updates: the ChatGPT boss, the candidate who recently took another job, and more

Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. I think my boss is ChatGPT

Thanks so much for your response- your advice was right on.

I left very shortly after your answer was published and am happily working for a new, much more mature brand.

It turns out that after I left, things went steadily downhill. The boss in question fired those who gave him feedback regularly, stating that the problem with the company was that there is not “Kumbaya” leadership. Then, he fired the one person they had in HR because “they didn’t need it,” and I learned that he refused to look at my exit survey. Sounds like he is also blaming me for people “not respecting” him because I was “insubordinate.” Wild stuff considering that I was- at the most- carefully asking only the questions that needed to be asked to avoid disaster.

I am so glad I didn’t give more feedback or stick around.

2. We’re interviewing a candidate who was recently hired elsewhere (#2 at the link)

You advised that I leave it alone, and that’s what I did. The hiring manager decided on a different candidate, so Uniquely Named Guy (UNG) ultimately made the right call for his search. Another candidate had more directly applicable experience, so if there was a strategy involved for UNG, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter.

After some commenters assumed that UNG was under- or unemployed, I realized that I wasn’t clear in my letter: According to his resume, UNG was currently employed at the same mid-level job for several years, and he talked about that job as if he was still there during the interview. (I am 100% sure it’s the same person. There was a headshot in the announcement, and he’s in the employee directory at my former employer.) Part of why I was so confused by his new junior level job at my former employer was that it was a big step down from the job he described as his current position. Other commenters talked about why they had left what looked like stable employment for any other job while still looking for something better, which was very helpful context for why UNG might be doing what he appeared to be doing.

The bottom line is that there is clearly information I’m missing. Either the junior job changed to something higher level, or the job UNG described in his resume wasn’t as mid-level as it sounded, or UNG was working two jobs, or had already changed jobs but didn’t want to talk about it, or something I haven’t imagined yet. Thank you and the commentariat for your advice! It was not a high-stakes question but asking my colleagues would have defeated the purpose of the question.

3. How to request time off for a last-minute interview

In your answer, you advised me to just not provide a reason, or to stay vague. Sadly, this kind of thing didn’t fly in my team, not so much because my manager was a bad one, but because we were close-knit and it was a normal discussion subject people volunteered or got asked about. I ended up lying (bad of me :( ) and said a friend was coming over and I had to entertain her. This went without suspicion and I was able to go to my interview, and ended up being offered the job. I’ve moved over to my new company three months ago and no one was the wiser (well, they did realize I interviewed, but no one told me anything about that day off).

Just a note that you advised a sick day in last resort — sadly I don’t live in the U.S. and this wasn’t an option as any sick day I take needs to be justified by a doctor note, no exceptions (by law, not by my company).

Thanks for your advice again. AAM is still the first thing I open when I connect for a new workday.

4. Asking to go part-time as a new employee (#5 at the link)

I wanted to provide an update! I chickened out at the time we had this exchange, because I was still so new, but asked to drop to part time in January. They said yes and I’m thrilled with my new arrangement.

{ 133 comments… read them below }

  1. Throwaway Account*

    I feel like the clothing retailer in #1 works for the ChatGPT boss – bosses who have no clue how to run things (not the OP in #1, their corporate bosses).

  2. ovenmitts*

    OP #3 how awful!! How are you supposed to get a doctor’s note if you aren’t allowed to take a sick day without a doctor’s note?

      1. IneffableBastard*

        Yep. You call in but if you don’t go to the doctor the very same day to get a note you’re in trouble.

        1. Future*

          Wtf. So if I have a really bad cold I have to go to the doctor? What good is that going to do?

          I hope at least people with chronic things like migraines or bad periods or the like have a system where their doctor can give them a note with very little trouble or cost.

          1. Cat Tree*

            Yeah, it’s annoying and pointless. Even when cost isn’t an issue if the country has better health coverage than the US, it’s a hassle to go out and do it, especially for a cold that is most likely viral so the doctor will tell me to rest and get fluids.

            1. Michelle Smith*

              Not to mention the risk of infecting everyone you encounter along the way. I was so annoyed when my company made me go to urgent care for a PCR test despite my multiple at-home tests confirming how I felt was indeed COVID. Like why did I need to risk making the Uber driver, receptionist, and all the unmasked people in the lobby sick just so someone else could swab my nose?

              1. Mzanony*

                This is sick note adjacent – many years ago, our doctor at the time who we’ve seen for several years and had done many physical exams on each of us refuse to write a referral to an orthopedist when my husband was hit by a car. His arm and hand were definitely broken and we had the ER reports to show it. She insisted he needed to come in to be evaluated before she would write the referral. we were very lucky to be able to get a referral to UCSF without her and we dropped her as a doctor soon after.

