promotion was announced on April Fool’s Day, fired employee’s LinkedIn says she still works for us, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My promotion was announced on April Fool’s Day

I was promoted last Thursday. At first my boss acted as though I had done something wrong, starting the conversation with, “This is the part of the job I don’t like to have to do.” She then proceeded to let me know about my promotion. That was great news. She said that the promotion comes with a raise and let me know the amount. I was happy. She then said that she made a mistake and it was actually higher. I was happier.

My boss announced my promotion the next day — April Fool’s Day. At least one person commented, “What a day to get a promotion.”

I’ve never liked the idea of having anything work-related land on events like Halloween or April Fool’s Day. For some reason, I feel as though I’ve been slighted. What do you think?

At a functional, healthy company, announcing a promotion on April 1st shouldn’t be a big deal — because people working there would know the company wouldn’t do something in such poor taste as announcing a promotion as a prank. (And I wouldn’t think Halloween needs to be avoided!)

In your case, though, your boss already turned your promotion into a prank when announcing it to you — a series of pranks, in fact, first with the “bad news” BS (which is really awful to do) and then with the salary “mistake.” So then going ahead and announcing it to everyone else on April Fool’s Day — well, I can see why it’s left a bad taste in your mouth, although if she had handled her conversation with you differently, the public announcement might have landed with you differently too.

2. Can I ask interviewers if their company’s leaders are alcoholics?

I’ve been working in a small family firm for 20 years. I am distantly related. I started entry-level and worked my way up to a senior paralegal position. I worked for one of the partners/brothers for 10 years but took one for the team and have been working for another brother/partner for five years. He is an alcoholic. It runs in the family. The dysfunction is getting worse and I’m seriously considering leaving. Can I ask any potential employers about alcohol abuse by partners/senior members of the firm? I’m in the devil you know position and am trying to decide if I just stick it out for the next five years or take a really big leap and explore other options.

You cannot really ask interviewers about whether there’s alcoholism in senior members of their firm. I mean, you can, but it will come across so weirdly that it’s likely to color their whole impression of you. It’s not a thing that normally comes up in interviews, in part because it’s not a thing that is commonly a problem, even though it has been at your firm. It’s also putting a disproportionate amount of focus on one very specific way that a company can be dysfunctional, to the exclusion of all sorts of other types of dysfunction that could impact their culture just as much or more.

Your better bet is to talk to people who work there or have worked there and really lean on your network to get an insider’s view of their culture; that way you’d be a lot better positioned to uncover a whole range of serious problems that could exist, not just one very specific one. You’re also more likely to get honest answers; very few people are going to disclose alcohol problems in their leadership during a formal interview, even if it’s true.

3. Fired coworker’s LinkedIn says she still works for us

A colleague of mine was fired a year ago. She was very well liked, but simply could not manage budgets and schedules, and ultimately (after a PIP) was let go. She still lists herself on LinkedIn as being at our firm. Is that a problem that we need to take any effort to resolve? Is there any negative impact on our firm that this person claims to still be employed here? I have pointed it out to HR in the past but they’ve taken no action, so perhaps they’ve concluded that it’s not worth bugging someone who probably has bad feelings about us. But whenever I see this, it doesn’t sit well with me. I’m wondering if this matters.

It’s unlikely to matter — but more importantly, there’s not much your company can or should do about it. A lot of people don’t update their LinkedIn accounts regularly, or at all. She could even have completely abandoned LinkedIn, in which case it’s going to stay there forever. It’s not terribly unusual. If you learn that she’s actively misrepresenting herself by claiming to work at your firm, that’s a different situation and one your company might need to respond to … but if she’s just not updating her profile, it’s not really a big deal and contacting her to ask that she does is likely to come across as overly heavy-handed. (That’s especially true after firing her — it would be kind of rubbing salt in the wound if she just hasn’t bothered to think/care about LinkedIn.)

4. I’m not getting any management training

I became a manager of a brand new smallish team over two years ago. Corporate leadership have really liked what I’ve done, the team I’ve built from the ground up has been a huge success, and I’m now being put in charge of a substantially larger org (went from five direct reports to 18, one team to four completely separate teams doing very different jobs, I’m acting in a greatly expanded advisement role to the business at large, etc). However, nowhere along the way have I received formal training or guidance on how to be a manager or a leader. Even what I know about legal issues of being a manager (protected classes, etc) I’ve learned on my own.

I’m very quickly realizing I’m getting out of my depth. Is this lack of training and mentorship normal and my failure to make it all work a sign that I’m not cut out to be a leader (at least right now)? Or do organizations typically provide more guidance than I’m receiving? Is there something I should be asking for that I just don’t know to ask for like a formal training program? It feels a bit like I started this thinking I was running a 5k, got told at the 3k mark it was a 10k, and am now realizing it’s a marathon and all my training was for the wrong race and I’m flaming out.

It’s problematically normal. A ton of people get promoted into management roles without being given formal management training or even much informal guidance. It’s bizarre, because management is its own skill like any other (and its own skill again once you’re managing multiple teams and have other managers below you) and yet people promoted into management are regularly just left to figure it out on their own … so no wonder there are so many ineffective managers out there.

There is indeed management training and you can ask for it. They are varying degrees of good and bad, so ask around about what other managers at your level and higher have found helpful. (One that I recommend is from the Management Center and is based on my book. It’s geared toward nonprofit managers, though, so it might not be the right fit. Either way, look for something that focuses on the actual work of managing — delegating, giving feedback, hiring, dealing with performance problems, building a culture, etc.) Crucially, though, make sure you supplement formal training with one-on-one mentorship; it’s incredibly helpful to have an experienced manager who you can bounce real-life situations off of as they come up. Sometimes you can set that up informally by building relationships with more senior managers in your company or your network, but you can also ask your company about helping make that happen.

5. Can I connect with interviewers on LinkedIn after being rejected?

I recently made it through several rounds of interviews for a new role only to hear back that they went with the other candidate. I’m really disappointed, but they indicated that there would still be an open door if/when a similar role opens up in the future. With that said, is it weird for me to now request to connect with the folks I interviewed with on LinkedIn? I want to stay top-of-mind for them but don’t want to come off as desperate or like I can’t take a hint.

Not weird at all. Very normal to do! You can now consider each other professional contacts, just like if you met and talked at a conference or something similar. They may or may not accept the connection request but if they don’t, it’s not because the attempt was a faux pas; different people just have different practices for who they connect with.

{ 265 comments… read them below }

  1. Seal*

    #1 – I’ve actually been promoted twice effective April 1st of those particular years and no one batted an eye about the date. It makes for a good story, though!

    1. Mid*

      Yeah, my firm does annual reviews in April, so it seems like a very normal date to be promoted to me. But, I’m not much of a fan of pranks so I never really think of April 1st as anything other than “the first day of the month of April.”

      1. DecorativeCacti*

        I think LW#1’s problems are much larger than her promotion being announced of April 1st, but it’s the easiest thing to identify so easy to pin all the blame on it.

        (I always end up falling for weird product stories because I forget it’s Make Everything Up Day. Even a movie podcast I listen to did a whole episode on one of the commercials that airs before the movie and I had no idea what was happening until the oblique references to a “random day in April”.)

        1. Bilateralrope*

          It gets worse with algorithmically generated news feeds. I had an april fools story show up in my phones news feed today.

        2. Willis*

          I’m not really convinced the problem is that big. Her boss has a boring and rather thoughtless sense of humor, but unless she’s frequently doing dumb jokes, this is probably at eye roll and shoulder shrug level to me. And I don’t think the announcement date matters at all.

          1. ferrina*

            Joking about people’s livelihood is not okay. Financial stability is not a laughing matter, especially from someone that has control over your stability. It may take the form of petty and thoughtless, but the underlying message is sinister.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              I don’t even read anything in the letter as joking, other than presumably the coworker commenting about being promoted on April 1. I thought the comment from the boss was in earnest, like “I don’t like doing Y so I’m promoting you to take care of it. Your salary will now be X, oh sorry I misread that it will actually be Z.”

              Obviously detail and tone would change things significantly but to me all of that seems like a very awkward but normal meeting, not a series of pranks…

              1. RabidChild*

                After this comment, I reread the letter and I have to agree with MCMonkeyBrain. It didn’t seem like the manager was particularly tactful in how they delivered the news, but unless tone or something else would lead OP to thinking they were doing a prank, I don’t see the date as anything significant.

              2. Myrin*

                Yeah, I read this as her honestly making a mistake regarding the amount as well. And it’s not even that this conversation was on the first but rather the official announcement a day later, which to me makes it even less likely that boss was being prank-y.

              3. Darsynia*

                There were two obvious ‘joking’ situations in the letter before the announcement, though? First acting like what’s coming is terrible (‘this is the part of the job I don’t like’) and then psyching the LW out about the salary. They’re not funny whatsoever, but presented as jokes.

                I gotta say, though, I’d love to see that boss try to pull things on someone with your outlook because it would fall incredibly flat, for sure! No offense meant, of course.

                1. New Jack Karyn*

                  I read it as one ‘joking’ situation (‘this is the part of the job I don’t like’) and then a genuine misread of the new salary.

            2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              Joking about people’s misfortune is not OK. The “something I don’t like to have to do” bit would make me feel sick to the stomach, but you could argue that the manager is losing a good report I suppose… But as for telling her about the pay rise and then saying no actually it’s more than that, I think that’s rather a nice way of giving them not one but two surprises. (and kudos to the manager for actually announcing the second sum rather than thinking “oh OP’s happy with that, no need to give her the real sum”).
              So, rather a messy promotion all round but hey, OP has been promoted and no longer reports to this person, so it really doesn’t matter.

        3. Katiekins*

          The patriarchy’s F’ing vast, start changing it with the Bechdel Cast! (I hope that’s the podcast in question, or else I’m going to look really random. Uh, April Fools!)

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Same, which means I pretty much fall for every dang prank out there. Luckily I’m ok with looking gullible AF

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        It’s also the beginning of Q2 of the fiscal year, so it’s probably not an uncommon day for companies to make changes/updates. I can’t imagine not conducting normal business on a workday because of associations with that day unrelated to work, but then I also find it hard to imagine someone pulling a prank about a serious work topic like promotions, raises, or anything along those lines that involves trying to get someone to take a lie seriously.

      4. Ace in the Hole*

        Not work related, but I can empathize with not thinking of April 1st as anything other than a calendar date:

        My partner and I got married on April 1st. We’d originally wanted to have the ceremony on March 31 because it had personal significance to us, but then we found out the courthouse was closed on the 31st for Cesar Chavez day… so, logically, we moved the ceremony one day forward!

        Neither of us are pranksters. We genuinely had not considered how other people would take a wedding announcement for April Fools Day. Especially my partner’s extremely conservative extended family who had no idea she was planning to marry a woman….

      5. Hannah Lee*

        Yeah for me the prank thing would bug more than the announcement date.

        “your boss already turned your promotion into a prank when announcing it to you — a series of pranks, in fact, first with the “bad news” BS”

        This reminded me of a time I was on a very stressful project at a large company. It was a development of a high-profile, desperately needed tech tool to be used by sales. But the company had staffed and funded it like a nice to have, with very little sw development experience on a team of analysts and subject matter experts and a VP who set milestones and due dates ignoring feedback from the team and the few sw folks we were able to talk into helping us. (The manager of the project had a big ego, a flashy reputation but poor management skills and emotional regulation … eg, when a fire alarm went off during a routine meeting in his office, he got irritated at the interrupt … and got up and slammed the office door shut, continuing the meeting … like if it had been a fire, he’d have let us burn?)

        Anyway, after a series of high-profile set backs and months of stress and struggle, the project lead called an emergency meeting, about how bad things were going and feedback. Stern face, remarks about how bad things were, that we screwed up, etc as he was around before the meeting. He started the meeting with the same messaging … the entire team thought the project was being cancelled or we were all being fired.
        10 minutes into the meeting a c-suite exec comes in, project lead says “just kidding! management is impressed with progress so far, they’re staffing and funding better, and you’ve all be approved for company star awards and bonuses! Great job team!!!” You have never seen a group of people so pissed off when getting $8-12K bonuses and company-wide awards. Several of us gave the project lead a piece of our minds. I personally explained that was one of the worst management moves I’d ever seen, taking a good, team-motivating move (him going to bat to get the awards and more funding) and turning it into a giant professional and emotional FU to the team for the sake of his ‘fun’ winding us up and getting to say “gotcha! Hah ha ha!”

