update: there’s nothing I can do about my nightmare workload … right?

Remember the letter-writer asking whether there was anything they could do about their nightmare workload? The first update was here, and here’s the resolution.

Well, I certainly wasn’t planning to have another update after a week and a half, but I am no longer at this job! Things deteriorated really, really quickly.

Last Monday, my coworker and I realized our bosses were planning to fire her. After they found the new hire we knew they were looking for, they kept the posting up and continued the search — there were poorly disguised interviews all over the office schedule, with timestamps clearly indicating they were added after the new hire accepted the offer. At that point, I was done. It would have been bad enough for her to quit, but the idea that they were going to proactively get rid of my only coworker just when I had room to breathe for the first time in a year and a half … it was the point of no return. The only reasons I didn’t give my notice that day: I wanted to give my coworker space to figure out her own next move, and I didn’t want to burn the bridge until I had my April retention bonus in hand.

Tuesday my coworker gave her notice. They told her they didn’t need her two weeks — she could just wrap up the next day. They broke the news to me on Wednesday morning and told me it was for the best. Even though I knew it was coming and had been heated up about it all week, I still wasn’t really prepared for how it felt. Once she left it was like the past year and a half all came down on me at once, which was pretty crushing. Thursday and Friday I was standoffish with my bosses. I kept to myself — no pleasantries, a couple of petty little silences, and for the most part I sent emails for things I usually would have popped into their offices to discuss.

Monday was mostly back to normal, and then at the end of the day was my annual review. They acknowledged I’d done a lot of great work, but the focus of the conversation was my professionalism and attitude, and that I should really think about whether the company was a good fit for me if I couldn’t be comfortable with change. (There was also a section about how I needed to work on time management and prioritization, because I could “appear to get flustered and overwhelmed.”) I said we should go our separate ways and offered a little more than two weeks notice — I was about to take a few days off, so two weeks starting from my first day back. In the interest of getting a clean break and getting me out before the new hire started, they said they only needed one more day from me. (I do wonder what she’ll think, showing up for her first day only to find both of the team members she was introduced to are gone.)

So now I’m out! The last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster, but I’m weirdly happy this is how it shook out. My (former) coworker’s relieved to be out, I got the bonus, I didn’t have to stress myself out about how to break the news I was leaving, and one day was such a laughably short handover period that I barely thought about the million things I would have wanted to tie up if I’d had more time. Most importantly, I think I always would have believed on some level that if only I had done things differently, everything could have worked out. This made it really clear that it would have gone absolutely horribly if I’d ever tried to intervene on my coworker’s behalf, and there was never any salvaging this.

I’ll be applying to new positions here and there if they look really good, but I’ve been chanting “summer off, SUMMER OFF” in my head for a little over a week, so the real plan right now is just to enjoy a nice long break.

{ 263 comments… read them below }

  1. Corrvin (they/them)*

    SUMMER OFF. Hope you got money to support yourself while you decompress!

      1. Name (Required)*

        I took it more is “I hope that is the case so you can really enjoy your summer”. But I can see where it could hit either way because of the way it started – “Hope you”.

        1. Corrvin (they/them)*

          Also though… I’m glad to see folks making sure nobody’s picking on the OP, even inadvertently. Thanks for saying something so I could clarify.

      2. it's gonna be bye bye bye... oh, wrong song*

        I see no reason to interpret it that way; seems ungenerous. They echoed “summer off” and hoped that OP can follow through with it, financially.

      3. logicbutton*

        Any chance you’re reading it as “hope you have money” rather than “hope you received money” (i.e. the bonus LW was waiting to get before they left)?

        1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

          I didn’t see it as negative.
          And LW said she got her April Bonus.

        2. wondermint*

          Oh, maybe. LW did state that they got the bonus in the second to last paragraph.

          It just seems like a weird thing to say when LW’s financial situation wasn’t emphasized in any of the three letters, outside the mention of a bonus. Though I think even the most financially stable among us would stick out a job for an explicit amount of time if there was an additional check waiting.

          1. 20 Points for the Copier*

            LW has not talked about her financial situation but she did mention in previous letters that she was being very well compensated for all the additional work.

      4. Corrvin (they/them)*

        It definitely wasn’t meant to sound like that, and I’m sorry it did! I absolutely wish them the best.

        One of the best times of my life was after I got let go from a job for being bad at selling things to people who didn’t need them, but *did* have money to support myself for a few months. Hope OP has something great like that.

        1. Annie*

          I didn’t read anything negative in your comment, Corrvin. It was perfectly pleasant and wishing the OP the best.

      5. CrackerJaxonApple*

        I read it more as, Hope the bonus was LARGE and helps further that idea!

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I live right near a pizza place and the other night a large group of children came out from getting pizza and began chanting “We want ice cream!” and “What do we want? ICE CREAM! When do we want it? NOW!” and kept it up until the adults gave in and took them for ice cream.

        This is the energy I am bringing to “SUMMER OFF!” and I wish I could, like, round up all my coworkers and get them to sit around chanting “SUMMER OFF SUMMER OFF” until someone gave up and gave us summer off.

  2. Valancy Stirling*

    If there were an award for shooting yourself in the foot, your former bosses would win it with ease.

    I’m so glad you’re out of there, enjoy your summer off!

          1. Princess Sparklepony*

            I do love the fish display. That’s going out with a send off.

    1. Jennifer*

      I’m still so curious about what their problem was with the coworker they fired first. They had a seemingly good employee and wanted to fire them for no reason? How have these people stayed in business this long. I wonder what the essential service is.

      1. JSPA*

        Whenever all the competent people are shown the door, I wonder if the top people are doing something they shouldn’t (two sets of books, faked inspections, whatever it may be) and are looking for someone wet-behind-the-ears to have on hand to take the fall, if needed.

      2. OP*

        In my opinion, it was a combination of two factors: First, they never felt great about her as a candidate (I did, though!), but they hired her because they were desperate, and they never really forgave her for not being what they wanted. Second, they had unreasonable expectations for where a new hire should be after a few months, and they sincerely believe The Right Hire can come in and do things exactly the way they want them done without needing a ton of guidance. (I suspect they were comparing her at five months to me at five months – and I was hired into a staff of four with years of experience who all had a ton of time and bandwidth to help me develop. Volume-wise, I also had a fraction of her workload at five months.)

        She wasn’t perfect but the fundamental skills and the willingness to respond to feedback and take on whatever we needed her to were all there, and I had total confidence that she’d improve once we had a functional structure in place and everyone had adjusted to whatever the new normal was. Instead, they wrote her off, refused to invest any time in her, and made her miserable.

        1. Manglement Survivor*

          OP, please please send an update to Alison about whether or not you start getting phone calls from your old job asking you to explain how you did this and that!

        2. Ellie*

          So they held a grudge because she wasn’t their first choice, and then they wrote you off after years of excellent work, for taking a couple of days to bounce back from a massive increase in your workload. What petty bastards. You are well rid of them OP.

          I feel really sorry for that new hire though. All their ridiculous expectations are going to fall on them. I hope they have the sense to quit early.