          2. JSPA*

            While waiting at a doctor’s office in such a country, I saw them run at least 3 such notes out to the patient or a family member waiting outside, presumably following a phone or video call. I figured the main goal was to encourage some minimal doctor contact ( In case the person who was sicker than they knew) and to discourage half the office from calling out to take a train to another city with a major soccer match, go skiing, etc.

          3. Neven*

            I live in a country with this rule, and I just have to email my doctor and say “I couldn’t work today, I had a migraine” and then I have to tell her when I went back to work. When I’m feeling better, I have to show up in person during her office hours (a very short window where she does this for all her patients) and get the sick leave paper, which i then have to photograph and email to HR because my company has managed to enter the digital age even if the doctor has not.

            Since all doctors are like this, my employer has no issue with me needing to take an hour in the middle of the day to stand outside my doctor’s office and wait for her assistant to bring the papers out.

        2. Artemesia*

          ridiculous — so if you have a sudden bad stomach bug and are barfing and etc you have to hie off to a doctor for note? ridiculous

        3. Wintermute*

          I don’t know any doctor office that could get me in same day around here, maybe urgent care but even then maybe not if you just need a note. Triage is going to send anyone who is only a little sick to the end of the line or just tell you to go home by me.

        4. Clizia*

          This is how it works in Italy, not sure if we are the only ones :) The doctor is supposed to actually visit you or else they commit a felony – some doctors will turn a blind eye and release the note without a visit, but it’s at their risk. If your doctor can’t see you on the same day (not uncommon at all) or you fall sick after visit hours, you are supposed to drag yourself to “guardia medica”, which is a place where you can be visited at night or during weekend if you are sick, but not so severely that you need ER. It’s really inconvenient and infuriating. I guess the authorities think that workers can’t be trusted and would abuse the system, if given the opportunity

      2. tinaturner*

        “Car trouble” is always good cause it’s vague. And might be solved by someone on the street so you might not even have a receipt. Don’t use it too often, but you can have a couple odd “battery” problems and then replace it.

    1. Fieldpoppy*

      As someone who works in the health system, this enrages me for so many reasons, lol. Waste of resources, plus MOST illnesses that require a day or three off don’t need to be “validated” by a physician. Plus go to doctor’s office = not resting and healing + spreading infectious disease. Plus treating people like infants. So bad.

      1. vimesy*

        Depending on the country in question, this can be done through a phone call! In my country, health care is nationalized, and it’s pretty common for people to have a physician they’d be able to call up. Because sick notes are required, I think doctors tend to be pretty liberal with them. That’s not to say it’s perfect, but it’s not as onerous as it seems.

        1. Fieldpoppy*

          the notion that at the age of 59 I have to have a doctor validate my life experience to my employer is infantilizing and a waste of the doctor’s time even if it can be done by phone call.

        2. Chief Bottle Washer*

          Requiring someone to call a doctor to get a note when they have something like a migraine or a cold seems dumb, even if health care is nationalized.

          1. Kyrielle*

            This. What a waste of a doctor’s (or even a doctor’s office’s) time. Doing it via messages or phone is better than using up a whole in-person appointment slot, but it’s still wasteful and pointless.

          2. Wintermute*

            especially because many people manage chronic conditions.

            How many calls does a doctor need to take “hey Mr. Rob, need another note for your back pain?” “yup” “it’s in your email.”

            or “good morning Ms. Lindsome, still have lupus? alright, here you go”

        3. Not a Real Giraffe*

          But if everyone knows that doctors are liberal with their doctor’s notes, then what’s the point of the “proof”?

          1. Rebelx*

            Where I live, basically how it works is that sick leave is not paid by the employer but by the health system, and so it’s really the heath system that requires the doctors note, not the employer. That said, it’s not required by law, AFAIK, at least in “exempt” type jobs, your boss can just let you stay home for a day or two at their discretion. And while it’s a little annoying to have to go to the doctor for everything, it also means there’s essentially unlimited paid time off and certain protections like not losing your job because you got sick.

        4. Observer*

          Because sick notes are required, I think doctors tend to be pretty liberal with them. That’s not to say it’s perfect, but it’s not as onerous as it seems.

          It’s still onerous and offensive. It’s still a ridiculous waste of resources. And, by your accounting it’s counterproductive. Because doctors are just not going to bother checking when someone calls. They *can’t* because they are being flooded with these requests.

