my boss won’t accept my resignation

A reader writes:

I work in an office at a university, and came to the decision to finish my position at the end of this contract, rather than accepting the extension that had been offered to me. I wrote a letter of resignation and arranged a meeting with my direct supervisor to give it to him and to inform him of my intentions.

When I gave him the letter, his first question was if I had another job. I do not, and as I don’t believe in lying about things, I told him that I did not. I told him the reason I was planning on leaving was that I would rather focus on my academics for my last term as I am creating and facilitating a seminar on top of a full-time course load. While this is true, the real reason I do not want to continue my position is because the working environment is absolutely atrocious on so many levels, and as I cannot see myself having any future in this office (non-union staff are rarely promoted to union positions), nor do I want to pursue a career in this field, there isn’t much point in staying.

Instead of the reaction I was expecting, he told me that I don’t have to make this decision right now as they are “not in a hurry to hire anyone,” and he wouldn’t accept my letter. He then proceeded to tell me that the only reason I’m making this decision now is because I am “overwhelmed and anxious about an unknown future” and that once I see that facilitating a seminar won’t take a lot of effort, I’ll be okay to work. He then proceeded to list all of the pros to working here, citing that it’s nice to have pocket money, that no other job will give me the flexibility that this job can give me, and that if I’m going to be on campus anyway “10 hours a week really is nothing.” He also told me that because of this job I am closer to my cultural heritage and community, and it would be a shame for me to lose that. At no point did he tell me that I’m doing a good job, that I’m a valuable asset to the team, or anything else about my performance and why he would want me to stay. Considering I receive no feedback at all from him ever (I had to hear from another employee that he thinks I’m doing incredible work and he is pleased with my performance), I can’t think of a more appropriate time to give some, especially considering that it seems he is relatively desperate to keep me on. He ended the exchange by handing me my resignation letter back, telling me that we will set up a meeting with myself and my part-time supervisor (who I do not directly report to) to “work things out” and to not tell anyone I was thinking of leaving. I did not accept the return of the letter, and left it on his desk.

How can I best prepare for this meeting? I am fairly intent on quitting, but I would consider staying if a lot of things change — but I don’t feel as if I can voice the reasons why I am actually leaving without hurting people’s feelings. The majority of the problems in this workplace arise from the fact that my direct supervisor is an ineffective manager, and because of his ineffective leadership and his inability to be assertive, everything in our unit suffers. Finally, if they refuse to accept my resignation, am I obligated to keep working for them, even though it obvious I want to quit?

No, you’re not obligated to continue working for them. It doesn’t matter if they “accept” your resignation or not; all you have to say is “X will be my last day” and then stick to it.

Your boss was certainly overbearing in his response, but it sounds like your conversation allowed him to get the impression that you’re open to being convinced to stay. If you’re not, you need to clearly tell him that. As in: “I appreciate you offering to set up another meeting to discuss how to keep me on. However, I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’m sticking with my decision. August 15 will be my last day. Let’s talk about what I can do between now and then to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

If he pushes back, you just need to keep saying, “No, I’ve thought it over and my decision is final.” It’s very unlikely you’ll need to say that more than once or twice.

As for whether it’s worth mentioning the changes that would get you to consider staying: It sounds like you’d need your manager to become a whole different person, and that’s very unlikely to happen. Given that, I don’t see a lot of point in you getting into that with him.

Also, about that resignation letter: You don’t generally need a written letter unless your employer asks you for one. Resignation letters are a formality, and many people don’t use them at all. They’re really just there to document that you did in fact resign your job. In your case, though, I’d recommend following up this next conversation with an email reiterating the date that you’ve chosen for your last day — just to ensure that there’s no miscommunication over it later and that your boss can’t say there was any uncertainty about it.

{ 109 comments… read them below }

  1. Katie the Fed*

    This reminds me of the Seinfeld about breaking up.

    Of course you could always just stop working and see if they want to continue paying you. :)

    1. Kate*

      My first thought, especially if you have direct deposit! Just stop going (after your stated day, of course) and see if the “pocket money” keeps rolling in …

      1. Sales Geek*

        My wife had a coworker that did exactly this. He actually had another job and the parent company paid him for several months before finally figuring out what the deal was. This guy just turned off his company phone and computer then just…stopped….working. It was a month before anyone noticed he was absent from conference calls and didn’t respond to emails.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Wow, the fact that it took them a month to realize this says a lot and none of it good. Geeze.

