future manager is a bigoted jerk, boss hasn’t paid me back, and more

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

1. Is my future manager a bigoted jerk?

I currently work in a team of about 20 people. We have a director who oversees three managers, each of whom oversees a group of employees.

My old manager, Buffy, resigned a few months ago, so while we looked to backfill her position, Buffy’s team was temporarily split between the other two managers, Willow and Anya. I’ve been reporting to Willow since Buffy left and things have been going well.

Our director Giles announced in an email earlier this week that they’d finally found Buffy’s replacement. The new hire, Xander, will be starting in a few weeks and Giles’ email stated that everyone who’d reported to Buffy before her departure would report to Xander.

Out of curiosity, I googled Xander, and instantly found his Twitter account. And I’m not happy with what I saw. He rarely tweets on his own but consistently retweets men’s rights activists, anti-BLM accounts, and other accounts that run the gamut of oppression and marginalization (and I’m 100% sure that it’s the same Xander because his last name and profile pic are the same as his LinkedIn).

I don’t want to work under this person. Would it be overstepping to ask for a meeting with Giles to request that I stick with Willow as a manager? I have a good relationship and some strong social capital with Giles and am willing to be 100% honest about my reservations. Also, is it appropriate to go to HR over this? In addition to the fact that I’m a woman who doesn’t want to work for a misogynist, any of our clients could google Xander and see what I saw, and I believe it would reflect poorly on our company as a whole.

Especially since you have a good relationship with Giles and strong capital to spend, it would not be overstepping to share your concerns with him and and ask to stick with Willow as your manager. Even if you didn’t have such good capital, it would be okay to do that — your concerns aren’t akin to “Xander seems annoying”; they’re “I’m wary of working for someone with these deeply concerning views on women and people of color.”

And yes to HR as well. Frame it as “I’m concerned about his open embrace of viewpoints that harm women and people of color, and what that means for the biases he’ll bring as a manager, as well as about clients googling him and finding this.” If you have coworkers who share your concerns, encourage them to speak up too.

Read an update to this letter

2. Boss hasn’t paid for his share of our group collection

My small team works from home, but we all stay in contact with each other via Teams messages/calls and weekly meetings. A team member, Julie, went out for surgery, so we decided to all chip in to send her flowers. Our boss, Tristan, was out of office during this group email discussion, so I texted him to keep him in the loop and not assume he wanted to contribute. He said he did and asked for my Venmo, which I provided.

All members on my team have paid me through Venmo at this point, with the exception of Tristan. In both email and our recent team meeting, I said, “Julie will be getting her arrangement today! Thanks again for contributing. If you still need to, my Venmo is @(myname).” Tristan even thanked me and another person on the team for arranging it in our meeting.

At this point, I don’t feel like I will be getting anything from him. Part of me feels like I should just eat his portion to save face and embarrassment (just the thought of having to ask him directly mortifies me). The other part wants to get paid! It isn’t a tremendous amount by any means, so chasing him feels a bit silly. I also don’t want to learn that he may have sent it to the wrong person (and yes, I’ve quadruple checked my texts/emails to ensure my info is correct, since that also crossed my mind). The coworkers I trusted to speak about this with are split decision. Do I let it slide, or find a way to bring it up again? And if the latter, how do I make the asking as “unweird” as possible? He’s an awkward person to speak to by nature anyway, which doesn’t make just going to him jokingly about it an option. I’m still holding on to hope and waiting, but have little confidence on receiving anything.

You absolutely need to raise it with him. Imagine if you were in his shoes, thought you’d paid, and had no idea that you were causing this kind of consternation in a team member who felt they couldn’t raise it with you and instead was just preparing to eat the cost of your share. You’d presumably be mortified by that, right? Give him the benefit of the doubt that he’d feel the same way and assume the most likely scenario is not that he’s trying to rip you off but that signals just got crossed somewhere.

Message him this: “I’m trying to close out the accounting for Julie’s flowers and I don’t have your portion yet. Could you Venmo it to me today so I can close this out?” Just be matter-of-fact and assume good intent on his part.

Read an update to this letter

3. Should I have told my manager I’ll be out for surgery, even when I didn’t know the dates?

I have had a minor health problem for a while. I first got a referral for surgery to fix it as I was starting at my current company and I declined as my provider couldn’t offer a definite answer on how much sick leave I would need.

The problem got progressively worse and just before Christmas I asked to be scheduled for the operation. They asked me if I would accept a short-notice cancellation time and I accepted. On a Thursday, I was offered an opening to have the operation on the following Tuesday. I then called my supervisor to let them know and to make arrangements for me to be absent Tuesday – Friday and work from home for the week after.

My supervisor’s comment is bothering me. She said she didn’t know I was waiting to have this operation. My partner also thinks I should have let them know about it earlier. I did not because it is private health-related issue. What is your take? (Also, it is a very slow time at work. My absence will not burden my coworkers.)

Ideally you would have alerted them to the general situation earlier (“at some point in the next few months I’m going to need X amount of time off for surgery, but I might not know the dates until a few days before”) but it’s not necessarily a big deal that you didn’t.

In a lot of jobs, that kind of notice would help people plan and so it would be courteous to offer … although in other jobs, it wouldn’t be terribly actionable without knowing the specific dates.

But you felt like this was your private medical info and you didn’t dates nailed down yet, so it’s not outrageous that you chose to wait until you had something concrete to share.

Was your manager registering an objection to not knowing about it, or just observing that she didn’t? Her comment about not realizing you were waiting on for surgery doesn’t necessarily carry any implied criticism. But if she clearly was criticizing you … well, lots of medical situations require someone to be out for four days (which is not an enormously long time) without any notice at all. She’s going to have to get used to that as a manager. But if her point was that she could have done helpful planning if she’d known this was coming, even without knowing exactly when, that’s a fair point and you can incorporate that into your thinking going forward.

4. My boss won’t let us ever finish a project

I’m starting to feel I’m just inflexible, and maybe that is your assessment as well.

To cut a long list of stories short: My CEO involves himself in every area of the company — HR, recruiting, art, engineering, and project management — and won’t let tasks be completed. Each time a task is finished, he brings forth improvement ideas he picked up online or from partner companies. We spend months writing and finishing job descriptions, he wants them redone. Company meetings finally have a format, he “has a few good ideas” and they get reworked almost monthly now. I feel like nothing I do matters, and like my position and experience do not matter.

When I brought this problem up and told him I want to have the win of a task being done and finished, he replied, “But you do finish! And then we innovate and make it better!” He sees no problem at all with continuous reworking … but I want to move on and do the next thing, not work on something and then spend months “improving” each time I finish. Is it really me?

It’s not you. This way of working would drive most people mad — it’s very reasonable to want the satisfaction of finishing a project and not feeling it will go on forever and ever, and it’s very reasonable that his style makes you feel like your time and energy aren’t being used well.

But this is the way he operates and he’s the CEO, so you’ve got to assume this is how things are going to remain and decide whether you’re willing to work there knowing it’s unlikely to change.

5. How can I screen for candidates who are willing to push back on me?

I’m conducting interviews for a new position, and one thing I want is someone who’s willing to push back on me when they think I’m wrong (within reason, of course). However, I’m not sure how to determine this in a job interview. Obviously, very few applicants are going to want to argue with their interviewer, and if I just ask them then everyone’s going to say yes, so that question tells me nothing. Do you have any ideas?

Start with this: “Can you tell me about a time when you had to push back on a coworker or manager when you thought they were mistaken about a decision? What happened and how did you approach it?” And then ask follow-up questions about their answer to try to probe beneath the surface and get a better sense for how the person really operates. The right follow-up questions to ask will depend on what their initial answer is, but you could consider things like: “I would think X would have been challenging — how did you approach that?” … “What happened after that?” … “What things have you found are key to making sure you’re heard in a situation like that?” It might also be interesting to ask about a time when they thought something was a mistake but didn’t push back, and why and what their considerations were.

And at either the start or end of this discussion, you should explain that you’re seeking someone who’s comfortable pushing back on you when they think you’re wrong, so it’s clear why you’re digging into it.

{ 350 comments… read them below }

  1. The Rat-Catcher*

    OP #3 – any chance your supervisor was upset that you waited to schedule a procedure because you weren’t sure about sick time? As a supervisor, I would hate to hear that my staff were waiting to schedule medical procedures for any job-related reasons.

    1. linger*

      It sounds very much like OP3 delayed dealing with their health problem out of fear that Supervisor would push back; and Supervisor’s actual response does little to negate that fear. To be fair, Supervisor should have been looped in earlier that some medical procedure would be necessary in the near future (and note, OP3 did not need to be any more specific at that point). Now, Supervisor’s comment is an opportunity for OP3 to clarify with Supervisor that, going forward, that kind of advance notice (i) is all that would be needed, and (ii) would be respected. And OP3 is in a good position to suggest that some general information outlining the procedure expected if medical treatment may be necessary would also be helpful for OP3’s colleagues (if there is not already something explicitly noted to that effect in e.g. an employee code of conduct).

      [Apologies in advance if this ends up duplicated; having some network issues.]

      1. Tinkerbell*

        For some types of supervisors, though, “heads-up that I’ll be having a medical procedure sometime soon that will require a few days off” is just asking to be harassed into providing all the juicy details. I don’t know if that’s the case for OP3, but I could absolutely understand wanting to minimize the length of time that happens :-\

      2. Johannes Bols*

        Just to add to the bravado, on the other side of this. Feb. 2010 I had Stage IV Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. Before I was diagnosed I had to schedule an endoscopy. I told my supervisor about it. She knew why I was getting the endo. She told me it conflicted with her appointment with the painters for her house the same day. I replied it was an emergent condition (I didn’t know it, but I was dying. I waited a little too long to see a doctor about it. Total denial). She allowed me to take the time off. And, I worked in a hospital. Oh! The irony…

        1. Michelle Smith*

          I’m glad you’re not dying anymore. Kind of infuriating though that you had to push to get the time off.

    2. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      The supervisor’s opinion shouldn’t matter, just as much the status of the medical issue as pre-planned vs emergency should also not factor in. Once that slot became available, the priority should be on the employee’s well-being, just the same as if it had been emergency surgery. A competent manager already has the cross training and processes in place for emergencies anyway. I’m in Germany and would NEVER consider letting my boss know about the fact that I’m also waiting for a slot for a procedure that will take one week in recovery because here it’s considered private health info and could potentially prevent me from getting certain opportunities just because I might not be available at a certain point. It’s not like planning a holiday.

      1. amoeba*

        Yup, fellow German here and I’m really quite surprised at the advice to let the boss know in advance. Would never even consider that, even though I have a good relationship with my boss and I don’t think it would be a problem – but I think his reaction would just be “ok cool, why are you telling me?”, anyway!

        If it was for a longer (several weeks/months) absence, that might change. But a few days?

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I let my manager know before my surgery was scheduled, but that was because it would take 6+ weeks for recovery (and because I was afraid my work was not up to my usual standards in the lead-up). I didn’t tell any of my coworkers or project managers until I had an actual date.

          Four days sounds like a mild cold, to me.

      2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Y’all got processes? We ( I’m an American) mostly assume the best case and then get angry when it doesn’t occur

        1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

          Ahhahahaha I’ve got two forms of insurance on my tiny shelter dog, in Germany, we have peocesses for our processes, insurance for our insurance, and lawyers for our privacy. (And socks for our sandals!)

          1. Lanlan*

            Am half-German, am also person most comfortable with red tape and intricate processes in entire workplace outside of HR/Ops.

    3. Office curmudgeon*

      Yes, I would have been horrified to hear that a new employee hadn’t scheduled surgery when they needed it because of sick leave concerns. Then again, I also think I would have made that clear by following up a comment like LW3’s boss made by saying that I think employees should put their health first and I’m willing to help them navigate any work barriers in their way. Sounds like that didn’t happen, but it still seems like LW could be misreading the boss’s reaction. The combination of not clarifying the expected recovery time with their provider (that’s reasonable to expect, even if it’s kind of vague, like, “no driving for 24 hours, most people can return to work in 2-3 days, but no heavy lifting for 2 weeks”), not communicating with their employer when they first found out they needed surgery (even if you don’t technically have enough leave accrued, many employers are flexible about things like needing surgery unexpectedly), and not telling their boss about the surgery until the last minute makes me think they may expect negative outcomes from their interactions with authority figures, which may have colored their interpretation of the boss’s comment.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Slightly off-topic, but my surgeon told me not to lift more than “10-15 pounds” for a month after surgery, and I was never sure if that meant I was or wasn’t supposed to lift 14lbs. Which wasn’t just hypothetical; my cat is a bit of a chonker.

    4. WhyAreThereSoManyBadManagers*

      I used to work for a place where you’d lose almost all your PTO at the end of the calendar year (use it or lose it system) and so everyone started over with barely any PTO time in January, a few days at most. It’s a really bad system for many reasons, like if you did need either surprise or scheduled surgery & need to be out for more than a few days, but also it’s right in the middle of flu and cold season, kids getting sick every few days it seems at this time of the year, and of course Covid is still a thing & then a norovirus outbreak rears it’s ugly head…but no one has any time off to take, so it forces people to either work when sick or take unpaid time off which is not a choice for most. It also means many people have to save up their PTO time to take any real time off (a few weeks at a time) and so then you have tons of people out all at once at the end of the year, so December is a ghost town. Not sure why many managers still think this is a good PTO system.

      1. londonedit*

        The idea of accruing sick leave is mad to me. Here it’s completely separate from annual leave (and isn’t seen as a benefit to be used – it’s for when you’re ill) and you don’t need to accrue a certain number of hours/days before you can go off sick. It seems mad to expect people to wait months before they’re ‘allowed’ to be ill.

        1. doreen*

          I’ve always worked at jobs with generous leave – but I want to point out that even in jobs where you do have to accrue hours either in a single bucket of PTO or a separate bucket of sick leave, it’s generally not a matter of being “allowed” to be ill. It’s a matter of whether you are paid or not – even in my job with very generous sick leave, if I used it all up and then got sick after I returned to work, I wouldn’t have been paid. As far as I have ever been able to tell, even non-US countries either have some sort of limitation on paid sick leave ( a maximum number of days within a certain time period, or it doesn’t kick in until someone is out a certain number of days) so that it’s more comparable to what is normally called “disability insurance” in the US, or it’s not directly paid by the employer or both. For example, in my state, most employers must provide disability coverage for off the job injuries or illness – but you don’t get full pay , it’s a maximum of 26 weeks paid in a 52 week period and it doesn’t pay for the first 8 days. That actually sounds similar to a lot of what I’ve seen about other countries ( UK in particular although the waiting period is shorter.) but even so, you won’t be paid if you are sick for three days the week after you start- and I’m not sure that any country requires the employer to pay in that case( although there might be some insurance-like program that does)

      2. WillowSunstar*

        Yeah, we have a similar system but in a different month. That being said, if you have been here a long time, you can roll over some days, but it’s limited. Something that would put me out for a week, I would be honest with my manager/team about the time frame, but not necessarily providing tons of well, medical details. This is why I barely used any PTO during the past 2 years, I was afraid I’d get a bad case of COVID and wind up in the hospital. Luckily, it didn’t happen, but you just never know.

      3. fhqwhgads*

        Wow. I’ve not encountered use it or lose it sick leave accompanied by accrue throughout the year. That’s a terrible policy. I’ve always had use-or-lose sick leave, but the whole bucket is available Jan 1.

    5. AnonyAnony*

      I did not because it is private health-related issue

      I’m getting a sense that OP3’s framing of the issue got in the way of her communicating effectively with the supervisor.
      It’s not a health-related issue. It’s a staffing and scheduling issue. Most likely Supervisor wasn’t interested to meddle in how to manage your health, but has a vested interest in scheduling, coverage (if applicable in OP’s case), and other management tasks related to a staff member needing to be out for a few days. Supervisor doesn’t need information about your health condition. They only need info about your anticipated schedule. Alison’s reply is on point.

    6. lb*

      Yeah I read that as the boss feeling a little guilty, and thinking she should have done more to support LW3, rather than a criticism.