      6. ScarredByApril1*

        I worked at a company whose fiscal year started April 1. That meant all promotions and layoffs happened April 1. I remember one year, HR did the layoffs at a hotel near the office. Some of the employees saw a calendar invite for a meeting with HR at a random hotel and assumed it was a prank. They showed up to the office and their badges didn’t work. It was rough.

    2. Not Australian*

      I don’t know if it’s universal, but our ‘financial year’ in the UK starts in the first week of April (usually about the 6th/7th) so it’s not unusual for senior management to be making decisions of this kind in late March.

    3. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      Same here – promotions are announced (always in person, publicly on the Intranet for higher ranks) in February/March) and become effective April 1st, together with annual raises.
      Organizational changes and appointments to leadership positions can happen any time, though.

    4. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I had a job where my 2 weeks’ notice ended on April 1st. I told everyone that my April Fools’ joke is that I wasn’t coming back.

      By then, my sense of humor was well enough known that everyone accepted it was a serious statement delivered in a joking way.

    5. Oolie*

      My kids’ (elementary) school principal announced on April 1 that she was leaving. There was an immediate flurry of posting on the school Facebook page with parents asking if it was a prank (it was not). I felt like this was poor judgment on her part, considering that a) she herself was publicizing it and could choose any date, b) even if there was an internal deadline that she had to inform the school board by April 1, the public announcement had no similar requirement, and c) essentially everyone affected by the change is involved with an elementary school as either a teacher or a parent and therefore fully aware that it was April Fools’ Day and prank announcements abound.

      Sadly, this is not an isolated incident of her making a decision that was not well thought-out. But I guess the upside is that her successor may have a little more common sense.

      1. pancakes*

        Why would anyone think that was a prank, though? There’s no humor in it. It would be a weird, boring prank to pull.

        1. TexasTeacher*

          The majority of April Fools’ pranks, in my experience, have been weird, boring, and lame.

          1. pancakes*

            That is not a thing I’ve encountered, somehow. The only annual pranks I see are from newspapers, magazines, or brands (like the email I got from Farm to People this year claiming they’d developed shell-less eggs).

            1. Artemesia*

              I still remember the NPR prank decades ago — a guy who makes mouth sounds — starts out with a choo choo train and gets increasingly complicated until he is doing Bach’s Tocata and Fugue for organ and it is obviously a joke — but I got pulled in till the organ burst forth.

            2. quill*

              No matter how bizzare those are, someone always gets caught by them.

              When I worked for my campus newspaper I announced the building of a dorm on a pontoon boat and had people asking me if it was true.

          2. Hannah Lee*

            The one I got this year was a new hire coming into my office … for reference, HR and employee safety are some of my many responsibilities… and saying “there’s been an accident in Production, someone’s hurt!” followed by “JK April Fools! I’m heading out for the day, see you Monday!”

            Like, why is telling someone that another person has been injured funny?

          3. Still breathing*

            I recommend that you don’t work in a prison. I never really heard about much in the way of April Fools humor once I’d left high school, until I worked in a prison 40 years later. Not a fan.

      2. Skittles*

        April Fools must be a bigger deal in the US, or perhaps just in certain industries, than in my country/industry. We still have joke product announcements and the odd small prank maybe but I’d never assume a serious-sounding announcement like a promotion or resignation was a prank just based on the date.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          No, I am in the US and even as someone who absolutely *loved* April Fool’s day growing up because my dad would go big on the (harmless) pranks–I have never once encountered them at work and would not in a million years think a company should push back a promotion or announcement because it falls on that date.

          1. Bumblebee*

            It is quite the fashion this year for universities to do funny instagram stories or FB posts with April Fools’ jokes in them – like the residence hall is becoming an Air BnB (it’s funnier in the post and actually got them great engagement) .

      3. Lydia*

        Why should every decision, announcement, or process be put on hold for one day because it *might* be perceived by a few people as a prank? Especially something that’s so easily figured out to be not a prank?

      4. SOUPervisor*

        I put in my two weeks’ notice on March 31 specifically so no one would think it was an April Fools Joke even though my last day would actually be 2 weeks from the 1st.

    6. Rolly*

      There’s a difference between something becoming effective on April 1 and the communication going out on April 1. The former is far less likely to be perceived as a joke.

    7. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      I was just promoted on April 1 as well. It seems to be a common date in our industry as it is the next “1st day of the month” after the main budget meeting for the next fiscal year.

    8. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Not work-related, but my favorite teacher, who I am still in contact with almost 40 years after I graduated, was born on April 1st. All other teachers in our school got verbal congratulations and birthday cards from their students. I never saw that poor woman receive anything, because, the few times we’d been told that April 1 was her birthday, none of us believed it. I believe it now and always remember to say happy birthday and post a nice card on her social media, but I can imagine how left out she felt in her teaching years!

    9. fhqwhgads*

      Yeah, a million years ago I worked at a place whose fiscal year started April 1, so it was super common for promotions/raises/whatever to be effective April 1. I realize in a place where that’s true, it might automatically make it not a big deal, but…yeah it’s not a big deal.

    10. jh42*

      Yep, I work for a company that has a performance review cycle and promotion cycle that wraps up right around April 1, and promotions typically have a start date on April 1. I’ve been promoted twice (most recently this year).

      It almost always catches me by surprise when people are promoted outside of that cycle here.

    11. Jora Malli*

      I got a job offer on April Fool’s Day once. The hiring manager made a point of saying this wasn’t a trick, she really was offering me a job. :)

    12. GlitsyGus*

      Yeah, it’s pretty common in my experience. April 1 is the first day of Q2 for a lot of companies, which makes it a logical day for these kinds of things.

      The boss is the one who soured this. Joking about the promotion right around April Fools Day is bad form. I mean, it’s always bad form, but double bad in March.

    13. Vio*

      the contract for my current job started on the 1st of April which feels hugely appropriate for me as I have a silly sense of humour and it’s a fun place to work. I’ve managed four years now (this may not seem long but due to mental health conditions this is the longest I’ve ever been employed) and still love celebrating my anniworkary on April Fools Day

  2. Observer*

    #4 – The lack of training is VERY normal. That does not mean it’s good. Just that it’s common enough that it’s not necessarily a red flag. Bu given what you describe, I think that Alison’s advice to ask for it is good.

    If they won’t pay for training, invest in some training yourself.

    1. The OTHER Other*

      It’s sadly common for companies to figure someone really good in a producer role will be a good fit for managing people in the producer roles. I think it helps a lot for a manager to be able to do the job of people s/he is managing but it’s two completely different skill sets and it’s weird to me that people are just promoted into the role and left to sink or swim on their own. My old job did have a big library of articles, videos, webinars etc on managing available, but it was completely up to you whether to take advantage of it.

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        This is currently happening to my husband. He got promoted, sort of, into a new role that he vociferously protested against. But the higher ups wanted this role to exist so he basically got told that this is what he has to do now. Of course they haven’t given him any guidance about the management stuff.

      2. TechWorker*

        I’ve heard this sentiment before and whilst I don’t disagree with it I also don’t know where else you’d expect good management candidates to come from? As a junior manager at least you need to have a pretty good handle on the work you’re assessing and I can’t imagine that being *bad* at your job as an IC implies you’ll be any better as a manager :p

        (If the point is just ‘not everyone who’s good at their job wants to or is good at managing that job’ – I totally agree, there’s an interesting podcast by Freakonomics on that topic, basically saying it’s not uncommon for people to get promoted above their competence level… which is one way of phrasing it).

        1. Lab Boss*

          Yes, a low-tier manager who’s got a lot of direct contact/direct management over the individual contributors does need to have a handle on the work being done and you wouldn’t want to promote a “bad” IC to the manager role. But the problem is when companies seem to think that skill as an IC automatically translates into skill as a manager (often to the extent that they don’t even bother to train managers).

          To give you an example from my own career, when I got a promotion my boss and I were considering which IC to promote to fill the lowest-tier manager role I was leaving. We had two strong candidates. Candidate A was by far the more skilled scientist and if the decision was “who should we give a senior scientist role” I would have picked her in a heartbeat. Candidate B was very competent in her role- no complaints, just not as good of a scientist as Candidate A. However, we had more confidence that Candidate B would be good at training new hires, more able to manage conflicts, and handle dealing with upper management frustrations better. We promoted the person who was SECOND best at her current job, and she’s been excellent in a manager role.

        2. Pool Lounger*

          My partner’s company has very different interview questions for management roles, and they ramp you up so you will have had some direct experience before getting an actual manager job. If a direct contributor can’t answer managerial story-type questions with thorough, real-world answers they won’t get manager roles. Doesn’t mean everyone is a great manager, but notably his worst manager was a hire from outside the company.

        3. ferrina*

          Depends on the company, but in my experience being a good manager means knowing your team’s workload, what they need to achieve that workload and fight to get them those resources (whether it’s time, staff, training, tools, etc.). While there is def some industry knowledge, a manager doesn’t need as much knowledge as an IC if they are using their ICs as SMEs. I’m usually not the most knowledgeable in the room, but I know the questions to ask and I know how to communicate priorities and limitations. I’ve been able to translate that into several very different industries. It’s one of those soft skills that is best shown through experience and proven results.

      3. Lily*

        I’m an RN. I briefly worked at a skilled nursing facility where the nurse manager’s degree was in animal husbandry. Oddly, she couldn’t get nurses to stick around for long.

    2. AnonAnon*

      I agree with this. LW4: If you’re feeling like you’re out of your depth now, you should really ask for training, and more importantly coaching, as soon as possible.

      Personally, I find the 70/20/10 model to be useful in guiding efforts in leadership development for myself and for others whom I need to develop. Basically, the model says approximately 70% of leadership skills development come from on-the-job experiences, 20% comes from coaching and mentoring relationships, and 10% comes from formal training.

      While you can look online to find leadership and management training, consistent mentorship from experienced senior leaders can be really hard to find. If that’s the case for you, you might consider paying for a leadership/management coach, finding a peer-level mentor, or finding an online community of practice to help you fill in that 20%.

    3. Beth*

      #4 — The lack of training, and in fact the absence of any thought that a person might need or benefit from training, sheds a lot of light on why so many managers are so terrible.

      It wasn’t until I met a really good manager, one who had made a point of seeking training and building her skills and becoming better in her role, that I realized that every manager I’d ever had in my life had been untrained, unskilled, incompetent, and unaware there there even WERE skills they lacked.

      1. LW#4*

        Now that I’m a manager and realizing how little training and support there is in developing the skill sets for it, I’m realizing why I’ve had / worked with so many poor managers over the years. They were all individual contributors who got thrown into managing (some entirely against their will) and OF COURSE they struggled with it!

        1. Drago Cucina*

          To be honest, that’s lessons I took over my career. The manager I didn’t want to be. Then what were the aspects of the good manager that I could emulate.

          There is training that isn’t overwhelming or super costly. I used to send new managers to a one-day seminar on how to transition from staff to supervisor. I think it’s all online right now. One of the aspects they found helpful was learning how to manage themselves.

    4. LW#4*

      Weirdly, everyone saying this is normal (not good but normal) is actually comforting! I’m pretty confident they’d pay for training but it’s on me to find that training and propose it. Unfortunately, just like with resume services, it seems like there is a whole lot of management training out there that ranges from great to decent to garbage and it’s hard to tell which are which. I definitely need to do some homework and find some good training programs and put together a proposal for my manager.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Hi, LW#4 — Yes, it’s too bad that all the responsibility lies on the newly-promoted manager, but as Alison says, that’s “problematically normal.” (I think I’m going to steal that phrase.)

        You might want to start by doing some hard thinking about what areas you see yourself as weakest in. Budgets? Personnel? Legal issues? Pick the area about which you feel you know the least and work on that first.

        When you approach your own managers about this, try to be as specific as possible. “I’m really interested in learning more about Issue A. Do you know of any good places I can go to get more background there?” If you just say “management training,” they may dither, especially if they never had any. You specifically mentioned legal issues and “protected classes” in your post. Try talking to someone in HR and ask if they know of any good places to get additional training.

        Lastly, you will make mistakes. Be at peace with that knowledge. Most of my management “training” came from making hideous blunders, but I tried to make sure I never made the same blunder twice.

        And keep reading AAM.

      2. Smithy*

        Just want to encourage you to both seek this out but also not be afraid to acknowledge when something is working, when it isn’t, and if it isn’t – is it a case of being entirely ineffective or having some pieces that do work and some that don’t.

