is it okay to blindside your boss when quitting?

A reader writes:

I have a question about how unprofessional it is to “blindside” your boss when quitting. Six months ago I started a new job with a multinational company. I asked the internal recruiter specifically about travel expectations and how much interaction I needed to have with the other office. I’ve worked across countries before and I know it’s just not for me.

Unfortunately the recruiter’s answer didn’t match reality: while most departments were located in one office, the one I was joining was split across the ocean. I decided to cut my losses at this place early and accepted an offer from someone in my network, even though I hadn’t worked a full year.

My frustration is that after I put my two weeks notice in with my boss, he said he was very upset by the fact that I hadn’t expressed that I had any problems with the way the place was run. From my perspective, I would’ve been complaining to him about something he had no control over. I didn’t want to be transferred to a different job because I wanted to build skills used only in this department. He also said he wished I had declined a recent plum assignment and told him I didn’t want to stay long term, even though I hadn’t had a job offer at that time. I did try to recommend a colleague for that work instead, but my boss insisted I was more qualified.

Overall, I’m frustrated with them. I tried very hard to come in with a positive attitude every day and do good work, even though I felt the interview misrepresented the job. Now I’m hurt by their suggestion that I was rude to not give them a bigger heads-up. Are they right? I try to take pride in my work and it’s really discouraging to think I was unprofessional after all.

Your boss is wrong and is being unrealistic.

It’s true that as a manager, it can be frustrating to learn that someone had problems with the job that they didn’t try to fix. Sometimes problems are easily fixed, or at least more easily than people assume they will be, and sometimes that’s true even when something looks like it’s a fundamental part of the job. And it sucks to find that someone has been unhappy and didn’t raise it and give you a chance to try to address it.

But not everything falls in that category! Sometimes it’s reasonable to assume that something can’t be fixed. And other times, people just don’t feel like dealing with the headaches and stress that raising it may entail, and that’s their call to make.

And your manager is particularly being unrealistic because sometimes there can be real risk in saying “I’m unhappy with this significant thing about my job.” Even if you’re asking with the intent of just gathering information and not making any demands, some managers will take that as a sign that you’re not well suited for the job or that you’re on your way out the door.

Managers who really want to ensure that they’ll hear about it when people are unhappy will go out of their way to make it safe for people to speak up, and they’ll explicitly check in with people and ask questions that are sufficiently probing that they’ll be more likely to hear about concerns. (And even then, they won’t hear everything! That’s just how it goes.)

I do think that the fact that you were there for less than a year may be playing a role in your boss’s response. He’s probably frustrated that he’s losing someone so soon after he invested in training you, and he might be thinking that could have been avoided if you’d talked to him. And who knows, maybe it could have been. Maybe there are plans coming to change the way the role works, and if you’d talked to him, he could have told you that all the things you disliked were about to change. It’s possible! But you specifically asked about this stuff before you took the job and you were given an incorrect answer, so it’s pretty understandable that you preferred to just leave. He might be disappointed by that, but you didn’t do anything wrong.

As for him saying that he wished you’d declined that big assignment … well, you didn’t know at the time that you’d get an offer you wanted to accept, so you didn’t have many other options. I’m sure he does wish you’d turned it down anyway because that would be better for him, but that’s not a realistic thing to expect. It probably would have harmed you professionally to turn down a key assignment without explanation, so you’d have had to either lie or reveal your job search. When people are job searching but don’t have firm offers yet, and don’t know when said offers might materialize, they continue working normally at their current jobs because that’s the only practical way to navigate that. Again, he’s being unrealistic.

I don’t doubt that this was inconvenient for him. But you didn’t do anything wrong here, and if he’s expressing anything more than a mild “ahhh, I wish you’d talked to me because we might have been able to fix this,” he should be keeping his frustration to himself.

Related: are you obligated to speak up when you’re unhappy at work?

{ 283 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Murphy

    I agree. You didn’t do anything wrong. The problems you have with the job don’t sound easily fixable, so I’m not sure that bringing it up would have made a difference.

    Reply
  2. Luna

    It sounds like you are making the right choice for yourself and are moving on to a better place. Your boss should keep his feelings to himself, they aren’t your problem.

    Reply
    1. Green Goose

      True. Leaving a job can be kind of like a breakup, no matter how you do it, the person being “dumped” can find fault with the delivery. Over the phone? Should have been in person! Had to wait to do it face-to-face? Should have told them immediately!

      At my old job there was a department (Bob and Jane) that was getting stretched very thin (with no end in sight) and Bob decided to go back to graduate school and gave a very generous notice period, about four-five months. The company was angered by him leaving and told him that he could leave in two weeks, which shocked everyone and put Jane in a very bad position so she immediately started looking for another job. When she found one, a few weeks after Bob left, she gave her two weeks notice and she told me that she was pulled aside and chastised for being “unprofessional” by leaving the company in the lurch.

      Reply
      1. Lil Fidget

        Yes, I’ve noticed that most of my friends fixate on the method/word choice of the person breaking up with them. In reality, when you don’t want to be broken up with, there’s no good way to deliver that message. It seems like something similar is happening here.

        Reply
        1. FaintlyMacabre

          I love the Ashley Monroe song “Bombshell”. Appropriate for breakups and some work situations!

          I could wait until you’re sleeping, you’d never hear me leaving
          Go without saying a word
          I could write it in a letter; maybe it’d be better
          Who knows? It could make it worse
          Save it for a rainy day
          Baby, either way, I’m damning it straight to Hell
          Ten to three, you’re half past nine
          It’ll never be a good time to drop a bombshell

          Reply
      2. AKchic

        Yep. When I was offered my current job, I knew that my leaving my LastJob would be difficult. My direct supervisor had just left on maternity leave and would be the one that would need to replace me. Of course, she actually didn’t tell me about her pregnancy and expected me to find out through the grapevine (man, she was petty; which worked well for Negative Nancy coworker/officemate), which was one of the reasons why I was so happy to be leaving.
        I would have stayed if the money had been better and I didn’t have to deal with Negative Nancy and Petty Patty. I ended up giving a month’s notice to the CEO and the COO in a closed-door meeting (because I wanted to keep my departure quiet for at least a week. Instead, one of the HR staff gossiped to Negative Nancy (the one person I was trying to avoid telling for a week because she was already in a snit about the boss’s absence) who confronted me in a huff and demanded to know why she hadn’t been told I’d been job searching (I hadn’t been, I’d been headhunted and an amazing offer had been presented to me that I couldn’t pass up).
        I’ve been gone almost 2 years now and I don’t regret leaving.

        Reply
      3. Mad Baggins

        Yep. Boss sounds like the kind of person who would be given a free dessert on the house at a restaurant, and then complain to the waiter that he had a coupon for a free dessert and now doesn’t get to use it.

        Reply
    2. the OP

      Thanks! I also wanted to clarify for a couple other commenters who asked that unfortunately it wasn’t just an off-hand reaction of his when I gave notice. (I also did tell them about the person from HR who had given me the wrong impression).

      What happened was that I gave notice, had a couple quick conversations about transition stuff over the next few days, and then my boss told me he wanted to get something off his chest before I left. So we sat down for another meeting, and he let me know that he wanted to give me some feedback on how I had badly handled the process of quitting, and that I really needed to learn from this experience and do a better job at it next time. I really felt guilty at the end of it.

      In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’m happy at my new job and have been here for the past month. But I really do care about being a professional, and that’s what motivated me to write this question.

      Reply
      1. Czhorat

        You’re fine, and it sounds as if you were perfectly professional.

        Turning down a desirable assignment is certainly something which you shouldn’t consider until you’ve already accepted an offer and given notice; you owe it to yourself and your employer to act as if you work there until such time as you don’t. One never knows how long a search will last.

        Id it nice to bring up things that bother you? I agree that it’s worthwhile if and only if you think there’s a chance of improving them. It sounds like this wasn’t the case with you.

        You’re fine. Really.

        Reply
      2. neverjaunty

        Your boss is an ass.

        As someone else pointed out, this is the workplace equivalent of the ex who lectures you about how you broke up with them the wrong way and how they’re doing you an enormous favor by pointing this out.

        Reply
        1. LBK

          Hmmm, I dunno if it’s really equivalent – how you leave a company does matter, especially if you want that boss to give you a good reference. That doesn’t really apply to an ex, who is presumably not going to get a call from your next suitor to see if you were a good partner.

          Reply
          1. Anna

            Since the analogy was made further up and neverjaunty is reinforcing what that (there’s no perfect way to “break up” in a job or a relationship, but in a job you can’t worry about it not being the exact perfect way your boss would have preferred, especially if you were professional and gave the notice appropriate for your industry) analogy said, I think it fits.

            Reply
          2. Anna

            And you might actually give the next person a head’s up about a partner if you know something significant about that person that might should be shared.

            Reply
      3. Green Goose

        Ugh! Yeah, it seems like he was just mad you were leaving and wanted to make you feel guilty. I don’t know about handling it badly if the job was not as advertised and you knew you didn’t want to stay there.

        Reply
      4. TootsNYC

        I too once had someone “sit me down” to “tell me some home truths” because they felt I’d handled something badly and done something I wasn’t entitled to do.

        She was totally wrong. Fortunately, I got pissed enough that I didn’t let her get the satisfaction of me apologizing or looking as though I felt guilty; I ended up saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but what I did was perfectly reasonable. I can’t change your mind, and i accept that, but I do not accept blame here. Excuse me, I need to get back to work.”

        But if I hadn’t already been pushed into my action by my boss, I might have thought she had a point. And would have walked out feeling guilty.

        A commenter at an etiquette forum often says, “Just because someone is made at you doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.”

        Reply
      5. Countess Boochie Flagrante

        Oh man, that’s not okay. Your boss sounds like he was reacting really emotionally to this — “I need to get this off my chest” really means “I feel bad and I need you to feel bad about me feeling bad.”

        Reply
      6. Documenter

        This guy is a bonehead and a loser. It’s good and decent to give 2 weeks, offer what you can for a smooth transition, etc., and something any manager should be grateful for. That’s the “right” and professional way to quit. A good manager would have thrown you a gift card or taken you out to lunch. When and if you get to be a manager yourself, it sounds like he will have given you a lot of solid list of how not to manage. Great to read you have landed well, and be confident that you did everything you could do to make it a good exit.

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      7. NorthernSoutherner

        I’m firmly in the camp of NOT telling when you’re unhappy.
        I don’t think things like being told something false about your job happen in a vacuum. I think they are indicative of the office culture. And if the disparate departments of a company are out of touch with one another and don’t know what they’re all communicating, that’s a problem too.
        Even if the above isn’t happening, sharing frustration or unhappiness with my boss is too great a risk, IMO, and I agree with what Alison said: “some managers will take that as a sign that you’re not well suited for the job or that you’re on your way out the door.”

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      8. Mel

        Wow, your boss is totally out of line on this one. If you had resigned by texting a random coworker like in this question (http://www.askamanager.org/2014/04/responding-to-an-unprofessional-resignation-pitting-companies-against-each-other-to-get-a-better-offer-and-more.html), then it would be totally reasonable for your boss to say that’s unprofessional, but you clearly gave notice and (I’m assuming) did it in person, *and* you’ve had conversations about the transition with your boss. You did everything right! There’s nothing more he could have reasonably asked for.

        I’m not one to complain about stuff that can’t be changed either, and honestly I’m not sure it is helpful to tell your boss that you’re looking for a new job. If you have a firm date that you’re leaving then sure, they can start the hiring process for your replacement, but what can they actually *do* if you’re just starting your job search and have no idea when you’ll end up leaving?

        Reply
  3. Grad Student

    Kind of a side note, but would it be worth telling the boss/HR/somebody how the internal recruiter represented the job to you? They might like to know that misinformation is getting out in the hiring process, especially now that it’s resulted in inconvenience for them. (Not that this affects you personally anymore, or is your responsibility to handle!)

