updates: the ominous recruiter, the clueless intern, and more

Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. Recruiter made ominous comments about my current job (#2 at the link)

Well, I have an update. Unfortunately, the recruiter was not just full of crap. Our small company (80ish retail stores) has been purchased by another small company (100ish retail stores) in the same industry. I never even considered this as a possibility. We were privately owned, and the owners didn’t want to sell. They’ve been building this business for nearly 30 years. Apparently our investors forced the sale somehow. I’m not clear on the details. New company is based in another state and they don’t allow remote work, so I’m out of a job in 90 days.

The pushy recruiter that reached out to me was from the agency that we’ve retained for help everyone find new employment. I’m not sure why he contacted me early. From talking to my coworkers, it doesn’t seem like anyone else heard from him. I hate that he was right and I hate that he didn’t just…tell me what he knew.

If anyone needs an entry level accounting clerk in the Columbus, Ohio area (or working remotely!), let me know. I’m hoping I can still afford to go back to school in the fall, so hopefully I won’t be entry level forever.

This is not the update I was hoping to have. Hopefully I’ll have a happier update soon, when I find a new job.

2. Is our intern just clueless and inexperienced — or a con artist?

I had a talk with the intern. He appeared contrite and apologetic, but didn’t really have an explanation for the suspicious Time Sheet entries. He claimed he forgot to record those lunch breaks, and that he suddenly remembered that he spent 6 hours reading papers one weekend.

With HR present, I told him, “Everyone makes mistakes, but when there are this many Time Sheet discrepancies, it doesn’t look good. We’re not accusing you of acting maliciously, but it does create the impression of dishonesty and gaming the system. The same goes for taking dozens of T-shirts, when you were invited to take one or two. Think about how these behaviors might cause you to be perceived, so that you don’t keep putting yourself in situations where your professionalism will be doubted.”

He seemed to get it. Quite some time passed without another incident. I was starting to feel confident that we could put these issues in the past, and focus on science and engineering for the remainder of his internship. Tragically, his improved conduct did not last. He logged two more lunch break violations (the 8th and 9th) and then I saw him in the breakroom on a Friday afternoon, stuffing all the snacks and plastic cups into a duffel bag, before slipping out the door.

Enough was enough. I scheduled a meeting with HR and 3 members of the C-Suite (our company is small enough for that). Everyone was aware of all that had happened. My intern also wasn’t making satisfactory progress in his work, and I was also struggling to keep up with my tasks because of all the time spent monitoring his behavior.

HR suggested we terminate the intern, but the C-Suite felt there was no need to go that far. They said that as a 21 year-old undergrad, that would destroy his confidence, and that “Years from now, he will look back and be ashamed of his shenanigans. That will be his punishment. One day, he might even reach out to you and say, ‘OP, I’m so sorry for the way I acted when I was a dumb kid.’”

Even though they don’t believe in firing people, they recognized that the internship wasn’t working out. This student clearly was not ready for the professional world, despite having a lot of extracurricular activities and better grades than the past interns. The C-Suite decided that he would spend the rest of his internship attending workshops and classes on professional norms. They felt that this was the best compromise: I could focus on my work. The intern would receive a clear message that his behavior needed to improve, without enduring actual punishment. In a month, he would be going back to school, and HR would no longer have to deal with him.

Although I would have disciplined the intern more harshly if the decision were mine, I consider the matter resolved. Thank you Alison, and everyone else who shared their insights and experiences with this rookie manager!

3. Attending a rowdy holiday party when no one knows I’m pregnant

I told my manager about my pregnancy at 20 weeks and she told me that she knew I was pregnant because I wasn’t drinking at the holiday party! At one point she offered me a glass of wine and I declined, stating I wasn’t drinking (I didn’t give a reason). I also tried to have a drink in my hand that resembled alcohol most of the time. Oh well! I appreciate your feedback and I feel better knowing that she’s happy about my pregnancy.

{ 318 comments… read them below }

  1. Some internet Rando*

    #2 Wait, so the intern will get paid to do no work for the rest of the internship and that will teach him a lesson?

      1. Cait*

        This reads an awful lot like the judge who sentenced Brock Turner so lightly because he didn’t want to ruin the future of such a “promising, young man”. This is some toxic thinking if ever I heard it!

        1. Sleeeeeepy*

          I get what you’re trying to say, but comparing this—a series of bad judgements at an internship!—to Brock Turner is really off the mark here.

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            Nah, that’s immediately where my mind went, too. The scope of the behavior is different, as is the scope of the consequences. But the toxic “protect the boy’s fragile ego” attitude is the same.

          2. shedubba*

            Sure, Brock Turner was arrested for doing worse. But, 1) the parallel is accurate in that the powers that be are prioritizing a young man’s feelings over taking the correct punitive action for his misbehavior, and 2) it is not unlikely that Brock Turner had his feelings similarly coddled, teaching him that the rules didn’t apply to him, and causing him to escalate his behavior to the point of his arrest.

          3. MCMonkeybean*

            The scope of the crime is obviously wildly different, but it is true and worth noting that young white men are most consistently thought of with regards to what great things they might achieve in the future while other people are often viewed through the lens of the worst things they have done in their past. It is relevant to consider here I think in that context.

            At the end of the day, there is only a month left in his internship and OP is satisfied so it’s all whatever I guess. But it’s truly appalling to me that the executives actually said that the regret he *might* feel in the future over his poor behavior is the only consequence he deserves. That’s some frustrating bullshit and I struggle to believe they would have extended the same consideration to an intern that wasn’t a wealthy white boy. Maybe they would, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

            1. topcat*

              ” it is true and worth noting that young white men are most consistently thought of with regards to what great things they might achieve in the future while other people are often viewed through the lens of the worst things they have done in their past”

              I think this is sadly very accurate and likely the case here.

              The special treatment is only going to perpetuate this.

              Meanwhile there’s someone honest and hardworking out there who has been denied the chance of this internship because this lying, theiving specimen has got it.

            2. ThisIshRightHere*

              His possible race never even crossed my mind when I read the original letter. Now, I don’t need to wonder.

          4. fhqwhgads*

            It’s less comparing Brock Turner to this intern and more comparing that judge to this c-suite.

        2. Burger Bob*

          I had the exact same thought. Yet another “promising” young man who is allowed to face no meaningful consequences for his actions because he’ll magically realize the error of his ways in the future all on his own.

        3. tangerineRose*

          Hearing about what that judge did makes me wonder if the judge has no females in his life he cares about, or maybe he thinks none of them would ever accidentally drink more than they could handle or be slipped something in their drink. Turner is clearly a menace to society who should still be in prison. Even his parents didn’t think he was innocent.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      Yeah wut. I was like, okay he’s going to learn nothing from that. That might have been a good option for the first warning, the second timesheet should have been immediate dismissal (because he should have at least come to you first if he realized he’d screwed up on the timesheet somehow). The chips thing isn’t the hill I would die on, particularly since you never know anyone’s circumstances at home.

      1. satelliteofl0ve*

        No. The chips thing is exactly the type of excuse making that LW’s head honchos are doing and it’s not helping anyone. This jackass absolutely knows better and is not clearing out the kitchen breakroom because he’s starving and chips are the only thing standing between him and imminent death.

        1. PT*

          No, I worked somewhere where food/housing insecurity among employees was an issue. We also had people who stole food set aside for events from the break room. (Ex: if there was a Costco box of granola bars for a breakfast meeting, the whole box would disappear.)

          There was exactly 0 overlap between the two groups.

          1. Littorally*

            As someone said in the original post, some people take one slice of pizza because there might not be enough for everyone. Some people take three slices of pizza because there might not be enough for everyone.

          2. Rose*

            This isn’t isolated behavior though. He also hoarded tshirts. He put himself in a position where the smartest thing for everyone around him to do is assume the worst of him.

          3. Doug Judy*

            In the original post the OP clarified the intern was an upper middle class white male. He’s just an entitled dick.

            1. Curious*

              The fact that this person is “upper middle class” is highly relevant in demonstrating how horrible they are in scarfing up stuff. The facts that they are “white” and “male” are not — unless you want to ignore Title VII.

              1. MCMonkeybean*

                Nope, all three things are definitely highly relevant to their level of entitlement.

                1. John*

                  If you run a business it is illegal to take that into consideration. Racial discrimination is illegal in the workplace.

                1. Curious*

                  I’m sorry, but what you seem to be saying is that as an employer or manager, you would violate Title VII.

              2. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

                OK, but I bet the panel did take it into account, if only unconsciously.

      2. Antilles*

        If the chips thing was on its’ own, the very first thing? Then sure. If it’d been the first incident, it would have been much more reasonable to go in with a generous assumption of “hey, since you’re an intern and new to the working world, let me explain this…”
        But when it happens AFTER a bunch of other incidents AND he’s been specifically told about everything? Nope, not buying it.

    2. freddy*

      I have some guesses about the demographics of who generally gets coddled in that way vs. who doesn’t…

      1. Presea*

        Read the comments of the original post. The demographics of that intern are specified (there was a lot of speculation that the OP wanted to clear up), and it’s probably exactly what you’re thinking.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Yep. Oh NO we cannot devastate this (upper middle class white) kid’s confidence by ACTUALLY HOLDING HIM ACCOUNTABLE for his actions. Nope. We must continue to support him.

          He KNEW damn well what he was doing. By slipping out the side door, he KNEW. he didn’t fricking care. Those workshops and courses? He won’t pay any attention to anything said. So he will go on to the professional world and be the guy that future coworkers are writing Alison’s about.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Yeah….this “consequence” will fall on deaf ears. It’s like not doing a chore well so you aren’t expected to do it anymore. He stole all the cups and snacks and got…a lecture? Not impressed. Sorry your C-suite couldn’t hold him accountable, OP.