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            Thank you for being so offended on our behalf! We had no idea what we were supposed to think before an American came along to tell us.

            1. Non-American*

              If you lived in America you’d be bankrupt from your hospital stay but it’s worth it, you’d have your freeeeeedooooooom!

        5. Salsa Your Face*

          If that were the case for OP, would there hypothetically be any reason why she couldn’t just call the doctor on the day of her interview and say “I have a cold (or migraine, or whatever), I’m fine, can I get a note?”

          1. OP #3*

            You typically had to drag your self there, or get one to come to your place. With telehealth this is changing, but I would have rather lied to my company that lied to a doctor (and pay for the visit even though I would have got the money back through national health) + the fact that I had to go to another country for that interview ! No time to visit ;)

      2. Kuleta*

        A colleague of mine successfully pushed back against our employer demanding a doctor’s note for a sprained ankle. She took the bus to work and couldn’t climb up and down the steps.

      3. AnonInCanada*

        Not to mention either 1) putting additional strain on an already strained healthcare system, and/or 2) having to pay out of pocket for the doctor’s note, thus being hit twice! (Not working=not getting paid in many circumstances, then paying for the note.)

        Total BS if you ask me.

        1. OP #3*

          Thankfully in France (the country where I live), you get reimbursed for doctor visit, although a less than 3 day doctor note is typically docked pay (social security quicks in after 4 days)

      4. Cj*

        I’ve never understood this thinking. most of the things I get sick with, like a bad cold or the flu, aren’t treatable with anything besides rest and time anyway. and if I miss work because I have a migraine, the last thing I want to do is go to the doctor’s office when I’m in that much pain. if the meds I have on hand don’t relieve my migraine, the only thing the doctor can do anyway give me a shot of morphine, which means I need somebody to drive me there because I won’t be in any shape to drive home.

        1. Wintermute*

          in fact over-medicalizing things that really need time, rest and maybe a little heat or ice is a huge issue. Because people who go to doctors expect the doctors to do something, which leads to inappropriate medication or unnecessary tests. even OTC medication is not entirely benign and should only be used when absolutely necessary.

          Now some countries have better and worse cultures around excessive overtesting and overtreating, the US is especially bad, but it’s basic human psychology that when someone comes to you for help you want to help.

          1. Reluctant Mezzo*

            Hello, overtesting and overtreating don’t happen in some parts of the US. Ask me how I know…

      5. Orv*

        For me going to the doctor would be more hassle and stress than going to work, so I’d just go to work sick.

    2. Portia*

      It’s so wasteful of time and resources — and it assumes employees can’t be trusted.

      Do people who are feeling terrible (and are maybe contagious) just come in to work anyway, rather than face the hassle of waiting around a clinic or doctor’s office all day when they’re sick?

      I wonder if people who have to do that end up taking more days out than they would if they had been able to just stay home.

      1. Observer*

        Do people who are feeling terrible (and are maybe contagious) just come in to work anyway, rather than face the hassle of waiting around a clinic or doctor’s office all day when they’re sick?

        Absolutely. In most case, that’s the reason why these rules are in place.

        In the US, there are jurisdictions where it has become *illegal* to require a doctor’s note. Even for people who are on Medicare / Medicaid and may not have a copay. For all the reasons everyone else has mentioned.

        And I’d point out that even in places where medical care is available to all, it’s STILL a bad idea. It’s STILL a burden, and it definitely adds a useless burden on the system. And it’s not like all of these systems have tons of excess capacity!

    3. Wienerin*

      You just bring the sick note the day you go back to work; it doesn’t say what’s wrong with you. If it’s something minor, you don’t even need to see the doctor, you can just call the receptionist. It’s not only about proving you’re ill, it’s about protecting employees and proving they are well enough to return to work in x days.
      I think you have to understand here that in some countries the state or the national healthcare system will pay you sick pay for months, years or even the rest of your career if you aren’t well enough to work. With that and our 3 years’ paid maternity leave paid for by the healthcare system, for example, we are really really fine to bring a doctor’s note. And obviously all healthcare is completely free so again, it’s not a problem to contact the doctor with a very minor illness.

      1. Observer*

        And obviously all healthcare is completely free so again, it’s not a problem to contact the doctor with a very minor illness.

        Not close to being true. Because the true cost of the doctor’s visit is not just the cash payment someone might need to make. If I have a migraine, I don’t need to see my doctor, and even a phone call is a burden. If I have an issue that the doctor is dismissive of, then it’s REALLY not going to be a nothing to make that call, unless I call and lie to the doctor.

