updates: coworker signed me up for a racist organization as a joke, and more

It’s the final day of “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, where I’ve been printing updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

1. My coworker signed me up for a racist organization as a joke

I did take your advice—I was polite but very firm with the young man (“Moe”) about the inappropriateness of his behaviour. He was offended in response – “I thought you were cool and had a sense of humour!” was the gist of his response. I ended up mentioning it to my boss in what I had thought was an offhanded way, just saying, “Moe did this thing, it was odd, I thought you might want to know he does this kind of thing.” A few weeks later, my contract with that organization came to an end, and was unexpectedly not renewed even though I’d been told to expect a renewal – on my way out the door, my boss gave me the feedback that I’m “over-sensitive”. (Which I certainly can be, so it might not have just been about this.)

Update on me: it was a long struggle to find another job, but four years later, I’m E.D. of a small nonprofit that does lots of good and important work in its niche. I’m much happier here than I was there, and my board treats me much better (which isn’t something you hear from every E.D.!)

Update on Moe: he’s skyrocketed through the ranks at that organization (a medium-profile government institution) and is now at director-level and is the public face of many of their initiatives. I follow him on Linkedin, and in my view, his judgment about what jokes are appropriate in a professional setting remains atrocious, but his bosses seem to love him.

Update on the racist organization: I wrote to them and demanded that my name be taken off the membership rolls. They were very quick to do so, said that they would never want anyone to be publicly linked to their movement who didn’t genuinely share their views, and I haven’t heard from them or appeared on any public membership lists since.

I don’t know how I ended up getting more courteous treatment from the racist organization than from my old employer, but here we are!

Thank you for your advice and thanks to the commenters for engaging.

2. How can I tell my managers they’re disrespectful to people?

A quick, rather unsurprising update: I quit. Not too long after this email, in fact. This was sent in the lead-up to a truly disastrous event that nearly broke everyone on the team, had two separate consultants pull me aside and tell me to leave, and after one unhinged Slack exchange while I was at a doctor’s appointment, I brought my biggest bag into the office in case I needed to pack my desk and walk out. I suspect I wrote this after a phone call where they berated someone for a tiny miscommunication, listened to them cry and apologize, and then said – let’s just move on. I think about that call a lot.

We all knew it was bad – talked about it being emotionally abusive in the group texts. Almost everyone I worked with has left, each of us with pretty deep wounds that needed healing – and I was only there a year!

I’ve since launched my own organization where I’m trying to not emulate these or any of the other many bad bosses I have had. Thank you for sharing so many tools to make me understand how to do that.

3. How much am I obligated to help a coworker who guilt-trips me when I don’t?

Alison’s and the commentariat’s advice did indeed help. I kept some prepared answers handy and began distancing myself not just from his unreasonable demands but a lot of work drama in general.

J continued a steep personal and professional decline until performance and behavioral issues started popping up and he was told he’d be put on a PIP if things didn’t improve.

Some rehab and apparently a lot of yoga later and J does seem to be doing better (good for him!) and working with him has slid into a place of neutrality.

I’m on the job hunt, because J’s behavior, and my manager’s lack of managing it, was really just one component of a broader job that isn’t working for me anymore.

So I wish him the best with his yoga, and hopefully I won’t be around to see if keeps it up or not.

4. Is my mentor ignoring my emails? (#4 at the link)

Rereading your post of my letter re: the mentor, I was embarrassed but realize I have come pretty far since then.

In retrospect, I had low self esteem back then and this contributed to clueless about boundaries when staying in touch with colleagues. I was also young, under 18, and have a type of autism that means I need to learn every social aspect. I kept in touch after moving to a new company and didn’t understand why his emails dried up eventually.

I was in a local government apprenticeship with the mentor, moved to a charity and am now working at charity number two doing adjacent work to the first charity. Think like moving from chocolate teapots to chocolate biscuits.

I had a new mentor at charity number one, and quickly realised that I was following the same socially clueless path after leaving my last job there (I was there for 5 years in all). Since that point in 2017, I have gone on a journey of professional maturity, better self esteem and better mental health coping strategies.

Admittedly it would be a nice surprise to hear from either mentor but I’m not holding my breath. I’m now focussing on loving myself and holding myself accountable, while enjoying my current colleagues in a more professional and healthy way.

I have also moved offices at charity number two, due to the nature of my job it means I have the same job but I have more of the tasks I like and less of the ones I don’t.

Your letter was a wake-up call back then and I appreciate it.

