It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, when I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.
1. Coworker’s son comes to work and has bad bathroom etiquette (#2 at the link)
A lot has changed since I was being tormented incessantly by the sound of a 12-year-old peeing. Let me elaborate:
1) The mother of the flagrant peer was transferred to another campus at our university.
2) My colleagues and I did some informal investigation and found out that her son was special needs, which explained a lot. With that information in hand, we decided not to do anything because the son simply couldn’t be responsible for it, and the mother was on her way out anyway.
3) I actually quit that job and got a $20k raise at another institution within a few weeks of you publishing my story. Everything’s coming up Milhouse!!
I also want to give my two cents that I actually don’t think it’s a good idea to address children directly. While the boy’s mother was known to be irrational and vindictive (even to the point of declining to renew someone’s contract simply because she didn’t like them) I don’t think it would be out of left field for a parent to be weirded out and even angry that a stranger was talking to their child about his bathroom habits.
In any case I am so glad that you published my request and while the situation no longer affects me I hope that any other folks who have to deal with door-ajar peeing sounds are able to get some peace (PEEce LOL) and quiet.
First off, thank you to Alison and to all the commenters who weighed in – as always, you all are amazing. What an incredible community.
After some soul-searching I wound up delivering the message to Gabby myself. Billy is one of my favorite people, but he’s not a diplomat. I found a spare moment to go talk to Gabby, sat down, and basically told her that, as hostess, I wasn’t comfortable having any bosses on the trip, but that we’d love to see her at our next after-work pool hall excursion. She was quite understanding and we quickly changed the topic to talk about her recent overseas vacation. All very well and good.
The weekend trip was amazing and every bit as rowdy as we were expecting. 18 people, lots of craziness, copious drinking and sunburns – basically exactly what we had planned for.
For a while after that, though, things were… a bit odd. No one suffered any outright ill effects – myself included – but it left an odd social residue behind. Gabby jokingly mentioned being excluded from the beach weekend a couple of times (e.g. “well, since I’m not one of the cool kids…” etc.) . I can’t say I blame her – it was pretty awkward. Gruff continued to insist that she wouldn’t have minded having Gabby there, and Goat thanked me profusely for handling the whole thing. That would have been the end of it, except …
PLOT TWIST! A giant organizational reshuffle in Q4 means that no one is reporting to anyone else in this group anymore! They’re in entirely different departments now! Which means I was planning to ask Goat about her comfort level with inviting Gabby to this year’s shindig now that she’s an ex-boss… until COVID-19 came along and complicated/suspended everything fun until the end of time. It could still happen, but a giant rowdy weekend friend trip in August is seeming like a big ol’ question mark at the moment.
Thank you so much for publishing my letter! Your advice and the support from the comments gave me perspective that I desperately needed at that time. I saw your call for updates and figured I’d let you know how things ended up.
Right before my final week of notice, I came down with a pretty bad upper respiratory infection (I know what everyone is thinking, but this was back in October 2019, so it was probably just a severe cold), which was no doubt brought on by the stress of the situation. The documentation was complete, and I had wrapped-up most of my outstanding tasks, so I decided to end my notice period early to rest and take care of myself. My boss thanked me for my time and wished me well in my new position. His sentiment felt genuine, so I think I left on good terms.
I’ve had some time to reflect on what happened, and I now realize that while my boss was being hard on me, I was being equally hard on myself. I cared about my coworkers, and I felt horrible for leaving them in the lurch after such a short tenure, but I shouldn’t have let myself feel so miserable over it. My current boss is very focused on my career development, even if that means my next step is at another company! I feel much happier working for an employer that encourages a career growth mindset instead of thinking of me as another worker bee who should be loyal to the company. I’ve been learning a lot at my new job, and I’m more productive than ever! Nobody knows what the future holds during these uncertain times, but I feel like I made the right decision by leaving my former job.
4. My coworker wants to keep us all connected in cutesy ways (#2 at the link)
I have an update about my co-worker who wants to keep us connected in cutesy ways.
The issue with said co-worker generally took care of itself. I suspect her boss told her to dial it back a bit but regardless she did. Unfortunately, the grandboss decided to start doing it. I suspect I may be too close to the situation since I deal with grandboss directly more than most of my co-workers, but I find it even worse coming from him. At a time when we are swamped with regular work plus extra work due to COVID-19, it annoys me more that he has time for this. But… I just mostly choose to ignore it and in an office as big as ours no one really notices if I don’t participate.
updates: the coworker’s peeing son, the beach weekend, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.