    2. TheOtherLaura*

      It is so nice when bad management shoots themselves in the foot so that one is spared the decision whether to do it for them.

  3. Cat Tree*

    The only downside to this update is that there’s no one inside to keep us updated on the dumpster fire that is surely brewing there! I hope that sole new employee can get out fast.

    1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for updates about the increasingly insistent calls from the former boss and new employees for information or help, and the OP just letting them go into The Void. But daydreams almost never come true.

      1. Reality.Bites*

        Perhaps the new hire has OP’s contact info and will touch base in a week or two when their work life has become a living hell

        1. Rosemary*

          And if they ask for help, I hope that OP responds with “oh sorry, at the beach, terrible reception, good LUCK”! Not that I think the innocent new hire should suffer, but that OP’s withholding of assistance will drive new hire out even more quickly…

          1. Reality.Bites*

            Oh, I meant it purely in an “I understand everything now” way, not that OP should help in any way

          2. Ellie*

            Personally I’d go with, ‘Yes I know, I’m sorry. I can’t help you. I strongly suggest you look for another job as soon as you can. Good luck!’.

            1. DJ Abbott*

              Yes, let the new person know it won’t get better. They deserve to know that so they can get out.

    2. Double A*

      Yeah please LW, I would like this to be the equivalent of you texting us, “Can I be mean for second?” and then sharing with us the gossip you’re hearing about your old company

    3. Rosemary*

      I know! Would love to be a fly on the wall to see how it all goes down.

      Or perhaps we will get a letter soon from one of the new hires, asking how to deal with the dumpster fire they walked into :)

      1. Sloanicota*

        Ugh, I have been this new hire. I had a group interview with seven people. When I started work, only the boss was still there (it turns out some of them were interns/temps, which felt deliberately misleading when I found that out, since they weren’t really introduced that way). My first thought was, “oh boy … buckle up, Sloan.”

        1. Bast*

          I started a new job and the *very next week* they went on a firing spree. It definitely made me question whether I wanted to continue there or find something a little more stable. As it turned out, they were pretty much always hiring because the firing sprees would happen at least a couple of times a year — usually a “spring cleaning” and then another one right between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Companies that do that then wonder WHY IN THE WORLD people quit. Um, people notice what you do even if it’s not at them….yet.

            1. Enai*

              I wonder how those types of companies stay afloat if they never keep any employees for long enough to get actually good at the job. I don’t mean the “We hire straight out of college and people usually move on a maximum of three years later” kinds of places, but complete turnover every few months? Is it the kind of job where you can be shown everything in a day, be average after a week and good at the thing they do in a month? Like, the food places where service is always kinda flustered and slow and you never recognize anyone because it’s a new hire (never a career server) every time you come in? Those usually don’t last too long…

          2. Reluctant Mezzo*

            Ah, a friend of mine worked at a place like that–people got fired as soon as they were eligible for health insurance (about six months).

          3. InsufficentlySubordinate*

            A group of us at one job made a point of warning contractors that they should anticipate being let go in December because management would always clear them out for budget reasons. Contracts were through a recruiter/staffing firm and were “contract to hire” but somehow no one was ever hired.

        2. Other Alice*

          I started a new job and the following week the hiring manager resigned. The only other person in our tiny team was a “senior” employee, who was a new graduate who had been there for about a month. I lasted exactly six weeks.

    4. AnonInCanada*

      …or better yet, be an AAM reader, recognize the fiery pit of despair she’s witnessing right now with OP and her plight, and give us a blow-by-blow of her first (and last) day watching these people crumble when they realize their unreasonable expectations now have to be met by them. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

    5. Star Trek Nutcase*

      Yeah, I “early” quit with zero notice (long story & had given 3-month away notice so just early). A part of me would have paid to be a fly on the wall to enjoy the chaos. Another bigger part felt bad for my supervisor who would have to shoulder the burden. (Her boss was why I quit.) I had heard stories so I block a handful of work numbers. After two weeks, it was like a switch flipped and I no longer cared at all about the job I held for 10 yrs. I started retirement financially secure and didn’t look back.

      Hope OP enjoys her summer and shakes off all the bad memories and toxicity.

    6. djx*

      Don’t worry – the new hire will be writing in in about 3 to 6 months with a letter saying “I was hired as part of a team that disintegrated right before I joined”

    1. ferrina*

      Woohoo! I hope OP has an incredible and delightful summer- they’ve certainly earned it!! May they get free ice cream, win the concert tickets giveaways, and may the weather be always perfect when they go outside.


  4. CC*

    Congrats on your clean break, summer office, and future jobs at a normal/healthy employer!

  5. JelloStapler*

    Congrats! Getting mad at you for not being sunny and happy and struggling with a superhuman workload is so tone-deaf it’s another song. Clearly just some time management would suddenly create more hours in the day!

    1. Venus*

      It sounds like they wanted an excuse to criticize OP because they have always had problems with staff retention and the previous manager shielded everyone from the worst of it, so the reason for the criticism is almost irrelevant.

    2. ferrina*

      Ugh, when OP got to the part where the owners complained that OP “appeared overwhelmed” (because they WERE overwhelmed), my eyes rolled into orbit.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Yup! And I think the owner who was there during the leave wasn’t useful in prioritizing.

        Wild how they went from “you can do no wrong” to this within weeks. Only lasted until the relief wore off.

        1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          Or they realized that she wasn’t going to just take whatever they dished out anymore.

          1. Ellie*

            I reckon it was more of a cut your nose off to spite your face kind of thing. Otherwise, they would have let her stay for two weeks to wrap up.

        2. All het up about it*

          That hit me as well. Like WUT? I hope the OP lands at a new place (in the FALL) that is not so toxic.

      2. Ama*

        Shades of the critique I was given that I “didn’t seem happy” at a job where I was completely overworked and gaslit every time I brought it up (actual gaslighting — I would give them data and numbers showing how much I was working and would be told “that’s not how much you’re working you’re only doing half that”).

        They were shocked when I gave notice not even three weeks later. Turned out that critique was the kick in the pants I needed to realize nothing was ever going to change and start job hunting.

        1. Florence Reese*

          For real. It reminds me of when I was promoted to supervisor over my team, and an employee I hired made it her life mission to berate and undermine me and her new coworkers. I told my boss she was having serious performance and attitude issues, so I wanted to let her go in her probation period to focus on finding a better fit. My boss chided me, told me to be nice to her, and washed her hands of it.

          One day in the very-near future, this employee scolded me for half an hour at the end of the day about how mean and horrible I was for expecting her to do her job rather than just lying about doing her job. I didn’t feel empowered to tell her that wasn’t appropriate, and didn’t know how to deal with someone personally attacking me for doing my job. In total desperation and reduced to tears afterwards, I called my boss, sobbing, and her immediate response was: “Maybe you should consider if you’re happy in this role.” So I did! It took me a year to transition to another field but I did, because anyone who says “are you sure you’re happy here” to their *crying employee* is doing that as a power move, not as a genuine question. You SEE that I’m upset! You’re asking me that as a THREAT and a reminder to stop being visibly stressed at work so you don’t have to do anything about it.