    Reply
    1. Clarice Fitzpatrick

      +1

      Definitely not your responsibility but it would be a positive for them and prospective employees for the company to know the miscommunication that occurred so that they can hopefully prevent it later on.

      Reply
      1. Murphy

        It sounds like they were told they wouldn’t have to interact with the other office very much and then ended up joining a department that was split between the two offices, which I’m guessing involves a lot of interaction.

        Reply
        1. Environmental Compliance (was Environmental Navy Wife)

          I was assuming this, and then also assuming that the interactions involved a lot of travel. Which if the OP specifically asked about travel, was told very rare & limited travel, and then has to make a week long trip once a month, that’s a decent amount of difference.

          Of course, everyone probably has a different definition of limited travel, so hopefully OP asked in more specifics and can bring those specifics up to the manager to let him know in more exact terms what was misrepresented. Limited travel to Person A may be you travel at most 7 days at most 2 times a year, versus Person B who takes it as traveling 3 days out of every month.

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          1. The Original K.

            Travel and possibly dealing with different time zones, which can be very frustrating. I worked on a team that was split across two time zones (east coast and UK) AND worked closely with a member of the senior leadership team in Asia. Taking calls at 10 PM to handle the 13-hour time difference isn’t for everybody.

            Reply
            1. Environmental Compliance (was Environmental Navy Wife)

              It can be! Been there, done that. Didn’t much like it either.

              Reply
          2. Antilles

            It’s more than just travel though – could also just be coordination in general. If your entire team is across the ocean, time zones make it really awkward. Let’s imagine the OP is in the US and her branch is in the UK (5 hours difference). If your work really requires regular coordination with them, you have basically two options:
            (a) Shift your schedule so yours lines up with yours – so you work 4 am to noon EST, which correlates with their 9-5.
            (b) Be so well organized that you can get every single answer/coordination/etc you need in that short window of overlap with the US morning and the UK afternoon.
            And it’s even worse if we’re talking Asia – the 10-14 hour time different means you legitimately need to be on a completely flipped schedule and/or be available at super weird hours.

            Reply
            1. Murphy

              Yeah, it could be any number of things. (And ultimately, I don’t think it matters. OP was given inaccurate information about the job.)

              Reply
    2. Anne of Green Gables

      I agree this is a good idea, and has the added benefit of reiterating why the position isn’t a good fit for the LW and that the LW tried to address it during the hiring process.

      Reply
    3. k.k

      If will be having an exit interview, that would be the perfect time to bring this up. I think it’s valuable feedback that both reiterates why OP is leaving, and could help them prevent this problem from recurring.

      Reply
    4. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

      What if it was an internal HR recruiter that had misrepresented the job, rather than an external recruiter? I’ve been in my role a little under a year (and looking to leave), and I’m still upset about some of the things I was told in my hiring process that turned out to be either exaggerations or flat out wrong.

      Reply
      1. the OP

        Yup – it was an internal recruiter from the HR department who made the misrepresentation. I did let my manager know about this before leaving.

        Reply
      2. designbot

        Same ultimate thing: that person needs to be helped by the rest of the team to understand that this is a dealbreaker issue for some people and needs to be represented accurately going forward. HR doesn’t do the job that they’re hiring for usually so likely makes a lot of honest mistakes where they simply don’t get it. In OP’s case it sounds like oh hey, this is an international company, but this office is special because it normally doesn’t have to coordinate much has been drilled into someone’s head to the point that they don’t realize there’s an additional clarification of, with the exception of this specific team who does in fact need to do a lot of international business.
        In your case, I think it’s helpful to assume good intentions on these things. Ultimately either you can get past it or you can’t.

        Reply
  4. Inspector Spacetime

    I think your boss could have reasonably extrapolated that you were unhappy in the job based on the fact that you were doing what you said you didn’t want to do in the interview!

    Reply
  5. Ivy

    It may be a favor to flag for him how the recruiter misrepresented the travelling needs, as this is something which could undermine future candidates as well. They should be aware of this, especially if other people during the interviews also gave you incorrect information.

    Reply
    1. Goya de la Mancha

      This was my thought as well. He might not be able to fix the different country part as a manager, but if false information is being given, this will just keep on happening.

      Reply
  6. Jwal

    I think that “I wish you’d told me sooner” isn’t an unreasonable feeling to have, but I agree with the LW that what could the boss have done to make it better? They wouldn’t reorganise the company!

    It sounds like OP tried to make the best out of a not-ideal situation, and I think Alison’s right that this is probably just how your boss is processing his frustration. He should really redirect that frustration at the recruiter though!

    Reply
    1. Slow Gin Lizz

      “I wish you’d told me sooner” is one of those things that can’t be helped. No matter when you tell someone something, there is always the possibility that that person will wish they knew sooner. Waiting until NewJob is a done deal before telling CurrentBoss is a smart move. CurrentBoss should not expect to know about all current employees’ job searches.

      Given CurrentBoss’ response, it seems to me like OP is dodging a bullet here. Doesn’t sound like Boss and OP were on the same page about a lot of things and OP will hopefully be more comfortable in NewJob.

      Reply
      1. MsSolo

        Reminds me of a former housemate who overheard me and now-husband talking casually about the fact our relationship was heading towards a moving in together place, and took me to task because I hadn’t told her I was thinking of moving in with bf before I’d talked about the possibility with him. “Sooner” can mean “never” sometimes.

        Reply
    2. The New Wanderer

      I’m not advising this, but the OP’s response could be “Well, I wish the recruiter had told me the truth when I asked.”
      Same type of frustration, nothing to be done about it now.

      Reply
  7. Wannabe Disney Princess

    If employers get to be disappointed when new hires misrepresent their skills/experience and fire them, employees get to do the same when the role is misrepresented.

    As for your boss wishing you had turned down the assignment…you tried! You suggested your coworker. To turn around and place that blame on you is unfair.

    Good luck at your new job!

    Reply
    1. Eye of Sauron

      I was a little confused about that bit, I’m not sure that I would depend on a recruiter for this kind of information. This would be something I’d ask about with the Hiring Manager, but maybe there’s more that I’m missing.

      Knowing that the team is split across the ocean it seems like this would have come up during the interview.

      Reply
        1. Eye of Sauron

          Right, but it doesn’t sound like anyone was intentionally misrepresenting anything.

          Look, if the LW isn’t happy with the position, they’ve found a new job which more aligns with their preferences. But I don’t get the employer or boss bashing that’s happening in these comments.

          I would be annoyed if I was the boss in this situation. Not necessarily at the LW for not wanting to be in a high travel position, but for not saying anything about it. Maybe the boss couldn’t have done anything, but maybe they could have. I would, as the manager, be annoyed at the unfolding of events.

          I think the LW needs to understand that this sucks for the employer and they are not going to be happy about it, but at the end of the day they’ve already found another job and they should just get on with it. I’m really not trying to come down on the LW in this situation, but at the same time I wonder if their expectations of the situation needs to be adjusted a little bit.

          Reply
          1. Phoenix Programmer

            We really don’t know if there was intentional misrepresentation or not and even if it were accidental due to incompetence it is still not the employees fault and reasonable employers don’t express negative feelings at employees for complete normal business transactions. OP does not need to make any adjustments to there perspective. I am also not seeing player bashing on this thread.

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            1. Eye of Sauron

              Again, I’m not faulting the LW at all in this situation. But I think it’s a bit unrealistic to expect the Boss in this situation not to express annoyance or frustration.

              Whatever the cause of the misunderstanding (and I’ve been involved in multiple examples of things like this where the fault has been with all the players at different times), it is what it is at this point and the LW should just move on knowing that as long as they gave customary notice they’ve acted professionally.

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              1. Fiennes

                It’s not reasonable to ask the boss not to *feel* annoyance. It is, however, reasonable to ask him not to *express* it, particularly not repeatedly/pointedly/angrily. The employee actually tried to refuse the plum assignment he’s now upset she took, so that grievance in particular is unfair. But if the employee has shared the misrepresentation of the job—whether it’s the boss’ fault or the recruiter’s—it’s time for him to chill. (It sounds to me like that information has been shared, but I’m not positive.) In future, he needs to ensure the hiring process communicates clearer information. In other words—OP has given him valuable info about how to improve future hiring, and he’d do better to focus on that than continue harping on OP’s departure.

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                1. BeenThere

                  This, you can feel what you want however refraining from expressing is key to being professional.

              2. Countess Boochie Flagrante

                No, I think it’s pretty appropriate to expect the boss to keep his feelings to himself.

                Reply
                1. MerciMe

                  And, I mean, “Awww, I wish you’d said something so I could have tried to fix it because you’re awesome” is totally different from “you should feel bad for only giving me the standard two weeks notice that is basically industry standard .”

                  The latter is what seems to have happened, and it’s not appropriate to blame your employees for something they didn’t do wrong, just because you’re out of sorts.

          2. Wannabe Disney Princess

            I’m not boss bashing. I just said being upset about things being misrepresented goes both ways. The LW said it was misrepresented in the interview.

            Maybe the LW does understand that it sucks for the employer – but that doesn’t mean that the boss gets to verbally take their frustration out on them and insinuate the LW was being rude and/or unprofessional. They weren’t. This is a case where LW wasn’t a fit for the job and vice versa. Everyone is better off by the LW moving on.

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          3. Alice

            Imagine what life would be like for the OP, after telling you that she was unhappy with the more-travel-than-described situation, and before getting a new job. Would you also be “annoyed at the unfolding of events”? I suspect that’s why OP didn’t say anything until moving on was a reality instead of just a possibility.

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          4. Mike C.

            Nope, not one bit. The boss needs to suck it up and examine their processes to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

            Best of luck to the OP in their new position!

            Reply
            1. LBK

              Sure, but that doesn’t preclude the boss from being annoyed that this happened. Generally the experiences you learn from the most are the ones you don’t like because that inspires you to want to avoid them in the future.

              He might be overly expressing something to the OP that should probably remain in his head, but I also don’t think it’s wrong for him to say “I do wish you’d expressed this to me beforehand and maybe we could’ve worked something out, but I understand where you’re coming from and at this point we’ll just finish out your time here.”

              Reply
              1. Observer

                If that’s what he had said, the OP would not be writing. In fact, the manager actually sat the OP down for a meeting in which he told the OP that they had been extremely unprofessional and needed to learn how to handle things in a more professional manner. That’s ridiculous.

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                1. LBK

                  My frustration is that after I put my two weeks notice in with my boss, he said he was very upset by the fact that I hadn’t expressed that I had any problems with the way the place was run…He also said he wished I had declined a recent plum assignment and told him I didn’t want to stay long term, even though I hadn’t had a job offer at that time.

                  When do you imagine the meeting you’re describing occurred? Because I don’t see it anywhere in the letter. The boss voiced two fairly legitimate concerns, he did not tell the OP they had been “extremely unprofessional and needed to learn how to handle things in a more professional manner.” That’s injecting a whole lot of characterizations into this conversation that aren’t present in the OP’s description of it.

                2. Observer

                  The OP clarified and added that detail.

                  In any case telling her that she should have declined an assignment is ridiculous even in passing, especially since she had actually tried to decline it.

            2. paul

              I don’t think it was ideal that he expressed annoyance but it’s also not a horrible awful thing either. This is a minorly annoying thing in the grand scheme of things, based off the facts in this letter.

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              1. McWhadden

                It is completely unprofessional for a boss to unload their irrational annoyance on a departing employee.

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                1. Observer

                  The OP clarified – the boss didn’t just make a passing comment. The boss actually called them into a meeting specifically to tell the OP just how badly the OP had handled the situation. He said that he needed to get it off his chest.

