updates: my husband doesn’t want to play my coworker’s wedding, and more

Welcome to “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager! Between now and the end of the year, I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

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

1. My husband doesn’t want to play my coworker’s wedding (#2 at the link)

I left it up to my husband about whether to reply to my coworker, Jane, saying he was available for her wedding. We planned to raise the prices for next wedding season regardless, so after much thought, he responded with a quote and she accepted. My husband told me to ignore all emails from her and he’d handle it himself.

I cannot even begin to tell you the sighs my husband made anytime he opened an email from her. Most of the emails to him were just chit-chat, nothing to do with wedding planning. It was getting to the point where my husband wouldn’t even respond to emails unless they had a question that he needed to answer.

For some context, most couples book a band about a year out. There’s 5-10 emails in the initial booking, but then we crack down on the bulk of the stuff we need from them 2-3 months before. So over the course of a year, we receive about 40-50 emails from one couple. Jane sent my husband 109 (yes I counted) emails between February 2023 until September 2023.

Now that brings us to a few weeks ago. My husband got a call from the father of the groom (the person financing this wedding) who said that my husband’s services were no longer needed and forfeited the deposit. My husband (not very sly at all) asked why, thinking maybe the price was the reason. Nope. Jane apparently has been cheating on her fiancé with someone at my work, and the fiancé called it off.

I saw Jane at work a few days later and she seemed fine, though even now I wonder which of our coworkers she has been a seeing on the side.

2. My office argued for 5 months about whether I could have an ergonomic chair

Your advice was great and definitely helped me! I’m happy to say that I received the chair I needed in early June, which was right after you published my story. As uneventful as this sounds, the chair is everything I could ask for, and I’m so grateful that I can come to the office and not be in pain. They put a small sign on the back asking people not to use or move it, and so far I haven’t had any issues.

I didn’t have a meeting with HR, but word got around about my “chair gate” situation, and everyone was pretty floored and also thought the whole ordeal was ridiculous.

3. My team lead spends hours venting to us — but tells our boss he’s training us (#2 at the link)

I did take your advice! I met with my supervisor and informed her what was going on with Henry. While she was somewhat shocked, she told me that he had a habit of cold calling and venting. She advised me to stop answering Henry’s cold calls, block off my calendar with my activities, and to directly email him when he had any questions. It worked wonderfully. I’m also no longer working directly with Henry since that project.

Thank you for the advice!

4. Our new CEO keeps talking about diet and exercise

Most of the feedback I received was there’s not a lot you can do and raise it when you can. So … I quit. I made sure that I brought this reason up in my exit interview.

This wasn’t the only reason I quit, but it was one of many things that made me feel like I didn’t belong in my company anymore. What I didn’t disclose in my initial email was that during the pandemic, like many of us, I gained a lot of weight (about 80 pounds). Part of that was due to the stress of my job and everything that was going on. I felt terrible enough about myself. What I decided was that I didn’t need a skinny rich man lecturing me — someone with the metabolism of a middle-aged woman with a once-skinny body destroyed by multiple pregnancies, who was stress-eating and popping SSRIs due to his dysfunctional company — about getting a trainer, eating organic, and making time for self-care.

My new job is awesome. They provide real health benefits. We have affordable health insurance that includes coverage of weight loss medication (I’m down to my pre-pandemic weight), medical care onsite, mental health services to deal with stress, a great gym with exercises classes during the day that we’re encouraged to take, a cafeteria with many healthy and unhealthy options (without judgment), and other great services. Most importantly, how much people weigh is not a priority for our CEO. He is focused on running our business. The people on my team are all shapes and sizes, and their value has nothing to do with what they weigh. I feel really good about myself right now and rather than worry if I’m too fat, I can focus on excelling at my job.

I’ve heard that the culture at my old company is still the same. Lots of weird pressure to be skinny with no concrete ways to do it except guilt and humiliation. One of my former coworkers recently saw a picture of me and jokingly said, “You’re so skinny (CEO) would be so proud!”

{ 97 comments… read them below }

    1. DefinitiveAnn*

      And now I’ll have an Andy Williams song running through my head. Previously it was “Holiday” by Green Day. I think I preferred Green Day. :)

    2. Sloanicota*

      I was just reflecting that this is the only advice blog I’m aware of that has a big emphasis on updates … and it kind of makes sense, since it’s workplace oriented – like we want to monitor KPI and fine-tune the effectiveness of advice given based on results :D :D

    3. wendelenn*

      It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
      When we revisit letters we couldn’t forget
      Just to bring us some cheer
      It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

      About parties that fizzled, or duck clubs that sizzled,
      Or craziness from CEOs
      About strange email greetings, icebreakers in meetings,
      We can’t wait, we just have to know!

