welp, this is awkward
December 7, 2020 8:06 AM   Subscribe

New developments in my job since my last question; help me figure out how to navigate what is going to be an extremely awkward situation.

Please refer to my last question for context.

My boss came to work the next day in a terrible mood and started shouting at everyone, pointing the blame at people for mistakes made by an employee who left back in July. Everyone got their head chewed off, including me. I didn't start working here till the second week of October and have mostly been trying to clean up the mess that my predecessor left behind. One guy finished his shift early and after he went home, Boss realized he had made a small error on a bit of paperwork (he forgot to sign something - not a big deal as the form didn't need to be submitted till this week and he was coming to work the following day and could sign then). Boss called this employee at home to yell and berate him for 15 minutes. Curse words were involved. He tried to defend himself and she hung up on him, only to call him back a few minutes later to continue to yell at him.

So, that evening I came home to start updating my resume and applying for other jobs.

But - PLOT TWIST! I got an email from a company I had interviewed with back in February (the Before Times). They were going to make me an offer in March literally the week Cuomo put NYS in lockdown. At that point they were having to scale back their hours, make budget cuts, and start implementing WFH processes, and they had to institute a hiring freeze. They apologized to me profusely (not that they needed to, I totally understood) and said that hopefully once things improved, they would reach out to me to see if I was still interested in the job.

Things have improved, and they offered me the job. The pay is barely more than what I am making now, but the benefits package is literally the best benefits package I have received in my 15 year career. I really liked this company when I interviewed with them in February, everyone was lovely, the office is beautiful and surrounded by green space, the guy who will be my supervisor is super chill and we have a ton of friends in common (small town living), and the office culture is very 9-5 only, no burning the midnight oil, they respect that everyone has lives outside of work.

Where I work now I get no benefits at all.

I accepted the other company's offer.

Today, I come into work prepared to give my two weeks' notice, but Boss is YET AGAIN in a shitty mood and blaming everyone for everything she's angry about. She blamed me for a check incorrectly applied back in August (two months before). She shouted at the sales director (who shares an office with me) and then stormed into her office with the door shut and locked.

Honestly at this point I don't even want to give two weeks' notice, but I will because that's the professional thing to do.

But I wanted to get this over with as early in the day as possible, and now it's 11am and she's still locked in her office. I also wasn't expecting to have to give notice on a day when she's pissed off at the world and blaming her employees for it.

What do I do? I want to get this done during lunch. I do not want to give the appearance that I am leaving simply because she blamed me for the check. What do I even say to her at this point when she is likely to bite my head off for this? I have anxiety issues. I've taken my meds this morning, but people flying into rages is a major trigger for me after surviving a childhood with a verbally abusing father and I'm freezing up. I have to get this done today. Help me figure out how to approach her, what to say, and how to prepare for the prospect that she will take it personally.
posted by nayantara to Work & Money (42 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You have a couple of options:

If she begins to bite your head off, you can just get up and walk out. You just gave notice! What's she gonna do, fire you?

You can also do this by email. It's not the most professional thing. It's not ideal. But you are also not obligated to subject yourself to this person's abuse.

"Dear Boss,

Please consider this email notice of my resignation from ThisCorp. My last day will be December XYZ, 2020.

I will begin coordinating with Coworker and Other Coworker to document and transition my responsibilities. Please let me know if you'd like this handled differently."

And then copy HR.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:12 AM on December 7, 2020 [25 favorites]

Two weeks is a standard courtesy, but if you wanted to, you could go home right now and quit via email and never go in again. It’s not like this person would be a good reference anyway. Not saying you have to do that, but it’s an option.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:13 AM on December 7, 2020 [39 favorites]

The only change I’d make to Tomorrowful’s text is to elide the “please let me know” sentence, but maybe just say your last day is Friday and take a week for yourself.
posted by mhoye at 8:14 AM on December 7, 2020 [17 favorites]

STOP. Do you have a mutually signed offer letter in writing from the other company? Have you cleared a background check? Do you have an official start date? OK, now you can proceed.

but I will because that's the professional thing to do.