              2. Gingerblue

                Enh, it can. Boss may be inconvenienced, but is trying to frame that inconvenience as if it were the result of lack of professionalism on OP’s part. It’s not, and claiming it is is inappropriate.

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          5. Delphine

            I think we can take the LW at her word when she says there is nothing that her boss could have done to change the part of the job she disliked. Anyway, I imagine if she’d written to AAM about a job that had a lot of travel that she didn’t want to do, the advice would have been that sometimes that’s part of the job and she likely won’t be successful pushing back. It’s not just that the boss probably couldn’t do anything, but that asking him to do something might have reflected poorly on the employee.

            The only other part of the boss’s complaint (that we know about) is that the LW continued to take on projects, which is ridiculous. Of course she did, she was an employee.

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            1. LBK

              Disagreed – I actually think the advice would be that she can push back, especially if the amount of travel wasn’t made clear up front. I’m pretty sure that exact situation has come up before and as long as it isn’t a rarity (like a once-a-year conference or something that you probably just have to put up with) the consensus has been that it’s reasonable to push back or at least ask if that’s going to be the standard amount of travel for the foreseeable future.

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              1. Anna

                I think we should assume the OP knows if it was worth pushing back on or not. The OP didn’t ask if she should have pushed back on it, she asked if the way things were handled by her boss and by her were in line with what is professional.

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          6. AnotherHRPro

            I agree with you. I did not read the boss’s reaction as particularly troubling. He was frustrated by the resignation which is normal as it was less than one year on the job and he didn’t know she was unhappy.
            Sure, his comment on the project wasn’t great, but it didn’t seem harsh. I think it was a little venting.

            All in all, this situation wasn’t ideal for either the LW or the manager. I think both misstepped. Ideally the LW would have at least mentioned some concerns to the manager prior to resigning. It is shocking when it comes out of the blue and frustrating when you have spent the past several months invested in getting someone up to speed. Plus the lost time interviewing. And for LW, it is so annoying that the job wasn’t accurately described during the interview process. I think since this multi-location thing is such a deal breaker for the LW, going forward they should verify this with multiple people. In today’s world, many larger employers are in multiple locations so it is very common.

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          7. hbc

            I think it’s okay for the boss to be annoyed at the *situation*, in that it sucks to have to replace a fairly new person. I don’t think it’s okay to be annoyed at the *OP,* who can’t possibly be sure that her Boss (that she doesn’t really know well yet) is that rare bird who will not make it at all a problem that she will be leaving at some undefined time in the future.

            And yes, it’s downright unprofessional to state that your having to deal with this inconvenience as a manager should have outweighed your employee’s need to protect her paycheck. It’s like saying, “I wish you hadn’t asked for a raise.” Suck it up, it’s your job as a manager to deal with this.

            BTW, I say this as an employee who has given at least two months notice both times I quit, and as a manager who has never been given more than two weeks notice.

            Reply
          8. Genevieve

            It’s totally understandable that you as manager would be upset, but as an employee, especially in America, I would never give any indication that I’m planning on leaving more than 2 weeks ahead of time—and even less in situations where I’d seen other employees pushed out early. My workplace is notorious for firing people on no notice (literally, walk in like a normal work day at 10am, you’re walked out at 10:30am) if that person has given any indication of dissatisfaction or potential life changes, like an offhand mention of possibly moving in a few years, and I haven’t even told my boss yet that I’m going to grad school in a few months. When employees have no protections from being fired, it’s hard to fault them for choosing whatever option best ensures they can pay rent and buy food until their next job starts.

            Reply
            1. LBK

              This depends a lot on your workplace and your relationship with your boss, though – I openly discussed my job search with my last manager and it was fine. I stayed on for months. We’d always had very candid dialogues about how the job was going and we both knew when it was time for me to move on, so it wasn’t a surprise and he was happy to help support me taking the next step.

              I know that’s far from universal, but I also wouldn’t paint it with such a broad stroke as to say that with no legal protection, you should never risk it, period. That would feel like a betrayal of trust if I were working for a manager who had trusted me and with whom I had a strong relationship.

              Reply
              1. Cafe au Lait

                I’m in an entry-level position. I’ve gotten kudos from my boss for looking at job postings and their requirements, then asking my boss how I can gain experience in my role.

                Reply
              2. Observer

                That’s all good and fine. But when you are new AND you already know that SOME people are not giving you straight answers it is just stupid to act as though your boss is going to be reasonable.

                And, even without the clarification that the OP provided, complaining that the OP took on an assignment shows that the Boss is not all that reasonable, especially since the OP actually tried to decline the assignment!

                Reply
                1. LBK

                  I wasn’t talking about the OP’s situation, I was responding specifically to Genevieve’s statement that she “would never give any indication that I’m planning on leaving more than 2 weeks ahead of time.”

            2. pleaset

              “I would never give any indication that I’m planning on leaving more than 2 weeks ahead of time”

              It depends on the workplace.

              Someone at my job just told us they’re leaving in 3 months (very senior person). Another person gave a heads up 4 months out (pretty junior person).

              I think the biggest lead-time I’m aware of is 8 months.

              This is in the US. Different managers in all these instances.

              “I know that’s far from universal, but I also wouldn’t paint it with such a broad stroke as to say that with no legal protection, you should never risk it, period. That would feel like a betrayal of trust if I were working for a manager who had trusted me and with whom I had a strong relationship.”

              This.

              Reply
            3. Callie

              If the boss can let you go with no notice and no indication that there is something you need to improve, then the employee is entitled to do so as well.

              Reply
          9. Samata

            I think all those feelings are valid as a supervisor/hiring manager when someone does quit – no matter what the notice. But I never think it’s appropriate to share that with the employee and make them uncomfortable. “We are disappointed because we thought you were integral to our success” is one thing. Going into all this detail is what the boss and recruiter and others involved in the position should be downloading to one another before hiring the next candidate. And venting about the other stuff to one another only.

            Reply
          10. JS

            LW said they didnt want to be transferred to another department outside of the current skill set, so there is nothing realistic the boss could have done. It is not realistic for the boss to change how the department functions for one employee and its not realistic for LW to expect that either. Any good boss would still be frustrated but would also take into consideration power dynamics and LW saying they are unhappy are putting themselves at their mercy which puts LW under scrutiny.

            The boss can FEEL annoyed but that doesn’t mean they should express it, especially if what they are expressing is “very upset” which is beyond just annoyance.

            Reply
      1. Phoenix Programmer

        You’d be surprised what can be missed in a pretty organized bout of interviews.

        In my first office job no one told me the hours of operation! They assumed I knew it was 8. I assumed 9. It’s hilarious now but was a big deal and pretty annoying back then.

        Reply
        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          At a previous job, they hired someone senior and didn’t clarify the hours. She said she never would have taken the job if she’d known it was 9-6. When I interview anywhere, I specifically ask, but yes, that should be part of the “typical day” conversation by default.

          Reply
          1. Murphy

            Yeah, I had that in a previous job as well. (I was inexperienced, so I didn’t think to ask.) Had to be there at 7:45, and in the summer they made us work 10 hour days (plus an hour lunch break) Monday – Thursday so they could shut down on Fridays. And I lived 40 minutes away. It was awful.

            Reply
          2. Samata

            OMG this happened to me one and I was 13 years in a career. I was at a training meeting and found out the hours were 10 – 7. Since it was a professional, non-walk in industry I had (wrongly) figured standard 8:30-5 or 9 – 5:30 hours. I would have NEVER taken the job with those hours, logistically it just didn’t work. I stayed 10 months and they were the most hectic 10 months of my life. I would definitely ask again if I ever am in a situation where I have to interview.

            Reply
          3. LizB

            You know, in thinking about my usual answer to the “typical day” question, I almost never mention the hours! I always focus on what the role does, not when they do it. Part of that is the hours are very flexible and mostly defined by what needs to be done, but I’ll have to remember in the future to give more detail on the most common start and end times of a day.

            Reply
      2. MLB

        If you’re working with a recruiter, outside of an interview, you’re not dealing with anyone else. It is the recruiter’s job to represent the position accurately. If the LW hadn’t specifically asked about travel and she wasn’t happy with it once she started, that’s on her. But being given an answer that wasn’t truthful is fully on the company. If the recruiter was unsure, it was up to them to make sure the hiring manager and/or anyone else involved in the process was aware of the LW’s requirements.

        Reply
      3. JHunz

        I certainly wouldn’t depend on an external recruiter for that kind of information, but I wouldn’t have expected an internal recruiter to get the answer completely wrong. They should either be deferring that question to the hiring manager themselves, or making sure they’re sharing correct information. It’s always better to filter out positions you won’t be interested in upfront, and most people wouldn’t think to re-ask questions of the hiring manager that have already been answered at an earlier point in the process.

        Reply
        1. the OP

          Hi – it was an internal recruiter from the HR department who I asked about travel. I asked both the recruiter and one person in the interview panel. Unfortunately I didn’t realize the person in the interview panel had a different role and was not expected to travel or coordinate cross-country work. This reinforced my incorrect opinion on the job.

          So it’s on me – next time I will just ask the hiring manager directly about travel and working across multiple offices.

          Reply
    2. Murphy

      Also, can you really just turn down work assignments? I think you can suggest someone else, or maybe being up some concerns, but in how many jobs can you really just say, “Thanks, but nah” ?

      Reply
        1. Susan Sto Helit

          A boss of mine once asked me if I’d like a certain work assignment, telling me how it would be of use for my future career in llama handling.

          I politely explained that I wasn’t really interested in heading down the llama handling route as my interests were still in being an alpaca specialist, as per my current role.

          I got given the assignment anyway. Turns out my boss didn’t actually mean ‘this could be a nice opportunity for you’, she meant ‘we screwed up getting rid of this other person, and now you’re required to fill the role instead’. The effort to sugarcoat it didn’t really help at all – it actually made me feel more annoyed about being shoved in a career direction I didn’t want, because they’d acted like I had a choice in the matter and then announced that I actually didn’t. I’d kind of preferred them to be honest and just say ‘sorry, we realise this sucks, but this is the situation’ I think.

          Reply
          1. Autumnheart

            What I really hate is, when discussing it, they phrase it like, “So when Autumnheart is working on the llama handling project, we should make sure to…” as if I’d already had the conversation that I would be assuming those duties, but this is the first time I’m hearing of it. It invariably makes me wonder if I didn’t read an email or somehow forgot, and more than that, why can’t they at least have the courtesy to tell me AT ALL before I find out in a meeting like it’s a done deal? Super gaslighty.

            Reply
      1. Antilles

        Especially since this was described as a “plum assignment”. You basically can’t decline something like that unless you have a really ironclad reason (e.g., health reasons).

        Reply
          1. Close Bracket

            A plum assignment is a really awesome assignment that the recipient should feel lucky to get. So, yeah, you can turn it down, as much as you can turn any assignment down, it’s just going to look kind of weird that you turned down something so awesome, and if your boss expended social capital to get it for you, they might might feel resentful.

            Reply
        1. Gingerblue

          I have finished
          the plums
          that were in
          the work queue

          and which
          you probably
          assigned
          thinking I would stay

          But I’m not
          my new job is so nice
          so calm
          in one time zone

          Reply
      2. Alton

        That’s what I was thinking. What would have happened if the OP *had* turned down the assignment? For one thing, the boss would have still had to find someone else for it (it’s possible that because the OP worked on it for a short time, it’d be harder to get someone else up to speed on it, but it sounds like the boss was mainly upset because he thought the OP was the best person for the project), and it likely would have reflected poorly on the OP to turn it down.

        Reply
    3. Salsterr

      Not blaming the OP, but something I’ve learned when dealing with recruiters is to clarify the role with the actual hiring manager. I’ve worked with several firms over the years, and my recruiters have never been able to describe a job with more than 50% accuracy. That data analysis job I interviewed for? Turns out it was working in the mail room. The EA role for a local CEO? Actually an administrative assistant for a team of mid-level managers. I could go on and on…

      Reply
  8. Natalie

    The only thing I might do (if you haven’t already) is make sure he knows what the internal recruiter told you. Just because they’re in the same company doesn’t mean the recruiter didn’t sandbag him.