        Multiply that by however many patients make that call, plus all the “newer” patients that the doctor’s office needs to create a baseline with, and you’ve got a situation where the system is diverting resources for “services” that do nothing for anyone’s health.

        It’s not only about proving you’re ill, it’s about protecting employees and proving they are well enough to return to work in x days.

        Nonsense. *Especially* if all you did was call the office and talked to a nurse. There is nothing magical here.If I tell you that I have a migraine and it’s better today, what is the doctor going to do, say, or see that could change that? If I have a stomach bug and talk to my doctor, how is that going to “prove” that I can come back to work the next day or the day after?

        And why on earth do you even need to prove this, for ordinary things? Why do I need to “prove” that my allergy flare up is better? Or that my sinus headache that had me curled up in pain is all cleared up? etc.

        I think you have to understand here that in some countries the state or the national healthcare system will pay you sick pay for months, years or even the rest of your career if you aren’t well enough to work.

        And so? I mean, sure if you want someone to pay for weeks, much less months or years of sick time, it makes sense to document what is going on. But what does have to do with one-two day absences?

        Also, this claim directly contradicts your claim that it’s not about about proving you’re ill. It just so happens that this is a really, really stupid, wasteful and disrespectful way to go about it.

        1. Name Required*

          This is such an overblown, aggressive response to a benign explanation about another health system — why so combative?

          Also, you often respond to other commenters’ claims with “nonsense” and similarly harsh language, which is rude and violates commenting rules.

        2. Taketombo*

          Not to diagnose on the internet, but having your doctor know how often you get migraines* so debilitating that you can’t work is important.

          It’s how a relative learned that they didn’t have migraines, but instead brain lesions from MS presenting as migraines.

          Having your work get a note from your doctor is a bit stupid. But when I’ve needed them for the kids’ school I’ve had good luck with using their secure messages and sometimes getting a callback from the nurse on call.

      2. Bast*

        Doesn’t this clog up the system though? If people need to get a doctor’s note for every little thing, doesn’t fielding the calls, and speaking to the individuals in question waste time that could be spent on patients who need the care? Or are the offices just really well staffed and equipped to handle the volume?

          1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

            It’s good to be reminded that there are still some health care systems that aren’t horribly overburdened (unlike the US and UK, and much if not all of Canada).

            1. Wienerin*

              I recently went to A&E in a different EU country. There were no other patients there as they had treated everyone (and probably a lot of person didn’t need to attend in the first place because you can always get a same-day GP appointment). While it would be convenient for the Tories if the UK population believe that a few hours’ wait is normal everywhere, it really doesn’t have to be.

      3. Artemesia*

        It makes sense to require documentation for extended illness – to take a day to recover from diarrhea or a head cold — well that is ridiculous.

        1. Wienerin*

          But if you get several episodes of diarrhoea within a few months the GP will probably raise it at your annual check up and ask if you want to see a specialist. It’s not irrelevant information.

    4. Anon for this*

      My company requires a doctors note for being sick for 3 or more days. I’ve conveniently forgotten this when it comes to my team of adults….

      1. Ellie*

        My company says that the manager can request a sick note after an absence of more than two days. I have never requested a sick note. I’ve advised a few people who were planning on having surgery or were otherwise going to be out for a long time to get one, just in case anyone up the chain questions it. I also give the general advice that if you’re going to the doctor anyway, you may as well get one. Otherwise, don’t bother. People are entitled to their time off, why would I care if its for a headache, or a chronic condition, or if they just don’t feel 100% and need to recharge.

      1. Reality.Bites*

        Well they probably PAY employees for sick days. Where I used to work required a note after 3 days for entry level call centre employees but:

        1. There was no limit on number of paid sick days
        2. Short-term disability (or lengthy illness) was up to 90 days at full salary.
        3. 3 weeks paid vacation
        4. 35 hour work week

      2. Neven*

        Yes, we need a doctor’s note, but we get 15 days sick leave, more if you have children, and even more if the children are disabled or if you’re a caregiver or some more things, and if you need even more sick then that, then the government doesn’t pay your full salary for while you’re sick but pays just a little bit less. We also get 4 weeks paid vacation, and every few years you get an extra vacation day, by the time you’re 40 it’s more like 5 and a half weeks of paid vacation each year.

      3. KateM*

        How is unlimited sick leave with doctor’s note worse sick leave policy as, say, five days of sick leave per year?

    5. Ellis Bell*

      I’m super curious how common this is for one day’s sickness out there globally; in the UK you need a Fit Note to return to work, but not until after several days. Even that is so obviously unpopular with doctors’ offices. They loathe the paperwork burden and have no problems telling you so. One day??!!

