updates: company says they’ll fly me to another state if I need an abortion, and more

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. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.

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

1. Company says they’ll fly me to another state if I need an abortion (#2 at the link)

We fought with Big Tech Company for as long as possible but yesterday was Partner’s last day at his job. It really sucks and while I’m incredibly proud of him for taking a stand, I hate seeing him give up something he worked so hard for. I really hope that our decision moved the needle in some small way and maybe the next person to put their foot down will have a different outcome. People shouldn’t have to decide between their rights/safety and their livelihood.

2. My older male colleague gives me condescending, unsolicited advice

I have been waiting to send you an update, hoping for a satisfying end to this story. Today I finally got one.

Bob and I were at an all-day meeting today and ended up sitting next to each other. I had never responded to his patronizing email and we’d continued to interact politely but sporadically throughout the year.

One of the presentations we heard today was about communication styles. The facilitator basically said, “if someone doesn’t answer your phone calls, maybe try emailing them. And if they don’t answer your emails, maybe they’d rather take a call.” Bob and I had a good laugh and then swapped pictures of our dogs.

Thanks for the advice, Alison. And to the commenters who said I sounded a bit ageist, I heard you and I’m working on it. I’ve definitely got a bit of “Okay, Boomer” in my blood and it’s not doing me any good.

3. I think our boss is lying about having a PhD

Just wanted to send an update on our incompetent boss.

We eventually sent in a complaint (jointly written by several people) detailing everything wrong with our terrible boss’s management, and why it was awful for business. They took her out of commission for a month, ostensibly to go through leadership training, then put her back in charge of us in July. When she came back, she seemed slightly chastened and less autocratic, but no more competent.

She clung on for another few months but was recently let go after her job title was merged with another. It’s not clear to me whether her incompetence was the cause, or whether they actually investigated a claim, by an outgoing employee, that she faked her credentials.

Either way, it wasn’t soon enough to completely prevent fallout (a number of employees quit), but we’re relieved to have her gone.

4. I resigned and my boss is pressuring me to stay longer (#4 at the link)

I stuck to the 2 weeks! I told them that staying any additional days only benefits them and not me and my resignation should not come as a surprise.

It was a brutal 2 weeks. They split up my work among 4 people. Every day for 2 weeks I was on 6-8 hours worth of Teams calls being recorded while I trained 4 people. This validated my decision to not stay longer and I was so glad that I didn’t.

I had a job offer within a week!

The advice that I got from you and from the commenters helped me so much and I can’t thank you enough.

5. Why is our CEO replying-all to BCC’s? (#2 at the link)

The good news is that Cecil eventually both a) cooled it with the BCC (or Bram stopped replying) and b) left for greener pastures. Too early to tell about his replacement but I’m cautiously optimistic (though still planning an exit strategy long term). Unfortunately I had a really hard year both at work and health-wise, so I haven’t had the energy to update my resume, and I wouldn’t have been in a good place to make the best impression at a new gig either. Things are calming down on both fronts now and I’m scheduling a proper block of leave to get my shit together in.

The commenters on the original post were curious about Cecil’s reply-all error that made the news. It took so much willpower not to post the link at the time, but the relevant news outlet seems to be kaput so I am willing to share now-less-Googleable details. In short, the error went as follows:

1. Cecil wrote an email to a colleague in which he joked about assassinating a small-time journalist who had been hassling them about alleged financial dodginess
2. Since Cecil was at that time working in Asia, the joke specifically involved an offer to hire a cheap local hitman who would probably come with a side of rice (I know. I KNOW)
3. The piece de resistance: Cecil proceeded to accidentally send this email DIRECTLY TO THE JOURNALIST IN QUESTION.

You can imagine the absolute chef’s kiss level of schadenfreude amongst my team when we discovered this history after dealing with him for a few months. Christ, what an asshole.

{ 176 comments… read them below }

      1. MassMatt*

        Except he “left for greener pastures”. Unless it’s a euphemism like “spending more time with his family”, I’m amazed he had an option for any pasture at all!

        1. OP5*

          The pastures in question are part of a, er, farm in a different subsection of our industry. Very likely they don’t know. He’ll have to sink or swim on the strength of his schmooze.

      1. Free Now And Forever*

        Thank. Stealing this and plotting how quickly I can use it. Maybe Ye will be interviewed again today.

    1. MigraineMonth*

      Going back to the original post, OP5 noted of the clusterfudge that “details would be too identifying but let’s just say the racism was not the worst bit”.

      They were correct.

  1. ferrina*

    LW2- nah, Bob in your original letter still sounds obnoxious. Communication preferences are real, but no need to get condescending and snippy. But sounds like it mellowed to more minor and not BEC. Glad you and Bob came to an understanding (cute pets can transcend all differences)

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      Yeah I was so bothered by that. I received a gross mansplainy email once like this and I simply responded with, “Bob, do not send me another communication like this again”. It worked well.

      1. HigherEdEscapee*

        I did the same thing. The man in question immediately called me. I didn’t answer as nothing good was going to come out of the conversation and he left me an angry voicemail in which he told me how I was “allowed to speak to him”.

        This was someone looking for an internship in the program I was running at the time. Yeah.

          1. John B Public*

            Well since we are not allowed to yeet attitudes (or the people who have them), that was probably the best option.

            “I seek to intern there, let me tell you how to behave towards my godliness, worm,” was not ever going to work.

    2. sundae funday*

      I don’t understand why any commenters the first go-round thought she sounded ageist. I don’t think she sounded ageist at all. It is relevant to mention his age; in fact, the comment would be seen as more egregious coming from someone her own age! His age doesn’t give him a pass AT ALL, but it explains his behavior.

  2. Fluff*

    #5 Whoa, you can’t make this stuff up.

    Cecil is like a All the Ways to Do Crime Wrong seminar. The only thing he missed is not copying the would be assassin with the original email.

