectful to question it. Not only to the letter writer but to Alison also. Maybe she emailed the LW. Or maybe she looked at the IP addresses and realize that the LW was probably the employee in the original letter.

              Another reason it feels uncomfortable at least to me, is that there are a lot of people out there struggling right now. Some people may find comfort/solace in LW’s post today. Indeed, someone posted they were having a terrible day but this post turned all that around for them. Why burst their balloon?

              Finally, we ask and ask and ask for follow ups. Then when we get them we question it? That’s, uh, really strange. Joy is so hard to find nowadays. Let’s just feel some joy here.

              1. Salymander*

                Yes. This is right. Maybe the Best Employee didn’t feel comfortable giving too many very personal details, and that made it hard for some folks to follow. But the Best Employee is giving us a gift by writing this letter, and I am thrilled to bits. My day was absolute crap. In fact, the past several months have been crap and will definitely be getting worse before they get better. This letter was a really bright spot in the middle of a lot of darkness and I am extremely grateful. Best Employee pulled away from a terrible situation full of selfish people who thoughtlessly trampled all over them. And Best Employee was able, through their own effort, to get away and move on to a better life. That is beautiful.

        2. Observer*

          It was plenty dark to start with.

          It’s pretty obvious that the employee was in a very difficult situation working in an environment that was exploitative and disrespectful of her at a very basic level. The Oliver Twist allusions are not off base, and if that’s not dark, I don’t know what is.

        3. Candi*

          The employee originally had the day off, then had to work but asked for the day off anyway, and THEN tried to compromise by asking to come in only two hours late.

          Originally, the day was going to be all theirs, because they didn’t have to work that day. Then the rollout of whatever product happened.

          Also in the manager’s letter, the employee brings in a spreadsheet of every. single. time. they’ve worked anything outside their regular hours. A spreadsheet. That points to a significant enough number of hours they had to keep track via more than notes -and that they couldn’t trust the department/company’s timekeeping.

    2. Gracely*

      The boss had said they wanted to reach out to “help the employee understand professional norms”. Employee here is saying that even though they had a medical issue that might have interfered with understanding norms (which they’ve since gotten treatment for), they still knew enough to know the boss was wrong in this instance.

    3. twocents*

      I agree. Almost none of the facts overlap other than this person and the original employee both quit around the time they graduated.

      I’m glad this person is doing well, but there’s very little to suggest they represent the “other side” of the situation. And I’m not sure it makes sense to go around encouraging these “other side” posts either.

    4. Candi*

      The manager told Alison that the employee was excellent.

      But as any regular reader here knows, the kind of manager who thinks “we have to work, so nope, can’t do that Very Important Thing, too bad” and wants to chase after an employee who has left, has NO overlap with the kind of manager who tells employees they’re doing great.

      The manager also fostered a cliquish environment, where it was virtually impossible to get coverage for someone who didn’t have some buddies in the workplace. That has a significant overlap with bosses that play favorites.

      This manager also wanted to go after the employee and lecture them on “professional norms”. When a manager wants to bother an ex-employee to “educate” them, they have usually been equally or more intrusive during that employee’s tenure.

      This all adds up to a very bad manager, who likely exploited the employee repeatedly and countered any pushback with how the employee can’t understand “professional norms” due to their background.

      Part of best employee’s growth after they left was no doubt finding they had a great grasp of norms and their boss had been deliberately undercutting them. Which is also a pattern we see repeatedly in letters here.

    5. Alternative Person*

      I don’t think so.

      People’s perspectives of situations can be very different depending on a lot of different factors.

      At my previous job, a co-worker very publicly picked a (verbal) fight with me, but to hear him describe the incident, you’d think it was a mutual disagreement that got out of hand, not him trying to bully/intimidate me into getting something he wanted.

      Management preferred placating tactics rather than actually reprimanding him (very toxic place overall) but whatever, I left less than six months later, he’s still stuck there despite claiming to have been job hunting for over four years now.

  69. AdAgencyChick*

    I wonder whether the original LW (the bad manager) has had any more people quit on him for similar reasons, especially during the current labor shortage, and whether he has learned a damn thing from it.

    1. Salymander*

      I bet he hasn’t learned a thing, and he and all the selfish jerks he still works with are still behaving badly and feeling very snobby and smug about their own super awesomeness.

  70. Red 5*

    First – I am immensely thrilled for this person that things turned out well for her and I hope nothing but the best for her going forward.