            1. Rose*

              Not just a lecture. He got to not do any work for the last month of his internship. Could not possibly have worked out better for him. But yea I’m sure OP is going to get an email sometime apologizing…

          2. L.H. Puttgrass*

            “Oh NO we cannot devastate this (upper middle class white) kid’s confidence by ACTUALLY HOLDING HIM ACCOUNTABLE for his actions. Nope. We must continue to support him.”

            I’m trying really really hard not to bring up the other obvious context in which this comes up…and mostly failing, I guess. But let’s just say that the workplace is far from the most egregious example of this sort of thinking.

            And I could really do without it in either context.

                1. Aitch Arr*

                  “The Brock Turners of the world become the Brett Kavanaughs.”

                  Say it louder for the people in the back.

          3. Susanna*

            I totally agree he needs to be held accountable – especially since they talked to him about it and he kept behaving badly.
            But we don’t know that he’s white or upper middle class, do we? Unless there was some detail I missed.

            1. Susanna*

              Ah, just saw the update from LW2 that he is indeed upper middle class. So there goes any speculation that he was collecting food to being home…

              1. Amaranth*

                Devil’s advocate, he could have that background and yet be cut off by his parents, heavily in debt, and completely lack the skills to handle personal responsibility. Regardless, management didn’t dig deeper to see if he lacks food security or was doing last minute shopping for a tailgate party. It sounds like attending courses isn’t going to be presented as a correction or discipline but a gentle reassignment where he can probably play Sudoku on his phone if he’s bored. Are they just going to be this relaxed with every intern who comes on board?

      2. Karen, but not that kind of Karen*

        And I’m guessing that the demographics of the C-suite members is exactly the same as the intern, but older.

        1. LW2*

          The intern is indeed a middle-upper class white male. There certainly were a lot of people in the original post who speculated about his background, and here is the answer

          One of the C-suite members is from the same background. The other is an immigrant who came to the US for graduate school. The 3rd is from a blue-collared family and is the first to attend college

        2. The Starsong Princess*

          My guess is, for the C-suite guys, getting rid of him with only a month left wasn’t worth offending whoever got him the internship. It’s awkward, even if they only see that person at the golf club. I wish I was joking but I don’t think I am.

          1. LW2*

            Letter Writer #2 here!

            The intern actually doesn’t have any connections to anyone at the company. None of his friends or relatives has any history with us

      3. Omnivalent*

        Exactly. God forbid that a young white man from a “good” background suffer any real consequences for his actions. It’s important that he learn that his bros in the C-suite will have his back and help him fail upward.

        You know what they would have done had the intern been a young Black man who wasn’t upper middle class.

        1. LW2*

          Letter Writer #2 here! I agree with your point about young white upper-class males in general, but it isn’t the case with us. The C-Suite (the 3 founders of the company) also comes from a diverse background. One is white, one is Asian, one is black. Though all of them have been very tolerant towards this intern, the African-American gentleman is, ironically, the one who has been the most lenient towards him

          1. ecnaseener*

            That doesn’t mean it’s not the case that this intern was treated leniently because he’s white. People of color aren’t immune to the ever-present cultural messages that led to this leniency.

          2. This is a name, I guess*

            Also, presumably the owners of the company are financially successful. Especially in entrepreneurial circles, money/success/status supersedes one’s birth class.

          3. moonstone*

            While we don’t know *for sure* that discrimination didn’t factor into this outcome, your information doesn’t make it any less likely for the reasons others have pointed out.

        2. Sloan Kittering*

          Right, part of the frustration here is if the intern had been black, and caught basically stealing, the implications would likely have been different because of stereotypes around criminality and punishment – whereas here everyone has bent over backwards to assume it must be a mistake, should be a gentle learning experience etc. I see that OP says below that the company leadership is diverse but sadly that’s not always a cure-all for this type of implicit bias.

      4. A Feast of Fools*

        We can’t ruin his future success over just a few minutes of action, that would be unfair! /s

        1. a survivor*

          The intern acted terribly and so did the company, but comparing this to a rape case (which is where your quote comes from, for those who don’t know) is just offensive.

          1. Anon for This*

            Not really, it’s meant to show that the same people who won’t punish a young white man for one also won’t punish a young white man for another. Same mentality, leading to the same mental gymnastics, in horrible situations.

            1. zinzarin*

              I agree with Anon for This; both of these examples are just different expressions of the exact same coddling. This was a fair connection to make. The connection could be extended to the “affluenza” drunk driving kid in Texas that killed some folks and walked because he had a bright future too. All point to the exact same root cause.

            2. Rose*

              I agree. I have been raped. The point is not that they’re the same degree of awful. The point is that it’s the same culture that coddled and rewards these men for their crap behavior.

            3. lizesq*

              As someone who has been raped, it’s truly gross to compare forcible penetration to stealing some tshirts and lying about a lunch break.

            4. Woof*

              I mean, does stealing some plastic cups really need to be “punished”? I don’t think the intern will learn a lesson because they already demonstrated massive entitlement despite a clear talking to, but I understand c suite wanting to go light on an obnoxious intern. A judge going light on a rapist is pretty different

              1. Burger Bob*

                He also committed time card fraud and, after being given the benefit of the doubt and receiving just a warning, proceeded to do it again. That’s a fireable offense at most jobs, without even bring up the weird theft of office snacks.

          2. TransmascJourno*

            As someone who reported on that case, yeah. Not the right analogy to make here.

    3. Donna*

      Yeah, I’m glad the LW from #2 has found peace with it but this is a pretty infuriating update.

    4. Beth*

      Yep. The intern has now re-learned the lesson that he can do anything, or nothing, and get away with it, and is well on track to continue doing so right into his career. Well played, C-Suite.

      1. Canadian Librarian #72*

        Yeah. This solution could have been enough to put the fear of god into and/or be a reality check for any intern, and possibly they could even have learned from it… but this kind of thing is just how Certain Demographics fail up. These don’t constitute sufficient repercussions for this intern. I’ve been fired for less, but I’m not male or rich, so….

      2. White Male Night Owl*

        And yet if he’d been 10min late to work 2-3 times, he’d have been canned immediately.
        -speaking from experience

      3. Middle Aged Lady*

        He has become a missing stair and he’s not even out of undergrad! Thanks, patriarchy!

    5. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I’ve heard ‘you can’t punish him, it’ll destroy his life/confidence/career’ in more than one situation and it always annoys me.

      Yeah I’ve made some colossal mistakes in behaviour in my earlier working life but the one thing that got me to change was actually facing some cold consequences of it all. Like the ‘pack it in or you’re out of a job’ style.

      (And two of those behaviours could have ended my career if I’d continued on that path thinking it was ok)

      1. Artemesia*

        These are like the judge who was very very concerned that a rape conviction would undermine a rapists swimming career and future.

      2. Slow Gin Lizz*

        All evidence points to intern being the kind of person who wouldn’t actually care if he were held accountable or the kind of person who enjoys seeing how far he can go before being held accountable. But yeah, it totally sucks that he not only isn’t being held accountable, but that he’s also going to continue being paid to just sit in training sessions where he will 100% not be paying attention.

      3. Nanani*

        Funny how destroying his potential is always more important than the injustices he actually committed – including in this case time card fraud?? that would be instant firing for anyone not being given endless chances

    6. Artemesia*

      This is how entitled older people raise another generation of entitled young people. Guessing this intern was the same ethnicity as the bosses. To not fire an intern who is thieving AFTER he has already been clearly notified about how this is inappropriate is to teach him the important lesson that he will never be held accountable.

      1. Goldenrod*

        “This is how entitled older people raise another generation of entitled young people. Guessing this intern was the same ethnicity as the bosses. To not fire an intern who is thieving AFTER he has already been clearly notified about how this is inappropriate is to teach him the important lesson that he will never be held accountable.”

        Totally! It reminds me of that annoying Ted Bundy documentary where the white male judge was so sorry that Ted seemed like such a promising young man, and it was such a shame [that he was a serial killer and therefore ruined his promising future]. Ugh, I could barely watch it!!

        Um, not to suggest that the intern is a serial killer. :P But that’s what it reminded me of. They are just teaching this guy to feel entitled.

        1. Anonymous4*

          “Go ahead and do whatever you want! They’re not going to do anything about it –”

          They haven’t, and they won’t, and this stupid “professional training” — which he won’t attend for more than two hours max — is just another rock-solid verification that he can do what he wants, whenever he wants.

      2. oranges*

        “Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man” has a cousin, and it’s “Lord, give me the shield from life consequences of another mediocre white man.”

        1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          As a mediocre white man, I am *extremely* offended that that intern got away with what he did.
          I am also sad for his future coworkers who will have to put up with his now cemented behavior, and even for him for missing out on what could have been a valuable life lesson.

    7. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Shame on the C-suite. He’s certainly going to learn a lesson – just not the intended one..

    8. Heffalump*

      IMO the intern’s behavior was far more egregious than that of the dress code interns, who were summarily fired.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yeah, they were just mildly clueless, not falsifying timesheets and stealing!
        I doubt that the intern in this case learned anything from the classes on professional norms, but I hope he hated every millisecond of them. And also that he will someday encounter actual consequences for his actions.

    9. tinybutfierce*

      Yeah, the only thing this will teach the intern is that he can get away with doing whatever he wants. He’s someone who frankly NEEDS his confidence shaken.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Getting a real punishment for this would be the best thing for him in the long run, at least it would give him a chance to realize he shouldn’t do this again. Letting him get away with it is likely to teach him that he can get away with this and more.