  3. Slow Gin Lizz*

    #4 is giving me flashbacks of when I left my last job and had to train 3-4 people to do my job. One of them was my BEC at that job and kept interrupting me to ask irrelevant questions or ones that I was about to answer anyway. Two weeks of training my replacements (my job didn’t have a lot of volume so it did make sense not to hire someone to do it full-time but to divide specific tasks out to other employees) was more intense than pretty much the rest of my four years at that job combined and it was exhausting. I was so pleased that I got two whole business days off between that job and my current one, which is 1000% less exhausting and more rewarding. (I actually was playing a concert on one of those days, so it wasn’t really a day off since music is my side gig, but between that and getting my 2nd covid vaccine it was a great day.)

  4. HearTwoFour*

    LW1, I am completely impressed and in awe that you and your parter chose values over income. This could not have been easy, but it’s only through actions like yours that change will happen. Your choice will eventually help so many people.

    1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      Agree–LW1 thanks to you and your partner for making a stand for women’s autonomy.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      They did but also it seemed like maybe they didn’t want to move to a new state (regardless of their feelings about that state). So I think the choice wasn’t as difficult as it may have seemed, even if of course finding a new job can definitely be difficult. But I’m glad they fought the company over it; probably they felt they had nothing to lose since they were going to quit anyway if they were forced to move to TX. But I appreciate their spending their capita on this particular battle.

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Yes, without diminishing what it means to stand up for what matters, moving to ANY new state is a big deal and not an automatic decision.

    3. Lynn*

      I mean it’s not even a value so much as … not wanting to die from treatable complications. Seems like it is in the company’s best interests if the state they operate in isn’t actively unsafe to the health of its employees and their families but hey, tax breaks.

    4. ferrina*

      Yes! The more people say something, the easier it is to be heard. Thank you for this!!
      I hope your partner finds a wonderful job at a much, much better company.

    5. Lils*

      I agree. Loss of talent or income specifically tied to the policy is the ONLY action companies will understand and act on. Your partner took one for the team–there are now more people at the company willing to vocally object, and more managers willing to push back. This seems like a reasonable decision from all angles and any future employer worth working for would understand it.

    6. Bunny Girl*

      I agree. Good job number 1. I am really proud of the OP and their partner for standing up against moving to a state where women are seen as second class citizens.

      1. Emdash*

        I applaud LW#1. This past summer I applied to a job at a large tech company. They listed three locations and asked applicants to list their favorites. Three long interviews in, they said “oh also this job is going to be on-site in Austin. So you would have to move.” I was so caught off-guard.,They did say that they would pay for relocation but I really wish I had been told in the first interview that on-site in Austin is required. I didn’t make it to the fourth round and while the salary would have been amazing, I lost so many nights of sleep after I was told about the location requirement.

  5. INeedANap*

    What bothers me (amongst many other reasons) about tech companies and their “we’ll fly you to get an abortion” policy is that it assumes all abortions are elective.

    I am pregnant right now and it’s high-risk; there is a chance I miscarry late in the game where I won’t be able to just “flush it out”. I will need to seek emergency medical care before I bleed out or get sepsis and die.

    How long is the process to request abortion travel? How am I supposed to get on a plane while I am incredibly sick and miscarrying? Will the company suddenly be uncomfortable having to fund an abortion for a woman 16, 20, 24 weeks along?

    It’s a poorly thought out policy, at best.

    1. anne+of+mean+gables*

      YES. I have needed a time-sensitive abortion for a very, very wanted pregnancy. I live in a relatively good state re: pro-choice legislation, in close proximity to several other pro-choice leaning states. I was unpleasantly shocked at how difficult it was (time, money, driving distance) to obtain an abortion. Having to inform and potentially negotiate with my husband’s company, and then get on a plane, during that time would have made an already-traumatic situation 100x worse (and medically more dangerous).

      (I hope all goes well for you and your pregnancy!)

      1. Tangential Tangerine*

        I live in a VERY pro-choice state, and access for a complicated abortion is still incredibly limited. It could have changed by now but in the past there were two hospitals in the state that could handle a 20-week procedure. In a a state of almost 40 million people. I’ve been a practical support volunteer, and have housed and driven women who spent a day on buses to get access. It’s an ordeal.

        1. anne+of+mean+gables*

          Truly, thank you for doing that work. I had more resources than probably 95% of women in my situation (money, job flexibility, friends able to watch my kid, fluency in navigating the healthcare system) and it was still totally overwhelming. The reality of abortion on the ground vs. what companies like LW#1 are imagining sends me into an absolute rage.

        2. Foley*

          I live in LA and when a friend needed a 20 week abortion, it was hard to get. I was surprised. (shocked Pikachu face and all)

          The PP less than a mile away does them two days a week, so I extrapolated that all those discussions of later abortions among medical folks as you’re having 20 week scans are really ephemeral. Worst kind of gaslighting.

          But once you get past that first trimester, women in Southern California! were SOL…and that was in beforetimes.

        3. kitryan*

          At the moment I don’t have a car or spare bedroom, but if/when I move somewhere where that’s feasible (right now I’m in a *very* high density area), this is something I very much want to do.

    2. INeedANap*

      I want to be clear that I don’t think any miscarriage is as simple as “flushing it out”. That was the phrase given to me when I brought up this exact scenario in an interview a few months ago. It was gross and it made me walk out of the interview.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        OMG, totally gross, proud of you for walking out of that interview. I hope everything goes well for you.

    3. fhqwhgads*

      Without the text of the policy, I’m not sure it’s fair to say it’s poorly thought out. My employer (which has staff in 43 states), as a result of the recent laws passed in various places enacted a policy meant to help. It’s yet to be seen if it does – and we’re not making anyone live where they live – but the policy is written as a medical travel policy. That is, if you need medical care that cannot be provided in your local area, the company will pay for you to travel to where it can be provided. This applies equally to abortions as it would to say, a super specialist surgery you could only get at the mayo clinic, or something. I realize this policy does not cover an emergency where getting on a plane isn’t plausible. At the same time, if you’re bleeding and miscarrying, you probably don’t need an abortion, you need a dnc. If the pregnancy were high risk that you’d both die and you wanted to terminate it to prevent that happening, then you’d be planning to go somewhere to do that before the medical emergency occurs, in order to prevent it.

