update: can I do anything about a senior-level colleague who doesn’t do any work?

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. Can I do anything about a senior-level colleague who doesn’t do any work? (first update)

Today is my final day of employment at the job I wrote in about. I am leaving here for a job at a large university in the major city I live near, with a 40% pay increase and better benefits and PTO. In my last two weeks, they decided to move the role out from under Jane’s supervision to being under Andy’s, which is wild because Andy doesn’t know the first thing about the role nor the system that the role works with (whereas Jane is the one who trained me in that system). They also decided that it will be a senior level role instead of the junior one I’ve had, and give the role a 40-50% pay increase, which is also wild because when I asked for a promotion a couple of months ago, they said it wasn’t in the budget. It was a super nice F-you to me from the org I’ve been supporting for three years.

In my final two weeks here, I have voiced my concerns with respect to Andy to whomever here I thought I could trust. My exit interview, which was supposed to be with the head of our org, was conducted by my grandboss instead because he canceled on me at the last minute. I was scathing in my exit interview, stating that the reasons I was leaving were 1) money and 2) Andy. I spoke to the one and only board member I know, who was very kind and seemed appreciative of what I had to say. I spoke to Andy’s new direct report, who started here last week, and very carefully let her know my concerns so as not to frighten her; she also seemed to appreciate the heads-up. I learned that Andy has had it out for me from the very beginning, probably because I don’t believe any of the BS they throw at us and I have, for months now, questioned Andy at every possible opportunity whenever they spout fluff and I want to know concrete facts. (They have never, to my recollection, responded to my questions with anything concrete, and usually end up very flustered.)

Yesterday, Andy wrote an email to all-staff announcing the change in the role. As my last official action at the org, I replied-all, copied the board, and wrote an email laying out all the issues.

Whether or not the board will do anything remains to be seen, but given that our org head mostly reports to them that everything here is hunky dory, I think they will be surprised at the least, and hopefully will take a long hard look at Andy and why the head of our org has kept Andy employed despite … everything. Several others here are looking for work and I hope they are able to get out and to find satisfying work at places that will appreciate what they put in and compensate them fairly. I am in a strong position given that I know Jane will give me excellent references going forward, so I was not worried about blowback in sending this email. I know not everyone has the security I do, so I do not recommend this approach to everyone, but if you know you can’t be harmed by speaking the truth and standing up for yourself and others who are being mistreated, I encourage you to do so.

2. I’m overhearing my partner’s work conversations and they seem bad

Nearly three years later and my partner (now spouse!) is still at the same company. They’ve been promoted, they’re beloved by all coworkers, and recently got complimented by their boss for “always encouraging us to be better.”

Meanwhile, I am at a different job so now we don’t work from home the same days anymore. It’s been good to get distance from each other in our professional lives, I think essentially being coworkers was not doing our relationship any favors. We did have a conversation about what I perceived as unprofessional behavior and they pointed out that my field is fairly hierarchical and conservative while theirs is younger and less uptight. Thanks for your answer and to the commenters!

3. How can I find a job in another state without moving there first?

It’s small, but the update is that I did indeed find a job in another state! It helped my case that my old city and my new city have suburbs with the same name, and my old job had that suburb as part of its name; I think that’s how I got my foot in the door. I only had two weeks to move and it was a nightmare; I sprouted my first gray hairs not long after that ordeal! I’m a little over a year into the new job and loving it. I will even be up for a promotion of sorts soon, with higher pay and more responsibilities so I’m very happy!

{ 190 comments… read them below }

  1. wondermint*

    I’m glad LW1 found a new job.

    Not sure how supportive I am about the reply-all scorched-Earth method (you’re out! you told the new hire!) but they are secure in their choice.

      1. Emily*

        I agree. Even if LW is 100% sure Jane will give a good reference, that doesn’t mean that others won’t talk about the scorched earth email, and depending on LW’s industry, it could very well get around to other potential employers. Even though LW already has a job lined up, this is the sort of thing that can affect someone’s reputation.

    1. Dr. BOM*

      Given the jiggery-pokery that Andy seems to have been up to and the way he was directly interfering in LW1’s ability to work, I can’t say I fully disagree. As last Thursday’s Ask a Reader thread demonstrated, some bridges need to be burned.

      1. Malarkey01*

        In my experience even when people are right these extreme reactions don’t get remembered for their great points but “as the time that woman left and did this insanely unprofessional thing”.

        10 years ago someone I worked with is still a big joke that gets told at happy hours for the way she melted down on a national call announcing her reassignment to a new contract….instead of her points about some recent decisions that had driven the decision.

        1. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

          And OP really doesn’t seem to understand that that’s guaranteed to happen to her, too. I wish her wisdom.

        2. Six for the truth over solace in lies*

          Right. In real life, the response tends to be less “yeah, Andy really is bad and I’m glad someone said something!” and more “uh, so, that sure was a thing… probably for the best that they left?” Nobody stands and claps.

    2. PineappleColada*

      Yeah, I don’t think that scorched earth was a good idea, and it does make me question if they are a reliable narrator or not. I understand that they are upset about money, but the rest of their upset seems to be, that Andy…isn’t competent? complained about them once? Felt like the OP was being abrasive when the OP was… being abrasive?

      Hopefully the reference from Jane is still good, but this could certainly put a damper on it.

      1. sdog*

        Yes! I was just commenting almost exactly this when I saw your comment, that I’m really questioning LW’s reliability as a narrator and whether they have good professional sense generally. The scorched earth email is just beyond what I’d see as reasonable professional behavior even if warranted, and I’m not even sure that it is in this case. I can see why Andy would think LW had it in for him, given the comment about questioning him at every turn. And even in the original email, it stood out to me that LW had actually taken an unreasonably long time to complete the task Andy requested and didn’t seem to take full accountability.

        I got a much different vibe from the burning bridges LW last week than this one, so it’s not that I think that there’s never an appropriate time or place to set fire to the old workplace. I think there absolutely can be, but something about this just did not feel right and left me questioning the LW more than cheering on.

      2. Managing While Female*

        I agree. I’m all for pointing out issues when you see them, and calling out bad behavior, but I find that a lot of times when people are complaining to everyone and anyone about a situation (or send long tangents in reply-all emails), their judgment is severely off.

      3. Velociraptor Attack*

        I can’t say I’m surprised, I feel the previous things OP posted (both in their letters and the comments) have shown they were way too emotionally invested, were dedicated to getting rid of Andy, and thought they knew a lot of things that they have no real way of knowing. I wish them well and I hope they can later reflect on this and see that mistakes were made on their end.

        1. Recovering the satellites*

          Came here thinking the same, very emotionally invested.

          It can feel cathartic in the moment but upon reflection the realization is usually one of how draining the entire ordeal was and the energy wasted could have 100% been better spent.

    3. Over It*

      Agreed! OP’s workplace treated them poorly, but they got a better job and need to move on. They were way too emotionally invested. Also, if I were their former manager, I would likely change my mind about giving a positive reference after that email. I went through something similar last year with a coworker who applied for a promotion and didn’t quite have enough experience, but probably could have gotten it in another year with some specific training. It was no secret they were disgruntled at their job, but they were still mostly pleasant to work with. They quit after the promotion didn’t happen and burned every bridge on the way out. Three weeks of bad behavior cost them a good reference after two years of being a decent (albeit not stellar) employee.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Jane is exceedingly frustrated at the situation too. Andy is a liar and a manipulator who plays the higher ups like a fiddle and treats the rest of us like we’re idiots. I received many supportive messages after the fact from pretty much every one of my former colleagues who doesn’t buy Andy’s nonsense either, thanking me for letting the board know what’s going on. They all feel powerless to do anything about it. I also really do care about the mission of the org and find it deeply concerning that Andy is in such a high level role at the org. (It is especially concerning that Andy completely ignored requests from donors to cancel their donations. That is a huge no-no and could become a legal problem.) So I weighed my options and decided that I was okay with burning this bridge, because it was more important for me to alert the board to this major personnel and possible legal issue. Worth mentioning too is that before I sent the email I ran it by Jane and told her I was going to CC the board. She approved.