  2. Delta Delta*

    #2 – Just be matter of fact and ask the manager to pay you. I can think of at least 3 times that I thought I completed a venmo transaction only to discover I didn’t actually hit “pay.” Maybe the same thing happened with the manager. Or maybe he forgot. But it’s better to ask directly than to dance around it – he probably didn’t mean not to chip in and maybe even thought he did already.

    1. I am Emily's failing memory*

      I’ve learned the hard way that even if you hit pay, if you switch to another app on your phone (like, to text the recipient that you just sent the money!) before the confirmation message displays, it may not go through! I can’t remember now how I figured it out, I want to say they next time I opened the app it either finished going through then, or was still on the screen with the send button waiting for me to reinitiate the send.

    2. aedixon*

      Yep. Just send the request for payment via Venmo directly. Then follow up in a chat “Just sent out a request for payment from Sally’s flowers from those who havent reimbursed me yet. Watch for the text! Would like to close this out today. Thanks! She lived them BTW!”

      1. Somehow_I_Manage*

        Exactly. I’d do both. Send the request, follow up with a text immediately. OP, don’t let a misunderstanding over $12 spoil your relationship!

    3. GammaGirl1908*

      Also, LW can outsource the nagging to Venmo! “I’m closing out the accounting for blah blah blah. Shall I send you a Venmo request so you have the amount handy?”

  3. Mister_L*

    #1 – Do you think the person hiring Xander simply forgot to check his social media, which seems to be pretty standart these days? Being too open your reservations could be problematic if whoever hired Xander holds the same views and simply is better at hiding them.

    Off topic, but considering who Xander was the self insert for, the name is kinda fitting.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Given what a pain twitter is to check if you don’t have an account I wouldn’t be too surprised if it slipped by (not counting the total meltdown that it’s going through right now).

    2. Quoth the Raven*

      The account could have been set to private while Xander was job searching or interviewing. That wouldn’t necessarily be a red flag for me because there are lots of valid reasons to have your social media accounts set to private.

      1. WillowSunstar*

        That is true, or he could have temporarily changed the username/email on it. Some social media sites do let you change those things — I personally don’t use any emails associated with my resume on mine. But I also am very careful what is posted anyway.

    3. PannaLisenka*

      It really depends on where you live. I am Poland-based, and nobody ever checks the socials, unless you are going to have your account hooked to the business managers or any sort of that utilities. And then you’d really have to be super blunt about it, I am talking “post a photoshopped picture of you and @dolf shaking hands” kinda stuff. If you live in a bigoted area, the things you can post and get away with are really atrocious.

    4. MsM*

      “Being too open your reservations could be problematic if whoever hired Xander holds the same views and simply is better at hiding them.”

      Personally, I think that’s all the more reason to figure out whether this is an oversight or a sign that leadership either does not care or endorses these views.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        Exactly. If LW meets with Giles and HR and their response is that they knew and don’t care, that’s very valuable information for LW to have.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          Yeah, I had that experience, not about a potential candidate, but about an issue with an error that if left uncorrected would have been an SEC violation (illegal, unethical, etc)

          Both the VP (my boss) and the CFO (my grand boss) went all “oh my, don’t worry your pretty little head about it” and “Oh, BTW, give us every single bit of documentation you have about this, including any copies, back up copies” at me and did nothing to address the issue. I resigned within a month because there was no way I wanted to work with people like that.

    5. Future silver banker*

      OP1, to expand the possible scenarios, what if Xander has an impersonator? It is not as wacky or far off a possibility as it sounds. I am a nobody and have had impersonators create instagram accounts with my name and pictures. It is difficult to keep track of this and I assume twitter would have the same issue of people being able to use your photo and name to create an account

      1. WillowSunstar*

        This is true and can happen — there are a lot of FB hackers who essentially clone accounts, including profile photos. I change my profile photos up every few months and never use my real face, at least except on Linked In where you pretty much are required to.

      2. Industry Behemoth*

        Yes. The New York Times did a couple of stories on this about five years ago. Google “Devumi”, which was a company that sold fake accounts foe people and businesses to puff up their online follower numbers.

        1. hey y'all*

          Perhaps Xander should be asked first if he is the owner of the account in question? It is NOT extremely unlikely, in my small circle, I know two people who have had their pictures and email addresses used to create false accounts, one on a dating site and one on TikTok. Unfortunately, these sites have marginal security at best, which is why I’m not on any of them. Tread lightly.

    6. Jackie*

      So I can’t tell from what the OP wrote, but it seems to me there’s a difference between retweeting anti-BLM or supporting “men’s rights” and say, being a white supremacist or neo-nazi. I’m no Republican (a female minority-race living in the US but not American) but I think this is within the realm of having a different political stance, not a sign of a sure-fire bigot. It’s possible to not agree with say, ‘defund the police’ or think men should have more rights in child custody without being a terrible person. Of course I don’t know what the tweets were, if they are truly racist or mysoginistic I would see it, but nowadays people are a bit fast to jump to ‘disagree with me = bad person’.

      1. Dahlia*

        I kinda don’t think “not supporting defund the police” and “not agreeing that Black lives matter” are… the same thing…

        1. I have RBF*


          I would have severe reservations about working for someone who retweeted “anti-BLM” posts, and I’m white. Also, there’s a difference between wanting men to have a fairer divorce/custody experience and “MRA” stuff.

      2. doreen*

        “Men’s right activist” doesn’t normally refer to someone who simply believes that men are disadvantaged in child custody cases (which is questionable at best) – it usually refers to someone who believes that men are not advantaged over women in general and who usually has somewhat extreme beliefs – such as that paternity testing should be compulsory for all children, or opposing the criminalization of marital rape or believing it’s unfair that women can (sometimes) legally choose an abortion but if she doesn’t, the father can’t opt out of paying support.

      3. doreen*

        “Men’s rights activist” doesn’t usually refer to someone who thinks men should have more rights in custody cases ( although that’s questionable). It usually refers to people who have somewhat more extreme positions – denying that men are generally privileged over women, advocating that all babies undergo compulsory paternity testing ( because so many women lie about paternity) , opposition to the criminalization of marital rape and so on.

        1. Critical Rolls*

          The OP saw the tweets. They know whether they’re vague enough for plausible deniability, which would be the best case here. And, by the way, being concerned about people’s beliefs if they publicly signal-boost for known racist and misogynist “movements” is not thought policing, it’s reacting to an action that was taken.

          1. moose_meese*

            Excellent point!

            Additionally, if we want to avoid being “thought police”, then we can’t police the OP’s right to have negative thoughts about Xander’s posts. Supporting other people’s rights to have thoughts we disagree with includes supporting their right to say that they aren’t ok with bigotry.

      4. elle *sparkle emoji**

        Not necessarily? Some of the most prominent “men’s rights” influencers espouse pretty extreme misogynistic views, and at least a few have branched out into homophobia, transphobia, or racism. Andrew Tate is the most famous personality in the men’s rights space currently and he was arrested on human trafficking charges. We can’t know for sure who Xander is retweeting but I’d like to assume the LW is a reasonable person and if they’re concerned maybe they have a reason to be.

      5. tamarack etc.*

        Anti-BLM and MRA means you’re associating with actual mass murderers and terrorist, not that you have a nuanced opinion about how child custody should be organized. FWIW.

        1. L'étrangère*

          +1 differences of opinions are things like dark or milk chocolate, not whether other human being should be considered as full persons. Nor whether their clinics should be bombed or they should be killed for specious pretexts

    7. Moonlight*

      Honestly though, don’t most people have private social media accounts? Not only is the content bigoted but the person is clearly a moron if they didn’t consider the impacts of said content being publicly available; the only information on social media I have that’s publicly available is cause I made a specific account for public viewing. If employers are finding a backdoor into a “friends only” Instagram profile, that’s bad and crosses a line on the employer front (like it seems like a reasonable expectation of privacy if you had settings to limit who could view your content even if, theoretically, everything on the internet is available if you really want to get to it).

      Maybe I’m wildly overstating peoples sense of privacy though. I do know people with publicly accessible accounts, but they’re often posting boring stuff that would be pretty hard to get offended about) but I feel like 75% of people have it private unless they’re like, promoting stuff for their work or whatever.

      My point is that I sort of feel like this dude is asking for it if he’s posting bigoted stuff and didn’t think it was accessible.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I keep my socials public but am also VERY aware that they’re public and as such don’t put anything that I wouldn’t say in a work conversation or conversation with a complete stranger up there.

        1. Moonlight*

          Exactly. I think that’s what I’m trying to get at: I also have a public account + blog so people can look me up online + private accounts but even while private I still never post anything that has wouldn’t want a child, my granny, and a couple possible boss seeing. So it’s not that having public accounts are bad (aside from reducing your privacy) but it’s just that it’s stupid to not consider what you’re posting, like it just shows a lack of judgment to be putting it all out there.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        Yeah, that lined up perfectly! They’ve recently been rerunning the series on some network and as I’ve been watching it, I remember being somewhat annoyed at that character back then … and can’t believe it didn’t register exactly how awful he was, consistently and in SO many different ways.

        Oh and LW absolutely should do what they can to avoid having to work with a probably bigoted supervisor. Or with a grand boss who has no problem with one.

        1. Random Dice*

          Nicholas Brandon, the actor for Xander, has tried to murder several of his girlfriends.

          He has multiple felonies for domestic violence, and also has a habit of assaulting police.

          I suspect that’s what the reference was to, more than the behavior of the character on the show.

  4. Joan*

    #4 I had an analyst like this above me for 15+ years and the last 6 or so before she retired I frankly didn’t spend as much time and effort on projects going to her because I knew she would just change it / “innovate” it. I figured why waste my “best” when it clearly wasn’t ever going to not have to be “redone.” I can’t imagine it being every project. My sympathies.

    1. Snow Globe*

      I’m reminded of the phrase “perfect is the enemy of good”. The issue for the LW is that by constantly going back and trying to make improvements, even if the result is slightly better there is only a small incremental benefit. What could the LW be accomplishing during that time if they were starting a new project? This would be so frustrating for me.

        1. bishbah*

          Love it. That reminds me of “The Cult of Done Manifesto.” (Google for the link.) It’s basically 13 versions of that sentiment.

        2. Butterfly Counter*

          When I was taking forever to finish my dissertation, my dad kept saying, “Good enough is good enough.” (I was not going for perfection for the dissertation, just advisor and committee approval, but the sentiment still stands.)

          1. Samwise*

            My dissertation director said: The most important thing about your dissertation is to be done with it.

            Then he said, get your defense scheduled, please. EEP! yeah, I finished it right quick.

      1. Beth*

        When I worked in professional theatre (with opening night as an absolute deadline), one of the essential slogans was “Done is beautiful. Finished fits.”

        We also lived by “High quality, low cost, fast results — pick two of three” and “Your bad planning is not my emergency”.

    2. Lacey*

      Yes. I work with a whole department of people like this and they don’t understand how much better work they would get if they didn’t insist on 15 rounds of changes!

      There’s no point in doing our best for them, so we just do what can be most easily modified when the revisions come in.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        One former boss, I would be sure to include a trivial typo for him to find, rather than having him root endlessly through the document mucking it up.

    3. redflagday701*

      Very seconding this. OP4, when possible, expend as little time and energy as you can to produce a first iteration that’s viable and not shoddy and nothing more. (And if your CEO just seems to be “innovating” for the sake of innovating, there’s a time-honored trick in creative departments: Hold back your best idea until two or three revisions later, and then unveil it. Voilà! If you’d shown the higher-ups the exact same thing in the first round, they would have rejected it or wanted to “tweak” it. But now it’s been a couple of weeks and they’re ready to move on to making the next project more of a hassle, so it’s perfect.)

      I would probably start job hunting, though, because ultimately, this man is not going to change. I’ve rarely felt greater relief than the day I handed in my notice to the boss who constantly needed projects redone — on an urgent deadline! — after I’d spent hours on them. He also liked to use the internet by standing behind me and telling me where to move the mouse. :-|

    4. Lucy P*

      My hubby worked for a company where his sole project was programming a very specific program (writing code, developing graphics and an interface) for (eventual) use by the general public. Every couple of weeks, the company owner would go out into the world and see how competitors with similar programs had framed theirs. Then he would call or email hubby with the required changes. Many of these changes were so massive that they required rewrites of most of the program. Hubby would explain to owner that these changes would require more time since he was essentially starting over with each change requested. This happened frequently for about 6 months, until one day the owner fired hubby for not completing the project in the time frame in which it was needed. Thankfully hubby had all of his emails with the requested changes to back him up in proving wrongful termination.

    5. Heidi*

      I don’t understand how it could be like this for every project. Doesn’t the company have deliverables and deadlines for clients? I guess we don’t know what this company does, but it’s hard to imagine how money would come in if nothing was ever done. Maybe it’s just the internal stuff that the CEO picks apart.

      Perhaps the OP can reframe it mentally: The endless revising is just part of the job and that’s what they’re being paid for (as opposed to actually getting stuff done). If the company is willing to pay the OP to keep revising projects with no end in sight and is okay with the fact that this prevents new projects from progressing, that’s their choice. It’s not great, but it might get the OP out of the mindset that there are all these boxes that are not getting checked off. The CEO clearly doesn’t have a checklist in mind.

      1. Troutwaxer*

        I think there are frameworks for continuous improvement, such as DevOps but your CEO clearly isn’t using them. But one thing you could definitely do is research those frameworks, so you can “complete” a project and also have it open to “improvements.” It sounds like the problem here would be convincing the CEO to use one of those methods…

        1. redflagday701*

          I always feel like, underneath it all, issues like this CEO’s are about something else entirely. He’s not actually interested in improving these systems and processes (although he probably believes he is) — he’s misguidedly feeding some other internal need. The solution isn’t a new framework; the solution is therapy.

        2. Hannah Lee*

          Agreed RFD. I’ve got someone in my life who is continually swirling on things, changing the approach, the output, whatever, over and over and over again so nothing is ever finished or put to bed. My sense is that while THEY may frame it to themselves that they are a perfectionist or always want to be open to being better, faster, stronger, etc, the reality is that they are an annoying combination of infatuated with their “unique specialness” aka always having better ideas and never satisfied, plus very insecure about being judged. As a result, they are uncomfortable stamping anything “DONE” because that leaves them vulnerable to someone else pointing out an obvious error or a better way of doing it.

          Something similar may be what’s going on in LW’s case, or it may just be someone who likes to watch other people scramble over and over again. I could not work for either of those kinds of people for more than a few months, at least not without losing at least some of my sanity.

  5. aedixon*

    LW5: What kind of position is it? I seem to push back without realizing it, so I know I can fulfill that requirement.

    1. My Dear Wormwood*

      I once firmly told a senior dermatologist that no, we DO need to include the larger clinical picture showing the location of the lesion on the vulva because [unconscious bias in medicine primer].

      Of course, part of the reason I could make myself do it was his excellence as a manager over many years…

    2. Helvetica*

      Heh, same; I would need to be advised if the supervisor doesn’t want any pushback whatsoever, in case that is not probably a job for me.

    3. Lacey*

      Right? I’ve always worked with people who want no push back, even when it will cause a huge mess. But, I’m utterly incapable of not pointing out the problems they’re insisting on having.

    4. sundae funday*

      I don’t feel like I necessarily “push back,” but I would question stuff like, “Is there a reason we don’t do x? That might be faster than y.” Or whatever.

      Not sure if that counts as “pushing back?”

      1. aedixon*

        Depends how insecure your manager is. I ask a lot of questions. Some ppl see that as being an AH. ‍♀️

  6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP3 (surgery) I don’t really understand the reasoning that it’s private medical info, because surely that applies whether you give a long (although admittedly not fully quantified) notice or only a couple of days?

    I have to agree with OPs partner that a heads-up would have been better. I realise there are times as a manager that the unexpected happens and you have to ‘manage’ the situation, hence the title, but this didn’t have to be one of those times.

    I couldn’t quite tell from the letter whether OP mentioned having cancelled/refused the original surgery to the manager, that would be useful background info as to the manager’s reaction imo.

