Will leaving midway through notice period kill my future job prospects?
August 31, 2009 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Got talked into adding additional weeks to notice period. Now well into that time and work situation is intolerable. Will walking now ruin my life?

I put in notice that I was leaving my job three weeks ago. It was only supposed to be two weeks' notice, but my boss insisted that if I could stay through September, it'd be more money for me, smoother for everyone, etc. (I don't really need the money, but the extra was going to buy me a new desktop. I can live without.)

In the meantime, he has berated me, called me names, told me that I'm making a horrible mistake, said my boyfriend is going to leave me if I quit, said that I am never going to be able to find another job, that he was the only one who'd be willing to hire me, etc. I am not leaving for another position; I'm leaving for family reasons and going to be doing part-time self-employment for the next six months to a year.

I am not normally thin-skinned and it has me ready to cry at the drop of a hat and I've spent the last two weeks constantly feeling like I'm going to throw up. My work quality has slid downhill faster than an Olympic bobsled. I'm not really doing anybody any good here at this point and it's not going to get any better as he progressively gets more angry with me for leaving. One coworker has already said she's surprised I keep coming in. I have been trying to make things smooth for the transition, but at this point my boss will not allow me time to work on those things and I suspect there is no possible way to catch up what needs to be caught up before I leave without working 24/7, and I can't get approved for overtime.

I'd have to be insane, I'm sure, to send anybody to this guy for a reference anyway. But am I going to be killing my entire career for the rest of my life if I don't stay until my official end date? This is a very small company; there is no HR to go to about the problem, the boss in question owns the place. If it's not going to be a reference anyway, what am I looking at in terms of possible negative repercussions?

Having a hard time here justifying not just putting my key in with a letter at the end of the day and leaving it on his desk, but I don't want to do that if there's something I haven't thought of that will make it a major mistake.

Other possibly relevant info: This is an entry-level professional position for which I make far less than the usual going rate for these positions and have no benefits. I do deal with clients, who have not yet been informed that I'm leaving because three weeks in, I still don't know who's taking them over. I've been here for two years and this is my only post-university job so far. I don't want another job like this right now, but once the family stuff is settled I may well be looking again, but not in this geographic area.
posted by larkspur to Work & Money (42 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wouldn't worry about it. Unless you're in a very small profession, it's not likely to make any difference to your future prospects. Just tell the boss that today is your last day. If he gives you any grief, tell him that's precisely the reson you're leaving. If he persist, just get your coat and go. You made a good faith effort to help out your colleagues. Your boss, not you, has ruined it.
posted by Jakey at 11:20 AM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


It sounds like you are looking for permission to leave. So allow me to do the honors: leave now. Some entry-level job that is not going to be a reference will have no impact on the rest of your professional life.

Don't wait until the end of the day. Leave right now. If you are going to leave a letter it should say ONLY "I resign my position as of today".

Really, stop reading this. Go now.
posted by mikepop at 11:21 AM on August 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Walk. Fuck him. He wouldn't give you a good reference anyhow, so what's the issue - he's going to give you a *worse* reference? Literally grab your stuff and walk out.
posted by notsnot at 11:22 AM on August 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


You'll need to use the place as a reference eventually, but if he's already going to burn you down about it no matter what get out before he has a legitimate reason to complain about the work quality.

I say get out as soon as you can and abandon the extra weeks he wants you to stay unless you can have a frank conversation with him and explain very clearly that he needs you a whole hell of a lot more than you need him and he better cut it the fuck out right now or you're walking.