Nah. It is a kindness and custom so you can transition your responsibilities to another person on the team, not a rule. You started like 5 minutes ago, your boss has demonstrated multiple times she thinks you're doing a shit job (even if untrue), what on earth could you possibly transition.

Write a formal letter of resignation. Google for boilerplate examples, edit only the facts. Give a final day that is good for you and works for your new company. (Tomorrowful gave a good suggestion above.) Email it to your boss and to HR. Wash your hands of this place and move on with your life.
posted by phunniemee at 8:15 AM on December 7, 2020 [45 favorites]

Expect this person to bust out of their office to scream at whoever’s available as soon as they read your letter, by the way. I would have your personal belongings - particularly anything you consider valuable or essential - packed and in a bag or your trunk or wherever, so when you’re locked out you aren’t stranded without them.
posted by mhoye at 8:19 AM on December 7, 2020 [26 favorites]

Best answer: Assuming you have this job offer in writing and there is no chance of it evaporating, you are in a great position. This toxic boss has no leverage over you at this point and there isn't much she can offer you. What's the worst thing she can do, fire you? What she thinks of you is irrelevant at this point - she would be a terrible reference anyway so I wouldn't worry about how she will interpret the situation. Find a letter of resignation template, fill it out, and give copies to your direct supervisor and HR. At that point, you are on cruise control until either A) they terminate you, or B) you transition to the new job. Make sure to leave a Glassdoor review about this company - toxic environments need to be help accountable and people need to know this is what they are walking into.

You've solved this problem and won the war - feel free to tell your anxiety to take a hike because you are on a much better path now!
posted by _DB_ at 8:19 AM on December 7, 2020 [29 favorites]

Response by poster: I have a mutually signed offer letter, background check was completed back in March when they were about to make me an offer, start date is December 21. I got this all sorted with New Company on Friday of last week.
posted by nayantara at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2020 [64 favorites]

Congratulations! Soon this old place is no longer a concern.

I'd send your boss the email above with the following edits:

"Dear Boss,

I'd hoped to meet with you this morning, but I see you are busy. Please consider this email notice of my resignation from ThisCorp. My last day will be December 14, 2020.*

I will begin coordinating with Coworker and Other Coworker to document and transition my responsibilities. Thank you for the experience as [my role.]**"

* Give one week, it's okay.
** You don't have to say the experience is labelled "why I don't want to work with toxic bosses ever again"

I don't think you're going to need this reference, but if you ever do and someone wants to know why you only gave one week's notice you can say you were still in an early phase of employment and it was appropriate given the circumstances.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2020 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding the idea to give one week of notice, particularly if it would be useful for your mental health to have time to decompress from this shitty stressful job so that you can start things from a place of being calmer and more rested at your new job.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:29 AM on December 7, 2020 [31 favorites]

Note that your current company doesn't have to accept your notice just because you give it - they could just say "No, please pack your things and go." Given the situation described, I'd actually guess that's what will happen.
posted by LionIndex at 8:31 AM on December 7, 2020 [14 favorites]

Best answer: If you don't need a reference from this company (note: you do not), you can literally just send a resignation email and leave. You don't owe this company a minute more of your time, you certainly don't owe your boss anything. Two weeks is a courtesy, extended to companies or teams with whom you have mutual respect.

Just go, it is really the most liberating feeling.
posted by ananci at 8:37 AM on December 7, 2020 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Given how absolutely insane this boss is, I would do the following, right now:

1) Discreetly pack your things, be ready to go.
2) Draft the email you want to send resigning as of exactly this very moment.
3) Draft emails and organize whatever documents nicely at your desk for the coworkers to whom your work will fall when you leave.
4) Send those emails when you are ready.
5) Walk out the door and never come back.

Literally nothing good is going to come of living through a single other second with these people. If you can afford to not work between now and Dec 21, DO IT. Walk away. No one will bat an eye if you have an employment gap that stems from the pandemic. Take care of yourself.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:43 AM on December 7, 2020 [22 favorites]

Honestly at this point I don't even want to give two weeks' notice, but I will because that's the professional thing to do.