    1. bamcheeks*

      I can see the difference– “I have a minor surgical procedure scheduled next Tuesday, I’ll be out until Friday” vs “I will have a minor surgical procedure at some point hopefully in the next six months, I’ll let you know when it gets scheduled, it might be quite short notice.” The first is immediate and actionable. The second doesn’t really give the manager anything actionable, and I feel like that invites speculation about what kind of medical procedure it is and whether or not OP could/should schedule it around the employer’s convenience rather than theirs and their HCP’s. There’s also a slim chance the manager might hesitate to give LW specific tasks or projects if she feels they’re time-critical, which wouldn’t be great for LW.

      LW, if your manager was actually complaining about this, as opposed to just a random comment of, “Oh, I didn’t know!”, she is being a bit OTT. I had exactly the same thing this time last year when a member of my team told me he had surgery coming up and how long he would be out for. Yes, theoretically he could have told me at any point in the last six months, which is how long he’d been waiting for. But equally, all I would have said is, “Oh cool– let me know when you know,” so it made extremely little difference.

    2. hbc*

      Yeah, if that logic is taken to the extreme, then “Hey, my water just broke, bye” is also protecting private medical information. But either way they know you’re pregnant at some point. “I have a condition where I’ll suddenly need to be out for a week and WFH for a week sometime soon” isn’t much more revealing than “I have a condition and I’ll need to be out next week and WFH the following week.”

      As for whether having the information earlier is *useful*, that depends on a lot of factors. I’ve been in hectic management positions where, yes, anyone could be out for an emergency, but knowing a particular person is likely to be out for a week in the next six months will help me out. (I’ll be more likely to start Wakeen’s cross-training on the stuff that only OP and Jane versus the stuff that only Jane and Fergus know, for example.) But there are also roles where you just need to bring in a temp or change the schedule, in which case a 6 month window is useless. I also know managers who cannot deal with unknowns and would be all “Surgery yet?” every other day, and don’t blame anyone for not wanting to risk that.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I agree–I’m fully on team You Don’t Have To Share Private Medical Information With Your Boss… but that seems like an argument about whether you tell her *at all* and not *when* you tell her. If you want to never tell her about the surgery and when it comes up just say you have a sudden unexpected medical issue to take care of. But if you plan on telling her about the surgery when it happens, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t give her a heads up that it is going to happen as well. You certainly don’t *have* to, but I don’t get why you wouldn’t and I think it’s not unreasonable of her to suggest it would have been good to know earlier.

    4. Jack Straw duo*

      I can see the difference, but as any long time reader of AMA knows, you don’t have to disclose the medical part. “I need to have survey for a minor/major medical issue. I’ll be out for four days and need to WFH the following week while I recover.” That’s all you need to say.

  7. TG*

    LW#1 – I think it’s important you raise a red flag because this impacts you directly reporting to this person.

  8. Startup Survivor*

    LW 1: there was a similar situation at Apple a year or two ago with someone who wrote a misogynist book. An open letter signed by a lot of people got the situation changed. I would talk to your coworkers first and see if you can get critical mass, then go up the chain. If your director won’t step up then HR is a very appropriate next step.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Even if they don’t DO anything because who knows the guy MAY be able to behave at work. But if something happens, HR may be more on alert to act.

      1. jasmine*

        Most of these guys normally can behave at work but the unconscious bias can seep through in who they promote and hire.

        1. Kel*

          Also making everyone under him who might be a member of those groups scared to talk to him, ask for time off, etc etc.

  9. Melissa*

    #2 says they have discussed it with “coworkers” (plural!). I would be so mortified by this if I were your boss— not only did I forget to pay, but my employee feels so awkward about it, she’s polling the rest of the staff. Just tell him!

    1. ITgirl*

      I agree with you. Once I forgot to pay a coworker 2€ back and she went to the manager to make a formal complaint.
      I was both mortified and angry: mortified because I genuinly forgot and would have just payed her back if she had said something, mad because she escalated this to the manager which made it even more embarrasing…

  10. MsSolo (UK)*

    L4 – Ah, Agilitis. He did one training course and thinks he can apply iterative development to literally everything. Exhausting.

    (One thing I hated having to do those courses were all the “Facebook uses Agile! Amazon uses Agile!” and aside from the fact we’re a charity, not a for-profit company, so did hundreds of thousands of start ups that crashed and burned. Agile is not the deciding factor in success!)

    1. CL*

      Spot on! There are times Agile is great…and other times leaders use it to reinforce the idea that you don’t need to plan from the beginning and can change your mind at any moment.

      1. Storm in a teacup*

        The thing with Agile is when done properly it isn’t endlessly iterative.
        It’s a managed planned process with a definitive end date and clear lines of accountability.
        The problem as you say is when someone does one workshop and tries to apply it partially or where they use it for projects where not appropriate or relevant.
        Of course some people are just like this! I have a boss who did this a lot and we tried to account for this when getting his feedback etc so not to derail things, clear timelines for finalisation etc. Harder to do when the ceo

        1. Wintermute*


          What the LW is describing is more a symptom of what I call “half-ass agile”, which is when a company wants to use agile methodology but they can’t get full buy-in so they cling to parts of their old way and just tack on agile buzzwords and some stand-up meetings.

          one of the whole points of agile is that a “when it’s done” mentality can lead to it never, ever being done. You need to set achievable goals and tight timeframes and get your work DONE done in that timeframe. Then you iterate and start over with new goals and a new timeframe. If you are kicking goals down the line from one sprint to the next to the next either someone isn’t delivering their deliverables and should be fired, or you have picked a “white whale goal” and need to let that one go forever (unless it’s a showstopper, in which case you probably have way bigger issues).

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            This is exactly what I was thinking. If they want to keep this up, they need someone to say “OK, so do you want to push the launch out 3 months, or do you want to launch it without [feature] and then add it once the launch is stable?” A lot of stuff gets pushed to post-launch, and that’s as it should be, but this CEO has no idea how to do this and of course HIS ideas have to take priority over, say, a working product…. [rolls eyes]

            1. Wintermute*

              It seems to me they are mostly talking about internal processes/procedures not products, which is another whole set of problems.

              One reason agile works is because it forces the rubber to meet the road sooner than it might otherwise. You put your stuff OUT THERE, public-facing and you get customer feedback, you gather data directly from the field either by watching your metrics or through A/B testing, and you have constant, actionable and real feedback– subscriber numbers, clickthrough rates, average revenue per user, percentage of paying users, etc.

              It’s fundamentally supposed to be like rather than building a supercar building a car, one that can go forward, and putting it on the track, then once it’s back in you tweak the engine, add in some body panels, put it back on the track, see if it’s faster, bring it back in, put in an automatic transmission, put it back on the track, whoops it went slower, pull it back in and put the manual transmission back, and so on.

              Without the feedback of real world performance it’s like doing the same thing without a stopwatch or any gauges on the car– was it faster? well it **felt** faster to the driver, guess we’re good to go!

      2. I have RBF*

        IMO, most implementations of “Agile™” are actually FrAgile. It’s usually a corporate cargo cult that gets mistaken for a “recipe for success”. It’s not. Most of the current “Scrum” methods are just useless ritual to allow an illusion of employee ownership backed by a micromanaging “ScrumFall” where sprints are mini-deathmarches.

    2. Beany*

      Not a perfect analogy, but if this was, say, software development, you could use a versioning system to establish some kind of closure.

      E.g. if LW4 could get the boss to agree to call the meeting plan they’ve worked on Version 1.0 — and save it somewhere on the company intranet/shared drive with that name and the date it was finished, then they can say “we’re using V1.0 for the moment, but developing V1.1 on the back burner”. And the team’s resumés can at least list “V1.0” as something that got produced, rather than some unsatisfying step in a neverending march.

    3. Hamster Manager*

      This is exhausting, but it doesn’t sound like LW4 is at a particularly agile company to me, “months” to write a job description?? I really hope ‘job’ refers to ‘project’ or ‘deliverable’ and not ‘hire’, because if it’s the latter, that’s glacial.

      Sounds like this is just how the job’s gonna be, so LW has to decide how long they can stand it.

      1. sb51*

        Yeah, it does feel like there’s two problems: the constant requests for improvements without giving new [whatevers] time to see if they worked AND a very slow, thorough design process that means by the time something rolls out it feels ancient.

        For some of these things, “don’t spend months up front, slap together a basic version and incrementally improve” might be the right approach for everyone.

    4. Workerbee*

      What the LW is describing sounds so much like a former boss, who wouldn’t know Agile if it stuck its thumb up his a&&, but rather didn’t want a project, any project, to ever end, because then he’d have to be accountable for something. If you can keep something going, you get to keep having meetings about it and send your hapless employees back to do more busywork!

      He kept that going far too long before senior leadership finally cottoned on.

  11. Friends of English Magic*

    Haha, I have definitely come across this!

    But, even then, actual agile is more about testing and iterating based on how it actually works for the users after you launch it, not just on “oh, wait, I had another good idea”, which is what it sounds like this CEO is doing.

  12. Editor Emeritus*

    LW5 – This reminds me of an interview I had where I was asked for an example of when I have had to ‘stand my ground.’

    My answer was something about using data and examples to show why my approach would be a good one. They clearly didn’t like that and kept pressing for a different answer always using the phrase ‘standing your ground’ — which IMO is pretty confrontational.

    In my case, I may have been able to formulate a better response to a specific ‘what if’ example, as work cultures differ so much with what is and isn’t acceptable.

    I’m sure that not answering that question is a big part of why I didn’t get an offer. And I was fine with that, because I left the interview thinking that I would be working with bullies. (Which, given what’s come out in the news recently in the UK, may well have been true.)

      1. 1LFTW*

        Or they unwittingly/unconsciously revealed that they don’t actually *want* someone who stands their ground. But yeah, there’s a definite lack of insight here.

    1. Totally Minnie*

      The standard question my last job asked in interviews was “tell me about a time when a manager made a decision you disagreed with. What did you do and what was the outcome?”

      1. LG*

        I would be tempted to answer “I quit my job, and here I am!” Sarcasm is my second language though, and many people are not fluent in it.

  13. NforKnowledge*

    For LW3, since they were unsure if they had enough sick time initially, I understand why they didn’t tell the manager at that point!
    And then around Christmas, it’s not clear how much time passed between LW3 agreeing to take a cancellation slot and one becoming free. I’m not sure what the manager would have done with an extra few weeks(?) max of notice that OP would be out at some unspecified point in the future. I think the manager reacted poorly and don’t think LW3 could realistically have done much different.

  14. Caterpillar hunter*

    LW3 I’m on the should-have given manager a heads up side. Surgery requiring 2 weeks recovery (almost 1 week off plus 1 week unable to come into the office, which I assume is normal) is a bit more than minor. Just because sometimes you cannot give any notice isn’t a reason to not give notice when you can.

    Simply keeping your manager in the loop allows her to plan, as much as possible, for your absence. It also gives the impression that you are doing whatever you can to reasonably minimise the impact of your absence on your coworkers (which does not include compromising your health to delay surgery). Even if in practice it makes no difference – the perception of not unnecessarily burdening your team is good for you.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I, too, am on the side of giving the manager a heads-up. I’ve always let my manager know when I have surgery coming up, but it’s not yet scheduled. Just as an FYI so they can be aware for planning purposes. And my direct reports typically do the same for me.

      Also, it’s not just the ability to factor it into planning, but what is supposed to be a short-ish recovery can easily become a long recovery. Someone on my team had surgery a couple years ago and was supposed to be back within 30 days. Thirty days turned into eight months.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Your second paragraph is to me an argument for NOT sharing it! Even a planned and scheduled operation can turn into something unexpected– what possible planning can you do for something like that that you wouldn’t do anyway?

        1. Retail Not Retail*

          At least that carries the possibility that may happen, vs not saying anything until the last minute.

          I had surgery last december and recovery was 3 months. I had to be up front about it!

        2. Snow Globe*

          You can’t plan for something turning in to a much longer recovery than normal, but knowing that the LW may be out on short notice, the manager can have 1 or 2 people who can step in to fulfill their duties, and can perhaps come up with some projects the LW can work on from home (say if their normal work is in the office, but they can do some longer term project from home.)

        3. Dust Bunny*

          The fact that you can’t plan for all possible outcomes isn’t a reason not to share, though? I’m not sure how that line of thinking follows. Sharing isn’t promising anyone that there won’t be any deviations from the expected course of recovery–it’s just a heads-up that they’ll need to plan to cover for you for a period of time. It’s probably a lot easier for them to cover for you for eight months if they’re already planning to cover for you for one, than if they have to cover for you for eight months without warning.

    2. Goldie*

      Yeah no. I oversee 100+ people. Going into surgery, I never want to hear an employee fretting about the impact of their illness on work. It’s our job to lessen the burden of work on them. Personally I just want people to feel supported and have a real break from work. That the conversation I would be having.

      1. EPLawyer*

        That is how I am taking the managers comment, Oh dear, I hope you didn’t put this off because of work concerns. Please in the future tell me so we can figure something out because your health is important.

        Yes its private health information so you don’t have to go into detail. But a good manager wants to assist in making this easier on you to the extent they can.

      2. Caterpillar hunter*

        But how can you be supportive if you aren’t informed?

        If a report is concerned about the impact of their absence in the team – the best way you can relieve those concerns is putting together a plan.

        In my work – if I was hit by a bus the first week of some stuff would likely be outright cancelled (if I get sick we cancel stuff). For the second week they’d be scrambling to find someone else to stand up and keep things going. If they knew I was definitely going to be out for a couple weeks they’d be working to line up a replacement, getting access to systems etc so when I don’t turn up stuff can still happen.

        Every job is different, but advance notice allows for practical plans, or at least forewarning of impending chaos.

    3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Yeah, it’s such a minor, minor burden to give your boss a head’s up about being out sometime and it allows them to do their job and get your work covered ahead of time instead of last minute.

    4. I'm Just Here For the Cats!*

      I can see where you are coming from but how could the boss have prepared for an unknown timeframe, especially if there may not have been anything for months. In that time OP may have been passed over for great opportunities like projects or working with new clients. Boss could have started treating her differently because they were worried about stressing OP out. Or the boss may have been more strict with other employees’ time off requests because they were afraid that OP would have to be out simultaneously. I’m not saying that the boss would have done this to punish OP or anything but it may have been unconscious.

      Unknown things happen all the time in business. The way I see it would have been no different than if the OP had just been diagnosed and had to get the surgery in the next few weeks. You can’t plan for every thing.

      1. MicroManagered*

        In my job, it WOULD be beneficial to have a head’s up, even with an unknown timeframe, because we have recurring tasks and could get prepare by cross-training, or refreshing your coworker/back up on a task that they may not have done in a while.

        1. Chutney Jitney*

          See, that sounds to me like you don’t have systems in place. You should already be expecting this exact situation and be prepared for it. You should have regular cross-training refreshers. You never know when someone will call and say they’re headed to the ER and are then out for the next 3 months (me).

          1. MicroManagered*

            We do have those systems in place–your perception is inaccurate.

            But it doesn’t mean that knowing ahead of time is not beneficial.

            1. Hannah Lee*

              My workplace is similar. There ARE systems in place and cross training and contingencies. But the reality is we’re not continually cross training or documenting to 100% up to the minute perfection. We’ve got people trained enough to step in and keep things going in an emergency.

              But if we know that, say, someone is likely to be out for 2 weeks at some point in March or April, we might take a quick look at process documentation (just to make sure there haven’t been any subtle changes that aren’t show stoppers, but would be useful to know) and might do a quick list of “active/pending” tasks/projects etc

              That is so when, say, an email comes in from the Rose Bowl Parade Organizing Committee, whoever is covering is able to say “Oh, that’s right, the person who is out on medical leave mentioned there was a possibility the RBPOC might reach out to hire a team of llama groomers to help out on parade day, let me pull the file.” instead of “that’s got to be spam, why would anyone contact us about a parade” and deleting it.

          2. Caterpillar hunter*

            Our system is stuff gets cancelled short term. It is simply financially unviable to have people on call – just in case. For the second week on you figure something out – you get access to systems, colleagues work unpaid overtime, pull someone out of retirement, hope there’s someone around who’ll take on the work (or better yet see it as a break into that sort of work and be happy for it) etc.

            What works in one industry won’t in another – which makes it rather hard when you don’t know much about what the OP does.