          They re-orged my entire department when I left because I was supporting so many areas. I’m glad I left but it’s just so stupid and short-sighted. If your best people are having “attitude problems” all of a sudden, something is *wrong*.

      3. I can read anything except the room*

        Yes, that part was especially rich! Gee, I wonder why I appear that way??

    3. honeygrim*

      Apparently by “better time management,” they meant “become Dr. Strange.”

  6. LabSnep*

    I once worked as a graphic designer and was given an employment ad for our studio to format.

    Little did I know I was formatting the ad they were placing to REPLACE ME. And they did that deliberately.

    I was let go the same day the new hire started and HE SAW RIGHT THROUGH THAT and was mortified and horrified.

    Apparently after I left they went through SIX designers in six months. I have no idea how long the guy I met lasted, but I bet he got out really fast.

    They’re still in business, but only because they’re in a small city with zero competition and a reputation for bullying other companies and designers out of business.

    1. Thank You Sheep*

      They sound really sadistic! I’m sorry that happened to you.
      I’m reminded of a time when I was waitressing, and one manager didn’t like me, and she directed me to sweep the *lane* outside the restaurant, which was quite long and as dusty as a public street usually is. Two other managers walked past me and asked what i as doing, and I knew from the looks on their faces that they knew the other manager had given me that job just to be mean.

    2. Ally McBeal*

      I had a stressful admin job many years ago in an office that had a big fancy executive boardroom and a much smaller conference room, typically used for job interviews, that had a glass wall so we called it the Fishbowl. This company really only hired young women into admin roles and all other positions were typically held by men, so any time we passed the Fishbowl (which was directly opposite the office’s main entry) it was very obvious what kind of role was being interviewed for. It really freaked out us admins to see a young woman in that room when all the admin roles were already full because it was much more likely that one of us was getting fired than the company was hiring a new senior-level person who would need an admin (b/c why would you hire the admin before the senior level person started?). It got to the point where the head of admin staff insisted that all interviews be held in the exec boardroom instead.

    3. Chirpy*

      That sucks. I too was once asked to rewrite my job description, which they then used to fire me (so they could hire more accountants instead, they didn’t even replace me. My job was to be in charge of all their public facing programming! The entire reason for the organization existing!)

  7. Pastor Petty Labelle*

    Good grief, they got rid of anyone who had any idea how things work there. Two brand new hires with no overlap is going to be more than a dumpster fire. this is a nuclear level meltdown. I am quite sure we are going to hear this place went out of business in 6 months.

    Summer off. Enjoy OP

    1. InterPlanetJanet*

      I just trained a new hire in another department for role similar to mine. The departing employee had 16 years experience in the role. The new hire was being asked to learn 4 different programs/systems & also to cover for an additional work group. Somehow NOBODY seemed to realize that a new hire (even one with experience) was going to have trouble taking on the (regular) workload of someone who had decades of experience, much less expanded responsibilities. End result was that some of the staff implied the issue was with the new hire’s ability, rather than the department’s expectations. There had asked me to apply for the position when it came open, but I’m not working with people who think that way.

  8. Three Flowers*

    I eagerly await the update where you tell us about how your bosses came to you in June begging you to train the new hire for a pittance and you told them to take a strenuous hike. Have a great summer off!!

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Oh yeah she is going to be inundated with emails and phone calls about how to do stuff. OP feel free to not respond.

      I’m also betting the new hires are out of there 3 months tops.

        1. Kyrielle*

          I just wish they’d write in about how they started their new job to find all the folks except the bosses gone when they arrived….

        2. MigraineMonth*

          If I started a new job and discovered I was the only team member left, I’d be out of there in 3 hours. Thanks for the ID card and the coffee, sorry, did you say the person who was going to train me and their backup no longer work here? Ah, okay. Could you show me to the bathroom, then to the emergency exit?

          1. Ama*

            So I’m one of a team of two that are both leaving (my report actually left in March). I’ve actually had a phone conversation with a candidate for my role (I’m not doing the hiring since I’m not staying, but she reached out to me through a mutual acquaintance) and while I did not intentionally try to scare her off I was very honest that she would be taking over with no one left on staff who really knows how to do the day-to-day of this team (my report’s replacement is starting next week so will at most have a month or two of experience by the time my replacement starts). I did note that I’m leaving behind extensive documentation but she’d have to be comfortable being a self-starter and learning things on her own. I don’t know what she ended up deciding as far as applying to the role. She’d probably be a stronger candidate than most since she actually knows what she’s getting into (there’s no way my boss, who barely knows anything about my job, is going to give candidates a clear picture of what they are walking into).

          2. londonedit*

            I once started a new job and discovered that in the six weeks of my notice period, they’d made half the team redundant, which meant that instead of sitting in a room full of colleagues, I sat on my own in a silent room in between the CEO’s office and my immediate boss’s office. It was…not exactly welcoming. I stuck it out for six months but between that and the fact that I was constantly berated for not doing some nebulous thing that had never been fully explained to me (they just wanted me to ‘do more’ and ‘be more of a team player’), when my boss wanted to have a ‘chat about how it was all going’, I handed in my notice there and then.

            1. Ipsedixitism*

              I love that they wanted you to be more of a team player when there was no darn team to play with.

        3. AnonInCanada*

          I give them three minutes. As soon they realize what’s expected of them, they’ll be out the door faster than Usain Bolt doing the 100-metre dash.

          1. Dinwar*

            Depends on their level of experience. If they’re new enough they won’t realize that this is actually the work of 4 people. One reason why age-discrimination is so bad: by hiring only people new to the workforce bad managers can mask how bad they are. And once you’ve accepted the workload it becomes normal for you, so the bosses can pile even more on your shoulders and you subconsciously think that YOU’RE the bad person for being overwhelmed and frustrated and making mistakes. And I’d bet a large amount of money the bosses will lean into this feeling, as it strips them of any moral culpability.

    2. JelloStapler*

      “In the spirit of managing my time better, I do not have the room for that in my schedule.”

      1. Three Flowers*

        “My current projects are occupying all my work time, so unfortunately you will need to rely on the handover materials I would have created during my notice period.”

        (OP’s current projects: drinking fruity umbrella drinks in their garden)

      1. Hlao-roo*


        My eyebrows went right up when I saw that line in the review. “We made you handle the whole business by yourself and you have the audacity to appear flustered while doing so! How could you!” Very glad the OP is out of there!

    3. Festively Dressed Earl*

      There are only two updates I’d be interested in reading:

      1. OP’s report on awesome summer and subsequent awesome job
      2. The owners writing in to AAM acknowledging that they screwed up and seeking advice on how to fix their mistakes.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        3: The new hire writing in to say they recognized the situation in the OP and quit in a week.

  9. Tio*

    O man, I saw these parts in the previous update:
    I can basically do no wrong in the owners’ eyes and they’re really invested in my happiness and my growth in the company.
    I get all the credit for getting the company through this mess and endless grace for any balls I’ve dropped in the process. There’s no recognition of the fact that our new hire was a huge help and that I couldn’t have done this without her, or that she was a great sport about being hired into a complete mess of a situation, with only me to guide her when I barely had the time or the brainpower for it.

