updates: my boyfriend’s manager told me I could date someone better, and more

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. 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 boyfriend’s manager told me I could date someone better

It ended up being a life changer. My work environment rapidly degraded within weeks of the incident. What was once a fun workplace became stagnant. My manager, who was generally a happy person, became distant and sullen.Two people quit within a week of each other and my workload increased. After weeks of juggling my clients and theirs I asked my manager when we would hire replacements so she finally confided the company was facing major downsizing. (Surprise! I was on a sinking ship.) Supposedly my position wasn’t in danger but I got the feeling the workload was going to increase. I wonder if perhaps this is a reason the other manager was so angry all the time. It doesn’t excuse her rude behavior but I can say I certainly didn’t feel like smiling after learning this news. The worst feeling was knowing that I would pour all my hard work into this position but it probably wouldn’t change the outcome for the company. I felt like I had no control over anything.

After talking it over with my boyfriend, we decided to change our lives. I gave my notice, said my farewells, and in less than a month we moved to a state that has a better cost of living and is closer to family. We went back to school. I graduate from cosmetology school in December and I already have a position lined up in a salon once I’m licensed. My five-year goal is to open my own salon. Someday all the hard effort I put into my work will benefit MY OWN business. My boyfriend realized that he doesn’t enjoy sitting in an office all day so he’s an HVAC tech for a great company while also going to technical school. He finishes his HVAC certification next summer. He loves being physically active everyday and having more autonomy over his schedule. His goal is to work his way up and become a part owner of the company just like his boss did. If you think about it, one very unhappy manager actually did us a huge favor. It could’ve taken years to find out we were in the wrong place and on the wrong path for us.

2. Coworker seems annoyed that I might hire her employee (#2 at the link)

As I mentioned in my original letter, I had decided to not move forward with internal candidate Susie and at the same time she withdrew from the process.

Our company does not have a formal policy about internal transfers, other than the hiring manager (me) has to talk to the internal candidate’s supervisor before an offer is made. I appreciate the flexibility of this policy, as I like to interview all internal candidates to give them an opportunity to learn more about the different areas of work in our not-very-small company.

I sent a response to Jane (Susie’s supervisor) a few days after the interview: “Hi Jane – I did interview Susie last week, I try to interview all internal candidates. She has since withdrawn her candidacy.”

Her response to me was pretty generic as well: “OK, thank you for getting back to me. She shared this with me as well. :)”

All in all, it has been interesting to hear how different folks, both within my company (I asked a few people, my boss included about their process and how they would handle the situation) – some people prefer the supervisor is looped in right away; others don’t mind hearing later in the process.

As a fun side note, I’m actually in the interview process for an internal role that popped up, and that hiring manager has asked me to loop in my boss early in the process.

3. I was promised a three-month salary review but no one’s brought it up (#4 at the link)

I took your advice and asked for my raise, albeit a few months after you responded to my question (I was nervous!). I was told yes, I would be getting my raise, it would just have to wait for the fall. Honestly, I assumed that really meant I would get it at the end of the year.

A few minutes ago I was called onto a Zoom meeting where I was told I was officially getting my raise… plus an extra $5,200 on top of that. Things could not be going better! And I wanted to briefly mention I read the comments and know some people were concerned that the raise may have been offered to me by someone without such authority, but I work for an incredibly small company where the two people I talk to on a daily basis are the owner and the CFO, who were the people who originally offered the raise. It’s nice to work for a company where I know I’m valued and people are more important than profit. Thank you all!

4. Working with my sister … and sharing a hotel room? (#3 at the link)

Luckily the update is short and sweet. Once we got to the conference, it became a running joke with all of my coworkers and the event manager who booked my sister and me in the same room, and my sister and I ended up having a fun little slumber party. I didn’t end up saying anything to the organizers because it just didn’t feel like a big enough deal to warrant it, and sure enough the problem solved itself. We both went to the company retreat a few months later and were booked in separate rooms without saying anything, so I think everything resolved itself.

{ 21 comments… read them below }

  1. Engineer*

    Congrats LW1! It’s funny the sorts of things that inspire life changes, but it can make for some good story telling. Glad to hear both you and your boyfriend are much happier with your new paths!

    1. Cyndi*

      I know this is Ask A Manager and not Ask A Matchmaker, but I’m a sap and I do always like updates where people’s relationships are going well.