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Agreed. Also, while I don’t blame the OP at all, this is a note that if something is really important to you, no matter what it is or why, it’s crucial to ask the same question of multiple people. One person’s minimal travel is another’s on-the-road-all-the-time.

      Reply
      1. Newly Obsessed Reader

        As we’ve seen time and again on this site, recruiters are not always trustworthy…maybe this one was saying whatever they thought it would take for OP to accept the job. This does seem like enough of an important issue to ask again directly when talking to interviewers. (Knowledge for next time!)

        Reply
        1. rockandhardplace

          Recruiters can be ‘shady sales people’ and misrepresent things to make the ‘sale’, but they also could be given limited information from hiring managers so they could end unintentionally misrepresenting something.

          Reply
          1. BRR

            That was one of my thoughts. I just don’t think recruits are able to know enough about the day to day of most jobs.

            Reply
      2. rockandhardplace

        I was definitely thinking the same thing. If you know something is a big deal for you, you ask the question multiple times (maybe even to the same person in different ways/different conversations).

        Reply
        1. Seriously?

          I think asking in different ways is very important. It can help limit the potential for miscommunication.

          Reply
  9. Snark

    “How dare you blindside me with this!”

    “But….you blindsided me with more travel than I was expecting!”

    “NEVER MIND THAT”

    Screw this guy. Bosses like this deserve to be blindsided.

    Reply
    1. Kathleen_A

      It was apparently the recruiter who misrepresented the travel. That’s what the OP says, and I don’t see any reason to doubt that.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        Oh, you’re right – I missed that detail. Still, companies that treat employees like this are going to have problems. You can’t promise one thing and deliver another and expect people to stick around.

        Reply
        1. Triplestep

          Yup, this. I can’t wait to “blindside” my boss and resign once I have a new job lined up. She shouldn’t actually be blindsided, mind you, because I have spoken with her about the ways in which the job does not align with what was discussed six months ago before I accepted the offer. Her response was a bunch of hooey culminating in her calling me “a complainer.” I just decided at that point to keep my head down and work hard on getting out of here. I am sure she has no idea I am still dissatisfied and will be blindsided nonetheless.

          Reply
          1. Polaris

            I hope you will tell us in an open thread when you do this, and how it goes for you! Good luck on finding something soon.

            Reply
      2. MLB

        Sure, but we don’t know if the recruiter was misled as well. The recruiter may have let the manager know of the LW’s requirements for travel, and the manager told the recruiter what he thought LW wanted to hear.

        Reply
        1. Colette

          That’s possible, but it’s more likely that there was a miscommunication – either the OP has a different definition of too much travel, or the business setup changed, or the recruiter got two positions confused, or something similar.

          Reply
          1. Seriously?

            It sounds like most positions at the company have little to no travel and this role was an exception. The recruiter seems to have given the answer for the average position at the company and not known this particular position was different.

            Reply
      3. Dust Bunny

        Yeah, it doens’t need to be framed in a manner that blames the recruiter. “When I interviewed, I was told by the recruiter that the travel was . . . ” places the recruiter as the messenger, but whether s/he misrepresented the role or was misinformed by the departments that were hiring doesn’t need to be determined by the OP. The company has been told that the job description didn’t match reality–it’s up to them to fix it.

        Reply
  10. Sally

    When I read the letter, I was reminded of a time when I quit an executive assistant position at a tiny (owner and me) investment firm. I was leaving to become a technical trainer for a huge company. My boss was so surprised when I gave him my letter of resignation (this was back in the day when that’s how it was done), and he said he wished I had told him I wanted to become a trainer. I have always wondered how he was expecting to make that work – I would train him on Word and Excel while he wasn’t out making deals???

    Reply
    1. Not Tom, just Petty

      I guess so that he wouldn’t have “wasted his time” with someone who was not going to live and die with his business.

      Reply
    2. Bea

      Were you his first EA? Everyone was sad when I left but even the one who depended on me most only tried to bribe me to stay. I was moving for my BF and he called me saying “I’ll give you 1000 if you find a new boyfriend!” I laughed so hard at his sweet efforts at least. I was never treated like I needed to give them more of a heads up though, they knew I may leave, just like others before me!!

      Reply
      1. Sally

        I was the first EA to stay as long as I did. He was a real PITA as a boss, and I only lasted nine or 10 months. I couldn’t even make myself stay long enough to get the annual bonus at the end of the year.

        Reply
        1. Bea

          Argh yeah those guys are the worst. I was the only one to stick a few times but only because my personality is suited for grumps with limited people skills as long as they do not treat me poorly. I walked out on others who couldn’t hang with my very limited rules of “don’t yell at me” and “respect my knowledge and desire to do what’s best for you.”

          Reply
    3. MerciMe

      I’ve had good managers who would have helped me develop those skills as much as possible in my current role and tried to steer me to likely jobs as they became available. No idea if that’s reasonable to think in regard to your old boss though.

      Reply
  11. AnotherAlison

    I agree that the OP was not wrong in giving notice without giving any prior indication of problems. This seemed like a pretty cut & dry case where there wasn’t a solution.

    But, I would say I disagree in generic corporate situations. Things change too frequently. I’ve got dozens of examples. Just when you think you’re at the end of your tolerance for a manager or structure, it changes, and you often have no idea it’s coming even though your manager or her manager may have known for months.

    Reply
  12. Stranger than fiction

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not very clear on whst the exact problem was with the job. Sounds like issues working with the other office due to time differences, but that’s something that could have been talked about with the boss and perhaps worked out somewhat. The Op touches on travel, but were they required to travel to this other office? They don’t say. Was the Op required to answer emails in the middle of the night or…?

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      I wondered that too, but I also figured that ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. The OP was unhappy with the multi-country aspect of the job, so that’s enough to leave. I’m also not feeling really harsh towards the boss; I can see someone saying, “Wow, I wish you’d said something,” in the moment, wishing he could fix it and “make it better”, not realizing the scope of what that means. I don’t think the boss was correct in getting so upset, mind you, but I get it.

      Reply
      1. Stranger than fiction

        Yeah I can see both sides (although sounds like he overreacted), I was just curious about the details. If they said 10% travel, but it was 30% or whatever.
        I knew someone that had to work with a team in new zealand and england (from the us) and he pointed out to his boss after a little while that was causing him to have to be available around the clock and the boss was able to speak to the heads over there and work out some better expectations and windows of time for him to be offline or available. So idk, just made me think sometimes bringing it uo can work out. Friend did end up leaving after a while though because that boss was clueless in many other ways.

        Reply
    2. hbc

      It can be something as simple as having only a 2-4 hour window during a day to actually communicate with a critical colleague. Maybe it’s not a deal-killer for most people, but it can be freaking tough for an exchange that takes five or six emails to take a full week rather than happen same day.

      Reply
  13. Bea

    Ef this guy. If he’s salty that you’re leaving without getting his precious stamp of approval, he’s a terror to work for long term. You’re going to be so much better off putting this crybaby in your rearview.

    90% of people who quit in my experience are “out of nowhere”, it’s your choice and as long as you do not just ghost the job, suddenly never showing up again, giving notice is all that is necessary. You don’t even need to tell him why. I would just say a new opportunity showed up but you were truthful and he’s a brat.

    Reply
    1. Ro

      Love the word “salty”! I’ve been thinking about bringing term into my own conversations- ever since I started reading Samantha Irby!

      Reply
  14. EA

    For what it’s worth…

    I was in a similar position once, the job was VERY different than had been described. It was sort of like a bait and switch. I tried to talk to people about it, I tried to talk to HR about it, and this just created drama. No one wanted to address the issue. I then left, after 7 months. The time between talking to HR and leaving was very stressful, and this was already a stressful situation. I’m not saying this will always happen, but I think its a risk when you try and talk about things. The job was probably either malicious in misleading you, or just very very disorganized, which I don’t think either is good for the prospect of fixing the issue.

    Reply
    1. Happy Lurker

      Also, many bosses have totally unrealistic expectations.

      Back in the day, I had to mail out weekly packets of information to 70 people. Boss had no idea that it took hours to produce, copy, collate, stuff, mail, and stamp envelopes. I swear they thought it took like 30 minutes.

      Reply
  15. Liane

    Obligatory “And what would OP’s boss have done if OP got hit by a bus/abducted by aliens? Two days after declaring that they wanted to work in Position at Company for the next 40 years?” comment.

    Reply
    1. bonkerballs

      They would have dealt with it, just like they’re going to deal with it now. Doesn’t stop either this situation or your hypothetical situation from being an inconvenience.

      Reply
  16. Hungry For More

    I went through the same thing with my last job! After working there and being miserable for three years, I was so happy to accept a new position and quit. My boss was shocked when I let her know and immediately started asking ‘Is there something wrong, something we can fix to make you stay? You never told me you were unhappy and looking to leave’.

    And I’d been given a new work assignment too that I’d tried to deflect without saying that I was about to leave. I was even asked if that new assignment was the reason I was leaving. It wasn’t but it was definitely and indicator of how things were going when I said I was already drowning in work and needed help, and yet they wanted to give me more to do.

    It’s a normal reaction, I bet mainly because the boss starts dreading the upcoming hiring process. Leave with you head held high!

    Reply
    1. CM

      Me too — utter shock and “I wish you had said something!” from the boss. Um. A year earlier, I had told him very directly that I wanted to cut back on my hours and focus on a different practice area. Throughout the year, he was really good about checking in, and I would frequently say I was feeling overwhelmed, not sleeping, and wanted to focus more on my desired practice area but still getting lots of unrelated assignments. I think it was a combination of me saying this in a tone of, “Well, I’m still having these issues, but Projects X and Y are going really well” (because I didn’t want to be constantly complaining and I wanted to keep my job!) and him hearing all of my complaints as things that were normal. Which is ultimately why I ended up leaving — I realized my issues were rooted in the culture and business model of the organization, which weren’t going to change.

      Anyway, to give the OP’s boss’s actions the most charitable interpretation possible, maybe after sleeping on it the boss realized that what she said was unfair. People blurt out all kinds of things in the moment.

      Reply
    2. hbc

      Oh, yes, that conversation. “No, it wasn’t about the most recent straw on the camel’s back, but the fact that you think it might be that one straw rather than the bales of hay I’ve complained about over the years makes me want to resign again on principle.”

      Reply
  17. CMDRBNA

    Also, employers? It’s a best practice to not lie to people when interviewing them. I took a job at a federal agency after making it very clear that I wanted a flexible schedule (as in, an early-in, early-out schedule) so I could continue volunteer work I was doing, was told that it wasn’t a problem and the office had flex time, and after I started was old, OH, yeah, sorry, we didn’t actually mean that, and even leaving thirty minutes early one day a week will require a memo from the director.

    I quit six months later.

    Reply
      1. CMDRBNA

        I found out that the agency had stopped allowing people in the office who were in the same role to participate in interviewing new candidates, because they were honest about the job and so a lot of people turned it down. The agency tried to make the work seem less admin-y than it was, and ended up hiring people who felt angry and tricked about the position being misrepresented (i.e., talking up opportunities for travel when actually only a handful of employees got to travel and then generally only once a year).

        They were really shooting themselves in the foot; I’m sure they would still have been able to fill the positions if they were honest, and with people who were okay with a super boring admin job with a lot of down time.

        Reply
        1. nonymous

          especially in a federal agency! that sounds like a great job for someone who wants to coast into their pension.

          Reply
    1. Wicked Odd

      Yeah, a family member had to deal with the same bait and switch. The role was supposed to be part time… and they were only being paid part time!

