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I Didn't Promise You a Rose Garden
May 22, 2014 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Boss told me if I took a course she would increase my pay. She paid for the course on the condition that I would continue to work there for a set amount of time. The agreements we made about the course, how long I would stay after the course, and salary increase were all verbal. I took the course, now she claims she did not say there would be an increase. There are witnesses who agree that she did promise an increase.

Apparently, I am not the first person this has happened to. I worked and studied 60-80 hours a week for almost a year only to be lied to. And now I am no further ahead financially. I had fully intended to stay but now I am too bitter. Every time she tries to make lighthearted conversation I can only stare at her. I know I can’t trust her and I have no idea how I can continue to work for someone who I can’t trust and am so overwhelmingly resentful of. Talking to Human Resources might not work because the head is her sister-in-law.

There are job opportunities available for people who have taken this course. It only makes sense to look elsewhere, right? I am bad with confrontation. How do I exit this situation gracefully?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Get yourself a great new job at a higher salary. Gracefully give your two weeks notice. Walk away. The end.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:16 AM on May 22 [45 favorites]


How do I exit this situation gracefully?

Go use your new skills to get a new job and do not feel even one teensy bit bad about leaving before you said you would. Boss isn't making good on the verbal agreement? You should extend her exactly the same courtesy and do likewise.

Doesn't have to be a confrontation. Get a job. Give your notice. If they balk, "sorry, that won't be possible" over and over. They did wrong first, now you need to protect your interests.

Good luck on the job hunt!

You know this now, I'm sure, but get this sort of thing in writing in the future.
posted by phunniemee at 11:20 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Ugh, crappy situation. And the whole sisters-in-law thing also makes me think that the whole place is verging on toxic.

Start looking for a new job stat. Especially if this course actually makes you more marketable. Yeay!

In the meantime, be as nice, professional, courteous, etc., as you can possibly be to this awful woman. Kill her with kindness. Trust me, giving her the cold shoulder is not going to help any.
posted by radioamy at 11:20 AM on May 22


I agree that this sounds like a toxic situation, and if the course increases your earning potential, it only makes sense to look for a new job. Just be smart about keeping things under wraps until the last possible moment, since this woman is clearly untrustworthy.

And next time, you'll have learned the lesson to always get this sort of thing in writing.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:20 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Just start looking for other jobs. If, according to her, there was no agreement for the pay raise, then there is similarly no agreement for your retention (probably. check your employee handbook for boilerplate documentation about the company paying for training).

When you find an awesome new job, give 2 weeks notice. Don't mention the broken promise unless she tries to guilt you into staying.

Next time you're in a situation like this, get a confirmation email before you start putting in the extra work.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:20 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Look for a new job, but if you really wanted to, it seems like you might have a case for small claims court to get refunded for the money. IANAL, but oral agreements are still enforceable, legal contracts...
posted by three_red_balloons at 11:22 AM on May 22


you don't have enough to hold her to her promise, but she doesn't have enough to hold you to your promise. i hope the course boosted your employability and earnings potential at your next job, which should be sooner rather than later. don't conduct your job search from the company machine, in light of the situation, assume your every keystroke is being watched.
posted by bruce at 11:32 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Another part of the verbal agreement you had was that you would work there for a set amount of time after you finished the course. Has this amount of time passed yet? Because if not, you're just as much reneging on this agreement as she is, if I've read the situation correctly.
posted by Liesl at 11:45 AM on May 22


Another part of the verbal agreement you had was that you would work there for a set amount of time after you finished the course. Has this amount of time passed yet? Because if not, you're just as much reneging on this agreement as she is, if I've read the situation correctly.

Oh please. When the boss reneged on her end of the agreement, the agreement was over. You can't completely fail to uphold your end of a bargain and then get mad that the other person says "I guess that bargain's off, then!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:00 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Gracefully give your two weeks notice.

Why give the boss such a courtesy, which is exactly what any kind of advance notice is?

It's NOT required, it's NOT necessary in your case, and your boss wouldn't give you the same consideration if you were being fired.

Quit on a Friday at 5:00pm. Give yourself a week or two between jobs to decompress and relax. Nobody says you have to start the very next business day after quitting a job (unless you really can't afford the gap in pay).

Just knowing that plan in the back of your head will make the current job a little more tolerable in the meantime. Good luck.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:11 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


What is your concern here? Are you worried about quitting the job? Really?
You owe the boss NOTHING. She burned you once. She will burn you again. Guaranteed.

There was only one incentive for you to take that course - money.
You deserve it. If your boss will not give it to you - then go get it. You earned it.
posted by Flood at 12:11 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I'd look through your employee handbook because there is proof they paid for the course and if there is any default in writing anywhere you may be on the hook for the course as well.
I know there is a clause at my agency for trainings over a specific amount.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:16 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


giving notice is the sort of thing you do for yourself and your future opportunities. i agree that most jobs don't deserve it, but depending on how small the field you're in is, not giving notice could be the sort of thing that gets around and hurts you in the future. it's also useful to give notice if any of your current coworkers will be personal references for you later.
posted by nadawi at 12:18 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Don't get mad. Get another job and quit.

Is there anything in writing about having to reimburse the cost of the course if you leave? If not, bounce away!

If there is, it may still make sense to do it and pay, especially if that training leads you to a new and higher paying job.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:25 PM on May 22


Since apparently other people were privy to the discussion and that discussion involved you staying a set amount of time X after the course (and, yes, a salary increase), if you leave and assuming that the time X has not elapsed, she might tried to sue you for the amount of the course that she paid and for which she would have witnesses. I think you need to protect yourself.

Document, document, document in writing, and try to get a confirmation from other people about the accuracy of what you remember.

Try to line up another job, and email her, stating all facts to which there were witnesses, perhaps concluding that you are disappointed that the salary increase was reneged upon but that you take that as breaking the agreement that you had, freeing you from leaving before X time after the course.

You might want to cc (or bcc) other people on that email. Then you have some protection if you leave.
posted by aroberge at 12:43 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Make sure you aren't on the hook to pay training costs back (or decide that paying them is worthwhile), find yourself the new job and don't look back.

Give appropriate notice.
posted by jeather at 12:50 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Read your company policies and speak with HR (SIL status be damned) to determine your responsibility, if any, for paying your boss back if you leave the company in, say, June. My guess is because you didn't sign any agreements, you would not ultimately be on the hook to pay (but you could still be sued over it, which is why you must get clarity on this).

Start looking for work. Once you have another job offer, put in your 2 weeks notice. @nadawi is right about why 2 weeks notice is absolutely essential. Failing to give 2 weeks notice can cause you to get barred from ever being hired again at certain companies, and life is long. Mergers and acquisitions happen. Let's say you find a better job: your new company could easily get bought up by your old company, and you could end up working there again, only now you'd be un-promote-able and possibly terminate-able, because HR blacklisted you for failing to give 2 weeks notice back in 2014. Ask me how I know this.
posted by hush at 2:33 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


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