    But also – this is just a reminder since I read the original post when it originally came out, but I’ve also seen a lot of stories lately about people who have asked for time off for things like their wedding, their graduation, their grandmother’s 100th birthday party, etc. and when the day comes, their boss is suddenly saying “I’m so sorry but we just can’t let you have the time off right then” or “No, suck it up, you have to be here” for whatever reason. New project, two people quit, the whole company is perpetually understaffing to save money, pick an excuse.

    The story always ends with the employee quitting and doing the thing they had already planned and being happier for it. I saw one the other day that ended with “The manager said I could get married or have a job. I’m still happily married.”

    Managers – If somebody says they need a Saturday off or to not schedule them for Sunday because of a wedding or graduation ceremony or because they’ve already bought international plane tickets because you approved the vacation when they submitted it, whatever – you are not deciding if you need to have that employee come in on Saturday or not. You’re deciding if you’re going to have that employee at all ever again.

    Let people get married and graduate and go to Nana’s party.

    1. Middle of HR*

      Hear, hear!

      At one job a new manager who had never been through our busy season decided to implement “black out dates” a month before the start, which was a 3 month period. A few of us had pre planned and approved time off, including one for her wedding and me for my Practically-A-Sibling friend’s wedding. He announced the dates in a team meeting and pulled up a list of us who had planned PTO on those dates. We looked him in the eye and said we couldn’t change our plans. I remember thinking, want to fire me for this? I knew without asking my colleague that she was also prepared to quit over this. Thankfully he backed off, but it really colored my view of him that he couldn’t even speak to me privately before calling me out in a meeting.

    2. Salymander*

      Darn right! I was working and going to school, and my boss told me that I would have to drop a class I had paid for and was halfway through completing (seriously, was halfway through the quarter!). Another employee decided that they didn’t like the shift they had been hired to fill, and they wanted to switch with me. There were other people there who could have traded, but I came from a low income family, and my family members had worked for the Boss’s family for years, so boss and new employee felt entitled to move me around like a pawn. I quit. Because this isn’t a Dickens novel, and because f*** those people. Boss tried to school me. Boss’s awful mother tried to school me through my mother (who worked for her). And I went out and found a different job and stayed in my class. That kind of overbearing, paternalistic crap just infuriates me. I mean, where did he go to business school? The nineteenth century?

  71. Cards Fan*

    HOORAY! This letter was the first time I ever read AAM, so I am thrilled to see this update! Congratulations on proving that living (and managing) well is the best revenge. Carry on!

  72. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    I remember that letter and it was one of a few on AAM that actually made me want to cry very large, loud tears.
    I am so glad this update came in and we all get to hopefully stop shaking our heads at the absurdity of people.
    Two hours is nothing to ask, and for a graduation ceremony – a no brainer as they say. I had a friend quit on the spot for a similar reason – an occasion that was special for her and the boss told her, “you’ll have others.”
    No, you won’t. You’ll have other JOBS but not moments you can’t get back.

  73. Sarah M*

    Congratulations, OP! I remember this letter, and the response and comments very well. I hope you were able to read through them, so you can see how much support you had – and still have. Wishing you every happiness! :)

  74. Abogado Avocado*

    OP, this is such wonderful news. I join everybody here in wishing you all the very best in work and in life.

  75. deesse877*

    I freakin’ KNEW there was a larger context of bullying from the tone of the original. The most committed bullies I have ever met have been small-souled fools who claim there’s some rule or standard (here, “professional norms”) that magically transforms their obvious abuse into a positive good and an act of charity.

    More power to you, graduate.

  76. LKW*

    OP – Your story (as told through your terrible manager) made a whole lot of people reflect upon their own behaviors and ask themselves “Am I Best Employee or am I terrible manager of Best Employee?”

    Congrats on your success and wishing you continued good health and more success!

  77. His Grace*

    I was thinking that there was a whole lot more than just a day to celebrate one’s graduation.

    To the graduate: congratulations! May your career be a successful one!

  78. L'étrangere*

    Nobody who read that awful letter back then could ever forget it, even all those years later. We all cheered for you back then LW, and it’s sooo good to hear you are thriving. Thanks for being so courageous all along, and thanks for the cheery update. Looking forward to many more years of you improving the working world by your very presence. Please come back here often and chime in with your wisdom

    1. Salymander*

      Yeah, I remember thinking that the Best Employee might never know that there was a whole enormous group of people out there who were cheering them on and wishing them well. I am so glad that Best Employee read the letter and gave us an update!