      Reply
    2. Oxford Coma

      I was told flex time is totally fine, as long as you stay within core hours and maintain a consistent schedule M-F. Yet, directors and managers tend to prefer later hours, and they have the power to require my presence at their meetings. I’m up to three days a week of super-late meetings, despite starting at Rooster O’Clock. (And no, I can’t just come in late those days, because Consistent Schedule.) It’s definitely bait and switch.

      Reply
  18. Not Tom, just Petty

    To extrapolate from the conversation that resulted after you resigned:
    Your boss is taking this as a personal affront. He is unreasonably invested in the idea that his employees belong to him. I think if you had told your boss that the situation was misrepresented and you weren’t happy you would not have gotten the big project; I think you would have been shut out. Based on his reaction…specifically that he would not have given you a good assignment if he’d know you were looking for a job not even interviewing. “If I’d known you were looking around I would have treated you differently.”
    Which is why you didn’t tell him.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      Yeah, it’s hard, but sometimes you have to accept that people are going to be mildly irked at you, and there’s not much you can do about it, and you don’t need to change your decisions because of it. You worked for less than a year, of course the boss is irked. Might it hurt your reference, if you needed one from him? Perhaps. But ultimately you have to do what’s best for you in your career, even if it ruffles a few feathers.

      Reply
      1. Not Tom, just Petty

        This is it.
        No, LW did nothing wrong. LW didn’t like aspects of the job enough to look for another job. It happens. Boss is frustrated because now the whole hiring process starts again. It happens.

        Reply
    2. MsSolo

      As I said above, sometimes what “sooner” really means is “never”. No amount of soon will take the sting off when you’ve taken it as a personal affront, but you know you shouldn’t take it personally so you try and turn it back on the other person, and “sooner” is the only thing you can think of that they could have done differently. Manage my pain for me, employee!

      Reply
  19. Sour Grapes

    I would also like to point out that you’ve only been there for 6 months… How much longer of notice were you supposed to give them? I would think that if you had been there years and things had changed in a way you didn’t like, you could have maybe had the opportunity to be more vocal about speaking up, but with such a short tenure you haven’t been able to see how they react long term when people bring up stuff like this as well as having the potential to be marked as a “complainer” right off the bat. How many times have we been annoyed when an employee gets hired and then immediately wants to change everything fundamental about the job without fully understanding what that entails? So I 100% think you did the right thing and shouldn’t feel bad about any of the other guilt and bad feelings he’s trying to lay on you.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      Although to be fair, the person who leaves after six months or so is the most burdensome of all for the org – as you’ve gone through all the work of hiring someone, on-boarding them, and training them up to speed: they quit just as your efforts are about to start paying off. If someone who leaves right away, at least you didn’t sink a bunch of time in. After a year or two you might figure you got your money’s worth. But for the first six months the employee is often not very useful at all, they are often more of an energy sink.

      I’m not saying OP did anything wrong, but most bosses are going to be mildly irked about a new employee who quits in this time-frame. I’d say let it roll of your back.

      Reply
      1. Autumnheart

        Well, I had a job several years ago where I was hired (as a FTE), on-boarded, trained, and then laid off 4 months after being hired (which itself took ages, they called and said they wanted a second interview over a month after the first). I propose that my experience balance the universal scales with LW’s.

        Reply
      2. Sour Grapes

        I do agree that is a valid point – it’s a tough line to draw! But ultimately, I think the main thing to realize is that people leave, and people leave at inopportune times, and it’s just a cost of doing business. It’s annoying to the boss, sure, but it’s a business decision and not something that the LW is making *at* him. Mildly irked – totally. But him being upset and asking for the LW to have done all these things different (including turning down a good assignment he *insisted* they take) is just a little bit extreme.

        Reply
    2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

      This is spot on! It often takes months or even a year or more to fully understand the culture, know what is change-able and what is set in stone, and what issues are safe to bring up and to whom. Maybe I’m biased because the extensive travel I do in my job is 100% required and necessary, but I couldn’t imagine a new hire informing their team/boss that they wouldn’t be doing the expected amount of travel. I can see how it might be possible to substitute video chats/conference calls/etc in place of some of the travel for a well-established employee, but I honestly couldn’t imagine a new hire getting that same level of accommodation, unless 1) they were extremely high up the org chart, or 2) accommodations were necessary for a health or ADA related reason. If I were in the OP’s shoes I would have done the same thing, because requesting to change a major piece of my job would be far more harmful to my career than finding a better-fitting role.

      Reply
      1. Sour Grapes

        Yes, totally! And I think that thoughtful hiring and the employer doing due diligence to thoroughly explain the job and both the positives and negatives of it will help to prevent that on their end. Like, as they are international and there ends up being tons of travel or weird hours to connect with other offices, that’s all something that should be explicitly stated up front to good candidates. And if there is something that is more standard through your industry, asking up front like the LW did will help to show them that certain things will be a deal breaker. Maybe this will help LW’s boss/company get better aligned internally about hiring candidates and how the recruiters present the job!

        Reply
        1. Decima Dewey

          The employer has to make it clear what travel is required. There’s a difference between “not that often” and “you’ll be expected to go to each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties each calendar month.”

          Reply
  20. Valegro

    Yeah, my boss is a horrible manager and also the owner of the company. About half of the small, but primary staff is planning to leave as soon as possible. We can’t tell the boss why because it won’t change anything, but they will seem blindsided by it. If everyone leaves at once it will be a disaster, but we won’t feel bad at all considering how we’re treated and how many hours we’re expected to work on salary (including on weekends we’re off and there is assigned staff coverage).

    Reply
  21. TeacherNerd

    I have a slightly different take on this. LW, I can absolutely understand why you’re frustrated in how the job was misrepresented, and clearly you should look for work that suits you more. But I’m also a bit more sympathetic to the boss, who really may not have known that this was an issue (and, as many others have said, making him aware of what the recruiter mentioned would be a kindness). There may have been nothing your boss could have done about the situation, but it may also have been a kindness on your part to tell him why you’re struggling, at least in the vein of, “When I was hired, I was told X, but I’ve discovered that this is not the case. I’m really unhappy with this.”

    I’m sure I’ll hear a lot about this being wrong, which is fine; I simply have a different take. :-) And many of us would handle things differently, but IF this happens again in the future, I wonder about bringing this up sooner. (I’m chalking the boss’ reaction up to his extreme surprise.)

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      I feel like there might be a middle ground here, where OP could mention at least ONCE that the situation was not quite what she expected, or not quite what she hoped, without going to far as “I’m really unhappy about this,” which to me has the implication that OP is likely to leave. It can take a year to get a good job sometimes so I’m sympathetic to why OP wouldn’t want to raise that suspicion unnecessarily. But could you say at an early check-in, “I’m surprised this job is split between two offices, to be honest that wasn’t my understanding of the position based on my interview and it makes it hard to X or Y.” ?

      Reply
      1. LBK

        Yeah, I agree – I can see the boss feeling like it would’ve been nice for her to at least mention it. Sure, it might seem apparent that there’s no way to get around it and if you truly just do not ever want to do any work on a team that involves remote workers for whatever reason, then so be it. But you never know until you ask.

        Reply
    2. rockandhardplace

      I totally see your perspective – if the company is big enough to reassign OP to a different role maybe. But the problem is that if travel/foreign office is *integral* to the job and that is what the OP is unhappy with, then what is a boss supposed to do with that? It’s like a receptionist being told she wouldn’t have to do much in-person greeting, just phones, but then turns out there’s a lot of visitors to the office. What do you do with a receptionist who doesn’t want to deal with people in person? That’s just part of the job and if you don’t like it, you’re not a fit for that role.

      If there was a chance that the boss *could* do something about it, then yes, the better option would have been to tell him. But its SUPER risky if there’s nothing the boss can do, because then he’s left with an employee that’s not a fit for the role and OP could have found himself without work.

      Reply
      1. CM

        Yes, exactly. It’s only useful to raise an issue if there’s something your boss can realistically do about it. Otherwise, you’re basically telling your boss, “I am unhappy with the basic requirements of this job,” and that is not good for your performance reviews and job security.

        Reply
    3. Bea

      But the rub is not knowing a boss very well and knowing how they take a push back of “this isn’t in my job duties and I wasn’t aware I would need to do it.”

      You put yourself at a huge disadvantage and your butt hangs out, now the boss gets the upper hand knowing you’re not happy. Suddenly replacing you with someone more compliant and a “team player” pops into their mind.

      So yeah, I get how the boss feels but you can’t put that kind of boulder on the shoulders of someone who decides to take care of their needs first. Her income stream and career is more important to her than a boss who maybe cares enough to shift and reorganize duties and such.

      Reply
    4. Akcipitrokulo

      I can see that… maybe mentioning to boss once could have been a good idea – but, and it’s a big but, there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t have lead to her being laid off earlier.

      And assuming that hiring manager isn’t being kept in dark by internal recruiter isn’t unreasonable! (My suspicion is that boss did know what had been said).

      So… maybe.

      Certainly telling him now may help. Or at least give an indication so it doesn’t happen to next candidate.

      Reply
      1. LBK

        I’m not seeing anything in the letter suggesting layoffs were imminent? Seems like a weird thing to be concerned about.

        Reply
        1. Akcipitrokulo

          Not really… even if not losing job, certainly getting less prestigious projects is a risk if boss thinks you’re unhappy and not likely to stay.

          Reply
          1. LBK

            Most normal managers are not going to assume that one discussion of an issue you’re having means you’re headed out the door and thus start pushing you out. Employees voicing concerns about their workplace is an extremely standard part of management.

            Reply
        2. rockandhardplace

          maybe lay off more in the sense of the boss preemptively looking for a replacement that is more of a fit for the situation, knowing the OP is unhappy and likely searching, and then letting the OP go once they found someone, which means OP could have been out of work sooner than desired. Also agree with Akcipitrokulo that it could just make for an awkward environment for the OP.

          Reply
            1. rockandhardplace

              well, sometimes employers are “nice” and lay you off rather than firing you in these types of situations #notspeakingfromexperienceatall ;-)

              Reply
        3. Michaela Westen

          There are workplaces where people get fired for small things or nothing. Of course OP didn’t want to take that risk!

          Reply
          1. LBK

            They are a tiny minority and if the OP had had no evidence up to that point that her manager was that unreasonable, it would be a weirdly paranoid position to take.

            Reply
            1. Michaela Westen

              I don’t agree. I’ve had many jobs where people were fired for little or no reason, and few where firings were fair. Anyone who has had or seen others have these experiences would be cautious.
              Have I mentioned the time I worked at a company for two years doing brilliant work no one else there could do, got excellent reviews… then my manager retired and was replaced by a man who was too stupid to understand what I was doing at the same time the creepy file clerk who had eyes for me transferred into my group. Guess what happened when I asked my new boss for help with the file clerk’s inappropriate behavior.
              Caution is justified at all times!

              Reply
            2. JSPA

              Whether they are a tiny minority, a significant minority, or even a majority, depends dramatically on the field, pay grade, and the laws of the state (or country). (It’s also something people in your friend group may not be forthcoming about, i.e. the sort of thing that seems freakishly unusual until it happens to you, and then you start looking for it, and finding it, all over).

              Reply
    5. mf

      The boss’s disappointment is understandable.

      But: An employee can quit at any time for any reason. You aren’t obligated to tell your employer you’re struggling beforehand unless you want to and/or are hoping your boss can fix the situation.

      Reply
    6. NoCoffeeNoWork

      This was my take on it as well. I don’t think you necessarily have to tell someone you’re unhappy before you give notice, but being given incorrect information during the hiring process feels like a different story.
      I wonder what was the OP’s reaction when they first learned about the additional travel? I’m thinking, just for future reference, this might be a good time to feign confusion and indicate you were told something different by the recruiter. That way it won’t reflect poorly on the employee and may even start the conversation for making alternate arrangements, if possible.

