our admins hate all the coffee I buy the office but they insist I have to keep trying, and more — Ask a Manager

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. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. Our admins hate all the coffee I buy the office, but they insist I have to keep trying

I chickened out and had my mom mail me a Costco gift card so I could buy four coffee tubs at once, drop them off at the admin’s office, and opt out of the conversation until 2025.

That said, the chaos demon in me won and I started just making my own coffee when I got in first and not saying anything. It happens rarely because the admin who makes the coffee comes in at 7:30, but neither of them have brought it up again.

Boring update, but hopefully the commenters who advocated the bait and switch are vindicated lol.

2. Senior colleague disparaged self-defense training for women (#2 at the link)

I did take your advice and it turned out exactly as you said it would. It was about a week after the incident when I ran into Attorney in the break room before a meeting while we were both making coffee. I acted as if nothing ever happened, and he was extraordinarily friendly — more so than he typically would be — leading me to believe that he was grateful for my overture. Thank you so much for answering my question and for all the very helpful comments from your readers.

3. Can I leave before my notice period is up if my boss is being a jerk?

Thank you for publishing my letter and for your reply. The comments from the readers were great too and really helped.

Yes, the email examples in my letter were just one thing in a LONG line of bad behaviors, as one commenter mentioned.

And, as is very often the case, you were right … knowing I could walk out made it easier to just ignore the craziness. And it helped knowing that walking out was an option.

My former boss made it easy by just … avoiding me, literally fleeing from the room if it was just us in it, and by Tuesday afternoon she completely stopped speaking to me. That said a lot more about her than it did me and I was able to be amused by the sheer amount of effort it requires to literally (at one point she crossed a fairly busy street against a light so we didn’t wait at the same curb) flee from places when I entered or got near her.

On my last day, she had me turn in my equipment to a coworker because she didn’t even bother to come in to the office. Guess she couldn’t figure out how to do that without speaking to me? LOL

The new job is amazing. My manager is great. I have felt welcomed and supported from day 1 and know how lucky I am that I was able to escape to something better.

4. Our top two execs are secretly mother and daughter

Two months after my letter appeared, I was laid off in their “second round” of lay-offs (they only had 14 employees overall) in October 2023. If you recall, they had just lost their largest client when I wrote the letter and laid off a first round of employees. So, I hadn’t gotten around to following any of the advice given because things had gotten even stranger there as the mother/daughter leadership team figured out what to do to keep the business afloat.

I’d just conducted an intense job search to get the job; 10 months later I was embarking on yet another search, starting over. To say that it was stressful is an understatement. Even in my desperation to find a new position, I now knew what I would NOT tolerate. I knew I wanted a larger organization, not a small business run by a founder/owner. I wanted no familial ties unless it was broadcast far and wide. Mostly, I didn’t want control of my financial fate to be in the hands of two people who would lie about such a basic thing, something that was not even wrong, and who would staff their agency based on the needs of one client who could, and did, decide to walk away. I guess what I’m getting at is this: although some people in the comments said, “This isn’t wrong, it’s no big deal,” I found that it was a big deal in terms of character. For example, I was let go with no severance pay. My health insurance ended at the end of that month (so I had about two weeks). These are not people who demonstrate caring about their employees’ welfare, which can be seen in the way they deliberately obscured their relationship.

In my original letter I talked about the grandmother’s 100th birthday. Before I was laid off, that grandmother died and they continued to pretend that only the CEO (the mother) was impacted. The CIO (the daughter) said nothing about the loss or her time away from work — she just didn’t say anything but didn’t show up. To top it all off, in January of this year, they let the last four or five people go — all 14 of us eventually got the ax. The website still exists, you could still hire them to do work, but it’s really just the two of them.

I started a new job in February and just hit the three-month mark. This new company is so much better. I looked for a company that aligned with my values, one that is large enough to have a board, an HR department, many diverse leaders — none of whom are related — and a strong DEIB policy that emphasizes teamwork, belonging, and honesty.

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