      It’s the most wonderful time of the year
      Did Jane finally resign? Did that intern do fine?
      Oh please tell, writers, dear. . . it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

  1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

    Anytime I refer someone to this site I say “You’ll come for the advice, but you’ll stay for the drama.” #1 did not disappoint!

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          Me too! She seemed overly friendly with someone who was providing a proffesional service a year out. If I was super petty, I’d ask her how the wedding planning is going with an innocent face.

    1. Czhorat*

      Me reading it:

      Yeah, client is difficult, this is going how I expected. Yeah. just about what we thought … WHOA! Plot twist!

      1. PrettySticks*

        Same. I literally said “Whoa! Plot twist!” out loud to no one upon reading that.
        Well played on that reveal, OP #1!

      2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Exactly. I knew she would be a Bridezilla based on what details was given. I expected the groom’s father to call and say no way are we paying this price. But nooooope, wedding off.

        OP1, let me just say I commend your husband for how he handled this. Making sure you did not have to mix your day job with your help in his business.

      3. Minimal Pear*

        I wasn’t totally surprised, because from the description of her emails I was wondering if she was hitting on the letter writer’s husband!

    2. David*

      Funnily enough, I usually present the site the other way around when I recommend it to people – come for the drama (er, entertainment), stay for the advice. Either way, it’s great! I can’t believe update season is just getting started….

    1. Reluctant Mezzo*

      Oh, yes. And if there is ever a band called Cheap Ass Rolls I will buy that album sight/hearing unseen/unheard.

  2. Festively Dressed Earl*

    LW 4, it’d be a valuable public service to leave some feedback on Glassdoor about the old job. IME fatphobia is one of the first bees in a swarm of workplace culture disasters. I’m thrilled to hear that you landed in a healthier place in the truest sense of the word!

    1. Throwaway Account*

      I love this idea – with the addition that getting away from that workplace led to an 80-pound weight loss! So the CEO was the problem!

      1. Love me, love my cat*

        I’d be tempted to go back to the old workplace to visit. When old boss made a comment on my weight loss, (and you know he would) I’d look him dead in the eyes and say, “Yeah, lost a lot of dead weight when I left here.”

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Or say that good health care plans and clear project management reduces stress to make weight loss possible. might help your former co-workers!

  3. Mary Smith*

    OP 1: So fun! One thought though, that is a tremendous amount of emails going back and forth for just one wedding. I book bands for work events regularly and I average about 5 emails or less back and forth. For my wedding, I think it was 3 emails. Is there anything you can do to streamline this? Maybe an online form where they fill-in all the information you need (all the bands I’ve worked with have done this)? Maybe a “all the things you need to know” packet you send them that gives all the answers to the questions you get? Just trying to think of ways for you to be able to cut down on that time and the number of emails.

    1. cindylouwho*

      I think her highlighting the number of emails was more indicative that the coworker was super over-the-top with their emailing, and that it was very out of the ordinary for their booking process!

      1. Another Jen*

        I think the commenter is highlighting the fact that even OP’s standard of 40-50 is a lot of emails for this.

        1. Antilles*

          Yeah, like when we met with our wedding DJ, it was basically a few emails about pricing and schedule, filling out some forms (types of music, the specific songs for occasions, timing on songs, etc), and then a 15-20 minute meeting to just nail down everything and make sure we were on the same page.
          40-50 emails seems like a LOT. OP’s first email mentioned they were one of the leading wedding bands so maybe this just happens to be the method that works best for them but it does feel like this could be simplified.

      2. nothanks*

        Regardless, it is an absolute TON of emails. I run a paint party business and my maximum communication with a client to get them into my books is about 10 emails. Then one at the 2-weeks-before date, and a phone call the day of the event. She’d be saving herself and her husband so much time and sanity by streamlining the process!

      3. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I dunno, even the regular amount of emails going back and forth for other clients still seems like a lot to me. I’m a musician too and when I used to play weddings I never had more than 10 emails back and forth with those clients.

