update: our boss tells lies to make us feel bad for taking time off

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

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

Remember the letter-writer whose boss told lies to make their team feel bad for taking time off? Here’s the update.

A few days after my original email, Corrine sent me feedback through email about a task I had worked on; as usual, her tone was needlessly cruel and unhelpful and the “mistake” was not real — essentially, she was mad that I had asked a client for clarification about something rather than just guessing, saying I should have understood what they wanted. She said the client was mad that I had reached out; I told her I would be contacting the client to apologize and let them know Corinne had told me they were upset. She told me this wasn’t necessary but I did it anyway. The client replied and was confused and welcomed me to contact them in the future if they were ever any questions. So once again, Corrine was lying.

This time, I reached out to Corrine via email and let her know about my interaction with the client. She didn’t respond.

Luckily, the senior manager decided she wanted to have one-on-one meetings with each of us shortly after this. This is pretty unlike me to go over someone’s head but I was so exhausted with the drama that I let her know everything that had been going on and provided her with screenshots; my coworkers did the same. I told her I wasn’t equipped to deal with this and, frankly, I didn’t feel like I should have to. Thankfully, she is a big supporter of work/life balance so these stories were unnerving to her; at one point she even said that she allows Corrine to leave early and take days off all the time so she has no idea where this behavior is coming from.

In our next meeting, Corrine told us if we ever have an issue with her we need to go to her directly and not the senior manager, which I felt was pretty bold.

Since then, Corrine has softened a bit and hasn’t lied about people needing to work overtime; however, she still lies. Most recently she told us that other teams were complaining about us saying good morning to each other when we are in the office — this just isn’t true. I’ve noticed her behavior is unpredictable and sporadic so I’m not sure if there are things going on in her personal life that she is having trouble separating from her work life but to be blunt, I don’t care as she’s proven to not have any sympathy for her employees when the tables are turned.

Also, our team has changed from exempt to non-exempt within the last few months. I was upset at first but I have to say having the ability to tell Corrine I’m not working past my out time has been amazing.

I am looking for another position within the company right now. I’ve given myself a deadline of the end of December — at that point I will begin looking outside the company.

I hope this update was interesting! It’s been a wild ride. On the bright side, Corrine has provided me with endless bad boss stories to tell at parties.

{ 92 comments… read them below }

  1. Ally McBeal*

    I hope you all went straight back to your senior manager to report that Corinne told you not to go over her head. I know at some point you’re all just biding your time until you can find new positions, but the person who directly solicited your feedback needs to know that you’ve been told not to comply in the future.

    1. Yeah...*

      At one point in time, my perspective was so warped, I actually said I would comply with a similarly bananas request.

      1. Emily*

        Ally McBeal: Yes! The senior manager has shown they are supportive, so I do definitely think it is worth LW keeping them looped in.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        I was fortunate that, when I found myself in a situation where I (and the rest of my department) were being tormented by a newcomer tyrant, I refused to roll over and comply. I could see clear parallels between the tyrant’s behavior and my difficult mother’s behavior, so while I certainly didn’t react perfectly in the moment to their treatment (understandable, given childhood wounds), I also knew I had to document everything and go straight to HR. Everyone in my department ended up going to HR, which predictably did nothing because the tyrant was the favorite of the CEO’s golden-child employee, who was also terrible but not vindictive like the tyrant. Then the pandemic happened and HR was able to use the economic situation as justification to lay off the golden child and the tyrant.

    2. Lizzianna*

      Yeah, especially because it sounds like the senior manager requested the meetings. I would be really concerned if I had asked for feedback on one of the first-line supervisors I supervise, and the takeaway was that people shouldn’t talk to me.

    3. MuseumChick*

      This. I would 100% report this back to the senior manager. As well as mentioning that Corinne is continuing to tell lies (with specific examples)

    4. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, to going back to the senior manager with this, for all the reasons already mentioned in this thread! Please do that, LW, and keep AAM updated. We’re all rooting for you and against Corinne!

  2. I should really pick a name*

    In our next meeting, Corrine told us if we ever have an issue with her we need to go to her directly and not the senior manager, which I felt was pretty bold.

    That sounds like something the senior manager should know…

    1. single woman in own for many many many years*

      I had a grand boss who told my boss that her staff should never go to HR (I had gone in a cover my backside move to deal with a bullying colleague)—that he forbade it.

      When my boss told me this I just raised an eyebrow and said that if he ever said such a thing to me I would go to HR about it. But as this was hearsay I wouldn’t say anything—until/unless it was said to me.