      1. Isobel*

        You need a fit note if you’ve been off sick more than a working week, or if you’re going back to work on a phased return/altered hours/amended duties, but you don’t need a “return to work” note. However, lots of employers don’t know this and insist that employees ask their GPs for something that doesn’t exist. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/caring-carers-and-long-term-conditions/can-i-go-back-to-work-before-the-end-date-on-my-fit-note/

    6. Coverage Associate*

      Devil’s advocate after reading the international comments: even in the United States, the government is tracking how health care resources are used. They collect data on what injuries treated by health care professionals are workplace injuries v auto accidents, etc. Also whether the injury is to a dominant limb, and all sorts of specifics. If it’s just a matter of a health care professional reviewing a message and issuing an e form, I wonder if the data collected couldn’t cut down on healthcare use overall.

      Just for me in the United States, when my doctor asked about my migraines, and I thought about it, and realized that I was missing work twice a month, she suggested switching medications.

      And for large employers in the United States, the insurance companies review their claims and make recommendations to the employers about resources to reduce costs, like providing healthier snacks or an EAP. (If you wonder where those at work wellness initiatives are coming from, it’s not always crazy management.) There could be additional savings if the actuaries had the absenteeism data in addition to the claims data.

      1. Katie Impact*

        Yeah, the record-keeping is an important piece of the puzzle. If you call your doctor and say you can’t work because of a migraine, they may not be able to do much for you in the moment, but if the government knows that X-thousand days of work are missed annually due to migraines, that’s useful info on how much funding to allocate to researching better migraine treatments.

    7. Blah blah*

      Not the OP, and also not located in the US, but what I do is tell my boss that I’m sick, and then I write in to my doctor on my health provider’s app to request a sick note. I select dates, write a few words about why I don’t feel well. The doctor can call me to confirm or follow up, but usually doesn’t for the typical minor illnesses. I get a signed PDF file in the next few days that states “Blah blah was sick from date to date and unable to work.” I send that to HR, the end. I can also write to my kids’ pediatrician to get a sick note if I have to stay home with a sick child.
      It takes like 2 min total of my time, I agree that it’s silly but I guess my employer has to follow some regulations, no one has ever bothered me about sick time.

    8. Wienerin*

      I would suggest that the people who hate the sound of this make sure they never move to a country where it works like this. I’ve never heard anyone actually living here complain about it (and it is definitely a glass half empty culture). It’s fascinating that so many commenters think they understand the system better than someone with lived experience of it.

      1. SatsumaWolf*

        This. The aggressive reactions to this difference in policy is shocking to me. As if people can only imagine having a mandatory sick note policy within the health system that exists for them currently and not realise it works within a completely different health care system, one that by all accounts here no one is complaining about.

        The number of times too I see people from non-US counties get berated in this comment section for even mentioning that something works differently in their country, like “Shut up, yes we know the US has bad policies on this”. Then to someone benignly explaining in a letter update why they chose the course of action they did their system gets called, nonsense, offensive etc. Maybe take a look at why you are so inscensed by something working a different way than you’ve experienced it.

    9. OP#3*

      Welcome to France !

      For jobs that allow it, typically you WFH until you can get to a doctor, or you take a real day off. For jobs that don’t allow it, you suck it up. But yeah if you really have to skip work it’s a race to find a doctor who can give you a note and who can see you that day. Lots of good things with France, but this one is pretty terrible.

    10. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Here in France you can take up to three days off without a sick note, to avoid people making appointments when they’re just feeling a bit under the weather or have period cramps on their first day.
      But when you take a Friday off, the weekend counts as your second and third day, so if you then still can’t make it on the Monday, you’ll need a sick note. Presumably this cuts down on people skiving off for long weekends…
      So this happened to me, only it was right at the height of a flu epidemic and the first day of the school holidays. My doctor was away and all other doctors were booked solid. Finally I found one doctor who made home visits and agreed to pop in on her way home, at about 6.30.
      At 8pm she called me saying she was running very late and could she see me the next day instead? after all the pharmacies would all be closed so I wouldn’t be able to get any medicine. I explained about the sick note, and that my boss had emailed to ask for it. She promised to pop in first thing, and to predate the sick note for me.
      First thing, my boss was on the phone asking where the sick note was, convinced I wasn’t even sick. I was trying to explain despite being half asleep and my head throbbing, then the doorbell rang. I said that’s the doctor and hung up to let her in.
      She immediately wrote out a sick note for four days, but proceeded to examine me because I looked very pale. My blood pressure was very low, and she asked if I was under any stress. I explained about my boss stressing me out. She promptly ripped up the sick note and wrote another one for two weeks instead, because I obviously needed the rest!