    2. Pescadero*


      As someone who plays in a band, and has done lots and lots of weddings… I can’t imagine more than MAYBE 5-10 emails TOTAL – including the contract, preferred and don’t play songlists, etc.

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      I’m also confused! Surely it would be “Hi – I’d like to hire you” – “Sure here are my rates” – “Sounds good here’s the time and place” – “Confirming that I will be at x place at y time and that here are my payment details” – “Thank you for performing at my wedding, here’s your payment/a nice thank you card” with maybe 1-2 more for contract negotiation as applicable. I can see 5-10, but not 40-50! Maybe it was a typo?

      1. fhqwhgads*

        I wonder if they counted husband sends email = 1, client replies = 1. Rather than the round trip being 1 (or just, counting either the sender or the recipients end).

      2. JaneDough(not)*

        I’m assuming that many couples change their playlist a bit as the date draws near — hence an additional 15 emails to the band, with 15 replies from the band, for a total of 30 that would being the initial 10 to 40.

        1. Cj*

          you can request a specific playlist if you’re having a DJ, but not if you’re hiring a band. you might request a specific song or two, but my husband was in a band for 25 years, and they played what they played.

          couples that hired them to play at their wedding had almost always heard them previously and liked what they played, which is why they hired them.

          emails didn’t exist during most of the years he played, but there were generally only three or four phone calls. I can’t imagine why you would possibly need 50 emails.

          1. redflagday701*

            Email generates more email, I think, because it’s so easy to send to so many people. You might have the bride, groom, wedding planner, and possibly others on a thread, all of them chiming in with “Sounds good!” or “Thanks!” as details are hammered out.

          2. Pescadero*

            “you can request a specific playlist if you’re having a DJ, but not if you’re hiring a band. ”

            We generally would give folks our normal songlist – to allow them to reject any they wouldn’t want to hear. Then we would allow 5-10 requests not on our songlist, but generally wouldn’t guarantee to play all of them.

    4. LucyGoosy*

      I dunno–I recently got married and I exchanged about that many emails with my wedding photographer, but a lot of it was, “Here’s the contract, let me know if you have questions.” “Looks great, thanks! What’s the deadline to make the payment?” “Oh, it’s Feb 29…”

    5. Posilutely*

      I thought exactly the same. I’m pretty sure we exchanged about 3 emails and that was it! Glad they didn’t have to play for Jane in the end though.

      1. It Actually Takes a Village*

        I have to agree that 40-50 emails for a one-time event when the parameters of the job are pretty set, is a lot. We offer several services, and have several project stages, working with many assets, stakeholders, people, etc. and still have way less than that per project.

        I think there’s a lot of room to streamline this process with forms, automated invoicing, that kind of things. It would be more efficient and less stressful for everyone!

  4. Ursula*

    I really hope LE two escalates the 3rd party vendor situation. It sounds like the company chose a vendor who thinks their job is to refuse accomodation requests no matter what, and that is not okay.

    1. Ama*

      Honestly there were a lot of issues with the whole process! The vendor was definitely being awful, but HR and the operations team also dropped the ball repeatedly at various points.

  5. Bookworm*

    LW1: Dang. That definitely took a twist (I figured it was going to be about the price, too, or that she was a Bridezilla, etc.). Well, guess that worked out, although O_o o_O at the cheating revelation.

    1. There You Are*

      I hope LW1’s hubby was able to re-book the date. A deposit doesn’t make up for the loss of a full-paying gig.

      1. Mongrel*

        Sometimes it does, it’s not all about the money if the person is a major PITA.
        That said, it sounds like there’s plenty of time to get the date filled.

  6. That was unexpected*

    LW1, any chance you might extract that information from her during a holiday party? (Just kidding, do not actually do this)

    Also, call me suspicious but am I the only one who was thinking those chit-chat e-mails without an actual business question may have had some ulterior motives?

    1. Throwaway Account*

      I mean, I’m not opposed to getting an update to the update with more info about the office side of things.

      And I also thought the same about the chit-chat emails.

    2. Ally McBeal*

      Jane is messy. Five bucks on her accidentally revealing her affair partner at a boozy holiday party!

    3. I can’t think of anything catchy*

      I’m not-so-secretly hoping for an update to this update when Jane’s affair blows up at work…

  7. LucyGoosy*

    LW 1 – That was NOT the update I was expecting, but it also sounds like it’s 100% in keeping with what you’ve said about Jane. I’m glad that your husband was able to keep the deposit!