      1. anne+of+mean+gables*

        The problem is, the laws as written in these states do not distinguish between “an abortion” and “a d&c for emergent miscarriage,” and when you show up at the ER bleeding heavily they do not know if the fetus is alive or dead (sorry, this is verging on graphic. but that is what happens when politicians try to write laws regulating healthcare). And, as I’ve outlined above – I have needed an elective abortion for a non-viable pregnancy. Having to go through my employer to get on a plane to get that medical care would have made an already traumatic situation much, much worse. Having lived a version of the ‘worst case scenario’ that LW1 was imagining when her partner was offered that job, I can tell you that I would not move to Texas under any circumstances, and no amount of corporate policy would be enough of a buffer to change my mind.

        1. Sally*

          Yes! but only if the person is pregnant. If they’re not, it’s just a “scrape out” of one’s uterus. I had a D&C to remove a fibroid a few years ago.

      2. Boof*

        To be clear, i hate the anti-abortion laws, but emergency miscarriages/ save life of the carrier is really supposed to be allowed. Even if some places expressed confusion because it was crappily written by people with an agenda instead of medical knowledge

        1. Bob-White of the Glen*

          No, a lot of places doctors will not perform life saving procedures because the laws are written badly, but can still destroy their lives or put them in jail. Women bleeding out are being forced to travel to other states because the career risk is too great for the doctor. Horrible time to be a woman and a doctor in the good ole freedom loving USA.

        2. Appletini*

          “Without the ability to offer abortion to their patients, all 28 women were managed expectantly. This is a medical way of saying that they waited for something terrible to happen. That wait lasted, on average, nine days.”

          From an article on this very topic. link in next comment.

        3. MigraineMonth*

          One of the issues is that many of the laws are written so emergency abortions are the only ones allowed. So women are told “there is no way for your fetus to survive, but we can’t actually treat you until you develop a life-threatening infection. Come back when you’re dying.”

          The sarcastic part of me wants to change laws to “only allow abortion in cases where continuing with the pregnancy is a greater risk to the pregnant person’s health than abortion”. Which is… you know… 100% of all pregnancies.

        4. Elsajeni*

          I think it’s important to be clear that, when anti-choice legislators say “but [whatever circumstances] will still be allowed!”, they are not saying that in good faith, though. It’s not like they say that and then purely by accident write the laws in such a way that they don’t actually make that exception, or where technically “emergency” abortions are allowed but “emergency” is defined so narrowly as to be essentially meaningless — they don’t care. They don’t want to make the exception. Looking at that and saying “oh, but this is supposed to be allowed, there was just some confusion” is allowing them to whitewash their actual goals and interests.

        5. kt*

          It’s only allowed if the person’s life is threatened, though, which means you cannot intervene (legally) to prioritize her *health*. “Life” and “health” are defined differently, and if you are waiting until someone’s life is in danger, there are pretty decent odds they will die (because their life wouldn’t be in danger yet if they weren’t… in danger… of dying).

          Like, you just gotta have women die preventably, by construction, because if no women were dying, that would prove they wouldn’t have been in danger of dying, right? These laws specify explicitly that the health of the pregnant person is not a consideration.

    4. Nep*

      You are correct. My mom had an ectopic pregnancy after me, and she was in surgery within two hours of something being obviously wrong. Longer would have been even more life threatening.

    5. bamcheeks*

      Right?? It totally bolsters the anti-abortion myth that all abortions are planned elective procedures caused by people not wanting to be pregnant. And yep, whilst that’s a subset of abortions (and those abortions made good abortions and people should have easy access to them!), what I learned from the Irish Repeal campaign was that right to preserve the pregnant person’s life at the expense of the foetuses is absolutely fundamental to a whole host of healthcare, maternity and non-maternity. It’s not just your access to abortion, it’s your access to healthcare that might damage a pregnancy even if you’re not pregnant or intending to become pregnant. It’s not just wanted abortions, it’s I’m-desperate-to-keep-this-baby-but-my-health-comes-first. None of which is addressed by this policy.

      1. So Anon for This*

        Back in the 1980s, my mother’s best friend was traveling in Europe in her first trimester of a very wanted pregnancy. She began to miscarry while she and her husband were in Italy, and she bled to death at the hospital while her husband begged them to do something for HER and was told that saving the (completely non-viable) fetus had to come first. Her husband never really recovered, and as an early teen it made a huge impression on me. Anyone who thinks these laws are okay is either delusional or evil. Abortion is essential health care and needs to be treated as such.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          This nearly happened in Malta recently. A British couple had a rollercoaster ride of begging medical staff to intervene when their (very much wanted child) was no longer viable but staff had to wait until mum was in immediate mortal danger to lift a finger. Anyone who thinks this stuff doesn’t affect heterosexual men should have heard this husband recount how he fully expected to be widowed and explaining his wife’s death to their toddler kids.

        2. Boof*

          What the ever loving —- i know it can be bad but i thought most places understood a dead person can’t gestate a fetus and you HAVE to choose mom’s life in that kind of situation

          1. Le Sigh*

            Google Savita Halappanavar. She’s hardly a unique case.

            In theory, yes, that’s what’s supposed to happen. They write in exceptions to make it sound like the laws allow for that. And maybe they do technically, but instead what happens is you have doctors hemming over what they’re allowed to do or what the line is before they can terminate and not get arrested or slapped with a lawsuit. And in that time, someone is bleeding out and risking sepsis.