Honestly, I'd tell the guy to fuck off the next time he so much as raised his voice and never look back, but you're better off career wise and growth wise in sitting him down and explaining that he's in no position to be treating you like this as you're doing him a favor by hanging around longer at his request, and if being a verbal punching bag is part of the arrangement he can hire you back at an hourly rate as a contractor at 10x what he's paying you now.
posted by iamabot at 11:22 AM on August 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Entry level, no benefits job at which you already put in additional time beyond your two weeks and the boss is mentally abusing you? Walk. No RUN!!! If you are planning on being self employed for a while this guys rec won't mean a thing anyway. At this point how could you ask for it knowing that he is such a d-bag? Take any personal items home today or tomorrow so you can leave on a moments notice. That includes cleaning your pc of any personal files, pictures or whatnot. Then tell boss man that something has come up and Friday is your last day.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:24 AM on August 31, 2009


I'd look him square in his beady little eyes the next time he starts in on you and I'd the following:

"I agreed to stay longer as a favor to you. I do not need this position, and I certainly do not need your opinions about my life. If you continue to treat me as you have been doing, I'll have no choice other than to simply not return."

And then feel free to say something "Listen Bob. You're making my choice for me, do you understand that? Yes? And you're still talking? Goodbye, Bob."

And walk right out the door.
posted by TomMelee at 11:24 AM on August 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


But am I going to be killing my entire career for the rest of my life if I don't stay until my official end date?...I don't want another job like this right now, but once the family stuff is settled I may well be looking again, but not in this geographic area.

Good lord, no - it's not going to kill your career, not even in the short term, especially in light of your reason for leaving the job and the fact that you won't be looking again for some time and not in the same geographical area. It will do serious damage to your self respect and confidence, though, if you stay.

I do deal with clients, who have not yet been informed that I'm leaving because three weeks in, I still don't know who's taking them over.

Do tell them you're leaving, and let them know they should contact asshole boss for their new representative. Then tell asshole boss that you will not be able to stay after all, don't give him the satisfaction of giving him any other reason than that the situation with your family has changed and you actually really do need to go (within the week, don't let him talk you into any more time) - and get the hell out of there!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:24 AM on August 31, 2009


In the meantime, he has berated me, called me names, told me that I'm making a horrible mistake, said my boyfriend is going to leave me if I quit, said that I am never going to be able to find another job, that he was the only one who'd be willing to hire me, etc.

He's abusing you. I once had a boss at the exact same type of job who did the exact same shit to me (plus vicious phone messages at home about how I was incompetent!); one of the best moments of my life was walking out the door after seeing the shocked look on his face when I said "you will never speak to me that way again, because you will never see me again." If you don't need the money and don't need the reference -- and it sounds like you don't -- then walk.
posted by scody at 11:26 AM on August 31, 2009


Oh, and no. There's no repercussion. Dude's not gonna keep you from getting a job, if it's a small company he doesn't have that kind of swagger. Even if he does have a little bit, there's always another company who doesn't care, and, when you interview and they ask you about your time there, you discuss your role, your client interactions, and what you liked/disliked about the job. If they specifically ask you, you can tell them that you had a very disagreeable and verbally abusive supervisor and that it played a large role in your leaving the company.
posted by TomMelee at 11:26 AM on August 31, 2009


Oh, you are doing one person A LOT of good - your sadistic former boss!

He's having an AWESOME time at your expense. Please don't ever again let anyone treat you like that. It is inappropriate to the nth degree. You can do better, and you will.

Check with hive about how to get out of this immediately.

I don't know what the etitiquite is in your industry, but I imagine your client connections will be VERY important when you want to re-enter the work place. They already know your boss is a dickhead, so no need to inform them, but you do want to leave those folks with a sweet taste in their mouths ...and their contact information in your hand.

Maybe a nice note to your clients thanking them for their patronage... and a letter of resignation effective immediately to your sadistic boss?

Hive - how does she do it right?
posted by jbenben at 11:29 AM on August 31, 2009


There is no credit report for job-leaving. There is no permanent record, and if someone ever really really needs to speak to that boss in the future, you can say "okay, but he took it very poorly when I quit." And then they will go "Ohhh," and you say, sympathetically, "Yeah."

If you can, tell your customers you're leaving. The ones you really like, mention that you can be found on [Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever your professional web presence of choice is] if they need to get a hold of you. Don't solicit work from them, just tell them where to find you.