  79. Hmm*

    I don’t really gel with everone saying this is a “great” update. The OP just says “I’m doing well” and that’s it. Now, sure, that’s generally what we want the end result to be for every update, but I feel like we’re missing a lot of information (like the bit about having a grasp on reality.)

    1. Persephone Mongoose*

      Agreed. The breathless excitement around this update is completely baffling. Assuming that this is in fact the same person, she left the company, got her degree, and moved on with her life. That is great and I don’t want to diminish that, given her history, but the responses to this are celebratory to the point of being patronizing.

      1. Properlike*

        Nope. We’re just happy for good news. The LW wrote in because they saw themselves and wanted to make sure we knew she’s doing fine for herself. And all of us who were worried on her behalf, being empathetic like that, celebrate some good news.

        Really, not everything has to be Eeyored to this degree, people. This isn’t a murder mystery where the “wrong person” gets some material benefit (except “patronizing” but genuine excitement?) Just be happy they’re doing well *according to their standards* and move on.

      2. calonkat*

        I think a large part is having any follow up at all. We didn’t get the manager realizing their error and contacting the ex employee to apologize, or providing more details to explain why this wasn’t as truly awful as it seemed. We were all fairly shocked by the manager’s behavior, and we’d have chipped in for a present if it had been at all possible (or as I posted above, gone to the graduation. I decorated a graduation hat for my daughter’s roommate whose parents couldn’t make her graduation, and made sure she had a celebration.)

        So it is just wonderful to hear the the employee is doing well, and has moved on with their life. Everyone has ups and down, and their own struggles. But as described, the employee had a lot of things to deal with (and possibly more than made it into the original letter), so “doing well” is really quite exceptional and deserves to be celebrated.

      3. RagingADHD*

        Agreed. I’m not sure what anyone expected to happen. A student employee graduated, quit their job in a call center, and went on to get a better job. Which is *exactly what they were always going to do anyway.*

        It just happened on the spot instead of several months later, because the boss was being a petty tyrant. And that comeuppance for the boss had already happened in the original letter.

        That’s nice! I’m glad! But some of the responses sound like the boss was in some way going to stop them from getting the degree? Or prevent them from getting another job?

        It’s just…wow.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Yep, or just like skip this one post maybe?

            I don’t get how we are supposed to encourage more people to write follow ups if we don’t believe them or question the wording.

        1. Salymander*

          Well, there was no guarantee that things would go well for Best Employee. Life frequently does not go well for good people, and crappy often are rewarded for being awful. So yeah, it seems obvious that Best Employee would graduate and go on to new things, but the good outcome was not assured. We are just glad that things are looking up for them. You don’t have to deploy the glitter cannons or run around cheering. But many of us are really glad about this, and questioning it like it is weird to be happy for Best Employee seems a little ungenerous, but maybe this just isn’t your thing. Maybe you can sit this one out, since it isn’t really something you get or want to participate in. That is fine. No big deal. The sparkle is not mandatory.

    2. Candi*

      This employee was in a position to crash and burn. Many foster kids do, and the employee had been putting in a lot of hours and going to college part-time, as stated in the original letter. It’s likely they didn’t have a lot of savings between bills and college, and now we learn they had mental health issues, which would not have helped.

      But they flew. They flew and they’re flying. They’ve risen over everything in their background to achieve what many take for granted.

      They won.

    3. Katiekins*

      Part of the excitement is that the OG letter six years ago was from the graduate’s horrible boss, and nary a word from the mysterious graduate. Plus a lot of the details were so horrifying that the letter itself achieved a kind of cult AAM status. We had six years to think about this graduate, who we had never heard from, and suddenly, here they are! With some good news besides–they are now a manager themselves, and not a jerk like their bad ex-boss. It may not be so much that it’s an update with AMAZING news, but it is AMAZING the graduate many of us have been thinking about found AAM and sent in an update. And that makes it an amazing update.

      1. Candi*

        And they’re doing AMAZING. They had the deck stacked against them with no cards in their hand, and they won the game anyway.

  80. Phoenix Wright*

    I’m so happy that you are doing well, OP! That terrible manager didn’t deserve you, and I’m glad you’re in a much better place now. Thank you for showing us this update.

  81. Onions, They'll Get Yah!*

    I’m not crying…you are crying…we are all crying..with joy that you are doing well! Congrats on getting the best revenge on your terrible manager and terrible co-workers, living well! Who doesn’t cover for someone that has such a momentous occasion? Graduating is a big deal and your success afterwards is even bigger.