        I used to work somewhere that heavily relied on one management coaching consultancy that wasn’t well liked. When they were ultimately dismissed, they got painted with the “they were all bad” brush. IMO, this also meant that things they brought – such as facilitating our large team retreats/strategy meetings – were also dismissed as bad. When those annual planning meetings returned to being entirely team led….my goodness what a mess.

        Then a few years later when they wanted to bring back management coaching, they went to the same consultants. Overall it was a process I found wild, but I also think speaks to a reality that this kind of coaching and support is often brought in at times of crisis or when the needs are more urgent. So seeking this out now and evaluating the good/bad/average of any given opportunity will only help in the long run.

      3. Person from the Resume*

        There’s also a big change too, I think, when you go from managing a small group of people doing what you used to do and managing a large team. Managing a large team requires a lot more people managing especially if you’re directly supervising (therefore resonsible for feedback and performance reports). Even if you’re not directly supervising, you should spend some time training/mentoring the new managers below you on the skills they need to manage a team.

        There’s this jump between doing the task and also leading the team to just leading/managing the team where you won’t necessarily know how to do the tasks any longer, but you’re there as higher level strategic thinker.

        Interestingly this is something the military does a good job at. When people are promoted through the ranks, there are certain leadership schools they must attend as they are promoted. At the most junior level when you first might supervise someone they teach you how to supervise, write performance reports and give feedback. That training is in person and local. As people move up through the ranks they attend weeks/months-long schools and sometimes take corespondance courses to meet the requirements. Each step of the way they teach you about how to lead at your level and the next higher level.

      4. fhqwhgads*

        In all seriousness, if you read Alison’s book, and everything in the archives on this site filed under “being the boss”, that’d probably get you halfway there.

      5. R*

        I think it’s really important to say that while this lack of training and mentorship is normal
        NO, your failure to make it all work is not a sign that you’re not cut out to be a leader. The fact that you’re asking the question and looking for training means you probably have a good chance of being cut out to be a leader! Alison gives some great advice but I just want to emphasize that good managers are people who follow those steps (either through their employer or on their own time) not that you need the help because you’re not a natural manager.

    5. tamarack & fireweed*

      One of the by far best experiences I’ve ever made with management happened in my first (post-university) corporate role. I was hired into a technical role, into a team that had been depleted after an acquisition. We started as three: one remaining from the old team, another re-hired employee who had been in a neighboring team but left, and me (the new hire). After 6 months, I was made team lead, and we pretty much kept hiring throughout the next 4 years or so. Team lead didn’t even mean I was their line manager – I had no insight into for example what they earned, or their HR record, but I did the day-to-day management and conducted performance reviews in tandem with my manager.

      The first thing my company did after making me team lead is to send me to a management course. This was over several afternoons, every few weeks, in a small group of 6 or 8, from a well regarded provider. The other participants were typically also just promoted, or were prepared to be promoted into management. One was the son of a family-owned manufacturing company who had entered the family business, but he was the exception – the rest were from tech industry companies. Intellectually speaking, the training wasn’t super deep. It was the kind of stuff I would in the past have looked down on. BUT! It did hit a few key points that really needed to be. What the actual job of a manager is (something like: creating the conditions for each team member so that they can most efficiently and smoothly do *their* work), what kind of difficult situations can come up (including performance management and dismissal), how to give an engaging presentation, work load management, motivation, “managing up” and other “how to make something happen” topics, and a lot of role play.

      It was genuinely helpful, and I wish in my current role in academia the people in situations of responsibility – especially the faculty members – would be required to face these topics and understand it’s part of their role…

  3. Mid*

    I really appreciate how Alison is good at picking up the larger threads in questions, rather than just answering the question itself. In #2, the bigger issue is firm dysfunction rather than the specific problem of alcoholism. In #1, the issue is the larger context of inappropriate jokes/timing rather than specifically this one situation. I think about the Leap Year Birthday letter at least once a week, not only because the person was banana crackers, but because of how the larger issues showed through in that one letter. It wasn’t just about the birthday/day off, but how this manager was ridiculously rigid and inflexible, and refused to reconsider their stance once their mind was made up.

    In my years of reading this site, it’s helped me practice looking at the bigger picture in the workplace. Is my coworker annoying, or am I feeling like my workload is too high while theirs is lower, and so smaller things are feeling like bigger deals? Is a client being rude, or is my manager not supporting me where it’s needed?

    So I guess I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this site, and how Alison takes time to answer more than just the specific question asked but instead the background issues that are peeking through the cracks.

    1. river*

      I agree, it has helped me so much too, even in my personal life. Such an important skill to learn, yet I never really thought about it.

    2. Juniper*

      Agree. So many times I have been ready to have a knee-jerk reaction to a letter based on a superficial read (or the headline alone). Alison quickly teases out the larger issue that completely upends my assumptions. I come for the work advice and stay for the life lessons.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Same here! “Well of course s/he is and you should do X.”
        The Alison lightbulb illuminates all.

    3. Gingerblue*

      I agree. It’s one of the huge strengths of Alison’s advice, and really sets AAM apart from a lot of advice sites.

    4. Smithy*

      This is so true.

      When our workplace has become really difficult, I think that part of slipping into survival mode can be focusing on one or two easy bad things. Often the easy bad thing is the person or entity that seems to be the source of greatest issue – an irritating office mate, the bad boss, the team we have to work with who gets “everything” wrong. Having an easy bad thing can help articulate why work is frustrating and solidify what our next steps need to be (i.e. quit today, look for a new job, internal transfer, etc.) – as well as communicating to friends and family why work has become difficult. It can also serve as a means to bond with other colleagues at work about why work is frustrating and build camaraderie.

      But like with this letter, the easy bad can blind us to all sorts of other workplace issues. I used to work somewhere with lots of “easy bads” in leadership. While their stories were colorful and terrible, they could hide the reality that the nature of that job involved a specific bureaucratic structure. This structure impacted my job in its own way and also often allowed for bad leaders to last longer, and if I didn’t like it – there were other specific employers I should actively avoid.

      Bad work places can easily put us into a version of survival mode where we get so used to operating in rush mode that can miss those moments to take a few steps back and consider issues more broadly.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        yes. At my first real job, the easy bad was that the boss didn’t know how to manage money. He just carried around a wad of notes and if someone came to him saying they needed to buy a train ticket, he’d just peel a note or two off to give them. People kept telling him to keep track of the money he handed out, on a basis of “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”. Once I accidentally threw away the change from my train ticket, but he never noticed that I didn’t give him the change back! And I was always scrupulously honest, I’m pretty sure there were others who deliberately kept the change.
        But the real problem was that in fact this guy had no need to earn money, his wife was incredibly rich. He just needed an occupation. What he liked was tinkering with computers and coding, this was back in the 80s, but he was a true nerd. He just wasn’t interested in managing people. So everyone just did what they felt needed to be done, and the whole place was a hot mess because he wouldn’t ever give clear directions. The sales staff would make a sale but then production only found out certain details when it was too late. We were constantly lurching from one disaster to another. And yet we were the pioneers and leaders in our field and all our competitors thought we were a total powerhouse. Then we went bankrupt, spectacularly, and everyone was in uproar.

    5. Jacey*

      Couldn’t agree more! I’m really thankful for the thoughtfulness of Alison’s answers, and part of her picking up on those bigger themes is her ability to notice where systems aren’t functioning as they should. I like her willingness to not only superficially acknowledge but alter her advice to suit the reality of the situation. It’s easy to say, e.g., “that’s illegal so tell your HR and the problem will be solved.” But Alison encourages her LWs to think through what they know of the people and institutions involved in their question, and tailor their actions to what’s possible and will achieve the best outcome for them, not what’s right in a perfect world.

    1. The One Who Burned the Popcorn*

      In my first internship (HR role), we announced a colleague’s resignation on April Fools’ Day. This was my first April Fools’ in the workforce, so I genuinely believed the announcement to be a joke. Personally, I think the company could have waited a day. (Still do.)

      Nowadays though, I probably wouldn’t notice the date.

      1. MK*

        Why on earth should they have waited? I don’t think it’s too much to expect professional adults to realize that April Fool’s jokes aren’t a thing in most workplaces, especially about issues like resignations. It’s normal that you were confused when very young, but you say yourself that it’s just another day now.

        1. Rolly*

          Because not everyone is experienced enough to know it’s real. Because a new employee might wonder. If there is a reason the announcement has to go that day, then sure, do it. But if it’s easy to move it one day just move it – it avoids one person misunderstanding or wondering.

          1. MK*

            Well, no. The sooner an inexperienced employee realizes this isn’t done in a normal workplace the better; this is a pretty bizarre form of catering to the perceived sensitivity of young employees. And a new employee won’t wonder when they see their colleagues treat the announcement normally.

          2. Observer*

            I agree with @MK.

            *WHY* would a new employee wonder if it’s real. There are a lot of misconceptions people could reasonably have about the workplace. But thinking that employers routinely joke about people’s employment is NOT a reasonable expectation, even (or especially) for someone inexperienced. Someone who has spend years in dysfunctional workplaces might think that, but why would anyone else think that? And why on earth would an conscientious employer do anything to promote the idea that such “jokes” are a thing?

          3. pancakes*

            I’m not a fan of the idea of tailoring every announcement to the most inexperienced, least-knowledgeable people who might read it. “Inexperienced” isn’t the same as “unable to learn.”

      2. Observer*

        Personally, I think the company could have waited a day. (Still do.)

        I think not. Rather the reverse – companies should NOT EVER feed into the idea that it’s ok to joke around about people’s employment. So much so that “Why would you even think that the day of an announcement would have anything to do with it’s truth?”

        1. Rolly*

          So the moment of angst people get (stupid people maybe) is worth it because moving something that is not a joke might suggest that jokes are OK?

          1. Observer*

            No, the moment of angst that someone MIGHT have due to their own issues is worth it to create a culture where other people don’t have an actual reason to have a moment of angst.

          2. Everything Bagel*

            Businesses have business needs and schedules. Imagine a colleague is not at work one day and you can find no one to tell you where that person is, only to find out the next day that the person had left the company but nothing was said because it was April Fool’s Day. I personally would be like, what?? we’re all adults here, I think we could take the news on April 1st just as well as April 2nd. This would be especially problematic if other people needed to be included in transition discussions. You can’t have everything at a standstill because it’s April 1st. Doing this because maybe some people might think it was a joke is ridiculous.

    2. Peachtree*

      Hm, I’m not so sure – that post seems *very* made-up to me, based on the comments and updates! Perhaps the author themselves is playing an April Fool on Reddit …?

  4. alex70*

    No one I know partakes in “April Fools Day” (thankfully), so it’s absolutely just another day to me. Doesn’t even register.

    1. alienor*

      Same here – I’m pretty sure the last time I thought of April Fool’s Day as a thing, I was in elementary school. The only time I notice it at all is if a company does a particularly good fake product announcement.

    2. UKDancer*

      Yes, I mean I completely forgot until the evening when I discovered a youtuber I follow had done a really great episode as an April fool and I watched it and only realised what it was when I checked the comments underneath. Other than that I wouldn’t have noticed. It’s not a thing that comes up at work ever and 1 April is just another day in our office.

    3. Flower necklace*

      My dad was born on April 1st, so it’s always been his birthday first in my mind and April Fool’s Day second.

      1. That One Person*

        April Fools helps me remember two friends’ birthdays since one’s the day before and one’s the day after, and seeing as they’re some of the funnier/sillier people I just remember that they’re a “couple of fools” (in the most loving of ways). While I use my phone calendar it makes me happy when I can remember the birthday itself and having a holiday marker does help me.

    4. londonedit*

      Yeah, I’ve never worked anywhere where April Fool’s Day was mentioned or where anyone would have done an April Fool’s joke. It doesn’t really register with me beyond ‘Ah, it’s the first of April’. Half the time it takes me a couple of seconds to realise that X company aren’t actually producing a rainbow paint, or whatever, and with the way Instagram is these days I’m only just seeing some of the joke posts now which sort of defeats the object. I’d never assume an announcement of someone’s promotion was a joke – unless it was the person themselves posting on social media saying they’d been selected to go into space or something. At work? Nope, I wouldn’t even be thinking about the date.

    5. irene adler*

      It is also the beginning of the second quarter of the year, so there’s some logic to announcing important events (promotions and the like) on that day.

      1. Rolly*

        I’d think with changes becoming effective that day, it would make more sense to announce them a little earlier. An announcement that X is promoted effective today sound rushed or like it was forgotten. An announcement a week or two earlier seems more thoughtful.

