update: how do I write a peer review for my horrible coworker?

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer wondering how to write a peer review for a horrible coworker? The coworker, Mike, was yelling at customers and colleagues, sulked when asked to stop shouting, was angry with 20% of customers, left work in the middle of the day without saying anything, and refused to work with returning patients who he doesn’t like. Their manager, Chad, was doing very little. The first update was here, and here’s the latest.

After my coworker was napping at his desk again, I took a photo of it and sent it to my boss. (Note from Alison: I also received this photo.) I mentioned that I didn’t say anything like, “Wake up, Mike!” because we had a patient in the shop, but I had enough time to get up from my desk, go to the area where purses are kept, sit back down, pull out my phone, and take a photo, all without waking him. I asked for Chad’s advice on how to deal with Mike sleeping on the floor, while the rest of us were helping patients. I did include a photo to Chad, because I knew he wouldn’t believe me about Mike sleeping at his desk unless I had photographic proof.

My manager Chad wrote to Lana and me:


I talked with Mike regarding his dozing at work. I know that he has ongoing struggles with mental health and sleep apnea. I asked him what would be a respectful way to approach him or acknowledge that he needs to either take a walk or go splash some water in his face to wake up. I suggested a playful code word to prompt for him to take an action.

Just say “Jedi Mike”

I know it seems silly, but it’s a way to engage him without calling him out in front of patients and staff. I hope that this will be helpful in supporting the three of you working together.

Thank you,

I wish I was making this up. Sometimes I laugh out loud that my manager thinks this is a real solution.

That was on September 30. In the 5 weeks since then, there have been three times where I should have said, “Jedi Mike,” because Mike was sleeping at his desk, but I couldn’t bring myself to say that out loud at work.

I haven’t yet figured out a way to say, “Jedi Mike” in casual conversation while working with a patient. “I think you will love the taste of our new oatmeal blend. Jedi Mike.” “In my experience, this new teapot lid fits Jedi Mike perfectly.”

I usually roll with the punches (when an old man asks me to marry him in front of his adult daughter; when a child vomits in the middle of the floor; when the drawer of my desk falls off while working with a patient) but I haven’t figured out a professional way to say “Jedi” at work. If anyone else knows how to say “Jedi Mike” in conversation and you don’t work at Disney, please let me know.

I have really taken advantage of the health benefits here at my job. But I am also actively looking for a new job. Today I had my second interview with someone else.

I will update either after I’m happily at a new job, or I become a Sith Lord.

Update to the update:

I wrote you in the meantime because I found out I was being paid $4-8 less/hour than my peers. Multiple talks with both Chad and HR were frustratingly ineffective and demoralizing. I had 5 interviews over a 7 week period. One of the jobs offers a state pension and a guaranteed 5% raise each year. (Remember that my 3.5% raise was dependent on Mike liking me?) The hiring manager reached out almost 2 months after I applied and asked if I was still interested.

I had read all your advice about negotiating salary, and I listed to your podcast. I practiced saying out loud to my dog, “Any chance you could go up to X+5%?” And when the HR person for StateJob offered me the job (which is $4.50/hour more than I am currently making), I asked, “Would you be willing to pay $6 more?” I also calmly stated that even though they wanted me to start on December 19, I had dental work scheduled for January 13, and my current dental plan paid more than new StateJob dental did. So with your advice, I negotiated $1.50 more an hour (a 23% raise from what I am making now! and 7% more than the original offer) and a later start date that allows me to maximize my dental coverage. New StateJob will be hard, rewarding work, and I’m excited about my new professional competent coworker, and I know I can make a difference. I never would have negotiated for myself without your invaluable website, and even though you personally did not get that raise for me, I felt the encouragement of the entire commentariat and knew that you and all your readers would be supporting me in advocating for myself.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

{ 174 comments… read them below }

  1. Catalin*

    Alison, can we have a ‘terrible coworkers’ competition this year?

    I’d like to make a nomination…

    1. Pillow*

      I was about to say I have an asshole boss contribution, but then I remembered the actual Terrible Bosses of the Year on this site, and suddenly I feel lucky about my old job

      1. Clisby*

        I have thought that many times. I’m 69 (now retired) and the *worst* boss experience I ever had pales in comparison to some of the stories I’ve read here. Sometimes I even mellow into considering them just mediocre/incompetent instead of actually *bad*.