And then leave. Tell that psycho that you aren't going to take his abuse anymore (or that it's an emergency and you have to go, whatever you're comfortable with) and get the hell out. You're not doing yourself any favors by staying, and clearly you're not doing HIM any favors because you're a useless piece of crap and just a burden on his payroll, right? And then as soon as you get around the corner, you do a long and cathartic Dance of the Raised Middle Fingers, and promise yourself you will never stay at an abusive job again.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:35 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the meantime, he has berated me, called me names, told me that I'm making a horrible mistake, said my boyfriend is going to leave me if I quit, said that I am never going to be able to find another job, that he was the only one who'd be willing to hire me, etc.

What a worthless, abusive boss. LEAVE. NOW.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:37 AM on August 31, 2009


You absolutely won't be killing your career if you get out now. Please don't continue to put yourself through this--your boss is being seriously abusive.

Leave. This boss doesn't deserve you.
posted by corey flood at 11:38 AM on August 31, 2009


@mikepop: Well, not so much permission to leave as other brains working to be sure there wasn't something here that I needed to consider and hadn't!

Today is ideal for this because my August 31 paycheck includes up through August 31, so there'd be no hassle over another paycheck coming to be. The drawback is that it means I do need to work through my estimated 8 hours for the day. Sigh.

@jbenden: There's another piece of relevant info, I guess: I'm going to be on the other side of the country by this time next month, and this is the sort of job where all my clients are local. I think I will send out an email, though.

I think the consensus is pretty strong here, but more feedback and additional advice always welcome!
posted by larkspur at 11:40 AM on August 31, 2009


Clean out your desk. Get any contact info you might want from coworkers of clients.

Dear Satan,
As a courtesy, I was willing to assist MegaCorp by staying until the end of September. I have revised my plans. Friday will be my last day. Sincerely, Larkspur

Be prepared to be escorted out of the building. Be very clear that if they don't pay you for every hour worked, you'll go to the Attorney General's office.

You don't have to accept abuse.
posted by theora55 at 11:43 AM on August 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't say another word to your boss. If you're reading this at work, grab your coat and go. If you're at home, don't go back.

Any more face time that you have with this guy is going to do you more harm than good. So don't have any more face time.

This job is seriously not worth it, and I'd still say the same things if it would ruin your career. Some things are worth more than money.
posted by Solomon at 11:44 AM on August 31, 2009


I believe that future employers are legally prohibited from asking about anything but "did she work there" and "what was her salary". And -- more importantly for you -- past employers are legally prohibited from SAYING anything but "yes she did" and "she made $20/hr" (or whatever).

In other words, not only would this not bite you in the ass as far as references go, even if he WANTED to say more than that he would be breaking the law by doing so, which a) he knows and b) would reflect badly on him if he tried it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 AM on August 31, 2009


Leave now, log your hours and report him one way or the other to your state employment commission. The comments about your boyfriend actually qualify as sexual harassment.
posted by medea42 at 11:44 AM on August 31, 2009


So, he asked you to stay longer so he could make you miserable. It wasn't about the work (you can't get it done anyway) and it wasn't about the money (you don't need it.) So that's everything you need to know. It's likely this is how he manages to keep his business running while underpaying people; he seeks out people with low self-esteem. So he's beating up on you in hopes you'll have a confidence crisis and stick around. Plus, a person like that is never going to give you a good reference anyway.

If I were you, I would write a brief letter that says this: "To whom it may concern: When I gave two-weeks' notice on [date] to [person], I was asked by [person] to extend my period of notice to [whenever]. I was told that it would be a benefit to the company and to my co-workers, and would allow me to complete some work that I had begun. I took this request in good faith, and agreed to the extension. (paragraph break) [person]'s actions since this time, however, have made continuation of my employment untenable. Additional new work responsibility has been added to my plate, such that I have no hope of completing it by my departure date, and [person] has verbally abused me regularly, to the point that other coworkers have pulled me aside with concern for my well-being. I feel this is unacceptable, and is detrimental to myself, my co-workers, and the business. (paragraph break) In consideration of this, and of the fact that I have already stayed beyond the customary two-week notice period, I have decided to terminate my employment immediately."

