updates: lying about a Glassdoor review, the time-off request, and more

Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. The ethics of lying about a Glassdoor review (#4 at the link)

I wrote to you in September about the ethics of lying if I was asked if I wrote a not-great review of my employer on Glassdoor; I have a minor update.

I was never asked if I wrote that review or not (I know my company saw it because HR did post a generic “That’s not our expectations, please contact us” response) so I never ended up having to lie.

The large part of my review was about my terrible experience with our health insurance. During our open enrollment season I had conflicts with the company-wide open enrollment information sessions so I never attended any, which was probably for the best (the health insurance options were unchanged).

However … in my review I did drag the CEO specifically about how he likes to constantly mention CrossFit in his company-wide weekly emails. Since my review was posted, there has been no mention of CrossFit in any of those emails; I’m going take that as a win.

2. Why shouldn’t you say where you’re going when you resign? (#4 at the link)

I took Alison’s advice in the context of leaving my most recent job, and I was pretty open with my previous employer as to where I was going. They were sad about it but everyone in my division was also excited and happy for me. I learned two things from this experience:

1. Telling people was a good move for me, since my previous work and current work interact. Think that company A makes pots, and company B sells pots. Telling people where I was going set me up for warm relations with my former coworkers, since I am still interacting with them regularly, just from the other side.

2. I discovered that my previous grandboss had at least one connection to my new job, although he of course did not do anything to stop me moving. However, If I had been in a toxic environment, I would have to agree with the comments who said not to tell, since you never know who may sink you. Frankly, I was surprised that he knew anyone at my new company, since they are fairly small. Just goes to show you never know who has connections with who.

Thanks for your advice.

3. Can’t get an answer to a time-off request from new job (#3 at the link)

We found your advice to be helpful! I will say that after reading the comments, I realized that in trying to simplify my question, I didn’t explain our situation well and people really got hung up on the amount of time off that my partner was requesting off, when my question was meant to be about the expectations for asking for time off at a new job, regardless of the amount of time. It seemed odd that the company was dragging their feet so much to give an answer. People accept new jobs all the time with trips booked, so I figured it would be a relatable situation. It was my bad for not providing enough info or maybe too much, ha!

It’s a long and twisted tale: basically we were in the process of moving from our home in Alaska to a job on the other side of the country and had family planning to visit us in June in Alaska (with their flights already booked), so had asked for a few large chunks of time off to host family and tie up loose ends. The company knew that they were asking my partner to start sooner than was realistic for us, but we were trying to make it work. Thus, it was frustrating when they were slow to say “yay” or “nay” to specific dates and made us wonder if there wasn’t a culture of respecting vacation time or personal lives.

We did end up being able to go in June to host our visitors and then again this fall to tie up the rest of the loose ends, so it worked out fine. Though the company continues to be a bit odd about time off, with no real process for requesting leave, my partner is enjoying his job.

Overall, we’re very happy that we did follow through with the job and move because our new location has a wealth of opportunities, and I was even able to switch into a new position myself that is much more fulfilling than what I was doing before. Regardless of whether my partner stays at this company or not, it was what we needed to make the change in our lives. Thanks again for the advice!

4. Coworker says she hates me and refuses to have any contact … and my boss told me to fix it

Jane quit over the summer. Before she left, I did talk with her (after months of avoidance). In my final conversation with her, she did share some information with me to help understand her experience. Jane had some key collaborators who refused to work with her from the beginning, refused meetings, and refused to share information. I’m unclear if this was due to Jane’s approach, or other prioritization going on. This led to at least one of Jane’s outbursts, which further separated her from clients and made her job near impossible to complete. If I had known the root cause, and having an established relationship with the other clients, I would have gladly stepped in, but Jane was too prideful to ask for advice or help. I think she was relieved to leave; once she announced her resignation, it was a 180 in personality, she was smiling, being funny, and interactive with the rest of the team. As for me and my team, we were relieved from the stress that Jane caused.

At one point, I did suggest pulling in a neutral third party to assist with facilitating cordial conversation, and my manager refused to engage anyone to step in to help clear the air. Since Jane had also accused me of wrong-doings (which were untrue), my manager was afraid she’d have to terminate both of us for violating the code of conduct. In general, my manager is notorious for not dealing with personnel issues. My grandboss is an absolute tyrant, which is also likely why my manager wanted to sweep this under the rug and was so willing to overlook Jane’s behaviors. Jane’s replacement uncovered additional behavioral issues that occurred with clients, and we did learn of other complaints that were made about her. I have vowed that as long as I stay with this company, I am limiting the information that I share with my manager, including bananapants encounters.

{ 37 comments… read them below }

  1. The Starsong Princess*

    Last update: I think you have a manager problem that is far greater than your Jane problem was.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Yeah Jane might be gone, but the manager is still there. If you have a manager who won’t manage, things will never change no matter who you work with.

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Do a search for pastor here. I got it from one of the letters. One of the commenters said Okay Pastor Petty Labelle and THUS my user name was born.

    2. Random Dice*

      That update was a gut punch.

      OP, please leave ASAP. You’re the frog slowly boiling in the pot. This isn’t remotely normal.