    2. Jessica Fletcher*

      Chad could be a contender for worst boss! What does Mike have on him that they’re even willing to let him sleep on the job??

    3. Three Flowers*

      I’d support this, actually, since I can’t imagine anyone could beat out That Twitter Guy for worst boss this year…

      1. Kacihall*

        Look, we just change the name of the worst boss competition to something like Exalted Losers Of Nowhere or Morons Undermining Serious Kalm (sic) (suggestions welcome) and we know that he’s what the others are aspiring towards.

          1. Middle+Aged+Lady*

            Even Low Order Nazism Must Upset Social Kontract.
            I am a middle aged lady and I’ve seen racism and sexism and classism in America. But not full-on Nazis. These people are unbelievably dangerous and they have poisoned about one third of the population of the USA. Your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. It’s so scary.

        1. Serenity Now; Firefly Class*

          Someone uses the alternative name of “Leon Skum” to refer to That Twit and I think that’s a great option.

  2. Momma Bear*

    I’m glad things are working out for you. I’m curious about what your boss said when you told him you were leaving. I hope this new job is awesome for you.

    I’m still trying to get my head around the “solution.” Seems to me this happens often – the “more reasonable” party is asked to do something to mitigate the other party instead of there really being a Person Who Is The Problem solution.

    1. Ex-prof*

      Yup. Dealing with a situation like that rn. As soon as I discovered Gwendolyn’s Huge Expensive Error, I thought “somehow this is going to be treated like it’s my fault”. And sure enough, that’s how it’s been treated. With extra dollops of drama.

    2. Emma*

      I’m not so secretly hoping that LW only gives the bare minimum of notice required by the company and/or their own personal comfort level.

      1. Observer*

        I hope so too- the reason for the delayed start date is to get the most out of the insurance, so you don’t want to take a chance that the boss will walk you out the door.

        1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          THIS. Chad sucks and is choosing to blame you for the issues going on, OP. Do not give him the opportunity to screw you over on your way out.

      2. Petty Betty*

        That’s my hope, too. Don’t give more than the bare minimum, especially since they don’t value you enough to pay you decently.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          And have to say I’m pretty sure that Chad is about to find out the hard way what an expensive mistake he made by underpaying OP and not managing Mike so that OP left.

          I have this not so sneak g feeling that OP was a far larger contributor that Chad thought, and they won’t be easy to replace (and more than likely not replaceable at what OP was making).

          1. Tabby Baltimore*

            I’m guessing Lana will be so overwhelmed by having to be the sole remaining competent employee, AND by having to deal with Jedi Mike, that that amazing location’s $1.5 million sales figure is going to tank and head for the basement within 30-90 days of OP’s departure.

            OP, if you feel like it, please give us an update on how things played out after you left.

            1. Snoo*

              OP, even if you don’t feel like it, please give us an update.

              (I’m kidding, if you actually don’t feel like it, it’s okay)

          2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

            Yes, exactly. Given the number of clients who won’t work with Mike and the number that Mike won’t work with, this sounds like a recipe for disaster for the store. I mean, the one regular staff is… not great. And if Lana is responsible for training at other locations, who knows how often she’ll be around. Plus, this is apparently a specialized job with not a lot of qualified people around.

            Sounds like the definition of f*** around and find out. Definitely add me to the list of people who would like an update after OP leaves.

    3. Spencer Hastings*

      The ol’ “You have a problem with this? Therefore it’s YOUR problem to fix it! (Even though someone else is causing it/is responsible for it)” switcheroo.

      1. irene adler*

        Yep! Similar to the “no one else is having that problem with Mike. So maybe it’s not something that needs remedying.”

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          There DID seem to be a lot of issues where Mike and LW hit one another’s tender spots, although others were not as bothered. Mike is still a bad employee and irritating as all get out, but he and LW were a particularly bad combo of oil and water.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Well – betting soon the only person there will be Mike and Chad – so yeah, there won’t be anybody left with a problem with Mike (remember your best employees have options, if you don’t protect them they will self-select away to those better options).

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yup – bare minimum notice (hopefully after dental work is completed).

      The reasonable person always gets tasked with working around the missing stair. Thankfully soon Chad is going to have to do a lot more to deal with ‘Jedi Mike.’