  2. some1*

    Geez! This reminded me when George Costanza’s GF refused to accept his breaking up with her.

    I’m wondering if the boss is afraid he can’t find anyone who only wants 10 hours a week.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Wasn’t that the episode where the GF said that breaking up was like 2 people agreeing to both turn their keys to launch a missile? LOL

      1. Artemesia*

        I once delayed a breakup for 6 mos by not ‘accepting’ it so to speak; incredibly stupid idea. I find many women who have trouble leaving bad relationships because they don’t have a ‘good reason’; I always tell them that the only reason any person needs to break up unilaterally is ‘I wanna’. Unless you are married, you don’t need to ‘try again’ or ‘give reasons so I can change’.

        1. Natalie*

          Hell, even if you are married, you don’t need a reason the other person agrees with. Wanting to leave is enough.

          1. Artemesia*

            oh I agree but when you are married you do owe effort and explanation IMHO. But short of that, ‘it’s been great, bye’ is enough.

    2. Canuck*

      “Apparently I was unable to break up beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      Love the Seinfeld references! :)

  3. Brett*

    For student employment on campus, many US universities have an explicit policy that a student must be allowed to resign at any time for any reason. I think such a policy might even be required if the campus offers federal work-study. Written resignations can be important for students because of the immediate impact on financial aid awards.

  4. AMD*

    I feel like when the boss tries to persuade you based on non-work-related stuff from your life, rather than from his business needs and what he can, from the business, offer you in exchange for fulfilling them, it’s a sign he is not working from solid ground. Bosses should let their employees worry about their connection to their cultural heritage or pocket money or whatever, because it’s not their business,

    1. Julie*

      I hadn’t thought about it that way, but it’s like an employee saying that she needs a raise because her rent just got raised and she needs a new car (rather than showing how she’s earned it).

    2. Ruffingit*

      I totally agree and it’s absolutely insulting in so many ways to boot. The boss knows nothing about the employee’s connection to her cultural heritage and how interested in that she is or what she’s doing to fulfill that need if it is one. He launched into personal things that have nothing to do with work and I think that’s just wrong.

    3. Dearnina84*

      Forgive my tardiness to the party but I can’t resist commenting on this one. Awhile back I told my boss that I was working a second job. She used that information to reduce my pay and responsibilities. Since then, I have made it explicitly clear that I am not interested in mingling my work life with my personal life. However, whenever I ask her pay-related questions she brings up things like my current schooling, when I started my first job, and my bank balance. It would be great if she focused on my output as an employee, but she doesn’t. Rude and inappropriate.

  5. Loznak01*

    I would recommend that the OP cc: the HR rep for that department on the e-mail. Cover yourself. I would also decline to schedule a meeting to discuss this. He sounds like a manipulator, and overbearing. I would be lerry of him turning around and saying you quit without giving notice.

      1. Rose*

        “No” is a complete sentence.

        Excuse me while i steal this and tattoo it on my body and paint it on my wall and write it in the sky with an airplane.

        1. KJR*

          I used “No is a complete sentence” on my teenage son the other day. For once he did not have a comeback.

          1. Angora*

            KJR … I like that one. NO is a statement, not an open ended question. I would have hated to have seen that manager as a child, what was his response when his parents said “No.” LOL

      2. Ruffingit*

        I have long been telling people that no is a complete sentence. I also like this one: “This is a statement, not a discussion.” That works well when people want to argue with you about anything you’re planning, saying, doing, thinking.

  6. Kay*

    This is one of those times where work and dating have so much in common… The person that wants the arrangement to end is the one that gets their way. If your boss wanted to let you go, you probably couldn’t get away with trying to convince him why you should stay. The same goes for the reverse situation.

    1. some1*

      Yup, and continuing this theme, I’d imagine the meeting the boss wants to set up will go about as well as the ex-boy/girlfriend who wants to meet up to talk, get closure, or needs to hear reasons they are willing to accept.

    2. Sarahnova*

      Yes; dating is like employment not just in that both of you should initially audition each other, but in that if either one of you decides the relationship is over, it is.

    3. LMW*

      This is also a lot like the tenant-landlord relationship. I just gave notice today and my landlord is kind of refusing to accept that I’m leaving. I’m going to have to use that “I’ve thought it over and my decision is final” line.