      1. OMG, Bees!*

        Yup. Any work place where you need to limit what you say to your manager (!), probably start documenting things for CYA, is terrible.

    3. ferrina*

      This place will only be tolerable as long as the employees can solve their own issues; as soon as they need the manager to, ya know, manage it will become extremely awful.

      You also know that this manager won’t actually advocate for their team. They might suggest something, but they’ll shut down with any push back and tell the team to suck it up.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      “In general, my manager is notorious for not dealing with personnel issues. My grandboss is an absolute tyrant, which is also likely why my manager wanted to sweep this under the rug..” Yeah… the fish rots from the head!

  2. nycnpo*

    #4 – Echoing Alison’s response to your last submission – what is up with your manager???

    Are you looking to leave? I’m sorry you’ve been shown such a lack of support (and empathy) – I can only imagine things are going to go very poorly with that type of leadership.

    Good luck! Try not to internalize any of it (it’s obviously not a YOU problem) but so hard. I’m speaking from shared experience – a bad manager is just that, BAD.

  3. BellyButton*

    Jane was banana-pants. Can people stop saying things are “personal issues” when they are really work issues. Having a healthy team, with boundaries, respect, and good communication are part of work. The manager and/or HR need to deal with the behaviors and not chalk them up to “personality” clashes.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, but given that the manager doesn’t want to manage and the grandboss is a tyrant, it’s very unlikely to happen in this case.

          This sounds like a toxic environment.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      Yeah it was neither a personnel, or a personal issue; Jane was bad at the job and should have been able to do it without nightly step by steps which were not helping anyway. It was a performance issue, and it sounds like they have managers who won’t deal with any kind of issue!

  4. nitehawk619*

    Wow the manager in #4 sounds like the real problem here. Even if OP is not sharing issues with their manager (and I understand the frustration), I hope they are continuing to document issues in writing, in case they need back-up later. And if there are any serious issues, I would report them to your manager (even if they do nothing), just so you have it documented. Not to be alarmist at all, but I’ve seen tyrannical bosses and their underlings turn on a dime and you need to cover yourself.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Agreed. I wonder how many problems Jane would have had or would have presented if she had been reporting to a functioning manager who actually manages. But I think a lot of this comes from having grandboss who is “an absolute tyrant”.

      The fish rots from the head down.

    2. Momma Bear*

      I agree. Other people refusing to work with Jane doesn’t justify her treatment of LW. But it’s not like LW didn’t try to bring it up to the boss, who was no help. I agree to watch your back, LW4. I wonder if the manager was also ignoring valid issues Jane brought up, and watched everything burn while they sat on their hands.

    3. Observer*

      I hope they are continuing to document issues in writing, in case they need back-up later. And if there are any serious issues, I would report them to your manager (even if they do nothing), just so you have it documented.


      In addition to some possible protection if stuff blows up and the ability to collect Unemployment if things get too impossible or you get fired, it can also be good for your mental health to see the crazy stuff that is going on, outside of work. Because when things are this crazy, it’s easy to question your own perceptions.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      Indeed, I was quite shocked that ” I have vowed that as long as I stay with this company, I am limiting the information that I share with my manager, including bananapants encounters” was OP’s takeaway. If the tyrannical grandboss asks why something serious and client-damaging was not reported up the line, what are they going to say? However if OP was to carry on communicating reasonably, at least they can point to an email they sent their manager and make it the manager’s fault. OP needs to stop taking the manager’s “sweep it under the rug” example.

  5. Slow Gin Lizz*

    I’m unclear about the collaborators who refused to work with Jane from the beginning: did they refuse to work with her before they even knew her, meaning they are also awful, or did they refuse to work with her pretty quickly after they’d met her a few times, meaning they figured out Jane’s deal and didn’t like it? I guess my question is, what did Jane mean by “from the beginning?” Not sure Jane is all that reliable of a narrator, either, fwiw.

    And in any case, Jane is still terrible. Even if the collaborators are also awful, that doesn’t excuse Jane at all, nor your manager. Definitely agreeing with all the comments here about you getting out of this job of bees, OP.

    1. sparkle emoji*

      Yes, if Jane opened the relationship with a “you suck and I hate you and don’t ever schedule a 9 am, you fool” meeting, I can see why otherwise normal people might stop working with her. Either way, more bees than a honey farm.

    2. Leenie*

      I honestly don’t know why Jane’s narrative about that other team should be believe at all, given her mischaracterization of the OP’s behavior.

  6. SereneScientist*

    Man, that’s not a great update for LW of #4. At least you know now that you was not to do with you but Jane’s own experiences. Still, I agree with the other commenters that your manager kinda sucks–they really should not have left you to manage that all on your own. :/

  7. Observer*

    #4 – Is there any reason you are not actively looking for a new job? What you are describing in unreasonable and also NOT normal. True, this is not the hot hiring market it was a few months ago, but it’s still possible to find jobs in reasonable workplaces. The sooner you start looking the sooner you will find something. And you will be much better off if you find a new job before you get forced out.

  8. Michelle Smith*

    LW4: I really hope you’re job searching! That’s an incredibly toxic workplace, even with Jane gone!

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