Make sure your stuff is already out of the building, and do it at the end of the day. Never come back. Keep a copy for yourself. Ideally, don't give it to him directly; give it to his assistant, or leave it in his inbox, to avoid him having one last explosive sadistic session at your expense. Be prepared for hostile phone calls, and so don't answer your phone for a few days (and be sure to record any messages he leaves for playback later, and save any emails/letters.)
posted by davejay at 11:47 AM on August 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


This might be a good chance for you to practice your communication skills by telling your current "boss" that you find his conduct unprofessional, and that it has to stop. In short, try standing up to this creep and setting clear boundaries, but in a professional way using good communications skills.

It will really make a difference in your life.

For example, I was working overseas and management stopped paying some of us regularly - the people management trusted would just roll over. I continued to get paid.

Then, suddenly, when my visa status changed and they thought they had control over me, they stopped paying me too. They also asked me to sign a letter of support to a company investor who was making moves to fire management.

I refused to sign the letter, and I also demanded to get paid on time.

After that I always got paid on time, and they never bothered me again.

The stakes for me were that they could have fired me and I would have to leave the country and my fiance.

Whenever I've encountered a rough time at work with a dirtbag like your "boss" (and there have been those times), I think about that and remind myself that I am nobody's fool.

So, use this as an opportunity to practice standing up for yourself!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:48 AM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jut keep it simple and walk. Bosses don't have some secret boss-network.

Leave politely. Let your clients know you are leaving, but don't badmouth the boss. Be a bigger person than he is.

If he acts up - do as TomMelee said - politely point out that you stayed on extra long at his request, and that you have no need to stay longer under his conditions, and simply go. Do this politely.
Again, be the bigger person.

You'd be surprised - bosses are people too, and they act irrationally too - you might even end up with a GOOD reference from him down the road simply because you acted professionally when leaving.
posted by TravellingDen at 11:48 AM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and: in underpaid, entry-level positions, bosses like this dominate. They thrive on hiring masochists. If you try to get another entry-level job, leaving this one early won't hurt you, and if you're trying to get a real job that's not at a company run by sadists, leaving this one early won't hurt you. The only potential hurt (other than being abused by him at or after resignation -- which, let's face it, he's going to do anyway) is if you try to get hired by someone who's a friend of his. Anyone who's a friend of his, by definition, is someone you don't want to work with anyway.
posted by davejay at 11:49 AM on August 31, 2009


I had a similar situation recently. I too went back and forth about it, but I decided it wasn't worth the stress and walked that same afternoon.

You've got enough on your plate with your family situation. You don't need anymore stress from some power-tripping asswipe. So go ahead and walk out. Relish seeing the panic in his face as he realizes just how fucked he now is. Then get on with life. The only harm that is being done here is to your health (as evidenced by the constant retching).
posted by arishaun at 12:01 PM on August 31, 2009


Let your clients know. If you ever need references, they are the ones who will provide a glowing reference.

Finish out today, since it makes a very clean break with the payroll. While you are waiting for today to end, send important email addresses, phone numbers, documents, etc., to your home email address. Then delete all personal files from your computer.

You only have a few more hours in this crappy job!
posted by Houstonian at 12:05 PM on August 31, 2009


I agree with quietly cleaning out your desk and computer (after hours if necessary) before you finally walk. I wouldn't have any type of confrontation with Boss; I would simply, once I'd removed all my personal belongings/files/etc from my office write a letter stating "Dear Boss, I herewith tender my resignation, effective immediately." Sign it, address it to him and enclose your key or anything else that needs to be returned. Leave it on his desk on your way out (in my case, I waited until Evil Boss had left for the day, and then left it on his desk).