        1. londonedit*

          Could differ by industry but the way it goes where I work is that when a promotion is finalised the boss/head of division will send round an email saying ‘I’m delighted to announce that Tabitha Jones has been promoted to Senior Llama Groomer. Tabitha has excelled during her two years as Llama Groomer and her move into a senior role is much deserved; she will continue to report to me.’ Obviously the discussions with Tabitha and other people involved will have taken place beforehand, and anyone else on the team will most likely have been told in advance, but the official company announcement is ‘effective today, Tabitha is now Senior Llama Groomer’.

          1. Rolly*

            Here’s how it can be:

            ‘I’m delighted to announce that Tabitha Jones has been promoted to Senior Llama Groomer. Tabitha has excelled during her two years as Llama Groomer, effective May 1. Her move into a senior role is much deserved; she will continue to report to me.’

            Announcing it advance as soon as it is formally decided has the upside of less concern for it leaking out piecemeal and blindsiding anyone. This is true of news in general – message control is better getting something in the wild as soon as it can be.

    6. Other Alice*

      I wish… My great grand boss sent a mass email telling us the company had implemented a new uniform policy. It was clearly an attempt at a joke and produced mostly eye rolls from us peons. Nobody would dream of joking about serious topics such as firings and promotions (and if someone did I suspect HR would take action quickly).

    7. A Simple Narwhal*

      Same! The only time it ever registers for me is if a page I follow posts something and it makes me go “huh, that’s a weird new product/service – oh wait it’s April 1st, never mind.”

    8. Gracely*

      I wish I had that luxury. I don’t answer calls or texts from my family on April Fool’s because my mom and bro *love* pranks, whereas I hate what they consider pranks. When we still lived in the same city, I did not visit them. Every time I’ve forgotten, it wasn’t funny.

      Thankfully, my work doesn’t do anything re: April Fools.

    9. yala*

      My April Fools joke this year was wearing a shirt for a different library than the one I work for (I’m not public facing fwiw)

    10. SnappinTerrapin*

      Well, I do read social media posts and news articles on April First with even more than usual skepticism, but other than that, I expect adults to behave like adults. Especially in the workplace.

  5. Marnix*

    OP #2: You really really cannot ask your question. I can see why you’d want to know. But the company’s loyalty is to their current employees, regardless of their health information. Just as you couldn’t/shouldn’t ask if there are smokers, you couldn’t ask about COVID, cancer, etc., they really should keep that information private.

    1. it's-a-me*

      To be clear, you can ask about the company’s reaction to covid and safety measures, etc. You just can’t ask if someone has covid/how many people have covid in the organisation, etc.

    2. Barbara Eyiuche*

      One in five lawyers are alcoholics in the USA, twice the usual rate, according to the American Bar Association. So I would just assume some of the lawyers at a big firm are problem drinkers. No need to ask.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Echoing, I grew up in an alcoholic home. I know family would tell you that my father had no problems. And I am pretty sure his workplace would say, “what problem????”. I respectfully disagree with the idea that this is not a common problem. I think there are more people with a drinking problem than we will ever realize.

        That said. OP, what you can do is insist on working in places where people are logical and fair and poor behaviors are addressed in a very reasonable time frame. The beauty of this approach is that this covers a lot of problems that people can bring to work, not just alcoholism. Let’s face it, your greater question is you want to know if the company tolerates people treating each other like garbage, it really does not matter what is driving that poor behavior.
        You can ask questions about culture. You can ask what happens about company policies and how are they enforced and so on. Eh, ask why the last person left the position.

        FWIW, I have worked for bosses who drank excessively and it’s misery. I know. One company I worked for had a culture of covering for others. omg- get out. Refuse to cover for people’s poor behavior. Here’s where I landed, I will pretty much help anyone who asks me for help but no how, no way, will I cover for them. The way this often plays out is if someone makes a mistake and they bring it to me, I will help them legitimately fix the mistake but I will not help them bury the mistake. The people who want to hide mistakes don’t come to me a second time! ha! They can take that bs elsewhere.

        At that job, I became known as a problem solver and people brought me more problems. Some of the problems were very difficult. I can honestly tell you that while it was exhausting, it definitely caused me to grow. And that latter was a good thing.

        1. Observer*

          That said. OP, what you can do is insist on working in places where people are logical and fair and poor behaviors are addressed in a very reasonable time frame. The beauty of this approach is that this covers a lot of problems that people can bring to work, not just alcoholism.

          This is such a key thing.

          I don’t think most posters are saying that problem drinking is not a common problem. What they are saying is that it’s not the only problem to look out for because bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless of whether it’s caused by alcohol or something else. And what you write here dovetails perfectly.

        2. JSPA*

          I agree that problem drinking is common. The statistic about lawyers sounds plausible.

          But in general, one wants to ask more gestalt questions about good and bad.

          Otherwise, it’s like a little kid who rides her red bike down the back steps at the neighbor’s house and breaks their arm, and very seriously will tell you that the lesson she learned is, “don’t ride your red bike down the neighbor’s back steps, or you’ll break your arm.”

          Making sure the bike is blue, or only riding your bike on your own steps, won’t buy you safety, and focusing on your arms won’t save your neck.

          Someone who’s been an active alcoholic, but is now in recovery, is not a greater risk than someone who believes they’re still just drinking socially (and of course, “hair of the dog,” plus “necessary celebrations.”) In fact, the workplace may be drier, and the rest of the people more circumspect, if they’re accommodating someone’s recovery.

          I suppose it’s possible to say, without directly implicating your current workplace:

          “I’ve encountered situations in life where alcohol or other substance use was not only common but problematic, with a lot of attendant frustration. By now, I have little tolerance for situations when other people’s substance abuse repeatedly affects their workplace behavior or their work quality. I’m particularly keen to find a job where people who develop problems either get treatment or leave, instead of being endlessly enabled or covered for. How well do you feel your firm would address such a situation?”

          As Barbara Eyiuche’s stat makes clear, it’s highly unlikely that they can’t even picture such a problem! If they’re dismissive, make a joke about how “everyone is hungover sometimes” or how you can hold down the ship at the office when they have the nightly “wrap up meeting” at the local pub, you…have your answer, I’m afraid: whether or not there’s a current alcoholic, there’s a current culture of reliance on alcohol for stress relief, and alcohol access is prized over inclusiveness.

          If they awkwardly say that of course they can’t name names, but the firm depends highly on each person’s dependability, and is proactive about encouraging people to ask for help, in case of developing problems? That’s likely a winner. Whether or not someone is in recovery.

          TL;DR the old firm doesn’t suck “because of alcoholics,” it sucks because it enables active alcoholism. The goal should be to detect a culture of enablement, a culture of subterfuge, a culture where some people have zero accountability, and perhaps a culture of excess substance-fascination…rather than ferreting out “official alcoholics.”

    3. münchner kindl*

      In some places, there’s a problematic “bro-culture/frat-drinking” – but the broader culture is the problem there.

      In non-dysfunctional places, an employee or manager having an alcohol problem is noticed and then acted on (in my country, alcoholism is a disease, so a boss can’t fire somebody for having it – as long as the employee is undergoing treatment for it. Refusing to get treatment and being drunk at work is dangerous for others and reason for being warned, then fired).

      So asking about culture in general gets you more useful information.

      1. Threeve*

        This is the right approach. I wish people would stop conflating alcoholism with problem drinking.

        Alcoholism–that is, mental and physical dependence–is a mental illness, like any other addiction. Sadly, it’s often less noticeable than other kinds of alcohol abuse.

        1. JSPA*

          The one is often a stalking horse for the other, though. And serves admirably for self-deception.

          The interplay of circumstance and predilection are joint determinants of most diseases. Drinking culture also provides a wide on-ramp, and no off-ramp, for active alcoholism.

          Even if biology and family have left you highly predisposed to substance abuse in general or alcohol problems in specific, if your workplace and current home life rarely put you in contact with alcohol, you’re at lower risk for active disease. Compare type 2 diabetes in hunter-gatherer societies vs the same people resettled in bungalows and supplied with cheap sugar and white flour from the grocery; or high familial cholesterol in times of famine vs times of plenty.

      2. Dee*

        I agree with this. The OP can’t really ask about alcoholism but by asking about company culture, she may get a clue as to how alcohol centric the culture is. She may not want to work at a company where all of the social/morale events are happy hours at the bar down the street or where an employee perk is free beers on Friday afternoons.

        I will say – my dad was a functional alcoholic and CEO of a small business. He’s now in recovery, but in his case it’s not something you could’ve screened for during an interview. He wouldn’t have acknowledged his own alcoholism at the time and i don’t think his management level employees would’ve disclosed that to a candidate during a job interview. I would look for larger companies that aren’t family owned that have strong protocols and policies and a functioning HR department. That’s more likely to solve your problem.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          yeah, my partner’s business associate is definitely a functioning alcoholic and ran their business very well for years despite drinking all day from lunchtime onwards. He has never defined himself as an alcoholic. I’m not sure that the drinking is actually a problem, the business was very successful and he managed to sell it at a good price despite covid (with a lot of their clients in very bad shape, it wasn’t at all a given).

    4. Important Moi*

      I think this is an excellent example of how dysfunctional dynamics warps your perspective. Asking if you employer is an alcoholic is outside the norm.

    5. Butterfly Counter*

      Also, people are probably only going to know about the issue AND be willing to talk about it if the leadership is open about it, which might mean they’re in treatment and recovery. The interviewer could respond to your question with “yes, the CEO is an alcoholic,” but you wouldn’t functionally have the information you want. They might be an alcoholic in recovery and the company is run well and efficiently.

    6. Friend of Betty*

      As someone in active recovery, I’d be annoyed by a potential hire asking this question. My recovery is my business, and I share it when/with who I want.

      1. Jacey*

        That was my first thought as well, as the friend and family member of people in varying stages of recovery.

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        I’m pretty sure that a functioning alcoholic wouldn’t want to admit that he drinks all day to an interviewee either.

  6. MK*

    I realize this is very culture-depended but, unless your organization “celebrates” Halloween and April Fools’ Day, they are working days like any other. I would be find it odd if someone suggested announcements shouldn’t be made on them. In the OP’s case, between the manager’s jokey promotion announcement and the coworker’s frankly stupid comment, maybe it’s warranted though.

    1. BubbleTea*

      I can almost see the point about April Fool’s Day if I squint, but I cannot understand why Halloween would be an issue.

      1. Cheap Ass Rolex*

        Agree; the mention of Halloween is just confusing. There’s no reason anything would be weird just because it happens on Halloween!

      2. Nanani*

        I can see not wanting to plan certain things on haloween because, if the office celebrates at all, it’s really awkward to be the new person hired or transferred and not knowing HOW it will be celebrated.
        Are you going to be the only one in your Best First Impression outfit in a room full of ghosts and witches? Or if you know the department DOES celebrate, do you hedge your bets and wear a costume that won’t look like a costume in your new employee photo?
        But these are issues for actually starting in a new place in a context where the possibility of costumes exists, and wouldn’t impact announcements at al.

      3. Just Another Cog in the Machine*

        The first Halloween episode of The Office involves Michael having to fire someone while wearing his costume, since the office dresses up. (I believe it was another, paper-maché, Michael head on his shoulder?) If your office dresses up to the extent that theirs does, I can understand not wanting your important accomplishment pulled into that bizarro world.

        ESPECIALLY if someone needs to be fired. (Obviously, if that were to occur, a reasonable manager would take his/her costume off BEFORE firing someone.)

        In most normal offices, it shouldn’t be an issue.

      4. fhqwhgads*

        If sitcoms taught me anything, it’s that some people think of Halloween as a day for “pranks” as well. Never encountered it in the wild, though.

    2. JSPA*

      The manager was tone deaf at best. But the purpose of the announcement, from the point of view of the firm, is no less and no more than making the change known and official. The promotion itself demonstrates respect. Asking for the date and ceremony to be further tailored is…unusual, in most workplaces, and wanting a blanket ban on certain dates (among workdays) is not realistic.

      If you drew up a list of all dates that someone could find unlucky or awkward or imperfect, you’d have to add, any friday the 13th; leap year day; days associated with the remembrance of wars or attacks; dates with excess 4’s, for people culturally superstitious about the number 4; dates that are inauspicious on lunar calendars; dates that person associates with the birthday or death date of a loved one who has died; May 4th, because it’s a star wars joke, Pi day because it’s a numbers joke; dates that fall on anyone else’s religious holiday, so that they might be absent and miss the announcement; other people’s holidays, ditto.