        Did I spend way more time thinking about Andy than I should have? Most definitely. But it’s hard to ignore it when someone is out to get you. Did I neglect my work tasks and not get anything else done because I was too busy focused on Andy? Definitely not. I was a stellar employee, one of the best Jane has ever worked with, and she and I are still on excellent terms. Before I left I created training videos on how to do all of my regular tasks, in addition to the written instructions I created over my years there. I made sure before I left that everything was documented for the next person to come in and be able to do everything that I had done. I wish that person luck.

        1. Matchbox*

          I am standing up and applauding you! Burn that damn bridge to the ground! You’re right that it’s not always possible or wise to do so for many reasons, but when the stars align, strike those matches.

          I’m glad you got out victoriously. It’s delicious, especially when someone like Andy makes your life miserable for so long and brings harm on the organization.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

            Thanks, Matchbox! It was a bridge that needed burning, unfortunately, but at least I only burned some of it. Jane and many of my other former coworkers think I did the right thing.

        2. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

          God speed, OP. I hope you’re ready to own your choices.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

            Yup, I definitely own my choices. Not sure if you mean that facetiously or not but I am fine with my choices even if most of the commentariat thinks I made a mistake. I don’t think I did but if it was a mistake, it was a calculated risk and I’m fine with it.

            1. JSPA*

              with the extra context, it sounds a lot more like a considered power move, and a lot less like a too-cheesed-off-to-weigh-
              the- implications middle finger.

              I’m guessing people didn’t necessarily go back to read the parts about illegally continuing to take money after being told to halt donations (i.e. theft) from donors. Given that, and given Andy’s pattern of playing everyone against everyone else, I can see how absolute and radical disclosure might be the only way to break through the 3D spiderweb of secrets and lies.

        3. MsM*

          “It is especially concerning that Andy completely ignored requests from donors to cancel their donations. That is a huge no-no and could become a legal problem.”

          Oof, yeah. I might’ve gone the formal letter route rather than reply-all, but that’s definitely something that warrants making sure the whole board knows.

        4. smirkette*

          I am living vicariously through you for that email because good lord, I wish I could have brought myself to do the same for my own Andy. Sure, it’s not the most politically sound move, but as someone who’s had to pick up a ton of slack at SO many jobs for politically manipulative colleagues, it’s SO satisfying to see at least someone get a full accounting for their bad/woefully incompetent behavior when management refuses to do anything about it.

          I’m surprised you’re getting so much blowback in the comments, particularly when you own the risk. A lot of bad behavior happens and snowballs because of the pervasive “go along to get along” orientations (and to some extent, I understand why), but sometimes enough is enough. I raise my coffee mug to you!

          1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

            Thank you! I’m really unclear as to why everyone here seems to think I made a big risk here; the risk was extremely small and if it made some folks mad at me (which it certainly did), I knew that going in and I also know that it won’t have any effect on my future whatsoever.

        5. Annie*

          Yes, I’m with you. Just the other day people were saying that the updates were too boring and that was just the reality of life.

          I love that you went out with a bang and laid everything down on paper and copied everyone. It may not make a difference in the long run, but you can know that you did all you could do to reveal the truth, and as long as it doesn’t hurt you in the future (which sounds like that’s not an issue), what’s the harm? Even if those ex-coworkers only remember you as the one who sent the reply-all email and blew things up, at least you’ll be remembered!! :)

        6. House On The Rock*

          I used to work for an Andy. When I left that job, albeit to work for another part of a large University, lots of things came crumbling down in my old group, including My Andy (MA?) being practically perp walked out and the poor staff who were left feeling utterly blindsided by how shady he’d been for years. I didn’t go scorched earth, although I did know a ton of what had gone on behind the scenes, including that his job was in jeopardy. And when I was approached by former coworkers I was fairly open about how there had been dysfunction for years and MA was pretty much a fraud.

          All that is to say I get it and I’m glad you could be open about the problems. I hope for the sake of others the higher ups act on it!

        7. perspex*

          It sounds like you are confident in all your choices, and that is great. I will say that private supportive messages don’t necessarily mean that your reputation didn’t take a hit. People can be glad someone said something—and express that privately, so there’s not a risk to their own reputation—and also think that someone is a bit too much.

          This is related to the problem of someone wanting to speak up, receiving lots of agreement privately, and speaking up only to find themselves standing alone. People agree that there’s a problem but don’t agree on how to address it.

    4. MissesPookie*

      same. Its infantile- if you are moving on there is no need to tell them what they’ should’ do- they chose not to and you dont work there anymore!

      1. Lydia*

        It’s not infantile and it’s damaging to frame all responses like the OP’s as such. If the OP was ready to speak up, that is okay and, in a lot of cases, a brave choice.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

          Thank you, Lydia! So many people here keep saying that I must be young, that I behaved like a child. I’m not a child, I’m firmly middle-aged, and I have seen enough injustice in the world to know that a lot of it continues because people who see it are too scared to say something about it. Speaking out, especially in a situation where it’s unlikely to cause me any personal harm, was something I thought was important for me to do.

          I also want to say, MissesPookie, that I didn’t say anything in my email about what they ‘should’ do, I merely stated the facts of what was happening, in a ‘I just wanted the board to know what’s going on’ kind of way. I kept it as neutral and unemotional as possible. Since I no longer have any skin in the game I figured I was actually in a good position to say something. I worked very hard to craft the email in such a way as to make it clear that I was not a vengeful employee stuck on taking Andy down; I’m not.

          I know everyone in the comments thinks that I’m completely stuck on Andy and thinking about them all the time. I promise you that that is not the case; I hadn’t thought about Andy in weeks until this update was published. I engage in the comments on my letters because I enjoy being part of the commentariat and because I want to clarify the situation, not because I’m stuck on this past chapter of my life.

          1. Velociraptor Attack*

            I don’t think anyone disagrees that when there are issues, it’s a good thing for boards to know and I would imagine that a number of commenters (including myself) would have responded to this update very differently if you had just sent your reply to the board.

            1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

              Well, I wanted my former colleagues to know what was going on too. Many of them were (and still are) frustrated that nothing was being done about Andy and I wanted them to know that the board had at least been informed of what was going on. It’s a very small nonprofit and we all worked very closely with each other. If it were a larger org I probably wouldn’t have replied all, but I don’t think that replying all was at the level of unprofessional that commenters here seem to think it is.

          2. Boof*

            I think most people are drawing on their own experiences that usually such emails come across as more unhinged than helpful when we’ve seen them before / if at all – but it sounds like you thought about it thoroughly, and we can’t (nor should we) see the actual email so I’m sure there’s ways of doing it that have a chance of being productive. Would be interested to hear another update on the fate of the org at somepoint, if you end up keeping any tabs! (and if you move on now that you have a new job, also more power to you! That’s probably the better road than satisfying our curiosity but, so curious!)

            1. Myrin*

              Yeah, I was thinking that I would actually love to get another “update” on this a few years down the road – if I’m not confusing usernames, OP is a regular reader and commenter, so we might just get that if she hasn’t moved on by then!

            2. Tippy*

              Unhinged it the EXACT word I was thinking. If I was just sitting in my cubicle, going about my day and got this email I’d 1. immediately be like “WT absolute F???” and 2. run to talk to my work buddies about how this person has lost their effing mind. Great story, better gossip topic (seriously!), can’t imagine that it won’t make the rounds of the industry.

              FWIW, this has actually happened at a previous job about a year after I left and I still got sent the email. A few months later I was in another city visiting some friends who had other friends of theirs at the house. We got to talking and turns out they were in the same industry as previous colleague and they had heard about it. Wild stories spread like wild fire.

              1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

                I’ve mentioned here in other comments, it’s a TINY nonprofit so almost everyone there knew what was going on wrt Andy and myself. This email was not out of the blue and most of the people who received it knew exactly what was going on. And the email was not unhinged, but definitely the higher ups have spun it that way. Oh well, I stand by my work and my reputation as a not unhinged person.

                And it’s a very very niche industry and not something I plan to return to. Other outgoing coworkers have wanted to say something too but since they are staying in the industry, they didn’t feel comfortable saying anything. And because this place is so very very small, no one outside the org will care one little bit about what one little employee did as she was leaving for greener pastures.