      1. Kay*

        I’m sure your landlord will accept it when you move all your stuff out and stop paying rent…

        1. Variation*

          That doesn’t necessarily mean the landlord will be as understanding about returning a damage deposit, though.

          LMW, keep a record, and be thorough. Jerks in positions of power tend to be oblivious until the bitter end.

    4. Ruffingit*

      Indeed. Breaking up with a person or a job takes one no. In other words, if one person says no and the other person says yes, the no is going to win. There are things that take two yesses or two nos or whatever, but in this case, the “no, I am not going to continue working for you” is all that is needed to end it.

  7. saf*

    I quit a job last May where the boss tried to convince me to stay. He knew I was leaving because of the working conditions and not to go to a new job, so he tried to convince me that it wasn’t really that bad.

    But it was really that bad. I just had to keep repeating that it was a bad match for me. He kept denying it – he couldn’t get that he may have thought that it was a good match but it wasn’t!

    I let him talk me into staying an extra 2 weeks and training my replacement. I should not have done that, but I made it through. Now, i would just say no. No, I have to leave on x date.

    Stick to it OP.

    1. Rose*

      I just don’t get that attitude at all.

      Instead of trying to change what bothers you, I will CONVINCE YOU IT DOES NOT ACTUALLY BOTHER YOU. Wtf. No, dude. Just no.

      1. Frances*

        I think a lot of times it’s denial — if the boss acknowledges problems in the work environment, but can tell themselves “well it’s not like people are leaving over this” they don’t have to take any responsibility for fixing it.

        1. Diet Coke Addict*

          I think it’s this too. “Well, if it were really bad people would be leaving. People aren’t leaving, since I talked them out of it, ergo, things aren’t that bad. Work here is done.”

          1. Ruffingit*

            Yes and if someone does leave, they make it about that person rather than the environment. I’ve had jobs where the people who left were derided and insulted long after they were gone because the owner of the company refused to see that they left because the business sucked not because the employee sucked.

      2. Ruffingit*

        Yeah, seriously. It’s really annoying when people do this. “So, getting 1000 tiny paper cuts every single day is not really a big deal, I mean you think it hurts badly, but it really doesn’t, you’re just seeing it that way…” WHAT? NO.

    2. Katriona*

      Ugh, I once left a job because they only gave me four hours a week, but expected me to work almost EVERY holiday–which is absolutely not what I was told when I was hired! The “holiday calendar” for the full year came out about three weeks before Easter, and I put in my two weeks notice as soon as I saw it… and somehow still got guilt-tripped into working on Easter to, as they put it, “honor my commitments” even though the whole reason I left was because that wasn’t what I committed to at all. It was only one extra week rather than two, but I was so resentful of the whole situation that I should’ve just stuck to my guns.

    3. Piper*

      You have no idea how perfectly timed this advice is. Thank you!! I actually took a screenshot so o can re-read it today and over the next couple of days. I’m in this same situation. Already told my boss to please start looking for a replacement so the transition will be easier for them. Instead he cornered me in a 2 hour after hours interrogation which I left in tears.

  8. JMegan*

    He sounds like a first class creep.

    To continue with the dating analogy, “No other job will offer you this kind of flexibility” sounds eerily close to “No other guy will love you as much as I do,” and other things abusive husbands say to keep their wives from leaving.

    And to say that “because of this job [you are] closer to [your] cultural heritage and community, and it would be a shame for [you] to lose that” – well, stuff that sh!t. That’s none of his business. He doesn’t own your cultural heritage or your access to it, and he doesn’t get to manipulate you by pretending otherwise.

    Get your letter in to HR, confirm your last day, and don’t look back. Then you can focus on your schoolwork, and on getting a really great job when you’re done. Good luck!

    1. OP*

      The best part of the flexibility comment is that the position isn’t flexible in the least! When my boyfriend’s father passed away a few months ago, I was forced to make up the hours that I had to miss, and during exam season no less. Another employee was forced to change his class schedule because the office was unwilling to schedule his time around it, and the best part, I received an email about our schedules for the next term, which outlines that we will not be able to change our class schedules if it will conflict with the work schedule that has been put in place because it is “too difficult”, in addition to informing us about mandatory training during the Labour Day long weekend that we are not allowed to miss.