  8. Observer*

    #4 – CEO fat shaming everyone

    One of my former coworkers recently saw a picture of me and jokingly said, “You’re so skinny (CEO) would be so proud!”

    Blech! It really does sound like the culture is incredibly toxic there. SO glad you’re in a more reasonable place!

  9. Sara without an H*

    Hi, LW#3:– While I would have hoped that your supervisor’s response would have included moving Henry out of the team lead role, at least she authorized you to take practical steps to recover your time. Congratulations!

    Now I’ll go back to fantasizing about the long, pointed conversation I would have had with Henry, had he worked for me…

  10. JaneDough(not)*

    LW4, I’m so glad that you’re not only out of that dysfunctional place but in a decent workplace. Yay!

    *****Important note for anyone planning to take an SSRI or SSNRI:***** Even those that are supposed to be weight-neutral cause weight gain in some who take them. When I took Cymbalta (an SSNRI) to try to cope with my 2nd-most-dysfunctional workplace ever, I gained 25 lb in 6 months (which is an enormous amt of weight for a 5-ft-tall woman) because I was hungry almost all the time. It’s as tho the Rx flipped off my “I’m full” switch. So, always be prepared for an atypical side effect.

  11. boof*

    All of these great but LW4, yes! The truth is the best way to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle is to… provide the environment and tools for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, not just yell at people and guilt them while demanding burnout levels of work. Work can foster healthy choices by making all the choices available and otherwise butting out!!!

    1. allathian*

      It’s very hard to change your routines when you’re stressed because your brain tends to take the path of least resistance. Stress also tends to lead to poorer sleep, and sleep deprivation often makes people crave fast carbs. Not to mention that it’s much easier to plan and cook reasonably healthy meals when you’re reasonably well-rested. I also exercise more when I’m less stressed. I’ve never managed to acquire an exercise habit, so every time I choose to exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block or shoveling our drive, it’s an active choice. When I’m stressed, I find the pull of the couch absolutely irresistible, even if I intellectually know that exercise would make me both feel and sleep better.

      1. boof*

        Same here – everyone is of course not the same and weight != happiness but I find when I am stressed I easily slip into “comfort foods” (which provide a very temporary energy burst but do not make me feel nearly as good as not being overwhelmed) and no exercise because when I have energy I get work done and then I’m too tired to exercise or it’s so late I know if I do I won’t be able to sleep for hours and then I’ll just be even worse tomorrow. I imagine something something elevated cortisol probably plays into it but all I can say is after 40 years, it’s clear that am physically and emotionally healthier when not overworked, and when I start gaining a lot of weight it’s usually a sign I need to really push back on workload somewhere (although I’ve yet to figure out how to reliably do that, arg, it’s so hard to say no in healthcare when everyone is short)

  12. FemGeek*

    #2 brought back some memories! Many years ago, I was a contract employee for a large telecom company. I had surgery for a herniated disc in my lower back, and was still in a fair amount of pain. About this time, our department ordered all new cubicle furniture and chairs. Pretty ugly, IMO (think grey furniture and maroon chairs) but more importantly, the chairs were horribly uncomfortable for me. I was sent to a meeting at another location, where the conference room chairs were perfect for me. I stayed behind while everyone went to lunch, turned one of the chairs upside down and copied down the manufacturer and model #. Back at home base, I begged them to get me one of these wonder chairs, to no avail. Until I found one in one of our labs and borrowed it. Problem was, it was Putrid Peach in color, so it clashed horribly with our new decor. Management hated it so much that they finally broke down and ordered me one in maroon. Apparently, their color scheme was more important than my back pain. Then they proceeded to order the same chair for everyone who had back problems. Never could convince them that it wasn’t a “one size fits all” situation. But at least I had a chair I could sit in without being in excruciating pain.

  13. Funkywizaard*

    #2: Are you willing to share the make and model of the chair? I need a new chair for my home office.

    1. FemGeek*

      I wish I remembered! This was MANY years ago, around 1987. I actually found the same chair for cheap at a used office furniture place. Best advice is to shop around, try out as many as you can and pick the one that’s best for you.

      1. FemGeek*

        Guess I should add that the one I bought used, died of old age years ago. And I moved on from the telecom place in 2002.

    2. Michelle Smith*

      I’m having a similar problem with a chair at my office (causes me to be unable to walk if I sit in it more than one day in a row). My Herman Miller Embody chair at home does not cause the same problems (although I still can’t sit in it 12+ hours without pain, ~8 I can do without issue).