      1. Heart&Vine*

        This sounds akin to a nefarious adult saying to a child, “Don’t tell anybody about our little secret or else…”. Anyone using that kind of rhetoric should automatically be considered an abuser.

        1. I Have RBF*


          The whole “don’t tell outsiders what happens in our little world” thing has big red flags waving all around it. It’s classic divide and conquer, abusive isolation technique.

  3. HolyGuacamoleBatman*

    I used to have a boss like this who tried to keep us on edge at all times and would regularly tell me that I shouldn’t leave early once my work is finished (actually, that I shouldn’t leave at the end of my contract-specified hours) because ‘the others are still working at this time and I’m worried they’re talking about you behind your back’. It was just the tip of a steaming iceberg of shit.

    Well done for bringing up Corinne’s bad behaviour with Big Boss, but get out of dodge when you can; this sort of behaviour never ends well.

    Also, ‘other teams were complaining about us saying good morning to each other when we are in the office’?!? Holy shit.

    1. Kelly*

      My last boss used to make us stay until HE was done with his work, often later than 8 pm so we could “collaborate.” Unfortunately he owned the business and had us wrapped up in an insane non-compete and paid wages that left us unable to afford a court battle if he decided to fight us about it. The whole place was a train wreck of epic proportions.

    2. spiriferida*

      She’s got proof that her team members are talking to each other to call out her bs, and it’s too obviously authoritarian for her to tell them to stop doing that when her tactic of pitting them against each other has been exposed, so instead she’s coming up with a new “them” to turn against the team and use to shut down communication. If they hadn’t gone to her boss, she might be using that instead. To someone like this, being called out on their lie isn’t a reason to stop lying – it’s a reason to fall back on a different lie.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Yes. She already tried turning clients into “them” but OP called her bluff.
        What will be next?
        The people in the office next door are talking about how their cars are too fancy so everyone should take the bus and not be able to go out to lunch?
        The cleaning staff is complaining that they leave a mess?
        The post office is complaining they get too much mail?

    3. I AM a Lawyer*

      A lie this brazen almost seems like an attempt at a power move. She could not possibly think anyone would actually complain about something like that or think that anyone would believe her. It’s like she’s daring them to call her out and then getting a charge when they don’t.

      1. Twix*

        Yeah, in my experience this is a way a certain kind of person in authority maintains an atmosphere of fear. You know you can’t trust anything your boss says but you also know that you’re the one who will look bad if you say “I didn’t do X because I assumed Corrine was full of shit”. And you also know that your boss has no problem doing things in bad faith if you push back. It’s an engineered lose-lose-lose situation. It could be a manipulation/control tactic or emotionally validating knowing people are too afraid to call out absurdly transparent lies or good old-fashioned sadism, but the goal isn’t to deceive people about any specific thing, it’s to create doubt and mistrust.

      2. ferrina*

        It’s an isolation technique. “This person talks badly about you” is supposed to create a sense of animosity, an Us v Them scenario. Luckily OP and her coworkers are mature enough to recognize this bs. Corrine sounds like a nightmare.

    4. Dinwar*

      ‘the others are still working at this time and I’m worried they’re talking about you behind your back’

      I would be sorely tempted to respond with “Of course they’re talking about me behind my back. They’ve told me as much. They’re talking about how great a job I’m doing and how I’m someone who can get stuff done.” I’ve done it. Last week I was chatting about guy who routinely leaves the office at 16:30–if he’s there at 16:45 something has literally exploded, and even that day he was out before 17:00. Someone had asked if I knew this particular person, and I mentioned that his work/life balance is a career goal of mine, as are his diligence and organizational skills.

      Not all rumors are bad, and not everyone talking behind your back wants to stick a knife in it. Sometimes they’re talking about you behind your back because they’re trying to follow your lead.

      Or, if you prefer Sluggy Freelance: Your name is in the mouth of others. Make sure it has teeth.

    5. Tabihabibi*

      I’m particularly enjoying imagining the reality where teams (collective and plural) are taking it to their management and HR, like “OMG that team just won’t stop being so freakin collegial and saying “good morning” all…morning. It must stop!” And then also that being taken Very Seriously.

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        Right, anyone less crazy than Corinne would know how how ridiculous that sounds!

        But as Alison said in her original reply, Corinne doesn’t live in the same reality as the rest of us. This is just more proof of that!

  4. Rainbow*

    I’m sorry, on top of all the stuff in the previous letter, this lady has a problem with you saying “good morning” to each other?! Is she possibly green and very furry and has a particular thing against Christmas???