I know this is beating a dead horse, but companies dropped that idea of "professionalism" a long time ago. You'd be shown the door in an hour if the company decided you were no longer of use to them. They don't deserve the two-week "courtesy" anymore.

The one professional thing you can do is leave your personal email to one or two key people that you know and like (and don't want to see suffer in this aftermath...and there will be aftermath). Tell them your email is a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency use only if they are stuck on something that you might quickly answer, like a password to a server or where the file cabinet keys are. You are not volunteering to consult to them (although that can be a fun reply too).

So you have the peace of mind that your friends there will be okay. Your boss can twist in the wind.
posted by mookoz at 8:50 AM on December 7, 2020 [8 favorites]

Yeah, you're probably going to be fired the second you tell the boss anyway, so pack up now. Offer two weeks, don't expect to have to use it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:54 AM on December 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

When people start overthinking leaving a job, I always like to point them to Richard Nixon's resignation letter. This is a man resigning from the Presidency of the United States, and he did it in one sentence with no elaboration.

If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for you.
posted by Hatashran at 8:59 AM on December 7, 2020 [18 favorites]

Best answer: You've only been at this job for two months, which means that getting a positive or neutral reference, even if your boss wasn't awful and abusive, is both unlikely and completely unnecessary. If you're drafting resumes for future job searches, you can just leave this job off without creating a gap that any potential employer is going to worry about.

The way I see it, you have two equally valid options (assuming you don't absolutely need the pay for these two weeks):

1) Figure out the absolute minimum that you need to do to hand off any current work in a decent enough shape that you don't feel like you're screwing over your coworkers. Set your notice period for how long you think that will take and not a minute longer. Do that work and only that work (if your boss doesn't like it, she can fire you!) and then leave with the knowledge that you're a good, strong person because even under extremely difficult circumstances you went out of your way to help out as best you could.

2) Resign effective immediately, and walk out with your head held high, and the knowledge that any chaos is entirely the fault of your shitty abusive boss, and that you're a good, strong person for refusing to put up with that shit for a single second longer than necessary.

Both options are equally valid, and you should choose the one that's best for your mental health (and be ready for #1 to turn into #2 if your boss decides to fire you on the spot.)
posted by firechicago at 9:01 AM on December 7, 2020 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Also please begin reciting your mantra now: "doesn't matter! I'm off"

Boss reacts badly? Doesn't matter! You're off.

Makes it out to be your petty reaction to being blamed for something? Doesn't matter! You're off.

Keep doing this little bit of work on your mind. Reject anxieties about these things - none of it matters to you! You're escaping. Keep calm and carry on!
posted by greenish at 9:24 AM on December 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Your post title is misleading. This is not awkward. For you at least. Kind of awkward for your boss, but oh well.

Just send the email and forget about everything else.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Your boss is poop and you would be entirely justified in walking out right now and quitting by email. You've only been there two months, just leave this job off your resume. If you talk to anyone in authority there other than your terrible boss you can tell them why you're leaving, but I guarantee they already know.

You don't need to approach your boss, you don't need to say anything to her, you don't need to care about her feelings in the slightest. She's not your boss anymore, she's just a rando screamy person.

Some bridges deserve to get burned.

Congrats on your new job!
posted by beandip at 9:52 AM on December 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Pack up in case you need to leave immediately and send the email. You don't owe them anything else, you really do need to put it in writing (and BCC or CC your personal email address) anyway, and fuuuuuuuck this place. Congratulations on your timely escape!
posted by Lyn Never at 9:56 AM on December 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: By quitting you are actually doing your colleagues a favour. They should all quit, and you are proof that life goes on. Definitely don’t worry about 2 weeks; get out of there in the fewest days needed to avoid screwing over whoever takes on your role, and take a few nice chill days off before starting at the new gig. Congrats!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:11 AM on December 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also, keep radio silence on where you are going for the sole reason that your soon-to-be-former boss is just.that.toxic. The detail is in no way relevant to transitioning any work, and their behavior has warranted solid, impenetrable boundaries that should be maintained well over a year, given that events from June are brought up as current events.