    I kinda feel like the owners were setting you up all along just to turn on you!

    1. Antilles*

      My read is that the owners were expecting OP to just quietly nod along, but their mood did a 180 when OP “made it clear that I was only happy if the hiring plan was unchanged” then OP seemed unhappy about the transition. How dare a mere employee challenge ME? You’re all replaceable and if you want to argue that you’re not, I’ll show you.
      So it’s not really a calculated plan for setting OP up, just a prideful and ridiculous over-reaction.

      1. Sloanicota*

        This is my take. OP was “the good one” but then they didn’t like her pushing back and holding boundaries.

      2. Lacey*

        Yeah, I kinda figured they wrote all of the negative stuff during the day the OP was a bit chilly with them over the other person quitting and them being like “This is great!”

        1. OP*

          Yeah, on Wednesday (after announcing my coworker’s resignation) they told me my performance review was the following Monday and said “don’t worry, it’s all good news!” The negative half of the review definitely only came about because of Thursday/Friday – it’s also pretty clearly stated in the review that it was my unhappiness with the “recent changes” that was a problem.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            Ah yes, ye olde “annual performance review that is actually only about the past three days”.

          2. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

            This is something I’ve seen enough to know it’s more common than people think. A star employee who’s acknowledged as having led / saved significant portions of the business gets turned on when leadership thinks they’re not grateful enough for the praise they received. Praise and money is important, but alone they don’t make an untenable situation tenable.

            OP, I imagine your boss(es) delivering your 3-days ago performance review as behaving like Don Draper: “That’s what the money is for!”

      3. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        This is where I land, too. The LW had been the reliable foot soldier the whole time she was there. Just taking care of things and not rocking the boat. But now she’s expressing her needs and it’s going to take more than just nice words to keep her happy, and that is unacceptable.

      4. Ama*

        Yeah, I have been in this situation many times because on the surface I appear soft-spoken and happy to help as a coworker. What many, many bosses have failed to realize is that I have boundaries so sturdy you could build a bridge out of them and the moment you try to cross them I will quietly and politely tell you no. People do not like being told no by someone they expected to just agree to everything. Some of my bosses have been smart enough to take a step back, recalculate how they see me and we continued our working relationship. Some of them did not — they either kept pushing or they tried to punish me. Those bosses were also shocked how fast I found another job and gave notice.

        1. M2RB*

          Same! Same same same. I am more than happy to work hard and to (temporarily) work long hours for people who appreciate me and have my back. I am also more than happy to give (professional, calm) feedback about unreasonable workloads and expectations. Once I hit the point where I am clearly talking to a brick wall and nothing is improving/things are getting worse? I am OUT. Life is too short to work somewhere that management thinks they can take advantage of their workforce. I’m so proud of OP for getting out!

    2. Quill*

      That and OP had already told the owners that Coworker’s comparatively less output was because the place was a garbage fire. Owners were clearly not appreciative of that kind of information.

      1. ferrina*

        Unfortunately, I’ve had this kind of boss before. If you dare imply that they are anything but godly, you are clearly a subpar person and that will come across in your performance review. If you are not singing my praises, then you are against me.

        So glad OP took the opportunity to leave!

        1. Sloanicota*

          Sometimes this is the backlash of a boss who plays favorites / has pets, even when you yourself are currently “the good one.” A wise employee realizes they can and will eventually turn on you.

  10. BellyButton*

    Yay! When I left my last work place, with severance and unemployment I was able to really spend the time looking for the perfect job. I took most of the spring and summer off only applying to things that looked really good. I turned down a couple of jobs before landing in my current company and I am so happy. It feels so good after having an incompetent boss and a mediocre team to now being with rockstars at a company who has a very healthy culture.

    I hope you are able to find the perfect place for you!

  11. Space Needlepoint*

    So glad you got out!

    They’ve got some huge brass ones to ding you for being overwhelmed when they’re freaking overwhelming you.

    I would love to be a fly on their wall as they come to realize just what they gave up in driving you and your former coworker away.

    1. KateM*

      Not for “being overwhelmed” – for “appearing overwhelmed”. Doesn’t matter that they themselves overwhelmed OP – OP shouldn’t *appear* overwhelmed, that’s so unprofessional!

      1. OP*

        Fun fact: Part of why I wrote in the first time was because Owner #1 (no maternity leave, close to retirement, zero skillset that would enable him to help me with anything) would freak out every single time I seemed remotely stressed. In my opinion stress was unavoidable given the situation and that was what the money was for, but I wanted to check with Alison whether I was overlooking potential areas for assistance.

        I chalked it up to panic that if I was unhappy I’d quit, but it was, frankly, MORE stressful to feel like I couldn’t even react to things because then I’d just have to deal with his over the top reactions. So, given the outsize reaction it always got, I know exactly how many times I “appeared overwhelmed”:

        1. Had some kind of look on my face one time when Owner #1 came into my office to ask for something. I still have no idea what happened here. My mother, based on her many years of asking me for tech support, said it was probably the look I get when I’m in the middle of doing someone a favor and they interrupt me and I’m trying to remain polite while clearly on my last shred of patience. (This one resulted in him sitting down in my office, repeatedly asking what was wrong while I just said “I’m tired, it’s been a long year,” reminding me that he was always available to advise me on prioritization, and then sending me home 45 minutes early.)

        2. Briefly pinched the bridge of my nose when Owner #1 came into my office first thing in the morning to tell me about an administrative disaster he’d created for me through his own inability to plan ahead. Seeing that reaction from me really distressed him!

        3. Briefly facepalmed upon realizing I’d ordered the wrong color pens for Owner #1. (He proceeded to reassure me so loudly and insistently that you’d think I had burst into uncontrollable tears. My coworker texted me to ask what happened because she could hear him from down the hall.)

        4. After Owner #1 told me my coworker resigned and was leaving in a matter of hours, Owner #2 came in to see how I was feeling. I was busy going through all of my coworker’s tasks, reassigning them to myself, and making notes on which ones I was going to need to ask her about. I’m sure I sounded looked and upset when I said “I’m just trying to focus on logistics right now.”

        I guess it IS unreasonable to visibly react this many times…I mean, that’s one reaction per extra person’s job I was doing, which is obviously super dramatic of me.

        1. RedinSC*

          Yeah, that’t totally over the top! CALM DOWN!


          Glad you’ve got the summer off. Enjoy.

        2. Bird names*

          Well, OP, you clearly showed 4 times that you were not a mere robot. There’s your mistake. /s
          But seriously, I do hope you have a lovely summer and can put all of this out of your mind as soon as possible!

        3. Quill*

          Sounds like my term at Worst Job, where I was more than once told that I should not raise my voice…. to be heard over the equipment, which I could not leave.

        4. Anon for this*

          Your quality of life will improve immeasurably soon.