Don't worry about him bad-mouthing you in the industry; you'll probably find out that most of the other business owners/executives in your industry that deal with your company already know that your boss is a nasty, unscrupulous blowhard.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:07 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Finish your 8 hours for today and make sure you leave your key or any other comany property so your boss has no legal standing against you, send email to your clients telling them you're leaving for family reasons and they should call your boss should they have any needs the company can meet in the future, tender your resignation, and walk. You owe yourself, not this abusive jackass.

Personally, I'd make clear in my letter of resignation why I'm not staying until the end of September (in a professional way), but that part is entirely optional.
posted by notashroom at 12:21 PM on August 31, 2009


DTMFA.

"You know what? I don't need this. Good luck."
posted by rhizome at 12:30 PM on August 31, 2009


I would probably point out to the boss, that his behavior was unacceptable and unwelcome, being specific about what he did; and that if he was unable to maintain a professional demeanor to you, that you wouldn't be able to complete your agreed-upon exit date.

If he responded with anything beyond "You're right, I'm sorry," and subsequently changes his behavior, then take the appropriate action.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 12:37 PM on August 31, 2009


Bosses don't have some secret boss-network.

Of course they do, but they're just as likely to hate each other as get along, so it doesn't matter.

Just leave now. You lose a little money, and gain a lot of life.

The only other measurable thing you lose is a good reference... which you were not getting anyway, right?

And buy yourself some ice cream today.
posted by rokusan at 1:02 PM on August 31, 2009


I believe that future employers are legally prohibited from asking about anything but "did she work there" and "what was her salary".

This is not true. Legally they can ask almost anything, and legally the other firm can offer almost any response that isn't outright slanderous (ie: "I think she has a drug problem.")

HOWEVER, it's a common intern HR policy, especially at large shops where these are strictest, that the firm won't offer anything more than the above as a way of protecting the referring company from "saying too much" and possibly incurring theoretical legal problems... even though they'd be defensible ones. Basically, many HR departments don't want managers making decisions on what to say to outsiders.

The thinking goes that a firm has nothing to gain from giving more information, so why take on any risk by saying anything at all.

(Ironically, maybe, this is why nobody really checks with or trusts references anymore.)
posted by rokusan at 1:08 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let your clients know.

Be careful with this. If you do this, be very certain that you don't say anything bad about your employer. These types of "letting you know" have to be very professional and brief. Just a "I'm leaving the company, and someone will be in touch with you soon to take over your project. I've enjoyed working with you and wish you the best, thanks."

Do NOT get into a followup discussion with any of them, or you could get into crazy sticky situations of interference.

And really: even if you just vanish, few clients will hold it against you, or (sorry) even care that much. It's a professional relationship: even bank managers get replaced and the old one sure doesn't call around and let everyone know first, right? The client didn't hire YOU, and they don't pay you. No matter how much they liked you, you are replaceable to them.

And this is fine: if you wanted that kind of relationship, you would be a freelancer or entrepreneur, not an employee. You want to be replaceable because you don't want to be tied down here.

So, again: just walk away.
posted by rokusan at 1:13 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is an entry-level professional position for which I make far less than the usual going rate for these positions and have no benefits.

You should've walked out on this job at least a year and eleven months ago.

If you feel like getting some experience at standing up for yourself -- which it very much sounds like you could use -- then on your way out tell your boss exactly why you're leaving. (davejay's resignation letter is an excellent template to work from.) If you'd rather leave quietly, then just leave quietly. But leave. Jobs aren't supposed to be like this.

(Your boss sounds like the kind of creep who will get ugly about sending you your final paycheck, so if you want to avoid a fight on that front you may wish to time your departure accordingly.)

But am I going to be killing my entire career for the rest of my life if I don't stay until my official end date?