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I don’t think she does have a problem with it as such. She seems to want to keep them on the back foot and finds any opportunity to do so.

      1. pally*

        Yeah that’s it. Keep ’em guessing. Never let anyone feel like they are on firm ground with things.

        I had a boss who would lie all the time. Even about things easily verifiable. When confronted, he’d gaslight ya. It was all about keeping the upper hand. It can really mess with your sense of well-being.

        1. ferrina*

          And isolation. “Other people are talking badly about you (I’m the only one you can trust)” is a classic abuse technique that’s intended to make the target mistrust others and be more loyal to the abuser. It also usually comes with a whiff of “other people won’t help you and will just make fun of you, so don’t tell them what’s going on or ask them for help. It will just end badly.”

    2. Observer*

      No, I think the answer is much more mundane. She’s trying to keep people from having any conversations she doesn’t “approve.” No one is to go to anyone but her, and no one is to have any conversations with each other.

      It’s easy to see why, too.

      1. pope suburban*

        Yes, the concept is called “triangulation” in psychology. Colloquially, we might say, “divide and conquer.” Point is, Corinne doesn’t want any information going around without her stamp of approval. Often, as sounds like is the case here, this is to prevent lies from being exposed, and to foster an environment of mistrust, where the bad actor is presented as the only one who can be trusted/who knows what is going on. Corinne sounds like an absolute nightmare and I’m disappointed that she’s managed to escape any real consequence for her abusive behavior. I wish OP the best of luck in finding another role far away from Corinne, and I wish the same for her team, too.

    3. Unkempt Flatware*

      Honestly, the good morning thing would get a very dry, very pointed, “that’s ridiculous”.

    4. LCH*

      OP and her coworkers should definitely wish the other teams good morning and let them know they are so sorry for making them feel badly per Corrine.

      seriously, fuck this woman, point it out every single time.

      1. learnedthehardway*

        Cue seriously confused co-workers who won’t have a clue why it is that the speaker thinks they don’t like morning greetings, lol.

    5. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      No. She doesn’t have a problem with it. The OTHER GROUPS have a problem with it. She is telling her staff to “protect them” from the mean other people (who can blow up her spot.)

    1. Daisy-dog*

      Should I start being a manipulative liar? It’s unlikely I’d lose my job. And it may make things easier because I never have to remember what I say/do.

  5. GrumpyCat*

    This! And I would raise a formal complaint at this point, the client feedback issue in particular is worrying.

  6. blood orange*

    Uh…. I’m concerned that Corinne’s boss doesn’t seem to have done anything about Corinne’s behavior! I’d be appalled to hear about dishonestly in an employee, especially a manager, and especially especially so MUCH dishonesty. I know OP may just not be aware of corrective action for Corinne, but it’s kind of crazy she’s still a manager at all.

    1. feather*

      It sounds like there was some change in her behavior, even if not much. Maybe she was given a “warning”. In which case LW should definitely tell senior boss about the “don’t go over my head” comment. I suspect that would have an impact if she’s being watched.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      And that its spreading to clients. Corinne knew darn well the client didn’t complaint that’s why she told OP not to contact the client. But now the client is confused — and part of the drama.

    3. CRM*

      I agreed! I can’t believe Senior Manager is aware of what is going on and still allows Corrine to manage that team (no less work at that company at all). I hope OP is able to find a way out in the new year, be it internally or externally.

    4. ferrina*

      I wonder how much the Grandboss knows. It sounds like Grandboss doesn’t tend to see the day-to-day of this team, and I bet that Corrine is on her best behavior around Grandboss. Grandboss definitely needs to be more practice in monitoring Corrine’s management style, but may not have realized it’s as bad as it is. (though really, anytime you have an employee that is regularly lying, that is extremely bad and requires very close management. The micromanagement becomes necessary because your employee is completely untrustworthy, so you need to verify what they say)

  7. zuzu*

    That senior manager needs to become your new best friend, LW. Yours and the whole department’s. Just the fact that you got results after talking with her and Corinne lost her shit means you need to keep those lines of communication open.

    I wonder if the change from exempt to non-exempt had something to do with the senior manager running interference with the higher-ups to keep you from being abused. They may feel like they can’t get rid of Corinne for some reason, probably age discrimination, but they can make her team non-exempt again and thus take away her ability to keep them there more than their scheduled time.

    1. Observer*

      That senior manager needs to become your new best friend, LW.


