- updates: I’m a heroin addict and need time off to get clean, and more
- my coworker won’t stop badmouthing my new boss
- open thread – January 13-14, 2017
Posted: 13 Jan 2017 10:30 AM PST
Here are are five more updates from people who had their letters answered here last year.
I’ve been clean for two months. That’s all there is to say and I am so happy!!!
2. My boss and her daughter want to move in with me
On the advice of yourself and the wonderful AAM commenters, I decided to just live with the less-than-ideal roommate situation. Unfortunately, soon after I wrote you, my boss’s daughter had an episode – her illness causes periodical behavioural problems, namely aggressiveness and suicidal ideation – and as a result I had to put my foot down and insist that either they move or I be allowed to do so. I know none of it was intentional or their fault, but I couldn’t spend the remainder of my contract afraid to go home.
My manager completely understood and responded very promptly to my request. I stayed with a colleague in different housing for a weekend and both she and her daughter had moved out by the time I returned on the Monday, and I spent the remainder of my contract by myself in my original house. By this point the board of the arts organization we worked for had caught wind of the situation, however, and I understand that this incident was the last straw among a bundle of other workplace issues stemming from this illness for them. My manager’s contract was not renewed this year. So I’m sad to report that the whole thing had a rather bleak ending.
Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who chatted with me in the comments! It really helps to have someone else back you up on your situation, even if just to say that you’re right to have a qualm about the issue and offer some tips on how to approach situations like these. Especially working in not-for-profit arts (where there’s a strong culture of “just-make-it-work” and occasionally a real skewed view of what is acceptable), it’s so valuable to be able to reach out to people in other fields and get a sense for what is reasonable and what is not.
And don’t worry – I already have a couple other real braintwisters that I’m sending your way in the new year. Arts work is always riddled with workplace potholes and landmines.
Thanks again, and happy managing!
3. My former boss wants me to tell a reference that I was HIS manager
My former boss has a similar name to a good friend of mine, and a couple of days ago I saw a text that for some reason I thought was from my friend, about job hunting, so I responded immediately and in a way that is definitely more how you’d respond to a friend than a former boss. Nothing bad, just casual. When I saw the response I realized who it was from. I hadn’t actually responded to the previous text because I hadn’t known what to say.
Anyway, this time he followed that by telling me that if they called they’d ask the dates he worked there, his salary, his reason for leaving, and if he was rehirable. I wrote back letting him know that while I was again happy to be a reference, I do not know what his salary was, that I while I personally would say he was rehirable, I didn’t know why they would ask me that being that I was a receptionist. And he said he listed me as a “peer/colleague,” which…fine.
I just think this is weird since I don’t actually know three out of four of those things! I wasn’t there when he left so I don’t know how he would even want me to answer the last question.
I have never had a former boss/manager use me as a reference before, so I don’t know if that’s normal or just my experience.
4. Managing a struggling new manager (#4 at the link)
Many thanks to you and the commentators for your advice, which definitely changed the way I was handling the situation. I got more involved, which I hope was helpful in guiding Topaz and I’m sure at least made her feel more supported and confident. And I’ve learnt a few things from the whole process which may help on future, hopefully less dramatic, occasions.
Rose and Cassandra’s issues are being addressed — no magic wand, but nor are they being allowed to continue with no consequences.
After reading my letter again, all I can say is “Ugh what was I thinking!?” Even re-reading it and knowing that I was the one who wrote, all I could do was cringe. Since writing the letter, I began to read more of Alison’s posts on how to write a decent cover letter. After some rough starts to it, I was finally able to come up with a cover letter that I felt really spoke to my abilities and experiences.
It took me a couple of months after that to find a job, due to moving to another state. I have been at my new job a couple of months now and I absolutely love it! The position is an entry-level one in my field and I am learning so much. I truly know now that work and school are two completely different experiences. Thank you everyone for your comments! And thank you so much Alison for choosing my letter! I believe your advice truly saved me from writing an embarrassing cover letter.
updates: I'm a heroin addict and need time off to get clean, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.
Posted: 13 Jan 2017 09:00 AM PST
A reader writes:
I’ve recently decided to take an offer from a new company. It’s a great career step.
However, after I announced my resignation at my old company and discussed my new opportunity, one of my current coworkers at the job I’m leaving has been loudly telling me about how her partner previously worked for this new company, and in fact the same boss, and hated it. Several times a day, she has been sharing horror stories about my soon-to-be boss which are really unsettling me. I have asked her to stop, and she’s continued to quietly share these stories with colleagues, sometimes in my earshot.
Now, I’m not naive. Oftentimes, stories of horror coworkers and bosses are worth listening to, and I suppose I’m scared that my team member’s stories are correct. In fact, I’m sure that her partner isn’t lying about his experiences. So I suppose I have two questions: should I run from this new job (my current employer would gladly accept me back, and I have several weeks before the start date), and is my coworker’s behavior well-meaning (as she claims) or some sort of acting out against me leaving?
I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I'm revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.
Other questions I'm answering there today include:
Posted: 13 Jan 2017 08:00 AM PST
It's the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.
* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)
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