No. Entry-level jobs are entry-level. People come, people go. There is no permanent record.
posted by ook at 1:49 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Take the high road: leave now, but do it with dignity, without sniping, do it as professionally as possible. Clear out your desk. Write out a list of things you do regularly with instructions (for instance, if it's your job to check the office voice mail, leave a list of what you do when you do that, including the password). Clear everything personal off your computer. Spend tomorrow at work doing this. Then, at the end of the day, go to your boss and say that agreeing to extend your notice was a mistake and your resignation is effective immediately. Then hand him your office keys/badge and put this very bad boss behind you. Have a nice after-work drink with a good friend and don't let this guy have any of your mental real estate ever again.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:55 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


n-thing "Run, don't walk."

Just wanted to add that there is this strange thing people talk and worry about sometimes called "Your Reference," as if you MUST list your direct supervisor at your last job. References are your chance to choose the people you think will say good things about you. You don't have to use this boss as a reference, you don't have to ever mention his existence or think about him ever again.

You could use someone else you like and trust from this job, or just use references from other jobs altogether. If you really think the company (not just this asshole) might be super vindictive, don't mention the job on your resume at all.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:06 PM on August 31, 2009


Also, i was in a similar situation. I gave two weeks notice to go work for an old boss (complete above-board, I contacted him first), the CEO then flipped out, threatened to sue me, went off verbally on a co-worker who was leaving with me, etc.

On the Friday of my first week of notice I decided life was too short. I sent a one line email to the HR lady saying I would not be returning because I was "no longer comfortable with the work environment." Those are magic words and will make any competent HR person get real respectful, real fast. I got the paperwork and the money i was owed in the mail and never heard anything else from her ever again, which is exactly what I wanted.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:10 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Go. Don't worry about repercussions... you wouldn't want to use this guy as a reference anyway. (You can use a co-worker instead.)
posted by zompist at 5:40 PM on August 31, 2009


Nth-ing the "Do not use this guy as a reference, use a client or another colleague, he can't fuck you up, just go!"

Also, this:

I sent a one line email to the HR lady saying I would not be returning because I was "no longer comfortable with the work environment." Those are magic words and will make any competent HR person get real respectful, real fast.

is spot-on advice from drjimmy11. Tell HR you're leaving and why you're leaving. It will help other people.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:48 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a very small company; there is no HR to go to about the problem, the boss in question owns the place.
posted by pullayup at 6:02 PM on August 31, 2009


So, it's 9pm. I finished my eight hours technically three hours ago, but I don't care. My desk is cleaned out. My files are all off the computer. My key is taped to a short-and-sweet letter on the boss's desk. This is it. I'm done. And if it all goes wrong, I'm blaming you guys.

Well, okay, no, I won't. But thanks to everyone, and hopefully the advice about HR stuff will help someone later on! I'm going home to drink way too much and watch Britcoms until 3am.
posted by larkspur at 8:13 PM on August 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


Finish out today, since it makes a very clean break with the payroll. While you are waiting for today to end, send important email addresses, phone numbers, documents, etc., to your home email address. /em>

Do NOT email company data to your own personal email address. Copy it to a disk or make a hard copy. Taking company contacts can be considered theft. It is also bad form.

posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:04 PM on August 31, 2009


This is it. I'm done.

Bravo!

And if it all goes wrong, I'm blaming you guys.

That too.

Seriously, congratulations. Your tomorrow is going to be awesome.
posted by ook at 9:07 PM on August 31, 2009


Do NOT email company data to your own personal email address.

And if you wish to be truly careful: do not e-mail or otherwise initiate contact with any of your ex-employer's clients from your own personal e-mail account later, either, since this can be construed as "using company information" (those contact lists) and get you in hot legal water. They're not "your" clients in any legal sense, and you have to remember/respect that.

If you wish to reconnect with ex-clients, the smartest way is to make it easy for them to initiate it. Make sure you are easily Google-able to your own personal e-mail address or preferred contact information. That way, if they wish to find you, they will. And if they don't ever do so, you're even better off, since they clearly don't want you personally anymore.

Which is also a good thing: you're more free and without worry you've abandoned anyone.
posted by rokusan at 7:23 AM on September 1, 2009


« Older Looking for an article about getting people to...   |   Are there free or low-cost therapy resources... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.