      Just the fact that you got results after talking with her and Corinne lost her shit means you need to keep those lines of communication open.

      Exactly. OP, you seem to see going over your boss’ head as a negative thing. But this proves that it’s actually the *exact* correct thing to do when your boss is flamingly out of line – as your boss is!

      I wonder if the change from exempt to non-exempt had something to do with the senior manager running interference with the higher-ups to keep you from being abused.

      I was thinking much the same thing.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        Though if that’s true, there is (or was) a whole different issue going at this company, because “exempt” vs “non-exempt” isn’t something that is discretionary, up to a manager or company. If this is in the US, there are specific characteristics of a job that would legally, according to employment law, put it in one category or another.

        Of course, that doesn’t stop many companies from slotting people however they want, sometimes inconsistently across an organization. But that doesn’t make it right, or legal. Hopefully the grand boss’s intervention was to get LW and others categorized correctly.

        1. Hush42*

          That’s not strictly true- if they are legally able to be exempt then switching them to non-exempt is actually legally fine. It just doesn’t work the other way- they can’t be classified as exempt if they don’t meet the requirements. Basically, any position can be classified as non-exempt from a legal perspective, but only specific positions can be classified as exempt.

          Although in this case I wouldn’t be surprised if Corinne had something to do with getting them classified as Exempt and when Senior Manager stepped in they did an audit and realized that they can’t legally be classified that way and made them change it back. If that’s the case then OP could, in theory, get back pay for the period of time that they were misclassified.

        2. Hlao-roo*

          My understanding of exempt vs non-exempt is that only certain jobs qualify for “exempt” status, but being classified as exempt is never mandatory.

          If a certain position does not meet the criteria for an exempt position, it must be non-exempt.

          But if a certain position does meet the criteria for an exempt position, I think that then the company can choose to treat that position as exempt or non-exempt.

          I don’t think there’s necessarily anything nefarious or illegal going on based on the change from exempt to non-exempt (I’m no expert on this, so I could be wrong).

        3. Observer*

          because “exempt” vs “non-exempt” isn’t something that is discretionary, up to a manager or company. If this is in the US, there are specific characteristics of a job that would legally, according to employment law, put it in one category or another.

          That’s only half true. You can always treat staff as non-exempt if you choose to. It’s only if you want to treat people as exempt that you need to make sure that they conform to the rules you mention. And yes, if you want to not pay people overtime, you had *better* make sure that the relevant staff meet the requirements.

        4. zuzu*

          LW mentioned in the original letter that the entire staff had been non-exempt, then made exempt not too long before the letter (she said it was her first salaried position and was wondering if the kinds of shenanigans Corinne was pulling were normal for exempt positions; Alison assured her they were not).

  8. NMitford*

    I think that there should be a Take Your Friends to Work Day, so that your friends can meet all the bad bosses we’ve been telling stories about.

    1. Minimal Pear*

      YES I saw a meme about this recently and I would love it. I have two specific people I wish could observe my least favorite coworker and tell me if he’s actually That Bad or if I’m just at BEC levels with him.

  9. Hlao-roo*

    Thank you for the update and best of luck finding a new job soon (whether that’s within your current company or at a different place)! I’m glad the change from exempt to non-exempt has made working with Corrine a bit more manageable in the meantime.

    I agree with other commenters that Corrine saying “don’t go to [senior manager] if you have issues with me” is worthy of …going to your senior manager about.

  10. RJ*

    OP, I think you and your senior manager are going to be having more Corinne related conversations in the very near future…

  11. Too Many Birds*

    Honestly, I think the fact that Corinne was still managing people at all after the senior manager was presented with screen shots showing that she was A) lying B) for the purpose of shaming her employees is a big problem. That seems like a firing offense to me.

    1. bamcheeks*

      It really does! At a minimum it’s a “nope, you should not have management responsibilities” offence.

      1. ferrina*

        Right?! Immediately take away management responsibilities, cuz this is the exact opposite of good management.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      I caught that too. Okay you all told about what she did and … she’s still managing. This person should not be managing people. She has no clue how to do it and she won’t change because she thinks she is managing properly. Even knowing her lies are easily provable hasn’t changed her.

  12. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    I don’t agree with the comments so far saying the senior manager is on the ball, dealt with the situation, keep in touch with her as she is an ally, etc. What seems to have happened here is the senior manager has solved the surface-level problem (people being made to feel guilty about working hours) but not gone into the deeper underlying problem of the lies and the motivation for that.

