updates: parking lot gate wars, the employer that wanted more notice, and more

Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My company is issuing new work-from-home standards because we should have the hang of it by now (previous updates:1, 2, 3)

I have a happy update for you!

I ended up needing to pause my job hunt as I ended up having surgery and being out on medical leave for 3 months, and when I got back, the long-time operations manager (who was the right-hand person to the COO) had left for another opportunity.

Alison, I kid you not, after they left we learned that the operations manager had made up ALL of the ridiculous policies without the C-suite knowing, while saying they were the directive of the CEO/COO (including inventing the COL raises that were never actually on the table – I’m not sure where they were going with that one). C-suite lack of involvement notwithstanding, everything vastly improved with this person gone. A lot of other sketchy things have been uncovered since they left and I know there has been a decent amount of clean-up required. The new operations manager is awesome (and a totally reasonable human being) and there has been a really positive culture shift since she came on board.

I’m currently interviewing for two positions outside of the organization that both seem like great opportunities (and both are in cities close to my friends and family), so I hope to be in a new position in 2024!

2. Parking lot gate wars (#2 at the link)

Re-reading my letter, I realized my stressed, perfectionist attitude contributed to the problem. This, plus how I was brought up, meant I thought that if it didn’t go perfectly, it was something to stress about. I have been working to get rid of this attitude and feel well on the way.

It helps that I’m part-time here (full-time but work at a separate office too) and job searching. And it’s still easier to deal with than my old nightmare boss, which is a whole other letter.

I have also found better phrasing for visitors: “please park on the road, as the parking lot belongs to the school.” This has gone over with a lot more understanding and acceptance.

I don’t really know if the school receptionist was scolding me or if I was taking her approach personally. In any case, she hasn’t had any cause to come knocking.

3. I was rejected for not having experience I do have (#4 at the link)

I wrote in about whether to address a misunderstanding about my experience when replying to a job rejection, in order to keep the door open for future opportunities. I appreciated Alison’s advice and the commentariat’s thoughts too — especially because I hadn’t considered that it was most likely a miscommunication between manager and recruiter. I did reply to the email with a simple but gracious “thank you for the opportunity,” with a subtle line to correct the record just in case, along the lines of “I can see how my current work isn’t as X as your ChairProduct is, and I appreciate the feedback on how I might better highlight my past experience in X for the future.”

Four months later, I noticed that a position was open again, seemingly the same one (or maybe a new one, very similarly worded). I reached back out to the recruiter and learned that one of the people I had interviewed with had been promoted to the head of the department! By that time, my casual interest had turned into an active job search, and so I was able to reopen that door to have a 1:1 discussion with the hiring manager. It just happened to be that right around that time I received a compelling offer elsewhere, so I decided not to move forward with their interview process, but I did cement a great professional connection.

I’ve been in my new role for less than a year, but the job has turned out to be significantly different than what was presented during hiring, and I’m afraid I’m already looking for a change. I’m reassured by Alison’s guidance that I get one “freebie” of changing jobs after less than a year, when the rest of my resume shows multiple years with employers, and so far there haven’t been any awkward “why are you leaving so soon?” questions in interviews. I’ve learned that, as much as I enjoy working from home, having strong connections to my colleagues is both important to me personally, and also makes a noticeable difference in how effective I can be in my role. I don’t think this requires being in an office together, but it at least requires more company-wide investment in remote collaboration practices, and I know now to really focus on and ask about that in my interviews. Thanks again to Alison’s advice, and to this community!

4. Can I give 2 weeks notice when my employer says they “expect” 4 weeks?

For my resignation notice, after consideration of your thoughts, I ended up providing a 3-week notice. I gave my notice the Friday just before Memorial Day in the U.S. and to me that felt fair with a shorter week due to the holiday. My supervisor was thankful for the extra week outside of a standard two-week notice which I appreciated. I did not receive any pushback from my supervisor or the administration about giving less than a 4-week notice per the policy. By the end of my last week of work, it was quite slow and I may have gotten away with a 2-week notice.

{ 24 comments… read them below }

  1. Lisa*

    LW#3, “the job has turned out to be significantly different than what was presented during hiring” is a completely fine answer to any questions about why you’re looking again after a short time. If you do get that question don’t sweat it.

    1. Antilles*

      Agreed. If it was a string of short jobs, then it might be notable \in the “common denominator is you” kind of way, but as a one-off, it’s an answer that nobody is going to blink at.
      Just keep it short, then pivot to what you are looking for in a job. Such as perhaps, that very good paragraph you have about your desire for a company that encourages collaboration and coordination with colleagues.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing – only very unreasonable people will expect you to work out 1-2 years in a role that was nothing like what you had thought you were hired to do.