      Considering I only have 2 classes to finish my degree, and they are both one day a week in the evening, I’m positive I can find somewhere else that will be flexible around my class schedule, and hopefully not be as painful to work for.

      1. JMegan*

        I’m positive I can find somewhere else that will be flexible around my class schedule, and hopefully not be as painful to work for.

        Yeah, that sounds like a pretty low bar to meet! Enjoy those last two classes – you’re definitely doing the right thing here.

        1. Onymouse*

          +1. Sounds like you’re doing very well OP. (And if your school charges a flat-rate semester tuition, it might not be a bad idea to add a bird course just to help polish the GPA a little.)

      2. Callie*

        Another employee was forced to change his class schedule because the office was unwilling to schedule his time around it

        If it’s a work-study job, this is soooooooooo not okay.

  9. Adam*

    The OP sounded real intent on leaving the job, and then half-way through the letter mentioned the possibility of staying provided certain things that are not remotely likely to change end up changing. It felt completely out of nowhere. Don’t waffle OP! You know if the job’s no good for you, so don’t let them worm their way into your head.

    1. Fee*

      I think that’s natural – there is rarely no upside whatsoever to a job even if it’s completely removed from the actual work, like being able to wear what you want, or getting cake on Friday. Fear of change and desire for what’s familiar kicks in.

      OP – if it helps, I always used to think that my hellish old organisation could be such a great place to work if only Things Would Change. But the workplace doesn’t change; people change the workplace. And “a problem cannot be solved by the same consciousness that created it” (Einstein). When my terrible old boss asked me if there was anything he could do to make me stay it really helped me to frame it that way in my mind. I was able to say truthfully: ‘No, there’s nothing YOU can do.’ (imaginary emphasis) :)

  10. Anon Accountant*

    Would it be advisable for the OP to email a copy of her resignation letter stating her last day of work to her boss and email a copy to HR for proof that she is resigning and gave notice?

    1. Anon Accountant*

      Never mind. Several others above thought same thing. OP I’d think about finding a way to politely decline a meeting to discuss “working things out” because it sounds like there’s not going to be a way to work things out.

      1. Mephyle*

        Polite way to decline a meeting to discuss ‘working things out’: “Since Xdate will be my last day, the meeting scheduled for Ydate to discuss this will not be necessary.”

    2. fposte*

      HR or whoever coordinates personnel for her (around here it would actually be departmental personnel). Though it wouldn’t be necessary to send a whole resignation letter–just note that you won’t be extending your contract and that your last day is whenever it is.

  11. SEBN*

    As a higher ed professional- be sure to give this letter to the HR office! They always require a formal resignation letter, not your supervisor.

    1. fposte*

      Worth checking on, but they don’t at my university. Especially true since in this case the OP isn’t even resigning–she’s just not extending her contract when it ends.

    2. Frances*

      Yeah,I definitely had to write one for both academia jobs I left (even though one was really an internal transfer). But it can be a simple “I am resigning this job, my last day is X,” type thing, you don’t have to go into reasons.

      (SEBN, I’m glad you confirmed that this is a standard academia thing — my institution’s HR had a reputation for being incredibly disorganized so I was never sure it wasn’t just a safeguard specific to our institution.)

    3. Ellie H*

      They do at mine. I’ve had to send it to three or four different people, too (my last day is tomorrow!) – but I agree, probably less likely for a temp/contracted employee.

  12. Jamie*

    This reminds me – I quit my job a couple of years ago and then we tabled my resignation until my busy time was over and we were going to revisit that when things eased up.

    We never did.


    I have got to remember to pay more attention to my own resignations.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      This made me laugh. Sorry Jamie! “I have got to remember to pay more attention to my own resignations.”

      I like it. And I’ll have to remember to do the same for myself also.

    2. OP*

      Funnily enough, another of his “selling points” was that the busy time for my position is over now, so the work I’ll have to do during the school year will really be nothing at all.

  13. Traveler*

    Also be prepared for him to be shocked that you stopped coming in after your last day and call you asking where you are.

  14. Snarkus Ariellius*

    Your boss either got his management training from Comcast’s customer “retention” department or he’s George Costanza.

    Either way, I think this makes a great story.

  15. LBK*

    This line of thinking is always so baffling to me, because the boss can’t physically force the person to come into the office if they’ve decided that they quit. What do they plan to do at that point when the person stops showing up? Fire them for quitting?