      1. Meep*

        I would call from the dentist’s office and say she is taking the rest of the year off if I were her.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Well, in that vein – I wonder if you could call and see if they can get you in earlier? Like looking for a cancellation? You don’t want to get caught without getting the concern fixed.

    5. raincoaster*

      How is Mike even supposed to wake up to the words “Jedi Mike” when the whole problem is that he’s unconscious?

          1. 1LFTW*

            … which brings me around to “this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature”, since by that point there’s no way to implement the “solution” without drawing the problem to the attention of patients.

          2. JustaTech*

            Seriously. Like, code phrases work fine (well, even) if, and only if, everyone is paying enough attention to realize that the code phrase is being used.

            I know I’ve heard code phrases over the intercom at the grocery store (no idea what they mean, except that I want to avoid whatever aisle they said), which makes complete sense.
            But just like eventually some dogs learn how to spell “W-A-L-K”, the patients are going to realize right quick that “Jedi Mike” means “wake up!”.

            (I did think of one non-Disney place where people use the word “jedi” a lot: it’s a common name for a type of interview at tech companies. But that’s still not useful here.)

    6. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      For sure. Nobody expects the unreasonable person to actually change. But instead of dealing with that, people will pressure the reasonable people to do all sorts of stuff to make the situation better.

    7. Worker Bee*

      I am also curious what Mike said when he was confronted with the photo of himself asleep.
      So tired of rules that affect the 99% of effective people rather than the 1% who are the problem. We had a guy at our workplace who was using dangerous equipment that he was not supposed to touch. He had so many excuses — the authorized user wasn’t there that day, it was an emergency, etc. So instead of just telling the guy to stop using the equipment (and attaching consequences), they made rules that everyone (everyone!!) had to sign in and out of the room and sign in and out of using the equipment. Rules that OF COURSE the culprit blatantly ignored. All that needed to be done was for some manager to grow a spine and do his/her job.

  3. Ex-prof*

    Oh, that’s a happy update! So glad to hear things turned out so well.

    When you leave in January, please moonwalk to the door pumping your fists and chanting “Jedi Mike!”

    1. linger*

      The conversation giving notice will be notable for the literal mic drop exit.
      (“How could you have got me to stay? You could have given me a raise and dropped Mike.”)

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Somehow I don’t think Chad is this aware though.

        I suspect Chad thinks everything will be just fine…..but strongly suspect that Chad will be learning otherwise the hard way.

  4. Lacey*

    That’s a fantastic update!

    Also, WOW with your old manager. That’s an amazing level of incompetence.

    1. ferrina*

      Yes! So happy to read this update! LW deserves so much better than this….though really, no one deserves this nonsense.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Totally. Let this be a lesson to all managers who refuse to manage bad employees because they might quit or fire them because you need all the workers you currently have: deal with those bad employees because otherwise you will lose your *good* workers and you definitely need them more.

      Congratulations, OP! Happy ending to this terrible saga! (I hope Lana also gets out but you obv needed to get out first since Mike had it out for you for sure. If Lana leaves that’ll really stick it to your boss. Serves him soooooo right.)

  5. bunniferous*

    There has to be a hidden reason they let this guy get away with all this. (Altho the napping in itself-my husband has sleep apnea and before he was treated he could fall asleep anywhere and anytime-and did. ) That said, dude must either be related to someone Higher Up or knows some dirt on someone. Congratulations on the new position!

    1. Trillian Astra*

      I feel like you’re ignoring the fact that a gigantic portion of the population would rather just not deal with something hard. If the easier thing for Chad to do is to say “OP, say Jedi Mike” rather than sit down and have the many hard conversations with Mike and track his performance and get a PIP going, it seems on-brand that Chad’s going to do that. Lots of people are very low-grade mediocre people who don’t care about being great at their jobs, so the people who DO care get dumped on!

      1. Artemesia*

        This. It is why women who work harder and get more done still get paid less because they put up with it. Bosses like Chad don’t want to manage, so they bend themselves into contortions to avoid managing. Glad the OP could move on and let us hope Chad soon has nothing but workers like Mike to manage.

