update: giving thanks for a bonus when you hate your job

Remember the reader back in December who wrote in wondering if she needed to thank her bosses for a Christmas bonus when she hated her job and they knew it? She was pretty miserable at work at the time, but here’s her update:

My original question was about my Christmas bonus (but really about how miserable I was) and you posted it on the site. Things did not get better after the holidays – they got worse for me. I was thrown in the middle of a number of circumstances that made me very uncomfortable (awkward, not physical), I was spending a lot of time serving as a go-between at the request of one of my bosses (no problem there), but then was not included (I asked but told it was not needed) in meetings that directly influenced the project, making it hard for me to serve as the go-between, and when that became apparent, was blamed by my boss, for the miscommunication issues. My office is located two blocks from where one of the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon (I felt the blast from my desk) and while I had clients as far away as London calling me and other colleagues reaching out (I was the only one in the office that day – who would go into work on Marathon Monday if given a choice?!), my boss was the only one who didn’t say anything. Oops, I take that back – he texted me at 11 PM that night to ask if I had set the alarm when I left.

Things kept getting worse and I was crankier, more easily upset, and generally angry about my scenario – I wasn’t enjoying anything I was doing outside of the office either, and I was arguing with my family members and a couple friends. It was awful. The good news was that I had been accepted to a graduate school program that was directed towards a complete career shift, so I just needed to stick it out another three months, which seemed like ETERNITY. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it. I gave my two weeks notice in June after what truly was the last straw for me (told I should cancel a doctor’s appointment with less than 24 hours notice for a meeting that I would not be participating in and was not involved in the scheduling, despite it being on the calendar for two months prior, just so I would be in the office – other colleagues would be there, as well, but as office manager, I was expected to greet them) and offered to train my replacement at any point up until August 15th, even if I was no longer working at the company.

Now, I had two bosses and one is the guy I’ve been mentioning above. The other one was (and always has been) a perfectly fine boss to work with. He’s understanding, demanding, expects excellence, and provides flexibility in my style of approaching tasks. After I gave my notice, he approached me and asked me to continue to work for him as his “Project Manager” for the remainder of the summer. He gave me a small raise, paid me on an hourly basis, and allowed me to work remotely 100% of the time. My only regret was not resigning sooner! I worked hard this summer for him, and spent a lot of time running, in yoga class, reading novels, watching movies, and needlepointing (my favorite things to do!) and am now finishing my second week of graduate school, which is already amazing and quite fulfilling. I feel like a new person!

Not to mention, the first boss (the meanie) hired a replacement for me who was a college student who was already planning to study abroad this semester. Since her departure, he has emailed me multiple times requesting information (I trained the replacement before I left and also provided significant documentation for her and her subsequent replacement). It always looks like a last straw – most emails have a thread for a couple days previous with multiple back-and-forths. Every time he sends a request, I point him in the direction of the manual I created and give some info (it’s usually on the fly and I don’t remember the exact name of the document, just the general gist of what it was called) and within 20 minutes the subsequent replacement emails out to say the issue has been solved/dealt with. It’s a terribly redeeming feeling.

{ 28 comments… read them below }

  1. Carrie in Scotland*

    OP, I want to high-five you – I think this is one of the best updates so far *interweb high fives*

  2. A Teacher*

    Congrats…but please stop responding to your old boss…he’s doing it for attention and you’re giving it to him! Gavin DeBecker 101: Don’t respond–nothing at this point.

    1. John B Public*

      I am SO GLAD you left! And yeah, stop responding. Set your email to delete emails from that address. And send a consulting bill to them, at $200 per email response. You more than earned it.

      1. Jillyan*

        I agree! Some posters in the past who have left jobs will ask for a ‘consultant fee’ and the emails usually stop right away. You don’t work for him anymore. Time to cut the cord.

    2. Dang*

      Yep! If he has treated you better, he wouldn’t be facing this.

      Good for you, op. Glad everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Good luck with school!

  3. Mike Hostetler*

    I was going to say what A Teacher said except, if you want to get their attention, help them and send an invoice with it. Bill them — if he can’t read the docs and is asking for your help, send a consulting fee. I’ve had former co-workers do that. You may not get paid, but you won’t get any more questions.

    1. Colette*

      I don’t think it’s right to ask for money retroactively – but it’s reasonable to say “If you’d like me to look into that, my rate is $X”.

      1. Jamie*

        Exactly – and you can’t collect unless there was an agreement for payment ahead of time. It just makes you look petty to bill after the fact and there is no legal standing for payment.