          (Ask me how I know)

      1. Your Mate in Oz*

        This. Plus the good employers tend to keep their staff around and can easily recruit by asking their staff if they know anyone who’d like to work for them, so you don’t even see job ads from them.

        My employer has advertised a couple of jobs because we have been growing into new skills where none of ius really know the right people. But the other half of the new jobs have been friends of people who already work here (factory staff, mostly). Average tenure is over ten years, I can only remember one person quitting (for twice the pay plus career progression).

        My management definitely suck, but in minor irritation ways rather than rage quit inducing ones. I get paid very well, but in a way that I find kind of annoying (big bonus in January). I WFH, but they don’t pay for internet or electricity. I can’t get more annual leave instead of a pay rise, so I only get 25 days/year. The kind of stuff that I feel bad for actually writing out.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Dear AAM,

      I have a job I enjoy with pleasant coworkers and sensible management. Should I go out to a back road and set a box of documents on fire anyhow?

      1. Le Sigh*

        For some reason when I read this, the only reply I could hear in my head was Beavis and Butthead yelling, “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!”

        Actually, come to think of it, I would love it if Beavis and Butthead became guest advice columnists.

      2. Hlao-roo*

        If anyone hasn’t read the story Falling Diphthong is referencing, I recommend reading the post “the document bonfire, the dragon video call, and other amazing work moments” from November 28, 2019 (lots of great stories there in addition to the document fire!).

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Dear docs on fire anyhow,
        I suggest starting drama with the company kitchenette and mandatory pot lucks. Lay in a supply of the cheap ass rolls.

        Stay gold,

    2. Le Sigh*

      I think there are a lot more people who *think* they can run a company well than people who can actually do it. There are a lot of people who are good at a specific thing (art, making furniture, cooking, landscaping, whatever) but fail to realize running a business and managing people are separate skill sets.

      1. Tio*

        This is why something like 20% of businesses fail in their first year and 50% within 5

      2. Distracted Procrastinator*

        This here is why I no longer run my own photography business. I loved, loved, loved taking the pictures and working with the customers. The business stuff was the worst part of the whole job. So now I just take pictures for fun and work a job where I let someone else worry about taxes, advertising, employment law, etc.

      3. Mango Freak*

        This. Running a business is a lot of different skills; making major strategy decisions in a narrow area is different from hiring well is different from managing and retaining is different from operations is different from marketing etc etc.

        Most people are maybe good at one or two things. Not twelve.

      4. Ellie*

        And then there are the people who have trouble working with others, and also those who have trouble having someone else in charge of them.

        Then there are those who can’t or won’t work a normal 9-5 because of health, caring commitments, laziness, or anything else, and see running their own business as the perfect solution.

        Some of these people might run their own company quite well, but many don’t.

      5. BatManDan*

        a whole book by Michael Gerber makes this point. The Technician, The Manager, and The Entrepreneur are three different roles.

    1. MigraineMonth*

      One of my friends used to work at an IT department where the department head was paranoid someone was trying to take his job. So, naturally, he fired any subordinate he thought was more competent than he was. When his bosses asked him to a meeting to discuss why he had fired every employee in the department, he panicked and deleted all the documentation before quitting. My friend was brought back as a consultant to rewrite the deleted documentation.

      That guy is the reason some companies lock you out of computer systems as soon as you are fired/give notice.

      1. Smurfette*

        I worked with a guy who apparently left under a bit of a cloud. Three months after he left, one of our clients called up one of the directors to ask about the vulgar language in the footer of our company letterhead… which had been sent out hundreds of times, to our dozens of business clients.

    2. not like a regular teacher*

      No need, this company has shot itself in the foot plenty already!

  12. UnCivilServant*

    Letter writers here are self-selected for the dysfunctional as poorly-run companies generate more issues requiring advice.

      1. Addison DeWitt*

        Still, I find every advice column makes me feel better about my life.

        1. Smurfette*

          Me too! I’ve had terrible managers but none of them ever demanded a kidney or taped my mouth closed! My MIL is annoying but she never tried on my wedding dress or snuck allergens into my food!

    1. Mango Freak*

      This certainly is true, but it doesn’t mean that there are many well-run companies.

  13. Mytummyhurtsbutimbeingbraveaboutit*

    This could easily be a candidate for worst boss of the year. Particularly since it doesn’t seem like there’s any way they can stay in business.

    1. Plate of Wings*

      It doesn’t have the flashy headline of most years’ front-runners (always something crazy like “my boss ate my dog, can she reclassify me as a 1099 after this?”). But if I am personally imagining myself in OP’s situation, yeah, this is worst boss of the year behavior!

      I would be devastated to make an above and beyond good faith effort to cover huge gaps in someone else’s dream, feel like I was brought into an inner circle, and then see that the inner circle is cruel, and be thrown away like this within a week of having my eyes open to the toxicity!

  14. Double A*

    Wait. They just got rid of their entire staff? Including the one person who held the company together for the last year and a half??

    I mean I hope there are no more updates for LWs sake since they are done with this but man I am curious to see what happens next with this company.

    1. Kyrielle*

      I suspect that when they gave the LW the feedback about adapting to change and professionalism, LW was supposed to grovel and promise to shape up and etc., according to the script in their heads. But if LW was going to part ways, then from their POV better to get LW out before the new hire starts so there’s no contamination/attitude passed along. (Also no knowledge passed along, but….)

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        That could have been the logic in not having the LW stay out the two weeks. Or maybe they were annoyed that she wasn’t groveling enough and made a decision from emotion.

    2. Beth*

      I think we know what happens next with the company. Their new hire shows up and realizes there are zero tenured employees left. Alarm bells go off in their head, and over the next couple weeks/months it becomes clear that they are in fact expected to right and then steer a sinking ship solo with no experience or support or documentation. They probably can’t/won’t do that because it’s not a realistic ask to make of anyone. Ultimately either 1) they gtfo or get fired, and the business goes under because the owners can’t actually run it, or 2) they gtfo or get fired, and the owners manage to recruit a new new-hire to keep the cycle going another round or two before the business goes under.

      OP, I’m so glad you’re out of this mess, and that you’ve managed to get out in a way that helps you know that there’s nothing you could have done here.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Doing the work of two people. Starting your first week on the job.

      2. Media Monkey*

        i think OP said that the company had to keep running due to some sort of regullatory role? scary if so!

  15. K in Boston*

    Reducing two employees’ two-week notice to one day….in the same department…on the same team…within the same 7-day time period. I guess knowledge transfer isn’t a thing here. What in the what?

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      It is internally consistent though. For someone who doesn’t value their employees.

    2. Pickwick*

      And LW has previously mentioned that there were no documented procedures or training materials! This workplace seems doomed, and I’m glad LW and their coworker are out of there.

  16. Shutterdoula*

    If you haven’t already, block their numbers and emails. Because when it hits the fan – and it will! – they might try bringing you back. Block, block, block.

    1. pally*

      Blocking them is probably the wisest thing to do.
      I’d be snarky enough to take the calls from the management. And indicate that since things are busy at my end, I’m sure with some time management and prioritization on their end, everything will be just fine without any of my help. After all, they ARE professionals, comfortable with change, right?