{ 101 comments… read them below }

  1. EPLawywer*

    LW1 — you are MUCH better off out of that place. If they actually think someone is “funny” who signs up a coworker for a racist organization, they are just as bad as he is. Sadly karma does not seem to have taken any of them down.

    1. Office Sweater Lady*

      I would have liked to see a better outcome for OP #1, though I am glad they were able to rebound eventually after their abrupt contract non-renewal. I think the outcome shows how an instinct to “not rock the boat” can be for very real reasons. In this case, the OP faced large professional consequences for speaking up and asserting the boundary. Unfortunately, it seems like some situations are lose-lose.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I think you have to be very, very careful when it comes to calling someone out. Clearly Moe is the golden boy at the office and can do no wrong there, which is incredibly crappy.

        1. Blackcat*

          And even when you’re very careful, it can blow up.
          In one position a polite “I recently learned that many Native Americans consider the term ‘spirit animal’ offensive. Can we edit this section of this welcome document?” permanently damaged my relationship with leadership. These were people I thought were thoughtful and liberal and it totally blew up in my face. I was removed from certain projects, and generally treated coldly.

          Then a few months later (in mid 2020), they had the gall to ask me to run anti-racism education. When I said I couldn’t (I had no childcare and was badly struggling to keep up with my regular duties. Plus, if I had genuinely run things to be meaningful, I would have gotten in trouble for making people feel bad, I’m sure), I was told was “not a team player.”

          Given this is the stuff I’ve dealt with as a white woman dealing with this, I can’t imagine how bad things are for non-white folks who try to call things out.

          Getting out of that workplace felt SO good.

    2. Bunny Punch*

      I don’t believe they thought it was funny.
      I think they hoped it would be taken as a gift or be fobbed off as a “joke”.

      I think OP is more glad then they know to be as far away as they are.
      I think his co-irker found his place like water finds its own level.

    3. SweetestCin*

      Frequently have to remind myself that Karma has its own schedule and its not posted nor is there any rhyme nor reason to it.

    4. MigraineMonth*

      Flames. Flames on the side of my face reading this absolute BS. OP1, you are clearly better off without that awful organization, and I’m so sorry you had to find out the hard way.

      Give me a minute, I need to go smash some glass statues.

    5. BenAdminGeek*

      It’s wild that the racist org was actually more professional than the guy “just making jokes.” Amazing.

  2. Loaf*

    Moe didn’t sign up as a joke. His response and his success after this incident show that these are his sincerely held beliefs. Sorry you had to deal with this.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      That’s my sense of the situation too.

      LW didn’t get a new contract because the boss realized LW wasn’t ‘one of their own’ ie a fellow racism.

      LW sorry you struggled for a bit, but at the end of the day this was a “good riddance to bad rubbish” situation and it’s great you’re away from that hive of racist bigots and their enablers/ supporters .

    2. Minerva*

      Agreed. And I would worry that mgmt uses this “joke” as a wink wink nudge nudge that other folks in the government (yikes on bikes) institution hold these other beliefs rather sincerely.

  3. Bunny Punch*

    I don’t believe they thought it was funny.
    I think they hoped it would be taken as a gift or be fobbed off as a “joke”.

    I think OP is more glad then they know to be as far away as they are.
    I think his co-irker found his place like water finds its own level.

    1. Johanna Cabal*

      I think it’s a combination of that and finding Moe charming. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of dealing with individuals who get away with a lot of bad behavior because they’re able to come across as uber-friendly and personable.

      1. LW1*

        Yeah, finding him charming is a huge part of it – you’ll see in my original letter, I was initially very charmed by him and cut him a ton of slack. He’s not the stereotypical Brad-Pitt-in-Moneyball frat-boy kind of charming, but more of a sweet-puppy-you-want-to-give-a-thousand-chances-to-even-though-he-keeps-peeing-on-your-rug guy. I saw this guy pull countless “jokes” and “pranks” during my time working with him and afterwards, and it took me years to start thinking, “Dude, you’re a jerk,” instead of, “Oh, honey, you’ll be such a wonderful person once you learn some professional norms!”

  4. Mim*

    LW1 – Whether or not you are “overly sensitive” about other things, the fact that someone did that to you, and that your employer didn’t back you up, is appalling. Racism, even when part of an attempted “joke”, is never funny, and saying something about it is always the right thing to do.

    If your sensitivity were really a concern for your job performance, a halfway decent manager would have addressed it sooner and would have specific examples and action items. It was clearly used as an excuse/insult. YOU are no the overly sensitive person in this situation, at all.