      2. pope suburban*

        This is exactly, it. We had a couple of guys like this at my last job, and what it came down to was simply that the boss was deeply, deeply conflict-averse, and these guys behaved abominably even when happy. It was easier, to the boss’s mind, to let them continue being awful because the rest of us were functional people who would not throw tantrums at work, and who would smooth over their tantrums as best we could. One of them wasn’t even qualified to do the job (He bragged to me that he’d paid someone else to take his professional licensure exam), but he was also very threatening, so most people were reasonably afraid to upset him. Eventually he did get let go, which was an awful story in itself, but it took way too long and it happened at the expense of many good employees’ health and sense of security. But Boss didn’t want to deal with it, so he just…didn’t. Boggles the mind, but there are people out there who will let anything slide as long as it means they aren’t personally having to do something difficult.

    2. Twenty Points for the Copier*

      The original letter also mentioned a niche skill that was hard to hire for. I get the sense part of the equation is that they’re terrified of Mike leaving and the position going unfilled.

      It’s a silly fear because employees this bad drive other employees away, but I suspect that’s one of the reasons they let him get away with this.

      1. MusicWithRocksIn*

        Yup – and now OP is leaving and they are going to have to fill the position anyway. And someone new who is familiar with the current market and job searching is a lot less likely to put up with a crazy toxic environment. I wonder how many people Mike will drive away before they bother to address it.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Well – I bet Lana decides to follow OP, because with her gone Lana no longer has the buffer and will get the joy of dealing with all of Mike’s BS.

    3. Dragon*

      My state’s government had an issue with a customer-facing employee who slept half the time on the job. And her colleagues didn’t trust the accuracy of anything she did the other half, when she was awake.

      I don’t know the ultimate outcome, but her managers felt their hands were tied because she did have a documented sleep apnea medical issue.

      1. Clobberin' Time*

        Pretending that an employee’s medical issues or “protected class” ties their hands is a common way mediocre bosses avoid managing.

        1. 1LFTW*

          This. As Alison has said, it’s a matter of being willing to document the problem. Lazy, mediocre bosses throw up their hands and claim they’re powerless; decent, serious bosses follow the process out for however long it takes.

          I’ve seen this happen even in the most stereotypical of “can’t be fired” scenarios: a permanent civil servant of several decades standing, with a documented medical condition. It wasn’t a problem until it was… and then they were removed from their position.

      2. Gatomon*

        I guess if the person had exhausted all treatment options without resolution they might get accommodations for extra breaks to rest or something, but without knowing more, that just sounds like bad management.

      3. WellRed*

        Such bull. State employees can’t have tissues or free coffee because taxpayer dollars but they are allowed to sleep on the job.

    4. Not Australian*

      I also had a colleague who fell asleep at his desk a lot. Word was that he and some of the bosses were members of a certain society (which has very little to do with building, despite the name) and he was thus untouchable. I know they also operate in the US, and there are certainly other groups with similar aims and intentions. My bet would be on something like this.

        1. Moryera*

          The implication is that Sleepy Colleague and the bosses are all part of the same Mason lodge (or a similar literal old-boys’-club) and therefore they’re not going to fire the guy even if he clearly needs firing.

    5. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Could be the manager is one of those crummy managers that thinks medical accommodations mean that bad employee is untouchable for anything remotely related to the medical stuff. Which just isn’t true – it just has to be more carefully approached and documented.

    6. Onion Rings*

      We had a guy, Jedi Wayne, who got away with everything too–cursing out other employees and giving them the finger, coming in two hours late, etc. I could never understand why he hadn’t even been given a warning. It seemed like nothing would ever dislodge him.
      Lo and behold, I just found out Jedi Wayne is no longer with the company. Did the world start making sense? No, don’t worry! Jedi Wayne wasn’t promoted to manager when his manager left, so he quit.

    7. Beth*

      All Mike needs to do to get away with anything is be an entitled white guy, which seems to be his #1 work skill. I’m sure it’s served him well his entire life.

  6. I Can Never Decide On A Lasting Name Here*

    I hope OP will update us again with the reactions at OldJob when resigning as well as with the effect on them of a new work climate!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Have to admit I also want to know how things go with new job – and what Chad’s reaction to loosing OP is.

    1. Spencer Hastings*

      (For some reason, my brain read this to a certain tune…)

      Now I am a Sith Lord
      Deedle deedle daidle deedle daidle deedle daidle dum
      All day long I’ll biddy biddy bum
      Now that I’m a dark Sith lord…

      1. Too Many Tabs Open*

        Now I’m singing “The Dark Side” to the tune of “Tradition”. See what evil you have wrought.