    10. Ms. Ann Thropy*

      It will absolutely teach him a lesson. The lesson is he does what he wants, and no one stops him. He’ll go far.

    11. JamminOnMyPlanner*

      I have definitely worked with people like this. The only thing they learn is that they can get away with anything while others pick up their slack.

    12. OhGee*

      That whole update makes me think of other cases in which people worry more about how a young man facing consequences for his ‘bad decision’ will ‘ruin their life’ than anything else….

    13. Ally McBeal*

      I also think the leadership team VASTLY overestimated how uniformly shame can impact people. For some people it’s a major motivator, but some people have absolutely no shame whatsoever, and stuffing pounds of company snacks into a duffel bag and sneaking out is a decent indicator that Intern is in the latter category.

    14. DinoGirl*

      If you need to meet with three c suite executives over such blatant terminable behavior, from an intern (!), that really says something about the organization. Even worse, they didn’t fire them. Seems like no meeting necessary to take that action for an intern and I would take that position in the future.

    15. D*

      Am I the only one wondering, crappy decision aside, how they are going to find THAY MANY professional seminars? It sounds like a lot of work just coming up with a full schedule of remedial professional development activities for this dude.

    16. topcat*

      Also – he’s a 21-year-old *legal adult* not a “dumb kid”. He’s been warned and he would know full well he’s lying and stealing.

      I can only wonder if he’s got some dirt on the CEO that no one else knows about?!

      1. Heffalump*

        60 years ago at that age he’d have been in his first year of adulthood. Today he’s in his fourth year.

    17. LifeBeforeCorona*

      And the intern returns to school with stories about scamming his workplace while serving everyone the stolen snacks. I don’t think he is going to learn anything.

  2. quill*

    #1. I also hate that the recruiter wasn’t just full of shit, but as to what prompted him to give you that advice ominously and not give specifics / tell anyone else… I’m baffled. And I do think dodging his “help” might have been a good thing in that light.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      Darn, I was really hoping that recruiter was just using scare tactics to fill an in-person role. Well, OP, I suspect even given this info you would have regretted taking a job that wasn’t what you wanted – hopefully you can find something that meets your needs in every way. Good luck!!

      1. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. Knowing what the writing on the wall is and taking any job are different things. I hope OP gets a job they like.

    2. Dramatic Intent to Flounce*

      Yeah, ominous comments without actually SAYING anything (because, I’m certain, he COULDN’T actually say anything about the acquisition and really shouldn’t have said that much to begin with), solely to be pushy about a job that was in so many ways a downgrade for you… choices were made there. Choices were made. Let alone the not contacting anyone else.

      Even given he did in fact know something you didn’t know – and that should absolutely be read in the most obnoxious sing-songy elementary schooler voice imaginable – saying it KNOWING he couldn’t actually be direct, and only saying anything after you turned the job down for not being a good fit, is just a deeply unprofessional move. From your perspective, either he’s saying something he really shouldn’t be (because he can’t be direct, because he’s not SUPPOSED to be saying anything) or he’s full of crap and LYING to you to pressure you into a job you don’t want, and both reflect badly on him.

      I wish you luck with the job search and am sorry this jerk was right, OP, but honestly, I would not have trusted this guy either. Hope you find a better fit than the job he recommended!

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        I don’t think he did this just to be ‘pushy’; I think he really was looking out for the OP for whatever reason. (I commented on the original letter saying I felt there was substance to what he was saying, so haven’t really changed my opinion there!)

        Alternative (to yours) way of interpreting his behaviour: He said “I know something you don’t know” not in a smug sing-songy way, but because that was genuinely the case. He shouldn’t really have said anything at all perhaps, and wouldn’t have ‘needed’ to if OP had taken the job that was offered. She demurred so he busted out the “I can’t tell you what it is, but what I can say is your circumstances are likely to look different in a couple of weeks time”.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          Oh, just to be clear… I was saying I think it’s likely that after she hesitated about that job, he used that tactic for her own good, not so he could “make the sale” or whatever. Of course if she (or someone) takes the job, he presumably benefits with a commission and so on, so in that sense it’s also for his good — but I don’t think it is just a selfish motive.

    3. Wintermute*

      Sharing information about a merger that you know because you have special, inside information can be a HUGE legal issue. Like depends on the exact situation and the specifics and if someone acts on what you’ve said, you might end up in jail legal issue. So the recruiter was clearly trying to say enough without saying anything that could be construed as a tipoff.

      Sadly that leaves you unable to give many specifics, and having to be very circumspect.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Then he shouldn’t have said anything at all. If it has to be kept confidential you don’t tell anyone you know something confidential.

        1. Wintermute*

          That is true, I suppose he figured he couldn’t in good conscience say nothing, or maybe he figured whatever he said was safe enough that it wouldn’t be considered insider information.

        2. Ally McBeal*

          Yes, especially since he apparently didn’t contact anyone one else at the company, and the person he did reach out to describes themselves as entry-level. Very strange.

      2. Antilles*

        Of course, from the perspective of the listener, “being circumspect and non-specific because there’s something real going on” looks EXACTLY the same as “being circumspect because I’m trying to use a shady salesman scare tactic to nab that recruiting commission”.

    4. I'm just here for the cats.*

      knowing what happened I wonder if the recruiter made a mistake and that OP was the first on his list to call and when they started speaking he realized his mixup and was trying to cover up his mistake. That would explain why no one else got a call, he jumped the gun before the sale was announced.

      1. Smithy*

        This is my thought as well – or even that he realized through speaking with the OP that “trust me, you should consider this seriously” line wasn’t going to be enough to make someone take a job that they didn’t consider a step up or advancement.

        I know that the whole situation was a bummer for the OP, but it wouldn’t have put them in a radically different situation than they are today. And now they have concrete information, and so if they do take a job that feels lateral or requires giving something up – it’s with full knowledge of what’s happening.

      2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        That hadn’t occurred to me so I re-read the original letter with that possibility in mind — and it does seem like it could be a possibility, although I’d wonder how she got through the original phone screen without this coming up already at that stage. She had this conversation with him (“I know something you don’t”, etc) at the point he was wanting to book the second interview, which was about a week after the initial phone interview, which is quite a long time to ‘jump the gun’ by — especially because presumably the acquired company was in contact with the recruiter/agency fairly frequently over that time to coordinate logistics and so on. The “go live date” of project Find New Jobs For These People would be firmly in their mind at that stage.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Reading the update that’s exactly where my brain went. Recruiter made a mistake and called OP too early, and the. Tried to cover his mistake by making yet more mistakes. Not a great situation all around.

        Also hoping OP is able to get a new job that meets their needs soon.

    5. MK*

      Seriously? Look, what actually happened is that the OP and Alison and almost all of the comments on the original post, all of us were wrong. It was a natural mistake to make with the information in the letter, to assume this guy was shady and only trying to pressure the OP into taking the job by dropping unfounded hints about a dark future; but it turned out to not be the case. But the fact is that he actually knew what he was talking about, and probably gave the OP as much information as he could. All these mental twists in this thread that he was really shady after all, that the OP is better off unemployed than taking the job he was offering (maybe, but only the OP and the future can tell), that he made some bizarre mistake about when to contact the OP, that he shouldn’t have said anything at all (again, maybe, but the OP didn’t lose anything by his supposed indiscretion), etc? I don’t get it.

    6. moonstone*

      Ironically, I feel like the recruiter had a better chance of success if they hadn’t said anything at all! All they did was weird out the OP. They should have tried just selling them the job.

    7. OnlyHostess*

      #1 – Sneaky Recruiter Writer
      There are (at least) two positions at OSU I’m aware of that are 90% remote and may help with tuition when you go back to school. Go to hr.osu.edu/careers, then click on Non-Ohio State Employees (assuming that fits you), and search for R40783 and R41199.

  3. Nora*

    #2 They said that as a 21 year-old undergrad, that would destroy his confidence

    Somehow I don’t think this intern’s problem is “not enough confidence”

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, what?

      He’s got the confidence thing more than covered, especially now that he’s been rewarded with an easy coast through the rest of the internship.

      1. Myrin*

        And, I’m sorry, but it’s not the C-suite’s job to make sure this guy’s confidence remains intact.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          It appears to be the job of everyone currently in positions of power to ensure that young white men don’t suffer any avoidable blows to their confidence.

          There’s a reason for the old line “Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white male.” It didn’t just get that way by accident; they were carefully trained to it.

        2. L.H. Puttgrass*

          White, upper-middle class, and entitled? This guy has “Future C-suite” written all over him.

          1. Fluffy Fish*

            I’m sure that very much plays into it. The c-suite probably “sees a little bit of themselves” in him. Insert eyeroll.

          2. LW2*

            Letter Writer #2 here!

            Although I certainly agree with this general observation about white, upper-middle class young men, race isn’t a factor in our specific situation. 2 out of 3 C-suite members aren’t white (one is white, one is black, one is Asian). They aren’t particularly biased towards this intern – they just really like the “Cool Boss” culture, and cannot be the Bad Guy to save their lives

            1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

              I think you need to post this as a comment in the main section instead of buried as a reply to someone else. It seems most the people commenting are making the same “white dudes” assumption. All I thought was, “Gee, what nice people!” My bad,I guess.

            2. Yarrow*

              The truth is, people of color can still be biased toward white people, in addition to their impulse to be the “cool bosses.”

              1. moonstone*

                Yep. This.