                1. Tippy*

                  The issue isn’t the industry and if it’ll follow you in that, it’s that this is the type of thing that can and does spread outside the industry. my coworker from the example may have worked for the same organization but it was not in the same career field at all. a good story is a good story regardless of its some niche non-profit or a place as large like Meta or something. and the farther it gets actually away from you the less sympathetic you look (& the more people are going to go poor Andy).

      2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Whoa…we can disagree with someone’s actions constructively; calling them “infantile” doesn’t meet that standard.

    5. starsaphire*

      LW1, congrats on getting out. I know how painful it can be to see something you’re emotionally invested in get blown up around you.

      It’s sad, but also true, that some companies bring on people who seem to be intent on destroying the company. Sometimes it’s accidental, sometimes it sure looks like it’s on purpose. Was Andy one of those? Who knows.

      The most important thing is – keep looking forward. You got out; now keep moving ahead, and don’t worry so much about the Andys of the world, especially at your new job. As you’ve gotten away from the non-profit world, it won’t be nearly as emotionally wracking if someone at your new job seems to be sinking the ship – you can just ignore it, put on your Workplace Anthropologist hat, stay objective, and let them sink themselves.

      Good luck in the future!

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Hahaha, having that Workplace Anthropologist hat to wear was one of the things that got me through all of this. And you’re right that any Andy here at my large employer is far less likely to have a big impact on me or on the university, which pleases me very much. Happy to buckle down and get stuff done and stop thinking about Andy anymore.

    6. LadyWhistledownsSecretTwin*

      The only thing LW1’s scorched earth letter (and complaining about Andy) will do is play right into Andy’s narrative of “Yes, we wanted to make this position a senior position for a while, but LW1 was terrible at their job and everyone knew they couldn’t be promoted, and we’ve been trying to get rid of them for a while. Now that they’re finally gone? We can get somebody competent in, and have them in a leadership role.”

      1. JSPA*

        Have you forgotten the original details? “Highly trained whistleblower” and “disgruntled incompetent” really are not the same thing.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

          Yeah, I was very very good at this job. I had nothing but glowing feedback for the entire time I’d been working there, minus all the ridiculous lies Andy was telling about me.

    7. Phony Genius*

      Agree. I would not want to be in the position of Andy’s new report. Being told something like that by somebody I don’t really know about somebody I don’t really know would mess with my head.

    8. scorchedearth*

      I wonder if Andy will simply spin it as sour grapes because the job was being restructured and LW didn’t get the promotion? We know the resignation happened first, but will anyone else?

    9. Boof*

      Yeah, though I’ll admit it depends a lot on the details on exactly what they sent. If it was more of a friendly goodby email that sort of ooops included how happy they’ll be with their new senior role doing similar work for better pay and leadership that is unable to provide concrete details; well I’m sure there’s a tongue in cheek way of informing those in the know of what’s going on while maintaining a certain amount of plausible deniability. If it seemed really bitter and angry, it might make folks question the LW more than Andy.
      But, if Andy really is as bad as LW thinks they are AND the board isn’t actually full of ninnies, maybe it will help nudge along the Eventual Implosion of Andy. Or who knows, maybe Andy is actually doing good things and is just on a different wavelength than LW (in which case, good think they will not be working closely together!) or else if leadership would rather barrel ahead than admit there’s a problem forever, maybe Andy will keep treading water indefinitely and the email will not have done anything except raised a few eyebrows, if that.

    10. B*

      IME non-profits can be fertile ground for do-nothing executives who know the right buzzwords… they also tend to have a lot of idealistic, naive employees who think they know a lot more than they do and don’t hesitate to make it known. Could be we have a perfect storm here where everyone’s got a point but everyone should probably cool it.

      1. Elsewise*

        That’s what I was thinking. Both of these personalities sound super familiar to me as a lifelong nonprofit employee.

      2. smirkette*

        Having worked most of my career in non-profits, absolutely. There are a ton of people who have never had to actually produce or had a job outside of their particular flavor of non-profit, so you get a ton of operations and cultures full of bees. You also get “we’re supposed to be a family” which means forgiving and ignoring bad behavior, endlessly picking up other peoples’ slack, but never providing adequate support to the people keeping the wheels on the bus, so to speak.

    11. Hamster Manager*

      Woof, yeah this update made me cringe as well. I’m glad LW is confident she’ll still get a good reference out of this, I would be wary of providing that reference after her behavior if I were Jane.

      I think a better approach would have been to just calmly lay it all out to Jane (or whatever higher-up is the right one), who’s still there and maybe has power to do something? A ‘screw you all and Andy specifically’ reply-all really undercuts any authority you might have had to point out issues on your way out, and no company’s going to take exit interview complaints seriously anyway, since they don’t have to deal with the exiter anymore.

      It all just feels too hot-headed and emotionally invested for my taste.

      1. Velociraptor Attack*

        Honestly, the OP’s comment above that Jane sanctioned the reply-all brings a whole bunch of question marks around how much weight Jane’s reference actually holds if she seems to have some similar professionalism issues.

        1. JSPA*

          Andy is knowingly failing to cancel donations, when large donors request cancelation of standing donations.

          “Our org steals felony-level sums” is a lot less “professional” than, “y’all, we need to not steal our donors’ money anymore, and we need to return what we stole, and presumably do massive damage control to even get back to a neutral standing.”

          Anything else can arguably be a difference in vision; but not this.

          (Plus, without those donations, the books may look quite different, no?)

    12. H.C.*

      Yeah, esp when current/future job may do more than just contact Jane in background checking; they may contact ExJob’s HR too – here’s hoping the scorched earth reply all doesn’t result in a “not eligible for rehire” on their personnel file.

      1. Jane*

        And OP has a new job. Won’t have to deal with them ever again. What purpose does it serve to leave a scorched trail? I wish them well but when we do something solely out of anger, it often backfires.

    13. Liv*

      Yeah, I have seen a few such emails in my day. Some are from people who truly had very valid grievances against the org, others are from rockstars (if only in their own mind) who could not accept their role in how things played out. My former boss fell into the latter category.

      The universal reaction to those scorched-earth letters is to mutter “wow, glad that person is gone, what a nut” — whether the grievances are valid or not — and then move on. I have never seen one of those letters do anything but make people side-eye the sender.

      1. Six for the truth over solace in lies*

        It is firmly in the category of things that are highly satisfying in fiction but fall flat IRL, in my experience.

      2. GreenShoes*

        IME this is the absolutely the case. I got one from an employee on my team who was resigning. The grievance topics were not about his immediate management :) Instead were aimed at the executive leadership in the company. He sent it to his manager, grand-boss (me), and great grand-boss (VP).

        It really wasn’t a great way to end his time with the company. For sure we had all joked about similar things and had quietly vented to each other. But at the end of the day it’s a 5000+ person company. Nothing about our C-suite will change because of anything this person says or any other. What it accomplished though was to just cast a shadow on this departing employee and pointed out that he was not realistic in who had the ability and power to change culture and business practices.

        Would I give him a good reference? Probably. (His work was great and he was/is missed)

        Would I think a little harder about giving him a good reference because of the screed that he sent… yeah if I’m honest it did affect how I remember him. He’s now the guy that sent the scathing email in addition to the guy that did a great job.

        Will this come back to bite him some day… probably not.

        Would I hire him again.. honestly not sure.

    14. Prof*

      I mean, OP knew they weren’t likely to face repercussions and actually got to lay out their grievances. This is like rage quit fantasy material and I am here for it!

  2. Ultimate Facepalm*

    If you can go scorched earth, I suppose that’s the way to do it. i would love to hear if there was any further fallout from that, and if Andy ever stepped up and canceled people’s donations like they asked him to.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      Yeah, that was the one thing that really stood out to me as a bad thing Andy had done. Donors were requesting to lower or cancel their donations, and Andy was sitting on those requests. That’s a serious breach of ethics.

  3. k*

    I’m glad for LW1 that they are heading to a role that seems to be a better fit. I think a lot of people tried to gently point out in the comments of the previous Andy posts that LW1 was not behaving as professionally as they thought they were (using work time to snoop, putting excessive amounts of time into tracking Andy’s behaviour). Frankly, if I worked at this organization, this scorched earth departure would be more likely to reflect badly on the letter writer than on Andy.