        1. Sharpie*

          I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.

          (For those not in the know, this is the title of a British radio ‘panel game’ show where one game is singing one song to the tune of another…)

          1. Reluctant Mezzo*

            It’s called ‘filking’ in the US. A friend of mine went on Jeopardy once and confessed to being a filker (this was a couple of decades ag0).

            Ask me ‘who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale’ sometime.

  7. Anon Librarian*

    First, so happy you found a new job and were able to negotiate what you needed!

    Second, I work at a public library. We had a patron who had mental health challenges. He would come to our desks and ask oddly specific questions, like the coal output for Poland in 1937 in yards. And we would answer, and it would upset him somehow. So his complaints made it all the way to the city manager. All the leadership and the guy worked out a solution, when he was asking us too many questions, he wanted us to rap our knuckles on the desk and say, “Sir, I no longer wish to speak to you.”

    IDK why the city allowed this, esp bc we never wanted to stop talking to him, we were just answering his questions!

    So I would have just said out loud, excuse me to the patient, then, “Jedi Mike!”

    I really want to know how Mike and boss reacted when you quit!!

    1. Lily of the Valley*

      Yes, it is a really weird alternative to making Mike responsible for staying awake, but I also don’t think it’s that big a deal to say, “I think you will love the taste of our new oatmeal blend. Oh, one moment please. Hey, Jedi Mike! Sorry about that. As I was saying, the new oatmeal blend…”

      1. ferrina*

        “I think you will love the taste of our new oatmeal blend. 9 out of 10 Jedis Mike…I mean, like it. And yes, we casually call our taste-testers Jedis.”

      2. MusicWithRocksIn*

        It is also such a weird phrase to pick. Like just say “Hey Mike we need an updated TPS report” or “Mike, can you take a code blue”. Like make it officy, not an awkward reference.

        1. Chevron*

          Considering Mike was involved in picking the name, I feel like something his colleagues wouldn’t feel comfortable with patients overhearing is a feature, not a bug

    2. Pool Lounger*

      …how did other patrons react when they heard the person at the reference desk say, “Sir, I no longer wish to speak to you”? I can imagine getting complaints about rude librarians!

      1. Anon Librarian*

        We worried about that too.

        But honestly, we did not want to stop talking to the guy, he was the one upset with us because we … answered his questions.

        So I don’t think we ever used the line.

        In a different situation, a coworker was asked to stop waving to other coworkers (we had a long hallway, and she would wave when she saw someone at the other end), because someone complained that she waved more to others and not as much at the complainer. So the solution was to avoid managing and ask the reasonable person to stop waving.

    3. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I have a customer I have worked with over the years who has a number of neurodivergencies. He and I have come to an agreement that I’ll be patient and understanding of his needs for reassurance and detailed answers, and that when I’ve answered the question enough times, I get to point out that he’s spiraling. That’s when we know that we’ve resolved the issue as best as we can, in as good a mood as we can.

  8. ABCYaBYE*

    Great update! Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry you had to look elsewhere, but I’m so glad that you did and you were able to negotiate the salary and start date.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the team functions without you there. Mike’s terribleness will shine through I’m sure and whoever they bring in will likely not stick long if Mike continues his poor behavior.

  9. Jedi Mike*

    And so, my new commenting alias is born(not that i comment that often, but this is SO comical)

  10. Ari*

    Some days I wish my work environment were different, and then I read letters like these and realize my relatively normal workspace is pretty good, if somewhat boring.

  11. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    I felt my soul leave my body when I read “Jedi Mike”. I literally cannot believe what they put you through, kudos to you for getting out and getting what you deserve instead of letting yourself get sucked into that toxic cesspool.

    1. I am not a Sith Lord*

      Jedi Mike, Jeddddi Miiiiiiike, clean up on aisle two JEDI MIIIIKE!!!!

      Jedi Mike will now be part of my vocabulary.

    2. squirreltooth*

      SAME. I am deeply embarrassed and offended for the OP that this was the great solution Chad came up with.