      2. hbc*

        Just because some things can’t be planned for doesn’t mean that it’s better to not have the opportunity to plan when you can. And even if there’s nothing I can do in advance, being mentally prepared for it really helps me get moving on the practical elements when the time finally comes.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have a team member who will be planning to have a joint replacement surgery sometime this year, and she’s hoping to push it back to the fall but wanted to give me a heads up. This not only lets me plan ahead for her absence (even if we don’t know the exact timing), but also lets me make sure she is hooked up with the correct information and contacts for FMLA and absence management with plenty of notice to get that all sorted out for her, not trying to rush last minute and stress out further over it.

  15. spruce*

    LW4: I’ve quit a job in the past partly because projects were never done. Every time it felt like I had delivered, there was a new round of feedback, from people I had no idea even had approval or input rights. Other colleagues were just as frustrated, and we tried to implement a DARCI model, but all that happened is that the “decider” would decide that they really needed more people’s inputs before making a final decision.
    Some people just disguise a lack of confidence in themselves as “improvements” so they never have to make a decision someone might them accountable for in the future.

    1. CanadianPublicServant*

      Ooh, heads up that on the Friday open thread I am going to ask for people’s experiences with implementing DARCI! I am in a workplace where it is desperately needed, and would love some thoughts!

      1. MurpMaureep*

        In my last job we implemented this as a way to get our Director to 1) do his actual job while 2) staying out of the weeds of what individuals and middle management was doing.

        It helped to have something to point back to when he was either over-stepping or not doing enough. But it was like pulling teeth. Bottom line, if you are trying to use it as a tool to change behavior without actually speaking to the behavior, it’s hit or miss. But it can be helpful in reinforcing the behavior you want to reinforce.

        1. spruce*

          “if you are trying to use it as a tool to change behavior without actually speaking to the behavior, it’s hit or miss” Exactly. Compulsive non-deciders are not suddenly going to grow a spine just because you put a (D) next to their names, and people who like to meddle will not stop just because you tell them that are not on the DARCI list.
          If there is not strict enforcement from the top down and bottom up, DARCI doesn’t fix things.
          On the other hand, when it’s properly used, it can prevent a lot of conflicts.

  16. ProcessMeister*

    Regarding LW1, I’m sort of surprised the new hire’s social media did not apparently raise red flags during their recruitment process. Every time my work sends out a memo about someone new joining our team, several computers start googling out of curiosity. I’d have expected HR would have done the same as part of a standard background check.

    1. bamcheeks*

      Yeah, I would raise it as, “I would prefer not to be managed by this person”, but to be honest I would consider it a significant red flag about my organisation if they proceeded with on-boarding him without at least asking him to scrub his social media of his real name and photo. If your company doesn’t consider having a manager posting anti-BLM and MRA stuff under his real name to be a significant reputational risk, that’s saying some pretty awful things about them.

    2. the bean moves on*

      my company is fairly explicit about us not looking at a candidates social media. even professional sites like linkedin and github.

      1. Magenta*

        I can kind of see the sense in this. People are capable of being professional at work and leaving their personal opinions at the door. If it turns out that this manager is not one of them then that will have to be dealt with.
        It is not a good idea to go down the route of only hiring people who thing the “right” way, because the right way can change, government and public opinion can change.
        There is an argument that people who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear but I don’t trust that this will always be the case. People may have nothing to fear now but they may in the future.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I think there’s a really big difference between “only hiring people who think the right way” and “hiring managers who broadcast their views on social media using their full business name”. I would see it as the same as Alison’s “don’t be best mates with the people you manage” advice: the people you have power over are entitled to believe and expect that you are not prejudiced and don’t play favourites, and they can’t do that if you are visibly espousing racist and sexist views.

          Plus, there’s a straight-up business case that you can’t control what your clients think about it.

        2. Beth*

          When someone’s “personal opinion” is that I am not actually a human being, and I should be incarcerated and subjected to electrical “treatment” to “fix” my evil nature, I don’t want to work with that person no matter how good they appear to be at hiding their belief.

          Or if they believe that my skin color means that I am fundamentally less intelligent and more prone to criminal behavior. Or if they believe that people like me do not deserve due process of law, and that when we’re murdered in cold blood, it’s a benefit to society. Or that we do not belong in the workplace at all.

          Some personal opinions should be abhorrent.

          1. Vanellope*

            Solidarity with Beth. There’s no two sides to racist or misogynist thinking; these are not political opinions that you can debate. One side of those is objectively wrong and no one has any obligation to support it in the workplace. If that makes Xander have trouble finding employment then perhaps he should do some self reflection.

          2. Dust Bunny*


            In the workplace, at least, there are some “wrong” ways to think. Sorry. I can’t stop everyone from thinking stuff like this but I can sure as heck protest when my employer tries to put them in charge of me. Nobody owes them this job.

          3. Sylvan*


            “Our city should be spending more of its budget on X and less on Y.” This is a normal opinion.

            “People A are better than People B, who are horrible and worthless.” This is an opinion that is going to make someone unlikely to interact in a normal, professional manner at work.

            Some opinions are actually bad.

            1. Irish Teacher*

              This. I can agree to disagree on many issues, but not on “do x group of people deserve human rights or not?”

          4. MurpMaureep*

            Questioning someone’s human rights doesn’t count as a “differing opinion”. I definitely want all my employees, coworkers, and leadership to “think the right way” about humans being entitled to human rights.

        3. linger*

          There is a huge gap between insisting “employees must think the right way”, and screening against hires who may consider entire categories of people (by gender, ethnicity, orientation) as being “the wrong way”. Anything that rises to the level of predictable legal liability for the company deserves fuller scrutiny.

          1. linger*

            Added to which, these views are not “hidden”, but explicitly espoused on public platforms. Either this hire actually holds those views (in which case, cannot be trusted to treat employees or clients equitably, entailing predictable legal liability and loss of reputation), or they are some kind of self-styled provocateur (in which case, simply cannot be trusted).

        4. Grammar Penguin*

          You’re right in that if someone is truly capable of keeping these ideas in their head without ever letting it affect their work, it shouldn’t be a problem. To me, this means someone who uses a pseudonym in social media so their personal opinions aren’t linked to the name they use professionally. Because not only can a coworker google your name and see this stuff, so can clients and vendors and lenders and regulators. If you work in management, your name and reputation, like it or not, are associated with those of your employer and your employer has a right to protect its reputation by controlling its associations.

          Since this person did nothing to separate their political/social views from their professional reputation, it’s now part of their reputation and therefore reflective on the employer’s reputation. This is not a person who can be trusted to keep that separation for the sake of professionalism.

        5. steliafidelis*

          I had a friend recently meet a guy who on their first date said “Just so you know, I’m a white supremacist but if that bothers you, don’t worry! I can leave politics out of a relationship.”

          Needless to say, there was no second date because the notion that bigoted beliefs are fine as long as you can “leave politics out of” business/relationships/etc is ridiculous.

          1. WillowSunstar*

            Right, I would drop such a person in a heartbeat. That would be a good time to use the friend to “call you with an emergency” and end it early.

        6. Totally Minnie*

          I agree with Beth and linger who have already given great responses.

          But even beyond that, at every single job I’ve ever had, the ethics training includes a section on “avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.” No one who is involved with your company should have any room to doubt that company leadership will treat people in ways that are fair and equitable. Xander is giving off SO MUCH appearance of impropriety. He’s giving people a lot of reasons to doubt that they will be treated fairly by him in their workplace interactions, and that’s reason enough for Giles and HR to address it.

        7. Irish Teacher*

          I think there are lines though. I agree there are borderline things but I do think that if somebody is extremely racist or homophobic or misogynistic, then…well, for one thing, I’m not sure it’s possible to leave it entirely at the door. If somebody believes for example that men are the heads of a household, it is likely to affect who they send on a business trip – “she might have difficulty getting her husband to agree, so I’ll ask him, because he won’t need anybody’s permission.”

          Plus, there are opinions most companies wouldn’t want to be associated with, for good reasons. If you have an employee who is cheering for say a country they are bigotted against being bombed and announcing their delight on twitter or facebook, that isn’t going to look good for you.

          To give an extreme example, an Irish school hired a guy from a family known for their religious fundamentalism and their…tendency to sue everybody for everything. It ended…even worse than you might have expected. The guy is now standing in protest outside the school, having been fired for harrassing other members of staff over his views. I strongly suspect the school is going to see a decline in enrollment because…well, I wouldn’t send my kids to a school that is quite frankly a media circus and which looks possible to attract fundamentalist protestors who believe his “I was fired for my religious beliefs” thing.

          And yeah, that is an extreme case, but…I’m not sure “OK, he’s a bigot and hates x group, but I’m sure he’ll stay quiet about that at work” is really good enough. Apart from anything else, would somebody feel safe if they were part of a minority a workmate was posting angry rants about on facebook?

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        I can see how this works both ways. What if a candidate has more liberal views than a hiring manager, & it affects them there?

        On the other hand, outright misogyny & racism (or even veiled) is so unacceptable in a manager. (In general, too, but I think everyone knows what I mean.)

        1. Magenta*

          If a manager is acting in a racist or misogynistic way in the workplace then that needs to be stamped on and dealt with by the firm. But it is possible to believe something but not bring that to work.
          Perhaps I’m thinking of it differently because I’m in the UK but here most beliefs would be a protected characteristic under equalities legislation. You can’t fire someone/rescind an offer because of beliefs, only actions.
          I am not saying I would choose to hire someone who I knew to have repellent views, I don’t think I could do it. But I also wouldn’t look in the first place.

          1. Totally Minnie*

            But it is possible to believe something but not bring that to work.

            Is it, though? If a hiring manager believes that non-white people are less smart and less capable and more prone to criminal behavior than white people, I don’t trust him to keep that belief out of his hiring and management decisions. I don’t trust that he’ll choose the best qualified candidate from the interview pool. I don’t trust that he’ll give fair and reasonable performance evaluations to BIPOC employees.

            I think there are *some* beliefs you can keep out of the workplace and be fine. But beliefs about the essential humanity of your employees and coworkers are probably not among them.

            1. Jackalope*

              Yes, this. I can think of many beliefs that someone can hold and not have them affect coworkers. But when someone believes that other people are intrinsically lesser because of their race, gender, queer status, disability, etc.,any studies have shown that they can NOT actually keep it out of their work. It spills over in all sorts of ways and affects their treatment of people in the class they think less of. Someone who believes that other people are inherently less than because of characteristics they can’t choose should not be managing people.

            2. I have RBF*

              If a person believes that redheads are cuter than blondes, fine. But if a person believes that redheads are superior to blondes, or whites are superior to blacks, that’s not fine. What’s the difference? One is a personal preference on appearance, one is a belief in superiority based on a genetic characteristic.

              If a manager does not believe that I have a right to exist without “correction”, brainwashing or enslavement, I don’t want to work for them.

          2. spruce*

            I don’t think anyone can believe that woman and/or people of color are inferior and not bring that into work. If it’s a core belief, it will follow you everywhere, in every decision made.

      3. Tesuji*

        Honestly, I feel like checking candidates’ social media opens up all kinds of doors you might not want to open.

        As an obvious possibility, you could learn things that you don’t actually want to know (e.g., pregnancy, disabilities, ethnicity)–or, more to the point, if your company’s policy was to check out a candidate’s social media, and they weren’t hired, a lawsuit could claim that you went looking for that information and took it into account, whether or not you did.

        There’s also the issue that, nowadays, I have no idea where the line is between “Repugnant belief which simply holding it (even if you never take any action based on it) is grounds for termination/not hiring” and “Political affiliation/speech which your organization does not want the headache of being seen as discriminating against and/or (for government or government-affiliated entities) *can’t* discriminate based on.”

    3. Totally Minnie*

      At one of my previous jobs, googling potential hires was not an official step in the hiring process. Some managers did and others didn’t. We got an all staff email telling us who had been selected for a high level position that would manage a large number of staff. People immediately googled the name, and the very first hit was a news article about how this person had been fired from their last job after an investigation that proved they had bullied and harassed multiple employees. To say there was an uproar would be an understatement. They rescinded the offer and we got an email a few weeks later announcing the “resignation” of the person who made the offer without doing a google search first, and none of us actually believed it was a voluntary resignation.

      But crucially, staff weren’t given any kind of information about whether the hiring process was being changed and if so, in what ways. Anytime someone asked, they were told “we’ve made sure it won’t happen again,” but given zero details about what that meant. It’s pretty close to the top of the list of reasons why I don’t work there anymore.

    4. Donkey Hotey*

      It really depends. I live in a very large, very tech savvy city on the Left Coast (we have an actual socialist representing us in the nation’s capital). No employer has ever looked at more than a linked in account. But I also work for “small” (read: less than 1,000 employees and under 500 million annual sales) companies. Yes, big firms will check but not so much on the small side.

  17. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    It’s concerning in this day and age that an organization large to have its own HR department is a.) not properly vetting its managers, or, and this is far worse, b.) that they aren’t overly concerned about misogyny and racism. No one wants to work for a sloppy organization, but that is far better than working for a complicit one.

    1. Are You Kidding Me*

      This presupposes that HR departments are not themselves not infrequently staffed with bigots. The HR manager at my consulting firm recently casually dropped transphobic comments in front of executives with zero repercussions. I’d assume complicity before incompetence in these cases.

      1. Not Your Token Minority*

        Yuuuuup. And they are not at all infrequently unaware of the depths of their own bigotry. The HR Director where I work is very self-assured of her commitment to diversity and allyship in the workplace…and then she brings in Chic-Fil-A for lunch. Every. Single. Day. When she has to bring in catering for various teams, outside guests, and associates, it’s always Chic-Fil-A. Then she tries to badger employees into outing any LGBTQ+ status so she can put photos of the token queers/transfolk/etc on the company social media pages, to show the company “commitment” to diversity, alongside the photos of POC employees (who can’t really hide their race even if they wanted to, so get targeted by her). She sends company-wide emails about respecting others’ beliefs, but never cares if she’s scheduling meetings on major holidays observed by the non-Christians in the company. She absolutely does not accept feedback.

        There’s a reason why, including me, I only know of two LGBTQ+ folk in a company of over 500 people, and the only co-workers we’re out to is each other.

        (I hope) it’s all done out of ignorance rather than malice, but it’s still bigotry, and still harmful. And it’s coming straight from the head of HR.

  18. Fishsticks*

    LW1, I wouldn’t want to be managed by someone like this either. Agree with Allison – absolutely request to stay with Willow as your manager, and be frank and honest about why. Having someone with those viewpoints will absolutely impact the workplace, especially because someone espousing MRA viewpoints is almost certainly going to struggle when it comes to treating women as equals in the workplace, plus the virulent racism that comes along with anti-BLM tirades so often. It’s worth bringing up. You shouldn’t have to work in misery because of this.

  19. Falling Diphthong*

    OP2, your manager thinks he paid you. You need to calmly and normally let him know that you haven’t received the money.

    I thought this was going to be a question about how to escalate in the face of a series of “So John, can you give me that $30?” “Gosh I sure do mean to but the fates have conspired to have it not work at quite this moment. But I bet if you never remind me it will happen soon!” conversations.

    Having done some coordinating of parent volunteers, there is a world of difference between the email “Hey all, anyone who still needs to pay me the money they promised for the coach’s gift can send the money (here)” and “Hi John, Still need the $10 you said you were putting in toward the gift we bought for coach. You can send the money (here).”

  20. Single Parent Barbie*

    #5. Almost 20 years ago (!) I was interviewing for a new job. I was extremely underpaid where I was and had an awful boss . I applied for a job that was a great opportunity. I came home from work to do the call with the Site Manager and the HR manager. About 3/4s of the way through the call, the Site Manager asks, “If you go this job, you would be reporting directly to me. Would you tell me if I was doing something wrong?” I paused and throught about my current boss, and the bosses I had in the past that I worked well with and my relationship with them. And I responded “Yes I would, but I will be really nice about it. ”

    When I got off the call, my then husband asked about it. I told him about the question and how I answered. He looked at me and said “Well you screwed that one up. ”

    Well I got the job, and that answer was a big part of it. And that boss still remains one of my favorite bosses ever. And I pushed back every single day.

    1. bamcheeks*

      What did your husband think was the right answer? Did he think the correct answer was, “no, even if you’re doing something catastrophically stupid I will never tell you”?!