    1. Artemesia*

      A background check will turn up membership in a racist organization; it could cost you a job without you even being aware of it. Not funny. Not a joke. Something that could damage your future. Sickening that someone like that is the golden boy.

      1. münchner kindl*

        That was my thought reading the original letter – Moe could just as well impersonate LW, sign her up for the racist organisation, cancel and delete his own membership, and then denounce LW for being a member of a racist group.

        Obviously this took a different turn, but it’s a way to sabotage somebody.

    2. PhD survivor*

      My jaw hit the floor at this update. LW1 doesn’t get their contract renewed and racist coworker becomes the public face of this organization. Maybe I’ve lived a charmed life but all the organizations I’ve worked for would have taken an incident like this very seriously. Glad you are in a better place now, LW1!

  5. DomaneSL5*

    I found whenever someone says the words “you are too sensitive” they usually are projecting. Furthermore, what they really mean is “I don’t like you” and are too sensitive (aka coward) to actually say it. So glad LW1 is in better place, so sorry you had to go through this.

    1. Other Alice*

      I’ve found that “you’re too sensitive” means “I don’t want you to challenge my bigoted views”. LW1, I’m glad you found a better place! And glad the organization took you off their member list with no fuss.

        1. cncx*

          When my former boss called me « too sensitive » this is exactly what he meant. He expected me just to take it and also treated me like I was too stupid to know what my job was, then act surprised that I found that offensive. He’s someone else’s problem now, but I feel bad for his next target.

        2. Random Dice*

          This. “You’re too sensitive” is how abusive people confess that they know what they’re doing to you.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Ugh!! My mother used to pull the “you’re too sensitive” on me all the time. I tried to explain I merely wanted the respect she showed others.
        I would say things like, “would you say that to your best friend?” Her answer was, “Of course not!! But you’re my daughter!! You’re just too sensitive!!”
        The only way I was able to break that was not speaking to her for six months. She still does this somewhat. Different words but same meaning. However, that was over 30 years ago; she’s 92 now and I’ve learned to let it roll off because I don’t know how many more years she’ll be with us.

        1. GreyjoyGardens*

          Unfortunately, a lot of people – and especially those who are in your mom’s age bracket, because that is how they were brought up – think that younger family members are people you DON’T have to be nice or have manners around. You’re polite to the mail carrier, your coworkers, your neighbors, and *older* family members, but why be nice to your kids? They *have* to love you anyway!

          1. Daisy*

            My ex told me once you don’t have to be polite to your family because they have to put up with you. He was surprised when I informed him I filed for divorce.

            1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

              It says so much about a person that being nice to others is only something they do when it gets them something. Like being nice to people they love is such a burden. Glad you escaped!

            2. metadata minion*

              Uuuugh. I agree that you don’t have to be *polite* to family, in the sense that you can cheerfully fart around them and steal sugar snap peas off their plate at dinner. You do, however, have to be kind and respectful and generally a decent human being.

          2. Well...*

            Yea… The sad thing is that they are delusional. Nobody has to put up with anybody (barring extreme cases like kidnapping, etc). People can and will violate social norms to get away from horrid behavior.

          3. Thunder Hammer*

            I grew up with this implicit value, my parents mean very well but were brought up in very dysfunctional and abusive homes. If called on it, they would deny every believing in that value, however, their actions unfortunately taught me otherwise. I’m now in my 30’s unlearning this behavior which I have already unfortunately passed on to my own children. :(

        2. Alternative Person*

          Yeah, I was called over-sensitive as a kid by teachers and parents. I just wanted other kids to stop calling me names and follow the rules we were supposed to follow (though I wasn’t able to articulate the second part until much later). I’m mostly passed the frustration with that (though it does burn me up occasionally) and it definitely informs how I interact with people.

          1. My Cabbages!*

            I actually *am* over-sensitive, which comes from a childhood of needing to pick up on veiled insults lest I be harmed. But when I am upset over something innocuous, my husband’s response is to comfort me rather than berate me for over-sensitivity, because he loves me and isn’t a dick.

      2. Well...*

        Yup, but let me add a twist: “I’m too sensitive to handle my bigoted views being pointed out.” OP is right on the money.

        1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          This is the projection issue for people who call out others for being too sensitive. If they were really so “tough” or chill, then other people’s reactions wouldn’t bother them.