So glad you’re heading for a healthier work environment! Take some time to decompress and address injury, even if it’s dysfunction-informed strategies.
posted by childofTethys at 10:12 AM on December 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

1. pack up and go home
2. send email to your friends, don't offer to do work, just say bye and godspeed. provide NO details.
3. tell boss by email that you're gone (obv no more details here either.)

posted by fingersandtoes at 10:14 AM on December 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: ...and then just be happy.
posted by amtho at 10:20 AM on December 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Why on earth would you give two-week's notice?

fin has the right idea:
make sure you have all your belongings and go home;
resign, effective immediately, cc'ing HR. Don't mention your reasons or future plans.

If you receive a call from your former boss, tell her you can only speak with HR. Don't let yourself be yelled at or berated. You can speak with HR if the company requests information that should be passed along to coworkers. i.e. where is the XYZ file or did you submit invoice 123.

Congrats on the new job.
posted by shoesietart at 10:30 AM on December 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: OMG. Don't give them *any* notice. Say goodbye and leave. Giving them two weeks' notice does not help you in any way whatsoever, and leaving now doesn't hurt you in any way whatsoever.
posted by MiraK at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2020 [8 favorites]

I do not want to give the appearance that I am leaving simply because she blamed me for the check.

She will think whatever she wants to think as to the reason you are leaving. You are leaving because of her behavior (and a better job) and she will never accept that. It doesn't matter what she thinks, though. Everyone else knows the truth.
posted by soelo at 11:18 AM on December 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

I would bet real money that she tells you to leave when you give notice, so why not just cheat her of a chance to be unpleasant? Or, rather: she's going to take this poorly no matter what. No matter how hard you try to make this "okay" with her, it's not going to be enough. So don't worry about it! Your boss is not acting reasonably, and when people act unreasonably, you don't need to manage them. They are unmanageable.

So, take a bit of time to close everything out (also, you started in October? You've been there two months and they gave you a time-sensitive project? That's pretty bad management.) and send an email saying your last day is today or Friday or whatever you choose. CC HR or whoever it is that issues paychecks.

You don't need to worry about this going well because it won't, but also - it doesn't matter. I wouldn't put this on my resume (and with a pandemic going on, having some gaps in your resume for 2020 will absolutely not matter) or use anyone there as a reference. Once you walk out the door, you never have to think about these people ever again.

I'm sorry you've had such a bad experience, and I hope that you can take some time before starting the new place to release some of the anxiety and stress that might have accumulated.

If you need some more words for the email, or reassurance around quitting, Ask A Manager is a great resource. Here's everything she's written about resigning Specific articles that I think apply to your situation

How do I quit when my boss won't speak to me
Do I have to give two weeks' notice?
Dow do I resign when my boss is a horrible person who will yell and insult me?
This is why you need to leave your toxic job

Best of luck! Remember that you have 100% of the power here, they can't hurt you anymore, and after your last day, you'll be free of them forever. The next few days might suck but after that, things are going to be so much brighter for you.

I hope you let us know how it went.
posted by punchtothehead at 11:32 AM on December 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Say it with me:

posted by MiraK at 11:42 AM on December 7, 2020 [11 favorites]

This is really great news, and I second punchtothehead's links to specific questions at Ask A Manager. You get to do the bare minimum here because your boss has proven to be terrible. Congrats on the new gig!
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:47 AM on December 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Congrats on the new job! You've only been at this place two months (less even?), so you don't owe them much, and you don't owe an abusive boss anything. Clean and tidy up all your stuff, in your email, on your computer, and at your desk. Make it so you could walk out if necessary. Then write the letter and give notice, with your last day this Friday. She might want you to finish up sooner, in which case, hurray! But the end of this week is totally fine. Your last day is Friday, December 11.