            This is also connected the problem over religious institutions (largely Catholic) buying up hospitals, to the point where some people, often unknowingly, live in an area where the nearest (or even all) are owned by groups like Trinity Health. So you might go to the nearest hospital (or taken by ambulance) and wind up (again, unknowingly) at a Catholic-owned one that doesn’t allow abortions, period. So now you’re in an emergency situation, you expect a hospital of all places to help, and they either won’t do an abortion or have to wait until you’re in mortal danger. And you didn’t choose this, but here you are. If you live in an area where everything is now owned by religious institutions or if it’s the only hospital for hundreds of miles (ie much of rural America), you’re SOL. And it’s not just an issue in the red states or places you’d expect — this is a problem in California, too.

            1. Rosemary*

              I truly do not understand how this allowed at hospitals that accept public funds (and any hospital that takes Medicare or Medicaid is)

              1. Le Sigh*

                Agreed, although I generally take issue with any hospital, regardless of public funds, blocking healthcare. There is a larger debate around this, but regardless of who owns it and their belief system, far too often people only have access to one hospital in their area, or their insurance only works at certain hospital systems. When you’re talking about something like healthcare — which isn’t optional, it’s a necessity of life — and you’re in a country (ahem, the US) where people already have to jump through hoops for any kind of care, I find it unconscionable that through no fault of their own, someone might find themselves denied abortion care (life-saving or otherwise), tubal ligation (this also happens), or any other similar kinds of care because of religious beliefs that may not even be their own (and even if they are Catholics, there are plenty of pro-choice Catholics who don’t want this imposed on them).

                1. DJ Abbott*

                  Fundamentalists and the politicians they support don’t actually care about babies or mothers. It’s all about oppression.
                  They don’t care if people die.

            2. 1LFTW*

              Dignity Health is Catholic-affiliated as well. They’ve bought up a lot of urgent care clinics in my area.

          2. goddessoftransitory*

            Whenever you run up against this kind of illogical horror, remind yourself that the cruelty is the point. The people who compose these kinds of laws want to punish and hurt people (women, but there’s plenty of fallout for men and their other loved ones too.)

      2. Zephy*

        right to preserve the pregnant person’s life at the expense of the foetuses is absolutely fundamental to a whole host of healthcare, maternity and non-maternity. It’s not just your access to abortion, it’s your access to healthcare that might damage a pregnancy even if you’re not pregnant or intending to become pregnant.

        This is why I chose to get sterilized earlier this year. My life is worth more to me than any I might gestate. Sorry not sorry. Die mad about it.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I had a Tubal Ligation after my second high risk pregnancy, and husband was embarrassed and angry that he has to sign two different consent forms on top of the NINE I had to sign that day (we had also had to sign other consent forms at my Dr’s office the week before). It shouldn’t have been that hard to get a tubal for medical reasons, and my husband agreed he shouldn’t have had to “Give Permission” for me while conscious to get medical care.

          I’d also had four miscarriages around the two high risk pregnancies. The emotional healing was hard – and I was fortunate that all I had was the emotional because my body was “very efficient” at completely clearing the miscarriages.

          Getting off the soap box now.

          1. Rosemary*

            I am sorry what?! He had to give permission? I’m curious…would he have had to get YOUR permission if he wanted to get a vasectomy? (My guess is no)

            1. Le Sigh*

              Sadly, this is more common than not — Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, to name a few, require the written consent of the patient’s spouse. I’ve had friends have to do the same thing in their state. I once asked an OBGYN about sterilization (I don’t want kids, never have, never will), and she said she really only does that for someone who’s already had kids.

              I stopped going to that place immediately.

              1. DJ Abbott*

                When I worked in the OB/GYN admin office the approach was to make sure the patient was counseled so she wouldn’t change her mind later and regret, especially if she was young.
                This is a hospital in a big city that’s owned by a non-Catholic religious organization. They behave like any other corporation though.

            2. MigraineMonth*

              My grandmother had kidney failure while carrying my mother, and it easily could have killed them both. (We still have the letters my grandmother wrote to her two older children to be given to them after her death.)

              A doctor said another pregnancy would be far too risky, and my grandfather said they agreed and had decided he would get a vasectomy.

              The doctor protested–in front of my grandmother who had just given birth after a life-threatening pregnancy–“But Mr _____, you’re still young! You could have more children.”

    6. Ellis Bell*

      Yes, when will people learn that abortions come under the umbrella of healthcare provision? Sometimes it’s scheduled, sometimes its emergency healthcare. You would never tell people to move somewhere without emergency medical treatment available and then glibly add: “Oh, but if you need surgery we’ll fly you out”. Or, I dunno maybe some people really are in denial that they will ever need emergency medical help because it’s a just world/everything happens for a reason/nonsensical denial.

    7. MigraineMonth*

      Unless the company is willing to pay for a 9 hour air ambulance ride, they aren’t really willing to fly you to get a needed abortion.

    8. sundae funday*

      While I agree, what’s the alternative? I know that ideally it’s “every business pull out of red states” but… those of us who live in those states also need jobs.

      I live in the south. It’d be great if I could just move to a blue state, but the cost of living tends to be higher, the only places I have reasonable job contacts are also red states, I don’t have the funds to do a large-scale move, and, frankly, the thought of moving someone by myself (I’m single) where I have no friends or family is undesirable.

      The abortion restrictions scare and disgust me, don’t get me wrong. But I still have to live here.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        I mean, if it were possible to just tip a jurisdiction’s populace into the nearest safe haven, then these laws wouldn’t matter so much would they? If that were the case, then the only people affected would be the ones who wanted to be (or who thought they never could be). I think a blanket ban on bringing jobs into these states, or blaming those directly affected simply for living there isn’t the answer… because that’s absurd. However it must help somewhat for at least some people or some companies to say “no way” and hope the message is heard before areas lose too many employment opportunities. Simply hearing people with options saying that it’s unacceptable to move from a safe area to an unsafe one, tackles the underlying prejudices in place. The prejudice that nice people, with nice jobs, who plan ahead won’t need or care about abortions. Except informed people do. Every time people place their safety ahead of their career they punch holes in this prejudice. Of course not everyone has the privilege to choose future safety over their immediate livelihoods and support networks. Of course not. But if you are someone who can? It helps everyone.