    2. bratschegirl*

      “How dare you make me feel uncomfortable for doing this thing which I know darn well is inappropriate?”

    3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      too sensitive = how dare you call me/my friend out on bullying and offensive behavior! (stamps foot)!

  6. Dawn*

    Great work, gang! Looks like the real racist organization was actually your employer all along!

  7. Decent human being*

    It sounds like Moe is terrible and the organization is even worse, maybe far worse. Just, WTF!

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      The actual racist organisation the LW was signed up to, turned out to be helpful and polite, so I presume you mean the organisation she was working for?

  8. Lady_Lessa*

    I don’t always to humor well, but Moe’s deeds are so beyond the pale I can’t imagine it. I don’t see the humor in signing some up for an organization that goes opposite their beliefs. And that goes no matter which side I am on.

    I did stop our new chemist from a joke on our QC tech, who was on vacation last week. The joke was to pile up cans to make it appear that no one did his work (which we both did. I used the time as a great time to train the new guy.) Since it was the same day as the update “Boss called pretending to be CPS”, I was very aware of how jokes/pranks could go wrong.

    Now, should it arise again, I have a better idea. Because we have to leave the completed forms for the tech to enter into the computer, lets put them on top of a very high stack of paper. Personally, I doubt if it will.

    1. Vio*

      I’ve actually been on the receiving end of the big stack of paper prank! My last day volunteering at a charity before starting a paid job I arrived to find a large stack of paper by my computer and a post-it asking me to please enter all of these into the database ASAP. There were only a few sheets of real work, the other pages were all either blank or goodbye notes from the staff and service users/families. It was both funny and touching.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        That’s the kind of prank that’s actually harmless and fun. Nobody was harmed, and you immediately saw that it WAS a prank, and, most importantly, a good-natured one. That’s sweet that you had all those nice goodbye notes.

        *Mean* pranks are to be avoided no matter what; you’d think that grownups would know this but alas, if this blog is any indication, they do not.

        1. Vio*

          Definitely. And it’s not hard to use a bit of empathy to figure out if a prank is mean or fun. Yet so many supposedly rational adults seem incapable of making the distinction.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        Okay, putting the goodbye notes and things in the pile makes that super sweet. Thanks for sharing that story!

    2. Marshmallow*

      Harmless (well so far in my experience anyway) pranks:
      -get a bunch of plastic dinosaurs or tiny rubber duckies or something similar and hide them all over the office (be careful if you work somewhere where like food safety is a thing – this is an office only prank).
      -cover someone’s cubicle with pics of cats or dogs or dinosaurs or pokemons or whatever is cute and suitable for work while they’re out on vacation.
      -traffic cones – oh there’s so many options… just don’t block fire exits or make a trip hazard.
      -put googly eyes on things.
      -hide someone’s stapler… as long as they won’t burn the place to the ground (there’s a movie reference in this one).

      Anyway… there’s lots of ways to do pranks in a fun and harmless way. Racist pranks aren’t pranks, they’re just wrong. Sounds like LW1 is better off not at that terrible place.

  9. Observer**

    #1 –
    I don’t know how I ended up getting more courteous treatment from the racist organization than from my old employer, but here we are!

    If someone is into black humor, this is an hysterically funny comment. But it’s BLACK (or gallows type) humor. Because the fact this happened is sickening. Not that the racists were polite, but that your old employer – a government agency, no less! – found this behavior to be just fine and dandy!

    1. LW1*

      I agonized over whether to include that line – whether people would see the dark humour or think I was being offensive myself (or I guess both). Glad you appreciated what I was going for!

      1. AnotherLibrarian*

        At a previous job where we archived extremist political materials (both radical right and radical left), part of my job was to contact these organizations and ask for copies of their mailings/newsletters/etc for permanent retention. I found that the groups I worked with were never anything, but extremely gracious and polite. And similar jokes to yours, LW#1, were common place.

        1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

          Yeah, I honestly can see this happening a lot. Some may think it is funny, some may do it to be mean or bully someone, and some may do it to test the waters (well, either he will agree with me on this awful group, or I can always just say it was a joke)! People are just plain weird!

      2. My Cabbages!*

        This was my first reaction… it’s horrifying that the racist group has a better handle on professional behavior than a government office.

        Horrifying, but sadly after the last several years, not surprising.

      3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        No, it landed well. But it does not surprise me, as I commented below. They often go over the top polite in these situations to sort of … mask over how disgusting their message is. Plus, they really do not want anyone with different opinions in their organization (or different skin color for that matter!).