                Identifying discrimination is hard. It’s hard to tell with isolated cases and only becomes obvious when it becomes a pattern. I personally only like to call out racism/discrimination when it’s a really obvious pattern, even when I suspect subtler occurrences, because I don’t want to “cry wolf” and have discrimination issues not be taken seriously in the future.

                But NGL, when I read this update, it definitely sent up a yellow flag for me. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that minorities in entry level positions get penalized and even fired for far less. This guy behaves like a Grade A jerk and is just given classes? I’ve never heard of that being a consequence for being a terrible intern. But I also understand that is controlling for the variation in bosses (like OP said, these CEOs are very lenient people, while someone else’s boss could just be more strict, and their race could just be a coincidence.) I mean, who knows. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions right away, but I would keep an eye on this dynamic if I were the OP.

                And even if race weren’t a factor, gender could be.

            3. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

              “race isn’t a factor”

              You can’t really know that. But I’d find it more believable if the young man with the cushy “punishment” were Black.

              1. LW2*

                Letter Writer #2 here! Thank you for your insight. You are right that I can’t know this with 100% certainty, but the fact that they are not from the same socioeconomic background certainly diminishes the probability that, “The c-suite probably “sees a little bit of themselves” in him” as described by Fluffy Fish

                Even though the 3 executives have all been doormat-like in their niceness towards the intern, it is (surprisingly) the African-American gentleman who has been by far the most lenient and forgiving towards this young miscreant. The other 2 higher-ups, who are white and Asian, at least hesitated for a few seconds before deciding against firing the intern.

                1. LW2*

                  It’s hard to say, because we don’t have nearly enough datapoints to establish a trend. In the 10-year history of the company, problematic employees have been a very small minority. In addition to this intern, there was 1 white male and 1 Hispanic female (both former employees) who had issues, and they were also handled very gently.

                2. LW2*

                  It’s hard to say, because we don’t have nearly enough datapoints to establish a trend. In the 10-year history of the company, problematic employees have been a very small minority. In addition to this intern, there was 1 white male and 1 Hispanic female (both former employees) who had issues, and they were also handled very gently.

  4. All's well that ends well*

    For #2, I can definitely see how that was so frustrating. But man, your CEOs are extremely kind people. I only wish I had that kind of optimism and kindness here (I’m in Philly, the city of NOT brotherly love lol). I really hope their prediction of the intern coming back and apologizing comes true!

    1. Expelliarmus*

      I’m not too optimistic about the intern learning from this, seeing as he’s still getting paid for not doing the internship work. Maybe he will, but it would have been WAY more likely if he had gotten fired.

    2. Working Hypothesis*

      I have to wonder if they’d have been quite so kind if the intern in question hadn’t been white. Or hadn’t been male. I don’t think they would’ve meant to discriminate; most people don’t mean to, which doesn’t mean they don’t do it. But it’s unfortunately way too common to extend an empathy and think about the “consequences to his future confidence” and that sort of thing when you’re dealing with a white man, and ONLY when you’re dealing with a white man. When it’s anybody else, those types of thoughts often just don’t come up. And because very few people are faced with almost identical situations in very short succession involving people of different races or genders, they don’t notice the discrepancy, because they don’t have another decision of their own to compare it to.

      1. LW2*

        2nd Letter Writer here!

        The C-Suite (the 3 founders of the company) are from a diverse background. One is a white male from an upper-middle class background, just like the intern. One is an immigrant who came to the US for graduate studies. One is from a blue-collared background and is the first in their family to attend college.

        They are like this towards all employees, because they really like the idea of being the “Cool Boss.” They are extremely patient and kind and non-confrontational to everyone, to the point of being doormats. The only time they’ve ever fired anyone in the past 10 years was someone who falsified his Time Sheet by over 300 hours, smoked in the bathroom, and destroyed a shelf full of office supplies in a fit of frustration. And that was only after very passively confronting that person several times, and months of using positive reinforcement to try and get him to change.

        The “Cool Boss” thing works great for the vast majority of employees, who have self-respect and integrity. But the higher-ups often find themselves at a loss for what to do, when the occasional Edge Case comes along and the usual methods don’t work

        Anyways, I digress. It’s been a couple weeks since I shared this update with Alison, and the internship is over now. Even though that intern wasn’t terminated, everyone is aware of what he did, and he is on the list of people who will not be re-hired.

        1. Momma Bear*

          Well, at least he’s on the “do not hire list”. The “cool boss” mentality makes sense with their behavior.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Well, count the mini-victory of getting him (probably at least partially through your documentation efforts) on the not eligible for rehire list.

        3. Persephone Mulberry*

          If I were a betting person, I would put money on your C-suite overriding that Do Not Hire notation should this young man ever decide he wants to work (“work”) with you again. Because they’re the Cool Bosses, and surely this bright young man learned his lesson last time….

    3. tinybutfierce*

      Honestly, the CEOs aren’t being kind here, they’re just choosing to make it someone else’s problem; actually holding this intern accountable for his behavior is what would have been doing him (and anyone who had to deal with him) a kindness by showing him his absurd behavior isn’t appropriate and shouldn’t be tolerated. Instead, they taught him the exact opposite by choosing to give him the slightest slap on the wrist while still getting paid for an internship he’s not actually working anymore. That’s not doing the intern, or anyone who’s going to have to deal with his now-reinforced behavior in the future, any favors.

      1. moonstone*

        Repeating my comment elsewhere, but I think this is a good distinction of being “nice” vs being “kind”. Especially if this happens with a future problem employee. It won’t be kind to their coworkers or bosses to put up with this person.

    4. ffs-stop-it*

      I think LW#2’s C-suite are showing significant wisdom as well as kindness. We’d all be a lot better off if we had more managers like that, especially at that decision-making level. I understand LW#2’s frustration and confusion, but they could also learn from the balanced and compassionate approach their C-suite showed.

      The only real issue mentioned about this intern is the timesheet stuff, but if he really was working through his breaks (as far too many of us do), it’s not him being dishonest. The “extra six hours” being added could be a concern or sign of dishonesty, but it may also have come from above LW#2’s head.

      I’m inclined to think that while the intern may just have been unaware or dismissive of professional norms, perhaps he had something quite serious going on in the background, including food insecurity and/or homelessness, or threat thereof. The C-suite may even have been aware of it.

  5. Rosalind Franklin*

    LW1 made me wonder if there’s any demand for an AAM-reader-approved companies list/hiring board/something. I’d love to recommend my company – so many of Alison’s letters make me go “wow, that would never fly here!”

    1. LikesToSwear*

      Same! I would love to recommend my company, but anonymity is important as well.

      I mean, I found a freaking unicorn that gives starting vacation based on all experience in whatever your job is. So I started with almost as much vacation per year as my husband, who has been with a local government for 30+ years. And I started with the max the company gives any starting employee, the only way to get more is to work here a lot of years.

  6. Covered in Bees*

    I’m incredibly skeptical and got the feeling that LW is too. However now it isn’t their circus anymore.

    1. LW2*

      Letter Writer #2 here. The internship is over now. Even though the intern was not terminated, he is certainly on the “do not re-hire” list

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        That much is good, anyway! Not your problem anymore, but I get so irritated when people in power go all gooey over “not ruining his future” for young white men who have made repeated decisions to do dishonest things. Nobody else gets that kind of leeway. Black men who do things like that usually not only get fired, they get handed over to police. For women, it’s not quite as bad but they do get fired nastily. And because the bosses who make these decisions rarely get two almost identical situations in a row with different races or genders involved, they don’t realize how much it’s affecting their perception of the people involved.

        1. LW2*

          I don’t think the bias is racial in our case, since 2 out of 3 members of the C-Suite aren’t white. They just really, really, really don’t like the idea of being the “bad guy” towards any employee. But I certainly see your point about young white men from upper-class backgrounds, in general.

          1. CanYallShutUp*

            Please change your user name. This one is rude. Thank you! – Alison

            (Er, that is to CanYallShutUp, not the LW.)

          2. OhGee*

            Unconscious bias in favor of/against people of a certain race/sex can present in people of all races, though. There have been many peer reviewed studies about this.

            1. Properlike*

              Yep. Internalizing the patriarchial assumptions is how you get into the C-suite when you’re an outsider.

          3. Important Moi*

            As a person of color let me assure you, you don’t have to be white man to be more “fair” to white men.

            1. Woof*

              I think one of LW’s other comments above that C suite treats EVERYONE like this is probably more relevant

      2. Typing All The Time*

        It’s sad because there seems to be no real punishment of this intern. Especially he’s falsifying his time sheet again.

  7. Wintermute*

    #1– the reason the recruiter didn’t just tell you was that sharing knowledge of a merger that you have because of special access can land you in tons of legal hot water

    1. lyonite*

      Then they should have just kept their mouth shut. Hinting like they did was unhelpful, and seems like it was more of a power move than anything.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Exactly. It wasn’t useful information, because even though true, it was couched in a way that suggested it was BS.

    2. Purple Cat*

      Agreed that the recruiter absolutely couldn’t share the specifics, but then they also shouldn’t have said “I know something you don’t know and I’m not gonna tell you!” Obviously they didn’t actually do it in a playground taunting voice (I hope), but the end result is effectively the same. If you can’t talk about something – then you DO NOT talk about it. You don’t allude and drop ominous hints.

    3. Kevin Sours*

      I’m not sure the “I’m not touching you” way they approached it is really any better.

    4. Clisby*

      It could if we were talking about publicly traded companies, but privately owned companies?

      1. Littorally*

        It might not land them in hot water with the SEC if the companies were both privately held and no investment decisions were made based on the leak, but I would imagine insider trading isn’t the only possible legal issue in play.