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      He’ll show up at her house and pound on the walls and doors, telling her she has to come in to work.

      1. LBK*

        Ha! Was that a hypothetical or an intention reference to the AAM letter where that happened?

  16. I don't want to work for you!*

    OP I feel for you.

    I had to write 3 separate resignation emails (remote company, no one EVER answers phone calls) for a terrible job I was at for less than two weeks.

    Good luck!

  17. Mena*

    How bizarre! Be clear and be consistent.

    He doesn’t have to ‘accept’ anything but he probably will when you no longer show up.

    1. Mephyle*

      Yes, this. Please take note, OP. You don’t have to get him to ‘accept’ it or be happy about it before you are allowed to not renew your contract. Just don’t renew it, and stop coming in to work on the appropriate date.

  18. KM*

    The comment about pocket money sounds especially condescending, even if it’s a student job. I once interviewed for a student job where the hiring manager tried to sell me on how “earning an income” was the greatest feature of working there. And I was like, “Um… that’s a feature of working everywhere. You’re talking to me like I don’t have bills.”


    To continue the dating analogy — if the only reason you would stay with a job or a person is because you’re hoping that that job or person will totally change and be awesome one day, it’s time to leave. I know it’s tempting to imagine that, if you just hang in there, it could all be different, but there’s a 99.9% chance that won’t happen.

    It’s also not important that they understand why they suck, or that you’re justified in being frustrated in leaving. Just go.

    1. LBK*

      FWIW, I read the pocket money comment as innocent – presumably the OP isn’t relying on a 10-hour-a-week job to pay the bills, especially if she can quit without having anything lined up, so it would just be pocket money.

      1. Student*

        It’s an insulting term, often with sexist undertones. Women are, to this day, thought of as working for “pin money” or “pocket money” or “spending money” while men work to “support families”. This kind of thinking leads to discrimination in hiring and in pay. It probably factors into why this boss didn’t bother offering a raise or a bonus as an incentive to stay.

        This student could be doing all sorts of things with that money, and what she does with it is not relevant to her employer. I supported myself in college with a part-time job and a scholarship.

        1. OP*

          You’re on the money, and I felt it was an incredibly condescending comment. I have more than enough money from scholarships to cover my last semester at school without having to work at all. In addition, my boyfriend works as a successful realtor (a fact which my boss knows), and I think it’s very likely he assumed that my boyfriend pays the bills and I just work for my own “spending money” even though it isn’t true at all.

          1. LBK*

            I don’t want to discredit your feelings on the situation and obviously you have a better read on your manager than I do, but I’m a little confused by this comment – if you have scholarships that cover all your required expenses, wouldn’t your manager be correct that the money you made from this job is extra spending/pocket/whatever term you want to use money? Or was it the implication that your expenses are covered by your boyfriend and not by scholarships you earned that you felt was condescending?

            1. amaranth16*

              I think no matter what their financial situation is it’s inappropriate for the boss to comment on it in this way.

              1. sunny-dee*

                Yeah, but if the boss knew that she doesn’t need the money to cover bills, the (monetary) reason to work is for extra spending money.

        2. Anonsie*

          That’s very, very unusual though. Most people at this point are supported by some combination of hefty loans and family support. With my student job (and for my coworkers), our actual bills were so substantial that we already had to take out loans to cover them. The pay from those jobs did exactly nothing to offset those costs, so the pay wasn’t our motivation for being there at all. He is likely assuming this is the case for the OP as well… Though I wouldn’t entirely rule out the more insidious undertones you’re hearing here, since they’re not mutually exclusive.

          That said, I hate hate *hate* when people assume that students are supported entirely like children and don’t have responsibilities or needs outside of school, so either way he’s being a wad.

        3. LBK*

          Fair enough, I suppose. When I worked in college and when I took on a second part-time job outside of my full-time job, it was just for extra spending money for myself, so that probably colors my opinion of the term as well – I took it as innocent because I’ve done jobs for pocket money.

          FWIW, I still think that a more reasonable manager could see a student quit a 10-hour-a-week job and innocently assume they didn’t need the money from it (which it sounds like the OP doesn’t, based on her comment). Knowing a bit more context (like the manager knowing the OP has a financially successfully boyfriend), that probably isn’t the case here, but I don’t agree that a manager being under the impression that someone is just working for extra money is universally wrong.