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Surprisingly, the French National Front (now renamed something that sounds more banal in an attempt to pretend to be nice guys) has many POC members…

      4. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        thank you for including it, it was the only instance of anyone behaving properly in the entire debacle!

      5. marvin*

        I got the irony, but it is a good reminder that even overtly hateful people can be very good at putting on a palatable public face. If they weren’t, they would be a lot less successful.

      1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        As someone who works for a government agency, that was the first thing I honed in on! Yikes!

    2. Thunder Hammer*

      The ironic thing about these type of rightwing orgs it that they know being a member can cost someone their job. They get enough (in their mind) flack as it is, and the last thing they want are PR snafu’s that are avoidable.

  10. Home*

    I want to know what government organization it is in Letter 1 because I *love* when my tax dollars support outright d-bags (/s)

    1. Mim*

      Hah, yeah. Of course, my thought process went: 1. I want to know / it should be made public, 2. OP probably doesn’t want to risk outing themself to former employer and/or bringing up old shit in public, 3. If former employer is full of people being publicly icky on a social media platform, they will out themselves, 4. It probably doesn’t even matter because there is so much shitty stuff being done by people flagrantly in public these days that knowing who this is would just be a drop in the bucket and would likely not result in any real reform or consequences.

      Starting off 2023 in an optimistic mood, obviously. ;-)

      1. Zarniwoop*

        I wonder if Moe is still a member of that organization, and if that information is freely available. Might be embarrassing to a government organization we’re it to be publicized.

    2. Pistachio*

      Having worked for many land management agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and the National Park Service, I could see it being any of these. But honestly, possibly the most likely? If OP is in the US, Immigration and Enforcement is…pretty racist.

  11. GreyjoyGardens*

    I feel bad for LW1. Not only did Moe vault up the ranks at Old Job, but it sounds like the LW had great difficulty in finding a new job! I hope this was just bad economy/COVID stuff and not old company badmouthing them. I also hope they were able to get unemployment and/or temp work and not suffer too much financially.

    It shows that the organization was just a terrible place to work, if Moe was able to rise so quickly and be so praised. He might be a kiss up, kick down person, or if LW was the “odd one out” in some way, Old Job could just have thought LW was expendable.

    Glad LW found a better job at last, and I wish I could know the name of the government organization so…I don’t know! Tell people not to work there? Vote the bums out?

    1. LifeBeforeCorona*

      Or a scathing Glassdoor review: “If you have certain racist beliefs then this organization will welcome you with open arms.”

    2. Artemesia*

      The Germans (of course) have a great word for this kind of guy. A bicyclist personality — above he bows, below he kicks.

  12. Sarah*

    I cannot believe what happened to number 1. Honestly, you are way better off and you dodged more than a few bullets!

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      I am still baffled by the boss’s response. I am liberal, but if an employee told me another coworker had signed them up for a liberal political cause that they did not support, I would find that offensive even if I agreed with the cause.

      For example, a former coworker of mine was pro-life. I am solidly pro-choice. I do not resent her choice, especially as her reasons and reasoning was not as harsh or unconcerned with the well-being of women as many other pro-life arguments I have heard. Nor does she push it on others; she simply does not feel that she can condone it. If someone who knew her position (she did not share it openly, mind, but we were good friends) signed her up for a major pro-choice organization, I would be very offended on her behalf. And honestly, even if I know your position, I should not be signing you up for anything without your express consent!

      As for the joke, there was nothing funny in it! I don’t care which side of the aisle you are on; that’s just messed up. Yes, it is worse in OP’s case because it is an openly racist organization that could really damage his career prospects. But it is wrong even without that element!

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I completely agree.
        I mean, a friend once added me to a FB group and I found my newsfeed flooded with posts from said group. The focus was a cause that is dear to me, only it was about the situation in the country the friend was living in at the time (somewhere in the Middle East), and not something I could actually do anything about. I was not happy.

  13. Rainbow*

    How is that a joke or a prank? I have to do background checks in my field when I start a new job – presumably if OP was in Government job they had to too [I guess if they are in USA there might be more tolerance of this stuff but still]? I would be absolutely furious as that would definitely come up and be, at best, embarrassing to explain away.

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      In the USA, it could still cost you a job, and if it was discovered during the interview phase and prior to the background check phase, it could cost you an interview or any advance to the next step in the process. And while there may be more tolerance for some controversial opinions for some companies, most prefer employees to stay middle of the road and not go too far to either edge so as not to potentially alienate clients and the public. They aim to be non-controversial.