    We were all hopeful that you would one day find us and tell us how you are doing! Wish you could have seen the support from the community then, but hopefully reading it now makes you feel the backing of all the people appalled at your former supervisor.

    And in case you didn’t get enough–congrats on your graduation!

  82. Not_Me*

    OP, I’m glad that you’re doing well now! I have a background very similar to yours and you have no idea how happy I am to see this update from you. You didn’t deserve that treatment and I applaud you for standing up for yourself back then and attending your graduation.

    I hope you don’t mind if I give you some advice (from one former foster child to another). Never tell anyone about your past unless you really REALLY trust them. Don’t tell anyone at work, ever. As you have seen, toxic people will use your past against you as a manipulation tactic or to insult/belittle you. No one at work is your friend, everyone there has their own agenda. So it’s best to not give any personal info besides generic stuff. Your former manager was a real piece of crap and he thought because of your past, you have to just tolerate any type of treatment. Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of people think when they know you had a rough past. Keep convo with coworkers light….I only tell them I’m married with kids, I never give them any further info that can be used against me later on. I hope I didn’t offend you with this advice, it’s just that I used to be an open book at work and I really wish someone would’ve given me that advice before I shared too much with people who weren’t my friends.

    Again, congrats to you and I wish you the best of luck!

    1. Salymander*

      Yeah I think that is why I am so happy about this. I know how hard it was to get through all this and still be able to have a better life. Growing up in these circumstances and being treated like nothing for years just grinds a person down. If you have a problem, people are horrible and full of judgement. If you do well, the same people act like your success is due to their work and influence. If you ask for any consideration, you are smacked down and told to just be grateful for any crumbs they bestow. It sounds dickensian and over the top, but that is the reality for many people who grew up in these circumstances. It took years of therapy for me to feel like I am at all adequate and deserving of respect. I’m so happy for Best Employee right now.

  83. Kwebbel*

    So, with the exception of that KPop star I used to go for brunch with every Sunday back when I lived in Seoul, this is the closest I’ve ever been to a celebrity!!! So happy to read this update.

    OP, if you ever read this and feel the urge to answer, I have so many questions for you. My biggest ones:

    1) How did you find this letter? Did you tell someone your story who was a reader of this blog? Did you stumble on this blog as a manager yourself? How did you find us??

    2) What’s it like reading Alison’s response to your ex-manager’s letter? And the hundreds of comments supporting you? I do hope it’s vindicating to know how many people knew you were in the right without even needing to hear your side of the story.

    3) Okay, this is just the detail oriented part of me but i never quite understood the bizarre part of your ex-manager’s letter. He said you were the “lowest seniority” on the team, but you’d been there 6 years at that point. How was that possible? Low turnover? No promotions? Or did he throw that in to his letter to make him sound more justified but it wasn’t really true?

    And finally, not a question but a comment. When I quit my job that was working me 60 hours a week without overtime pay and my manager told me there was no hope of my getting a salary adjustment to reflect my contributions, I thought of you and was reminded that just because a manager can justify his inaction inside his own head, I always have the option to leave – all I needed was confidence like you had. So I found a job that paid 30% more pay and better working hours – and I don’t think I would’ve done it if I hadn’t read that letter all those years ago. So, thanks for being you!!

  84. KR*

    Short, sweet, and to the point. I have the phrase “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” from the Handmaids Tale on a t-shirt because sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going is saying “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”. I’m happy for you, OP.

  85. Mavis Mae*

    OP that’s fantastic and thanks for giving us an update! I think everyone who follows AAM was on your side and was disgusted by that manager’s attitude and actions. I’m delighted at your good news. It’s great when somebody comes out on top. Life can be tough and your update gives me hope that somebody I really care about who mostly lives in a divergent reality will one day be able to move forward in real life. (No idea what your medical issues are or whether they’re the same – I’m just trying to say thanks for the hope.)

  86. All Outrage, All The Time*

    OP! I have thought about you a LOT! I am so pleased things worked out well for you. Congratulations on your hard work and determination. You are an inspiration! I’m tearing up a little! You are a super star!

  87. Cowgirlinhiding*

    This happened to me but my boss wouldn’t give me the day off to do my senior thesis. My parents who hadn’t visited me my whole college career came for that day. I called in and gave my presentation. When I went in the next day, he started yelling at me about calling in. Anyway, I told him I quit. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
    I ended up taking a fulltime temp job on campus that put me in line for my career path. Graduated from school and continued to move up through the ranks at different jobs. That job paid $6.50/hr and an inventory specialist. I just left a job that paid $41/hr. as a HR/Safety Manager. I think walking out was the best thing I could have done for my future self, even though it was hard at the time. It made me move forward as a person and I never looked back.

