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Power play
October 15, 2007 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I got offered a better job, I quit. Now my boss is being a bitch.

In March I interviewed for job A, nothing came up took job B. Pay is low, people are super nice. After 4 months job A offered me a better position (same industry), better pay and more responsibility. So I quit amicably.

My last day is this Friday and my boss (one of them) is being rude and unprofessional. He/She offers me tasks.... cleaning tasks. I refuse politely because I'm not the janitor, yet he/she calls me out on being lazy and "not a team player" in front of my peers. When does cleaning gunk with a razorblade become priority?

Should I be a push over and clean (as I did today) or be a man and just say no and ask him/her politely to respect me?

I know I'm not out of line and he/she is on a power play. Should I inform her/his superiors of this situation.

Oh also, this is the only task in the 4 months that he/she has askd me to do.
posted by octomato to Work & Money (38 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You've got a new job secured, four days left at you current one where your boss is being a jerk.... I wouldn't be showing up for work tomorrow if I were you.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:18 PM on October 15, 2007


Go over his/her head.
posted by randomstriker at 7:19 PM on October 15, 2007


blaneyphoto's advice is very bad. you MUST endeavour to end your job with principled behaviour, otherwise it will come back to bite you in the butt later. especially since the new job is in the same industry. people talk.
posted by randomstriker at 7:21 PM on October 15, 2007


Laugh: "Heheh, that's a good one!"
posted by b1tr0t at 7:21 PM on October 15, 2007


I would say depends on if you want to preserve the job as something you can use as a reference, but sounds like that's already past. That scent is a burned bridge, and no I don't think you burned it, but the result is the same. 4 months doesn't make a decent reference anyway, and I wouldn't include it on a resume. And the gap (if anyone asks) is easy to explain. Just tell 'em you weren't looking, but something better fell in you lap, and after working at the new place for a few years, if you move on, no one will look at that gap.

I wouldn't bother going over this person's head. I think the better question is, do you need the money from this job to get by until your new one starts? If not, I'd be out of there today.

Of course, all this depends on how much of a whiney little ass you are being. I knew a woman who was making twice as much as me as a researcher, who quit because they wouldn't hire her an assistant to clean her vials. At the time I was thinking,"Someone pay me 40k to clean vials, I am going to ask where the rag is."

But if you have the high ground, take it. Just don't bother trying to get the satisfaction of telling her what you think on your way out. It would be a waste of time.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:23 PM on October 15, 2007


I would tell them that you're not a janitor and they can either pay you to do the job you were hired for or you can take the next 4 days off. You've got some vacation and sick time to burn right?
posted by trbrts at 7:24 PM on October 15, 2007


"Oh, I'd be glad to use this razor blade to clean this, but I'm afraid of razor blades! I'm afraid I might accidentally cut myself.. or someone else! And that'd be one heck of a liability suit.. if that happened.. wouldn't it?" Conclude with a pointed stare.

If he still insists, cut him while you're taking the blade away from him.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:25 PM on October 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


You've got four days left, and I assume it's office-wide knowledge that you've resigned. Assuming you can afford to lose a few days' work, you're only staying on this week as a courtesy to them.

So, live a little!

"I only have four days left before I move on to my next opportunity, and I should think those four days would be better spent transitioning my knowledge and responsibilities to my peers to make it a smooth and painless transition. Are you sure you would rather I spent the time doing meaningless janitorial tasks? After all, you've never asked me to do anything before -- why start now, and with such menial jobs? Is something bothering you?"

Or better:

"I should think that my remaining time here would be better spent helping to make this transition easier on my peers -- but if all you have left for me to do is cleaning the office, you obviously don't consider that to be important. So do you have something genuinely useful you'd like me to do, or shall I go grab some lunch and never come back?"

Just make sure you have your nice peers around, who are supportive of you, and who will appreciate the spectacle.