    1. Anon Midwest*

      Agreed. I am an individual contributor who “does the work” for my field (executing marketing programs with external vendors), and I have always reported up to executives who appear to do nothing, but in practice they have essential roles – defending our budgets, schmoozing with vendors to get us better pricing, making sure CEO sees the value of marketing efforts, and aligning teams across the organization to make sure we are on the same page. A lot of meetings and not much else, but valuable.

      LW1 has a lot of growing up to do.

      1. Hosta*

        I’m not a C level exec, but I am a middle manager and have days where I start at 7, and at 6, and have very little concrete to show for it. I’ve 100% worked for ineffective bosses, but also, I’ve worked for managers that don’t produce a lot, miss deadlines, and also are incredibly effective at making our organization successful.

        1. Six for the truth over solace in lies*

          Heck, I just do project management and don’t manage people or departments at all, and there are a lot of days where all I do is organize and facilitate meetings and collect notes from them on things that other people will need to do. I spent two months doing that kind of prep work before I could even start doing concrete visible work—and I’m an independent contributor, not management at all.

          Not all work has a concrete, visible-to-the-whole-org deliverable.

    2. lunchtime caller*

      I really had to re-read their previous letters because this one makes it sound like they were whistle-blowing on someone who was bullying and harassing employees in illegal ways, and really Andy was just kind of useless and annoying, and made some work mistakes that pretty much spoke for themselves. This level of reaction feels really out of place and frankly would make me doubt the judgment of the letter writer so much.

      1. 20 Points for the Copier*

        The one thing that really made me feel Andy might be worse than just a blustery do-nothing is that he was hiding requests to lower contributions. That goes from annoying to potentially fraudulent.

        1. Velociraptor Attack*

          We don’t know that he was hiding requests. Based on what I can see, we know one such request wasn’t sent on nearly as quickly as it should have been. I don’t think it’s helpful to exaggerate that.

          1. Worldwalker*

            It seems that you’ve decided that Slow Gin Lizz is lying, both in their original post, their update, and their comments here, and are viewing everything through that lens. No matter what, you’re assuming they’re completely in the wrong all the time. And you seem oddly invested in this.

            1. Velociraptor Attack*

              I didn’t see their comment below about dropping the ball multiple times before replying that in previous posts and comments, they mentioned they only mentioned one instance.

              I am invested in the idea that this was not the way to handle this situation, just like I’m invested in the idea that the boss who refused to give their leap day birthday employee the day off in non-leap years handled it in the wrong way.

        2. biobotb*

          Yeah, but the original letter made it sound like it arose from incompetence and laziness, and if the higher ups haven’t already taken steps to deal with Andy not processing these requests, I don’t know what a scorched-earth email would accomplish. LW said in a comment that the higher-ups are already using the email to paint her as unhinged, so it sounds like it actually backfired when it comes to dealing with Andy’s problems.

    3. STG*

      Yep. If I received that email, I’m more likely to think the OP has a chip on their shoulder than anything else. They likely weakened their original support.

    4. Microwaved Anchovies*

      I disagree, Andy was actively undermining the LW1’s ability to do their job. It was LW1’s responsibility to do a deep dive into why she wasn’t receiving donor requests. Everything else it sounds like Andy invited by bringing LW1 into meetings. In addition, if LW1 has built a strong reputation among her peers and supervisor, then this won’t color how they look at her. In fact, if everyone is annoyed, they may be extremely thankful for LW1s actions.

      At a close friend’s job, there were several (more than 5) emails that went out from staff in a similar manner over the course of a few months. The emails were paragraphs long, calling out people by name for embezzling, racism, and straight not doing their job. The board took note and cleaned house. There was a lot of shaking down of accounts, reviews of systems, and several people were fired. That organization is stronger for it, hopefully LW1’s former organization will do the same.

      1. k.*

        I don’t know about this. Whistleblowing about embezzling and racism is a completely understandable — and even ethical — choice. Going scorched-earth over someone not forwarding emails or disagreeing with you about how to manage a fundraiding database is a lot less sympathetic. It suggests you don’t know how to appropriately and professionally manage workplace conflict.

        1. MsM*

          When the person you disagree with is asking questions that suggest they haven’t even touched the database, as OOP indicated in comments on the original post, I think that’s a valid concern to raise with higher-ups.

          1. Liv*

            Is that their job to touch the database though? My boss doesn’t know how to do most of the tasks I do every day, that doesn’t mean she is bad at her job. It means she leaves the technical things to the technical people.

      2. Smithy*

        I worked at one place where not only did they clean house, but also ended up letting the majority of the board go (or they left on their own) due to some really pervasive and problematic issues related to sexual harassment and widespread financial mismanagement.

        During the transition period a new CEO was hired who was also not liked or definitely engaged in some dubious practices. A group of senior leaders came together to go to the Board members that remained to share how they felt she was poorly doing her job. Ultimately everyone from that group left/got pushed out and she stayed.

        Examples that are clear and can either be tracked quantitatively (financial reviews/audits/etc) or limited to specific cases (think of scenes in sexual harassment videos) are relatively straight forward to investigate both internally as well as putting an employer at risk legally. But these more pervasive examples of people doing bad work, is often harder to articulate and easier to excuse or diminish.

        All to say, one workplace, and different responses to two incidents. I will note that both situations involved legal liability, and payouts to former staff happened in both situation. But in one case action was taken, but not another. That kind of scorched earth approach is a real gamble for positive change and can create an office wide desire to distance themselves from that person.

    5. Kay*

      I remember this OP, had concerns about their level of outrage, and reading through the update I thought – oh dear, this does not make you look professional, reliable nor rational.

    6. JP*

      I agree. Though I’m sure they provided their former coworkers with hours of juicy gossip.

    7. Ann O'Nemity*

      Yeah, I worry that LW 1 may have undermined themselves with the reply-all. The board member may have taken the one-on-on conversation seriously and been working to address it, but the reply-all is going to be hell on the perception of LW 1’s professionalim.

      (Though, as a reader, this was a super juicy update that I thoroughly enjoyed!)

    8. Ellis Bell*

      The really ironic thing is, if OP had said nothing and not replied to their job being restructured it would have reflected really badly on Andy. The response makes it seem like there’s more drama to the story than the age old humdrum one of OP needing to leave, before OP can get properly compensated or the person in the role receives their due.

    1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      Also from the original letter: “what if I’m so low-level that I don’t see [what Andy is doing in his role that adds operational value]?” This is probably true, even as Andy has let a few tasks slip through the cracks. Mistakes that affect LW are hypervisible to them, the value he brings at the senior leadership, board relations, etc. levels are not.

      I’m also not sure why it’s relevant that a donor died. If I’m reading correctly, Andy got the donor’s request, brought it up after a couple weeks but before the next billing cycle* and was… too late because the donor had died the week before? Very sad about the donor, but I’m failing to understand why this is anything more than a “damn, that sucks, RIP.” The inclusion of that detail suggests to me that LW isn’t being entirely fair to him and is letting the “Andy sucks” filter color every situation.

      *-The letter doesn’t say this exactly, but also doesn’t say that the donor was charged incorrectly, which I suspect would have been mentioned, had it happened.

  4. Lola*

    The problem with scorched earth is that it feels good in the moment, but not how effective it is in the long term. And people who are not in the know may see an email like that and just assume it’s from a bitter employee with poor judgement. Which is also the narrative that leadership can push when/if it’s brought up.

    But hey, LW, as long as you are in a secure position, I don’t blame you for feeling fed up and ready to burn some bridges.

  5. RagingADHD*

    I went back and reread the original and some of the comments. Clearly LW was and remains exceedingly angry about Andy, but I still fail to see how LW was “mistreated.” There was one instance where Andy complained about a task that was not done as timely as they expected, and some instances where Andy asked LW to hold off making changes to the database that other executives had requested.

    Perhaps we mean different things by the word “mistreatment.” Getting negative feedback that you disagree with, or getting instructions you think are incorrect, is not what I picture when I hear the word.

    In any event, I’m glad LW has a role with better pay and benefits and hope they find contentment there.