    2. Anne*

      Where I grew up, pocket money was a term for allowance. So the boss is OP’s parent graciously giving her an allowance in exchange for chores? I do not think do. What a condescending asshat.

  19. Student*

    To completely discontinue the dating analogy:

    You can’t be forced to work for someone. That’s indentured servitude or slavery. We fought wars over this stuff! (Most countries that read AAM have, anyway, can’t speak for everyone on the planet… yet.)

    You are a person. You have rights and value. No one can take that away from you unless you allow it.

  20. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    Wait – when did resignation letters go out of style? I know Alison is saying that they aren’t needed unless the boss asked for one – but why wouldn’t a company want one on file? I am really not a paperwork person, and I love to eliminate unnecessary steps, but I can’t imagine not having this in writing.

    We often have to provide resignation letters when someone files for unemployment after they’ve resigned (including, for some reason, if they get another job and then get laid off from that one in a short period), and they provide a double-check for when someone’s last day of employment is.

    Now, I’m not asking for some flowery “this job has changed my life” letter – just 2 sentences stating when your last day is (delivered at the end of the conversation where you tell your supervisor you are leaving)

    1. Windchime*

      I was asked to submit something in writing when I left my last job 3 years ago, so I know some places still need/want notice to be submitted in writing. Mine was’t fancy; a simple email to my supervisor stating that I was resigning and my last day would be X was all I sent.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s totally reasonable for a company to ask for one — but many don’t, and my point is that you don’t need to show up to your resignation conversation with one in hand. Resign, and if they ask for one, of course you provide one. Too often, I see people thinking the letter is the focal point of the resignation — they leave it in their boss’s in-box or they hand it to their boss at the start of the meeting. It’s paperwork, and if it’s needed, they’ll ask you for it. I want people to get away from thinking it’s a central part of the mechanics of resigning.

      1. OP*

        Hi AAM! Thank you so much for answering my question!

        I had actually read your previous postings about resignation letters but I decided to err on the side of caution and write one anyway, and from the way things went I think it was a good idea to have a written record of my intention and my last day in the office. My office is also very much about putting everything into writing (and ccing everyone in the world on emails) so I will definitely take your advice about sending an email and ccing HR. Again, thank you for your advice and thank you for this website. I’ve learned so much about all aspects of the workforce and I think I’ve become a better employee because if it.

    3. Audrey*

      At my employer – a university – people resign using the online HR system, the same system where you apply for leave. I know a supervisor can refuse to grant a leave application (not that I’ve heard of it happening) so now I’m wondering if they could refuse to accept a resignation. I certainly hope not!

      1. NW Cat Lady*

        They can refuse a leave of absence (unless it is covered by FMLA or military leave), but as stated above, even if they refuse to accept your resignation, they can’t force you to continue to work for them.

    4. Callie*

      When I resigned from my K-12 job to go to graduate school, I had to write a resignation letter. I got a very nice letter in return from the personnel director wishing me well, which I know was just a formality. Still, it was a nice gesture.

  21. Anon*

    My (abusive) former boss did the same thing to me – she would not believe that I was resigning. When I sent a message to all our colleagues sapecifying which day would be my last and saying goodbye – this was summer at a university and many if the faculty were not going to be back until the fall – *then* she believed it. It was bizarre.

  22. Not So NewReader*

    I have never had this happen to me when I resigned anywhere. I had one boss try to hire me back a while later. I had another boss follow me around saying “are you sure? can we talk?”
    A friend of mine had the boss swing by his house. But the boss only stayed about five minutes, just long enough to ask “is there anything I can do to change your mind?”
    These examples are not long drawn out actions and no where near what this guy is doing. I think he is a bit extreme. I could understand if he ASKED OP to reconsider or if he asked OP to meet with others before finalizing the decision. But he is demanding these things.
    I hate to say it but he reminds me of the way parents sometimes talk to a child. “I know what is best for you.” Adults just don’t talk this way to fellow adults, it’s disrespectful.

    OP, no means no. It does not mean discuss/debate it for hours. Stand your ground. And good for you for leaving the resignation on the desk!

  23. Nelly*

    I had a boss refuse to accept my resignation. He said ‘you can return to this discussion when you have clarity’. I felt I was already pretty clear.