      1. Artemesia*

        Exactly. Even terrible bosses who are bullies like to think they are open to feedback and pushback. I had one fabulous boss for the critical early stages of my second career who genuinely valued feedback and valued me for bluntly providing it. It was fabulous.

        I had several bosses who ‘welcomed feedback’ and would eviscerate the person providing it, loudly and in public. What they say in the interview and what they do are not always similar — BUT most bosses like to pretend they are secure and welcome push back.

    2. Emmy Noether*

      I’m also interested what your then-husband thought you should have answered? Because in my experience, even bosses who absolutely suck at taking feedback want to believe they take it well. Rare is the person who openly admits to only wanting sycophants.

    3. Sister Michael*

      I think that sounds like a great answer!
      I once had an iteration of this question that I really liked- it was for a job working with the Park Service as a historian, so lots of work with the public and lots of time collaborating with co-workers. In the interview, it was phrased as, “How would you handle it if you heard another historian or a volunteer give out incorrect information?”
      For what it’s worth, my answer was that I would let them finish their sentence and then say, in front of the visitor if I could, something like, “You know, I just read the most interesting thing about that- my book said that even though Joshua Chamberlain claimed his regiment anchored the left of the Union line at Fredericksburg, according to Adelbert Ames, they were actually more like “to the left of” the Union line!* Chamberlain was so into self promotion, though, he totally told the story like he was anchoring the whole line all by himself. Check it out on this map- here’s the Union line, and here’s where the 20th Maine was- it’s a 7/11 now…”

      The real goal, of course, was to confirm that I would intervene and not let visitors go with incorrect information, if at all possible but that I wouldn’t throw my colleagues under the bus in the process. I assume the interviewer in our LW’s scenario was looking for something similar- intellectual honesty and courage, coupled with politeness and an interest in maintaining positive professional relationships.

      *Note for fellow nerds, do try and find Ames’ response to the article Chamberlain wrote for Cosmopolitan, which is the source of this misunderstanding. It is wonderfully sarcastic. And the 20th Maine’s location is, indeed, a 7/11 these days.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        *Note for fellow nerds, do try and find Ames’ response to the article Chamberlain wrote for Cosmopolitan, which is the source of this misunderstanding. It is wonderfully sarcastic. And the 20th Maine’s location is, indeed, a 7/11 these days.

        (And fellow nerds who are better at googling than I am, if you do find it, please share the link.)

        1. Sister Michael*

          I’ll look for it! I have a printed copy I got the year I worked in the aforementioned job, so I don’t have a link handy. But if there’s one online, I’ll try to find it and if not, perhaps there’s a way to put a scanned copy in a dropbox or something?
          If you know of a way, let me know and I’ll happily work on sharing a copy. It’s definitely in the public domain after this many years and a very fun read.

    4. Hudson*

      My first ever boss didn’t ever ask about whether we would push back in the interview, but he ran the office in a way that allowed for dissent and push back about a wide variety of things. I don’t consider myself a person who pushes back frequently, but somehow the way he ran the office made it obvious we wouldn’t be punished for disagreeing with him, that he MADE me a person who pushes back and offers new ideas. There was an article recently that said apparently Chuck Schumer’s office is like this too–he always wants to hear what his staff thinks, even if he disagrees with it and doesn’t end up doing it.

  21. MicroManagered*

    Message him this: “I’m trying to close out the accounting for Julie’s flowers and I don’t have your portion yet. Could you Venmo it to me today so I can close this out?” Just be matter-of-fact and assume good intent on his part.

    OP2, even this sounds kind of stiff and weird to me. (Nothing is wrong with this wording, it just isn’t how I personally talk, and I work with actual accountants so it would sound weird to use the word accounting this way.)

    I would message him and say “Hi Tristan! It looks like I never got your portion for Julie’s flowers. It was $117 ÷ 5 of us, which makes your portion $23.40. My venmo is @name whenever you get a chance. Thanks!”

    This is such a normal thing. Just ask!

    1. MsM*

      The problem with that phrasing is that OP’s already basically tried the “whenever you get a chance” framing and gotten no reaction. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “I’d really like to get this squared away today.”

      1. MicroManagered*

        No – I don’t see in the letter where OP2 said she reached out to her boss with a one-on-one, targeted communication asking for a specific dollar amount. That’s different than an email blast about when flowers would be delivered.

        As a manager, I get SO MUCH communication (email, meetings, Teams messages, etc.) that something which started “Julie’s flowers will be delivered…” might not stick out to me as an action item. I think the fact that it’s targeted, one-on-one communication asking for a specific dollar amount will carry a different implication of pay me now, please and have wrangled many office fund collections this way with success.

        BUT if you/OP2 want to say “today” … say today. The point is that it’s not a big deal. Just ask!

        1. Rachel*

          I totally agree. I think there’s a 99% chance the boss just overlooked the email, meant to do it and forgot, something totally innocuous like that. It’s annoying when it’s your money, but it will almost certainly be trivial (one direct email reminder) to get him to square it away.

  22. Kaiko*

    LW4: Can you suggest monthly or quarterly “innovation jams” where your team and CEO can go through projects and see if there are successes to be celebrated or “innovations” that can be added to the next project cycle? You might be able to pitch the review time as a chance to see the innovation in action for a little while to surface weak spots and bring forward the best bits (or whatever, I don’t speak innovationese).

    I know the culture of CQI can mean that nothing ever actually gets done because someone/everyone is constantly refining the work, but at some point, you need to see how the thing actually works before you take it all apart again.

    1. Wintermute*


      One of the reasons that agile development is done in sprints is that at some point you need to compile the damned thing, replace the installer file on your website, go into your app store accounts and upload the new file, shut down the web servers and upload the new files, whatever it takes to make your.product.1.1 into your.product.1.2

      The danger of taking agile-type methodology out of the software world is that agile is designed to operate inside the rails of what it means to be a software developer, including deployments being a fairly big deal and the need to, at some point, literally “commit” (if you’re using GIT at least) to a change. Take away those assumptions and it can get out of hand fast.

      1. MsSolo (UK)*

        Yes – I think one of the worst things to happen with Agile is taking it out of product development and insisting it also works for project management. When you’re doing the same thing for years (like having regular meetings) the temptation to keep looking for improvements is strong, but it’s really just busywork 90% of the time.

        1. Wintermute*

          Obviously this won’t work if it’s coming down from On High but one way I’ve seen that solved is by requiring a rough business case and some data be included with the suggestion. nothing one person couldn’t gather on their own, nothing highly formal, just a “I tracked calls to this team for a month and found x% were caused by Y issue”

          That way managers can be sure that the juice is worth the squeeze, and that they aren’t spending dollars chasing dimes or committing resources to something that doesn’t really affect anyone meaningfully.

  23. Irish Teacher*

    LW5, you could also give a hypothetical, “what would you do if your boss did…?” typed question. While it wasn’t primarily intended to see if I would push back, I was once asked in an interview about what I’d do if I had safe-guarding concerns about a student and I said, as is procedure in Ireland, that I would report it to the principal and they then asked what I would do if the principal did not act on what I had reported. They primarily wanted to see if I knew that I should then report it myself if I still had concerns, but you could probably use something similar to find out if somebody would push back against a boss.

    If you phrased it as “a boss/your manager” rather than “if I…” people might feel more confident saying they’d push back and if you suggested an issue that could be resolved in more ways than one, you might be more likely to get an indication of what they would really do than just “would you speak up if a boss…?”

    1. Kara*

      I don’t know, this seems like a situation where “if I” might be better than “if a manager”. The OP -is- the person they’d be pushing back against, and the OP is specifically screening for people who definitely will; not just say that they will. The ability to look OP in the eye and say something today is valuable; not waiting for six months or a year from now when they’ve gotten to know the OP better and feel safe doing so.

  24. CheesePlease*

    OP#2 – could it be that your manager misunderstood? Did everyone contribute the same amount (ex: I was looking at this arrangement, which is $150 so $30 each if we all pitch in) or was it more casual (ex: hey I think we should send flowers, you can venmo me something and I will put that towards a nice arrangement). If it’s the later, he may have assumed only 4 people contributed and that you didn’t buy something expecting money from him if that makes sense.

  25. L-squared*

    #1. This is why I don’t like looking up people’s social media outside of LinkedIn. I know people these days think they have a right to do this, but I just think it makes things super weird. I get into these same arguments in dating. Just because you CAN look up something, doesn’t mean that you should. Because also, you can’t unsee this stuff, and your mind will already be made up about them. I’m a liberal politically and also a POC, and frankly, I still try to just base my opinion of someone on how they are toward me at work, not what they think outside of work. But if you know you’ll have a hard time working with them, I totally think its fine to ask to stick with your current manager. Going to HR seems a bit much to me. He hasn’t done anything wrong yet as an employee. I’m not even clear if these likes and retweets are recent or just has done them at some point. If you were able to find that info, I’m sure the hiring manager and HR could have as well, and if they were opposed to it, they could have acted accordingly.

    1. L-squared*

      Also, to add, I really don’t like companies who try to decide what content employees can have on their own social media. I mean, there are some extreme exceptions, but overall, I think that kind of policing has the ability to be too much overreach. So even if they saw it, I don’t want to imply that they condone it, but maybe just to say they aren’t in the practice of telling others what they can/can’t put up.

      1. Wintermute*

        I’m totally with you. It starts with people asking for it or companies feeling obligated to it because of “good” reasons, but at the end of the day corporations are going to be corporations– eventually they’re going to use that precedent to go after people who aren’t toeing the corporate line, or are critical of corporate welfare, or in favor of higher corporate tax rates, or otherwise against them grabbing everything they can with both hands.

          1. Grammar Penguin*

            To clarify, corporations have been seeking ways of weeding out potential troublemakers since Marx was a schoolboy. The only new thing is that “potential troublemakers” now includes misogynists and racists in addition to leftists and unionists. This is not a bad thing.

            1. Grammar Penguin*

              To further clarify, if I am required (and I am) to anonymize my #eattherich social media posts in order to find employment at all, then I don’t have a problem with someone else having to do the same for their #whitepower or #womenamirite posts in order to manage people.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        They’re not deciding that, though. They’re just deciding whether or not someone who holds those views should be inflicted on employees who belong to the groups that the opinions affect.

        1. Not A Manager*

          Resting the justification on this distinction is dangerous, though, because the outcome would be that racist bigots would happily be supervising only “their own folks.” And it means that “their own folks” would be siloed in a homogenous group through no fault of theirs.

          I think it’s perfectly fine to say that hateful people don’t get to supervise anyone, even people they don’t hate.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            . . . or we could, like, not hire them in the first place. We don’t have to be party to giving them people to supervise.

          2. metadata minion*

            It’s absolutely an option for white people to say they don’t want to be supervised by white supremacists. I feel strongly that if you have that type of bigoted worldview you shouldn’t be supervising *anyone*.

    2. Melissa*

      I agree with you on it being wiser to just avoid looking up peoples personal accounts. Not everyone— not anyone actually— is going to hold all viewpoints that I consider acceptable. If I just assume that certain people think really reprehensible things, it’s better that I don’t know about it. Knowing about it will poison the relationship, which could have otherwise remained innocently (ignorantly) warm.

      1. L-squared*

        Exactly. Because I think it can be too easy to make some very sweeping judgments based on very little. This person voted for a political candidate you don’t like? Then you think they are a bigot. They post a lot of religious stuff? How do you know they won’t try to convert you? They follow certain “controversial” content creators? Does that mean that agree with their controversial views?

        It just becomes way too much to decide you know someone based on that very small slice of their life.

        1. Not your typical admin*

          Very much this! Like you said, social media is just a slice of life. I’m a very religious person, and I tend to share positive, religious things. Does that mean that every time I encounter someone that I’m going to try and convert them? Not at all. I know how to get along with people, and treat everyone with dignity and respect. Also, just because you follow a certain account doesn’t mean you agree with every single thing they post. I follow several elected leaders and politicians I would never vote for simply because they share news and information. Get to know the person, not who they appear to be on social media.

          1. L-squared*

            Right. There are some accounts that I follow for entertainment, and sometimes they tweet out things I don’t necessarily agree with. That doesn’t mean I should be judged simply for following them.

            1. Grammar Penguin*

              No, people follow political opponents all the time. Hate-following is a thing, it’s just monitoring the other side to see what their current or next line of attack is going to be. How do you respond to an opponent if you don’t know what they’re saying?

              Following someone doesn’t indicate agreement at all, just that you’re reading them. Liking and sharing and reposting are how you express agreement.

          2. Happy meal with extra happy*

            You can’t see the difference between sharing positive messages versus hate speech? That’s concerning.

          3. Kara*

            But who they present themselves to be on social media is part of who that person is. Bluntly: do you know anyone who posts or shares outright bigotted material on their social media who privately disagrees with that material? I don’t.

        2. GreenShoes*

          Agree… I follow people on social media that I totally and fundamentally disagree with. But if you were to look at who I follow how would you know that?

          Honestly I think people are way to quick to paint others as caricatures based on the flavor of the day that everyone is at risk of running afoul of being judged.

          So my advice to the OP is …
          1. Stop searching for people on SM that you work with
          2. Treat every in person interaction as the basis for judgement
          3. Ask to stay on Willow’s team if you can’t do 1 and 2
          4. Challenge what you think you know of a person based on superficial evidence such as SM

          1. Grammar Penguin*

            What a person likes, shares, and retweets isn’t superficial evidence. It’s who they are, who they choose to be in public. It’s a deeper revelation of their deeper self that they do not present at work. That’s the opposite of superficial.

            Their work persona, the person they present themselves as, is the superficial one. So really, what you want is to only judge them by the superficial self that they present at work and ignore any deeper truth you might learn about their personal character, even if it directly relates to their ability to manage people without inviting liability.

          2. metadata minion*

            Do you not post any of your own content, even an “ugh, seriously?” accompanying a retweet or whatever? I would put a lot more weight on what a person says than who they follow. Plenty of people follow horrible people on social media so they can pay attention to what they’re doing.

            1. I have RBF*

              Yeah, I will quote tweet and comment on posts that are… bigotted. But my Twitter says up front that retweets are not endorsement. I’m often calling out problematic posts.

        3. Grammar Penguin*

          “This person voted for a political candidate you don’t like? Then you think they are a bigot.”
          If I don’t like the candidate because the candidate says bigoted things, accepts the endorsement of bigoted organizations, and deliberately appeals to bigots for their votes, then yes, I’m going to think people who vote for the bigot are themselves bigoted or at least do not consider bigotry unacceptable.

          “I openly support a bigot and now people think I’m a bigot! It’s so UNFAIR!” No. It’s totally fair to assume a supporter of a bigot is a bigot.

        4. BuildMeUp*

          None of your examples are what the OP says this person is sharing. Liking a certain political candidate is not the same thing as sharing racist and misogynistic content.

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Yes, it’s much better to just be puzzled about why Xander always promotes white men over their female or POC counterparts. No way anyone could have known that was a potential issue!

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      I think it’s different when someone posts that they really love apple pie and go on and on about it. He is posting ideas that deliberately belittle and marginalize certain groups of people based on gender and race. I would want to know about that ahead of time.

      It may not be hate speech, but it is certainly adjacent to hate speech. And as Alison has pointed out in the past, we have decided as a culture to handle that differently.

      Also, this is something they are posting publicly. Any time you do this, you are asking to be judged based on this. He’s apparently trying to fit in with some sort of “bro” culture and will no doubt get approval from them because of it. Why shouldn’t he get disapproval from people who want to create a more equitable and just society?

      tl;dr: If you post it, people get to judge you by it.

      1. L-squared*

        But even if you are posting publicly, I feel that doing this is getting dangerously close to thought policing. You can’t even like a statement someone else said without someone in the future wanting to get your employer involved. That seems excessive to me. I can judge anyone for anything, but at some point people are more than a few of their views that they may have agreed with someone on.

        I just feel that, in general, in a work relationship, people should be judged by what they do at work. If you don’t want to hang out with someone socially because of it, I get that.

        1. misspiggy*

          The trouble is that by the time you find out that your manager has blocked you for promotion because you’re a woman or a person of colour, you can’t make up that damage.

          This person has publicly – not privately – expressed negative views about women and black people. They might make a great subject matter expert, but they should not be managing women or black people.