    11. Emmy Noether*

      There’s some major cognitive dissonance here between all the posts saying ” my employer needs to trust me that I’m sick when I say I am” and the fact that this is literally an update to a post where the LW was advised to lie and call in sick when they weren’t actually sick.

      I’m all for trust and think a doctor’s visit for sniffles is silly, but, my dudes, advice like that is why that trust isn’t always given.

  3. Feral Humanist*

    Lying to go to an interview isn’t “bad,” OP #3. Sometimes it’s just what you have to do. I’ve done it and I didn’t feel bad about it for a second.

    A doctor’s note for any sick day by law blows my mind. Holy buckets.

    1. Smithy*

      I used to live in a country like this, and I was able to establish a relationship with my primary care doctor where if I was sick with “just a cold” or something like that – he wouldn’t make me come in and just email me the note. I also had around 17 sick days a year? And when I did go into the doctor, I’d often get sick notes for periods of 3-5 days regardless of what the illness was. I’m not going to say the system was perfect or didn’t have pain points – but there were aspects of it that I do miss being back in the US.

      All to say – that lying about sick days or doctors appointments was not an option, I still 100% agree that lying in these moments isn’t anything to feel badly about. There’s just inevitably too much risk in disclosing too early.

    2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Yeah, it doesn’t seem like your company culture left you with any other options. There are lots of reasons why someone might not want their company to know they’re lookin at other jobs, but that’s information your company isn’t actually entitled to. This is very different from lying about something that’s actually related to your job (like “Yes, I finished the report – maybe your spam filter deleted my email?”).

    3. Bast*

      In the vast majority of companies that I worked at, even giving them the idea that you were looking elsewhere could be dangerous for your job. At the very least, they would have been hesitant to promote or support someone who they think is going to leave soon. Worst case, you get fired. I have worked for 2 companies that if they found out you had an interview elsewhere, you’d just get fired on the spot. I’ve never viewed lying as bad, just necessary.

    4. Still*

      Came here to say this. As I believe Alison has said on multiple occasions, lying is completely fine if somebody’s demanding information from you that they’re not actually entitled to.

    5. Filosofickle*

      I hate the narrative that lying to a boss is always bad. I realize some people are hard-wired to feel that Lying Is Never Okay, but you have to protect yourself. It’s really stressful to lie and sneak out of work for interviews and it’s great when you work for a place that doesn’t make this hard — and yet, do what you have to do. Same goes for other personal issues.

      I work from home and video interviews have changed everything. So grateful for that.

    6. Orv*

      Generally if I’m well enough to drive myself to the doctor’s office I’d consider myself well enough to show up to work…

      1. Hannah Lee*

        That isn’t the case for everyone – being able to be somewhat functional for an hour or so while seeking medical care isn’t the same thing as being able to sustain being functional for a full work day, dealing effectively with whatever comes up, interacting with co-workers, managers, customers or other who rely on you to be doing your job well. And then getting yourself home at the end of your shift.

        Plus, special circumstances for someone who is sick with something contagious- pink eye, flu, COVID or whose job involves other people’s lives depending on them being on their game. For example I wouldn’t want an eye surgeon operating on me on a day she was sick and pushing herself through the day.

  4. Seashell*

    Needing a doctor’s note for one sick day seems silly to me, so I’m glad I’m in the US. If I have vomiting and diarrhea, I’m going to stay close to the bathroom, not run to the doctor’s office. Especially since it’s something that will likely be resolved within a day without medical treatment.

    1. ZSD*

      It’s worth noting that some US jurisdictions have laws *preventing* employers from requiring a doctor’s note when fewer than three sick days are used consecutively.

    2. Bast*

      The US system can make it very difficult to get same day care without heading to an ER or urgent care (and my insurance makes urgent care not a viable option). Some doctors are truly excellent and able to squeeze people in, or will just write a note after a quick telephone call; others will tell you “4 weeks is the best we can do” and leave it at that. Well, I hopefully won’t still have the flu in 4 weeks now. You’re absolutely right that when those are my options, I am not going to drag myself to the ER to tell me that I am vomiting; I already know that, and the ER staff is annoyed that I’m there and taking time away from real emergencies. A doctor’s note for a single day absence here just doesn’t make sense for many.

      1. I Have RBF*

        My insurance has a $20 copay for urgent care, but $100 copay + 20% after deductible for the ER. Needless to say, I use urgent care.