      What would strike me as rude would be, making me the reason people could not leave at 4 pm, the day before thanksgiving, or the hour before some other common long weekend, because of an essential announcement. “We left late because of the stupid JSPA promotion announcement, like anyone really cares” is not what I want near-strangers at work thinking, when they think of me. But other than that? In this context, a date is a number, and any number will do.

  7. BuildMeUp*

    #3 – Yeah, you need to let this go. There’s nothing you can do about it, and you’ve already notified HR. Consider it out of your hands. It’s likely that your coworker just rarely uses LinkedIn.

    1. Heidi*

      Agreed. I’m having a hard time imagining what consequences might ensue from her continuing to list her former employer on LinkedIn; there is no guarantee that anything on LinkedIn is going to be true. Is the concern that someone who knows her poor work performance will think that the company is also problematic? It seems pretty unlikely. And continuing to bring this up after someone has been gone a whole year might come across as rather odd in itself. If the OP hasn’t done this already, I’d recommend unlinking this person from their network so they won’t see their page.

      1. The OTHER Other*

        This ex-employee probably just hasn’t bothered updating her LinkedIn account, but are certainly cases where it can be a very big deal.

        In the finance/life insurance business, you need to take steps to ensure that a former employee is no longer representing themselves as an agent or representative of your company. If the ex employee claims to represent the company in a way that a court or arbitration board thinks a member of the public could find credible (I.e. she says she’s with ABC company on a website, or has ABC a company stationery, brochures, etc) then ABC company can be held liable for damages of the ex employee who was “selling away”.

        There was recently a case near me where the ex employee was selling bogus investments (a Ponzi scheme) and the company was sued. They had to show that this was a rogue former agent, if it had been shown that they knew the ex agent was still claiming to be employed there and did nothing about it they could have been on the hook for major damages.

        1. Antilles*

          I think Heidi’s last point still holds though: For OP, it’s not really their problem to solve. If you’ve pointed out to HR in the past, that’s all you can do. It’s up to them to decide whether they care about an ex-employee’s (abandoned?) LinkedIn page matters or not, but continuing to bring it up is going to seem really odd.

    2. turquoisecow*

      A company I worked for went out of business in 2015 – 7 years ago now – and every so often I go on LinkedIn to see what my former coworkers are up to. Many of them never updated their accounts. Some of them I know have gone on to other jobs by now, but their LinkedIn still says they work at defunct company. Some of them left the company before it went out of business, but they never updated it.

      It seems like some people and some industries are really into LinkedIn and some aren’t. This coworker isn’t. Maybe she lost her password or maybe she just didn’t think of it. No big deal. Anyone who’s wondering where she is can contact the company or the person directly to find out. I honestly go on like once a year or so, especially when I’m not looking.

      1. Mangled metaphor*

        LinkedIn is increasingly heading the way of Facebook (especially since the start of WFH with the pandemic – employee of the month is now equally likely to be the author’s four year old, or their dog), and a lot of posts are only tangentially connected to actual networking or employment.

        If this fired employee is high risk (could genuinely damage the reputation of the company just by association), then contacting LinkedIn would be the way to go, but I’m not sure how much weight people are still putting into this particular social network.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

        I know more than one person with multiple accounts because they lost access to the email account they had used to sign up for it. Starting a second account was just easier for them. It’s not what my choice would have been, but I’m not them.

      3. Enginarian (Canada)*

        The person who had my job before me (12 years ago) still has it as her current position on LinkedIn. No one has ever wondered about it.

      4. Former Gifted Kid*

        If you go to my old company’s LinkedIn page, it says 33 employees. I know for a fact it only has 9 employees. I scrolled through them once and those extraneous 22 people are all either people who clearly abandoned their accounts years ago, contactors who list old org as their employer, or randos that got our org confused with other orgs that have the same or similar names. The point being, this happens quite a lot.

    3. Lisa*

      It’s not entirely true that there is nothing to be done about it. LinkedIn actually has a protocol for dealing with false claims, which I know because I’ve successfully used it.

      Background: I’m self-employed and I have an LLC. Because I sometimes advise clients on digital marketing and related practicers, I’ve set up some things online that would normally be total overkill for a one-consultant brand. Among other things, my LLC has a page on LinkedIn. Normally I should be the only person listed as working there. However, a year or two ago, a random person in another country listed my company’s page as their employer, in a way that caused my company page to show two people who work here. This could have been really confusing to potential clients, implying I outsource in a way that I don’t. I tried contacting the person and they never responded. So I went through the LinkedIn support system until I found a way to file a report.

      It took about a month to resolve. I’m not certain, but I think they contacted the person and never got response, so the resolution defaulted in my favor and they removed the person from my company’s list of employees. I have no idea what would have happened if they responded insisting they did work for me. But it sounds like in OP’s situation, the ex-employee might not be active on LinkedIn.

      In any case, if the outdated listing could be misleading in some way, it would be fine to at least try reporting it to LinkedIn and they might take care of it for you once it’s worked through their process.

    4. UKDancer*

      Yes, peoples’ attitude to Linked in varies dramatically. I’ve some colleagues who use it a lot, post articles regularly and are very active. I’ve others who have moved jobs at least twice but haven’t updated it. I tend to update it when I move but am not active much in between. It’s not something I check very much.

      I think unless she’s loudly claiming to be part of the company in a way with legal implications it’s more likely she just isn’t someone who updates Linked in a lot. I think unless there are legal implications, it’s probably more trouble and energy than it’s worth to try and engage with her to make her change it.

      1. londonedit*

        Yes – since I started my current job I’ve had tons of people wanting to connect with me, because the authors I now work with are in a sector that’s particularly active on LinkedIn. In general it’s not seen as a big deal within the publishing industry itself – I’ve never heard of anyone being contacted about a job on LinkedIn, for example, and the jobs the algorithm generally suggests to me have nothing to do with book publishing. There’s an industry website and a couple of recruitment agencies that people use for genuine book publishing jobs, LinkedIn has never been very big in that regard. I have my basic details on there because authors do want to connect, but I can’t say I’ve ever actually used LinkedIn for anything.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        I wait to update until I have been in the position for 1-2 years (if I remember to do it at all) since by that time I have a better idea of what the real duties are vs what was in the job description. Only time I look at LinkedIn is when I am job searching and that hasn’t happened for a while

      3. JustaTech*

        People can be really weird about LinkedIn.
        I had a coworker who was Big Mad that 1) our new head of HR sent “let’s connect” messages to everyone (I had to explain that this was likely done through an automated thing and the new head of HR didn’t search and send each of those individually) and 2) that one of the HR folks involved in recruiting was posting to LinkedIn during work hours. (“It’s part of his job.” “Oh.”)

        I have a former coworker who sends me a “let’s connect” message every few years that we should say we worked together. Which is true, except that he picked the *wrong* university in the *wrong* state.

    5. Covered in Bees*

      It could be that she’s embarrassed about being unemployed or whatever she’s doing now. If this isn’t impacting the company in any way, I’d let it go.

      1. Johanna Cabal*

        She could even have a new job that she’s been at for awhile.

        Even if she is actively lying about still being employed, I’d still let it go. I suspect someone I fired years ago did this. At the time it bothered me that this person who was a Bad Employee was able to obtain a high-paying job that likely paid more than mine (it didn’t help that three years prior to this I had been fired and found it hard to job hunt after).

        With hindsight, I realize former bad employee is in a job that’s a better fit and (I hope) much happier. I also can’t say for sure that they did lie about still being employed (no one contacted me or anyone else at my company for a reference). I’ve also moved on to other things as well.

    6. Mockingjay*

      A lot of people have the impression that LinkedIn is “official” in some capacity. I suppose that’s a testament to its success (I owe Current Job to a recruiter who found me on it), but it’s really just a social media platform with a focus on careers.

      I’ve abandoned several social media accounts that I use a throwaway email address for; I don’t remember the logins so I’ll probably never update or close them. It’s not a big deal. Use of these platforms is voluntary.

    7. Still trying to adult*

      Galling tho it may be, it’s not a problem for the company. In communcations parlance, it’s ‘noise’ – unwanted signal.

      FWIW, I was let go from a job once, having struggled in it and getting no help or malicious behavior from a co-worker. Within a year I found out he was under investigation for a) sexual harassment, against both men & women, plus plain racial harassment, and b) ‘temporarily’ assigned to another location. Final result was him definitely being fired. Must be awkward to go home in the middle of the day & tell family you’re fired and why.

      Coming up on the 2 year mark, his LinkedIn profile still lists him at that gov’t agency. All I can figure is that if anybody does contact him thru L.I., he’s got some ‘splainn’ to do about why he’s not there anymore.

    8. Cat Tree*

      I haven’t updated my LinkedIn since two companies and 6 years ago. It says I’m working for a company that no longer exists.

      I don’t have much interest in updating it. I’m planning to stick with my current company long-term so my job hunt is through our internal system. I also occasionally check for jobs posted on the websites of a select few companies. I’m not job searching beyond that so I don’t need LinkedIn for that. If I go in and update it now I will be inundated with spam from recruiters. My job doesn’t involve networking with others outside the company, so I have no reason to use LinkedIn.

  8. Two Chairs, One to Go*

    Re: L5, is it weird to send a LinkedIn request while you’re still interviewing? Or should that wait until you have a decision?

    1. Lisa*

      From my experience as a hiring manager, if the interview process has progressed to the point there is some rapport, then it’s not weird. If you don’t get the job, it helps maintain the connection. I’m still connected on LinkedIn with my runner-up candidate for an internship seven years ago and I love watching her career blossom.

      I would wait, however, until the process has advanced to where you can honestly say that you know each other and you’ve discussed work. It would be weird to get such a request from a candidate who had not yet been interviewed or had only been prescreened.

    2. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I think it’s a little hasty to send a connection request to people you’re interviewing with. You don’t have a real relationship with those folks yet, and asking to connect could come across as self-serving. Or purely related to getting a job and not making a connection. Or presumptive or agenda-pushing or overconfident, as in, ‘I just know we’re going to work together.’ Not sure which is right but you get the idea.

      Wait till after the interview, regardless of the outcome.

    3. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      As a person who receives these requests, I generally won’t accept any of them while we’re in the middle of the interview process. And if I have a meeting/speaker request/volunteer gig at a school or bootcamp or similar as we’re going into the hiring cycle, I’ll mention this. Once the new person has started, then I go back and accept all the requests.

      (This only applies to actually connecting with people – I’ll view candidates’ LinkedIn pages as a matter of course.)

    4. Snow Globe*

      I agree with waiting at least until you’ve had an in-person interview (maybe even wait until a second interview). Weirdly, I have had a couple of hiring managers who sent me a request even before I was contacted for a prescreen.

  9. nodramalama*

    LW1: i don’t really understand the position that work announcements shouldn’t occur on days that some people might celebrate something. That would rule out many, many days. Why would it matter if something was announced on Halloween? I don’t know a single person who even registered it was April Fools’ Day this year.

    1. The OTHER Other*

      It’s not about celebrating, it’s about people thinking the work announcement is some kind of sick prank. I’ve never worked someplace where that would be the case, but sadly these places are not unicorns.

      1. Nanani*

        Yes, this.
        April Fool’s isn’t really “celebrated” so much as “sprung on people by way of pranks” so it’s not the same as Halloween or Valentine’s day or anything.

        1. Lydia*

          It’s still doesn’t make sense to hold off anything you might announce because someone *might* think it’s a prank.

    2. Allonge*

      Either it’s a reasonable place where it indeed does not matter or it’s a problematic place where annoucements on 1 April are the least of people’s worries.

      I see why it landed weirdly with OP, but frankly, if I started working at a place and there was a policy that no announcements can be made on 1 April, it would be a flag for disfunction.

      OP – if it makes it easier, anyone commenting on the day of the promotion probably just latched onto an easy conversation point, and did not think anything beyond that.

      1. Anonym*

        I think you hit the nail on the head.

        A “joke” promotion would be cruel beyond measure, and coworkers even thinking that was the case would be a marching band of red flags. I can see feeling a bit insecure as the promotee in question if you’re new, maybe, but it doesn’t take long for it to be clear that the promotion is real.

        OP’s manager just has a kinda crappy sense of humor/judgement. OP – don’t view work things happening on holidays as a slight! The work stuff is always going to be more important than the holiday in the workplace, and work doesn’t stop for a holiday unless the office is closed (or a team member is out for it).

      2. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

        *frankly, if I started working at a place and there was a policy that no announcements can be made on 1 April, it would be a flag for disfunction.*

        Yes! This is exactly what I was thinking. I would be like, “What on earth happened (or is happening) at this organization to cause them to make this a formal rule?”

