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.

Remember the letter-writer whose boss and coworkers were pressuring her to share more than she wanted to about her own health and a family member’s health situation? Here’s the update.

Thank you for taking the time out to answer my letter! I appreciate the advice from you and the comments section!

I’ll start by addressing some of the commenters questions/concerns: I did provide my colleagues, client, manager and CEO with slightly more info than what I provided in the letter to AAM. I gave them the most details I was comfortable providing so they all know which relative is sick and their diagnosis, and they have a general understanding of one of my most active chronic illness. I kept certain details in my letter here more vague-ish just in case my coworkers read this blog too.

At the team-building event, the CEO asked me bluntly (in front of everyone)about what was going on with my relative, chiding me for not giving specific details before (“we’re a family here, why can’t you be more open??”). I responded with something similar to Alison’s script – stating that I truly appreciate his and all of my coworkers’ concern, however when I’m at work I’d like to focus on work as talking about this distresses me greatly, and that if there’s any major changes to my relative’s status I’d let them know.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work. The CEO instead doubled-down on his previous sentiment, going into detail about how his relative was also “standoffish” about that too, and how he told them they needed “to be more open”. It was painfully awkward. My coworkers weren’t much help either as they took this opportunity to pile on comments and questions that echoed the CEOs. I ended up excusing myself from the event to go to the restroom and regroup because it was all quite honestly very overwhelming.

My workload at the customer site has increased over the past few months, which has made a convenient excuse to get out of the (now monthly) team building events since client requirements take precedence. However, even that hasn’t completely stopped the CEO from continuing to push.

The CEO came to a customer site event recently, and brought up the fact that I haven’t been to his team building events lately in a mocking tone in front of the client – like he took it very personally that I haven’t attended in a long time. It was quite embarrassing and highly irritating especially since I’ve already talked to him about my workload at the client site. I reminded him (again) of my increased workload and how a monthly team building event during the client’s core hours were difficult to attend. The client mentioned the major projects I’m working on and suggested that the CEO hold the team building events outside of core hours, or less frequently. The CEO backed down, but it seems he was only doing so in front of the client because a few weeks later, he picked it right back up again. This time enlisting the help of Busybody coworker who works for a different client at the same customer site. Busybody leaves notes on my desk about the team-building events and questions about my relative while I’m away at project meetings.

While I do enjoy the work I do at the customer site, I also agree with some of the commenters about how this company’s culture is a terrible fit for me. The CEO seems to see his small company as an extension of himself and takes many typical business things (like employees quitting) as a personal slight against him. Quite honestly, this and my previous terrible experiences with small companies has pretty much soured me on them forever.

Thanks to the advice on this blog (both Allison and the commenters), I’ve kicked up a targeted job search that is yielding results.

Unfortunately, nothing has worked out yet but the fact that I’m getting traction gives me hope. I’m aiming to be in a new place new later than early next year and to put all of this far behind me.

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