    3. Ellis Bell*

      I live in a country where Fit Notes are required and you wouldn’t go to the doctor if you were still suffering from vomiting and diarrhea. You’d call the doctors practice up and say you’re not well enough to come in, which obviously means you aren’t well enough to work. Pointless, yeah but you don’t have to go out when ill.

    4. Double A*

      I mean. I would definitely trade needing to get a doctor’s note every time I’m sick for accessible, well-funded, and universal healthcare. However, it seems one could have the latter without requiring the former. And the need of the former is nowhere enough for me to be grateful for the system we have in the US.

      We’re paying $20,000 a year for our healthcare between my employer and me, and my HMO has not followed up with my husband for over 2 weeks about what is very likely a melanoma of the type that can spread very quickly. It’s horrifying.

      1. Artemesia*

        And yet Americans seem convinced that those terrible socialized countries have endless wait lists for appointments and in the US you are seen immediately for serious issues.

        1. Reluctant Mezzo*

          Not this American. In a rural area, you’re going to have waitlists for *everything* except possibly gunshots.

      2. Dog momma*

        Having worked in Utilization Management as a RN review for over 20 yrs, I’m horrified too!. A standard review is required to have an answer within 48 hours from the time the insurance company calls. And an initial visit consult can be approved by customer service with documentation required for surgery/ treatment and more visits. it may mean reviewing Corporate Medical Policy to see if it meets specific criteria.. some can be nurse approved and some may need to go to the medical director… but if they really dropped the ball on this one, you can call and request an expedited review>>24 hour turn around time

        1. Dog momma*

          Double A.. to clarify, 48 hr turn around time for a standard review from the time the insurance company gets the information. it can be pended (clock stops) if additional info is requested and not yet received.. which happens..please call your insurance company and ask what the hold up is. Bc this has gone on too long. Speak to a supervisor in customer service if possible. Good luck!

  5. ZSD*

    #1 I’m both pleased to hear that the OP managed to find a new job and escape a rapidly deteriorating situation…and disappointed that we didn’t learn the boss was actually ChatGPT, dolled up like the Great and Powerful Oz.

    1. Pyjamas*

      I went back and read the original letter: this was boss’s first job out of college‽ Trust fund baby?

  6. AG*

    LW1’s letter was answered a month ago. LW1 left AFTER the letter was answered. None of what happened is surprising, but I am surprised at how fast it all went down.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      ChatGPT: “Challenge accepted!”

      The boss in question is still there, so this stuff seems to still be working for him.

      1. lyonite*

        IIRC he was a buddy of the founders’, so I think what was working for him was the same thing that’s worked for a lot of guys like him.

    2. Lydia*

      Sometime putting into writing and sending it off clarifies what a person suspected all along, and the answer just reaffirms they’re making the correct decision.

      1. Venus*

        I think AG’s point was in reference to all the firings and “steadily downhill” that happened in the past month. I had the same thought, that things must be getting really bad quickly because a ‘steady’ downhill within a few weeks means that something bad must be happening several times a week.

  7. Not my coffee*

    I am always curious to see the reaction to the questions that literally come down to “I just want to know.”

  8. Richard Hershberger*

    “Kumbaya” leadership:

    Zounds! If I understand how he is using the word, he only wants to hear happy talk, regardless of reality. This outfit does not have long for this world, and good ridance.

    1. Dek*

      Which is so weird to me, because usually when people say something is “Kumbaya” they mean it in a derogatory way as a negative, and here’s him saying he wants exactly that?

  9. NotTheSameAaron*

    Most bosses dislike criticism, but I’ve never seen one that out refused to accept it. I guess we see why.

    1. BellaStella*

      My current team head does not accept criticism and actively discourages anyone fr giving feedback. Also promised 6 months ago to listen to us regularly in a session once a month, and nope not happening either

  10. Juicebox Hero*

    Sounds like #1’s old company would have been better off with ChatGPT than with Kumbaya Boss.

  11. Formerly Ella Vader*

    LW #5, congratulations! It’s very smart that although it felt too risky at first, you hung onto the encouragement to ask until you felt more comfortable doing it.

  12. Industry Behemoth*

    OP2 reminded me of the “Jane’s job” post. Maybe UNG was in a similar position as Jane’s bullied replacement #2, who went somewhere else at a lower job title to escape the bullying.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I can see someone thinking “I have to tough this out until I find a new llama painter position” right up until their boss had one more insane meltdown and they were like “…. or I could walk out right this minute, and keep looking while I work retail.”