      2. bamcheeks*

        The thing is that those big corporations aren’t just passive takers of the state laws– they are frequently donating to and supporting the rightwing politicians pushing those laws because they are also reducing workers’ rights and creating low tax regimes which favour massive wealth transfer from the workers to the owners and investors. They’re very consciously accepting the trade-off of far-right social policies because they come packaged with what they perceive as favourable financial regimes.

        The best-case outcome isn’t that the company pulls out of Texas all together, it’s that the company decides it’s actually in its best interests to donate to and support pro-choice politicians in that state.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Plenty of companies are part of lobby groups that literally write laws and give them to their chosen politicians to get passed. If laws are hurting the companies, there’s far more corporations can do than regular citizens.

    9. goddessoftransitory*

      THANK YOU. This “policy” is the “trust us” from a pair of guys who work for Honest Bob’s Honest Company and their office is a pickup truck with the engine running.

  6. Field Loaf*

    The facilitator basically said, “if someone doesn’t answer your phone calls, maybe try emailing them. And if they don’t answer your emails, maybe they’d rather take a call.” Bob and I had a good laugh and then swapped pictures of our dogs.

    This is half of a great outcome. It’s great that you and Bob were able to see yourselves in the facilitator’s words. I’ve worked with a lot of people who value calls over emails or face-to-face over calls or whatever (and vice versa), and none of them are able to see that their preference is a preference not a fundamental truth written in the stars.

    It would be a better outcome if Bob were able to communicate his preferences in a less condescending manner, though. I think that’s above your ability to influence, though.

    1. RunShaker*

      #2, I re-read your letter & heard frustration vs. ageism. I’m 50 & this is also based on feed back over the years that I’ve done well on communication. I try to pay attention to different communication styles & most of the time, for non-time sensitive items, prefer email as well. I’ve felt same frustration but with younger, late 2os co-worker in reference to professional norms & her attempts to educate me. Since it is new company, I did call trusted colleague since I realize this company may/will have different standards than my last company. He even chuckled about professional norms she was trying to educate me on.

      1. RunShaker*

        oh & reading askamanager.org has given me a lot of insight over the years which I’m so thankful.

  7. All Het Up About It*

    Updates 1 -4: Various and standard levels of appreciation and celebration for OPs during update season.

    Update 5: HOLY. MOLY. What the every loving expletive, expletive, expletive!!! Cecil was the ultimate trainwreck.

  8. Pants*

    I dated a guy named Cecil. He wasn’t clever enough to rise to a CEO position ever, but he is stupid enough to do this email crap.

  9. Texas*

    LW1 It’s Austin, Texas. This sounds like a letter writer who has never visited Texas. Yes it’s more conservative but there are still 4 million democrats living in the state. Most of them in or near Austin. If you didn’t want to move fine but acting like your quality of life would drastically change by moving to Austin is extreme

    1. Anon for this*

      Austin, Texas is no less a part of Texas than any other part, and no less affected by what the state legislature comes up with than any other part. If your quality of life includes concern over rights the state legislature is intent on denying you… well then.

    2. Jen M.*

      As a commenter noted above, the major concern with Texas (and other states imposing anti-choice legislation) is that elective abortions are not the only abortions had. Yes, the writer could theoretically fly to another state if they had a healthy, but unwanted pregnancy (since it’s sounds like they are coming from a place of relative privilege). But it also has a strong effect on emergency health care for women. What if the writer has an ectopic pregnancy and can’t be treated until it’s life-threatening? These bans are affecting healthcare for all people who can get pregnant, no matter how blue their area of the state, and people understandably don’t want to take the risk.

    3. Mim*

      Statewide policy removing bodily autonomy from pregnant people applies to everyone living in the state, no matter how progressive their specific city is.

    4. Field Loaf*

      Texas abortion laws apply in Austin, as do transgender relevant laws. For some people, including OP, the right to bodily autonomy and freedom to seek appropriate medical care is the most important quality of life indicator, way more important than movies at the Alamo Drafthouse or the Red River music scene.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        As someone who grew up in a fundamentalist area, it’s not just about abortion. The judgement, misogyny and oppression permeate everything.
        Austin is probably better than the rest of Texas, but I still wouldn’t go near it.

    5. singularity*

      The point is that everyone was working from home and that the big tech company her partner worked for was requiring everyone to relocate and work in office. If her partner had been doing just fine working from home, there was no reason to require them to upend their lives and move to a different state.

      And yes, their quality of life could dramatically change, especially if LW needed an abortion. I could start citing the statistics on insurance coverage for children in Texas, but I won’t. Also, Texas is 45th in Education the last time I checked. Their future children, should they choose to have any, would get a worse education than if they stayed where they are, I bet. I’m from Texas and I think more people should push back on things like this to show companies who choose to move here for the tax benefits that not everyone thinks it’s great here, for a variety of reasons including but not limited to the abortion issue.

      Maybe the company itself doesn’t have the ability to change abortion laws, but if enough people stood up and did what LW partner did, it would force them to re-think relocating to Texas and pull their money out of the state to go elsewhere. *That* would force Texas politicians to pay attention – the money drain.

    6. Ellis Bell*

      It’s nice that there are people voting in different ways in the area, but I don’t think they’ll be much help if a woman nearby is dying of a pregnancy complication. It’s pretty ironic that you’re implying the OP hasn’t walked a mile in your shoes by visiting Texas when she’s talking about her body, not the social scene… Have you walked a mile in hers? Do you know her health concerns or social ones? I’m glad you like where you live and I’m sorry lawmakers are making it less liveable for everyone.