  14. Zarniwoop*

    #1 “Most of the emails to him were just chit-chat, nothing to do with wedding planning. It was getting to the point where my husband wouldn’t even respond to emails unless they had a question that he needed to answer.”
    I’m surprised he answered non-business emails more than once.

    I hope the forfeited deposit was enough to cover the time spent on over a hundred emails.

  15. I Am On Email*

    My first gasp of the update season!

    It was #1 with the surprise infidelity after booking the wedding band.

  16. Dark Macadamia*


    #1 is so juicy lol, it’s hilarious that LW found out two coworkers are having an affair in such a roundabout way.

    And I love #4. It’s like “equal but opposite” energy to the updates where people are like well, you said to do XYZ but I didn’t and nothing changed. You said to do nothing but LW did XYZ and everything changed!

  17. LW 1 here*

    LW 1 here!
    A lot of people are weirdly curious or upset over the 40-50 emails a year from wedding couples.
    Some insight into that: most couples now a days email like they text. So less formal, quick questions in the lead up to their wedding day.
    “What size stage works best?”
    “Do we need to make our own playlist?”
    Also venues and wedding planners being cc’ed on load in details. Depending on the location and size of the wedding, there are lots of moving parts. He’s not just taking people’s money and playing “freebird” on the day of.

    This is also the reason my hubby doesn’t give out his phone number to couples for texting purposes, otherwise he’d have even more messages he has to keep straight.

    This might not work for everyone, but it works for us.

    Oh! And those of you that were worried about missing out on a paying gig for that date? In the time since Allison reached out for an update, we booked another wedding. It all worked out!

    For us at least :)

    1. Le Anon*

      I think you might be missing out on a niche market! “Pay us $X and we will come to your event and play Freebird for two straight hours. We will be taking no questions.”

  18. Mimmy*

    #2 – Being an ADA nerd, I’m surprised I didn’t comment on the original letter! The accommodations process is not supposed to be burdensome–your employer’s process went beyond burdensome! I’m glad you finally got the chair. I have to admit, though, that I was hoping there were consequences for allowing it to fester so long.

    1. loremipsum*

      I worked at a company where some people were allowed to request, and receive, standing desks. At one point, years and a few recessions earlier then even had an ergonomic consultant who came around and assessed our workstations, and expressed “concerns” about them – after which we all received Aeron chairs.

      But I asked if I could have a standing desk too, I was told they needed to “study the issue” so needless to say – I never heard back.

      I just stacked up a bunch of books instead.

  19. W*

    Once skinny body destroyed by multiple pregnancies OR beautiful body that tells the story of the amazing and wonderful things it has done. I feel strongly that we need to celebrate the reality that there is beauty in different body types, short, tall, young, mature, skinny, curvy, etc

    1. Le Anon*

      It can be both. I agree in principle, but major changes to the body can be hard to process, and I recognize “humorous phrasing about something that really upsets me” tactics, so I’d leave it alone because the LW gets to deal with it in her own way and time.

    2. Phoenix*

      Individuals don’t owe the world positivity about their own bodies – LW4 does not have to adopt glowingly positive language about their body and the effects multiple pregnancies have had. One of the major downfalls of body positivity as a movement is when it’s used to remove individual agency in how one discusses or feels about one’s own body.

    3. Ellis Bell*

      I mean, we don’t really know how LW’s pregnancies went, or what those pregnancies did to their health or body because not every pregnancy is the same. We should probably just assume they are speaking of their own health concerns and not making a comment on every body that has been pregnant.

  20. Pizza Rat*

    LW4, I’m glad you got out of there! It sounds like you’re doing better all around and that is utterly fabulous.

    There are ways to promote health in the workplace that don’t shame. I’ve worked in a place where you could book 30 minutes on a slow-moving treadmill if you wanted. You could also order a standing desk, which was very in fashion at the time. Another set up time for meditation classes, yoga, and hosted an event with samples and recipes of infused waters.

  21. Michelle Smith*

    FYI, where I live (NYC) there is a law that just went into effect last week preventing weight and height based discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. So things are changing and hopefully that CEO’s behavior will be prohibited wherever that company is based someday soon. People deserve the right to come to work and not be judged for their weight. It’s incredibly ableist and, quite frankly, disgusting for people to act like he does.

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