    5. Beth*

      Probably, but this is exactly why it doesn’t work to hint at confidential info. Let’s say we assume the best possible intentions from the recruiter–that he knew this was coming and was trying to act in OP’s best interest. I get the instinct to want to help in cases like this. But all he was able to do was scare OP, make them feel pressured to take a job that they didn’t want, and discredit himself as a recruiter in their eyes. That’s not a good outcome, even if we assume their intent was good.

      If they had kept quiet, OP would be in the same position as they are now, but minus the stress they’ve been feeling over the vague warning. Sometimes the best thing we can do, given the limitations put on us, is to stay out of it and not try to help.

    6. StudentA*

      Yes, that’s clear and it’s silly to blame the recruiter for not telling the whole story.

      And those harshly criticizing the recruiter for hinting are also being so hard on the guy. I bet if he hadn’t hinted and hung the LW out to dry, they would’ve criticized him for that. Recruiters are damned if they do, damned if they don’t with this readership.

  8. Insert Clever Name Here*

    #3 is exactly how this type of thing should go if someone thinks another person is pregnant. The manager thought OP’s not drinking was because she was pregnant and then the manager, crucially, did ***absolutely nothing at all*** with this information before being approached by OP on OP’s timeline.

    1. TreeFrogEditor*

      Totally true!

      Though, I’ve gotta say, as a formerly pregnant person, I also find it very annoying when I shared the news of my pregnancy and the response was “OMG I KNEW it because [Sherlock-style recounting].” Like, I get it, people notice things and suspect things and it’s fun to have your suspicions confirmed, but maybe keep that part to yourself, too? “Congrats!” is fine.

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        I can definitely understand that. As a formerly pregnant person, it didn’t bother me the few times it happened (maybe because it was always prefaced by an enthusiastic “congrats” first), but I can definitely understand why others would be annoyed at it.

        1. Ayla*

          I mostly hated the time a friend responded with, “I knew it! That’s why you’ve been gaining weight the last few months!” And then things got awkward when I explained I was only 8 weeks along and that was cookie weight they’d been noticing.

          1. Beka Cooper*

            My parents became convinced that my brother’s fiance was pregnant a week or so before their wedding. I can’t remember if they had more to go on besides this, but they’d noticed weight gain, and then when they searched the Target gift registry for the wedding, they found a baby registry for a couple who had the same first names and last name as my brother and started spreading their theory to our whole side of the family. I looked up the other couple on facebook and sent screenshots of their profiles to my parents and debunked the whole thing, and also gave my bro’s fiance a heads up. She said “Oh, so that’s why they were staring at me so much last time we were at their house.”

  9. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

    OP #2: I hope that those classes and workshops are at least very, very, VERY boring and also totally snack-free. But also, omg, way to bungle it C-suite.

      1. sceptical*

        And what consequences were there if he didn’t pass? Sounds like he would “finish” his internship either way.

    1. JustaTech*

      Part of me hates to think that there are enough people who have catastrophically bungled “standard professional norms” that there are multiple classes and workshops on the subject.

      Another part of me has a (short) list of people to send to those classes.

      I sure hope the classes start with the instructor saying “You are here because you have messed up, badly, but your manager is willing to give you one last chance to shape up before you are fired. Are we clear?”

      1. Nicki Name*

        There are a lot of people who are the first person in their family to have a white-collar job and could stand to have some things spelled out that other people get to pick up by osmosis as they’re growing up.

        1. Nicki Name*

          (Not saying this intern is one of them, just giving a reason why these classes exist.)

    2. L.H. Puttgrass*

      “and also totally snack-free”

      If I could embed a slow clap GIF here, I would. Bravo.

  10. Campfire Raccoon*

    Holy cow #2’s C-suite is the kindest group of C-suiters I’ve ever heard of. Good golly.

    1. Beth*

      I’ve seen plenty of this type of “kindness” — it’s very common, as long as both the C-Suite and the intern come from the same privileged group. ‘Nuff said.

      1. Jinni*

        So much this. Where my ex works, they thought reducing pay to $100K was a way to push white men out the door. Anyone else, fired.

    2. Dutchie*

      I don’t think it’s kind to any of the interns who don’t fob up their timecards.

      1. JustaTech*

        Exactly. If it was only the shirts and snacks and cups, then “how to exist in a professional setting” classes makes sense. Or maybe that and a *single* timecard mix up.

        But the repeated time card fussing? Nope, that’s malice aforethought.

        1. Anonny*

          Malice and stupidity. You don’t pull the scam again on someone who caught you.

          Hopefully he’s also stupid and arrogant enough to include OP as a reference for his next job, and OP is allowed to give an honest one.

  11. letmedomyjob*

    OP #2 – this sounds like a case of childhood trauma causing hoarding/caching issues from food or resource instability. he may not have ever had enough growing up and now feels the need to take whatever he can in case he needs it and can have it nearby.

    1. lyonite*

      I mean, it’s possible. But I’ve worked with to many people who seem to think that any free food is a chance to stock up, without personal need or any regard for others, to think that it’s the only, or most likely, explanation.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        This. Or why he would continue to call attention to it by looting the snacks. I’ve known people who had deprivation trauma issues but they were anxious for people to not know.

    2. Myrin*

      Oh please. To me, he sounds like a spoiled kid who thinks he can have everything he wants without repercussions and, at least at this company, he’s been proven right.
      But thankfully, it doesn’t matter what you or I think because neither of us are in OP’s shoes. And soon, she won’t have to deal with him anymore either, so that’s a win for all three of us, I guess?

    3. DisneyChannelThis*

      That’s not on the OP to diagnose or handle. And I know plenty of greedy people who go nuts over free stuff without any trauma, so I think that’s reaching a lot to make excuses for this guy. The time sheet lies remain an issue regardless of the underlying desires creating the t-shirt and food and cup theft.

    4. Properlike*

      Why are we so eager to explain away bad behavior?

      The C-suite is helping create a monster. It’s not “kind.” I doubt this “kindness” would be extended to most others. It just means intern fails upwards, gets into management, and defrauds people and everyone’s surprised because “it seemed to come out of nowhere.”

    5. Jennifer Strange*

      No, it really doesn’t. In my experience people who have suffered from any sort of food/resource insecurity are often LESS likely to draw attention to themselves in such a manner. Also, as I recall the OP specifically stated in the original post that the intern came from an upper middle class background.

      1. LW2*

        2nd Letter Writer again!

        The C-Suite (the 3 founders of the company) are from a diverse background. One is a white male from an upper-middle class background, just like the intern. One is an immigrant who came to the US for graduate studies. One is from a blue-collared background and is the first in their family to attend college.

        They are like this towards all employees. Extremely patient and kind and non-confrontational, to the point of being doormats. The only time they’ve ever fired anyone in the past 10 years was someone who falsified his Time Sheet by over 300 hours, smoked in the bathroom, and destroyed a shelf full of office supplies in a fit of frustration. And that was only after very passively confronting that person several times, and months of using positive reinforcement to try and get him to change.

        There is a very strong culture of being the Cool Boss at this company. It works great for 95% of employees, who are honest and hardworking people. But the higher-ups tend to find themselves unprepared for the occasional bad apple that comes along.

        These guys are brilliant at idea generation and product creation. But the backbone leaves much to be desired.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          The problem is that eventually they are going to have employees (other than the two mentioned by you so far) who are going to use and abuse this kindness. When that happens the “cool kid” bosses are possibly going to change. And depending on how badly burned the bosses get.

    6. Les*

      This came to my mind as well. Earlier postings that make suppositions and leap to anger over “demographics” and how this intern is being treated don’t seem especially helpful. Is the intern’s background actually known? And if so, does it reflect his current circumstances? It may be that he’s going hungry.

      Still doesn’t excuse timesheet chicanery.

      1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

        Actually, the letter writer has shared his background here, and it was also shared in the comments in the original letter. And recognizing that something has all of the hallmarks of another instance of systemic issue isn’t lacking in helpfuless.

    7. Insert Clever Name Here*

      This OP was active in the comments of the original post (commenting as “OP,” add an asterisk after the P and you can easily find all their comments) and shared that the intern is white from an upper middle class background with parents who have successful careers.

      There is also a thread from commenters with experience with resource instability and that the intern’s behavior doesn’t jive with that type of background — “e271828” was the original commenter at 2:29 (they had a couple of other comments). A lot of that original comment section was a very worthwhile read.

      1. Tiny Soprano*

        Yep. The housemate who’d experienced food insecurity never stole any of my food. The only ones who did were ones who came from wealthy backgrounds and somehow felt entitled to my delicious lasagne. (Or maybe they were both Garfield in different human suits) Just anecdata, but still.

        1. Jack Bruce*

          Yes! I experienced that insecurity and I would never take everything and wouldn’t do it so blatantly. You can have trauma and also not be an entitled jerk. The people who usually do this are privileged and take whatever they can, because they can.

    8. Artemesia*

      yeah no. probably a very entitled white guy who has never had consequences and apparently never will. sometimes they move all the way to the very top never having any consequences

    9. HufferWare*

      I stole from work constantly when I was in my 20s because I was broke as hell and didn’t get paid enough to feed myself and make my other bills. Tampons, snacks, toilet paper, all sorts of stuff. Sometimes there’s no pathology behind it, just bad circumstances and desperation. I don’t know if I agree with how OPs work handled it, but I also don’t think this guy deserves to have his life destroyed for goldfish crackers and solo cups.

        1. Myrin*

          Yeah, what is it with the overly dramatic language that always gets brought out in situations like these?

