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 coworker kept hitting people up for loans, and in at least one case hadn’t repaid a $1,000 loan? She gave different stories to different people, sometimes even on the same day. Here’s the update.

You may recall I tangled last year with a diabolical colleague, Cersei, who hit up colleagues for loans and then subtly punished refusers with undesirable assignments. Well, she turned out to be one small part of a very big mess.

In January of this year, after being with the company for a year, Cersei went to the managing partner and demanded that he fire our most senior staffer and promote her into that role. He was shocked, refused to do so, and then refused to beg her to stay when she threatened to quit. This happened on a Friday afternoon after everyone but the two of them had left for the week. Apparently the meeting ended with her promising to think about it. So much for that. We came in on Monday to find her desk cleaned out and a raging, defiant email that she has sent to most of us. If only that were the end of it. The bosses kept her sleazy husband on staff (which meant that Cersei had ongoing kitchen-table access to all info and accounts for months afterwards) and it came out later that everyone up to the CEO had known for months about her financial shakedown of staff, but decided to stay out of it “because it was deemed to be a personal matter.” Holy crap.

By the summer, the sleazy husband was fired for adolescent-style behavior (regular no-shows at client appointments, constant excuses about mishandlings), and we all hoped that the two would drift away. But the damage was done. Too many people had been ripped off by Cersei, and too many of us saw what spineless, unethical bosses we had. People started to quit left and right (me included). Of the original 17 people, 3 remain, only one of whom has been with the company more than a year. You can imagine the newbie chaos. But on the bright side, one of my former colleagues took Cersei to court to repay the thousands lent to her. My colleague won.

And here is where Ask A Manager comes in. I now have a lovely, neutral script to use in interviews when asked why I left my previous job, that says nothing about loan sharks, bullies, and teen colleagues. A million thanks to you, Alison, for listening and for your always excellent guidance!

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