(then again, maybe this is just what I'd do, and not everybody is me -- I've never been afraid to call abusive people on the carpet, even if my job was on the line.)
posted by davejay at 7:26 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do not capitulate. Say something polite but assertive, like:

"Janitorial services are not part of my job description. If you'd like, I shall inform (your boss's boss) and Human Resources to include them so my replacement is aware of his or her job duties."
posted by fandango_matt at 7:26 PM on October 15, 2007 [10 favorites]


I have actual work to do too! :)
posted by octomato at 7:27 PM on October 15, 2007


"Oh, I'd be glad to use this razor blade to clean this, but I'm afraid of razor blades! I'm afraid I might accidentally cut myself.. or someone else! And that'd be one heck of a liability suit.. if that happened.. wouldn't it?" Conclude with a pointed stare.

If he still insists, cut him while you're taking the blade away from him.


I'm all for confrontation, but this could get you an assault charge, so I STRONGLY discourage you from doing it.
posted by davejay at 7:28 PM on October 15, 2007


Oh, and for my suggestions -- my assumption is that you're comfortable walking away. No empty threats here, or your boss will end up with more power.
posted by davejay at 7:29 PM on October 15, 2007


I would definitely send an e-mail to problem boss's superiors that ties together "thanks for my experience here" with "no thanks for this exit experience - I know I'm leaving, but you should watch out for this - I have fond feelings for the company but the treatment I'm receiving on my last week will ensure I will never work for this company again nor refer anyone I know here - etc."
posted by spec80 at 7:29 PM on October 15, 2007


whether or not this is appropriate depends on what you do for a living.

not saying this is your situation, but there are lots of jobs out there where asking you to clean up is a TOTALLY reasonable request, and just because one thinks its beneath them doesn't make it unreasonable.

i worked retail for a long time. we had a night cleaning crew, but sometimes we had to clean stuff up. contract janitors generally don't clean with the level of detail that customers notice. calling someone out for not being a 'team player' is probably spot on, especially if the job has to get done by someone else on your team.
posted by uaudio at 7:31 PM on October 15, 2007


blaneyphoto's advice...... people talk.
posted by randomstriker 4 minutes ago


I just don't put up with any crap. I've got zero tolerance for being treated lousy, and more people should too. It probably also explains why I'm happy being my own boss.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:31 PM on October 15, 2007


They're paying you right? Unless the work is totally demeaning, be the bigger person and do it.

It's not worth getting all upset over and feeling put off.. you COULD walk, so why not just quietly do what they ask for your last days, and leave with a smile.

I've certainly had days when I wouldn't mind switching jobs with the cleaning staff... their work is MUCH less stressful.
posted by TravellingDen at 7:47 PM on October 15, 2007


Snarkiness is completely not called for here. Your boss is probably angry, with cause, that you're leaving after only four months. Is it boss' fault? No. Is it more work for boss, a LOT more work, and are boss' feelings possibly hurt? Might boss even be feeling a little understandable envy? That's no excuse for being petty - but your boss sure has more cause for pettiness than you do, in this case.

Be noble and kind. Be thoughtful and human. You've probably already apologized for the inconvenience, but were you sincere? Did you really consider just how much of a pain this is for the company you're leaving? And how they might feel? When you apologized, did your face and voice communicate the sincere depth of your regret? I'm not saying you should be sobbing on the floor, or making giant crevices between your eyebrows, but if your boss is mad, and not over-the-top insane (you did say the people were nice), then show some compassion.

You don't have to directly relate the cleaning incident(s), but you might make sure that's fresh in your and boss' minds, then have a few words to show you understand. You can also ask how your boss thinks your last few days can be most productively spent; maybe cleaning is logical since it's a short-term task (no training, done quickly), but probably it isn't. Don't ask boss if he's feeling bitter or jealous; just try to help out as much as possible before you leave.

And don't be smug or too obviously delighted to be leaving. I'm not saying you are doing so now, just mentioning it in case.
posted by amtho at 7:48 PM on October 15, 2007


I am in the minority, but I would smile, suck it up and clean. I would take my sweet time about it, but I would clean. It just shows you are a classier person who can put petty bs aside and be a team player.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:48 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would not recommend going over a head, unless you are talking about really high level positions and real life abuse where the management really might like to know about this.