        2. Generic Name*

          Tweeting isn’t just thinking. I don’t give a rat’s ass what someone thinks. A person can be the most misogynist, bigoted, transphobe ever, but if their actions never show that, I don’t really care. Actions (like speaking, even via social media) matter.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            I would pay money, though, to meet someone who was that misogynistic, bigoted, and transphobic and magically never let it affect their actions.

            1. Kara*

              But who they present themselves to be on social media is part of who that person is. Bluntly: do you know anyone who posts or shares outright bigotted material on their social media who privately disagrees with that material? I don’t.

              1. Dust Bunny*

                That is exactly my point: If he’s posting it on social media, it’s reasonable to assume that that’s who he is, and that should be a plenty good reason to not hire him.

        3. Dust Bunny*

          Nobody owes him this job. They’re not telling him he can’t think or post it; they would just be declining to hire him because of the effect it might have on his underlings.

          But if you’d like to work for a manager who had openly espoused derogatory views of groups that include you and that you can’t opt out of, you do that.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Social media has created this whole space that doesn’t seem to fit the way our brains work regarding what is “openly said” and what is “prying too much.”

      It used to be that if I met Bob, and he did not tell me right out front about his flat-Earth conspiracy theory, nor did he wear a T-shirt or hat that said “Everyone who thinks the Earth is round is a sucker”, then I would just take him as presented on the surface. And if he seemed to mostly be a good person, whom I liked, then eventually stumbling over that facet of Bob might make me reconsider my stereotypes of what sort of person believes the Earth is flat.

      Whereas if I first met Bob online, the flat-Earth stuff was probably prominent on his Facebook, twitter, etc, and so is the main thing I know about him.

      But Facebook, Twitter, etc, are public spaces where the public can view what you said–it’s not like my being aware of the content of your public twitter feed is the equivalent of my paying hundreds of dollars to a PI to run a background check. It’s more like I am aware of what you do in your front yard because my sister lives down the street from you and when I visit her I can plainly see what you are doing in your front yard, all with no special effort on my part. And if that stuff was supposed to all be your private business and not used to judge you, maybe your front yard is not the place for a “Why lizard people flattened the Earth” display.

      I think the combination of social media with the information age (e.g. that if you want to hide the truth, a firehose of untruth is an excellent method) is pushing up against some ape-brain limits in a way that is not very good for society.

      1. L-squared*

        I guess my thought is, you do have to actively go looking for their social media. Even if you google them and they come up (I also highly doubt a random person’s twitter is going to just come up in a google search unless you add “twitter” to it), you still have to click on it and actively read into their history. So this isn’t quite as passive as you are making it out to be. Using your analogy, its akin to this person living in your sisters neighborhood, but you doing research to find their address and then going out of your way to drive past their house everytime you are in the area. Whatever you want to call it, OP went looking for info on this person, its not like it just fell in their lap. So I think the act of doing it in general is overall not great.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          And if we contact references, how is that any different? We still have to make an effort to get it out there.

          It is entirely possible to create social media accounts without your actual name or picture. If their social media accounts can be easily found by googling their name, then they want them to be found.

          And if they want to be a bigot, they can go work for a company that supports bigots, racists, and misogynists. There is no room for that at the company I work for.

          1. Grammar Penguin*

            Excellent point about references. It’s considered a best practice to check references, in some cases even to seek out references the candidate didn’t give you, like reaching out to people in your own network who may have worked with them.

            So why is it considered normal, acceptable, even recommended as a best practice, to seek out and consider what other people have to say about a candidate, and to take those people at their word, but it’s somehow unusual, unfair, or unwise to seek out and consider what the candidate says about themselves? Keep in mind, this is for supervising management position.

            1. Barbarella*

              “So why is it considered normal, acceptable, even recommended as a best practice, to seek out and consider what other people have to say about a candidate, and to take those people at their word, but it’s somehow unusual, unfair, or unwise to seek out and consider what the candidate says about themselves?”

              It’s not at all unusual, unfair, or unwise to seek out and consider what the candidate says about themselves. That’s why we hold interviews with candidates.

              The part that is of debatable fairness and wisdom is seeking out what the candidate says about themselves or what other people have to say about the candidate in a non-work context. Despite the trend toward bringing your whole self to work, most of us leave the parts of ourselves that believe lizard people flattened the Earth at home. When you check references, you are calling who know them in a work context and asking about how they act at work. If they tell you Blake is a crack software engineer but is perceived as a little weird bc they knit in meetings, well, you know something about what they are like at work, which is the relevant context. If they have either MAGA signs or people are not illegal signs in their front yard, neither matters if they leave those signs and that conversation at home. That’s one reason hiring managers don’t want neighbors or family members as references for candidates–because what someone is like as a neighbor, family member, or twitter persona is not necessarily what they are like as an employee.

              1. Peanut Hamper*

                neither matters if they leave those signs and that conversation at home

                Well, they can leave the signs and conversations at home, but can they leave those thoughts and beliefs about other people at home? Not likely.

                That’s one reason hiring managers don’t want neighbors or family members as references for candidates–because what someone is like as a neighbor, family member, or twitter persona is not necessarily what they are like as an employee.

                Not quite. We don’t want neighbors or family members as reference because they they can’t vouch for the candidate’s work habits. We’re not looking for character references; we’re looking for work references. Someone can support all the same causes and political parties that I do, but if all their work references tell me they do nothing but slack off at work, I’m not going to hire them.

        2. Happy meal with extra happy*

          It’s entirely disingenuous to act like literally driving to someone’s neighborhood is the same as clicking on one’s twitter link, an intentionally easily accessible, easily found social media page, the purpose of which is to express the views of the one tweeting (and, in this case, re-tweeting).

        3. jasmine*

          I think it would be more like OP already knew the address of the boss and decided to drive by once. A Google search is a two second thing, it’s pretty different from tracking down an address and continuously checking in on the house.

        4. Kel*

          depending on the person’s name it is 100% possible that twitter is the first thing that came up, followed by linkedin etc.

        5. Grammar Penguin*

          “I also highly doubt a random person’s twitter is going to just come up in a google search unless you add “twitter” to it”

          Try it. Most people don’t actually have much of an online presence other than their social media. If you google my name, the first 3 pages will be other people. The only hits you’ll get that are actually me will be my old Facebook posts.

    5. bamcheeks*

      I would probably agree with you if it was someone going for a manufacturing job, or a dog-grooming job, or a brick-laying job, or something else that was chiefly about a physical skill and interaction with your immediate team and physical objects. In that situation, by all means judge them on their skills and their ability to get on with their team.

      I think it’s markedly different when someone is going for a management role, or any professional role where they will have power over people (teacher, nurse, mental health worker, social work, counsellor, union shop steward, etc.) In that situation, you need to be actively committed to treating people fairly, and the people you have power over need to have confidence that they will be treated fairly. And you cannot control your employees’ or your students’/patients’/service-users’/union members ability to google. In those situations, I think having a public commitment to EDI and at the very least some layers of plausible deniability and privacy around your personal beliefs is absolutely a fair and logical part of the role.

    6. Emmy Noether*

      I’m of two minds about this: one the one hand, I agree that privately held opinions and political leanings shouldn’t factor into employment. On the other… as a society, we have decided that discrimination for race, gender, etc is not ok, and the employer has an interest in not employing people who are in favor of discrimination. This is a manager. His views have a likely bearing on how he will do his job, and could do real damage to the employer. This is not a difference of opinion on things like tax rates or school funding etc., which have nothing to do with doing one’s job day to day.

      Like imagine the private account was all about how embezzlement is smart, more people should get rich by simply embezzling from their employer, etc. Should that also be completely ignored?

      1. L-squared*

        But what if that person is actively encouraging you to have boundaries at work, not work extra, push back on things, etc that a company might find objectionable. Should that mean a person shouldn’t get a job? Again, my problem is that sure, today its pushing back against someone retweeting an “All Lives Matter” post or something negative about BLM protests. But what if management shifts, and now any anti Trump (or other radical politician) is now the things that your company is policing your views on?

        There are illegal things, like embezzlement, then their are opinions which may not be popular, which I think fall into a different category.

        1. Nina*

          If your opinion is that women should not be in the workplace, and you get hired as the manager of a team, then either a) there are no women in the team and never will be because the company also doesn’t think women should be in the workplace, in which case fine, they have their own problems and hiring you won’t make those problems worse or b) there are or may someday be women in the team and there is a very real and large risk that you will illegally discriminate against them, putting the company in for a world of hurt.

          In neither case would I, as a woman, consider continuing to work for a company that knew about someone’s misogynistic opinions and hired them as my manager anyway.

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          “But what if management shifts, and now any anti Trump (or other radical politician) is now the things that your company is policing your views on?”

          If the management shifts and starts pushing back against people who are not pro-MRA, I’d say run, and not because they are “policing different views”.

        3. Jackalope*

          It’s also illegal to discriminate against people who are members of a protected class, which this person is giving strong indications that he would do.

        4. 2011*

          I think it’s a false equivalence to say “we shouldn’t let companies judge candidates by their social media even if they’re tweeting hate speech because what if they judge candidates for posting leftist content?”

          The hate speech is the part that makes a difference here! We don’t need to be tolerant of hate speech just because it invites judgment on other speech. It matters what the speech is! If a racist employer is policing leftist speech, the issue is not that the employer is policing speech–it’s that they’re racist!

      2. Dust Bunny*

        They’re no longer privately-held if they affect people who work for you. Your rights end at my nose.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          To clarify: I meant private as the contrary of professional, not private as the contrary of public. I do think even publicly held opinions should not factor into employment.

          That is, as long as everyone’s nose remains unharmed by them, as you put it. Completely agreed on that.

      3. bamcheeks*

        (I do think it’s interesting that “tax rates” are always given as an example of a non-controversial political opinion that doesn’t involve hate or bigotry. It’s completely nuts to me that anyone considers how a society allocates its resources a separate issue from who the society values and esteems. and who it rejects.)

        1. Emmy Noether*

          ugh, I was trying to come up with a better example, but it was taking too long.

          I don’t think tax rates are uncontroversial, and I agree with you on them actually being fundamental in what and who a society values. There are few political stances that can’t be traced to more fundamental values. Still, I think they are more unlikely to directly, significantly predict how one does one’s job day-to-day.

        2. jasmine*

          Honestly though this is the issue with liberals deciding that some political opinions are okay and some are not. In practice the acceptable beliefs end up amounting to “beliefs that you can hold while still being liberal”. And beliefs that exclude not fringe far right groups, but 50% of the US.

          To be clear, I myself am a liberal, at least wrt to feminism and anti-racism and taxes. And this isn’t to say OP shouldn’t do anything (they should) but we could have more nuanced and productive discussion if people realized the practical effects of saying “this is an acceptable belief and this is not”. Because it’s not as cut and dry, and then you end up with things like the above. Political opinions are more often than not *controversial opinions* and it’s weird to act like they aren’t. Like “real” politics is just a nice game.

          1. Grammar Penguin*

            We’re into topics of racism and misogyny in this instance though. What nuanced and productive discussion is there to be had when one side is literally saying that certain types of people are inferior and less deserving of humane treatment?

            For a brief time in the late 20th century, racism became an unacceptable belief to express in public. Now it’s apparently not anymore so we need to have more nuanced discussions about it than in the past. Or is that 30 years ago more than half of the people would agree that racism is wrong but now about half the people are perfectly fine with racism and this is the fault of liberals and their intolerance? Because more people are willing to be open about their racism than 30 years ago, therefore we need to respect them? I’m really not following what you’re trying to say here.

          2. Littorally*

            You’re saying this like you think that conservativism doesn’t include any stance about what political opinions are okay and which ones aren’t. Is that really what you mean?

            Because you are incredibly dead wrong about that. Conservatives also think that all sorts of things aren’t acceptable to say, but the things they’re counting as unacceptable are things like “slavery happened and was bad” and “queer folks exist and deserve the same rights and dignity as cishet folks.” Are you just like, completely unaware of all of the many, many pushes in many parts of the US to censor the sharing of any opinions not approved by hardcore right-wing groups?

          3. Jackalope*

            The slippery slope argument doesn’t work here though, or at least it’s easy to avoid. It’s true that the left has our own purity tests just like the right does, and it’s possible to go overboard with that. But I’m very comfortable saying that someone who openly, publicly argues that some people are lesser or subhuman because of their [race, sex, disability, queerness, fill in the blanks] shouldn’t be allowed to be a manager and that should be considered disqualifying. The world is full of potential good managers; the OP’s company doesn’t need to hire someone who is openly anti-black and misogynist to supervise.

          4. New Jack Karyn*

            “liberals deciding that some political opinions are okay and some are not”

            Racist opinions are not okay.

            Misogynist opinions are not okay.

            Anti-queer opinions are not okay.

            Cool? Cool. We’re all cool now.

        3. Wintermute*

          I don’t think they’re non-controversial, I think that they’re a good example because people have a great number of reasons for how they feel about tax rates. The same person could be in favor of increasing local taxes to fund schools but against federal tax increases because of how much of that goes to the military, or they could be in favor of increasing local taxes because they live in an affluent area that can afford it while being against increasing state taxes that would primarily burden poorer urban areas. While someone else could be against increasing local taxes because they fear brain drain and driving away the younger generation for cheaper pastures, or worry about property taxes forcing local family farms to sell to developers or agricorps. None of those are immoral things to worry about.

          Of course there are moral implications to someone’s beliefs on taxation but it doesn’t map out neatly to right and wrong, more taxes is not inherently more moral or inherently less moral the same way, say, equity is an inherent good the more the better.

          1. Grammar Penguin*

            Exactly this. Who gets taxed and to what purpose arise directly from one’s fundamental political beliefs.

            Do we fund an unlimited military force for global domination, paid for with a regressive taxes that hit the working class hardest? Do we fund public healthcare and education with a progressive tax that hits the wealthiest hardest?

            The fact that income from investment/capital gains is taxed at half the rate of income from wages tells you about our nation’s priorities. As does the fact that any income from disability, unemployment, and retirement pensions is taxed at the same rate as income from wages.

    7. MsSolo (UK)*

      This is where I fall. Searching for people’s social media seems like a way to introduce more bias into a hiring process, and while that might be a benefit in this specific case, as a common practice it’s absolutely going to hurt marginalised people more than cishet white men. There’s a solid chance you’ll turn up things you’re not allowed to consider during the hiring process. like age, religion, sexuality, and a risk you get the wrong person’s social media altogether (or a deliberate troll (‘parody’) account, depending on the platform and the individual).

      For LW, I think asking to stay under their current manager and revealing why is a reasonable use of their capital, but I wouldn’t be pushing their HR to start checking the social media of every applicant (or current employee!).

    8. jasmine*

      Also POC here and I get what you mean. I just haven’t found that this kind of person can create an inclusive environment at work. Like there are the micro-aggresions and those vague feelings of being judged for doing things “wrong” because people with heavy unconscious bias hold women and POC to different standards. Like I have to try harder and be sweeter and if they are called on it, it’s just another sign with how society favors POC and women.

      To your point, it’s also possible that I’ve met people with these views and just don’t know it because they’re much better at hiding it. But an inclusive environment also seems like something that even folks with the best of intentions have to cultivate with some effort so… idk.

    9. Kel*

      I want to know if the person I’m about to meet is lying to me about if they think I, as a trans queer person, should be imprisoned or subject to conversion therapy. I don’t care how nice they are to me.

    10. Totally Minnie*

      I’m not of the opinion that I need to have any sympathy for people who say bigoted things in public with their whole chests.

      I’m part of one of the first generations of teenagers who had access to the internet. Teachers and other adults in positions of authority were CONSTANTLY telling us that the internet had the potential to be dangerous. One reminder that’s stuck with me all these years is that the internet is in public, and it’s not that different from standing on a soap box in the town square and shouting your opinions at the people passing by. As a result, the only social media account I have with my real name and photo is locked down with as many privacy restrictions as possible. If there’s something I want to say to people I know but not to the world at large, I have my social media configured to allow that.