    3. Raboot*

      I don’t think they mean celebrating, I think they mean prank-heavy days. Which I don’t think Halloween falls under in general, but maybe they know people for whom “trick-or-treat” is actually some kind of prank driver and not just what kids announce when they ask you for candy.

      1. Not a psy cop*

        Perhaps the company is like mine where people dress up for Halloween, including dressing as people in other company roles: suit for CEO, the factory uniform shirt… my Babylon 5 Psy-Cop costume was even congratulated as being a board member. (Really? We have a board member who wears gloves? I never did get an answer.)

      2. Cheap Ass Rolex*

        But even then, the “Trick” is usually something like TPing a house, which is a mild inconvenience but isn’t really a prank.

    4. A.N. O'Nyme*

      The specific celebration for April’s Fools is pranking, which is the issue. There are absolutely jerks who would claim to promote people as a “prank”, and considering the boss was already pranking LW when announcing the promotion in private…yeah I can see why this left a bad taste in LW’s mouth.

      1. Antilles*

        Bingo. The important context is the first paragraph.
        At first my boss acted as though I had done something wrong, starting the conversation with, “This is the part of the job I don’t like to have to do.” (…) She then said that she made a mistake and it was actually higher.
        Other people (including me) might have barely registered it was April Fools’ Day but I’d guess we also didn’t have someone at work play two joke/pranks on us literally the day before. It’s not a general rule about whether anyone should announce news on April 1st/Halloween, it’s specific to this individual case of “should a known prankster be announcing major news on April 1st”.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      One of things I thought could be a play here is life experience. Younger me would have very much thought of this question that OP asked. For many reasons, my ability to trust was pretty broken. In order to survive I HAD to look for the subtext on everything. There was always something covert going on, something nefarious and I had to be on watch. Or so I thought.

      Time has been kind and a lot of that has been beaten down. I have also gained strength in my ability to shake some things off and move on.

      BUT. I still am not really liking your boss, OP. Her actions are not transparent nor are her intents. Why. There is no need to hide actions/hide intents.- unless of course, someone creates imaginary needs in their own minds. For me and based on my life experience, I would not expect my relationship with a boss like this to get better. Annnnd, I might even consider the thought that the relationship could get worse. Then it becomes a matter of figuring out where my boundary is and how much is too much.


  10. TheEndIsNigh*

    #3 Haven’t updated my Linkedin for the past 10 year and I don’t give a hoot about it. And I don’t want to be stalked online by others who might want to hurt me by contacting my employers about what I do in personal life. Linkedin is overrated !!

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      It’s really become as much of a mess as other social media. I’m using it because I’m actively job searching and yikes. Influencers, conspiracy theories. Yeah, no thanks.

    2. Sunshine*

      I deactivated my LinkedIn and haven’t looked back. I don’t work in an industry where a web presence matters and have been able to find jobs no problem without it. I definitely agree – it’s overrated. I can only see it really helping in fields where networking is really important, but otherwise it’s just a liability for the reasons you mentioned.

    3. Dotty*

      If this was a really big deal for your company then they can get this job removed from the person’s LinkedIn page. I’ve done this twice: once when a company I worked at wanted to have a former, deceased partner’s page stop indicating that he was still running the place, and another time when somebody was indicating that they were an employee of my business (this was somebody I didn’t know, who was in another country) – I did that because I’m a sole proprietor of a part-time consulting business and didn’t want my full time employer to think I had turned that small side business into something so large and busy that I needed employees!
      For the first situation I went to the Help menu and typed in “deceased” and found the form to report that – I had to send a link to an obituary. For the 2nd situation I went to Help and typed “report inaccurate information”. In both cases I had to check something that said I was acting as an authorized agent of the company – so probably if your HR doesn’t care then you should just let this be and not do this yourself if that’s not your role.

    4. NotBatman*

      In response to this post, I just looked at my LinkedIn for the first time in over a year… and sure enough, it still lists me as working at the job I left 18 months ago. I agree that continuing to list an old job is probably not a deliberate call, just forgetfulness.

  11. Mike*

    “She then proceeded to let me know about my promotion. That was great news. She said that the promotion comes with a raise and let me know the amount. I was happy. She then said that she made a mistake and it was actually higher. I was happier.”

    Could have been worse. Many years ago a friend told me that his father-in-law did their taxes for them, and he reported to them that they were getting a refund of, say, $5000. He then told them a little later, “April Fools! Your refund’s $1200.” Even to an onlooker like me that wasn’t funny.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Almost any situation could be worse. I am not sure how this helps the OP. In picking the worst of two given situations I think a boss messing with one’s pay/job is a bigger deal than a one time tax refund. FIL could just find someone else to do his taxes. OP can’t just go find a new boss tomorrow.

      I hope the FIL in this story did actually find someone else to do his taxes, though. I’d move away from that kind of crap.

  12. Gingerblue*

    I agree. It’s one of the huge strengths of Alison’s advice, and really sets AAM apart from a lot of advice sites.

  13. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    OP2: a little over a month (? I think) ago I was asked by someone at work if we had anyone with serious mental illness on staff.

    Now it’s complex because the person asking was HR, and it was because a new starter had a seriously bad history with people with severe issues or a phobia of them (never found out which, not my business anyway). So on one hand I’d love to be able to just say ‘oh that’s not a problem, tell them to not worry, this is a safe working environment’…

    …but on the other hand I’d know if they somehow found out that I do in fact have at least one serious (as in IRL only my doctors and my husband know I have it) mental illness and had just lied the proverbial matter would hit the cycling air device. So it was safer in all cases to just say ‘those kind of questions are ones I don’t or can’t answer’.

    However, as a veteran of a few howlingly bad workplaces I can very much back Alison’s suggestion to look at the wider picture and if you can talk to current employees. I wish I’d googled the CEO of one place first because finding out what kind of things he’d been in the news for while I was working there was unpleasant.

    1. Forrest*

      Was this a legitimate request by HR in your opinion? I realise I’m going off a very brief description and there was probably a lot more to it than you’ve said here, but it sounds like the new starter was basically asking for people’s private medical information and it feels like HR’s response should have been, “I’m very sorry, we can’t do that.”

      1. Anonym*

        Yeah, having the private health information of other employees disclosed doesn’t sound like a reasonable accommodation at ALL. And what diagnosis would be used to even justify it? Mental-illness-phobia?

        Absent other information, I assume the employee in question revealed their challenges in good faith, but HR should not have pursued the question.

        1. Anonym*

          I’m sorry to double comment, but the longer I sit with this, the more disturbing it gets. The person had a bad experience with someone with mental illness that focused on them in some way (if I understand correctly), but they’re generalizing their concerns to all people with a mental illness? When everyone’s experience and symptoms (across many diagnoses) varies widely? It feels like HR doubly failed, not just by validating an inappropriate request to violate the privacy of other employees, but by buying into and contributing to stigma and ignorance around mental illness.

          I do hope this is a one-off from this HR person and not a pattern! And I hope that employee is both able to move forward healthily from a difficult experience AND doesn’t make unreasonable requests.

        2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          I’m a bit odd in that I can actually see why people would be scared of me if they found out my diagnosis because it’s so heavily misconstrued as being dangerous (schizophrenia), and they were quite specific in it being only ‘severe illness like psychopathy, no impulse control, schizophrenia, dementia etc’ and not say, depression.

          However, saying that, this particular HR person and I have had a mixed history where she’s great at dealing with discrimination, harassment, and the like but sometimes gets the wrong idea about what ‘equal’ means and does have trouble accepting that those of us with disabilities etc. are just as good employees as those who don’t. Took me a half hour to stop her using baby talk to me fer instance.

          1. WantonSeedStitch*

            Ugh, that’s awful. If I were that HR person, I would have said, “you can’t ask that. I mean, you can, but I can’t answer. I CAN tell you we’ve had no instances of workplace stalking, violence, or other issues like that here, and if we ever did, here’s how we would handle it.” That is really all another employee should be allowed to know.

            When I had my son, one of the reasons I chose his pediatrician’s office is because the owner of the practice is very open about having schizophrenia, and as a result, the practice puts A LOT of emphasis on the importance of mental and emotional health as well as physical health. I liked the idea that if my son should have issues in those areas, the medical professionals there would take them seriously and include them in caring for his overall wellness. The office even has a whole behavioral health team with a psych nurse, social workers, etc. on staff.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              I am in absolute love of the owner of that practice and really want to give you my respect for not backing away from someone with our illness. You’re a very rare person and thank you.

            2. aubrey*

              Wow that’s great about your son’s pediatrician. It can be so difficult to find someone who takes children’s mental health seriously – one of my siblings has a serious mental illness and my parents would have chosen that office for sure had it been an option when we were children. Too many doctors dismissed it as young kids can’t have this issue, this is just behaviour problems, etc – or alternatively that the outlook was basically hopeless. Having a positive role model and people hwo understood would have helped a lot.

            3. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

              WOW, that is incredible. It’s wonderful that you have a pediatrician like that! Ours is horrible, but there’s a major shortage of pedis in our area, and we haven’t even been able to get on any lists to switch.

          2. Observer*

            None of that come CLOSE to excusing the HR person. What @Anonym said is totally correct. But also, she doesn’t have the information FOR A REASON. Why would she go digging for information she has not legitimate reason to access? If she REALLY thought that this was a proper way to accommodate someone, she could have gone to her boss and said “I want to accommodate this person, but to do that I need to know who has x, y and z diagnoses, or at least if anyone has these diagnoses.” She didn’t. Instead she went to do a digging expedition. I think that that’s very telling.

            where she’s great at dealing with discrimination, harassment, and the like but sometimes gets the wrong idea about what ‘equal’ means and does have trouble accepting that those of us with disabilities etc. are just as good employees as those who don’t. Took me a half hour to stop her using baby talk to me fer instance.

            I’m having a hard time seeing how someone who is herself discriminatory is “great” at dealing with discrimination. What am I missing?

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              You’re not missing anything, actually I’m realising she’s got a lot to learn!

              Basically she’s been great with the stuff me or my staff have needed her for (like the male end users hassling the women on staff about how IT is a man’s job, or being able to use the women’s loos as a transgender woman) but upon reflection she’s still got some inbuilt bias she needs to work on. I dunno, I’m not the best person to judge human behaviour!

              She did apologise and never talked down to a disabled member of staff, including me, ever again. If anything she went too far the other way and started asking me every day if I needed anything (nope, got my parking spot and my chair, I’m good).

        3. yala*


          fwiw, the most likely diagnosis I could see would be PTSD. For me personally, I get triggered being around someone in a manic state (to the point that sometimes just watching a show, if a character starts being manic for lols and it gets Too Accurate, I’m pretty much down for the day).

          That said. Still doesn’t mean I would have any right whatsoever to ask about my coworkers mental health. (It does mean I had to admit I’ll probably never be able to work at a public library again). I could ask about the culture, or if the office is generally quiet, etc, but that’s it.

          If someone’s just asking about mental illnesses in general (like…which ones? They manifest differently, and again, are none of your business), it really feels more like some generalized ableism like “Oh, I don’t want to be around crazy people.”

          1. yala*

            also, fwiw, it certainly doesn’t mean I can’t be around or work with someone who is bipolar or similar. It just means that if a manic state Happens, I need to be able to Go Somewhere Else and not be involved. Which, again, isn’t about the other person at all, so still wouldn’t warrant me needing to know about anyone else’s mental health.

            HR was WAY out of line asking that. The focus shouldn’t be on “what might other people do” so much as “what does this person need (and can we accommodate that).” If what they “need” is to not be around anyone with mental illnesses ever, then…no, I think most workplaces can’t accommodate that, and shouldn’t be expected to.

            1. Observer*

              The focus shouldn’t be on “what might other people do” so much as “what does this person need (and can we accommodate that).” If what they “need” is to not be around anyone with mental illnesses ever, then…no, I think most workplaces can’t accommodate that, and shouldn’t be expected to.


    2. Nanani*

      Yeaaaaah that’s not okay.
      They can legitimately have a bad history but that doesn’t mean everyone with a given diagnosis now needs to disclose their private information or that painting everyone with the same brush somehow becomes reasonable.

      I hope HR got their sandwiches together and shut down that whole line of inquiry. Not. Ok.

    3. Observer*

      Now it’s complex because the person asking was HR, and it was because a new starter had a seriously bad history with people with severe issues or a phobia of them

      Is your HR in general incompetent, or just this one person? Because any reasonable HR person SHOULD know that trying to dig out if anyone has serious mental illness is NOT ok. Not even to try to accommodate someone else’s mental illness.