      1. Mrs. Pommeroy*

        You made me literally laugh out loud! xD
        Yours would be the perfect answer!

      2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        The decision to block or not has gotta be based on whether getting the ridiculous, frantic calls / e-mails / texts / DMs / carrier pigeons are going to be amusing or stressful.

        1. OP*

          I honestly don’t expect to get anything, but it’d be EXTREMELY funny if I did, so I’m leaving those channels open.

      3. Tea*

        Comfortable with change AND able to not “appear” overwhelmed and anxious :-D

    2. Reality.Bites*

      I’d want to know, so I could deliberately ignore it and laugh while deleting it.

    3. Some Internet Rando*

      Totally agree… they are doing to ask you all kinds of things and imply it’s your fault that they dont know what to do. Just block them.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Do you know where I can get a good bulk price on a large supply of cod with which to write my resignation letter?

    2. cottagechick73*

      OP should slip copies of their AAM posts under the new hires windshield wipers.

  17. Peridot*

    the focus of the conversation was my professionalism and attitude, and that I should really think about whether the company was a good fit for me if I couldn’t be comfortable with change

    I think I would have exploded, so kudos to you for handling it this with grace.

      1. StellaBella*

        After having been subjected to this bs too I hope the OP has a fabulous life ahead and never things of these people again

  18. Eldritch Office Worker*

    I would’ve thought I worked for this place except mine never would’ve thrown money at me – which is why I did not hang on as long as you did. I am SO HAPPY you get a summer off and that you got to drop the handover stress completely. This feels like the best possible outcome for you.

  19. ThisIsNotSDuplicateComment*

    Man I hope that new hire writes in. “The team left right before I started a new job, is that a red flag?”

    1. MigraineMonth*

      “Also, my bosses seem really hot and cold. One second they’re praising me, saying I’m singlehandedly saving their business, the next they say it’s unprofessional to seem overwhelmed (even though I’m the only staff person and I have no training or experience). They claim they’re looking to hire someone to help me, but I’m starting to think they’re actually looking for my replacement instead. If I do leave, how much notice should I give? My bosses are demanding 3 months notice, but they also say they never let people work out their notice period.”

  20. CityMouse*

    I have doubts this company will still be open in a year. Good for you, LW.

  21. Not on board*

    op: SAVES their business for them
    bosses: you’re not a good fit if you appear overhwelmed with the overwhelming amount of work you had
    OP was setting themselves on fire to keep the business warm and this is how they were repaid. Proof that business owners will blow up their own business to show employees how little the matter to them.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Proof you can’t care more about the business than the owners. We say that all the time. We also say they would fire you in a heartbeat so no need to be overly loyal.

      Also, your company sucks and isn’t going to change.

      So many proofs in one letter.

    2. DyneinWalking*

      The people who expect you to set yourself on fire to keep themselves warm will never, ever thank you for it. Anyone who expects something like that is egoistic and will never return the favor, not even a little bit. Result: Misery.
      Whereas the people who don’t expect you to set yourself on fire to keep them warm will, if you do so nonetheless – give you a startled horrified thank you because WTF? Why would you do that and how are they supposed to pay you back for something that enormous that they didn’t even ask for??? Result: Uncomfortable awkwardness.

      Never set yourself on fire to keep others warm. It will never be worth it no matter the exact situation.

  22. tabloidtained*

    Were your bosses at all surprised you decided to leave? Shouldn’t they be worried that they only have a single new employee to work with? How does a business survive that?

    1. MigraineMonth*

      Let’s just say I’m not impressed with their long-term strategic thinking.

    2. OP*

      Nope, no surprise, or at least none that I picked up on. The end of my performance review was “we have concerns that this may not be the best fit for OP moving forward.” They were very clear that if I couldn’t accept the business as it was, I wasn’t the right person for the job, and then they asked me what I thought – which is where I agreed we should go our separate ways. It was definitely presented to me like they could take me or leave me.

      They were very confident that the new hire wouldn’t need a lot of training. I guess they’ll find out whether that’s true!

  23. Selina Luna*

    My only advice to OP is to remember to use sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 while they’re lounging outside during their summer off.

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      And remember the parts in your hair and the tips of your ears :)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        The tops of your feet–that’s where my dad used to show sunburn.

    2. Plate of Wings*

      Reapply every 90 minutes if it’s mid-day and your moving a lot! But if you don’t, no worries, it’s most important that you enjoy yourself!

  24. it's gonna be bye bye bye... oh, wrong song*

    Congratulations! Enjoy your summer off, and remember – they declined your notice period, so you are not remotely beholden to help with any panicked calls or emails you might get from them when they realize no one knows how to do the work :P

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      For sure! Heck, even if the LW did work a notice period, she’s *still* not remotely beholden to answer any panicked messages from them after she leaves.

    2. How We Laughed*

      I think “bye bye bye” is exactly the right song for this situation!

  25. MassMatt*

    “ as also a section about how I needed to work on time management and prioritization, because I could “appear to get flustered and overwhelmed.”

    The gall! OP is doing the work of over FOUR people and the only one keeping the business afloat and she “appears to get flustered and overwhelmed”?!

    I am glad OP is out of there, and while I know we are suppose to be kind, I am… not unhappy that these two owners are about to suffer the harsh slap of reality as they realize how much work is involved and their business inevitably fails.

    OP I wonder if you have interest in owning/running a business like this one, clearly you have the skills and the drive, why not open a competing business yourself? It doesn’t sound as though they would be much competition.

  26. bamcheeks*

    There was a lot of speculation in the first letter that the reason the company couldn’t reduce the number of clients or the business was because th ey we’re providing an essential service, and I just – if that’s correct, I just want to know how that’s working out for them.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Hard same.
      I wanna know how much the fines end up being when they drop enough / important enough balls.

    2. OP*

      Owner #2 is back from leave and definitely able to handle the necessities for clients, so I think they’re largely all set on that front. The quality of service is going to decline, but that’s “why you should work with this company” stuff, not “what regulators require” stuff. Still, I’m curious to know how they’ll fare in eventual audits, since I handled the necessary recordkeeping and we were pretty behind on a lot of things that I would have been backfilling mostly from my own memory. The needed information is in the system, but it’s going to be a lot harder to find/recognize if you’re not the one who dealt with it originally.

      We also went through a major transition after the maternity leave that had been planned previously but repeatedly delayed by all the resignations – things were restructured in a way that allowed them to start dropping clients as needed, so a lot of high effort/low value ones are already off the books.

      1. A Significant Tree*

        I don’t know why but your last paragraph reminds me of an episode of Futurama where Hermes the bureaucrat and his wife get scammed into “vacationing” on a hard-labor prison planet with a bunch of other people. Naturally, he eventually organizes everything so that all of the hard labor can be handled by a single Australian. Hermes and everyone else gets out; that poor Australian was stuck.

        Here’s hoping the new hire sees the lack of coworkers as the sign that it is, and gets out quick!