      The man in this letter is posting racist and misogynistic content, and he’s doing it with his real name and the same photo he uses on his LinkedIn. This leaves us with two possibilities. Either he believes these things so strongly that he doesn’t care if people see, or he’s extremely ignorant and naive about how the internet works. Neither of those is a reason to give this man a job.

      The only way we’re going to reduce the amount of bigotry in the world is if it starts being met with consequences.

      1. Grammar Penguin*

        Another possibility: He knows that people will see them and doesn’t care if it costs him a job because he doesn’t want to work for a company that cares about such things. I’d say in that case to let him have his wish. Let him work somewhere where he’ll fit in because the management shares his views.

        Do you imagine he wouldn’t overlook you for a job if the situation were reversed? In my experience, someone who espouses MRA views will absolutely do anything to avoid hiring a woman for any position of responsibility. The openly racist bigots that I have known, and I’ve known way too many especially at work (I’m a white male so they don’t hide themselves around me until I tell them to F off), have told me outright that they’ll do anything to avoid hiring or working with a black person.

    11. Onward*

      So… it’s the LW’s fault that they’re in this situation because they Googled someone? And their belief that someone who posts racist and misogynistic crap on their social media (and apparently leave it public) would not be able to fairly manage people who they view as subhuman is somehow unreasonable?

      “I’m a liberal politically and also a POC, and frankly, I still try to just base my opinion of someone on how they are toward me at work, not what they think outside of work.”

      So it’s all about how they treat you personally. If they say shit about people of your race or gender outside of work, that doesn’t bother you at all? What if they’re talking about you specifically outside of work but still put on a nice smile for you at work?

      To be clear, proving discrimination at work in the United States (not sure about anywhere else) is extremely difficult unless you have cold, hard proof (like emails saying you didn’t hire so-and-so because of their race/gender/age/other protected class). Companies can be very good about hiding ulterior motives and discriminatory practices. They get away with it all the time. This dude is going to be managing other people. Saying that his opinions are going to be left at the door when he comes into work is naïve at best and actively harmful at worst.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Can confirm the last paragraph, we had a teammate who routinely did and said things that should come with a CW/TW if I were to post about them here, and had people (including his manager) going to HR about those things all.the.time – and the HR’s answer always was “but he didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to do that, we need to give the guy a second chance”. Took a couple of years until he was finally fired and we could all breathe easier coming into work. (I was afraid of him and know at least one more coworker that was too.) If this dude gets this job, he’ll likely outlast OP and OP’s teammates in it and there’ll be nothing they can do.

    12. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      In dating/close relationships, it makes sense to look at the potential partner’s social media. In that context, there really isn’t room for “sure he thinks you’re inferior, but you’d never guess it from his behavior at a restaurant or movie.”

      In a work/professional context, some things that would be a deal-breaker in dating are OK. Buffy can spend all her free time watching football or all her spare money on yarn, as long as she doesn’t hijack work meetings to discuss knitting, or expect her coworkers to work every Saturday because she “has to” watch sports.

      If someone fills their Twitter feed with natter about football, that tells me they think football is important, and who their favorite NFL team is. Fine, not my jam, but whatever. If someone is posting racist comments about Black players on their public social media feed, those opinions are at least part of what they want people to know about them. They may not expect everyone to agree with them, but they don’t expect someone at the water cooler to say “hey, Fergus, what the hell! Do you really believe that crap?”

      1. metadata minion*

        I don’t need to care about my coworkers’ positions on football, because our work does not involve football. I do need to know their opinions on trans people because I, a trans person, need to have a workplace that doesn’t contain people who literally think I’m a danger to children and should be tortured until I agreed that I’m a girl.

        1. Jackalope*


          I’ve had coworkers with hobbies that don’t interest me, and coworkers I don’t mesh with. That’s fine. What is not fine with me is an MRA supervisor who thinks men should be able to have sex with whatever women he wants whether they consent or not; I’m incredibly not okay with a man like that having power over my career. Likewise with a man who thinks he can f@$& me into being straight and if I refuse he can force me anyway. The former is a super common MRA belief and it’s NOT OKAY for a supervisor to believe it.

    13. Flowers*

      Idk. On one hand I get it and agree. but OTOH…..sometimes you see comments from people that instantly set off alarm bells. Ex/ on a post about an elderly person being assaulted, there was someone defending the assailant saying they would have done the same thing – that person was a nursing home worker. so yea that’s a BFD IMO. or another example I frequently see….a teacher or doctor/medical professional espousing beliefs that indicate women/POC are sub-human? freely calling people the R-word? errr…no.

    14. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      On one hand, in the corporate world, I personally assume that everyone from my grandboss’s level and up shares Xander’s views in some capacity, unless explicitly proven otherwise.

      On the other hand, people are typically better at hiding this stuff. I’ve worked for and with people with some pretty despicable (to me) strongly held opinions, but at least, they had the good sense not to post about them on SM, or not to post under their real name, or to limit who can see what they post. Xander is… pretty blatant about what he thinks. To me it says he does not mind the world knowing and doesn’t see anything wrong with what he posts or shares or retweets. And this is someone who’s going to manage people and decide on who gets raises, promotions, who is laid off and who isn’t and so on.

      I’m following the “we believe OPs” rule and to me it says that what OP found was pretty far from your ordinary run-of-the-mill “differing opinion”, if OP is adamant that they do not, under any circumstances, want to work for this person, and are worried for their teammates as well. I have retweeted some wildly bigoted things myself, but with a comment like “holy smokes would you look at this nonsense” and this is apparently not being the case with Xander – I am not in love with the idea that OP is simply confused and doesn’t understand what Xander really meant by the retweets and that they are in fact harmless – I’m going to believe OP and assume they are not.

  26. Lacey*

    LW4 – This sort of work behavior drives me insane.

    I used to work somewhere with hard deadlines and if you didn’t meet them you just failed the client and had to refund their money. So there couldn’t be endless rounds of feedback.

    Since then I’ve worked in places where there can just be changes forever and ever and ever.

    And since we can change it any time, people don’t feel any urgency to get us all of the information we need up front – we’ll just change it later!

    It’s infuriating.

    And no one seems to realize that they’re keeping us from doing more or even caring about doing more. We do the bare minimum so we won’t be burnt out when all the changes come.

  27. Peanut Hamper*

    #2: It is also entirely possible that the boss did pay LW, and there was an issue that caused the payment to not go through. He may have entered the phone number incorrectly. LW really should say something.

  28. HonorBox*

    OP3 – I can absolutely understand that you didn’t want to disclose medical information. I also can appreciate that not knowing exactly when the surgery would occur leads to more people living in a bit of limbo with you. That said, a quick heads up to your manager that you’ve accepted a spot on the cancellation list, meaning the turn around for your surgery could be much quicker would help them a bit as they try to prepare and prioritize things. Then they’re not blindsided that you’ll be out a bit when you announce that you’ll be out a bit. A good manager won’t follow you around asking for details and continuing to request schedule updates. But they will ask you a few more questions so that any handoff of projects can be done seamlessly and they can give you the time you need to recover.

  29. Emily B*

    For #2- Venmo offers an option to request money from people. You could do this now, or I’ve gotten in the habit of just requesting money instead of asking people to send it to me. Then if they don’t fulfill the request you can send a reminder through the app- super easy and makes it feel a little less personal I think.

  30. Amanda*

    LW3: you did the right thing keeping your private medical information to yourself until you had surgery scheduled. You only need to look at LW1 to see the type of people that get hired into management. A few years ago I returned to work too soon after an emergency surgery because my manager “didn’t know” he wasn’t supposed to immediately ask me when I’d be back, thus making me feel pressured to do so, and “didn’t know” I should be cleared by dr before working. When I physically couldn’t handle working and had to go to HR to determine what to do guess who covered for him. Work is not your family, look out for yourself!

    1. Zebra*

      I agree that you shouldn’t have returned until after you were cleared to work, but it doesn’t sound like he was pressuring you to come back, just that he was asking? That doesn’t seem so bad. I’m not understanding why you didn’t just tell him you needed your doctor to clear you to come back…

  31. DJ Abbott*

    #1, no matter what happens, this says some things about upper management at your company. They are either incompetent, or they share Xanders values.
    -if they hired him without googling him and seeing what you saw, I question their competence.
    -if they’re aware of his views and hired him anyway, that means they are OK with his views.

    Best case scenario is they did not Google him, and they’re horrified and un-hire him right away, and give the people who didn’t Google him better training on how to check out a candidate. If this doesn’t happen, you will know some things about upper management going forward.

    Several years ago, I had a job working for a good female manager. She retired and the man who replaced her thought he understood our work and the department, and he was wrong. He fired me because a creepy file clerk wouldn’t leave me alone, even though I had always had outstanding evaluations and was doing work that no one else there could do. Xander is probably good at appearing to be reasonable and competent, like this man was.

    If they hire Xander and let you keep working for Willow, try to stay out of the drama that will eventually happen. With luck they’ll get rid of Xander without you being involved. If you do end up working under Xander, my best advice is to keep quiet and keep your head down until you can get out of there. Standing up to him will make you a target.
    Good luck!

  32. Beth*

    Just here to say thanks for the Buffy references and well-cast problematic Xander.

    As a note, I definitely think it’s worth bringing up. Not only for your own interactions and the perception of the company, but also to see if this company is somewhere you want to be long term. I know that I would want my company to be progressive to whatever extent they could, and that would include not hiring someone in a managerial position who so clearly has biases and there is zero chance that isn’t going to play out, in unconscious ways, in the workplace. If they disregard that entirely with “everyone is entitled to their opinions” versus “that is problematic and we will a. rescind his offer or b. put him in diversity training immediately” then that tells you a lot about the company values as a whole.

    1. L-squared*

      See, for me, barring some VERY extreme things, if I found out my company rescinded an offer or forced diversity training over some likes and retweets on their personal twitter account, that would give me a worse opinion of my company. Even if I disagreed with the person’s stance, I also do feel like people should be able to hold those unpopular opinions. Because if they are willing to rescind/force training based on this, how do I know they wouldn’t use that to do it for more questionable things later?

      1. Magenta*

        Exactly this!
        Your employers don’t own you and your thoughts.
        Who is to say that public opinion won’t change and what could be perfectly acceptable, good opinions now won’t be reasons to be fired in the future?

        1. bamcheeks*

          I don’t think it should be based on anything as vague as “good opinions”. I think employers should have active and explicit commitments to equality and diversity and require anyone who is managing people to also be committed to those things.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          Socially acceptable =/= not harmful.

          There are plenty of “acceptable” views that are pointedly harmful to (women, minorities, LGBQT+, etc.). It was perfectly socially acceptable to fire women for getting married until quite recently.

        3. Happy meal with extra happy*

          Honestly, the more we treat opinions like the one this guy holds as equally valid (which, if you’re willing to subject employees to him, you are), it is much more likely we’ll reach a future where the opposite opinions are viewed unfavorably.

          I hate this conflation of the slippery slope fallacy plus the fallacy that all opinions are equally valid/should get equal air time, so to speak. It’s absolutely not how the world should work if our goal is to stop bigots, fascists, literal Nazis. Letting people profess such ideas without consequences emboldens them.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            Absolutely! And this is playing out right now in the US.
            I grew up in the 1970s in a town dominated by fundamentalists. I left there in the 80s and moved to Chicago, and I’ve been here ever since. I had left behind a pocket of craziness and thought no more about it.
            I didn’t realize until the 2016 election cycle how much fundamentalist intolerance has grown in our country. They have a lot more power and are doing a lot more damage. All because their opinions were tolerated, and they spread. And that election cycle emboldened other bigots and chauvinists to escalate their attempts to oppress.
            Tolerating their intolerance enables them and makes this whole problem worse. We have to fight them, and we can start by not hiring bigots and chauvinists.

        4. MCMonkeyBean*

          No. If you know that a person believes that women and people of color are in any way inferior or less deserving of rights then you absolutely cannot let that person be in charge of other employees. That is wildly unfair to those employees.

          And the right to not be murdered in the street by police is not something that should be dictated by “public opinion.” One side is objectively correct and the other side is objectively terrible and should not be allowed to be in charge of other people.

        5. metadata minion*

          Sure, I’ve probably said some really cringe-worthy things in the past on social media, and if asked about them, I would explain how my views have changed.

          If 20 years down the road I’m *still* saying those same cringe-worthy things and haven’t learned and grown as a person, I should face appropriate consequences for that.

          I’m kind of concerned that people are framing this as “oh, but we don’t know what the whims of Society will decide in the future!” rather than as being about treating other people as valid. Yes, I’m sure in the future other groups of people will feel more able to speak out and tell me ways I’ve been shitty to them. Please, tell me, so I can stop being shitty! That’s just basic being-a-decent-person.

          1. MsSolo (UK)*

            I think the concern is more that society is swinging right, so when you introduce the idea it’s acceptable not to hire people based on their social media, the people who suffer most aren’t racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic people, but that /they/ are the people who are checking social media to make sure they don’t accidentally hire someone who thinks other people have the right to exist. For every bigot you don’t hire, bigots are going to justify not hiring a dozen of you.

            1. Magenta*

              Exactly my concern.
              And then because it was progressive leaning people who “started it” others will feel justified in continuing it.
              Its best to keep work and personal separate, not check social media etc.
              Obviously if someone is behaving in a bigoted manner at work then that needs to be dealt with.

            2. New Jack Karyn*

              This is just wild to me. We shouldn’t avoid hiring racist, sexist homophobes because we’re scared that . . . the racist, sexist homophobes will actively discriminate against the people they don’t like?

              They *already* do that. They are *already* refusing to hire and promote people because of their race, ethnicity, gender, and orientation. They’ve been doing it for centuries. This is not a new playbook for them. We’re saying to give fewer people holding those views the power to enact those beliefs in the workplace.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        The thing is, those opinions aren’t “unpopular”. They are harmful. Harmful to employees, harmful to the employer.

        It’s a prime example of the paradox of tolerance.

      3. Peanut Hamper*

        Well, there is free speech, but there is not consequence-free speech. If you say hateful things online, you can be held accountable for it. And should be.

        Tolerance has its limits. You need to read up on the paradox of tolerance.

      4. Dust Bunny*

        If I found out my employer knew that an applicant approved of views that were harmful to a significant portion of our employee base, and hired them anyway, that would give me a worse opinion of my company.

        Again: Nobody is saying he can’t agree with this stuff, we’re just saying he’s not owed jobs in spite of it, especially not at the risk of others.

      5. linger*

        It’s not just about holding some abstract opinion. It’s about beliefs that directly affect the ability to perform key aspects of the job. Managing people requires treating people equitably; indicating you can’t do that should result in either dismissal or retraining. In much the same way as not being able to use a necessary piece of equipment would in a manufacturing position.
        “Who’s to say public opinion won’t change?” The public. All of us. That’s the whole point.

        1. Jaydee*

          This exactly. It all depends on the nature of the opinions or views the person is espousing and the type of job they’re being considered for.

          If Marta posts a bunch of flat earth stuff on Twitter, I would have concerns if she is a finalist for a middle school science teacher job. I would not have concerns if she is a finalist for a job as an accountant at a company that manufactures coffee makers. Those views are incompatible with teaching science, but they’re irrelevant to accounting and the manufacture of coffee makers. At worst they’ll make good fodder for a future AAM letter – my co-worker is good at her job and an otherwise lovely person, but she keeps trying to convince me the earth is flat; how do I get her to stop?

          If Joe posts racist and misogynistic things on Twitter, that’s harder because there are fewer jobs where those beliefs are unlikely to be harmful to someone else. It might be less problematic if Joe is in an individual contributor type role, especially at a company where they have a decent manager and HR who are prepared to step in if he expresses those views at work in ways that are harmful to co-workers or customers. But if Joe is being considered for a management or supervisory role, the risks are much higher. Will he be supervising women? People of color? Men who don’t fit his idea of masculinity? How will he be able to avoid letting his views affect his interactions with the people he supervises? The future AAM letters would be much less amusing.

      6. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Ok, so what is an example of a very extreme thing then. You’ve mentioned this before and if you’re going to continue commenting that this dude should be allowed to manage women and minorities when he has publicly said derisive things about women and minorities then you need to explain what “VERY extreme” means or you’re basically aligning yourself with this dude and just being a troll.