    7. JustSewYouKnow*

      I agree with you re: Austin and have some mild side-eye when it comes to the hypothetically-will-never-live-in-Texas-because-PrInCiPlEs crowd. To be clear, my side-eye does not extend to folks with identities/family that the state is actively harming right now! I can’t fault anyone for not wanting to move here if there’s a risk they’ll need basic and commonly necessary reproductive care. It simply isn’t available here at this point regardless of the day to day quality of life.

      1. Field Loaf*

        “folks with identities/family that the state is actively harming right now!”

        That’s, like, almost all families with the abortion ban, since almost all families contain someone who is able to get pregnant.

        Even if someone happens to have a family comprising only cis men, I give a little side-eye to the “welp, doesn’t affect me!” mindset.

      2. Not A Manager*

        “…mild side-eye when it comes to the hypothetically-will-never-live-in-Texas-because-PrInCiPlEs crowd. To be clear, my side-eye does not extend to folks with identities/family that the state is actively harming right now!”

        So, this is like “they came for the folks with identities but I said nothing because I did not have an identity,” right?

        I guess it’s acceptable if you’re being actively harmed exclamation point, but it’s snidely PrInCiPlEd if you simply don’t want other people to be actively harmed.

        1. Pennsylvania resident*

          First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

          Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

          Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

          Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

          —Martin Niemöller

      3. Peridot*

        I live in Texas and have done so for twenty-plus years. I have reminded people who joke about Texas seceding or dismiss the entire state (or the south), that there are millions of people who don’t support these jerks who keep getting elected.

        However, the group of “people with identities/families” that the state is harming is NOT SMALL. Aside from any person who might need reproductive care, it includes their families (who would be affected by any health complications), trans people and their families, non-binary people, drag queens, people who go to libraries or clubs to see/hear drag queens, and more. I’m a white cis woman who’s queer but passes for straight, and I’m still nervous about what’s going to happen next.

        Add this to Texas’ gun law that allows anyone to carry a weapon without a license, and I’m actively working to get out of here.

        1. Field Loaf*

          “there are millions of people who don’t support these jerks who keep getting elected.”

          It’s just, that’s nice and all, but those millions of people are still bound by the laws that these jerks keep passing.

        2. JustSewYouKnow*

          I’m not sure what I said that made everyone think I thought that number was small/insignificant because I don’t. I was trying to acknowledge the kernel of frustration I empathized with in Texas’ comment and gently push back on the idea that reproductive health care wasn’t a quality of life issue, but I missed the mark. Shrug, we all agree, stay as safe as you can wherever you are, and I’ll keep doing what I can to be the change in Texas.

          1. Seacalliope*

            It was your random caps to call out the idea of living your principles and acting in solidarity. You did not speak gently.

          2. Bob-White of the Glen*

            Your comment reads differently now I know your intent.

            Don’t worry about it – we’ve all not expressed a thought completely the way we wanted to.

      4. Clobberin' Time*

        You could have just said “I’m white, cisgender, don’t think I’ll need an abortion, and love the music scene here” and had a shorter comment.

      5. Zombeyonce*

        Why do you say “PrInCiPlEs” like standing up for what you believe in is a bad thing? And why do you think that only people affected should stand up for themselves, and people not affected shouldn’t also stand up for the rights of others? Allies are important.

      6. MHA*

        “To be clear, my side-eye does not extend to folks with identities/family that the state is actively harming right now!”

        …So, like, ALL of the “hypothetically-will-never-live-in-Texas-because-PrInCiPlEs” crowd? Unless you truly think there’s a hypothetical financially well-off white cishet man out there who does not know and care about a single individual woman (or person who otherwise has a uterus) in his life, and does not intend to meet and grow to care about any such people upon his hypothetical move to Texas? WHO exactly are you imagining that doesn’t have a valid reason to have PrInCiPlEs about laws that negatively affect EVERY SINGLE PERSON with a uterus?

        (I say this as a born-and-bred Texan, for the record! I left Texas when I finished my graduate degree and I will never, ever go back.)

        1. Giant Kitty*

          My mom was a born & bred Texan who left in her teens and never went back, not even to visit.

          We drove THROUGH the state on a childhood family vacation, did not stop to visit tourist attractions, her home town, nothing.

          My mom was an extremely sentimental person, and this spoke VOLUMES without her ever having to put it into words.

      7. Pennsylvania resident*

        Wow, JustSewYouKnow. In addition to all of excellent points that others have made, I personally do not ever intend to set foot in the state of Texas again because they filed a lawsuit at the United States Supreme Court contesting the administration of the 2020 presidential election in my state. How dare Texas decide that MY VOTE, in a state all the way across the country, does not count?? I don’t care how many Democrats live there, I have zero respect for Texas. (I am sad about this, because I love Big Bend National Park so much. But not enough to spend any of my tourism dollars in the state.)

      8. MeepMeep123*

        The state of Texas is actively harming:

        – any woman of reproductive age;
        – anyone whose family includes a woman of reproductive age (i.e. male partners, female partners, children, elderly parents, and so on);
        – any LGBT individuals;
        – anyone whose family includes an LGBT individual.

        Once you exclude those, that leaves single men (gay men are out) with no living female relatives and no LGBT relatives. That’s the only demographic the state of Texas isn’t actively harming right now, and once you factor in religion (they also love to actively harm non-Christian folks), that’s an even smaller demographic.

        1. MHA*

          And honestly, the idea that people can/should only care about the people they’re immediately related to who would be affected by these laws or otherwise they’re just virtue-signaling (or WHATEVER was being implied by ‘PrInCiPlEs’) is bizarre?

          “I refuse to work in a state where I might come in to find that my pregnant coworker died overnight because she was legally prevented from receiving life-saving healthcare” is a REAL principle. It isn’t virtue-signaling bullshit just because that hypothetical coworker wasn’t a family member or even a close friend. “I don’t want to live somewhere that people aren’t treated like people” is a perfectly reasonable line in the sand for literally any person on earth to draw regardless of their demographics or personal relationships. Like… what the hell?