    Senior manager has presumably had a conversation with immediate manager (Corinne) about work life balance etc and the immediate manager has gone along with it on this specific issue (probably relieved her pattern of lies hadn’t been discovered), the reclassification to non exempt is part of the senior manager’s effort to solve the surface level problem.

    OP needs to go back to the senior manager and make very clear the pattern of lies, emphasise that it isn’t just about the hours thing. It may or may not get a result – I have known senior managers that would act on this, and those who are incapable of seeing things as a symptom of a broader pattern but just address each individual occurrence as its own independent thing.

  13. Mo*

    At 33 years with the company, I wouldn’t be surprised if Corrine isn’t close enough to a vesting or pension milestone that firing her could be legally questionable. Companies used to dump people right before they became eligible for a pension. Now that is harder to do. People who hate their job but are stuck because of some sort of golden handcuffs are a true menace.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        Demoting her could still potentially leave the company open for an age discrimination case, especially from someone as apparently detached from reality as Corinne. Whether the suit has merit is a completely different matter (it doesn’t, and the screenshots of texts would likely prove that) but it doesn’t stop her from filing a suit.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          If you go by that theory, then you can’t discipline employee once they turn 40.

          The risk of someone bringing a suit with no merit should not weigh heavily in one’s management decisions.

          1. Observer*

            Sure. But it does mean that the company is likely to be more cautious. It’s quite possible that the company is moving in the right direction, but slowly and cautiously. And that would mean that the more ammunition, aka documentation of Corine’s misbehavior, the OP and coworkers provide, the faster the company can move.

        2. MigraineMonth*

          In the US, literally anyone can sue anyone over anything. We can’t let ourselves be held hostage by possible future meritless cases. Having screenshots of a manager lying to their reports should go a long way towards showing that someone was fired for cause.

  14. Festively Dressed Earl*

    I have a feeling Corinne won’t be there for much longer. My guess is that either (A) Corinne was put on a PIP and shaped up as much as she can, but it won’t last or (B) Corinne is engaged in some sort of crimen falsi and the company is making sure their case against her is airtight before filing charges/a lawsuit.

  15. LadyVet*

    Corinne reminds me of an Army “buddy” who would call the last day of leave or a pass to tell me some reason everyone was mad I was gone. Though in my case I had our boss on my side.

  16. CommanderBanana*

    She sounds like my previous department director, who lied constantly. He is unfortunately still there, since he’s incredibly careful to not let anyone from his department have access to the CEO (he would literally sprint down the hall if he saw one of his direct reports talking to the CEO in passing in the hall).

    And unfortunately the CEO isn’t (apparently) smart enough to realize that the relentless turnover in that director’s department is because of him.

  17. Someone*

    This seems delusional to the point of mental illness… Like the lies are so badly put together that something else is going on.

    1. Boof*

      I don’t think extreme jerkishness should be conflated with mental illness. Note, personality disorders are not “mental illness” in the way that schizophrenia or bipolar are (those have clear physical roots). Personality disorders are more like descriptors of extremely maladaptive behavior clusters some people have.
      But in the end it doesn’t really matter the employees basically just have to know they can’t trust their boss and it probably won’t change as long as they are working for said boss. It might be interesting if all employees called out each lie (just like op did with the client) and maybe that would deprogram/reduce whatever is driving it a little, tho.

  18. BellyButton*

    I don’t understand what a person gets from making people feel bad like that. I don’t get why she is trying to cause chaos, dissent, and problems. I see it all the time and it is always so confusing to me. Why make life harder and miserable for yourself and others? What kind of sick satisfaction do people like this get from causing drama. It is exhausting!

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Right? And also, most of the time, it will catch up to you eventually! I have worked for people who did stuff like this, and eventually, even the densest managers caught on. You can only blame issues on other people for so long before someone finally figures out that you’re the common denominator.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I’m not sure *they* understand that they’re the common denominator. I’m not trying to excuse the behavior, but I think people with toxic behaviors often have toxic mindsets as well. They see drama and backstabbing all around them, they feel like perpetual victims, they’re anxious all the time… but they aren’t able to see that they’re causing the issues in the first place.

        I certainly hope was never this bad, but when I was working at ToxicOldJob, I was a complete Drama Llama. My manager was setting me up to fail, I was angry with someone in another department, the metrics were impossible, etc. Looking back, I was wildly unprofessional, but in that mindset/toxic environment it all seemed justified.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          That’s a really good perspective. One of the many things I’ve learned here is how toxic environments can really warp your thinking, even without being aware of it or how bad it’s gotten. I’m glad you’re out of there!