      1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

        So he should get to stay in a time limited internship after repeatedly fudging his time sheets because…? And losing an internship would destroy his life by…?

      2. Burger Bob*

        I feel reasonably confident that people have been fired from internships before and have gone on to live totally non-destroyed lives.

    10. Just Here for the Free Lunch*

      I’m not so sure. The fact that he did it on a Friday afternoon just before he left makes me think that he was stocking up for a party that weekend. (why else would he take stacks of plastic cups in addition to the snacks?)

    11. Lucky*

      Sure, possible, but when we’re talking about a 21 year old adult who violates general work norms to the point that he should be terminated from an internship, Occam’s Razor would have us assume “never had a job before and tending to over-confidence and indulgence” rather than “experienced serious childhood trauma now evidenced in the need to hoard free t-shirts and office snacks.”

    12. SportyYoda*

      So, I’ll give the caveat that just because he’s an upper middle class white male doesn’t necessarily mean he isn’t currently experiencing food/resource insecurity and/or doesn’t have a past history of it… however the pattern of behavior (NINE timeclock violations!?) suggests he’s just an asshole who isn’t experiencing consequences for his actions.

    13. Absolutely*

      I agree that this is a strong possibility. It’s what I am thinking too. I have a relative who went through phases of hoarding small advantages (very like falsifying time sheets or taking more snacks than was fair), and it’s a mental health issue, based possibly on childhood neglect. (They were not poor, but neglected emotionally.) This isn’t to excuse the behaviour- it’s bad behaviour and i think this young man sounds like he needs to wise up- but thieving can come from trauma. His behaviour isn’t even serving him (after all, it’s so visible!) so it does not sound like he’s being logical or as if he’s fully in control of his actions.

  12. MI Dawn*

    OP #1: Good luck locating a new job. Look at health insurance companies, MD offices, other places that often hire outside for things like this. And best of luck going back to school. May you complete studies in a field that has you interested and engaged.

    1. Wish I had a golden retriever.*

      Hi Scooter and Letter writer one. Nice to know others here in Columbus follow this site.

  13. Worked for a Jerk*

    LW#1 – go to Chase.com. They have a LOT of openings and you can likely find something there.

    1. Wish I had a golden retriever.*

      I live in Columbus Ohio and have been told that too about Chase.

  14. Accounting Anonymous*

    LW#1: I’m 99% certain I know what company you’re talking about. (Not going to give any identifying details, don’t worry!) I’ve been job searching in the area of the acquiring company, and briefly spoke with a recruiter about a senior position with them. The details about changes on the horizon were alarmingly vague, and I got weird vibes so I bowed out almost immediately. If I’m right, that completely explains why they were being so vague.
    I hope you find what you’re looking for! I know that the accounting market is hot right now, so I believe in you!

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Reminder that one of the commenting rules is:

      Don’t make comments like “I think I know what company you work for.” People comment here expecting anonymity and, even when well-meant, these comments can make people uneasy. (Also, they’re usually wrong!)

        1. Sunny*

          Also a quick google search will let you know which companies, but hopefully, OP is okay with that!

  15. Goldenrod*

    OP#1 – I also hate that that guy was right! I was sure he was full of it. Although, I still think the way he handled it was lame. He put you in a bad position and it feels too much like he was gloating….Anyway, sorry it turned out that way! I hope you land something else soon.

    OP#2 – I don’t understand that decision at all. Maybe this is reading too much into it, but it makes me think of how many extra chances white men get in life (and maybe that is off base here, I don’t know!). Either way, I think firing him would send a much more effective message that would be more likely to help him later in life. But – not your problem!

    1. Kevin Sours*

      You aren’t thinking anything I wasn’t. Some people get too many chances to their detriment.

  16. Sarah*

    I don’t get why LW #1 is calling themselves entry level. They may not be senior level or anything, but if they’ve already been working somewhere, then they would be more accurately termed an experienced accounting clerk.

    1. Don’t sell yourself short*

      I had a similar thought. And was troubled that they think school is the only way to overcome being “entry level.” I was coming to make this comment.

      Don’t sell yourself short LW#1!

  17. Pam Adams*

    LW @1,

    Check the school you want to attend. They may be hiring. As a bonus, you might be able to take classes with a fee waiver!

  18. Disgusted*

    I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been asked if I’m pregnant because I’m not drinking or don’t want to attend happy hour. It’s because alcohol triggers horrible migraines! Also, what if someone is in recovery, and that’s why they aren’t drinking? Assumptions like these really grinds my gears, and it’s just another aggravation women have to deal with at work.

    1. Wildcat*

      I rarely drink because alcohol can trigger my GERD. But as a woman in my 30s everyone thinks it’s because you’re pregnant.

    2. EPLawyer*

      I wish that people could just say no to a drink and have it be accepted without there needing to be a “reason.”

      I mean if someone offers you a stick of gum and you say no, they don’t ask why or get it all the reasons why you should have a stick of gum. Someone not drinking should be given the same courtesy. They said no. that’s it.

      1. JustaTech*

        I used to have a coworker who didn’t drink. Never said anything about other people drinking, he just didn’t drink alcohol. And that was it.
        He usually turned down happy hour invitations, but people always offered (and in general chose places that weren’t just bars so there were other drinks and food) and accepted his “no thanks” cheerfully.

        When he left we threw him a happy hour where there was some beer/wine/cider/soda, but the big thing was a giant plate of sushi, because we knew he wasn’t going to drink so we wanted to get him something we knew he liked. And he did!

        Then again, in the past few years the folks at my work who throw happy hours have been really good about having non-alcoholic options (thank goodness for the seltzer craze!), which just makes everyone happier. And isn’t that the point?

    3. Delta Delta*

      I’ve been to events where there have been really very good mocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages (I’m looking at you, grapefruit Fever Tree soda, you delicious fizzy pink elixir of life), and if there’s an option, I might choose that just because I feel like it. Doesn’t mean I’m pregnant, it means I feel like something else.

      Also, once I was taking some pretty hefty antibiotics and alcohol made me very queasy. I didn’t really want to talk about the antibiotics and why I was taking them or why I would probably projectile vomit if I drank. although, maybe projectile vomit would shut down the pregnancy talk.

    4. straws*

      Yeah… I’m actually pregnant right now and anytime I turn down a drink it’s “Oh right, you’re pregnant!” Well, yes, I won’t drink because I’m pregnant, but I also haven’t had a drink in 4 years and I sure as heck haven’t been pregnant that entire time. It’s amazing how we have to have an “acceptable” reason to refuse something going in our bodies. I’m also allergic to dairy and run into this with cheese all the time. Can’t I just not want a slice of pizza? Why do we need to get into my medical history?

    5. Biology dropout*

      Ugh, yes. When I did get pregnant, one of the first comments was “I knew you were because you didn’t have wine at x dinner!” Um. Yeah. I don’t drink. It’s a migraine trigger for me.

    6. Dust Bunny*

      I just don’t drink that much.

      I do drink, but sometimes I’m too full or I just don’t feel like it. I am very definitely not pregnant (nor have I ever been).

    7. topcat*

      I’m a lifelong non-drinker and it used to be the case that I’d get hassled about it. Fortunately it’s much more “normal” these days to not-drink.

      However, for anyone wanting to conceal a more personal reason for not drinking (pregnancy/trying to conceive, alcoholism recovery, etc), or simply to shut down the conversation, my advice from long experience is to say: “I’m on some medication that disallows it”/”I’m on a course of antibiotics”.

      Everyone knows you can’t mix alcohol with many different, very commonplace medications, and they won’t usually intrude further. You shouldn’t have to lie but it can save you a world of hassle to do so.

  19. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

    #1 – I’m in Columbus as well, and my company is looking for both AP and AR clerks! Obviously I don’t want to identify myself on a public messaging board… Alison, if I share the name/detai;s of my company with you, can you pass it along to LW?

  20. Trout 'Waver*

    Disclaimer: I’m a dude.

    Is it just me or is “I knew you were pregnant.” the worst possible answer to someone telling you they are pregnant?
    It’s a combination of “You look pregnant” and “I enjoy speculating about your personal life”.

    1. Velocipastor*

      As a currently pregnant lady, I agree with you. As a general rule if someone is telling you something personal for the first time, it’s best to pretend it’s the first time you’ve considered the possibility.

    2. EmmaPoet*

      No, this is in the category of things that should not be said outside your (general your) own brain. You may well have guessed, but the person you’re talking to will not be edified by your telling them.

    3. Ali + Nino*

      I recently got “was this planned or…?” From three out of four close family members whom I told separately. JUST FOLLOW MY LEAD! If I’m happy, be happy with me (at least superficially).

    4. allathian*

      You’re not wrong. That said, I think there are some things that are even worse. “Was it planned?” is one, my friend got that comment when she got pregnant with her 4th child. Totally uncalled for.

      It seems like women just can’t win. If they’re happily childfree, they’re told they’re going to regret it until it’s clearly too late to have kids; and even then some get the “Well, aren’t you sorry you’re never going to have any grandkids?” as if having a kid would automatically mean grandkids later. When the first baby is born, it doesn’t take long until the questions about possible siblings are going to start, and the comments about selfish singletons (believe me, I’ve heard a few, as a mom to an only child, but thankfully these have finally stopped, my son’s clearly not any more selfish than other kids his age, regardless of whether or not they have siblings). If both kids are the same gender, it doesn’t take long for the questions about trying for a kid of the other gender to start. But if it’s a boy and a girl, this seems to be the ideal, so people who get pregnant with a third kid in this situation often get the “was it planned?” question as well.