          1. DJ Abbott*

            My very cool, very supportive, very smart coworker is coming back from maternity leave next week. I really feel this example.

    8. Observer*

      If you didn’t want to move fine but acting like your quality of life would drastically change by moving to Austin is extreme

      Did you actually read what the OP wrote? The reality is that AT THIS POINT, despite the number of Democrats in the state, there is a law on the books that outlaws abortion outside of the most extreme circumstances, to the point that it’s just a matter of time before someone dies as a direct result of this law.

      That law applies as much in Austin as in any other part of Texas. So, the OP’s objections apply just as much to that city as to any other part of Texas.

    9. Seashell*

      I have a menstruating daughter. You couldn’t pay me enough to move to Texas or any comparable states.

    10. Bread Crimes*

      Hi, I live in Austin half the year, and I fully support LW1’s position on this. Laws like those are a major reason why I’m working on reducing that “half the year” to “not at all” as soon as I’m able to find appropriate employment to make this work.

      Remember when the mayor of Austin put in a city-wide mask mandate, in early 2020?

      Remember the governor of Texas immediately making it illegal for cities to pass mask mandates of any sort within their own damn city limits?

      “Gosh, we have so many Democrats here!” matters about as much for the actual laws that affect people as “Fifty percent of the people in this nation are female!” when looking at what women’s rights are like in a place. I’ve voted in every single election, on every measure and every race on every ballot, while I’ve been a resident of that state, and just ask me how much difference it ever made under the gerrymandering.

    11. Sarah M*

      And this sounds like a comment from someone whose bodily autonomy has not been stripped from them by the Texas State Legislature. Am guessing you are also not LGBTQ+, nor do you have children who are. Those of us who *do* fall into these categories don’t have the luxury of ignoring all the ways that TSL is cooking up to harass, importune and persecute us. Like LW1, there’s no way in hell I’d move my kids and I to Texas, no matter how funky the art scene in Austin is.

      1. Anon for this*

        Given current news events… they might also have an LGBTQ+ child, but that doesn’t do much if they don’t care.

    12. Appletini*

      How about the quality of life of the patients described in the following paragraph, from a survey on the effect of Texas’ abortion bans on patients with pregnancy complications?

      During those nine days of waiting for an immediate threat to maternal life, here is what happened to the women of that cohort: Most of them went into labor, or had a stillbirth, which meant the medical team could then legally intervene and empty the uterus. Fifty-seven percent of those pregnant women had some sort of complication, and for about a third of them, it was serious enough to require intensive-care admission, surgery, or a second admission to the hospital. One of the 28 patients ended up with a hysterectomy, which means she will never carry a pregnancy again. The authors of the article estimate, based on their pre-September practice, that about half of those maternal complications would have been avoided if immediate abortion had been offered as a choice. But of course, post-September in Texas, these women didn’t get a choice.

      Link in next comment.

    13. Not a Texan fan*

      I live in Austin.

      Yes the city is blue (as are most major cities) but the state definitely is not.

      An example from real life.

      I went to obtain my Texas driver’s license.

      They couldn’t issue me a license in my married name, because I didn’t think to bring my marriage certificate.i had been married for 5 years, and had changed my name with my previous state (I was surrendering my driver’s license from that state to get the TX driver’s license). I also had my social security card with my married name.

      I asked why I needed to provide my marriage certificate, when I had a document from the federal government with my married name.

      The reply from the director of that facility: “Oh that’s the federal government. They take anything there.”

      My mind was blown and I just left.

      This is a state government official, disregarding the legitimacy of my social security card.

    14. It's a long drive*

      Have you ever tried to drive to another state from Austin when you needed emergency medical care?

    15. sundae funday*

      I live in a blue city in a red state so I understand what you’re saying, but I still can’t access an abortion in my state if I need one. Granted, our newly elected district attorney promised not to prosecute abortion cases, but I doubt anyone will perform them, even with that promise.

  10. Agile Phalanges*

    And did no one at LW1s company have kids with joint custody with a parent in the current locale? Other relatives needing care? Currently attending school (in person) at a local college? Leaving aside the (very real!) political climate issue, there are plenty of reasons people can’t just up and move states… Did everyone except LW manage to move?

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Totally wondering this too. Seems to me that many companies used to up and move offices/headquarters to new locations in the past and expect their employees to move with them. Nowadays most (read: good) companies seem to know better. But I’m basing this very loosely on anecdote, not any actual evidence.

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        My former employer moved across town and was surprised when I was like, “That’s doubling my commute- see ya!” Especially when I found a better job, with more money, a better schedule, and the exact same commute I would have had to give up to stay with them. They called to offer me my old job back, but only matched my current salary at my new job, no extra to cover the cost of the commute (or offer work from home, which we had done during the majority of the pandemic). Unsurprisingly, I turned down that offer as well.

        I understand that the move was better for the company, so I don’t begrudge them it, but yeah- not all of a company’s employees are going to uproot themselves for the company, unless there are A LOT of bonuses to that move. That’s especially true if the company moves states.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          And I’m seeing a lot of comments upthread about how maybe the company wanted to get rid of employees without the issues that arise from large layoffs and figured this was a way to do it. That seems totally plausible. Not cool, BTC, not cool.

          1. Field Loaf*

            I find those speculations unlikely. Companies relocate sometimes, or close branches, or consolidate branches. It’s not like company-driven moves are some new thing that BTC invented. Sure, companies are aware that there will be some attrition and they plan for that. But engaging in a hugely expensive and logistically complex action for the purpose of avoiding a less expensive and less complex action is just not a likely strategy.

