updates: coworker refuses to share their screen, a nasty Glassdoor review with my title, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and for the rest of the year I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My coworker refused to share their screen for training

I did bring it up with my manager, who talked to the trainee’s manager. I’m not sure anything specific happened as a result of that conversation, but some other events happened and he was let go. It turns out this was another episode in a pattern of bizarre behavior. I did appreciate the confirmation of my authority as the trainer to stop the session if the trainee wouldn’t participate. I’ll keep that in mind, though of course I hope to never encounter this again!

2. Community member cuts me off and asks to hear from male employees instead

At the next meeting after the letter, the community member again tried to manage my responses in the room and in front of everyone. Instead of letting him do that I just answered the question, ignoring his “cue” without making eye contact with him. I talked to my manager before the meeting and asked him to back me up when I responded if the scenario happened again, which he did by verbally confirming in the meeting I did in fact answer the question correctly. I think the community member was a little embarrassed and the behavior has ceased. Thank you for your advice and the helpful feedback from the readers. I’ve recently become a manager in my organization and am working to help my younger female reports find their voice in our field.

3. Should I take a great job working for someone I can’t stand?

I’m the letter writer who wrote about whether or not to take a great job, knowing that my direct boss had a lot of bad qualities as both a manager and colleague.

I applied for the job, and took it. I don’t regret it at all. Your advice, and I think the most helpful commenters’ advice, was to reframe how I see him. This was what led me to taking the job despite my reservations.

I won’t speculate, but the bad boss is no longer with the company, and I’m still in the job and enjoying myself. I’ve had far more harsh/unpleasant bosses in the past, but my assessment of him prior to taking the job was spot on. It’s not that it wasn’t difficult, but it was difficult in predictable ways, which made it fairly easy to not react nor take anything personally.

One of the biggest things that made a difference was that I had people in my corner, who were also noticing the same things as me so I never felt like I was going crazy. It was also useful to reframe everything. For instance, his attempts to steal the limelight seemed a bit sad, his tendency to go on about himself made him seem out of touch. Many other things I could laugh off, and get on with it. It helped that I was enjoying the job otherwise.

The biggest unexpected downside was the lack of direction — the job itself is complex, and having someone with a lot of experience who was willing/able to talk it through with me would have helped, and there were times (in hindsight) where I was misled by him. But there are many people in my industry who share knowledge, so I wasn’t adrift.

Thank you, Alison, for your advice and for the commenters who took the time to weigh in, I read every comment and considered every viewpoint. I’d lean towards advising someone in my shoes to not take the job – things may have worked out for me but I was lucky to have support from others at my workplace.

4. Someone left a nasty Glassdoor review using my title(#4 at the link)

I took your advice and texted my old boss. At the same time, I flagged the review on Glassdoor. I’m not sure which of those two actions did the trick, but the review was taken down from Glassdoor … phew.

{ 14 comments… read them below }

  1. Plumeria*

    “Your advice, and I think the most helpful commenters’ advice, was to reframe how I see him. This was what led me to taking the job despite my reservations.
    made it fairly easy to not react nor take anything personally.”

    Three cheers for framing and emotional regulation!

  2. starsaphire*

    Super happy to read these updates, especially #2. It is SO hard sometimes to get people to really see microaggressions that don’t affect them. Great job on shutting all that down!

  3. Goldenrod*

    ” I think the community member was a little embarrassed and the behavior has ceased”

    LW #2: I like how you handled this!

    As discussed frequently in this forum, allowing people to fully feel the discomfort of their inappropriate behavior (instead of covering up for them) is often an effective strategy.

    1. ferrina*

      Yes! Well done to LW- sounds like you did an awesome job with this! And so glad that the manager backed her up. That community member’s behavior was out of line and needed to stop.

  4. Brain the Brian*

    The outcome of OP1’s story is a bit sad, actually. Seems like this employee needs real coaching about workplace norms, which just isn’t going to happen there. Hopefully, they find a better fit elsewhere.

    1. All Het Up About It*

      They might have tried coaching! The OP doesn’t know the details, so we certainly don’t. But I agree that hopefully this person will move on to a better fit somewhere else.

      I’ve seen some crazy bad hires go on to do well (or at least seemingly) at other places!!

    1. BatManDan*

      Ditto! Also, I wonder if the trainee was confused over the difference between “share screen” and “camera on.” If he did, indeed, mean that he refused to do a Screen Share, what happened in his past / what had he been told that made him adopt this policy?

  5. Don't kneel in front of me*

    I wonder if anyone told OP #1’s trainee that “his” screen is not his. Its the company’s screen. They’re just letting him use it.

  6. blood orange*

    OP #2 Great update! Happy to hear you felt supported by your manager, and especially that you aren’t having to deal with that behavior. It’s interesting that you noticed the community member seemed embarrassed. Really makes me wonder what was going through his head when he was shut down.

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