      What makes it worse is that any person who finds out what this HR person tried is now going to be unable to share sensitive information with HR, even when they really need to, because they now know that HR cannot be trusted to handle that information responsibly.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Mostly she’s the only one I deal with, unless I need to escalate up the chain of command (we’re a big firm, she’s the HR rep for IT and finance). I did, after this incident have a long talk with her in private about how we couldn’t ask those kind of questions nor provide the answers. I think she understood.

        (I know my medications are on my HR file so it’s possible, though not likely, that she looked them up, realised some are for a quite serious illness and headed for me first but I don’t want to feed my paranoia today)

        1. Anonym*

          Well done for correcting her! It sounds like she’s taken your other advice to heart. Here’s hoping she does the same with this.

        2. SnappinTerrapin*

          I’ve been thinking about this, off and on, since you posted about it before.

          Seems to me, instead of asking existing employees about mental health issues, the HR rep should have answered the candidate along the following lines:

          “If you are worried about disclosing your own disability or illness to us, rest assured that we will make reasonable efforts to accommodate any employee’s disability to make it possible to perform the essential duties of their job. Obviously, discriminating against another employee with a perceived disability by preventing them from being able to do their jobs would not be a reasonable accommodation, and I’m sure you wouldn’t ask us to mistreat someone else for your benefit. Does that answer your question?”

  14. Anonymous Cornellian*

    Cornell University’s College of Industrial and Labor Relations now offers online course work. I took one personnel management course as an undergrad and wish I had taken more.
    (For other readers I’ll also point out the Cornell ILR Online Labor Studies Program, designed for union leaders.

    1. Minding My Business*

      LinkedIn Q — Lots of people don’t update their accounts and the default is Current unless you do. If someone calls for a reference, true dates of employment will be given. I like accuracy too but trying to force a fired employee to update their social media account is extra. You told HR and they made the decision to leave it alone. If there are liability issues as mentioned for certain industries, you can feel good that you did your part.

  15. Rubia*

    Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) has amazing some amazing tools and programs for managers (and overall coaching/leadership in general).

  16. L-squared*

    #1. I get why your bosses behavior may have been annoying, but I’m not sure why you feel slighted. They announced it, and the promotion is in effect. What more were you expecting here. Hell, I got a promotion and it wasn’t even really announced (though my day to day didn’t really change). I didn’t feel slighted because I knew my pay and title was changed.

    #3. I’m really curious why this bothers YOU so much. You aren’t management. You aren’t HR. You aren’t the owner. From what I can gather, you are just a former coworker. So why do you care so much what her LinkedIn says. I mean, you brought it up once, and still can’t let it go. Move on.

    1. Everything Bagel*

      Yeah, my thoughts as well. Someone else’s LinkedIn profile doesn’t sit well with you? Hmm.

  17. Dinwar*

    I could have written #4 a few years ago. If you’re really good at field geology your reward is….not doing field geology anymore.

    My advice is to find a mentor. That’s what kept me sane. It doesn’t even have to be formal–it just has to be someone you trust, someone who can advise you. For that matter, it doesn’t have to be one person. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses, so it only makes sense to go to some people for advice on certain topics, others for advice on other topics. If you’re wondering where to look, your boss is a fantastic place to start. Remember, your success is their success, so they have a vested interest in you doing well (provided your office is even a little functional). Once you get into the role a bit more you’ll come into contact with other managers, and will be able to build a network. And remember, often some of the non-managers you encounter–safety officers, quality control people, subject matter experts–may also have managerial experience, or even be managing staff themselves. One H&S officer I used to work with a lot is managing H&S folks now, for example. So there are probably more opportunities than you think for mentorship, even if it’s just one-off questions for now.

    One other bit of advice: Find lieutenants. My biggest mistake as a new manager was trying to oversee everything at once. I was on a jobsite that spread across twenty square miles, with multiple types of activities going on; I was quickly losing my sanity. So, at the advice of my mentor, I delegated oversight to people I trusted. This did a few things. First, it allowed me to focus on what I needed to focus on. Second, it offered the lieutenants a chance to prove themselves. One thing it DIDN’T do was affect my understanding of the project at all. Despite my worries I still had all the relevant information at my fingertips.

    1. LW#4*

      Thank you! I do have several people on my team that I treat as delegates / lieutenants on quite a few issues. I feel guilt over it, like I’m pushing my own job off on them but they seem like they enjoy the challenge and the exposure. I think I need to reframe it in my mind as giving them room for development / advancement rather than “shirking my duties”.

      I’m developing kind of on accident a good mentoring relationship with someone that’s a more senior peer. I likely need to lean into that a bit more as that mentor has offered to mentor me since I provide a ton of support to them in their position.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Staff development is definitely a good thing for managers to do! It sounds like you’re off to a good start.

        1. Dinwar*

          Yup. It’s one of the things I’m evaluated on, in fact–they just didn’t tell me that until my next annual review! And even if it’s not, they’re your team, and being able to say “I saw this opportunity, and Susan would be a fantastic fit, I’ve had her doing this sort of work for me for a while and she does great at it” makes you look good to your boss (you solved his staffing problem!) and your team (you go out of your way to look for opportunities for them!), while also freeing you up for the stuff that can’t be delegated.

          I understand the guilt. I felt it at first as well. I got over it after a few times telling myself “I hate to make Susan do this, but if I don’t I won’t finish this other thing and the job will be shut down.” Eventually you get a feel for what you can delegate and what you can’t.

          1. LW#4*

            Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to give so much advice here, this is incredibly helpful and reassuring!

  18. irene adler*

    For #3: Every year I receive LI notification that my brother has notched another year in his U.S. gov’t position.

    Thing is: he has spent the last four years in prison.
    No way to update the profile. And its going to stay that way until he gets out- in 40 years!

    1. Other Alice*

      Yeah, I’m not looking forward to Facebook reminding me about my dead friend’s birthdays. There are so many reasons why someone might not update their profile any more…

      1. Raboot*

        I really empathize with that. Been there. If you were close and/or you know their family, maybe suggest to them that they memorialize the page? Fb lets you do this for profiles so people can still look at photos and post messages but they don’t get suggested as event invitees or send bday notifications.

  19. Susie Q*

    #2: I do hiring for my company. I would think this is an inappropriate question because how is that any of your business. Also, not all companies are small. My company has over 3000 employees. I do hiring but I am not close with any of our senior leadership. There is NO way I would know that answer.

    1. NotBatman*

      Agreed. I did a bit of hiring *for an alcohol company*, and we would’ve considered this question inappropriate.
      To get at what you want: maybe try asking “can you talk about the leadership style, with a story that demonstrates that style?” or “to what extent do senior leaders communicate with this team, and what does that communication look like?” or “what kind of social events does the company hold?” Any one of those might elicit a spontaneous story about poor behavior that’ll let you know you should run for the hills.

  20. Slow Gin Lizz*

    OP2 writes:

    I’m in the devil you know position and am trying to decide if I just stick it out for the next five years or take a really big leap and explore other options.

    OP2, I know your question was about if you can ask if the company’s leaders are alcoholics, but I feel like this statement needs addressing as well. You absolutely do NOT need to stick it out for another five years in your dysfunctional company. You’ve already been there 20 years, which is a very long time to be at one company. I don’t know why you’re asking specifically about sticking it out for another five years (is it that you are that far from retirement?) but at the very least you should start putting feelers out about what other jobs are out there that you could do. IMO, you should get out get out get out ASAP. Any company will have a few problems, but many companies are not completely dysfunctional.

    And just putting out feelers, applying for jobs, and going on interviews absolutely does not mean you are definitely leaving. There’s nothing final about just looking for a new job, the decision to leave is not final until you say it is. I recommend going through all of Alison’s posts on job searching and interviewing (and writing cover letters and resumes) (and, heck, all her posts because they’re fabulous) and you will get excellent guidance on how to find a much better job than you currently have. Best of luck, OP! Hope you find something wonderful.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      Doubling down on this — exploring other options isn’t taking a big leap! But it is the only way to really know if you want to take that leap. I always say, if you are wondering at all, at least start looking at posted jobs. That way you start to get a sense of what is out there.

    2. Sara without an H*

      +1. Yes, it never hurts to take a look at what’s out there in your field. If nothing else, it lets you know what skills are in demand so you can make sure that yours are still current.

      OP#2, please check the AAM archives for information about resumes, cover letters, and job search strategy and start looking around. You don’t HAVE to go anywhere, of course, but then again, you might find something very promising that you’d like to pursue.

  21. anonymous73*

    #3 – I think the bigger question here is why do you care? As Alison and other commentariat have mentioned, there are a number of reasons why someone’s LinkedIn profile may be out of date. Even if she left it that way intentionally, how exactly does it affect you and your job?

    1. Sunshine*

      Meh, I can understand why OP#3 is wondering about it. It feels like it would be a weird situation ethically – the colleague is basically getting credit for work she’s not only no longer doing, but was so bad at doing that she got fired for it. And if they’re connected on LinkedIn, OP might be seeing people congratulate this colleague on work anniversaries for this job she no longer has. It might not affect her job, but OP doesn’t seem like she’s obsessing over it – just curious.

      1. anonymous73*

        Wondering is one thing, but it’s taking up enough mental space in OP’s head that they wrote into an advice column to ask about it. And the colleague isn’t getting credit for anything. When she goes to apply for a new job, they’re going to verify her previous employment and find out her Linked In page is bogus. And if they don’t, again, who cares?

  22. I just work here*

    Many years ago I got a great new job that started on April 1. Let it go and enjoy your promotion.

  23. KareninHR*

    I was laid off on April Fools Day in 2016. I knew that the company wasn’t joking, but EVERYONE I told thought that I was joking! It was super fun having the same conversation over and over. “No really, I was laid off. I’m not joking. Please believe me, I just lost my job.”

    Also, I went out that evening to commiserate with friends and happened to get the worst food poisoning of my life. Really not a banner weekend for me. (Luckily I landed on my feet pretty quickly, so it was only a small setback!)

    1. SpicySpice*

      Wow, what a day you had! I feel like I would be shaking my fist at the sky and swearing lol

    2. Slippy Toad*

      My ex was also laid off on April Fools Day. They’d actually delayed it to that day as a kindness to give him an extra month of health insurance, as he’d been quite ill, but it still meant they called him the day after he was released from a week long hospital stay following a major surgery to do it. It was the best of a bad situation, I guess, but he’d worked there over a decade so it still felt a bit unkind. Then they hired him back through a temp agency a week later because corporate across the country had laid him off kind of by accident. They’d laid off everyone with his job title, but he only had that title because he was the only one who did his kind of work and it was the closest one they had. He worked there another four years, just with no benefits.

      1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

        Wow! obvously he was needed so why couldn’t they have moved him into something with the correct job title. Just shows that corporate can mess things up for everyone. It also shows that they care more about saving money by hiring through a temp agency then paying for people and giving benefits

        1. Slippy Toad*

          Their HR department told him when he was hired that they didn’t want to make a whole new title to put into their system for just one person (they had thousands of employees) when they had a “close enough” one. His local manager tried to tell them repeatedly that his job was different and they couldn’t go without him, but no one listened until they had to hire a contractor to do one project and it cost what he took home in a month. Getting him back was a temp was the best his boss could do, and they did raise his hourly rate a bit, but not enough to offset the fact that his hours were irregular or what we spent on health insurance (never mind that he had no sick or vacation time anymore, and couldn’t get unemployment when they eventually just stopped giving him work). He’d worked there over ten years, it was a terrible way to end the relationship.

  24. Helen B*

    My company did layoffs one year on April 1. I understand that it’s the start of a quarter, but really seemed like something they could have waited a day to do.

    1. Polly Hedron*

      I agree that companies should never do that.
      A place where I used to work had a big April 1 layoff and some of the victims didn’t believe it. One victim had to be taken several levels up the management chain to get confirmation from his great-grandboss before he would believe it.

  25. I should really pick a name*

    Is it a situation where as part of the process you would meet the partner you’d work with during the interview process?
    That might give you more insight into how they behave as opposed to asking if they’re an alcoholic or not.
    As a general rule, I’d suggest focusing on the behaviours you want to avoid as opposed to worrying to much about what the source of those behaviours are.

  26. Sunshine*

    I just want to reiterate what other folks have said in responses to other comments and say that LinkedIn has a process for removing employees like in letter #3. We had some people falsely claiming they worked at my last company and it became my job to get them removed. It was really easy, but if HR has already decided not to take action then I think OP#3 should just leave it alone.