      7. Totally Minnie*

        If the twitter likes and retweets were about stuff like “Cheerios are clearly the best breakfast cereal” and I disagreed because I prefer Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I’m not going to refuse to hire someone because of it.

        But this isn’t about a person’s cereal preferences or taste in movies or even rants about noisy neighbors. These retweets are about whether or not women and black people deserve equitable treatment in the world at large. Giving power to a person who at least appears to want unequal treatment for people who aren’t white men is bad, and companies shouldn’t do it.

        1. Magenta*

          But there are people who would judge you for picking a cereal produced by Nestle and may feel that this is a valid reason not to hire you. I know lots of people in the UK who are still boycotting them since the baby milk scandal in 1977.

      8. Random Dice*

        I am judging you, L-Squared, for this stance.

        You are saying that a company requiring training on treating all humans like humans – EVEN the ones who aren’t straight white men who were identified as male at birth – is worse than openly and proudly being a virulently misogynistic racist.

        That’s such a banana crackers opinion, and it’s wrong.

    2. DJ Abbott*

      Agreeing with Beth. The “everyone is entitled to their opinions”attitude, taken too far, enables bigotry and chauvinism.
      It’s the intolerance paradox. Intolerance that’s not checked spreads and gets worse. So the only thing that should be not be tolerated his intolerance. I’ll post a link.
      This is what’s playing out in the US now.

      1. Wintermute*

        The “paradox of intolerance” was meant to apply to people that would use violence to shut down speech– you can’t tolerate that because they will just beat up everyone until they’re the only voice in the room. it was NEVER intended to mean you cannot possibly tolerate people retweeting things.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          Wait, intended by whom? The paradox of (in)tolerance is a useful, broad concept that has been discussed at length by lots of people as it pertains to freedom of speech, societal bubbles, etc., not only violent suppression.

          The basic premise is simple and versatile: do we have to tolerate the intolerant?

          1. Emmy Noether*

            To add: I can easily tolerate people *retweeting* things. Doesn’t mean I have to hire them, and give them opportunity to put their views in practice.

          2. Wintermute*

            Intended by the original author of the concept, who was talking about the penchant of a certain 20th century political party for organized street fighting and how they rose to prominence over their competitors by being more organized and more violent when it came to brawling.

            In a civil society yes, we must tolerate differing opinions. Saying it is axiomatic your beliefs are tolerant and everyone else is intolerant is abusing the idea of the paradox of tolerance to justify silencing any view but your own. It was intended as a caution against legitimizing people who will refuse to allow others to speak at all, not intended to say that certain kinds of speech should be suppressed.

            1. DJ Abbott*

              I think it’s more than that. I’ve watched this happen over my life.
              As I mentioned below, I grew up in a town dominated by fundamentalists. They were, as we all know, intolerant of everyone except white hetero males. They oppressed women and POC, and they would have oppressed LGBT if they had known of any (I’m sure any who were present stayed closeted in that environment).
              Their views were tolerated by decent people as “everyone has a right to their opinion” “they’re different, not wrong”, etc.
              And now, ~50 years later, their views have spread and taken hold and are dominating large parts of our country.
              If they had been shut down years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. No, you can’t force teens or anyone else to give birth. No, you can’t oppress women verbally or by employment. No, you can’t discriminate against people of color or people from other countries. No, you can’t force anyone to conform to your opinions of what they should do.

              If this had been done years ago, things would be very different now. This is the tolerance paradox, playing out right in front of us. It doesn’t have to be physical to be violence.

              Of course, the flipside is true also – if there were groups oppressing white hetero men, that also should not be tolerated. (yes, I know that some white hetero men have used this concept to reclaim dominance. But I do think intolerance should never be tolerated, no matter who it’s oppressing.)

            2. Emmy Noether*

              Someone who coined a term does not define it’s use forever, it can, and does, evolve.

              And if you mean Karl Popper, I disagree with your interpretation. “But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force;“.

  33. Big Bird*

    Re #2–it could be a Venmo issue that your boss would want to know about. Recently I asked my husband to Venmo a friend $10 for a charity raffle. He did it as I was sitting right next to him. Two weeks later I got a message saying that the $10 had never arrived–turns out it did not show up anywhere in his Venmo transactions. Stuff happens.

    1. Wintermute*


      Venmo is great, but… not always reliable. All of those “totally not a bank, guys, so don’t expect us to follow banking laws” apps and services have the same issue– because they’re not held to the same standards as a traditional bank they are more flexible, yes, but also have issues you wouldn’t expect from a bank, including transactions not happening in a timely manner or at all, or not happening in an atomic manner.

      I worked in IT for banks, the sheer amount of infrastructure dedicated to ensuring that when you make a transaction it is removed from your account once, only once and always once and credited to another account once, only once and always once (E.g. “atomic” transactions) is staggering. It also is why banks still use mainframes and AS/400 systems, because it turns out that code literally written for a utility company in the 1970s (CICS– the Customer Information Change System, descendant of the UCIS– Utility Customer Information System) is still the best way to handle hundreds of thousands of individual transactions reliably.

      1. virago*

        As a person who does not work in banking, this information about banking infrastructure was illuminating. Thank you.

      2. hey y'all*

        I’m a witness. Not Venmo, but Zelle. Had $400 go missing for a couple of hours, deducted from my account, but not sent to the intended recipient. No one would take responsibility, not Zelle nor the bank.

        1. Wintermute*

          that scares me the most because banks are flogging Zelle as “officially supported”– but if you check the fine print they are built right into your bank’s app, but have their own TOS that basically amounts to “¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

  34. One HR Opinion*

    #3 – I know people’s prior experience can affect how they handle situations like this, but in general is it courteous to let your boss know something like this. As a manager and someone in HR, I always appreciate it if someone gives me a heads up that they may be needing some time off even at an unknown date so it’s not a surprise when it happens. It also gives us the opportunity to discuss how long the person may need to be off work, special accommodations (such as working remotely), and what it required to return to work.

    For instance, boss told Sally to contact me when Sally mentioned she would be having a “procedure” but would only need a few days off. Turns out procedure was having her gallbladder removed! Based on her position she had to be out for 4 weeks because of CPR and lifting requirements.

  35. BeeMused*

    #2, wow, am I the only person who has had this situation happen 100% on purpose? At my first job out of college, it was so dysfunctional that I as the second-lowest-paid person was tasked with planning my direct supervisor’s baby shower and collecting funds for a group gift. The office manager (whom I didn’t directly report to, but who inserted herself between staff and the executive level) had a personality disorder where she routinely “split” between liking and hating someone, being effusively positive and enraged, etc. Anyway, in the planning stage she grandiosely promised to contribute double what most people were, I spent accordingly, and then at the event she decided she didn’t like anything and didn’t like me. She not only ignored my request to pay up, a few days later she gave my boss some of her used baby stuff in front of me. Maybe she didn’t actually have the money to contribute, but I was broke myself and the fact that I had to cover my contribution and her promised one still makes me angry.

  36. Moonlight*

    LW5 / #5:

    Are you sure that employees feel comfortable pushing back with you? It’s clear this is something you care about. I ask because I’ve 100% had bosses who could not handle it if I questioned them. It often led to me feeling like I’d done something wrong when I simply wanted to understand the logic of an assigned task so I could fully understand something, or because I wanted my boss to know that X may not be possible because of Y reasons and wanted to know if something more like Z would be a possible approach instead; I’ve always approached these things as a conversation. For example, in my second example, it would be totally ok for my boss to be like “I know that X is tough but that doing Z isn’t possible for whatever reason so we need to try to make X work. The hilarious part is that when I’ve had competent managers, they’ve consistently commended me on being exceptionally receptive to feedback and excellent at ensuring I have all the information before proceeding.

    My point is that I am assuming you’re secure in your management because you so actively want your team to question you. I think I’m leaning toward considering that when you ask “tell me about a time when…” typed questions that a lot of people might’ve worked for insecure managers whom they couldn’t question without the manager getting insecure and letting their ego get in the way, and it so often doesn’t go in favour of the employee. I wonder if it might be a good idea to explain your reasoning (like “I want my employees to feel like they can question me and have conversations about blah blah, can you tell me about a time when you’ve had to deal with X or how you would handle X, if you haven’t been in a position to do so”).

  37. Portia*

    LW4, I’ve worked for that guy for years, and it is crazy-making. I’ve stayed for the sake of a 100% remote job — indeed, if we worked in the same office, I’d never have lasted so long.

    It did eventually dawn on the CEO that he was undermining good work and wrecking morale, and it’s much better now. But the damage to some extent has been done. My passion for my work will never be what it was before, not after years of having my judgment overridden and my work undone for no good reason. “Meh” is not my natural state, and sometimes it makes me sad when I remember how much I used to care and fight for what I thought was important.

    Even if your CEO changed his ways tomorrow, it may still be time to start looking. This kind of thing can have lasting effects that aren’t obvious right away.

  38. Moonlight*

    LW1 / #1

    Honestly, I have to wonder about the judgement of someone who is posting stuff that is bigoted and letting it be publicly available. Maybe they think they’re doing some sort of public service but I can’t get over in this day and age that people just have such little common sense. I mean, I guess it could be worse if you didn’t know that this person had problematic beliefs and started only to be like “oh dear…” when you had to interact with him. I think it just baffles me that people don’t know about privacy settings or don’t seem to consider that bigoted beliefs are, well, bigoted and that it could hurt their career.

    I see a lot of people in the comments asking if the hiring manager just forgot to check social media and/or if they just don’t check. Maybe the hiring manager doesn’t think that stuff is a problem? So, I think it SHOULD be a problem; but why? Aside from the fact that I don’t want to work with a bigot, and trust me, I hate saying this, but at some point people need money and if you’re an accountant or something, maybe the hiring manager or HR is just like “well, he’s good at accounting so…” whereas if you do my kind of work (which often intersects with things like domestic violence, child abuse, or social determinants of health), you’re bigoted values would actually be a major problem. I’m not trying to defend the possibility that they might have knowingly hired a bigot because there is so much research on how people who experience discrimination and/or bias on systemic or individual levels are harmed by these sorts of people and decision makers at work (e.g., maternity leave, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.) so “even if” he’s not in a role where his work would be impacted by his bad values, I disagree; as a manager, part of his work is managing people and therefore his bigoted values DO matter because they can directly cause harm.

    I think I am trying to frame it this way because I don’t want to assume the hiring manager just didn’t know and might not have considered the magnitude of the impact.

    Also I hope they let you stay with the other manager.

  39. Keymaster of Gozer*

    OP1: Definitely raise it as an issue.

    Anyone publicly announcing support of hateful opinions – be they sexist, transphobic, racist, antisemetic etc. – is telling the world what kind of person they see as more valuable than another.

    In that they don’t see a whole group of people as being worth any time, care or attention beyond negativity. That’s a lousy take for an employee to have and a career limiting one for a manager.

    You can’t trust a manager who spouts hatred one minute then comes into work supposedly to manage people who belong to the same group without bias. It doesn’t happen.

    2023: Stop tolerating intolerance.

  40. Kel*

    LW 1, I would absolutely be going to HR. They are putting you in a position where you feel you aren’t able to take issues like harassment, discrimination to this person, who will be your manager and likely first point of contact for those things.

    Dude can say whatever he wants on twitter; no one has to hire him.

  41. Serin*

    LW5: Pushing back on a boss requires that you trust the boss. I would do it with my current boss because I have a relationship of trust with her. But if you’re interviewing me, you’re a stranger, and I have no larger context for whether that’s safe with you or not. I’m already walking a fine line between telling you the truth and telling you what I imagine will get me the job; getting me to tell a risky, possibly unpalatable truth is going to be difficult.

    You might get better answers if you said, “Something I value in this position is someone who will push back on me when I think I’m wrong. Let me give you a couple of examples of times when that’s happened here.” (Yes, as if *you* were answering an interview question!) Then you could ask them how they have handled it / would handle it.

    My best-ever boss, when he interviewed me, asked me to define cooperation. Obviously he knew I knew what the word meant, but one of the things happening in that conversation was that he was giving me information about the culture of the position. That’s what you’d be doing when you told stories of the kind of challenges you’ve appreciated getting from employees.

  42. Onward*

    And, like clockwork, the comments come in about how Xander from #1 is probably just misunderstood and maybe is actually the victim here.

    Good grief. Can’t help ourselves, can we?

    1. Nopetopus*

      Like clockwork indeed. Seriously nearing the point where for my own mental health I might have to stop reading the comments entirely, and that makes me really sad when I think about how this comments section used to feel a lot more positive.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I’m not quite sure which comments you have been reading then. There are plenty of them here.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      “ThOuGhT PoLiCe” Oh for the love of dog.

      OP said it’s bad enough that they don’t want to work for him. OP has somehow made it to this point of their career being able to work for people with, as I’ve seen it phrased on here, “different opinions”. I trust OP that Xander stands out and sounds worse than the average.

  43. Here for the Insurance*

    #4 happens at my office all the time. We spend so much time going over the same ground, tweaking and questioning and trying to make it “perfect” (as if there is such a thing).

    I agree with Alison, you’ve got to accept that this is simply how things are and decide if you can live with it.

    In my case, I decided I could. I’m on the downward side of my career arc, have no interest in starting over somewhere else, and have gotten pretty good at letting go of things I can’t control. It’s also meant that I’m not as invested in what we do and I don’t always give my best effort, but I’ve internalized that I can’t care more about it than the people in charge do. It’s been very freeing. Not saying that’s the right decision for you, just one data point to consider.

  44. MCMonkeyBean*

    I agree–I’m fully on team You Don’t Have To Share Private Medical Information With Your Boss… but that seems like an argument about whether you tell her *at all* and not *when* you tell her. If you want to never tell her about the surgery and when it comes up just say you have a sudden unexpected medical issue to take care of. But if you plan on telling her about the surgery when it happens, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t give her a heads up that it is going to happen as well. You certainly don’t *have* to, but I don’t get why you wouldn’t and I think it’s not unreasonable of her to suggest it would have been good to know earlier.

  45. Observer*

    #1 – Bigoted Jerk incoming boss.

    If you can trust folks to keep their mouths shut and to act appropriately, then yes, bring it up. Both to Giles and to HR. Even if you wind up being stuck working for the new guy (in which case, I imagine you’re going to consider starting a job search), it’s something they need to be aware of.

    In terms of what you say, you should point out that if you can find this information in minutes with no real effort, so can anyone else. And if he puts your company in his bio anywhere – which is highly likely on LinkedIn at least – that’s something that the company needs to deal with. They may not care what his opinions are. But the do need to care about how people will react to a person who is publicly associated with them spouting off these views.

  46. Observer*

    #3- Out for surgery.

    Yes, you absolutely should have told your boss. Not the details – that is your business to share or not as you choose. But the fact that you expect to be out, and you don’t have a schedule yet. That’s not “personal and private” in the fact that it is DIRECTLY AFFECTING YOUR JOB. Now of course any company has to be able to deal with the unexpected absence of an employee, no matter how key they may be. But when you KNOW that you are going to be out, it’s just not reasonable to not provide that information.

    Like I said, the *reasons* for your absence (beyond the fact that it’s medical and NOT negotiable) are your business. But that’s not the issue – your absence is. And the fact that the reason for your absence is medical does not make that fact less germane.

  47. A Fine Thing*

    LW # 1 – In addition to the advice Allison offered, you may also want to save screen caps of the following,

    – His Twitter and LinkedIn profile pages (to document the evidence that the Twitter profile is his)

    – The offensive posts/shares

    – Activity which demonstrates patterns of behavior related to the topics of his posts, (e.g., is he liking, commenting on or sharing abusive content posted by other users, directed at specific people?)

  48. Roger*

    Re: Q5
    One of my favorite questions I was asked at the interview for my current position was “Tell us about time when you were asked to do something illegal or unethical.” It gave me an opening to talk about the one time I had ever been fired from a job, but explain it such that it didn’t sound so bad (my boss asked me to break the law, I said no, he fired me for refusing).
    My interviewers were really pleased with that answer. One of them described the job as requiring an employee who, if your boss, or boss’s boss, or the CEO himself came to you and asked you to violate policy, could be counted on to say “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” That’s something that I really value in my job, knowing that the organization has my back as long as I’m following policy, regardless of any individual manager.

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