update: do I need to give up an impressive business contact who’s hitting on me?

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

Remember the letter-writer wondering if she needed to give up an impressive business contact who was hitting on her? Here’s the update.

I can’t believe that it’s been 6 years since I wrote to you. I’m still a keen follower, and I think years of reading the best way to go about things has helped a lot in the way that I approach things at work and probably why I’ve had so much success recently.

Since my initial question to you, I feel that my career was derailed for several years – and upset that it could be impacted due to a single person misbehaving, who I recently saw on TV in a Senate hearing on the unlawfulness of his department’s behaviour (it’s related to the Australian Robodebt scheme). It probably wouldn’t have been that bad, except for the next couple of roles, which were lower level than the one I had at the company I left, I was hired in by people who subsequently left in a short amount of time and in one case didn’t have the mandate to bring me on for what they told me I was brought on for. A lot of people retire at the same level I’m currently at, and before I took my new job I felt I was just doing it for the paycheck and waiting out for retirement in my late thirties.

End of last year I was headhunted for the role I’m now in, and it is the best. They had called me about my interest a while ago, but didn’t interview me for a couple months, as I was more expensive than they would have liked. Once I did interview, I had a job offer by the next day.

The company is a household name where I am, and a big driver of diversity and gender equity, which is why I believe I’ve thrived. Throughout my career I’ve often been the only woman in a room, and just before International Women’s Day we had a bonding moment following a meeting where it was all women, in a male dominated industry, where four out of five of us were WOC and leaders. The environment is also so much more respectful and collaborative, which I believe is due to the company embracing inclusiveness as part of its culture. The senior leadership is almost 50:50 gender split, and one of them, who is also a WOC, has taken me under her wing, where I am now being invited by the C-Suite to discuss strategy and actively participating in the company’s direction, while being a relatively low level manager.

My ambition and drive is back, I feel the need to give back in mentoring and bringing up the next level of young people in the industry, and I see a pathway for myself into senior leadership, which as they always say helps by being able to see people like yourself already represented. My only concern is that I may actually need to deliver on what I propose, and not be like the person who wanted to just be the ideas guy, which is a challenge, but one I am up for.

{ 20 comments… read them below }

  1. Chilipepper Attitude*

    What a great update!!

    I hope when you say you saw him on TV, he was in the hot seat!

    Best to you and to a future where you can mentor someone!

    1. MEH Squared*

      All of this! So happy for you, OP, that you are in a much better place and with a cohort of other WOC. May you continue to thrive.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Indeed! So happy to hear that you’ve gotten through the shitstorm and out the other side, OP.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      I don’t think there’s an unheated seat when you’re speaking to the Senate about your department’s unlawful behavior. Which, unfortunately, probably didn’t include illegal sexual harassment and retaliation, but should have.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      I’m sure he lowered himself to taking a non-idea man job, got a few hard lessons in adulting from his managers and colleagues, realized that doing good work and playing along is what leads to better jobs and better pay, and is now older, wiser, successful, and cringes like crazy whenever he remembers the stunts he pulled as a new grad who knew everything.

      Cite: me as a recent grad who also knew everything :D I got over it.

    2. LunaLena*

      I was thinking the same thing! I would love an update from him, especially now that it’s 10+ years later.

  2. Nobody in particular*

    sup fellow departmenter! glad you got out it got much worse there lately… like… it’s so bad there at the moment lmao. I got fired with two days notice the week before christmas, which was also less than two months after my twin died, and also I was on jury duty when I got notified, and also I got notified over group chat.
    I’m not the only person with horrible stories of that department from the past six months, it’s atrocious…

    1. Nobody in particular*

      (this was legal because i was employed as a contractor, they fired hundreds of people that week)

    1. Meh*

      I believe they mean that’s the role they would be in until retirement at a future date.

  3. Jonquil*

    I worked at a department with this guy. He had a reputation for doing this before there was a high profile scandal about this behaviour (after which he was moved sideways into the department that did the Robodebt-ing). I’m glad to hear you got out of there, OP, and have done so well since.

  4. Glen*

    ugh. Robodebt was so gross. The treatment of both clients and workers, especially clients. Disgusting. Such routine cruelty.

  5. OP*

    Hey OP here,
    So interesting to see all the comments from other people claiming how terrible the department and culture still is, and how the guy is a known issue manages to somehow always stick around in high level roles. I got out because I felt it wasn’t worth it, and no wonder so many people don’t stay on to be treated like garbage. Good luck to you all!

  6. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

    I am so happy for you that you found a place where you and your work are valued! : ) Congratulations, and I hope that your career there is uniformly enjoyable!

  7. I take tea*

    Thank you for the update. I read the original thread and got so annoyed. Why are there so many people who act like this? Please keep work and play separate.

Comments are closed.