      Reply
    7. Samata

      I do remember working very early in my career at one position in a conservative company with specifically designed hours – no flex time. And if you had to stay for an evening interview or project you just had to stay, you couldn’t use work hours to run “errands” for the company (like post office, etc.) but were expected to do those on your own time and the positions that did this were salary, so OT was never an issue.

      Once in awhile I did not mind, but after multiple episodes of working 6:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and driving to corporate and back in one day (meaning leaving home at 5 a.m. and home around 8:30 p.m.) and being expected to be back in by start time of 7:30 the next day or take vacation I sorta lost it on my boss at a mid-year review meeting.

      He was in a different office and his response was “you should have told me earlier, I can make exception to policy so you aren’t running so thin all the time.” From there life at that company was so much less stressful all around. Sometimes they can do something, sometimes they can’t. But sometimes early on you don’t know what policies/ideas are ok to question or push back on.

      Reply
  22. rockandhardplace

    I’m literally finishing up my self-evaluation for my annual review today, and its SO hard to decide which concerns to list without displaying how totally done I am with this job (BEC for sure). Revealing the terminal issues isn’t going to help because ownership has failed to do anything about them on not-so-soft warnings about the issues and history has shown that its a pretty quick transition out for other people in this situation so I have to hang in there until I can find another job. The sad thing is, the bosses who will feel the most personally slighted by people quitting are probably the ones who you can’t approach with major issues without jeopardizing your job.

    Reply
    1. Environmental Compliance (was Environmental Navy Wife)

      “The sad thing is, the bosses who will feel the most personally slighted by people quitting are probably the ones who you can’t approach with major issues without jeopardizing your job.”

      +100 Or when you do approach them with the issues, they completely wave them off and ignore that it’s even been brought up, to later act super affronted that you’d even think about leaving your job because of the issues you had already brought up. I brought up big issues to Old BossLady in increasingly direct ways, and she flapped her hands at all of them, then decided to cry at me for a week when I put in my two weeks. At that job I had the benefit of being nigh irreplaceable thanks to the workload she dumped onto me, so I had the backing to bring up the issues. It just didn’t result in anything worthwhile enough for me to try to stay.

      Reply
  23. Clarice Fitzpatrick

    I left my last job like this for similar reasons. It was actually my fault for not researching the job better and knowing my own limits for what I could handle at work, but the same principle applied. Potentially I could’ve asked for my duties to change but at the time it was expected that I would perform certain things that I just couldn’t keep up with. It would’ve been really out of sync with the culture at the time to refuse to do them. By the time I left, they were changing up the mandatory aspect of those specific duties but it still seemed very expected.

    When I left, I was also going to school at the time so I cited that and (mental) health issues as my reasons, all of which were true in a way. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it seems like you did the best you could, LW, and it always feels weirdly wrong to ask a company to change something significant about their procedures/duties, especially when you’re a new employee.

    Reply
  24. Bunny Girl

    I needed to see this. I have been at my job for less than a year and I am so incredibly unhappy and job hunting pretty aggressively. My manager misrepresented the job during the interviews (probably to mask the fact that there has been wild turnover and the job is just not good) and I just haven’t felt comfortable raising the issue with her because there isn’t a single part of the job that I like and I know nothing will change. I know that I will totally be blindsiding her because I come to work with a good attitude and I do my job well but you know I feel like it’s kind of on her.

    Reply
    1. Akcipitrokulo

      Absolutely. And coming to work with good attitude isn’t blindsiding or being dishonest… it’s being a professional.

      Good luck finding something else!

      Reply
    2. RottenRedRod

      It is on her – always do what’s right for you and your career. It’s her job to fill your role and be prepared for someone not being there. Not yours. By misrepresenting the job she failed in HER duties, and she shouldn’t be surprised you’re leaving because of that. Maybe she’ll learn not to do that with the next person, so you’re doing her a favor!

      Reply
    3. Akcipitrokulo

      In current job… which I love… had conversation with boss which was basically “I’m planning to move away soon. My preference would be to wfh 3/4 months and travel back 1 week/month for necessary in-person stuff. If that isn’t possible, then giving you early heads up that once I’ve found a place, will probably be leaving July/August”.

      Now the fact I can have that conversation means I am INCREDIBLY fortunate!

      If I had been at pretty much any of my previous jobs, I would have told them why I was leaving as I handed in my notice. There has to be an extreme level of trust to be open.

      And you don’t have it.

      So do what is right for you :D

      Reply
    4. Dust Bunny

      “Wild turnover” is all the information they need that the job blows chunks and they can reasonably expect all further hires to bail in short order if they can’t or won’t do anything to change the situation. So, yes, they will *think* you’ve blindsided them, but you haven’t, really, if they weren’t in denial.

      Reply
      1. Detective Amy Santiago

        I think one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from reading this blog is to ask why a position is open during an interview.

        I ended up having interviews for two similar positions in different departments of the same organization. The first one (which is the one I ended up accepting), they were hiring 2 people because the workload had increased and they needed to redistribute it. The second one, they said they were filling a position that someone left.

        Based on the questions they asked me during the interview for the 2nd, I have a pretty good idea of why that person left and I was very honest with my answers because I could tell the interview was more about a cultural fit than my skills.

        Reply
    5. Bea

      She shouldn’t be blindsided if the job has so much turnover. We have those spots as well, even when a great person lands in our laps and we try our best to get them to stay, if a job sucks they’ll leave at some point and it’s whenever works for them. Rarely do people seriously struggle along and stick it out in our experience, those will just ghost or drop their things on the bosses desk while he’s out of his office with a dear John letter. The solid ones put in their best effort and happy face like you do and then leave when they have something else lined up.

      Reply
    6. CM

      Bunny Girl, I think you’re right, but you should consider raising the issue when you tell her you are leaving.

      Reply
      1. Bunny Girl

        I actually definitely plan on talking to H.R. about it! My boss actually is another huge reason why I am leaving. She is very difficult to work with (to the point that other people in the office ask how I’ve managed to work with her), and she is very petty. I know she will have a very ugly reaction to my resignation and not be very receptive. I do absolutely love our H.R. department and feel very comfortable talking to her.

        Reply
  25. Akcipitrokulo

    So one of my old jobs told me they were moving closer to my home (they were about an hour from London, I was further out), then moved a little further away from me, forgot to pay me one month, treated me like shit over expressing breatmilk, refused to alter my non-customer facing role’s hours to arrive and leave five minutes early even after I explained change would mean a difference of an hour arriving at home, told me at every single sprint planning meeting that I didn’t need that much time because “you’re just checking it works”… and then annoubced they were moving into central London.

    And were actually surprised when I quit!

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      I think Alison has said that even employees who have received many warnings are often shocked – shocked, I tell you – to be fired. I think the corollary to this is that many employers are willfully blind to the likelihood of an unhappy employee quitting.

      Reply
      1. Akcipitrokulo

        Yep. This was toxic job. I think because I kept a good attitude and kept doing a good job, they thought everything was fine, even when I *told* them what I needed and was ignored.

        Reply
      2. Akcipitrokulo

        Also the move was an effective 4K pay cut due to increased travel expenses. I asked if there would be any increase to reflect London wages vs outside London wages and… they didn’t *quite* laugh in my face…

        But I told them straight out I cannot afford the travel… and they still were surprised.

        Seriously?!?!?

        Reply
    2. Delphine

      A friend’s boss was similarly surprised when she left a new job after six months because (among many other things) the company was dragging its feet getting her set up with health insurance. They told her it would be set up on day one and six months in there was no sign it was ever going to happen. My friend was on medication that was incredibly expensive without insurance, and she mentioned this repeatedly, but they always came back with a, “We’re working on it.” When she turned in her resignation they were absolutely boggled and wanted to know if they could do anything to encourage her to stay. (Funnily enough, two months after she quit she got a notice from a health insurance company that she had been signed up with them…by the ex-employer.)

      Reply
  26. RottenRedRod

    When I told my narcissistic former boss I was leaving the city and resigning in several months, he went ballistic and took it REALLY personally, and was concerned about how it affected HIM. Nevermind that my wife and I were in a financially untenable position and really unhappy, and this was our only chance to dig ourselves out and start again! He was actually angry about how I had performed very well at a recent meeting and trade show, accusing me of “grandstanding” – what should I have done, been shitty instead? It absolutely killed my motivation to help him through the transition, and in the end I left one day 2 months before I had planned to actually resign because I was sick of his abusive behavior and outbursts. That ended up being a good idea anyway because the move was much more stressful than we thought it would be.

    Reply
  27. MLB

    If the company misrepresented themselves when you specifically asked about travel and interaction with employees overseas, I would not expect them to make any changes if you expressed this to your boss. Don’t sweat it – you did nothing wrong.

    Reply
    1. Happy Lurker

      Yup.
      Just the fact that the manager has a knee jerk comment/reaction that was not professional means the OP read her situation correctly and acted appropriately.

      Best of luck in your new job!

      Reply
  28. International Staff

    Eep. I am in this situation. Job was not represented truthfully and my job description looks nothing like my day to day activities. I was brought onto a team that is flailing and my supervisor doesn’t speak our working language at all, so I translate literally everything. There’s an underperformer that I’m covering for, work that is way above my paygrade. My high level director and I are having a check in call tomorrow. The advice I’ve gotten in preparation is: your office leadership isn’t doing anything to help you out, so you should be honest with her. Rewrite your job description. Submit it for formal approval. Make sure this stuff is documented. My supervisor is on board with the rewrite and formalization, but I still feel like there’s a lot of risk when I talk to this director-level person. I could get told that this is par for the course and the burden I have to bear as a bilingual person. The translation and covering for that other guy are things that aren’t fixable, and I just don’t know how long I can support it. Wish me luck and fingers crossed that something will come out of this call tomorrow!

    Reply
      1. International Staff

        Yes and no. It’s assumed that, as a native English speaker, I’ll do some translations. Some translations meaning, a couple page document here and there, checking the English on someone else’s writing, etc. My translation work load is beyond that, which often puts people on the quick road to burn out and unhappiness. Any meeting with HQ, partner, donor, I have to be there to translate for my supervisor. Any report, paperwork, documentation, contract, email done in English, I have to translate for my supervisor/edit his work/sometimes coordinate a whole writing process in the foreign language and then translate/write the outcome in English. This is typically Project Director level stuff (attending these meetings and writing these documents), and I am but a lowly entry-level person. Typically, a Project Director would speak and write English at a very high level so that these communications can go smoothly. Unfortunately, no matter how much we prepare for meetings, we often come across as unsure/unprepared/underperforming because I have to stop the meeting to translate for my boss, who then has to respond, and then I translate what he says back.

        Reply
  29. Jady

    Agreed, there’s no obligation for an employee to give heads up, just as there’s no obligation for a company to give a heads up when you’re about to be laid off suddenly. Two way street.

    That being said, I do think it’s best to raise an issue at least once (unless you have some insane boss), especially since you were lied to by the recruiter in this situation. “I was told by the recruiter I would not be traveling much, so I wanted to ask is this level of travel normal?”

    Something along those lines is showing there is a concern (at minimum a problem about the recruiter/company communication), but it’s also prying into the long term expectations of the job.

    Maybe there could have been a solution. Maybe not. But when possible it’s at least worth asking, in my opinion.

    Reply
    1. MissDissplaced

      I’m in this camp in regard to the OP. If the manager seemed a reasonable sort, it may have been worthwhile to bring this up around the 60 or 90 day point, which are typical checkpoints for new hires.
      It’s possible the manager had power to change some things. But maybe not.

      Reply
  30. Anon for this post

    My current employer pulled a bait and switch on me. I have stuck it out for nearly three years to get my SO through school. I am now just waiting on a job offer to give two weeks notice and escape this mess. My employer will act exactly the way that yours did LW (they have treated other leaving employees this way). I feel your pain.