    1. Salymander*

      Good for you! That is awesome that you were able to stand up for yourself that way. Your former boss sounds like a real jerk.

  88. Chili pepper Attitude*

    I’m “team college graduate” here and I’m so fan girling!!

    We m so happy to hear the update and wish you every success!!

  89. They Called Me....Skeletor*

    So happy to see this update….the update we needed. After losing Betty White, this puts a smile on my face.
    OP, you have thrived and that is so awesome. You keep doing you. And please please stay around. Pretty sure I speak for, well, everyone when I say we’d love to see you in the comments.

  90. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

    I think it’s really cool that you found AAM and updated! And you’re succeeding in life!

    And if you’re not the OP, and there are two such managers who can eat dirt, then I’m still glad you’re succeeding in life.

  91. Claritza*

    Agree! A rock star employee I know whose specialty was turning around troubled supermarkets for a major player asked 6 months in advance for 2 weekends in the Spring off, one for her graduating HS senior and another for her college graduating senior. Request denied. So she quit and took her skills to food testing/product development for a major manufacturer. Much better compensation and no weekends!

  92. Anne Boleyn's Necklace*

    OMG this is WONDERFUL!!! I am SO happy for you OP! I have thought of your often, and cheered for you that you knew your worth and told that awful manager (and terrible coworkers who wouldn’t cover for you!) to eat dung!

  93. Never Boring*

    I am soooo glad to read this. The only similar situation I have seen in real life was a friend of my sister’s who was refused a day off to attend her own citizenship oath ceremony! She quit on the spot, too, and I am equally sure that she is also doing fine now.

  94. Cheshire Cat*

    LW, a lot of us have been hoping that you would find this site and write in with an update, and we have sent you good wishes over the years. I am so glad to hear that you’re doing well! You totally deserved to have one special day to yourself, and lots of other good things as well. Your former, terrible boss painted a picture of someone who had faced and overcome challenges in life—and they were clearly the one needing to brush up on social norms, not you!

    Thank you for the update! Cheers to you, and I hope your hard work continues to pay off. :)

  95. Aunty Fox*

    superb! This is delightful news, well done on your diploma, your career and kicking bad bosses to the kerb. :)

  96. Temi*

    And to think, we’ve been here rooting for you this whole time!!
    Come check in with your squad anytime!

  97. Hogwash*

    Wow, I did not have this on the 2022 bingo card. So glad you’re doing well, OP! We were all horrified on your behalf.

  98. SameThing*

    I’m so happy to read this! Cheering for her! Employers need to recognize that earning a degree isn’t a given, and it should be celebrated. If someone puts in the hard work to graduate, that work ethic will carry over into their employment.

    I had a very similar situation. I’m a first generation college grad from a low income family. I got into an Ivy League school, which was a huge deal for my entire family. I was also offered a job out of state, and the start date conflicted with graduation. I asked to push the start date back a week, which was denied. The employer was only willing to give me the day of graduation off, no additional travel time. But I had family flying in to attend my graduation! I wanted to spend time and celebrate with them. My graduation was as much a victory and achievement for my family as it was for me.

    Ultimately, I turned the job down. The employer was rude about it, saying I was unprofessional. No regrets! I have my graduation memories surrounded by my family who made it possible for me to achieve something no one else had ever done.

    1. Candi*

      I’d say that the company was unprofessional. They couldn’t even give you an extra day or two? If it was a training thing, they should have said so. If it wasn’t, most places a couple days won’t hurt.

      And as they say, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. Alison has many a post on how a company that was sketchy in the interview and offer stage turned out to be sketchy in many other things -and denying a worker time off before they’ve even started is really sketchy.

  99. Miriam G.*

    I am soooo glad to read this! GOOD FOR YOU OP!! I’ve often wondered about you and am so glad for you!

  100. Dana Whittaker*

    Of all the updates on AAM, this has got to be the one I have been waiting for!

    Many congratulations to you, OP! I am so glad that you are doing so well. Sending many proud hugs to you!! :) :) :)

  101. Jonaessa*

    Are anyone else’s cheeks hurting because of the huge smile on their face right now?!?

    OMG!! OHMYFREAKINGGEE!!!!! This made me so happy.

    I wish I could insert the biggest smily face right now. I am so happy for you, OP. And so proud. We were all wishing you so much success in life. :)

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