      For government jobs though, it can often have to do with which party is in power, and it can also (on the flip side) be a case of trying to keep it from looking like you would discriminate against candidates based on political views, which can be controversial. Also, smaller businesses in more conservative communities may be ok with those connections, and smaller businesses in more liberal communities may expect more liberal connections. But overall, most employers want you to come across as neutral as possible, and connection to an outwardly racist organization will not be something they want to take on.

  14. Goober*

    I’ve lived in areas where he would have been made the public face of the company *because* he, and management, and the community, thought it was funny.

    There are some very different places in the world.

  15. NotBatman*

    LW3 – I have dealt with a J before, and all my sympathy for how exhausting it can be. I always try to assume that other people are telling the truth, but after my own J’s fifth “family emergency” and third “medical crisis” in less than two years, I started responding with Grey Rock non-engagement and following the letter of the law rather than granting informal favors. J’s problems are J’s problems, and as neither their therapist nor their parent it’s not on you to solve them.

  16. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    LW1, I have no words. “Moe” sucks, your old boss sucks, and the organization sucks.

  17. prismo*

    As a journalist, I feel like “director-level employee of medium-profile government institution is member of racist organization” is something at least the local press would be interested in, if LW were so inclined to send in a tip or two.

  18. Tesuji*

    LW #1:

    This feels like a painful lesson about how being right in often the least important thing in a workplace conflict, as compared to where you stand in the complicated web of power and relationships.

    The original letter was in 2018. I’m kind of curious as to whether Allison would give different advice today. To me, the advice of “Everyone would understand that you’re offended by someone thinking you’re part of an alt-right organization; you should take a stand here and not worry about any consequences” seems painfully naive now.

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      I don’t know, it sounded from the letter as though this was a very clearly racist organization, and I think it was reasonable as a reaction for anyone signing you up for any organization without your permission, especially a political one. I think Alison’s advice was reasonable based on the information we had at the time.

      Also, I have worked with people with very different political views than myself, but if I’d told one of my bosses who supported a very conservative politician that I was annoyed that a coworker had signed me up without my permission for a very conservative political group, they would have agreed that was inappropriate, because they would have been thinking, “oh great, so is “coworker” gonna sign me up for some ultra-liberal group as a joke!?” But I guess my previous conservative bosses were more reasonable people overall and would understand that no one wants to be signed up as supporting a position they do not in fact support.

    2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I don’t know, the fact is that we are all shocked, flabbergasted and gobsmacked by this update.
      The only thing is that Alison didn’t take into account the fact that the boss might be racist muck, and assumed they would be shocked.

  19. Zweisatz*

    #1 I won’t call it a prank, but I will call it boundary-testing. Either to see how far he can go before somebody stands up for themselves or in how far they align with his political believes or can be pressured to align with his political believes. Neither is good, neither is fun, but apparently every atrocious behavior can be papered over by whining that it was a joke.

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      That was my thought too! That Moe and probably former boss actually share the political beliefs of the organization but also know it is … controversial (i.e. reprehensible). So Moe at least made it a joke to test the waters. He probably had already worked out that the boss was supportive of the organization somehow too. As a real joke, it makes no sense and isn’t funny (and that’s without even considering how outrageous it is … there is just no actual humor to be found in it).

  20. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    OP1 – I am actually not surprised the racist organization was more polite and helpful. Their views are atrocious, but often they act extremely polite in this way to avoid giving people more fodder to use against them, and they do actually not want people in their organization who do not agree with them (or are in any way different than them, clearly … this is a racist echo chamber after all).

    That said, I am guessing Moe and your boss actually have more sympathy with the organization than they let on. They are probably aware a lot of people would find it reprehensible, so they pass it off as humor to test the waters, so to speak. I am sorry you had a tough time finding another job at first, but ultimately they did you a favor by showing you just what kind of people you were working for and with. I am glad you found a position you love. But I am disturbed Moe is allowed anywhere near a position of authority in a government office. Then again, look who we had as our previous president …

  21. Random Dice*

    LW2 – I’m so glad you’re out of that toxic company. When the heads of a organization are cruel and insulting, it poisons everything and hurts people.

  22. Random Dice*

    LW4 – you don’t need to be embarrassed about your question. We don’t know how often to keep in touch with a mentor, until we know – that wasn’t an autism thing, neurotypical folks would totally have to learn that too. You were totally fine.

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