  12. Data Nerd*

    And deliberately so–it’s easier to ask a reasonable person to do something than an unreasonable person, so if you are conflict-averse, you will always go to the reasonable person. When the reasonable person says things like “No, I’m not going to call out Jedi Mike to keep my irrational jerk of a coworker awake on the sales floor,” (WTAF!) then the reasonable person becomes the problem because they aren’t navigating around the missing stair anymore. How dare they.

    OP, I am so glad you’re out of there. Your letter stuck with me and I’m glad you found a good resolution.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Exactly. They know the unreasonable person isn’t going to magically be reasonable about this. So their choices are to have major unpleasantness with Mike or to pressure OP to just accept that “this is how he is.” The second option is generally the path of least resistance. And yeah, people will get mad at the reasonable person for not playing along.

  13. Tango Maureen*

    Having worked for Disney (in the parks, but not in the Star Wars themed areas), I would have been hard pressed to work Jedi Mike into conversation too! Jedi Knight, probably, but Mike…?
    I’d have had to ask to carry around a Mike from Monster’s Inc plush in a robe during Star Wars Weekends or something, I think, and since we didn’t sell them that wouldn’t have been approved.

    1. Gatomon*

      Well clearly Disney is missing a big opportunity because I’d definitely buy a Jedi Mike plush right now!

  14. Observer*

    but I haven’t figured out a professional way to say “Jedi” at work. If anyone else knows how to say “Jedi Mike” in conversation and you don’t work at Disney, please let me know.

    I . . . Yeah, I can’t imagine having to say something like that to a coworker, especially with people around. This is wild.

    I’m SO glad you’re starting a new, better job!

    1. Phony Genius*

      To answer the writer’s request:

      Step 1, hire a guy named Jed to watch Mike.
      Step 2, say “Jed, eye Mike.”
      Step 3, repeat as needed.

  15. duinath*

    congratulations on getting away from chad and mike, the terrible twosome. good job advocating for yourself!

  16. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    So glad this circus of dysfunction will soon be in your rearview, OP. Best of luck in your new role.

  17. Purple Cat*

    Oh man, untreated sleep apnea is a beast to deal with (I know from personal experience) but being allowed to sleep on the job willy nilly is NOT the answer.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      The key to workplace accommodations is the word Reasonable. And letting Mike sleep anywhere anytime while his coworkers pick up his slack doesn’t even come close to being a Reasonable Accommodation.

    2. Koifeeder*

      Yeah, mine’s very mild and not spicy at all, but I don’t want to be falling asleep on the job! I’d rather hand my coworker a squirt gun.

    3. JustaTech*

      My husband had a coworker at a coding job who had terrible sleep apnea. This guy would regularly nap on the sofa in the video game room (tech job), or, more distressingly, *under* the sofa in the game room (startled a few people).
      But he also 1) got all his work done and made his meetings and 2) was actively working on getting the apnea treated. (Top tip: *don’t* try to re-program your CPAP machine yourself, as it might get stuck in “full on” mode.)
      He didn’t ask anyone to use some weird code phrase to wake him up.

  18. mango chiffon*

    Oof what a nightmare. Even if you did manage to say “Jedi Mike” out loud, the idea that the guy fast asleep would respond to that and wake up is…incredible. Good luck with the new job OP, may the force be with you (and not with Mike).

    1. AFac*

      That’s where I got confused–this guy with sleep apnea who takes naps on the job will somehow wake up when someone says a code phrase, but won’t wake up in any other situation?

      It’s like the movie stereotype of implanting code phrases as suggestions under hypnosis.

      1. Double A*

        In my mind, instead of loudly saying, “Hey Mike, wake up!” you would just loudly say, “Jedi Mike!”

        So basically use his new nickname to wake him up the same way you’d wake him up otherwise???

        1. AFac*

          It’s almost like he thinks it will be like a magic spell: not only will he wake up, but he’ll also be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to do work.

          At least they didn’t suggest that the OP kiss him like Sleeping Beauty.

        2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          That’s how I read that, too. Which is only slightly less silly than the idea that OP could say “Jedi Mike” quietly and magically wake Mike up.

  19. Wendy Darling*

    I had a coworker try to convince me to use a code word when she was being too mean to me.

    I told her that 1. she should stop being a jerk to me without me needing to use a safeword and 2. the code word was “Lucinda, that’s mean,” which is what I was already saying to her when she was egregiously nasty.