        Although if they want to pay going forward, with everyone knowing the terms, if it’s worth it to the OP and they want to pay it’s not a bad deal.

  4. AdminAnon*

    Wow!! Congratulations! That summer sounds like a dream. Best of luck in grad school and your future endeavors! Also, I agree that it is definitely time to cut the cord. You’ve done your duty (and then some).

  5. Whiny*

    You sound uber emotional and like a pain to have to work with. Sounds like it’s good for everyone that you left.

    1. Jamie*

      That’s unnecessarily harsh and needlessly personal.

      She was kept on as a project manager by one boss and the other is still relying on her knowledge…that doesn’t happen for employees who aren’t valuable.

      1. Brooke*

        While I agree that Whiny’s comment was too harsh, I was beginning to wonder after reading all of the other comments if I was the only one that was reading “victim” throughout the entire letter. Not that I think the OP has a victim-state-of-mind.. What it really appears to me is that possibly the OP was so upset about all of the events that had happened and felt so many bad feelings for this job and his/her boss, that everything looked 10x worse to OP than it would someone else. I know I’ve been so guilty of that sometimes…someone pushes my buttons over and over until I get so sensitive that even normal things that person does will get under my skin. I think it’s normal. But I was surprised that Whiny was the only one so far to notice that the letter did seem a little “feel-bad-for-me”.

        1. Jamie*

          I’ve been there too – when a situation or person is so stress inducing everything about them just feels like sandpaper on an open wound…even if taken individually and out of context some things aren’t that bad.

          But you were able to make this totally valid point and state your opinion without taking a personal shot. It just goes to show you can really express just about any opinion, as long as it’s done civilly – as you’ve done.

        2. Bea W*

          Hard to feel bad for someone who got accepted to grad school to start on the path to a career change, continued to do some work independently for the one guy who didn’t treat her badly even after she resigned the company and made sure her replacement had all the information she needed, had a great summer, and sounds quite happy.

          Whiners tend to keep whining. What I read was a letter that basically said “X really sucked, and Y was just the icing on the cake, which led to my doing Z to remove myself from a bad situation, and now I feel so much better!” She was also clear-headed enough to separate the bad boss from the good one and not punish the anyone, bad boss included, for the bad boss’ misdeeds.

          I’m really not getting the “feel-bad-for-me” vibe. It sounds like everything worked out, and the story had a happy ending.

          1. Kelly L.*

            +1. I got the idea she was telling the bad stuff as “Get a load of this story!” and not a pity party.

            1. Cat*

              I agree, though a lot of it read as the sort of stuff that is outrageous when you’re already fed up with the people involved and fairly innocuous to an outsider.

    2. Citizen of Metropolis*

      Unless you lived through it, you have no way to know if the OP’s state was uber emotional or a proportional response. Also, Alison discourages name calling on this blog. Some civility, please.

  6. LizNYC*

    I think the fact the other partner kept you on as a consultant proves that you were a good, effective worker (and it’s likely that this partner knows the other one is trouble — but I believe you said in your original post that they’re family? Really close? — so it can be hard to “fire” the other partner without doing lots of damage to the company as a whole). I hope the consulting partner will give you a good rec / keep throwing paid work your way.

    And I recommend telling the other partner that you’re unable to answer questions unless you are compensated for your time in the future.

  7. Bea W*

    “Oops, I take that back – he texted me at 11 PM that night to ask if I had set the alarm when I left.”

    I just have visions in my head of furiously texting back “F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**!!!” and if I managed to sit on my hands long enough to refrain maybe “Sorry, but I was too busy running for my life.” Likely followed by “P.S. F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**! F*** Y**!!!” Kudos on handling your exit with much grace. You are a kind person who deserves much better!

    I work on the other side the bridge, and don’t live near the bomb area, but I do live in the city, and my boss was concerned about my going home and thought it would be safer if I got a hotel room (which I politely declined and assured her I would be safe and could still get home.) You worked 2 blocks down, in what I presume was the area that was eventually evacuated and shut down, and I can’t believe this guy. Maybe it’s easy to be a complete tool when you are all snuggled safe in your own home far away from where anyone’s bombs are going off.

    1. Elizabeth West*


      I’m sure the same words would have been uttered aloud by me upon receiving such a text, even if I didn’t text them back. And I would not blame the OP one bit if she did the same!

  8. Elizabeth West*

    What A Teacher said above: don’t respond to his emails anymore. You closed out your job and you’re finished. If he never gets a reply, he’ll have to stop eventually. Or what Collette said: “If you’d like me to look into that, my rate is $.”

    Congrats on getting out of there and the new career change! :D

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