    1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      The fact that LW brings up an incident in which a donor died as if that was somehow Andy’s fault sort of underscores that this is more about personal dislike than Andy actually being any actual problem. He brought up an email after a few weeks but before the next billing cycle* and the donor had died in that interim period? That’s very sad, but I really don’t see why it’s more than a “damn, that sucks, send a card to the spouse.” Like, sure, he may have dropped a few balls, but LW’s dislike seems disproportionate to the egregiousness of the offenses, here. LW actually wondered in the initial letter whether they were just too low-level to see the value Andy was adding and I strongly suspect that to be the case. They sound young. Hopefully they mellow as they take on more responsibility and realize how much more there is to the working world and to organizational operations than the tasks that are directly in front of them.

      *-To be fair, the letter doesn’t say this, but I get the sense that if the donor had been improperly billed, that detail would have been included.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        It is actually egregious that Andy had requested that they receive all the inquiries from monthly donors and then proceeded to ignore them. The donors for the org are #1 for importance and Andy dropped the ball in several instances. If Andy really was too busy to follow up on donor inquiries, then Andy should not have requested they be the person who received the inquiries. (And yes, they requested the inquiries go to them even though they claimed to be really busy.)

        1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

          As you described that incident, Andy did follow up, just later than you thought he should. I don’t doubt he’s dropped balls. I doubt that your level of anger and frustration with him is proportionate and get the impression that he’s the focal point of your frustration at the org’s general lack of process (example: if you can see in the database what emails he’s received from donors, why isn’t there a report or a dashboard for monthly donation change requests that you don’t have to depend on him for? – asking rhetorically because I’ve worked in places exactly like this before). In any case, it’s behind you and I wish you the best in your next endeavors.

        2. biobotb*

          But if the higher ups already didn’t care to deal with this egregious breach, what would your email accomplish?

    2. k.*

      I agree. I have some concerns that this LW’s potentially career-damaging approach to their exit was influenced by the number of commenters on their letters and on open threads who reinforcing their mindset by agreeing that Andy was terrible and useless — which I don’t think was actually supported by the facts in LW’s narrative.

      It’s normal for C-Suite hires to come in and make changes (sometimes good, sometimes bad) and it’s normal for other people at the organization to find these changes annoying. It’s not normal to respond to this in the way the LW did.

    3. Ann O'Nemity*

      It can be salt in the wound to see someone skate by when you’re feeling underpaid and under-appreciated. It’s even worse when they’re getting paid significantly more than you are.

      1. RagingADHD*

        I think if someone in a junior role is going to get upset that a C-Suite exec is paid more and appears to sweat less, then they are going to have a hard time finding any job where they don’t feel mistreated. Philosophically, there’s a whole discussion to be had there about inequality and capitalism. But taking it personally is a rough way to live.

    4. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

      Andy was limiting my abilities to do my job (told me and Jane not to make any changes whatsoever, not responding to my questions about what they wanted me to do for them, I could go on) and lying about and badmouthing me to other coworkers. I’d been there over two years when Andy started and been on *excellent* terms with everyone, and then suddenly certain higher ups thought that I wasn’t doing my job, which was completely untrue.

      1. RagingADHD*

        I must have missed the part about lying and badmouthing? It wasn’t in the letter nor any of your update comments. I did see the ones where you clarified that Andy rarely if ever spoke to you, and all your information about what Andy was or wasn’t saying / doing came secondhand through Jane.

        I’m glad you’re away from a job you were clearly so very unhappy in. I was just wondering where the idea of “mistreatment” came from, since it didn’t seem to relate to anything you said previously.

  6. Brad Deltan*

    Having spent a great deal of my career working in nonprofits and/or higher ed, I can say LW1’s “scorched earth” approach wasn’t exactly “wrong”, per se, but it wasn’t a good idea. It will accomplish zero good and there’s always the chance that LW1 will be applying for another job someday. Another job where potentially one of the board members they emailed today will now be on that new board, too. The nonprofit world is very, very small (and very, very incestuous) in a lot of cities.

    Obviously it depends entirely on the personality of the board member, but most of them are going to view LW1’s actions as incredibly inappropriate. Remember, for most nonprofit board members, what’s driving their involvement on the board is their own ego. To have such a massive problem going on right under their noses is an implicit damning of their own ability as a leader, and that’s a blow to the ego that few can accept objectively.

    If such a move could actually be counted on to spur reform, then perhaps it might be worth it. But it never does. Again, their egos won’t allow it. It’s much easier for the board (and management) just believe that LW1 was an immature jerk and good riddance to them. And they never, ever put two and two together when employees start leaving left and right.

    This is also mostly true in the for-profit world, as well. But it’s DEFINITELY true in non-profits.

    Again, I tip my cap to your superior bastardry, LW1. But it wasn’t a good idea and there’s a risk it’ll come back to bite you in the ass someday. Good luck!

    1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

      Luckily this NP is *extremely* niche and none of these board members are likely to appear anywhere else in my life (and none of them live anywhere near my geographic area either), but that is something that I took into account, as well as the fact that I do not plan to ever return to this type of work. You’re right that it’s ego that drives most board members and that my email probably won’t have any effect whatsoever, but I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t alert them to this problem employee. Something needed to be said.

      1. Yay!*

        Good on you for speaking out!

        The (faux?) concern about your reputation seems like (genuine?) disappointment you are not being punished for not acting “correctly” and are still being appropriately not sorry for what you did.

    2. Hamster Manager*

      “To have such a massive problem going on right under their noses is an implicit damning of their own ability as a leader, and that’s a blow to the ego that few can accept objectively.”

      Yes to this, I had a for-profit boss who could not handle ANY pointing out of issues, big or small, and he would double- and triple-down on defending the big mistakes, including ones that caused multiple resignations.

      You gotta just figure out how to not care if the work product is bad. If you told them how to do it right, or than someone wasn’t pulling their weight, and they don’t want to do anything about it, oh well, it’s their company, not yours, they will look bad, not you. It feels gross to do that when you know you’re in the right, but it’s just the reality of working with these types.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Agreed. It’s a lot harder to not care though when you work for a nonprofit and you care about the issue and the org’s constituents.

  7. anonymoose*

    LW1 is a Master Class on how to ruin your reputation in an industry and become unemployable. The security felt in the standing with excellent references came BEFORE the scorched-earth email, the “scathing” exit interview, the badmouthing to new hires, and the gossip with the board member. In time, this stuff is going to get around the office, you can bet on it. All of this is quite likely to come back and bite this person.

    I don’t understand being so wrapped up in the future of a company you no longer work for that you’re willing to ruin your own professional brand. You need to take the long view in your career. Jobs are not disconnected silos, they are chapters in a book you are writing for and about yourself. And, one way or another, everyone in your industry knows everyone else in your industry. Never forget that.

    Sometimes you work for a bad company—but sometimes you lack self-awareness and don’t realize that actually you are the problem. So many things in both of these letters point to the latter.

    1. Just Thinkin' Here*

      This. Afterwards he’s going on the do-not-hire list for this company which will be communicated in future background checks. And anyone who works there now and ends up working someplace else in the future may think of the OP as a hot head and impact future hiring.

      And yes, I’ve also been in the position twice now where I left for more money and it took them bumping the pay scale of my former position to hire someone willing to do everything I was doing. It stinks. But just more proof that moving on was a good decision rather than a reason to lay waste to the place.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Nah, see, if I’d been worried about any of that I wouldn’t have sent the email. But since it’s a tiny NP the chances of me working again with anyone else there are very very slim. And as many commenters on AAM’s burnt bridges post last week said, I really don’t care if I’m on the DNH list for this tiny org. I am, as I keep saying, a stellar worker with excellent references and I’m not worried about having torched the bridge to this org (but not to my old boss or to many of my former coworkers).

        1. loggerhead*

          Look, small isn’t 0. Life is long. I’ve worked across multiple industries over my career and have run into people to whom I am mutually connected, I just didn’t know it immediately.

          I’ll just say this, burning a bridge like this…maybe you are a stellar worker but maybe it’s worth thinking about how a stellar worker wraps up a difficult situation. I understand that you want to defend your reputation, but the many replies to commenters support the idea that you might still be too emotionally enmeshed here.

          1. Six for the truth over solace in lies*

            I had the opportunity to interview someone I knew from a completely different job in a completely different sector two states away. The world is incredibly interconnected.

    2. Carmon*

      Your comment is a good illustration of why people like Andy are allowed to fester.

      Carbon Monoxide alarms are annoying, but the correct response to the annoyance isn’t to get rid of the alarm, the correct response is to fix the Carbon Monoxide leak.