    Reply
      1. Anon for this post

        I expect to get a job offer next week. I am one of three finalists for two positions, and was told that an offer will be coming assuming that reference checks and background checks come back good. (they will) So now I’m just in a waiting place.

        Reply
  31. Yams

    This reminds me of the time I left a job with a one week notice, my boss was livid on my last day. He wanted me to work Saturday and Sunday of my last week and I said eff that and left early on Friday. He was livid. He screamed a lot after I left and to this day I’m persona non-grata at that department. Thankfully he can’t do much since I moved on to a customer of that company.

    Honestly, had he not been such a butt I would have given him way more time. It was super inconvenient timing from him though, that Friday was the go-live of a huge project in which I had a huge part to play, but though luck, the pay was awful and I was beyond exhausted from being overworked. He hired three people to fill my position!

    Reply
    1. Detective Amy Santiago

      One week notice and your last day was the go live of a project you were heavily involved in?

      Sounds like your boss was right to be upset. You didn’t handle that situation great.

      Reply
      1. Yams

        I warned him I was exhausted from handling about half the workload for the department, three months prior to me actually quitting. When they offered me a 50% raise with the condition that I start one week later I did not hesitate.

        This was also the boss who literally sabotaged my work and threw me under the bus many times. I had little to no desire to lose such a good opportunity to make his life easier. This was also the boss who tried to sue someone for work abandonment, I literally had to go behind his back to HR to get my resignation signed to avoid this particular trap of his. He really liked to mess with anyone who dared quit.

        I couldn’t figure out how to put all of that in without sounding like I still bitter.

        Reply
        1. Bea

          Sued for work abandonment? Is this because of employment contracts? My American self is clutching my pearls thinking of what shht show that process is to get away from a psychopath of a boss.

          Reply
          1. Yams

            Yeap. In my country basically everyone has a contract.
            It’s actually not that bad, in that case it was used as an intimidation tactic to make it so that people would be hesitant to quit, he got trounced by the mediators and had to pay lawyer fees and everything since he didn’t actually have a case. In my case I got my resignation date stamped by HR, the other girl just texted the boss and that was enough for the mediators to side with her.
            For abandonment you literally have to drop off the face of the earth, and there are exceptions for extenuating circumstances.

            Reply
            1. Bea

              Ah okay, as long as a text is enough that makes me feel better.

              Work abandonment here just means you’re no call/no show for 3 days and then you’re fired and not eligible for unemployment.

              Reply
      2. The New Wanderer

        Sounds like the boss reaped what he sowed. Putting 3x the workload on a single person for months and expecting them to work themselves into ill health rather than staff up properly (until forced to), no one should be surprised when the tent pole collapses.

        Reply
        1. Yams

          That actually went on from October to February, by March I had already mentally checked out and basically left the office at 430 sharp everyday and let the chips fall where they may.
          Funny story, once I went on vacation two days and my job duties got split among three people. They basically cried with happiness when I arrived because they could not take the work load! They literally had to eat at their desks for two days and work OT because it was just so overwhelming.

          Reply
  32. Sled Dog Mama

    In my previous job I worked for a large company, after I had been there several years I was offered an assignment that changed my position to 50% travel, not great but boss really wanted me to take it because it would develop my skills (and I was the only person who wasn’t covering a FTE). 18 months later the primary contract I worked on ended, I spent the six months prior to that bugging my boss about what was next for me and got crickets. During this time boss for secondary site changed and I asked her a couple of times what was next and still crickets. My primary boss was encouraging me to look for other things “just in case” (found out later he was also being pushed out of management at this time so wasn’t really able to advocate for me). So with 3 months to go in the primary contract I started applying to other things. Within a month I had found a new position and I put in my notice, I called primary boss and he was super happy for me and since he had been a reference he had a very good idea that I was getting an offer and might be resigning. Boss at secondary site told me she was “disappointed and caught off guard.” I wanted to reply that she’d been boss for approximately 2 months and I had met and talked with her for a total of 5 minutes in that time (that company communicated a lot via e-mail), I held my tongue.
    All of this to say that even when a boss should see the writing on the wall (someone asking “hey the contract that pays 50% of my salary is going away, what are you planning to transition me to?” and getting no answer) sometimes they don’t.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      Yeah companies underestimate how crucial certainty is to morale. We had something similar here (the funding for my position coming to an end) and I immediately started looking because nobody had a straight answer for me about the situation. It has actually ended up being fine, but having started looking I will leave if I can get a better offer.

      Reply
  33. HS Teacher

    Employers are really good at making employees feel guilty when they leave. Yet when they decide it’s not working out, they don’t give us the same courtesy. Giving two weeks notice is not blind siding an employer. If you’d quit on the spot I could see his reaction being severe. You gave the standard notice and shouldn’t feel bad about leaving a job that wasn’t as described.

    Reply
    1. LBK

      A good employer does extend that courtesy, though, by giving you feedback and coaching to help you improve, and putting you on a PIP if things get dire. If a manager’s doing their job well, an employee should never feel blindsided by a firing.

      The blindsiding element isn’t giving two weeks notice vs quitting on the spot, it’s never raising the issues that led to the OP quitting in order to give the manager a chance to work on them. In that same way, it would be blindsiding an employee to fire them without ever telling them you’re unsatisfied with their performance to allow them time to improve.

      It’s debatable as to whether the OP owed that to the manager in this case (or whether an employee ever owes that to their manager), but I don’t think it’s as simple as “you gave the standard notice period so you’re in the clear.”

      Reply
      1. Jady

        Thing is I’ve never heard of a “PIP” or anything like it outside of this website. Everywhere I know if – if you’ve gotten to the point you need a PIP, you’re already fired or “laid off”.

        Reply
        1. LBK

          Huh…well I have multiple coworkers and friends who’ve been put on them, so I don’t know what to tell you. They are real, Alison did not invent them.

          Reply
          1. Jessie the First (or second)

            I doubt Jady was questioning their very existence – just making that point that some employers do not use PIPs, they simply fire, enough that someone like Jady didn’t even know PIPs were a thing. Which doesn’t really contradict what you were saying – you said good employers use them. Sadly, not all employers are good employers. If someone’s experience has been only with *not* good employers, I can see why they would act much more cautiously when it comes to communicating unhappiness with a boss.

            Reply
            1. LBK

              Of course – I think I was just trying to draw a parallel between what a good employee would do and what a good employer would do. People often say “well companies do X, so it’s okay for me to do X,” which feels like settling for the lowest common denominator to me. Certainly if your specific company doesn’t do X you shouldn’t either, but even if you do work for a bad company I think it behooves you to try to be better than them.

              Reply
        2. Jennifer Thneed

          It might be a size-of-company thing? I first saw it when I was working for Large Banking Company.

          Reply
          1. bb-great

            I think that might be a factor. More bureaucratic workplaces are more likely to have a formal process like this in place, I think. So big companies but also settings like government or academia.

            Reply
        3. Close Bracket

          That’s how it was at my last employer. A PIP is a way of managing somebody out instead of honestly firing them (laying them off, whatever).

          Reply
          1. LBK

            In many cases a PIP is a required step prior to termination for poor performance. I don’t see how that’s not “honestly” firing them, because the conclusion of the PIP is usually being fired if you don’t meet the targets set out in it. If the person chooses to leave rather than improve, that’s not dishonest, that’s just everything working out for the best for everyone – company doesn’t have to fire the employee and the employee doesn’t have to be out of work.

            Isn’t that preferable to an “honest” firing where you’re out on your ass today, rather than setting out “if you don’t accomplish this in a month, you’ll be fired”? The latter gives you much more time to find a new job.

            Reply
  34. Michaela Westen

    If you haven’t already, tell your boss HR misrepresented the position. Then he can take it up with them. That’s the real problem here.
    Congrats on finding a better job! :)

    Reply
  35. TRex

    The LW did nothing wrong at all, but since the manager reacted in that manner, I agree that it would be good to communicate with a manager or HR (not necessarily the one you gave notice to) how the recruiter represented the role versus the reality of it so the organization can see your perspective. I think 6 months is probably just long enough at an employer to be able to speak to that/provide just basic feedback and give more context around your decision to leave (not that you need to) especially since the work seems project based, and if they were otherwise kind.

    Reply
  36. Pebbles

    I know I’ve told this story before, but it fits this letter: I was working fast food many years ago and at my 18-month review (reviews were every 6 months) I found out I was going to get a raise. Yay, right? Except I knew what brand new hires were being offered and my raise put me at $.05 less than that. I was a good employee who could open, close, be reliable, etc. and I wasn’t worth as much as someone brand new. I asked my manager to at least make it even to what new hires were getting, he said no. I put my 2-week notice in right then and there. He was shocked and on top of that asked me to extend my notice so that I could cover a holiday weekend. I declined and he asked me “don’t you want to leave on a good note?” Managers are going to be clueless regardless of what you say or when you say it.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      Yes, my friend had her salary cut 20% during “a rough period” The company was shocked when she quit as soon as she could. Uhhhhhh …

      Reply
      1. Pebbles

        “We’re going through a rough period so you get to as well!” Um, no thanks.

        And if she had stuck around would the company have restored her salary (or even increased it!) after the rough period was over? I bet not…

        Reply
    2. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms

      I get so frustrated on your behalf every time I read your story, but the comeuppance at the end fills me with such vicarious satisfaction!

      Reply
      1. Pebbles

        Thank you! To further the comeuppance part, about a month later I had a new job doing overnight stock at Big Box Retailer that paid twice as much!

        Reply
  37. Quake Johnson

    Personally, I feel like you’re never really “blindsiding” your employer as long as you give at least two weeks notice. I’ve had employees who just stopped showing up and when contacted just say “yeah I’m not coming back.” Now those were blindsides.

    I guess it kinda makes sense your boss might feel that way due to the big project you just got put on, but still, it sounds like you were clear about not wanting it, so I still don’t think he’s been “blindsided.”

    Reply
    1. Employers Are Weird

      The, “Hey, I’m leaving!” can seemly come out of nowhere. I’m not sure why it’s such a surprise given the nature of at-will employment, but eh.

      I’d been working two months when I got an offer from a company I’d interviewed with that would double my salary. My boss was shocked and didn’t speak to me about it…ever. I just left my fob and keys with the receptionist on my last day. I thought I was being nice by giving them three weeks notice, offering to help them find a replacement, and working until the Friday before I started my new gig.

      Strange behavior from the place that secretly hired someone to replace another employee and likely would have had them train that secret hire if they hadn’t found out and quit first.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Reply
  38. Leela

    +1 a million times for it being on the managers to ensure they’re approachable with problems! I’ve definitely had jobs in the past where even the slightest suggestion, question, whatever, would get me a blowback of agitation, rude tone, and unhelpful, incomplete answers. Not saying OP’s manager was like this but there are managers like this and they always seem so genuinely surprised and hurt when I don’t come to them with something (even if I started coming to them with that issue and was wholly shut down!).
    Employees will definitely take cues from how their managers act and it’s really unreasonable to expect that they’ll push through multiple red flags that they shouldn’t say anything just because the manager wishes in hindsight that they had, believing all the while that they would have done something and not just shut down the employee like they always had.

    Reply
  39. Beancat

    “And your manager is particularly being unrealistic because sometimes there can be real risk in saying “I’m unhappy with this significant thing about my job.””

    Seconding this. My role was extending into another state with extra work, extra travel, and no bump in salary, and when I expressed concerns about that I was let go the next day. I’m more likely to keep my head down and carry on with a quiet job search in a future case like this.

    Best of luck in your new role, OP!