      2. Hrodvitnir*

        I am so torn between schadenfruede at what an unfun time they are going to have (and they are), and wincing for the new employee/s.

        I’m sad they couldn’t support you even a little bit when push came to shove, but congratulations on your summer off!

  27. Ms. Murchison*

    I’m surprised they let the employees work out a single day of their notice period rather than escorting them to the door as soon as they gave it. One day isn’t enough time to wrap up hardly anything, nor is it enough time for the owners to get their ducks in a row, and if you’re worried about angry employees sabotaging things then you get them out of the building immediately. Anyone have insights into what nutty strategy involves a single day of notice?

    1. UnCivilServant*

      The owners have not shown themselves to be exemplars of sense. I get the impression of an unspoken “On second thought…”

    2. OP*

      For everyone who left in 2022 or 2023, the owners accepted two-week notice periods (or longer, in the case of my old supervisor). With my new coworker, my guess is they really felt that she had nothing to offer and I think they just wanted to be rid of her. With me…first and foremost I think they just didn’t want me anywhere near the new hire. In their minds, it was neater for me to be gone before she ever showed up, and they could frame things however they’ve decided to frame them with her. If I hadn’t had PTO scheduled Wednesday-Friday, there’s a good chance they would have had me finish out the week, with my last day on Friday and her first day the following Monday. But really who’s to say, two days of cold shoulder was enough to sour them on me so thoroughly that maybe they would have wanted me gone right away regardless!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Sally and Jessica? There have never been a Sally and Jessica working here.


    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I think the owners might have some unfounded confidence regarding their ability to organize ducks.

  28. Juicebox Hero*

    Good grief. I kind of had a hunch that the first update wasn’t going to be the last. It sounded too good to be true, and it was: the raises, the praise, the making LW feel untouchable, was just the bosses blowing sunshine up LW’s arse while they were hiding a dagger behind their backs. They weren’t even good at being sneaky and deceitful. I’m so glad they both quit before the bosses could screw with their heads even more.

    Summer off is ON, baby! You need a nice long break in order to reaccustom your brain to normality

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Yeah, that was definitely a theme in the comments. Things look good now, but there’s a real risk that they won’t stay good. Did they have real change of perspective or were they just love bombing the LW?

      I just didn’t expect things to crumble spectacularly so soon! Like, I figured it’d be like 6 months before things got really bad again.

    2. Paint N Drip*

      Totallyyyyyy agree!
      I’ve found in my limited experience that small business owners don’t give raises (let alone BIG raises) easily, and although you’re expected to prove your increased worth first to ‘earn’ the raise there’s an element of needing to prove it MORE once you’ve actually gotten the raise. So from the employee perspective it’s taking a step up, earning the raise that goes along with that step-up, and then being treated like that step-up work isn’t good enough somehow. Like instead of a price anchor, it’s an anchor of expectations. It’s illogical and unspoken, but I’ve experienced it.

  29. danmei kid*

    I still can’t shake the feeling that this company is some sort of sham or laundering operation and running short staffed is making them bank in some other way.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      When I worked at this place it was just the kind of nonprofit people have nightmares about

    2. Jiminy Cricket*

      When I worked at this place, it was just a couple who couldn’t figure out why their small business didn’t make them a very comfortable living without them having to lift a finger.

  30. Anonymous Demi ISFJ*

    Your former bosses deserve everything that’s coming to them.

    Glad you got out when you did, OP!!

  31. PlainJane*

    If there is a general rule of thumb about bosses who say you’re “not comfortable with change,” it’s that they’ve screwed you over and expect you smile and say “Thank you sir, may I have another?” There’s nothing wrong with change, don’t get me wrong. Being dynamic is good. But the people who try to psychologize problems with particular changes that negatively affect them are trying to gaslight you.

    1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

      Yep! I’ve noticed that I only get this criticism when there’s been a long stretch of changes that have been bad for me.

    2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Excellent point. The LW navigated through a bunch of changes as a bunch of colleagues left and an owner went on maternity leave. Nobody said anything at that time. But now that it’s not wanting them to change their staffing plan and have fewer employees, it’s a problem.

  32. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

    From the first update: “But when we sat down for a post-maternity-leave state of the union, I was clear that I was only happy if the hiring plan was unchanged, and our next new hire is starting in a couple of weeks.”

    This is what did you in I think OP — owners had already decided to change the plan and not hire more. They think two people can do the job… because you did it… it was hellish for you, but you succeeded. When you made it clear that you expect them to stick to a plan unchanged, I think they decided to replace YOU with the next posting — you are assuming coworker was going to be fired…or maybe they had an idea that your coworker was leaving. They think that if 2 employees (one being new and in training) can keep it all together while one of the owners is out on leave, then returning owner plus one employee is more than enough.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I don’t agree with that read, and both OP and the employee seemed pretty sure what was going to happen next, so I’d take the LW’s word on that piece. Either way though, the long term expectations were entirely unmanageable.

  33. Anxiety Can Kick Rocks*

    I do believe I’m starting to see a pattern.

    “You do great work but have issues with professionalism and attitude” = “We sense you’re reaching the limit of how much of our BS you’ll tolerate.”

    “You aren’t comfortable with change” = “We don’t intend to do the work of change management and would prefer you read our minds.”

    “You need to work on time management” = “We have no intention of easing your unreasonable workload.”

    “You appear to get flustered and overwhelmed” = “We’re can tell you’re going to start demanding work-life balance and intend to keep you off-balance as long as we can instead.”

    1. PlainJane*

      Sounds like a good translation. Maybe we should get a general bad manager to plain English glossary going. ;p

    2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      These are great. Though as PlainJane pointed out above, “You aren’t comfortable with change” may = “We want to make a change that’s going to make things harder for you and we’re upset that you’re not just cheerfully agreeing with us.”

      1. Tio*

        That’s what I think it really means. With a side of “and we’re giving you 30 additional tasks that aren’t really your job”.

        1. PlainJane*

          I think they’re both legit readings.
          The expectation to mind-read is another one, though it’s less a specific weird statement (it is sometimes “you aren’t comfortable with change”) and more the general, “Well, why wouldn’t you think to do this thing that’s perfectly obvious to me!?”

  34. Tea*

    “ because I could “appear to get flustered and overwhelmed.”

    Ugh. I heard that (more than once) from a boss and the frustrating thing is that I was appearing flustered and overwhelmed because of fires she was causing (usually after I’d put out other fires she had caused). The only real solution to that is to quit :-(

    1. Willem Dafriend*

      Yep, the one time that ever happened to me, they had to hire three people to replace me after I eventually quit.

  35. I Can't Believe It*

    When I tell my boss “it’s too much” i.e. that the work load they are giving everyone will lead to burn out we are told “oh that’s just the nature of the job” meanwhile the management has either 1. never done the job or 2. have not done the job in over 10 years so they have no idea what they are talking about. They also cannot figure out why morale is so low.

  36. Ink*

    What exactly is their plan now?! LW was the one training the newbie, so the owners weren’t. Moving stuff onto the owners’ plates never came up as a solution, so who knows how much of it the owners can do, and do well. Even if LW wasn’t leaving….