  27. Nanani*

    In some parts of the world, the fiscal year starts April 1 and it is completely normal for that to be THE big day for new hires, internal transfers, and yes, promotions.

    OP1 would know if that was relevant to anyone they work with but it’s still interesting, especially for any commenters wondering what the big deal is.

  28. Dust Bunny*

    At a functional, healthy company, announcing a promotion on April 1st shouldn’t be a big deal


    This wouldn’t raise an eyebrow where I work and people would think it was low-key weird if anyone commented on it, because we don’t work for a bunch of mean-spirited pranksters. April Fool’s doesn’t really register.

  29. Spicy Tuna*

    #2 – in a functional company, people with substance abuse issues are offered the opportunity for rehab. Not sure what the cutoff is for the number of employees a company needs to have to qualify, but above a certain number, substance abuse is considered a disability and if I’m not mistaken, the substance abuser cannot be fired without being offered treatment options.

  30. Polecat*

    #3 stop stalking ex-employees on LinkedIn. It’s weird. And when you bring it up to HR, even if you say you just happened to see that person‘s profile, they know you were stalking that person on LinkedIn. And again, it’s weird. Why is it your business?

    1. Colette*

      There’s no indication anyone is stalking. LinkedIn likes to send updates about all of your connections, including “work anniversaries” – it’s entirely possible the OP passively received the info and then wasn’t sure what to do with it.

    2. TiredTulips*

      I was wondering the same thing. It feels odd. Why is the LW so worried about that person’s LinkedIn? They already got fired, what’s tattling to HR (probably again) going to do?

  31. BeenFiredB4*

    Lw3: I’m mean this nicely but your fired coworker’s LinkedIn is none of your business and not something you should go to HR about. I was fired after an intense and successful campaign by a new employee to push me out and if I found out she was fussing to HR about my social media tags I’d be even more upset. They got fired, which is a a huge and sometimes traumatic upheaval. I’m curious why this person’s movements matter to you so much now they they’re no longer in your professional life.

  32. Bernice Clifton*

    There could be a lot of reasons someone wouldn’t update their LinkedIn in your ex-coworker’s situation:

    1) The login email is their email from your org and they forgot the password, and decided it wasn’t worth dealing with so they abandoned LinkedIn or set up a new profile that you don’t know about.

    2) They don’t have a new job yet – either by choice or not by their choice but they don’t want to advertise that to their network &/or don’t want to get spammed by recruiters.

    3) They took a job in another industry or at a lower level or at an org with a bad reputation and don’t want to be judged by their network for it.

    4) They got a new job and meant to update LinkedIn and forgot.

    5) They got a job at an org with a big fan base and don’t want to get spammed by people who want to work there or get free or discounted products.

    1. Mental Lentil*

      6) They died and didn’t have anything in their will set up to deal with this.

      You can set up a way to pass on access/control of your social media accounts in your will. I haven’t looked into this deeply yet but I know this is a thing in some places.

      Definitely doesn’t apply to LW, but it’s never too late to start thinking about and planning for this.

    2. Hen in a Windstorm*

      Or how about this fun one I discovered yesterday? I updated my profile when I got laid off in 2020, put an end date and everything. But I didn’t realize LinkedIn had apparently auto-generated a “headline” under my photo that still had “X Position at Old Company”. If you had looked at the details, you’d have seen the correct info, but if you just glanced at the summary, you might have thought I was lying.

      But I noticed a lot of my former coworkers who also got laid off haven’t updated their profiles at all. Some people just don’t use LinkedIn.

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        Yes, this.

        I also had a situation where my old company was bought out by another company. LinkedIn updated that industry change by replacing all references to the old company with the the info and logo of the new company. Suddenly, my LinkedIn profile contained references to a company where I had no work history. I was alerted to this by a former coworker who was asked (at an interview) why his resume and LinkedIn profile were completely different.

  33. Mental Lentil*

    LW3 is why I take anything on LinkedIn with a HUGE grain of salt. (As well as social media in general.)

  34. Nethwen*

    #4: As you find mentors, please feel free to disregard their advice or look for another person if it doesn’t fit with your values. As a new manager trying to find my way, I received so much advice that tore me up emotionally. I thought that if I were to be an effective manager, I had to do these advised things that made my whole being revolt. When I finally figured out that what worked for others wasn’t in alignment with my values, I was better able to seek advice from people who share my values and become a manager who can sleep peacefully at night.

    1. Elise*

      Yes, one of the other managers at the same level as me was a really good resource when I was new. He managed with compassion while holding people to their job expectations. There were some other managers at that level at the time whose style would not have felt good to me.

    2. Dinwar*

      A very good point. I’d add that you can disregard advice for less-extreme reasons as well. Everyone’s situation is unique, so some advice that’s good for me may be horrible for you. A good mentor will understand this. If you find yourself disagreeing with advice pretty often (and how often is going to depend on your relationship) the person may not be a good option for a mentor. It happens; even people who are on really good terms can be bad fits for this sort of thing!

      Part of being a manager is being a leader, and you can’t be a leader by blindly following what someone tells you.

  35. Elise*

    #4 – Alison and others have given you great advice. I’d also point out that now that you are in a higher level management role, once you feel more solid in your skills you could advocate for a new manager training/onboarding program.

    1. LW#4*

      I definitely plan to. I intend to make it part of my conversation with my manager when I request funding for training as I’ve talked to some other new managers in the greater organization in the time since I initially wrote in and they are having very similar issues.

  36. TaurusChild*

    LW #4 – I feel you on this! I took my first management position last summer and I’m feeling really overwhelmed. I’m struggling with how to find a mentor. I feel like asking any of the other managers in my org would just be a huge imposition on them. They are all quite busy and I can’t think of an organic way to get that relationship started. My boss has been pretty good, but sometimes I’d like someone to talk to that isn’t my boss.

    1. LW#4*

      This is EXACTLY how I feel! I have a few great peers that have offered me mentorship and I’m trying to feel comfortable taking them up on it but I feel guilty! I know they are so busy that any time they spend with me feels like I’m stealing their time so I only feel comfortable working with the ones that I have something to offer in return… And yes to the boss conversations!

      My boss is incredibly senior (I’m by far their most junior employee, everyone else is Director level and above) so it feels weird going to them for issues like “how do I have an effective performance review meeting with an underperforming employee?” even though they’ve always been more than happy to help. I can’t help but feel that they’re used to coaching their direct reports on things like making it to the VP level, not management 101 so my questions are a waste of their time (in my mind at least).

  37. 653-CXK*

    OP #1: Back in 2003, I transferred from one section of my ExCompany to the other (call it section A and section B). Section A was going through some hard times and was preparing for layoffs, so getting that job in Section B was a boon.

    Section A executed the layoffs on April 2 rather than April 1, precisely because Section A had the forethough to not lay off on April Fools Day. The person I used to work with (and whom I met the first day I worked in 1996) pointed out all of the victims (40-50 people) of the layoff.

  38. Huh?*

    OP3, this is seriously none of your business. Why did you go to HR about a former colleague’s LinkedIn profile? This isn’t their concern, or yours. My LinkedIn has often been out of date as I haven’t had the time to update it, or have simply forgotten to do so. Many of my friends and colleagues are the same. One friend just did a massive update of her LinkedIn profile because she’s been promoted and had to update her resume for it; it was about four years out of date before that. It means nothing.

    And why did you know your former colleague was on a PIP if you’re not their manager?

  39. Bad Debt Good Times*

    My manager has an MBA, makes $160k/yr, oversees a staff of 15 at an organization with 500 employees, and has zero formal or informal management training (which is VERY obvious).

    It is so frustratingly normal.

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      The sad thing is, he had some very expensive management training/education that you imply has not helped him actually be an effective manager.

  40. Failing Up*

    LW 4: Welcome to life! As you have already found out, most people don’t know anything and are making it up as they go. Good on you for being a self starter and finding resources to help you get better at what you do.

  41. Ninotchka the Intrepid*

    To the Paralegal (#2): I get where you’re coming from. Alcoholism and depression is pretty common among lawyers and paralegals. So much so, that those issues have been covered in newsletters from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

    I once worked at a firm where one of the partners began drinking shortly after arriving for work each morning, and would become belligerent by noon. My desk was relocated next to his office because no one else would agree to be near him.

    Even if you can tough it out where you are for another 5 years, staying will cause you harm. Begin job searching, and if you receive an offer ask to speak with other paralegals/support staff at the firm before you decide. Often, a potential peer will be forthcoming if you get him/her alone. Best of luck.

  42. Koala dreams*

    #1 If the company has a history of joke announcements on April 1st, they definitely should be careful with the timing of serious announcements. Also, your boss has a bad taste in joking with you about the promotion and the pay. Jokes are supposed to be funny, not mean.

    As an aside, I’m surprised so few people have experience with April jokes at work. After primary school, I only ever see April fool’s jokes by companies. Consumer companies make joke announcements to customers, newspapers write joke news, TV shows do practical jokes. I guess there are adults out there who celebrate April Fool’s socially, but that haven’t been my experience.

  43. pierrot*

    Yeah it’s definitely not a good idea to ask potential employers about whether they are alcoholics. Would you ask a potential interviewer if anyone at the company had any other form of mental illness?Alcohol use disorder is a DSM diagnosis. I’d be concerned if any HR person genuinely answered that question (let alone at a law firm). That doesn’t excuse their behavior at all, but in the context of applying for jobs it will definitely backfire.

    I understand why you want to know. I am a recovering addict, and I would also not want to work somewhere where drinking is a large part of the culture. As others said, the way you find this out is by talking to people who currently or formerly worked there about if there’s a culture around drinking or just generally about the lawyers’ behavior. Maybe try writing down a list of the bad, dysfunctional behaviors your bosses engaged in that were a result of the alcohol (ie “had a temper” “was extremely unreliable” “made inappropriate jokes” etc) and frame questions to former employees of the law firm in this way without bringing up alcohol.

  44. Anita Brake*

    Thanks, LW #3! I probably should update my LinkedIn. I had been active, but then they started some sort of personal ads/service and I kept receiving messages from men who claimed to have my job title, but were in faraway countries like Saudi Arabia and wanted to “chat.” I eventually stopped getting the notifications and then just started ignoring it altogether. I know it’s been at least 2 years since I looked at it.

  45. ..Kat..*

    As a bedside nurse in an ICU, I avoid working April 1st. There are no funny jokes involving critically ill patients.

  46. Bob-White of the Glen*

    I started a new job and moved halfway across the country 2.5 years ago, but haven’t updated LI or FB. Why? Creepy ex-friend who stalked me in my last city. Would prefer he not know where I live now. Always the very strong chance he can figure it out, but if nothing changes he’d have no reason to Google me. (At least I’m hoping.)

    There’s a bunch of reasons why your company may still be on there, and nothing to do with pretending she is still working for it.

  47. Widget*

    LW#2: I am related to lawyers and have worked in the legal industry and now go to industry functions as part of my spouse’s work. While you can’t ask if your potential future bosses are alcoholics, there are culture questions that could functionally answer that question for you. Lines of questioning might include what social work functions are like, do support staff attend or not, are there “challenging personalities” that require “a sense of humor”, are the attorneys you’d be supporting fairly independent or do they prefer regular check-ins and frequent follow-up in advance of deadlines? Have there ever been problems with attorneys struggling with deadlines despite high levels of support staff engagement? How were those issues resolved?

    All of those can indicate if you’re looking at a law firm with a heavier than normal drinking culture (because as someone has pointed out above, the percentage of attorneys with drinking problems is high enough that in a firm of more than 5 attorneys, chances are that someone will have problems with substance use), if that culture causes dysfunction, and if so, how does that dysfunction manifest.

  48. Katherine*

    #3: I had a horrible coworker a few years ago who was always trying to make everyone else look bad. Our (mutual) boss was missing a lot of work because he was reading the writing on the wall that a restructure was coming, and he was going on a lot of interviews. My coworker reported this to everyone he could think of, taking it all the way up the chain to HR (who politely but firmly told my coworker they already knew about it and to mind his own damn business). Then, my boss got let go (no fault of his own) and didn’t update his LinkedIn right away, and my coworker was a dog with a bone about that. “This is so weird! Why didn’t he update his LinkedIn?! He doesn’t work here anymore!”

    Only a few months later, horrible coworker also got let go. And didn’t update his LinkedIn for months, until he got a new job. It took EVERYTHING I had not to email him and “remind” him to update it.

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