The bosses likely have enough to worry about.... and no matter how nice you are in the letter, any complaint you make will just fall on deaf ears. You are leaving - they have other things to do than spend any cycles at all dealing with how you feel about leaving or how you were treated after you quit. You are already one less thing they have to be concerned over.
posted by TravellingDen at 7:50 PM on October 15, 2007


I just don't put up with any crap. I've got zero tolerance for being treated lousy, and more people should too.

blaneyphoto, did I suggest he put up with the crap? No, I suggested he go over the bitch's head. Good for you that you're your own boss, but for other people who have bosses it's prudent to handle things delicately and with principle.
posted by randomstriker at 7:53 PM on October 15, 2007


I suggested he go over the bitch's head....for other people who have bosses it's prudent to handle things delicately and with principle. posted by randomstriker 2 minutes ago

Why in the world would going over someones head while on the way out the door yourself have any useful effect? I can't imagine this guys higher-ups would care what he had to complain about - he's only been their briefly and now he's leaving! If more people were willing to tell people like this boss to fuck off, then there'd be fewer bosses who thought they could get away with this kind of stuff.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:03 PM on October 15, 2007


Just leave, if she asks you to do it again.

Your world isn't going to come crashing down if you tell one tyrannical boss to fuck off when you've got four days left on the job.
posted by jayder at 8:13 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Be noble and kind. Be thoughtful and human. You've probably already apologized for the inconvenience, but were you sincere? Did you really consider just how much of a pain this is for the company you're leaving?

This is just stupid. You were almost certainly employed "at will," and "at will" means just that. You're free to leave at any time, and they're free to sack your sorry ass at any time.

If your boss wanted to make sure you'd stay on for a full year or whatever, he could've bargained for it. But he didn't, and you know why he didn't? Because he didn't want to pay for it. He hoped that you'd give him for free what he didn't want to buy, and now he's pissy that you didn't.

Fuck him. You don't owe your employer anything but what the two of you agreed to. This is your business life, not your personal life.

Now, there may be professional reasons to stay on good terms with this boss, and that might involve sucking it up and taking some shit for the rest of the week, but if you do that, you're only doing it for yourself.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:38 PM on October 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's a funny thing about power plays: they come back to bite people, especially if you are in an incestuous industry. I've had the pleasure of seeing several previous superiors' resumes held up for review. It gets considerable attention when you're the insider and you say "on the one hand, he dresses nicely; on the other, he is terminally clue-impaired and makes up for that by passing snide comments on productive people". If you have the patience this tactic is much more satisfying than complaining "through channels", which seems to me a sure way of aggravating the problem and making you look worse.

You could say "I gave two weeks' notice as a courtesy; you can return the favor and stop the power trip, or I can leave right away."
posted by jet_silver at 8:52 PM on October 15, 2007 [7 favorites]


Oh also, this is the only task in the 4 months that he/she has askd me to do.

Your boss has asked you to do one task in four months and you're whining about it?

Relax, do the four days of mindless work, and use the time to prepare mentally for the next job.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:54 PM on October 15, 2007


Could you offer to do something else instead that needs doing and that is more in line with your usual work? Most of the time my boss didn't want to seem unreasonable and accepted my suggestion.

That aside, I would be the push over and comply. The longest you would have to put up with this person is 4 more days and from what you say about people being nice and quitting amicably, the experience has otherwise been a good one. It never hurts to be remembered well.

Then again, you decide how much you can put up with. I am curious what happens, whatever you do.
posted by turtlegg at 8:55 PM on October 15, 2007


There is nothing more glorious than telling a well deserving boss to "take this job and shove it."
posted by pluckysparrow at 8:55 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Job B is one of those multi-boss jobs? Be glad you're done with it. Watch Office Space, shrug, take a deep breath and enjoy your new job. With 4 days left, there's just nothing worth fighting over.

Tuesday: call in sick
Wednesday: go in at noon (you were sick Tuesday)
Thursday: go in and clean the bathroom, then start cleaning other things. If anyone asks, say that's the job they actually apparently hired you for.
Friday: Smile for your exit interview.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 9:04 PM on October 15, 2007


If it's one of your bosses making these requests (and what is he, 12 years old?), then go to the other boss(es) and ask what they need done to transition the position. This is truly the high road; satisfying some petty person's power trip is not. It's also the responsible way to leave a position.

