updates: my boss accused me of writing a negative review but I didn’t, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My boss accused me of writing a negative review, but I didn’t

Both HR and the second in command responded to my forwarded email with outrage. HR said that she would talk to my ex-boss about it. The second in command took a little bit longer to respond, mostly because she was in shock with how the email was written. We had coffee together and she agreed to be a reference for me.

I ended up switching jobs again and did need that reference. It went seamlessly and I am salaried for the first time, working for a non-profit in an adjacent field.

Being away from that company has given me a perspective of how unhealthy it was to work there. I have been told that the position I once was in has been split into 2.5 jobs. Some of the commenters did mention how they thought it was odd how I called my ex-boss my boss. I agree! That company didn’t do well with boundaries, as even a year and a half later my ex-boss would occasionally text me questions about my role. He would text me even after the review emails he sent and has never apologized.

I looked for the review today and noticed it was no longer there. Since I share a similar social circle to my old coworkers, we have talked and shared a bit of office gossip. I have been honest with them about my experience and I have not heard of anyone else being accused of this. Perhaps HR really did get to him.

Working there has given me some great stories and perspective of what is and isn’t a healthy work environment. I am very glad for that experience, and very glad it is over.

2. I had to clean up after my boss’s toddler

I was an unpaid intern for a nonprofit when this happened. As I mentioned, this nonprofit is very small. In fact, the supervisor was the boss’s daughter. So I couldn’t go to the boss, unfortunately. My boss, who is a woman, turned out to suck as you mentioned. She was very toxic not only to us — my coworkers who were also unpaid interns — but to her daughters as well. Oh yes, my other supervisor was her other daughter, she’s 19. The age doesn’t bother me as much as the inexperience. I would leave work most days either very angry or crying.
I couldn’t get work off my mind during my down time. The toxicity was too much for me and I got another internship with another nonprofit but much bigger and more professional. The place is outstanding, right now I have freedom to go into work almost any time, as long as I get my work done. The people there are understanding and well just awesome. This might lead to a paid job, I’m hoping it does.

Thank you for the advice and the understanding. I needed someone to hear me and you did. I appreciate that more than anything.

3. My coworker leans on me for too much help (#2 at the link)

Since my original post I had taken a medical leave from work for several weeks. During that time Meg would have taken over my responsibilities. When I got back I had a chat with my manager who let me know she did have some complaints from other staff about Meg’s lack of attention to detail, timeliness, and professional tone in communication. Manager told me in confidence that Meg has been working with her doctor to address her communication issues (Meg had mentioned this to me briefly as well). Manager and Meg have started a weekly meeting to get Meg a bit more up to speed on industry knowledge. We’ve also divided tasks a little bit differently, with us working on projects a little more independently now and me taking on a bit more work and more client facing tasks.

So far this change has been an improvement, I think, although Meg’s quirks still irritate me on a personal level. That I might just have to live with.

4. Suggesting I return to my old job … with a big raise (#4 at the link)

I saw a comment on the post that basically said, think about what made you leave. It was really simple, but — I left for a reason. In the end, unless there was a guarantee of a major salary increase, it seemed like a moot point. They weren’t knocking down my door, and I would have ultimately felt like a wolf at theirs if I sniffed around, but only with a certain expectation.

However, I’m in a new job situation that is ripe AAM territory. Basically, I left my job for a new position a few months ago. I’m normally not afraid of a new challenge, and I like change — I was really excited. I’m about 3 months in and the onboarding has been SO hard. Every day, I’m worrying that the devil I knew might have actually been better than the devil I didn’t know. I am trying so hard every day to just give myself grace and patience, but I feel like a fool leaving a job I had a relatively good handle on (also where I was well-liked and respected) for a job where the starting period is either a lot rougher than they intended, or I’m not moving at a pace that feels normal. Maybe I’m getting older and starting a new job is harder.

I read a few posts on the site about how it takes 6 months to feel good at your job and that it’s perfectly normal to feel unsure about the choice you made, especially at the beginning. I’m not sure if I’ll know at what point it’s newbie jitters vs. not that great of a fit.

I think there is a lot of opportunity at this job. I am learning and getting better every day. However, the work keeps piling up whenever I feel like I’m moving ahead. I took this job because I really wanted to learn and grow in my field, but I’m worried it’s at the expense of me burning out.

Thanks for all you do! AAM forever!