        1. WhatFloatsYourGoats*

          Each letter would, of course, need to be started with “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match” to be considered a valid request.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I love this update so much. I’m happy for OP and her boyfriend. Best possible outcome.
      And I like the image of Cora mopping the deck of the Titanic, yelling at people to lift their feet.
      And the captain of the ship saying, “yes, that was terrible. Go sit in the dining room.”

    3. Dek*

      I’m thrilled for both of them. What a great turn-around! Glad you decided not to “settle” for a job that wasn’t working out and find something you’re passionate about!

  2. SpaceySteph*

    But LW4, what happened with the shared pass? That to me is significantly weirder than the room thing.

  3. Dorothy Zpornak*

    #2 “ I like to interview all internal candidates to give them an opportunity to learn more about the different areas of work in our not-very-small company.”
    Sorry, but this seems really misleading and unkind. Interviews are stressful and they require a ton of energy and time to prepare for. To ask someone to go through all that if they’re not seriously being considered for the job is unfair to them, not to mention getting their hopes up fruitlessly. You work in the same company — if they want to learn more about the work your department does they could set up a meeting with you at any time. They shouldn’t be duped into it thinking there’s an opportunity there for them that doesn’t really exist.

    1. Lana Kane*

      This is very common with internal applicants, it’s seen as a courtesy. Personally, I usually granted the interview and used it to let them know what they would need to work on if they wanted to be a stronger candidate in the future.

    2. Orange_Erin*

      While there is no written policy at my company, it’s expected we consider all internal applicants and provide them with a courtesy interview. Sometimes they work out well, other times you know you are going to waste your time. It helps the company flag anyone who may be at high risk of leaving but also allows them to re-look at that candidate’s skillset. I’ve interviewed many internal candidates who freely admit they only applied so they could learn more about my work – maybe it’ll be a good fit, maybe it won’t.

  4. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    #2 I’ve worked at one company and and one university that had a rule that new hires cannot transfer until one year.
    And there is a form that the employee fills out that is signed by the manager with the application.
    I thought this was the norm.
    Your company doesn’t have protocols?
    (There was one time a person was moved at the 12 month mark, after interviewing during months 10 and 11 because the new department had a greater need. But that is rare. And was a mistake. But that’s another story.)

    1. bamcheeks*

      Not the norm at the universities I’ve worked at. I’ve applied for internal roles (and been shortlisted for interview) without telling my manager, and I’ve interviewed several internal candidates. When an internal candidate was successful, I asked them to tell their manager first. Their manager was expecting them to have applied and to be honest was expecting them to be successful because he knew they would be perfect for the role!

      Generally, if you have a good relationship with your manager you’ll often let them know that you’ve got an interview for another role. There’s no “getting pushed out because your manager knows you’re looking” and no decent manager would hold it against a candidate for going for another job internally. But there’s no expectation that you should, or that the other manager will share your candidacy with your manager unless you’re offered the job.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Thank you for replying. I always thought a rule was the norm.
        I’ve always had good managers who were supportive, so it never became an issue, but I see from reading AAM how it really could be.
        the letter, for example. “Thanks for letting me know, ;)” What the hell with the winky face?

    2. Ranon*

      It is far more common for places to not have protocols than it is for places to have protocols- for basically everything you can possibly imagine.

      The majority of companies run much more on a seat of pants model than they want to pretend they do

  5. Box of Kittens*

    LW1 – I LOVE this update! I’m especially glad to see your boyfriend’s career trajectory, tbh. My husband switched careers this year form an office job to a more blue-collar job, and people really have a hard time understanding why he’d switch from a “good” job to a blue-collar job. But he’s making a similar amount, and he just didn’t want to be behind a desk anymore, either. Now he works with a team in-person every day and is able to leave work behind at the end of the shift, which is what he wanted. We’ve glorified fancy office jobs a lot but it’s not the only valuable decision and it’s perfectly valid to make a change if that kind of job doesn’t work for you.

  6. Wilbur*

    Yeah, being told your position is safe from layoffs feels like being bit by a zombie rather than being eaten. It’s nice not to be torn apart, but life is about to get much worse.

  7. bamcheeks*

    LW1, sounds like Cora was half-right– both you and Joe COULD do better! What an excellent update, and good luck to both of you achieving your goals.

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