      2. NotRealAnonforThis*

        Eons ago, my father’s employer relocated to a state he had zero interest in relocating to (having to do with climate, the education system in the state we’d have to move to, and his personal experience with the representatives who’d flown to our current location to meet the new employees – hey, it was the 70s. They apparently rubbed him wrong from the word “Hi”.) and it was apparently a shocker that he was willing to take the buy out. I’m curious on how that would play today – probably no buy out/severance offered, I’d imagine.

        1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

          It wasn’t always even a thing then. My dad was ordered to relo to a different state — good state but supremely crappy town — and his choices were take the relo or lose his job. No severance. They even objected to his request for time to think and to fly in Mom to check it out so they could make a family decision. They thought he’d make an immediate executive decision without her input?! But they begrudgingly agreed to give him a week + two plane tickets. Which he promptly cashed in and added an extra stop to check out a different job opp in yet another state. He got that job on the spot, turned down the relo, and absolutely shocked his old employer by declining to move to a wasteland town

    2. Clobberin' Time*

      It sounds to me like they thought it was a way to reduce workforce without “layoffs” or running afoul of pesky laws about workforce reductions. Demand that everyone uproot their lives and physically move to a state where they could be in physical danger, and when they say no, shrug and let them resign.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      I’m not LW1, but I imagine there are/were workers at Big Tech Company in those scenarios and just like LW1’s partner, they made their decisions with their families to either move with BTC or leave their jobs and stay in their current location.

    4. As Per Elaine*

      Or, heck, have a partner with a local job, or kids in local school that they don’t want to uproot, or a community that they like and have made their home in?

    5. nm*

      Yeah this surprises me to! My relatives don’t literally *need* me but I would definitely be resigning if my employer asked me to move so far.

      1. nm*

        Of course some people don’t have the privilege of being able to do that, but if you work in tech in a big city, you often really can.

    6. Field Loaf*

      Based on my experience, most people probably managed to move, and for some of those people, it heartily sucked. Companies have been changing location for decades, and those problems have always arisen. The people affected handle them in whatever way makes the most sense for them.

    7. A Simple Narwhal*

      I totally glossed over the main/first part of the issue, which was that they were requiring all of their employees to move! It also seems weird that they specifically said employees must move to Austin, and not “must now be in person”, or just be in Texas if they’re concerned about state tax issues. Maybe LW1 was paraphrasing and they aren’t specifically required to move to the city of Austin, but it’s still nuts that the office is insisting people pick up their whole lives and move somewhere new.

      …But they’ll make exception for medical reasons?? Weird. It’s too bad that their partner had to quit a job they liked, but I’m glad that they’re out of there, this can’t be the only bee buzzing around.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I took “employees must move to Austin” to be a paraphrase of “the company office is moving to Austin, and you are all required to work in-person at the Austin office” so presumably employees could choose where in the Austin area to live based on their tolerance for commuting.

      2. Velociraptor Attack*

        It seems like the company is already located in Austin and they’re ending remote work.

    8. Person from the Resume*

      My partner began working for Big Tech Company during the pandemic, so his role was remote. We (cis, straight) thought it would stay that way, but now BTC is requiring that we move to Austin and saying that no one is exempt except…

      It might just be the new remote workers hired during COVID that have to move. Possibly most employees live in the Austin area already. Or they’re in demand tech professionals and can leave even if they would prefer not to. I would think a lot of folks would just not move because they want to stay where they are for personal reasons.

  11. linger*

    By relocating to Texas and not permitting out-of-state remote work, the company has effectively selected for employees who are less likely to protest against change, or stick up for themselves, in future. This may even be an intentional outcome. The ultimate effect on the company depends on how much of the expertise lost as a result is truly irreplaceable.

    1. Velociraptor Attack*

      There’s no indication in the letter that they relocated to Texas. It seems like the company has been based in Texas but OP’s boyfriend was hired remotely and thought it would stay that way (because they were explicitly told it would or because they just presumed that).

  12. Moi*

    I had a colleague who sent us some positive feedback that she specifically received and bcc’d her managers. (We were part working on a project and frequently shared feedback among each other). The feedback was due to the work that the team did together. It felt shady to bcc her boss on a compliment directed to her on work we all did together… her boss and her boss’s boss got reply all

  13. Baron*

    #3: as an aspiring academic on the cusp of a PhD myself, can I just say, “staggeringly incompetent at everything. including the very basics of their own field” and “has a PhD” are…not mutually exclusive.

    1. EJane*

      This. I work in mental health and my manager has an LICSW, which is the terminal license for social work.
      She’s also being investigated for discrimination and harassment against me, among others.

      You can’t make this shit up.

    2. linger*

      The old joke is that as you advance through higher and more specialised levels of education, you learn more and more about less and less, until PhDs know everything about nothing.
      Scarily, it was literally true of my own specialist topic, though that’s another story.
      But the saving grace is, you should become more aware of what you don’t know.

    3. bamcheeks*

      right? As someone with a PhD who knows lots of people with PhDs… what that means is I know some really, really incompetent people with PhDs.

  14. Rosemary*

    I am sorry what?! He had to give permission? I’m curious…would he have had to get YOUR permission if he wanted to get a vasectomy? (My guess is no)

  15. DJ Abbott*

    #1, I’m glad you didn’t move to Texas. People who have not lived in a fundamentalist culture can’t understand how bad it is. Your partner will surely find a good job in a place run by decent people!

  16. Chief Bottle Washer*

    My company also has this “well, talk to us if you need abortion care and we’ll work something out” approach for the folks at our site in a state where abortion is now illegal. I cannot imagine having to tell my employer I needed abortion care (for any reason). As I understand it now, while my employer pays for insurance, they don’t have rights to see my medical records or what specifically is billed for. Why does anyone think it’s okay that women now have to divulge this type of very personal information to their employers to get care? It’s nuts!

  17. A_Jessica*

    6-8 hours of Teams calls sounds like a living nightmare. I’m so glad OP stuck to the two week’s notice!

Comments are closed.