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 manager posted a “wall of shame” of people who didn’t volunteer to work more
As many of you guessed, I’m an RN and provide direct patient care in my unit. I’ve occasionally thought of moving on, but honestly, I love the doctors I work with and most of the staff as well. I’m one of the most senior staff and I feel like we improve patient lives and make a difference.
For those of you who were encouraging me to take a pic – don’t worry, that is the FIRST thing I did! I sent it to Alison with my original post, but I didn’t want to out myself or my colleagues, so I asked her not to post it.
I gave myself the weekend to calm down and when I went back to work the next week, the posting was down. I asked my charge about it and he said, “Oh yeah, I told [supervisor], ‘You should take that down. It’s really pissing people off’ and she said, ‘Really?’ and looked embarrassed and took it down right then.” So I decided that was good enough for me.
In the meantime, there have been other management issues that I haven’t loved and I’ve been brushing up my resume. If any readers want to hire an RN with 20+ years of experience in critical care and cardiology, hit me up!
From the comments: I really do like my supervisor – she was a great coworker until recently. And yes, she HAS picked up OT to help us. She’s not a villain, IMO, but she was never taught to manage people (most nurses aren’t) and is in a bad spot. I didn’t shame any coworkers because yes, some of them were eager or at least willing to work OT. There were enough of us that felt like me, though, which is why I stepped up. My issue wasn’t with the OT, but how it was being presented.
That said, I have a super snarky sense of humor and I loooooved all of you who suggested posting job openings and “The beatings will continue until morale improves” and health boundaries stuff: you are my people.
For the commenter who said that if healthcare workers can’t talk honestly about mental health, then where are the rest of us: I feel you and I’m sorry. I’m an overweight, depressed (but medicated!) nurse and I CAN advocate for myself, but I still hurt when I hear the biased comments and thoughtless criticism. If you are my patient, I care about you and I will defend you and I know that I’m not enough. I’ll keep working to change the system from the inside, I guess.
2. My employee keeps freaking out that lower-paid coworkers aren’t as productive as he is
I took a bit of a middle ground approach with your advice. I emphasized to “Tim” that I was satisfied with the rest of the team’s work. After some time has passed, I have gradually raised expectations for the rest of the team (but privately and through individualized training that I didn’t go out of my way to let “Tim” know was happening.) Task by task they built up their knowledge and efficiency. And low and behold, the newer team members began taking on more. The relationship between them and “Tim” isn’t cozy, but they are at least civil and I don’t hear weekly complaints anymore.
I have also set “Tim” on an advancement path to another team where he will build on his existing knowledge, but his work will be more siloed and won’t require so much interaction with team-members. His role will be back-filled by a new hire that seems to mesh better with the team.
Lastly, “Tim” has also recently started seeing a therapist outside of work to deal with personal stresses, and since then, he has been more easy going and less irritable than before.
So far, it seems like a happy ending!
3. Employee is using disability protections to do whatever he wants (#3 at the link)
After reading your response to my email, I had a talk with our manager and what to do about his bad attitude and attendance. The problem child was off that day, shocker.
Didn’t need to do a whole lot though and everything kind of feel into place. The next day when he came back he told one of the people he was working with that he knew he didn’t have long in the shop so he might just smash up some material on purpose just to go out with a bang. Well that’s all she wrote, the person working with him relayed that message and we gave him the boot literally one day after you posted my email.
He was brought back in a few days later to meet with the owner to turn in keys and final paycheck. He cried, apologized and begged to give him another chance. Didn’t though and he is history! Last we heard he’s still unemployed.
4. Do I still need to invite my former coworkers to my wedding? (#4 at the link)
I ended up reaching out to the coworkers that had been kind to me post-termination and let them know they were still welcome at the wedding, but I wouldn’t be sending out invitations to those I hadn’t heard from. I also let them know I understood if attending would make things difficult for them with my former boss, and that there were no hard feelings if they weren’t able to come. One asked if I would serve as a reference for them, and another offered to serve as a reference for me which was very kind. For several reasons, I now realize this was just not a great place to work, and I feel as though our inexperience was taken advantage of in a major way, since most of my coworkers had little to no prior work experience themselves.
I know some folks were confused why I invited coworkers at all—I wasn’t planning on it until my boss mentioned something to me about coming to the wedding, and it seemed like they expected an invitation. Another coworker was also planning a wedding around the same time and there was a lot of discussion about them inviting the entire team as well, so I saw it as an expectation of working for a small company. Since this happened, I’m working on holding firmer boundaries in my personal and professional life. I realize now that after my termination, I got stuck in an anxiety spiral and became fixated on this issue, which really wasn’t much of an issue at all in the long run.
I was lucky to have my fiancé’s support during my brief period of unemployment, so I was able to laser-focus on wedding planning, mental health healing and job hunting. After these past few months, I can confidently say that the wedding went off without a hitch and, in the meantime, I landed a fantastic new position in a new field that I absolutely love! Thank you so much for your response and to those that commented advice too!
5. How to tell your boss a sex worker stole your work laptop
My friend wasn’t thrilled with your and the readers’ responses. I had omitted/changed some minor details to protect his identity, which led to some incorrect assumptions. When the theft happened, the first thing that he did was contact the police and hotel security.
Ultimately his work didn’t press for further details. He got the sense that they really didn’t want to know more. These weren’t the actions of a criminal mastermind so the perpetrator was apprehended quickly and the laptop was returned with no issues.
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