    We didn’t work with the public, there was absolutely no reason to beat around the bush.

    1. whingedrinking*

      …did she think you were her submissive or something?
      Now I’m just imagining someone at an office saying, “Mistress Lucinda, that’s mean! Red! Red!”

    2. squid*

      I had a ‘friend’ at a place I volunteered who tried to do this too! I told them that some of the things they were doing were very unkind and making me extremely uncomfortable, and instead of responding to this by stopping doing said things, they devised a system of code words. Apparently I was supposed to use a stoplight system where a yellow light meant the action was uncomfortable and on the line and a red light meant the action was inappropriate and over the line. A green light meant things were okay. I was meant to communicate what color the light was at all times.

      I responded to this in about the same way as you… though I also essentially told them to stop talking to me entirely (in the nicest way I could.) Fortunately they stopped volunteering a couple months later and I haven’t heard from them since.

  20. CommanderBanana*

    I wonder when managers will realize that enabling horrible workers drives away good ones?*

    *Never, the answer is never.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      But don’t you know that the “good ones” who leave are actually weaklings who can’t hack it in that job and everyone else is better off that they’re gone???

      Obviously, I’m kidding. Deciding that someone who left was Awful, Actually is a fascinating mind trick the bad managers of the world can go with to avoid having to change anything about how they do things.

  21. learnedthehardway*

    I have to say, I would be seriously tempted to forward the email and your manager’s response to THEIR manager. Possibly to the CEO of the company, on your last day at the organization.

    All management should benefit from seeing the “Jedi Mike” management technique.

  22. CatCat*

    Omg, what on Earth, Chad!? OP, so glad you are on to bigger and better things.

    Also, surely someone in the commetariat will adopt the handle, “Jedi Mike.” (I can’t stop laughing.)

  23. Social Work Nurse*

    Why on Earth would a sleeping coworker wake up in response to hearing “Jedi Mike” but not wake up in response to hearing his own name? Is being promoted to Jedi the new “kicked upstairs”?

    1. Myrin*

      Yeah, among the many things causing confusion in this, that part certainly had me the most confused.

      1. Jedi Beth*

        My impression is that Chad has decided that it’s the job of the female staff to proactively detect when Mike is about to fall asleep and gently warn him without hurting his terribly fragile fee-fees. You know, another fine example of the Chad School of Terrible Management.

    2. Yoyoyo*

      This is exactly what I was wondering! What is magical about the word “jedi” that it causes him to wake up?!

  24. Despachito*

    I get it that Mike is probably being a jerk irrelevant as to his health issues, but you mentioned he DOES suffer from depression and from apnea, so it seems that he indeed does deserve some sort of accommodation. It definitely would be easier if he wasn’t a jerk, but if he is falling asleep because of an illness, then having a coded buzzword to wake him up does not seem so atrocious to me.

    1. BubbleTea*

      Except that it doesn’t solve any of the problems. Members of the public aren’t less likely to notice someone randomly talking about Jedi than they are someone saying “wake up”. It won’t stop Mike sleeping instead of working. It doesn’t reduce the effect of his sleep apnea. It’s just bizarre.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Yeah, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I kinda imagined OP noticing Mike was sleeping and saying “Hey Jedi Mike, could you…”. Just doesn’t so obviously draw attention to the fact that he was asleep. Not sure how that is different from just “Hey Mike,” but this whole situation is bananapants.

        Not sure why this is the solution rather than, say, changing his hours so he can rest partway through the day when other staff are around to handle things or is working during hours he’s less likely to be really sleepy.

    2. Yoyoyo*

      I don’t understand how the code word is supposed to wake him up though. Also, accommodations have to be reasonable. I don’t think relying on the other staff to wake someone up is a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation would be something like allowing him to use intermittent FMLA to take time off when he doesn’t get a good night’s sleep or is feeling unusually groggy.

  25. Governmint Condition*

    I just want to say it’s very unusual to have had the opportunity to negotiate the salary of a state job.

  26. Sunny*

    *I will update either after I’m happily at a new job, or I become a Sith Lord.*

    I just choked on my tea. I feel so bad for you OP, but thanks SO MUCH for that laugh!

  27. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

    What. A. Saga.