    Their decisions seem so self-defeating it’s almost more plausible that this is actually supposed to be some sick social experiment, not a functioning business. Here’s hoping the One Remaining (new) Employee figures it out fast and is off to better places soon!

    1. OP*

      So Owner #2 does, in theory, know how to do almost everything. While she was on maternity leave, I was left with Owner #1, who has on more than one occasion needed me to assist with attaching things to emails.

      Owner #2 learned all the basics at some point, but it’s been a long time since she put most of it into practice. As an example, one of the only things she wanted me to walk her through on my last day was how to send documents for e-signature. 95% of outgoing paperwork has been e-signature for four years now, so her hands-on knowledge is at least that far out of date. I don’t doubt she can get through most of it, but I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.

      Owner #2 did also help train my coworker once she came back, but she was bad at it, partly due to not having the depth of experience needed and partly because she just wasn’t willing to dedicate a lot of time to it. In a lot of instances I noticed my coworker had been given a very rough overview of a very detailed process, then blamed for not delivering a perfect finished product. Back when I still thought this could be talked out, I was trying to figure out what would be the least confrontational way to say “I don’t think you should interact directly with the Llama Operations team anymore, that should probably go through me.”

      Their plan is definitely for Owner #2 to handle training, and for the new hire to be a quick study (I was repeatedly told she wasn’t going to need much training). Hopefully for them they’re right, and every former coworker I’ve discussed this with is wrong that this is a disastrous plan!

  37. Rapunzel Rider*

    That bit about the performance review read to me like they were annoyed that she dared question them so they were setting up a case to fire her “with cause”.

  38. Mouseketeer*

    I hope that was one heck of a big bonus!! Congrats on getting out of there – what a toxic place!

  39. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Congratulations on getting out of there! You handled those last couple of weeks a lot better than I would have.

    Can I ask what plans or non-plans you have for your well earned SUMMER OFF? Road trip? Abbott Elementary binge? 3 foot high book tower and a plate of cookies? Roller cooking? Making claymation memes of the Star Wars movies?

    1. Le le lemon*

      In addition to multiple “woahs!” whilst reading this update, my mind went to this too: have a fabulous, fabulous summer. Here are some additional ideas:

      Ride a rollercoaster/theme park day; make milkshakes; jump on a trampoline; beach trip; snorkelling experience; lake trip; learn to SUP or paddle board; salsa class; join a parade; make a Mexican feast; go to the zoo; nerf wars or laser tag; paint balloon art; “break or bounce” (aka dropping things from a roof); luging/sand duning/skate boarding/sleding; jump off a diving board; outdoor movies; rubber tube-riding down a river; bonfire; nothing; lie on a couch/sofa/hammock/back of a trailor or ute; borrow books from the libary; mooch around in a onesie; plant some flowers; take a pottery class; learnt to juggle; walk every street in your suburb; hike a mountain and have a picnic at the top; learn to jump rope & do tricks; make a long chalk hopscotch map on a local sidewalk; road trip; catch up on movies & TV; do something from your childhood you liked.

      And as many things with friends + making new friends + sharing positivity with others as you’d like. You’ve earnt a break, OP.

  40. Petty Betty*

    I wouldn’t doubt that they were looking for ways to terminate your employment too. They were setting things up to make a “for cause” termination, but wanted to keep you around long enough to train a couple of replacements.

    I hope you get a really nice, relaxing, equilibrium-restoring summer.

  41. Tea*

    In their first letter, the OP wrote: “ This left me as the only person around with any operational know-how, in an industry where regulations require us to stay in operation”

    If the business makes a huge error and/or goes under because they have no more employees, how does that affect the regulatory aspects? Will they be subject to fines and such? Because if so, that’s pretty hilarious , honestly.

  42. Hashtag Destigmatize Therapy*

    Recalling that this company is “in an industry where regulations require [them] to stay in operation,” I wonder just how bad the consequences of this could get. I very rarely wish someone ill, but I hope LW’s now-ex-bosses get fined for everything they’re worth for very directly causing their company to crash and burn. May they never have power over another human being ever again!

  43. Bast*

    As to what the new hire will think when she comes in only to realize both of her coworkers are gone — I hope she takes it as a big red flag. I certainly would. One person could be a coincidence, but two?

  44. Sara without an H*

    Congratulations on getting out of there! And, btw, I notice that your update posted right after Alison put up a summary page of all her job search advice, making it easy for you to review the archives as you consider your next move.

    Enjoy your time off, get rested and healthy, then go out and get yourself a much, much better job.

  45. office hobbit*

    “the focus of the conversation was my professionalism and attitude, and that I should really think about whether the company was a good fit for me if I couldn’t be comfortable with change. (There was also a section about how I needed to work on time management and prioritization, because I could “appear to get flustered and overwhelmed.”)”

    WOW. My eyebrows would have risen straight to (past!) my hairline at hearing that. Good job getting out OP, and I hope you enjoy your SUMMER OFF!

  46. Bonobo*

    In all honesty, I’m starting to think this company is a sinking ship. Maybe they’re doing poorly money-wise and this is the way to get rid of any employees.

    In any case: well done for getting out!

    I hope you can shrug it off and not fall into the “what if” trap or blame yourself.
    The problem for many hard-working, responsible employees is that you get so sucked into the company’s needs that it’s hard to realise that your own needs should be number 1 at all times.

    Enjoy your Summer break – you deserve it!!!

  47. pally*

    I’m hoping that new hire will quickly realize there’s a real issue behind their co-workers (to whom they were introduced) not being employed there any longer. Maybe they will ask management about this. Might be interesting to see their response.

    And hopefully this new hire will just not return to work the next day. Self-preservation and all.

  48. RW*

    oh I am incendiary about “appears to get flustered and overwhelmed”!!!
    Enjoy your summer off! I’m stoked to see you out of there tbh I was hoping at the last update that you would leave

  49. MyStars*

    SO GLAD you are already planning to take the summer off. It’s going to take at least 90 days to regain your perspective after that pressure cooker. Given that it was 18 months of nonstop intensity, you may need 120 to 180 days. Hope you will be getting lots of fresh air and naps — live like my spoiled rotten dog!

  50. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    The 1-day notice was to prevent you warning the new hire what she’d be facing.
    It would have been a kindness if you’d managed to hide a Post-It “RUN !” where she’d quickly find it.

  51. Seeking Second Childhood*

    I’m expecting to hear that there’s an owner’s MIL’s nephew who needs a job. And *of course* he can do everything OP did–he’s so confident.

    I’m not expecting it to go well however

  52. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

    Glad you’re out of there, OP. They showed who they really are.

  53. Doc McCracken*

    LW- I was forced out of a job after being the compliant can do make miracles happen and never complain right hand person exactly after I put down a reasonable boundary. Turns out I was working for a textbook grandiose narcissist who was a full on alcoholic whose enabling wife covered for him really well. (I had suspicions about the alcoholism for a while.) I hope you have the resources to take the summer off and if not the entire summer, atleast a month!

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