      Unfortunately, a lot of industries are full of people who have a “Noisy alarm! Ow! Stay away!” mentality instead of a focus on fixing the much more severe issues the alarm is sounding off about.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Thank you. Throughout all this I kept thinking about the Theranos scandal and how so many of the employees there were too scared to say anything to authorities on what Elizabeth Holmes was doing. Obv this is much smaller scale than that, but I really couldn’t in good consciences leave that organization without alerting someone to what was going on.

        Glad to be gone and thoroughly done with that org! I wish them well.

        1. Boof*

          I just want to put it out there that I don’t blame the employees of Theranos for what happened; similarly there’s no blame on you for whatever Andy does. It’s good to try to give people a heads up, to leave when it doesn’t work, and to alert the board. I’m not sure if a reply all email was the best way to do it, but I get it, it sounds like you’re trying to fight the good fight.
          Holmes though was a con artist who kept lying and piling up the lies. Whistleblowing is a bit different and it did eventually help bring the thing down, but it took a lot of time etc, and involved reporting to outside regulatory agencies

      2. Xanna*

        I almost feel like in this situation it’s more like the issue with overly sensitive fire alarms.

        I used to have one that went off if I even so much as looked at the toaster – it was infuriating. As a result, when I heard the alarm go off, my first reaction wasn’t “possible emergency”, but “overwhelming frustration at this poorly designed hunk of plastic”. Eventually, I covered it with tin foil and a shower cap to stop the constant shrieking but that means that should there have been a real fire, I would have been completely screwed.

        If you become conditioned to the “omg panic” noise being associated with totally mundane toaster usage, it makes sense to downgrade your response, which does put you at risk when the alert is accurate. In this analogy, I think by reacting so strongly to what seems like pretty run of the mill incompetence, things that actually are hugely problematic (the doner cancellations) fade into that noise, rather than being seen as legitimately in need of a fix.

    3. Hamster Manager*

      “I don’t understand being so wrapped up in the future of a company you no longer work for that you’re willing to ruin your own professional brand.”

      Agreed, and if you ARE actually being sabotaged somehow, it’s a LOT more satisfying to let it roll off your back and not get to you. The best revenge is a life well lived, right? Higher up, OP commented that it ‘needed to be done’ but no, it didn’t. Leaving gracefully is a lot more annoying to someone who’s trying to get under your skin than broadcasting to the entire company that they succeeded.

      1. MsM*

        OOP’s concerns aren’t just about Andy’s capability. They’re about issues that threaten the organization’s fiduciary duty to its donors and constituents. Some people seem to think those concerns may have been blown out of proportion, and I personally suspect the information would have been better delivered coming from directly from Jane or someone higher up, but the board at least should have an opportunity to evaluate the situation before it comes back to bite them. And just turning a blind eye to it carries its own risks to your reputation in the nonprofit community as a whole.

        1. Smithy*

          I work in nonprofit fundraising, and one where really significant financial mismanagement happened and resulted in most of the board being let go. After that, new issues in financial management came up and while reported, didn’t result in a similar level of cleaning house.

          I’d love to say everything that happened there resulted in reputational risk to those individuals – but not only did that not happen, they’ve increased their fundraising operations and remain fairly well known. Over time, I’ve heard they have become more professional and I do hope that is the case.

          I wish I wasn’t this cynical, but I just really cannot sign off on this being so wholesale damaging to the point where it would touch more junior staff members. I know donors who knew of the first round of issues, stayed, and continued to turn blind eyes to the second.

          At some point, I’ve found the best way to maintain a long term career in the nonprofit space is to be able to take a step back and acknowledge when it is just a job, and I need to treat it that way. I care deeply about the missions of places where I work, but letting that care drive me to be over-invested in situations when I have the luxury to get a new job and just walk away definitely doesn’t help me and usually doesn’t help the missions.

      2. Smithy*

        Yeah – the absolute worst place I worked, after I left – there was a period of time where not talking to my “trauma bond” buddies from that place was really helpful. Working there as an unhappy person had been my life for so long by the time I left that finding ways to just live a different life.

        It also helped me be more checked in with knee jerk reactions and anxieties I had from my old workplace and could sabotage me in my new role. I’m not going to take away that some people really do feel better doing this, but in the grand scheme of pros/cons I’ve just not really seen to many situations where the pros come on ahead.

  8. Persephone Mulberry*

    Update #2’s original question from 2021 had a “related:” post from 2017 linked under it (“I overheard my girlfriend on a work call and am worried she’s a mean boss”) with an update in 2018 that was a RIDE, and now I really want to know how *that* LW and her partner are doing!

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I just read that and HOLY ROLLER COASTER BATMAN!

      Tasha sounds like an absolute delight. /s

  9. GreenShoes*

    I’m afraid I agree with others here that the departure wasn’t great. I do remember these when they came out out the first time and kind of thought the OP was a bit out of touch with some of the examples of ‘gotchas’ about Andy not doing the work.

    The OP was a jr level employee who would naturally see some things as really big things because for someone at that level they are big things. But at a C-level you’re not going to place the same importance on a task. Going back and reading all 3 letters it’s really clear that the OP was very out of touch with expectations.

    I hope all turns out for the best for the OP and wish them well in their next role. But I would take a moment to reflect on this one at some point (give it some time and distance).

    1. Quill*

      I took some of the examples as a sign that OP’s workplace had become too personal. OP clearly cared about the nonprofit and its mission, which fostered resentment of Andy, whose priorities at work did not seem to match. This update proves that it was high time for OP to leave, because Andy was taking up their entire bandwidth at this job.

  10. ELT*

    LW1: whoa! This was definitely a scorched earth approach. Unfortunately it sounds like it was an overreaction to the circumstances; things were bad but don’t sound that bad. I hope this doesn’t rebound on you.

    I appreciate getting to see the update, and I hope you can find some renewal and a reset going into your next position. Best wishes!

  11. Garlic Microwaver*

    Congrats on the new job, OP1, but I question your judgment. What was your goal with the scathing exit interview and the revenge email? Consider that bridge burnt.

  12. Spite Sweater*

    I had an Andy type at my last job, but instead of the reply-all flip you when I quit, I just did that anonymously on Glassdoor and did it a few months later so it wasn’t so obviously me (and then several others follow suit).

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        I actually planned to post on Glassdoor but I didn’t want anything to get out publicly and affect how donors saw everything. This reply-all flip you email was my only recourse. And I don’t care about my reputation within the org whatsoever and I know that Jane 100% has my back.

        1. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

          I didn’t want anything to get out publicly

          That cat well and truly left the bag the second you hit “send” on that email.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

            What? No it didn’t. An internal email to the board is world’s away from a post on a public website.

            1. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

              Do you honestly think that the news of your email stunt will stay contained within the company?

              1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

                Yes, I do. Why would anyone ever talk about such a thing outside the company? (And before you say, at a reference or background check, I’m 99.9999% certain that they wouldn’t.)

                1. Six for the truth over solace in lies*

                  Because it’s extremely juicy, honestly, and people spread juicy gossip. This is ostensibly a roundup of three update letters, but at my count all but one of the comment thread is about yours. And none of us know you, your former org, your current org, or your industry. This is the kind of gossip that spreads because it’s entertaining even if anonymous, and even more so if you know the people.

                  I do not hope that happens to you, at all. But I think it’s naive to think that something this inflammatory and dramatic will not spread, simply because it’s so entertainingly over the top for people and humans like drama. This post is a crystal clear example of that.

                2. Tippy*

                  I had this in another comment and it’ll spread because it’s fantastic gossip. I get stuff like this shared with me from former colleagues all the time (once where the person acted in this exact same way) from a company I haven’t worked for in years.

                3. perspex*

                  I agree with Six for the truth. This will come up any time the email recipients are talking about work, especially crazy work stories. And it will be discussed with anyone and everyone—not just those in that niche industry. The email will be discussed at happy hours, over text with partners and friends and former co-workers, at holiday catch-ups with old colleagues or schoolmates: “Oh, you think that’s crazy? Listen to this . . .” Even if your former co-workers agree with you and relay the story in the most positive way possible, and even if listeners agree with that take, the listeners may not have a positive opinion of your professionalism.

          2. Myrin*

            I don’t see how, unless you think one of the recipients is going to publish it in some way.