      And you really don’t want to work for that kind of person, anyway.

    3. Just Thinkin' Here*

      Yup – had this experience years ago. It was a bait and switch as no one internal would take the position knowing the reality. Resume was back out again after 2 months. I was asked during the interviews. Without going into drama, explained I was hired to do X and only been assigned Y and that was not my area of expertise nor interest. I then followed it up with “and that’s why I’ll be asking some questions at the end of this interview to make sure we are both on the same page”. The good hiring managers appreciated that – which helped me identify who I wanted to work for.

  2. Peanut Hamper*

    I read the original letter to #1 and all the updates and WOW! What a roller coaster! I’m so glad LW has made it this far, and is close to getting a job closer to home!

    1. Random Dice*

      #1 doesn’t actually boil down to that one unreasonable person below the C-suite though.

      This is a C-suite made of evil hornets.

      “we had a big meeting of all upper management in which the CEO and COO proceeded to berate everyone who worked from home during the pandemic at all. The gist of it was that work should have been more important to us than anything else, **we should have been FIGHTING to come in despite the stay home orders**, and essentially we have all been deemed low performers no matter how much extra work we took on to aid in the COVID response or how much revenue we brought in… our C-suite consists only of men with wives who don’t work, so I’m assuming they didn’t consider [how parents could have come in against government orders] at all.”

      “[I’m] being told I rated my staff too highly on their annual evaluations (“while they may be performing highly, we want to motivate them to do better! Please lower their scores so they know they should work harder”), that I don’t work enough hours when I regularly work 60+ per week, and that I’m encouraged NOT to give my staff raises or bonuses unless they’ve been really exceptional performers”

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Yup. Even taking this most recent update at face value, it involves major company-wide pronouncements that the entire C-suite simply did not notice. Even if they are telling the truth, this is the “I’m not evil–merely incompetent” defense. My money, however, is on this being blame management, putting everything on the guy who isn’t there anymore.

      2. Tio*

        Also ” the CEO started roaming the halls to keep track of who was actually working from the office (which I guess is the best use of his time?).”

        This news about the ops manager definitely smells a bit like a coverup to me

        1. Nea*

          I’m so glad I’m not the only one going “but the CEO and COO were personally part of the bananapants announcements, though.”

        2. Mongrel*

          A weak defence would be that they were only doing this based solely on information from the malicious manager, which leads right back to Richard Hershbergers point that they’re incompetent

    2. M2RB*

      The update to the update on update 3 – they retracted raises so they could make a political donation!??!?!?!?! BEEEEEEES!!!!

    3. Saberise*

      Yes, reading the prior updates, this update makes so sense what so ever. The C-Suite definitely were part of everything that had happened in the prior updates. I would guess the person that left was the scapegoat.

  3. Sloanicota*

    #4 really grinds my gears because it sounds like they didn’t need, or possibly even expect, 4 weeks, but they put it in the policy as a “gimme” and it only ends up penalizing people who are conscientious. I’m sure OP would have appreciated an extra week of downtime before starting their new job. I can’t imagine negotiating hard with my new employer on behalf of my current employer’s desire for a longer leave they they probably won’t even use well (hopefully in OP’s field it’s more standard, but I’ve had to push hard to delay the start date by even one more week in the past – and every “ask” during negotiations takes away from your other goals).

  4. Stuart Foote*

    I am glad that things are looking up for LW#1, but from the other updates it seems like there is a lot more craziness at this company than just the stuff the operations manager controlled. Wasn’t the CEO roaming the halls looking for people working from home, and didn’t the CEO & COO berate everyone for following the company’s explicit instructions to WFH and the state stay at home orders? I’m not sure the blame here can be placed on just this one guy.

    1. Random Dice*


      I sincerely hope their business goes under, and everyone in that C-suite loses all their money.

      What evil d*#s.

    2. kiki*

      Yeah, I think the mass exodus made the C-suite realize they had messed up and they’re trying to use the operations manager as a fall-person. I’m glad LW is still looking for employment elsewhere.

    1. Random Dice*

      That was really good!

      I feel like the update response is one of those “best response by a LW” emails – the LW took Alison’s advice on what specifically to change, and dug into what was making this feel like such a big deal and how to let it go. I was really impressed with them!!

      That’s Primo Adulting right there!

      1. the Viking Diva*

        I noticed that too (well done, OP2!).
        The reworded instructions also exemplifies one of Alison’s steady principles – tell people what to do, rather than what not to do.

  5. Melicious*

    Ha. When I read #1’s original letter, I was thinking this all sounds perfectly reasonable. Then I saw the date of October 2020…

  6. CommanderBanana*

    What is even the entire point of your org having a C-suite at all if they are this checked out?!?

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