  13. IndyDem*

    #3 Your “friend” was your interviewer (you didn’t say how close a friend) and your “entertaining them” was your interview, so you didn’t really lie after all!

  14. Falling Diphthong*

    “There is no ‘kumbaya’ in ‘leadership’,” sounds like something ChatGPT would say.

    Possibly it would print it on motivational posters.

    1. AFac*

      When you ask ChatGPT about the necessity of kumbaya leadership, what does it reply?

      I’d ask it but I don’t want to sign up for an account.

      1. ThatOtherClare*

        I asked it for the laughs. Here you go:

        Why might “Kumbaya leadership” be necessary in a young-ish start-up company?
        “Kumbaya leadership” refers to a leadership style focused on harmony, collaboration, and consensus-building within a team. In a young start-up company, where the team is often small and the work environment is fast-paced and dynamic, this style of leadership can be necessary for several reasons:

        1. Team Cohesion: Building a strong sense of unity and camaraderie among team members can foster a supportive and collaborative work environment, which is crucial for a start-up’s success.

        2. Creativity and Innovation: Encouraging open communication and a non-judgmental atmosphere can stimulate creativity and innovation, leading to the generation of fresh ideas and solutions to challenges.

        3. Flexibility and Adaptability: Start-ups often face rapid changes and uncertainties. Kumbaya leadership promotes flexibility and adaptability among team members, allowing them to adjust to changing circumstances and pivot when necessary.

        4. Employee Morale and Retention: A positive and inclusive work culture where everyone feels valued and heard can boost employee morale and increase retention rates, reducing turnover costs for the company.

        5. Problem-Solving: When team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns, it facilitates problem-solving and decision-making processes, leading to more effective outcomes.

        Overall, Kumbaya leadership can help young start-ups navigate the complexities of early-stage growth and establish a strong foundation for long-term success.

        1. linger*

          That’s an impressively integrated response. I’m guessing there aren’t many source texts with the phrase “Kumbaya leadership”, so this output might follow a single source quite closely. Also, of course, this prompt implies that a positive answer is required (to support evaluation as “necessary”), which will further limit the potential model texts.

    2. RVA Cat*

      I mean, “someone’s crying” is right there in kumbaya so maybe the boss thinks suffering is necessary? Maybe he mixes job and Job?

  15. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

    Re: OP3, for a job I had years ago, not quite the same situation (as I was able to schedule the interview late enough in the day that leaving a little early didn’t raise any suspicions), but I had a coworker who would always make a sarcastic (in a lighthearted way, not a mean way!) if someone was a little more dressed up than usual. I had actually left a matching suit jacket in my car, but I was wearing a skirt that day. I was actually really careful not to look significantly “nicer” than usual because I knew this coworker did that!

    As it so happened, I was participating in an online capsule wardrobe challenge at the time, so I deflected to explain that (and made sure to wear that skirt again in the close future! It might have even been to the second interview – ha ha ha!). Anyway, between her asking a different coworker recently and him telling her he had a funeral, and then me actually giving notice a couple weeks later, she did say, “Damn, I guess I am a jinx and shouldn’t ask that anymore!”

    1. Bast*

      In Old Job dressing up nicer than usual would have been noticed as well and someone would make the “interview” comment, which undoubtedly would make its way up to boss, who would get suspicious. In an environment where Interview = Getting Fired, I wasn’t chancing it. I had several outfits that I incorporated in my standard office wear that were nice enough for interviews, so that they didn’t stand out when I did wear them. No one was suspicious because those outfits had become “normal.”

      That wardrobe challenge was a nice cover!

      1. Queen Anon*

        I’m fully remote now but when I worked in an office I’d dress up 2-4 times a month specifically so it wouldn’t look weird if I had an interview at some point.

  16. Ink*

    Yikes, LW 1. You clearly made the right decision! Do come back and update us if you hear about him dissolving the company in a fit of pique or something…. Hopefully your former coworkers are following your example and job hunting

  17. Hell in a Handbasket*

    LW2, I agree with Alison that the original issue you wrote about wasn’t something worth flagging, but I think that the fact that this guy is claiming to still be in the other mid-level position is definitely worth asking about! Seems like he’s either lying or working two jobs simultaneously, neither of which would be good.

  18. Orora*

    For #1, as soon as I read this in the background link: “This leader is very young in his career — this is his first job out of college.” I knew it wasn’t gonna end well. Very few people (maybe 1%) are ready to be a leader at their first professional job. Of course he was using ChatGPT to come up with strategy; he has no flipping idea what he’s doing. Getting out was the best option.

Comments are closed.