            1. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

              People talk, and gossip even more. It’s not realistic to think this news won’t spread.

              1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

                Yeah, so far the only gossip is from my former colleagues, most of whom agree with me and were glad I wrote the email. I promise you that no one outside this org would even remotely care what’s going on inside the org.

              2. Myrin*

                Sure, but that’s still not the same as an accessible-by-everyone website like Glassdoor, which is what the “get out publicly” comment was about.

                1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

                  No, it absolutely won’t. People gossip around town, sure, but we were all remote workers in a – and I can’t stress this enough – TINY nonprofit in a very niche industry. No one outside the org cares whatsoever about the politics going on within the org.

    1. Relentlessly Socratic*

      I did that to my own personal Andy on Glassdoor when I left my non-profit. (and actually a coworker sent a scathing letter up the chain about him when they left–it was pretty epic TBH).

      It’s a real shame Glassdoor made the decisions they did–I deleted my data and won’t go back.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Oh, man, I really want to know how your coworker’s email went down.

    2. BongoFury*

      I’ve worked with SO SO SO many Andy types, at this point I don’t bother giving feedback anymore. My industry likes blowhards, I guess.
      But I agree with everyone that going Nuclear is only going to look poorly on LW1. It sounds like she had some legitimate complaints that are now going unnoticed because of her exit strategy.

  13. Spite Sweater*

    From the article, it seems like that would likely only be an issue if they had a data breach. I’m willing to take the risk for the wellbeing of potential future employees haha.

  14. Hlao-roo*

    LW2 — I’m glad your update had a boring (but positive!) resolution. Congratulations on getting married and on getting a new job!

  15. Hlao-roo*

    LW3 — congrats on the new job and new state! Moving is stressful in the best of circumstances, and two weeks is a far cry from that. It’s impressive that you got everything sorted in that tight timeframe.

  16. Dandylions*

    LW3 I’m glad it worked out but it sounds like you lied? You let your current job believe you worked in the same burrow of the city and state you planned to move to. Sorry if I misunderstood.

    I’d be careful doing that again. It could have really bit you in the back and made you seem untrustworthy.

    1. PineappleColada*

      No, She didn’t lie, the name of her previous company on her résumé was the same as the suburb of the new company. What’s likely is that they interviewed her over zoom & didn’t even ask about it. It’s the companies job to ask the question about where you live, if it’s important. (From an ex-recruiter).

      The same as any question or issue. If you were fired from a previous role, and the company never asks, “Have you been fired from a role?” you’re not expected or ethically required to volunteer that information. Same standard.

    2. Myrin*

      I don’t think OP lied, it’s more that the new company didn’t do their research (if OP is in fact correct about this namesakery helping her case).
      Let’s say OP lived in Oatsville, suburb to Mueslipolitan, the new job is in Grain City which also has a suburb named “Oatsville”. OP’s former company was called “Oatsville’s Finest” and the people at the new job at Grain City thought “ah, that’s only 15 minutes from here”.

      1. LW3*

        Yeah, it’s pure speculation on my part that the name mix-up even played a part in getting me an interview. I was asked about it it in the interview, but I clarified that it was a different name_of_suburb.

      2. Lady_Lessa*

        That’s why, when I am internet connected with an organization that is in southern Indiana, and I mention Cleveland, I specify Ohio because there is a Cleveland, IN, and TN and other states. That way I don’t give folks the impression that I am closer to them than I am.

    3. LW3*

      I didn’t lie; I didn’t even realize the connection until I was asked about it in the interview. I immediately clarified but made it clear I was willing to move.

    4. Jiminy Cricket*

      I read it very differently. Sometimes it’s something random that makes a resume stand out.

      Interviewer flipping through resumes: Boring. Boring. Boring. Wait, River City, that’s us. Oh, different River City. But, hey, this person does look interesting.

  17. Worldwalker*

    I for one really appreciate these updates. (I obsess over the annual December ones … is there a new post up yet? How about now?) We get only snapshots of a situation, and I always want to find out what happened next. How did it turn out for the people whose lives touched ours so briefly?

  18. Stuart Foote*

    I have to agree with everyone else that LW#1 showed some really catastrophic judgement here. Even assuming Andy was as useless as they say, sending an email to the entire organization with their grievances shows such horrible judgement that I would tend to discount everything they say were I ever to get an email like that.

    Hopefully the new job goes well and LW doesn’t ever need any kind of referral from that original nonprofit again, and never runs into any co-workers from that group.

    1. Stardust*

      OP says in a comment above that her former coworkers agree with her and have approached her positively about it.

          1. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

            You do not have realistic expectations informing the choices you’re making.

        1. Stardust*

          Sure, but it sounds like OP has been aware of that risk from the beginning and was and is fine with that. Even if i would’ve behaved differently i respect that.

          1. Six for the truth over solace in lies*

            They’re pretty confident in comments here that nobody within the org will spread it. I doubt that, but hope for their sake they’re right. (Especially as they’re going into one of the most gossipy sectors I know of.)

            1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

              Not sure why no one believes me when I say it, but it’s true. It’s a tiny, tiny nationwide nonprofit. None of the higher ups live in my geographic area and none of them would ever have any communication with anyone I currently work with. The two folks I worked with most closely there still completely have my back and not only would I never need a reference from Andy or the head of the org, both of them will likely be retired by the time I ever might need a reference. If someone calls to check on my employment dates and if I’m ineligible for rehire, I don’t think “Well, she wrote an angry email when she left” would negate all of my positive references from everyone else I’ve ever worked with. But if it did, well….I’d be wary of working somewhere that disagreed with someone calling out injustice when they see it.

              1. Stuart Foote*

                If you really don’t understand why no one believes you, maybe you aren’t understanding the situation fully. Hopefully you never run across any of these folks again, but you truly never know. (Recently, a new co-worker told me he’d worked with my previous company about five years ago and had a great contact there but he couldn’t remember the guy’s name. He looked through his contacts to find the person he was thinking of…and it turned out to me.) Regardless, I would learn from the fact that almost everyone here thinks this was a terrible idea and resolve never to do this in the future.

                Also, there is a chance you are wrong about Andy and he is doing a better job than you think he is (even if he is not perfect), so I would have been much more cautious about trying to ruin his reputation within the company.

                1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

                  Believe me, if I hadn’t been absolutely certain that Andy didn’t know what they were doing, I wouldn’t have said anything. I won’t bother listing all the reasons why Andy is incompetent, but there are many. I kept thinking, “Would what I’m saying hold up in a court of law?” even though this situation will never come up in a court of law, and the answer was definitely yes. I wish people would believe me that I really did have a good picture of what was going on.

                  I also wish AAM hadn’t called me low-level in her original answer. I was not a low-level employee. True that I wasn’t a manager but I also was not an entry-level employee either. I was mid-level for sure.

              2. Six for the truth over solace in lies*

                Well, I hope it does work out for you, and that most people in your industry at large have more “reasonable” responses by your measure than most AAM commenters. Possibly that’s true and this website is just occupied by reactionary gossipers who don’t care about justice.

              3. Glomarization, Esq.*

                I think what people are trying to express is that, even if your non-profit was tiny and it served a niche set of stakeholders in a limited geographic area, that doesn’t mean that the employees won’t work in another non-profit somewhere. Your non-profit’s scope is limited, but the scope of working for non-profits is not.

                People in development go to conferences and seminars about fundraising. Board members go to conferences and seminars about governance. Directors go to conferences and seminars about non-profit management. And networking is a thing, as is trading war stories. Your risk is that any one of the individuals in your non-profit now has a story to tell about how you left. Your actions may not actually stay just with the organization that you departed, particularly since there is often quite a bit of overlap in employment between academic non-faculty roles and not-for-profits.

      1. Expelliarmus*

        Besides, she’s also said that she’s in a situation where she doesn’t have to worry about it affecting her future job opportunities, due to a fundamental shift in what jobs she’s now interested in.

  19. anon development professional*

    LW1, since you apparently work in development, I can say that fundraising is a very small world, and Jane’s opinion of you is not the only one that could affect your future job prospects. It may not be fair, but it’s true that people talk, and context is lost in the game of telephone that is professional-circles gossip. You can have the most justifiable frustration in the world and if you handle it poorly you are the one who is going to look like the problem. Not to mention that if you’re going to leverage your professional connection to Jane, your behavior reflects on her, too.