    Reply
    1. The New Wanderer

      Reactions like that (letting you go ASAP after a reasonable push back) make no sense to me. I mean, I know it happens but how does the company not realize that doing that means they immediately have no one to do that role’s baseline work, much less the extra work they were trying to dump on you. It’s punitive, not rational, and a lose-lose for everyone.

      Reply
      1. Jennifer Thneed

        The tricky part is that companies are made up of people, and people are not very good at being rational.

        Reply
      2. Michaela Westen

        I think it’s more about power – “I’ll show employee who’s boss! How dare they stand up for themselves!” than anything rational. IME it’s fairly common, unfortunately.

        Reply
  40. MaureenD

    I’m going to be “blindsiding” my employer here shortly because my former company came to me to outline all of the changes they had made since I left (addressing many of my pain points), offer me a management role, a lot more money, and more interesting work. Different than LW in the sense that I don’t have any major complaints about my current job and there were no major misrepresentations. Turns out my last job was more interesting, I miss the work, there is one part of my job here I don’t love, and turning down immediate management experience and a significant raise now that the problems have been mostly been fixed or are in the process of being fixed means I will regret not taking the risk of going back. I feel TERRIBLY about it in re: my current job, but I have to do what’s right for me just as the LW did.

    LW, the reaction says loads about your boss. Good luck with your next position!

    Reply
    1. Bea

      Don’t feel bad! When an opportunity is given to you, you’re right to accept it. I would make it clear you’re moving back to your old company and that you’re happy with the job now but yeah money and a manager position. Anyone who doesnt respect that is an idiot.

      I had a time that I accepted a job and my old job begged me to stay with a huge raise. Thankfully though I worked both jobs for a year before finally sailing from the old company but nobody was mad. My new boss accepted that I could only be part time for a year and since he was finding it hard AF to get someone who could hang he took what he got.

      Reply
  41. AeroEngineer

    I needed to hear this today, good letter timing! :)

    You definitely didn’t do anything wrong OP. More of us are in that position (I hope to be lucky enough to be able to move on soon even though I have just hit my 6 month mark).

    Reply
  42. Starbucks Girl

    I once had a manager explain to my department that she wanted her employees to be open with her if they were struggling, unhappy, or looking to leave so that she could provide support and assist with the transition. The offer seemed to come from a place of kindness. Well, it turned out that “assisting with the transition” meant firing people, because that is exactly what she did once someone started being being open and honest with her about their concerns. Granted, she was not a particularly good manager, but it made me realize that in the end managers have to look out for themselves and the company. Managers who are tone-deaf to morale might not see how letting someone go who has expressed dissatisfaction would be a bad thing, because in their mind the best thing is to get someone in that position ASAP who is a better fit.

    You have to look out for yourself. If looking out for yourself means leaving your job without giving more than two weeks notice to ensure that you will continue to have a paycheck, then that’s what you have to do. This is just the course of business, and your manager has no right to try and convince you otherwise.

    Reply
  43. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

    This is so timely, as I feel like I’m in exactly the same position as the OP! I’ve been in my role for a little under a year and performing extremely well, but I’m terribly unhappy with the culture at the organization and especially in the surrounding community (I moved from a large city to a small, rural, isolated town for this job). I’ve mentioned some of the things I’m unhappy with to my boss, and most of them are things he can’t change: low salary, the difficult adjustment to the new town, and some things about his management style (which, to his credit, he agreed to try and address). My boss adores me and I can tell that he’s terrified I will leave, so part of me wants to give him a head’s up that I’m planning to leave by the end of July (or sooner if I can find a job – I have a second interview Monday, wish me luck!).

    We are in the process now of setting goals and objectives for the next fiscal year, so I feel guilty that I’ll be setting goals and then abandoning them or leaving them to my replacement. However, whenever I think about telling him that I’m not planning to stay, I hear Alison’s warning to just continue as if I don’t have a new job until I’ve accepted an offer, because who knows how long my job search will take.

    All that said, I can see both sides of the issue; OP is absolutely justified in giving notice without addressing issues that can’t be fixed, but her boss is understandably disappointed.

    Reply
    1. Sour Grapes

      Well, honestly I think that you basically *have* alerted your boss to the fact that you’ll be leaving! I mean, if someone came to me and said how they were unhappy with fundamental things, then yeah it’s not going to be a surprise to your boss. Even if it was in passing – if people are aware that this town and company aren’t your forever dream home, deep down they realize you’ll be moving on. He’ll totally be bummed about it, but it’s not going to come out of the blue! I’ve had employees do that as well – basically say how they’re needing more money, etc., and other things that were out of my control, and so when they inevitably found a new position it wasn’t as big of shock. And don’t worry about setting goals up – if anything, they’ll be useful to your replacement to determine their future goals and you’ll help shape how your company will go in the future! At least that’s how I look at it.

      Reply
  44. Serin

    A manager who says “You blindsided me” is like a person with a crush you says “You led me on.”

    Both of them translate to “I wanted a thing, so how dare you not want it too?”

    Reply
  45. Nicole

    You took the job assuming “A” after being told “A” was the case, and then found out that in reality it’s “B.” I’m sure you would have rejected the offer if “B” had been presented up front. No guilt on you, OP.

    Reply
  46. Jim

    Unhappy with your job? That’s a firing. Doing something about it by finding a better job? Unacceptable.

    That’s Manager Logic (TM)

    Reply
  47. the OP

    Hey all,

    Thank you Alison for answering my question! It’s very reassuring to hear I wasn’t unprofessional.

    To the commenters who asked – yes, I did let my manager know about the recruiter’s representation of the job. The recruiter was in the HR department, not the one I was joining, so I bet that’s why they made this accidental misrepresentation. And I didn’t want to continue the job because of a mix of travel expectations and things moving more slowly due to time differences.

    Reply
    1. Clarice Fitzpatrick

      It definitely sucks that this happened but congrats on your new job and good luck! Hopefully they’ll be able to fix things on their end to recruit more compatible candidates.

      Reply
  48. Plague of frogs

    My friend was unhappy at his job for two years. He was very vocal about it. He even took a several month LOA because it was causing him so much stress. His boss and grand boss promised to fix the issues he brought up before he got back from the LOA. They didn’t. He got back, worked a few more months, and then gave his two month notice (yes, two months–he was really trying to be considerate).

    They accused him of blindsiding them.

    They offered him more money to stay (which at that point was a bit of insult). When he stuck to his guns, his boss got furious and said he wouldn’t be a reference for him. He later took that back when he calmed down, but at that point the relationship was ruined.

    Reply
  49. Chocolate Gumdrops

    It was good to read this and the related post Alison linked to on “are you obligated to speak up when you’re unhappy at work?” While OP was at her job for 6 months, I’ve been at my job almost 6 years and have just realized it’s time for me to leave. In moments in the past, I’ve raised some (not all!) the issues I had, and some were addressed, some were promised to be addressed, and some were met with “that’s just the way it is.” I had to fight to get raises and a title change, most of which happened because they were afraid I’d leave a few years ago. I genuinely like the people I work with, including the head partners, but ultimately, I’ve realized I hate the hours and want to transition out of my job function to something new. We’re a law firm so it feels ridiculous to even ask to work 9-5. I like Alison’s description of the “Why Bother factor (meaning that there might be plenty of other problems and addressing a few will still leave you in a cesspool of dysfunction, so why bother)” because I feel like I’m mentally exhausted by it all here and think why go through the other of bringing up my complaints and asking for a huge change. So yeah, I’m job searching and maybe they’ll get a little more than 2 weeks notice but probably not.

    Reply
  50. Bookworm

    Been there. Left my most recent position in this way, although the frustration was mutual. I hadn’t explicitly stated it but it had been building up for awhile.

    Some places won’t take it well, no matter how well you plan or how nicely/politely/gently you do it. Your situation sounds a wee bit more complex due to a recruiter being involved and that may be something that’s really down to the recruiter either not understanding or truly misrepresenting the job. I’m sorry you went through that. Hope you move on to better and a much happier situation.

    Reply
  51. LadyCop

    Can we stop with this magical “one year” thing. I know Alison has addressed it before, but seriously, if it held any sort of power, it wouldn’t be weird to say you’ve had 10 different jobs that you held for exactly one year each… The whole picture is what’s important, and there’s nothing about one year that makes it suddenly “safe” to leave a job.

    Reply
  52. Indie

    So it’s unprofessional for a subordinate to not communicate the job is not what they want? But it’s totally fine for bosses, to drop the ball when communicating job fitness?

    OP, he wants you to do what he has more power to achieve. He’s naive at best and pouty at worst.

    Reply
  53. PizzaSquared

    It’s been mentioned in a few subcomments, but just to address it at the top level: I think an important lesson here is to not take the recruiter’s word for something so important. Even when they have the best intentions, my experience is that most recruiters are not completely plugged into all the details of every role they are hiring for. They are often hiring for a bunch of different roles in different departments, and they aren’t in the day-to-day weeds of the work so they don’t find out when things change. They know what qualifications the hiring manager is looking for, and they should be able to answer general questions. But for detailed information on what the job will be like, you really want to talk directly to the hiring manager (and potentially get additional answers from other team members).

    I agree that the OP didn’t do anything wrong here, but I think they can avoid future similar problems by asking key questions of the hiring manager rather than the recruiter.

    Reply
  54. Product person

    Playing a bit of a devil’s advocate here, it’s also possible that the boss wasn’t told about the concern OP had with travel / cross-country interaction, discussed with the recruiter.

    It would have been better if the OP, after securing an offer (but before accepting it) sat down with the boss and explained how things were not as promised, at least to give the boss a chance to fix things at a point where there was no risk for the OP of exposing his/her intent. If the conversation didn’t solve the issue, no harm done, since the other job remained as “plan B”.

    Reply
    1. Product person

      Ah. I missed the clarification from the OP saying “To the commenters who asked – yes, I did let my manager know about the recruiter’s representation of the job.”

      Reply
  55. Drama Llama

    I have to say, it really sucked having a new employee quit within 1 month because I was definitely blindsided by it. He mentioned some minor issues that wouldn’t have been a big deal for most people to bring up. I didn’t express anything beyond “good luck/thanks for your feedback; if I had known about this I definitely would have tried XYZ solutions to help you out.” But honestly I was frustrated and annoyed on the inside.

    I encourage people to speak up if there is something significant about a new job that you’re not happy with. When an employer has invested into hiring and training, it makes more sense for a reasonable boss to try and resolve any issues rather than risk losing their investment. They sometimes have practical suggestions or solutions that employees might initially assume is not possible. Of course, this doesn’t apply to toxic work cultures where you know feedback isn’t going to be received well. But it’s definitely worth trying if you work with a reasonable boss with common sense.

    Reply
  56. cncx

    yeah, this is one of those dealbreakers that once you have done it you either know if you do or do not want to do it again. i left a job once because my boss was in the US central time zone and i was in Europe. What wound up happening was i had to constantly work late or otherwise be available late in the evenings- which would ahve been fine, but i also had other imperatives in that office where i had to also be available around 830 am. I was basically pulling twelve hour days, with a lot of stress around six or seven PM “just to get one thing out today.” . I have a coworker in my current job who also has a transatlantic team, but she gets to work ten to seven and that works for her life. People with families and extracurriculars can’t always do the late in the evening stuff required with teams in different time zones.
    So in my next job, i specifically took a job that only had offices in the country where i live and gladly worked my 9 to 5. it was like being on permanent vacation. I don’t think this is a rare enough issue, especially in international companies, that HR wouldn’t think it would be a big deal. Team OP.

    Reply
  57. Augie

    I did just the opposite of the OP once. I was only 3 years into my career, naive and honest to a fault. I let the bosses know that I was exploring other opportunities so they wouldn’t send me to a training. A couple weeks later they laid me off and none of my job interviews worked out! It was a hard lesson to learn.

    It took another 4 or 5 years to regain my confidence to speak up about the hard things like salary or other concerns.

    Reply

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