    2. pope suburban*

      I don’t think they’re necessarily thinking about it in terms of making people feel bad, as such. These people are often deeply insecure, and/or harbor a sincere belief that they should get what they want all the time. Their mechanisms to try to get their way or stave off the gnawing feeling of “people will leave me” are negative, sure, but to the person doing the hurting, they just look like tools. Often, they spend a lot of time justifying why it’s okay for them to treat people like things or toys. Someone linked to an article about sick systems upthread, and I think that does a very good job of showing that the goal is control, and having someone too afraid to assert their needs or walk away from you.

    3. sulky-anne*

      Some people take refuge in chaos. It provides a constant distraction from whatever it is they don’t want to confront–most likely a ton of fear and anxiety about the world. It doesn’t make sense, but neither do a lot of things when we don’t know how to manage our emotions healthily.

  19. thelettermegan*

    Can I recommend just continuing to call her out on lies? Everytime she says someone’s upset, get the names, and if there’s no names, tell her you don’t believe her, because she’s lied to you before.

    If there are names, invite them to her office for an in-person apology. I promise you will eventually come accross some like me who will ‘FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE’ on being the patsy in some else’s abuse scheme, and Corinne will have to answer for it.

  20. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn Profiles**

    Most recently she told us that other teams were complaining about us saying good morning to each other when we are in the office — this just isn’t true.

    I would have sent a blast email to those other teams (copy to Corinne) apologizing for upsetting them by greeting your coworkers. Let the other teams call out her lies.

  21. Retiring*

    I also work with someone who lies to discourage me from talking to other people or to cover himself. Like he’ll ask me for something that infringes on another area and tell me that the manager over that area has already approved it, so there’s no need for me to talk to them, then when I do check with the other manager they know nothing about it. If I call them on it, they deny it happened or say I’m twisting what they said. That said, everyone knows this is happening, and his manager feels he’s too valuable to confront, so it keeps going. I’m retiring so I just grit my teeth and do the best I can.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      I had a situation somewhat like this at a company where I used to work. One of the partners would say that something was okayed, but the practice leader wouldn’t know anything about it. After I realized what was up, I started to send an email and cc the practice leader to request for further “details” of the work the partner had assigned.

      Clearly something hit the fan, because after that, the managing partner put in a requirement that all requests for recruitment support needed to go through him.

  22. Michelle Smith*

    (1) I hope you update us again when you get out of this nightmare.
    (2) I hope you update the senior manager again, either now or after you’ve moved to a safer place. It might not help you if you do it later on, but you’ll potentially be helping the people still working for her.

  23. Raida*

    “In our next meeting, Corrine told us if we ever have an issue with her we need to go to her directly and not the senior manager, which I felt was pretty bold.”

    Actually Corrine, according to the policies and processes [state name for them] the appropriate person to bring up issues with is the direct manager.

  24. Abogado Avocado.*

    There are lots of reasons some people try to manipulate other people by lying and other schemes. Sometimes, it’s because the person had a seriously mentally ill parent (long-term depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD) whose decisions were so random that the child learned to use manipulation to try to control what seemed to them an uncontrollable world. Sometimes, it’s because the person is seriously mentally ill themselves and, again, uses manipulation to try to control what appears in their minds to be an uncontrollable world. And while that may give us empathy for the manipulator’s experiences, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier — or desirable, even — to work with them.

    In the end, LW, you’ve done all you can do: you’ve documented the manipulation, you’ve gotten your co-workers to do the same, and you’ve reported your findings to the senior manager. And, still, Corrine hasn’t changed (because, frankly, she’s unlikely to get to the root causes of her manipulatory behavior without some professional help). It makes sense that you are looking for work elsewhere. May you have terrific results in your job hunt.

    And one request: please be sure to save some stories about Corrine to use in Alison’s worst boss of the year contest!

  25. Hedgehug*

    I’m confused.
    If everyone knows she does this, you all have talked about it, and upper management is aware of it, why does no one just stand up to her in the moment in front of witnesses?
    The other team complains about you guys saying good morning. “Oh, I think we all know that isn’t true!” etc.

  26. Stipes*

    How is she still a manager??

    If grandboss knows the extent of her weird lying, and isn’t full of bees herself, a stern talking-to doesn’t seem like nearly enough to address this.

  27. Moose*

    Echoing other comments that have said to go back to your grand-boss! It seems like she listened and spoke to Corinne to the first time; she might assume the problem is solved. I hope you’ll reach out to her with proof that she is continuing to lie.

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