    This story was more exciting than at least a third of the Star Wars movies! So glad that OP got the heck out of there. Best of luck in the job!

  28. RedinSC*

    Personally, on my last day there I might just yell out to the whole office

    MIKE! JEDI!!!!!!

    and then leave

    But that’s just me being petty. Congrats on the new job and for the negotiating!

  29. 30 Years in the Biz*

    Congratulations on your new position! And kudos to you for using Alison’s advice and improving your compensation! You rock! You set a great example for the rest of us. I hope Mike gets the help he needs.

  30. squirreltooth*

    I am so, so happy incompetent Chad is now going to have to scramble to fill this niche position when half of his dependable workforce leaves for greener pastures.

  31. SAS*

    This is so much less fun than Education Mike.

    Sending you all the best with the new job OP! Great work on the negotiations.

  32. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    THIS. Chad sucks and is choosing to blame you for the issues going on, OP. Do not give him the opportunity to screw you over on your way out.

  33. E*

    Uh maybe the guy has an accommodation? Depression and sleep apnea are both real medical conditions and you could have been kinder. That’s all.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I don’t think that being rude to and yelling at coworkers is a reasonable accommodation, though. And it sounds like he is able to not do those things to Chad and the grand-boss.

      In the first update, OP listened to Mike’s complaints (in a two-and-a-half-hour meeting!) and made efforts to do what he asked, like greeting him in the morning.

    2. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

      No, you’re the one being unreasonable here. Read the actual post and comments next time.

  34. Serenity Now; Firefly Class*

    LW/OP here:
    I’m waiting to start StateJob until after my dental work for practical reasons.
    AirlineDental won’t let you get non-routine dental care if you switch plans/employers, for at least 6 months after you switch plans/employers. I finally found a dentist I like, and he needs back surgery that will keep him out of work for 7-9 months. I have used up my HSA money for 2022. So if I start StateJob in December 2022, I would have to wait until July to get a crown thru insurance. And Dentist will have surgery in March/April of 2023, so he wouldn’t be available until Nov/Dec of 2023 to do my crown repair/replacement from a previous dentist. Plus my HSA renews in 2023, and so I can pay for dental work with that money.

    The state pension is a huge bonus. HUGE! After my divorce, I had to raid my 401(k) and I have very little in retirement funds. My state is in no danger of going bankrupt, so StateJob is really an investment in my own future.

    My 3rd interview, I met with Potential Coworker, and she expressed a lot of frustrations about her previous coworker that would have driven me crazy too – shouting on the floor in front of patients, being on her phone all the time. I asked NewSupervisor the magic question, and New Supervisor said, “Having loud disagreements in front of patients is the behavior we want to avoid.” Asked Potential Coworker the same question and she said, “Don’t leave me to do all the work while you pretend to check your email.”

    New job will have natural light, dental covered by the union, and the automatic raise each year. It would take me 5 years of ordinary raises at the Death Star to be paid my starting salary at StateJob. My commute is 7 minutes longer. Quite reasonable.

    I asked Lana why she hadn’t moved on yet; especially since she had done cyber security training as a new job prospect. Her oldest has an eating disorder, and Lana doesn’t want to make Kiddo switch doctors if Lana leaves the medical plan. (Clearly, the benefits here at the Death Star are a draw.) Lana wants to leave, but her Kiddo is under 26 and is still on the family health insurance plan.

    A patient just complimented me today for making her experience so enjoyable. I wish I cold have had her write a quick survey.

    1. That One Person*

      Love this for you, and can’t help but feel they’ll have to face the music at some point or another. I’m surprised they don’t have some sort of metrics to see how many patients you each take care of considering you have people specifically asking for you, and once you’re gone I suspect people will start trying to slide more into Lana’s lane. Considering her issue and need for the same awesome medical plan I wonder if that’s why she didn’t want to stand up with you against Mike – as long as she can remain positive for that raise and keep using the medical plan then all else is tolerable. I hope she can also get something better soon so Chad can just deal with Mike.

      Have you looked at reviews for your work place? I wonder if Mike comes up in any of them more than in client surveys.

  35. Michelle Carmon*

    Thank god you’re finally out of there!!!! I can’t say what I want to say or I’ll break the rules, but….let’s just say I was SHOCKED at the way this place was managed and I’m so, so grateful you’re getting out.

Comments are closed.