"Dear Boss, please consider this my letter and notice of resignation. My last day at Company LMNOP will be this Friday, December 11. Regards, nayantara"

This gives you a few days to finish up, and then gives you a bit of time off to re-set your head before you start in your new job, and gets you out of there as soon as possible. Two weeks is absolutely not necessary.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2020

Response by poster: Well, here's what happened:

I was drafting an email saying my last day would be this Friday. While I was doing so, Boss's second-in-command came over to ask me for help resolving something that had been recorded incorrectly in our system due to a mistake by one of the third-shift staff members. Simultaneously, Boss opens her door and starts yelling at her deputy for some other thing that had gone wrong and asking him to fix it immediately. Deputy goes to her office to say he'll take care of it asap once he's finished the task he started with me. Boss starts shouting and cursing her deputy out about how she just wants things done fucking right and she can't trust any of us and it went on for about 5 minutes. Deputy came back to me looking very shaken. Deputy is a lovely, kind person who works hard and honestly basically runs this place for Boss and is the last person who deserves to be cursed out like that.

In that moment, I decided enough was enough. I helped Deputy with the task we had started, packed up my things, put the work I had been doing in easy-to-navigate stacks on my desk, made sure project folders on my computer were labeled clearly and stored on the shared drive, changed my draft email to say I was quitting effective immediately, good luck to the company, hit send, and walked out the door. Drove home. Major adrenaline surge. Took a nap. My (now former) office mate texted me while I was napping to ask what happened. I explained that I had had enough of this verbal abuse and no longer wanted to work in such an atmosphere. I said I'd found another job. I did not tell former office mate where I will be working. Former office mate said she completely understood and hinted that if Boss continues down this path she will also quit and focus on her freelancing side-hustle full time since she's getting tons of client requests.

I am taking a two week vacation to decompress and I intend to kick ass at my awesome new job.

Thanks to all for your answers and support!
posted by nayantara at 12:55 PM on December 7, 2020 [168 favorites]

Best answer: Good for you! I'm so glad you're outta there.

Something that would be a kindness is to remember the people who were capable at their work and respectful to you, like the deputy and office mate. Several months down the road if things are going well at the new place, when there's an opening at your new place that fits their skills, reach out to them and encourage them to apply (and put in a good word with HR). I'm in HR and we get a lot of good hires this way.
posted by phunniemee at 1:01 PM on December 7, 2020 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Living the dream, nayantara!

She almost gave you a gift of being particularly horrible this morning so you could get maximum satisfaction out of walking out on her.

Enjoy that lovely two week vacation, you deserve it!
posted by penguin pie at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Thank you for that VERY SATISFYING update. I'm so glad that you've escaped. Congratulations and good luck with the new position!
posted by punchtothehead at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2020 [16 favorites]

Congratulations! What you did took a lot of intestinal fortitude and you should be proud of how you handled yourself. You were also smart to not say where you are going. That avoids potential problems if your old boss gets angry enough to cause trouble.

As you enjoy your well-earned break, make sure your company pays you for all work performed and any vacation earned but not used up until today. NY State law doesn't specify when you should get paid out, but you should expect it at the next regular pay period.

If you're not made whole, file an immediate complaint with the department of labor. Do not approach your old HR department.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:41 PM on December 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

Thank you for the amazing update! I hate that people get away with that kind of reprehensible behaviour, you are showing her that her actions have consequences. And that's awesome.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:45 PM on December 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

AskMe's like this are the best.
posted by mhoye at 3:22 PM on December 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Such a great resolution. Glad to see you got out of there quickly, and didn't give your horrible boss the opportunity to abuse you about leaving.
posted by suelac at 3:50 PM on December 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wahoo!! Good job. Enjoy your time off.
posted by amanda at 4:05 PM on December 7, 2020

Good for you. I was really, really hoping for an update like this.
posted by gaspode at 6:05 PM on December 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

No longer your monkeys or circus. Lift any weight from your shoulders, and hold your head up high. There is great advice above, and as weird as it may feel to not give a shit, you have no no more shits to give.

Get all ducks in row. Hand in resignation letter with a week's notice. Wait patiently with a smile as they likely ask you to leave sooner than that. Be polite. You can swear up and down and live out a fantasy later about how you make a mic-dropping exit speech and everyone stands and claps. That's what should happen, so it's ok to think it.

Good luck with the next position. Sounds like it will be a wonderful change of scenery.
posted by terrapin at 2:42 PM on December 11, 2020

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