That said, if they won't give you anything else and/or want you to clean, well, it is cold and flu season...
posted by sfkiddo at 10:03 PM on October 15, 2007


I'm with the crowd of clean, clean, clean. You are still being paid, correct? Low stress, work by yourself, things could be much worse.
posted by busboy789 at 3:42 AM on October 16, 2007


You could be super positive and say "Sure thing boss!" But then, just never do it. Or say you did it. Or ask your boss to show you how to do it, all while being super positive.
posted by maxpower at 4:18 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mr. President D S O A wrote "that might involve sucking it up and taking some shit for the rest of the week, but if you do that, you're only doing it for yourself.

Exactly.

There's a huge difference between people who are only nice when it gets them something, and those who are nice all the time, without clear self-interest, on principle. The latter are generally who you want in positions of power, responsibility, and friendship.

It's situations like this that define your personality.
posted by amtho at 4:22 AM on October 16, 2007


Yeah, I've been asked to do a lot of crappy things after giving notice at a job. It sucks to be cleaning out filing cabinets, organizing stock rooms and the like, but you wear grubby clothes and you come in a little late and leave a little early as a result. It's possible they don't want you getting involved in new projects or anything like that. It's also possible your boss in a petty dick of a person. Either way, do they stupid crap they ask you to do, it makes you come out the other side feeling better about leaving that place behind.
posted by Phoenix42 at 4:28 AM on October 16, 2007


Well, I mean, think about it. You're leaving, what's the use of putting you on projects that certainly won't be finished before you leave? Heck, what's the purpose of having you work to finish old projects that almost certainly won't be finished and will, most likely, have to be completely redone because the new guy won't know WTF you were doing?

And, as an "at-will" employee, most certainly the last line of your job description says "Other Duties as Assigned." I'm the GM of an entire store--and sometimes I gotta do craptastic jobs too, and employees who tell me "That's not in my job description" would find themselves leaving early and probably not coming back. With that said we're pretty small and I'm very friendly---so it's never been an issue.
posted by TomMelee at 5:55 AM on October 16, 2007


You could be super positive and say "Sure thing boss!" But then, just never do it. Or say you did it. Or ask your boss to show you how to do it, all while being super positive.
That's what I'd do. This looks like the perfect place for some powerful passive-aggressiveness. Say "Sure!" then take a long lunch.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:49 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Say "okay" and then don't do it. When she comes back, say , "oh, sorry, okay" and then don't do it. I think you can probably keep this up for another 2 1/2 days!
posted by nax at 11:35 AM on October 16, 2007


Say 'thank you for confirming how right I was to take this other job. Up until now I've really enjoyed this job and working for you, and I agonized over my decision, but it seems there's a lot I wasn't aware of; Oh well, at least what you are doing now will keep any of my colleagues from being as blind as I have been. If you are truly dissatisfied with the performance of the janitorial staff, I will be happy to write a note to them for you telling them what they need to do, if you can provide me with a list of your requirements.'
posted by jamjam at 1:40 PM on October 16, 2007


Did you really consider just how much of a pain this is for the company you're leaving? And how they might feel? When you apologized, did your face and voice communicate the sincere depth of your regret? I'm not saying you should be sobbing on the floor, or making giant crevices between your eyebrows, but if your boss is mad, and not over-the-top insane (you did say the people were nice), then show some compassion.

One of my last bosses didn't talk to me for the first week of my month long notice period which was exceedingly childish of a man in his 50s...all the other partners were fine about it and wished me well but I have never 'sincerely apologised' for leaving a job in my life - you shouldn't have to! Thank them for being a good employer - yes, definitely, make any handover process as smooth as possible, absolutely, but apologise no way.

Management deals with people starting and leaving - end of story. It should go under the heading 'another day at the office' and not 'inconsiderate nasty x is leaving and leaving poor me to it'. Having to deal with that extra hassle is the reason why they get paid more!
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:09 PM on October 16, 2007


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