    Hopefully this incident passes by without any real blowback, but I’ve seen more than one career derailed for less, honestly.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

      I don’t work in development, but Andy does. And I feel like I can’t stress this enough: it’s a TINY and extremely niche nonprofit and no one there will have any effect on my future employment. The only time I would ever come across any of my former coworkers anywhere would be if I were to plan to meet them somewhere. They certainly won’t have any involvement in any future references of mine.

      1. Dandylions*

        I think what you aren’t understanding is that any of those people can go on to work at bigger places and then suddenly be in your network again even 10 years later and you will be remembered as the person who was a jerk on their way out the door.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

          I think what most people aren’t understanding is that I’m certain that none of the people who are angry about what I did are ever going to be in my network again. How can I be so sure? Because a) most of my coworkers who were on my level agree with my stance and are angry that the higher ups aren’t doing anything about Andy, b) I don’t live in the same geographic area as the folks who are angry about what I did, c) none of them are likely to ever work in the industry I’ve moved to, and b) 10 years from now they’ll all be retired anyway.

  20. Myrin*

    I gotta say, the commenters here must be working with much calmer and more professional people than I’ve ever worked with in any of my jobs, from retail to university to local government, because I can tell you with certainty that – as long as Andy wasn’t actually beloved and viewed as competent and all around amazing by everyone else – basically all of the coworkers I’ve ever had anywhere would’ve absolutely loved to receive such an email and wouldn’t have thought badly about OP whatsoever (with the one caveat that the sender herself would have to be someone who was well-liked and viewed as competent; it would be seen as over the top coming from someone known for being dramatic).

    1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

      Thanks, Myrin. I received many positive texts from my former colleagues after I sent the email. The higher ups were mostly pretty angry about it but I expected as much. However, my former grandboss, not the one I had when I last worked there but the one whose retirement paved the way for Andy to start targeting me, also responded positively when I told her what I’d done. And she knows all the players in the game.

      She, by the by, has also stood by her insistence that she’ll give me a positive job reference if I ever need one.

      1. Myrin*

        I think this update is one of the stronger examples of what we mean here on AAM when we say “the OP is the one in this situation, and we commenters aren’t”. I totally get where the commenters are coming from! There have been letters and/or updates in the past with a similar tune to yours where I actually agreed! But I’m still willing to bet that in this here comment section, you are right and it’s your prognosis that’s going to come true, not the opposite one.

        I had this in an open thread many, many years ago. Nothing too dramatic, an estranged friend had sent me a weird email that left me astounded more than anything. I had already decided how to respond but wanted to hear some neutral strangers’ opinion. People were shocked and appalled by the message I had received and gave me a lot of advice which was understandable and objectively not bad, but which I felt wouldn’t have been right for the situation. When I hinted at how I had planned to reply, people vocally felt that could only have bad outcomes, I should be careful with that, etc.

        But the thing is… I knew how my friend was going to react, because I knew her. This wasn’t a guess on my part – I was 100% sure. I stated as much, only with less certainty, but commenters were still adamant about their point. Well, I replied as I had planned to (although with a few additional tweaks provided by one outstandingly eloquent commenter) and, lo and behold, my friend reacted exactly as I’d predicted. Like, literally, she used some turns of phrase I was sure she would use.

        And I feel like that’s a bit what’s going on here. You sound like you know. And people might say “well, you can never be sure” and no, you can’t, but also yes, you can. It’s very hard to explain but I’ve had it happen a handful of times in my life and I would be surprised if it weren’t the case here, too.

    2. ?*

      Yeah, we just had someone quit on the spot with a dramatic though professional email detailing the issues with our leadership team and everyone was a combination of delighted and relieved that someone finally said it. IT actually went in and scrubbed it from our inboxes after an hour but screenshots were passed around. Everyone is honestly grateful to her for finally saying what others have thought, and the entertainment value was priceless. This is also a small non-profit—not a lot of bridges big enough to be worth not burning.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Hahaha, I’d ask if you are one of my former coworkers but we didn’t have any IT so I think probably not.

  21. Jiminy Cricket*

    I think it’s important for people who feel like LW1 — “The higher-ups are mucking everything up! They don’t have the technical skills I do!” — to first consider whether they really do know what’s going on at every level of their organization. The skills, responsibilities, and insight into overall strategy of somebody a level or two above you are very different from at your level.

    Could they still be useless? Maybe. But you may not know what you don’t know.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

      Keep in mind that this is a tiny nonprofit, under 20 employees, and there’s a lot of one-on-one time and collaboration with coworkers, so if someone isn’t pulling their weight it’s pretty obvious to everyone else no matter what level they’re on.

    2. HR Friend*

      And LW1 is going to work at a large university. If she thinks executive and administrative bureaucracy was intolerable before.. hooo buddy, get hyped! She should get ready to write 100 more inappropriate, outraged emails!

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Nope, this was a one-off for sure. In a small org one person can make a big difference, so having Andy run around unchecked was really affecting workflow and how everyone else felt about the org, but likewise my email could (but in the long run probably won’t) make a big difference too.

  22. I Can't Even*

    #1. Glad you got out of that garbage fire. Someone recently said to me “sometimes they say they need you to respect them when what they mean is they want you to obey them”. That stuck with me as I looked at my admin for the dumpster fire I am currently sitting in.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

      Oh yes, that is SO true. I hope you get out of your garbage fire! I also hope my good former colleagues still there get out too.

  23. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

    Hey, all, I just want to put this out here one last time and stop responding to everyone who keeps saying that I made a mistake because people will gossip about what I did and this could come back to bite me years from now when I try to get a new job and, surprise, someone at ExJob works there and tells everyone at the new job what I did and I therefore will be unemployable.

    Here’s why I know that no one will gossip outside the org about what I did: it’s a very very tiny nonprofit in a very niche field and no one outside this org or the field will care one iota about anything that goes on inside the org. I’m not planning to ever return to working at a small nonprofit; the burnt bridge goes both ways.

    Here’s why I know that I won’t ever be in a situation where someone from ExJob will be able to tank my chances of getting a future job: the people inside the org who are angry at what I did are all lifers in the field and most of them are near retirement age. Even if they were younger, they really are very much focused in the specific field and extremely unlikely to switch to a different nonprofit field, much less any field that I would be interested in working in. And they don’t live in my geographic area either, so they’re not likely to bump into any of my current or future colleagues at social events. It’s a very large country and these are individual people we’re talking about; I don’t live in a TV show with a set list of recurring guest actors.

    Also, folks here seem to be flagging my narrative as being unreliable, but I would ask you to please follow commenting rule #6 and believe me when I tell you that Andy is a liar and a manipulator who was trying to turn people against me (and succeeding, to some degree). Please also believe me when I say I expect to receive little to no professional blowback from my actions.

    Did I make a mistake in replying all instead of just sending an email to the board? Was it, in fact, infantile? I guess? But also just me trying to voice my concern for the situation and let my fellow coworkers know that someone was telling the board what was going on. I wish AAM had published the email I sent her, but I understand why she didn’t. I tried very hard to keep the email objective, impersonal, and professional and I hope it came across that way. With no skin left in the game it was not about vengeance or trying to get Andy fired, it was about making sure the org’s donors and constituents, and my now former coworkers, are being taken care of.

    1. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

      Look at how many comments you’ve made about this, and how many words therein. You are too invested in minor incompetence. Let it go. Accept you made a mistake and try to move on.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        I did not make a mistake. Please stop telling me I did. You really don’t know all the details of the situation.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

            Many. Most of what I’ve shared is the tip of the iceberg, there was a lot happening.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m going to go ahead and close comments on this post since I think it’s reached an unproductive place. Thank you for sharing the update with us!

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      You seem far too invested in a company you no longer work for, and in the comments of folks on here. To be clear, you may be completely right about everything, but I think holding on to it is not going to benefit you. I’d take a step back, clear your head, and move on.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz (and also OP1)*

        Hi, thanks, I barely even think about it anymore but of course here’s this letter that I sent over a month ago and I’m engaging with the commentariat and clearing up misunderstandings. After today I will go back to not thinking about it anymore.

Comments are closed.