      “You do know that this baby is going to ruin your life, don’t you?” is probably a sentence that most teenage moms will hear at least once. In some cases, it might well be true, but it’s not a certainty by any means, especially if the young mom has a good support system.

  21. Robin Ellacott*

    Re the intern:

    Argh, why is there so much concern for some people’s possible futures that they get to avoid consequences for their current behaviour? This intern has learned that he has “potential” and can get away with whatever he likes. He SHOULD lose some confidence!

    This type of short sighted grace is NOT distributed evenly and I think it does nobody – not the person, not society – any favours.

    1. Nanani*

      Thats literally privilege in action. Getting away with things without consequence -is a privilege- afforded to some demographics. Funny how that works out :/

  22. Nicki Name*

    LW2, thank you so much for writing in again. I’ve never wanted to see an update as desperately as I did with your letter.

  23. satelliteofl0ve*

    “The intern would receive a clear message that his behavior needed to improve, without enduring actual punishment.”

    ….the punishment is the message!!!! Jesus H Christ, this is why people get away with so much BS nowadays. No one is willing to grow a spine anymore and deal with trouble makers.

    1. irene adler*

      Yep! We had a regular employee who was just horrible in a similar fashion to the intern in #2. After intentionally ruining many experiments and blatantly violating safety practices (we work with biohazardous substances), our manager wanted this guy fired. He’d documented everything so no issue there.

      Nope! Said the CEO. There’s a place for everyone at my company says CEO. He didn’t have to work with this guy.

      We tried to push him off to another department, but they refused. They already knew he was trouble. This was a company of less than 30 people, so no secrets.

      We had to put up with this guy for nearly a year until the CEO was fired. Then, lab guy was fired when we moved into a new building across town. In addition, no one let the guy know the address of the new digs.

      1. MSWIntern*

        Intentionally. Ruined. Many. Experiments. Holy crow, I’ve got to hear the story behind that! What experiments? How? What did the employee hope to gain by ruining them?

  24. Rose*

    I’m going to offer an alternate perspective on #2; what if he is unable to afford basic necessities? Or is trying to support someone else and cannot afford necessities for both of them? Taking extra food screams ‘help’ to me. Honestly, I can see myself acting like this back when I was in the worst part of an abusive relationship; my partner would steal my money as soon as I made it and threw us into horrible debt, and we couldn’t afford food or enough clothes for me. I would have been unable to resist. Just tossing that out there as a possibility, and a potential reminder to check on his home life.

    1. EPLawyer*

      He’s a upper middle class white guy. We went through this first letter. I thought the same thing but LW came in and told us — nope, none of that stuff.

      We have a LOt of letters from people who SHOULD know better and are NOT broke who just push boundaries because they can and no one held them accountable before.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        Well, the OP said the intern came from an upper middle class background. It’s possible that he’s financially struggling now that he’s in college. Maybe he’s paying for things himself for the first time in his life, when he’s used to getting everything handed to him. Maybe his parents are withdrawing support and he has no financial management skills.

        Or maybe he is an a-hole planning a kegger and stealing disposable cups from work ;)

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Then it is up to him to mention that when they talked to him about the problem.

      I appreciate the desire to be compassionate, but an employer checking into an employee’s home life is an overreach.

    3. Myrin*

      I’m just going to copy the comment I left on the original letter: “This comes up every time a letter in a similar vein is posted and whenever an OP comments or updates, it never turns out to be the case. By all means, don’t go in all guns blazing and immediately starting to verbally rip him to shreds, but there’s a reason he’s coming across like an entitled moocher to the majority of the commentariat (and, to a different degree [“con artist”] to the OP, who is by far the one best positioned to assess this).”
      And you can see that this came true once again because the OP has updated both in the original comments and here several times and in much greater detail already.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      He doesn’t need all the plastic cups. Even “disposable” cups are reusable–if he didn’t have another thing to drink out of he could take one and be good until it cracked. He doesn’t need to stuff his duffel bag with packs of them.

    5. Nanani*

      This was covered in the original thread. He is a privileged AF failson.

      Also “what if disadvantaged” isn’t the compasionate response you seem to think it is.
      People in real poverty don’t generally jeopardize their livelihoods like this, and people without massive privilege do NOT expect to get away with this sort of thing.

      1. Antilles*

        And even if he WAS in poverty (he’s not) and needed to grab excess food for his meals, he wouldn’t be doing it in such a blatant way.
        Take the snacks for example: Would he really start openly shoving everything into a duffel bag AFTER being warned that he’s on thin ice and risking his income? Nope. Even if he was close enough to the edge that he desperately needed the snacks for food over the weekend, he’d be doing it much more covertly – grabbing a single bag every couple hours over the course of the week or waiting till everybody else left or a bunch of other options that wouldn’t be effectively begging them to fire him.

      2. Ayla*

        After all, it’s just as possible that others at the company are struggling financially. Now, because of the interns actions, they don’t even get the one portion they should have gotten. If we’re going to make compassionate assumptions, we might as well extend those to people who *aren’t* stealing, too.

        1. Danish*

          Right. Many, MANY people grew up poor and/or are still food insecure and yet they manage to not be selfish resource hogs. It could explain the Intern’s bad behavior but certainly doesn’t excuse it.

  25. doreen*

    It’s probably because I always worked in government but I have a question about #1 – how do investors force the owners of a privately owned company to sell if the investors don’t have any ownership of the company?

      1. doreen*

        Investors having ownership in exchange for providing capital is something I’m familiar with but when LW 1 says that the company was privately owned and the owners didn’t want to sell but the investors forced the sale, that sounds to me that the investors didn’t have any ownership – but now that I’ve thought more, maybe the LW didn’t mean to distinguish between investors and owners, but instead between investors and founders or something like that.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          I think the LW was using language loosely. The company is privately owned in that it is not a publicly traded company on the stock market. My guess is that the distinction between the “owners” and the “investors” is the parties contributing sweat equity versus the parties who put up the money. The sweat equity guys were invested in the company for the long haul. The money guys (a/k/a “job creators”) were happy to cash out for the right offer. The money guys undoubtedly controlled at least 51% of the company, so there you go.

        2. Cmdrshpard*

          A company being called privately owned means it is not open to the public for investment usually through the stock market. Companies like Google, Airbnb, Uber etc… Were private before they had their IPO (initial public offering) but before that they had secured investments from private individuals/companies.

          Before the IPO you couldn’t just decide to invest in Google, you could ask but they could tell you no. After an IPO if there are shares for sale they generally can’t refuse investment from anyone, antitrust issues aside.

          What potentially happened is original founders/owners held on to say 45/48% of shares and sold 18% ownership each to 3 different investors. So that the founders retained control as long as they had one of the 3 other investors on board. But once the 3 investors got together they had 54% voting power and could force the sale.

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      Shareholders aren’t the only folks who invest capital in a company. Their creditors have a significant investment, too.

      Depending on how the debt is structured and secured, the creditors may very well be able to pressure the owners into taking actions they would prefer not to.

    2. Eliza*

      If the owners are up to their ears in debt to the point where they’re having trouble making repayments on schedule, their creditors may be able to force them to sell.

  26. Misslucy21*

    LW1, my company is looking for a Billing Admin, among other things. We’re located in the Columbus area (being vague because internet, but would be happy to give details over email). We’re working hybrid right now (and don’t look to be changing that anytime soon) and I think most teams are doing 2 days in office and 3 remote. Email me if you’d like more info!

  27. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #1, you are in an in demand role, so don’t fret too much about this! {Easier said than done, I know}

    You won’t be entry level forever and you may not need to go back to school at all. I haven’t needed schooling and I started out as an accounting assistant as well.

    I’m sorry the recruiter actually did know something was up and gave you that ominous warning. But again, you will get out of the entry level spot quickly if you continue to work your way through the steps of upward mobility for accounting teams.

  28. Nanani*

    Ugh, #2 gets to skate by because the guys in power are just soooo full of compassion for the guy that reminds them of themselves, boo hoo let’s not hurt his precious feelings

    Failson will continue to fail -because- nobody with the authority to do so ever applies a consequence to him!

    So frustrated on LW#2’s behalf.

  29. anonymous73*

    No, the only thing the intern will learn is that they can get away with things with only a slap on the wrist. The taking things that didn’t belong to him was bad enough, but the payroll stuff? That was egregious enough to get him fired. But glad he’s not your problem anymore OP.

  30. Not one of the good ole boys...*

    OMG the intern one reeks of sexism and a good-ole-boys club in upper management. I wonder what their reaction would have been if it was a FEMALE intern who had taken 12 T-shirts and stuffed a DUFFEL BAG FULL O SNACKS (After sitting down with HR once, no less). I’m guessing they wouldn’t have PAID HER to attend a much-needed training. instead, what they did was pretty close to excusing his behavior as “oh well, boys will be boys, let’s send him to training….”

    1. MSWIntern*

      From what OP says, the C-Suite would have wanted to play the part of “cool boss” to any intern/employee, regardless of gender or race.

  31. Lizzo*

    OP #2: that intern’s name didn’t happen to be Brock, did it?

    I’m glad things got resolved for you, but that dude is not going to learn his lesson, and the overwhelming concern for his self-esteem makes me want to vomit.

    1. LW2*

      2nd Letter Writer here!

      Nope, his name wasn’t Brock :).

      It’s a cultural thing. The C-Suite (the 3 gentlemen who founded the company a decade ago) are like this towards all employees, because they really like the idea of being the “Cool Boss.” They are brilliant in the technical field, but cannot be the Bad Guy to save their lives. The only time they’ve ever fired anyone in the past 10 years was someone who falsified his Time Sheet by over 300 hours, smoked in the bathroom, and destroyed a shelf full of office supplies in a fit of frustration. And that was only after very passively confronting that person several times, and months of using positive reinforcement to try and get him to change.

      The “Cool Boss” thing works great for 95% of employees, because we are honest, hardworking, respectful people. Everyone loves that culture. But every once in a while, a terrible employee who is hell-bent on exploiting the system comes along.

      Even though that intern wasn’t terminated, at the very least he is on the “do not hire” list and won’t be coming back

  32. Khatul Madame*

    Did the intern get this internship through connections?
    If he is a son of a CxO’s golf buddy, I can see how the top management would be reluctant to terminate with prejudice.

    1. LW2*

      Letter Writer #2 here! No, he didn’t get this internship through connections. He’s not a friend or relative of anyone who works in the company

  33. Calamity Janine*

    i have to admit, with some regret and shame, i’m 99% frowning at the intern… but that 1% is just impressed with his sheer chutzpah

    intelligence, no. recognition of social norms, no. ability to plan a snack heist and not get caught, absolutely not.

    but sheer chutzpah? yes

  34. MSWIntern*

    Letter #2: At first, I was compelled to defend the C-Suite, since it is possible that the intern would later realize what a moron he was and cringe at the memory (remember that thread where everyone wrote in about their stupid/unprofessional/what-was-I-thinking moments as an intern?) So, I thought maybe they were right, and the intern would apologize one day. But then I read about the previously-fired employee who actually became physically violent and still didn’t face real consequences for the longest time. OP 2, your company’s product must be so good, and company reputation so strong, that you must have a flood of applicants for every opening, allowing middle managers to be very selective about who is hired onto their team. With leadership this nonconfrontational, I don’t see how else your company manages to attract and hire the hardworking, honest employees that make up the majority of your workplace.

    1. moonstone*

      Yeah, sometimes people need to experience consequences to learn their lesson! The CEOs are wrong in Letter 2 because the intern didn’t get fired or reprimanded, there is nothing for him to regret down the road! Especially as he’s already a person with very little self awareness or manners. He’s an adult not a child, and people his age know better than to behave the way he does. These CEOs are very problematic because it shows they are willing to enable problematic employees, which will bite them in their butts eventually.

  35. Richard Hershberger*

    Quite apart from everything else from LW2’s letter, I am bemused by this:

    “This student clearly was not ready for the professional world, despite having a lot of extracurricular activities and better grades than the past interns.”

    I can see the logic behind assuming good grades will translate to the professional world. I’m not convinced, but I understand the reasoning. But extracurriculars? What does young Mason playing lacrosse and being on the debate team have to do with being professional? Frankly, I don’t see this for college applications, either, and it makes even less sense here.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      It’s the assumption that extracurriculars help to develop transferrable skills like teamwork, leadership, communication, etc.

    2. Ali + Nino*

      I was thinking the ability to balance a full courseload (while earning good grades) with outside commitments.

  36. TIRED*

    Not only did the intern in #2 not get his confidence “damaged”, but he actually got some sweet face-time with the C-suite. Way to bungle this C-suite! And sure the 3 dunces in the C-suite who did not make the intern accountable for his actions are not all white (only 1 is) – but that doesn’t change the fact that they are upholding the patriarchy! I hope all the other interns and employees see how the failson intern was NOT dealt with and avoid / quit the company in the future. Treating bad employees the same as good employees is a good way to increase your turnover. Bad company. Hope you get out too OP2.

    1. moonstone*

      This behavior of the C-suite will definitely cause issues down the road. I don’t need to be Cassandra to see this coming. There is eventually going to be enough problematic employees they refuse to handle that will cause turnover among staff. This is going to be an issue even if favoritism/racism/sexism doesn’t factor into the behavior.

  37. Bookworm*

    #1: I’m so sorry OP. I do hope the door opens to something better in any case. Good luck.

  38. Lizy*

    Actually for #1… it’s listed as an accounting clerk on indeed. We’re wanting someone admin/client communications/accounting. It’s fully remote. I don’t want to give away too much about my own info but honestly if I could help a fellow AAM person get a good gig …
    Alison, what’s the best way to send this OP the job info?

  39. A Job Listing*

    Junior-level accounting job in Columbus, Ohio: https://jobs.acs.org/job/Columbus-Accounting-Associate-OH-43202/854128900/

    I work at the American Chemical Society headquarters in DC and it’s a great place to work. The Columbus office has an amazing cafeteria with discounts for employees. They also have an office cat who roams around on his own time. I’ve never seen him because I don’t get there often, but word is he even takes the elevator.

  40. LW2*

    Letter Writer #2 here! I hope Alison will pin this comment to the top of the comments section, or add a comment of her own to clarify some of the speculation about the context of this situation.

    1a. The intern is an upper-middle class white male. No, he is not struggling financially because of his parents withdrawing support. I know this because he has mentioned his weekends during small-talk around the office. He and his friends frequently indulge themselves in activities that are far from cheap or free (To name a few: wine-tasting, amusement parks, professional sporting events, concerts, skydiving). He has also mentioned his parents paying his tuition and not having any student loans to take out.

    1b. The Thursday before the Great Breakroom Heist, I did accidentally overhear him on the phone with some friends, discussing an upcoming party. Although this is not bulletproof evidence, the timing certainly is curious, and works in favor of the theory that he was stuffing his duffel bag for this reason.

    2. This intern is not a star athlete at his university. He does play some recreational sports, but not competitively. I can certainly see traces of the “bro” attitude in him, though. He frequently shows up to work wearing a backwards baseball cap, flip-flops, and perpetually carries a mild smirk on his face.

    3. He did not acquire this internship through connections. He doesn’t have any friends or relatives who are affiliated with the company.

    4. I’m seeing a lot of comments about wealthy young white men being coddled (e.g. Brock Turner or Ethan Couch), when the authority figures in charge of disciplining their misdeeds are from a similar background. While this may be true in general, this is not the case for us.

    Our C-Suite consists of 3 gentlemen in their early 40’s, who founded the company a decade ago. One is white and from an upper-middle class background, just like the intern. One is an Asian immigrant who came to the US for graduate school. One is African-American and a first-generation college student.

    They have the “Cool Boss” attitude towards employees of all demographic groups. A lot of this stems from the earliest days of the company as a start-up, when there was a very cozy and tight-knit camaraderie that has carried over despite now having almost 100 employees. Aside from this intern and one other former employee who was hell-bent on exploiting the system, this culture hasn’t caused any problems for us. The other employees have enough self-respect and personal integrity to monitor themselves, without needing to be policed.

    The higher-ups are absolutely brilliant in the technical area, and really know how to get ideas and products off the ground. It is true however, that they are kind and tolerant to a fault, and cannot be Bad Guys to save their lives.

    5. Like several commenters have said, I am also 99% sure that this intern will not take those “Professional Norms” workshops seriously. But he will certainly not be getting re-hired after graduation, and will not be getting any kind of reference.

    1. The Assistant*

      Thanks for the update!

      It’s only a matter of time before someone really takes advantage of these ‘nice guys’.

      And even people of color can embody white supremacy and a lot of time without even realizing they are.

      Somewhat separately, a thief is a thief. If he has shown no real remorse, what is his incentive to change?

    2. Absolutely*

      I commented on a thread way above that a relative of mine steals (including things like falsifying time sheets) and that I thought it was a mental health issue. Then just now I had the idea of googling “kleptomania” with “trauma” and there is a ton online which talks about people who steal even though they don’t need to. I actually now think that the conversation here in the comments has largely come from a place of ignorance in relation to compulsive stealing. It might not be about his class, or his income, or him being an a-hole (though he might be!) – its possibly about his mental health situation. Don’t want to internet diagnose since that can be problematic, BUT I think it’s important to say that this kind of stealing can be because of a very well documented mental health disorder. I’m not saying his behaviour is justified, and not saying he shouldn’t face justice… And if he’s not yet aware that he has a problem, he probably isn’t trying to treat it, so yeah he might be a liability to any employer. But there could be more to this than him being a selfish, entitled, enabled person. (Even if he is that too.)

  41. Number Cruncher*

    To LW #1 – check out Ximplifi for an accounting clerk position. Fully remote and great pay. Pretty short hiring process, too.

  42. The Assistant*

    “then I saw him in the breakroom on a Friday afternoon, stuffing all the snacks and plastic cups into a duffel bag, before slipping out the door.”

    What the what?!

    Destroy a thief’s confidence? Confidence to do more stealing?

    He’s literally a thief and I don’t even understand why cause he doesn’t need it. Maybe just because he can.

  43. Dennis Feinstein (not male, not American)*

    I was actually pleasantly surprised by the compassion the execs showed toward the intern. He’s 21. Yes, legally he’s an adult. But people’s brains are still developing well into their 20s. I’m sure many of us did stupid stuff in our personal and professional lives in our early lives.
    They’re giving this young, inexperienced person a break. Hopefully they’d have done the same for a young, inexperienced person who wasn’t male and/or white. Maybe someone gave these execs a break when they were young. Maybe someone didn’t.
    Instead of jumping right to punitive action to “teach him a lesson”, maybe it’s worth considering a less punitive approach? Maybe it’ll teach him to be compassionate in the future.

  44. Anon in Ohio*

    OP #1 – there are a ton of larger retail companies based in Columbus, I would start by applying there. Off the top of my head, there’s Big Lots, Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, DSW, Honda, Zulily, Abercrombie, Express, and probably a few more that I’m missing, all with entry level roles across almost all areas.

Comments are closed.