    It was great, though, because he continued to pay me sporadically, for very strange amounts, on and off for about three months after I left, then twice again in the following two years. I wouldn’t hear from him for a year, then I’d suddenly find an extra $800 in my account from him. I never asked why or followed up, he never explained or asked for it back… I’ve had no contact from him for about three years now, though.

  24. Maye*

    I am really happy I found this article. It’s extremely timely since I am in kind of a similar situation. Please note, I apologize for the long message and spelling errors!

    Currently, I work for a very prominent non-profit organization. Extremely well known but I am discovering is not as well liked as I originally thought. I’ve been with the organization or 6 months. ( August 3rd is my 6/mo mark) and have not been happy not one week since working here. To make a very long story short, this is my first job out of college. I graduated back in Dec of 2013 and I cannot tell you how many applications I filled out over the course of a month. I was depressed as ever with not being able to find work and I didn’t qualify for unemployment. My current job initially didn’t hire me but after someone withdrew their application, they gave me a call back to see if I was still interested. Being broke and tired of being rejected, I went through the 2nd interview process and was hired. Thank God. That being said, I knew coming out of the 1st interview that this was not the job for me. Something just didn’t feel right. Seeing that I had no room to be picky, I took the job. It was an income, very crappy, but it was money nonetheless.

    Now, I have many issues with my job. Pay, lack of benefits, no resources for growth and development as employees and so on. But the biggest problem I have is management and leadership. My supervisor has to be the most unqualified manager I’ve ever worked with ( in my short life of working). I have not the slightest idea how he got his job but he is not fit for the title. He throws his director title around often but has not demonstrated to me that he knows how to properly use it. When it comes to resolving conflicts, he is like a deer in headlights. There were multiple occasions over the past month alone where my team and I needed him to give us some assistance and better direction with a program we manage. When we asked for him to direct, he pretty much blew off his responsibilities and told us what WE needed to do and meet contract compliances (even though I have never read the contract as a project manager). I could go on and on with how incompetent he is but I would be here for days.

    Back in June, I decided that when my current project ends, I would be leaving the organization. I circled the date… August 15. That is NEXT Friday. I have no doubt that I want to leave this job. It’s not a good fit for me at all. But I’m dreading having that “awkward” conversation with my supervisor seeing he is already an extremely awkward person. He has no people skills whatsoever. I do not feel guilty at all. This is something I must do for me and my well being. That being said, there were already 4 positions open for the same job title ( would be future co-workers) and he just got done with filling the positions. He is really going to hate me when I tell him I won’t be coming back in the fall for the start of the program again. One of my co workers who was on maternity leave sent him an e-mail in early July stating she would not be returning in August ( after her leave concluded) but offered to come back early from leave to close out her duties. She even offered to leave a special hand book for successor. He ignored her emails and walked around the office extremely pissed ( I know because she told me he never responded to her good offer). HE even got on the phone and vented to a former co worker about the situation right in front of me. ( We have cubicles… no privacy) He is simply a jerk and has no professionalism. I fear that if I were to sit down with him, I will tell him off. I want to so badly to give him a piece of my mind but am trying to walk away with dignity. Not for the organization but for me.

    I will be starting graduate school in September and while I do not have a job lined up, I do have an extremely great volunteer opportunity working for a US Congressmen that can very well turn into a paid full time job. I am not someone who gets overly confident with this but I have awesome connections and people in my network who’ve really helped me get this far in the process of working in politics ( which is what I went to school for).

    I’m fed up with being unhappy. In my 6 months of working for the org, 8 people have left ( either resigned, fired or program was cut due to budgets). I think the org is near broke and job security is really concerning even if I did want to stay. They are so damn cheap. This is not what I had in mind when I got my degree. I understand many people hate their first job out of college but I don’t want to be one of those people. I demand more for myself.

    So I am looking forward to leaving next Friday but I do not want to have this conversation with my boss. Just thinking about makes me want to throw up. Blah! I am just conflicted on when I should tell him and him. I need to definitely tell him by Friday to give him a weeks notice. Do sit him down and tell him in person and have the official letter of resignation in hand or do I send him an email with the resignation and talk to him after he reads it? Advice would be awesome.

    1. Cheesecake*

      I’d talk face-to-face vs sending him an email first. You are right, your personal dignity is important here. Put yourself in bosses shoes (any boss): receiving resignation in email before actual verbal announcement sucks. I perfectly understand this situation when everything at work is bad, you have “red alert” in your head everyday and want to run, yet you can’t face announcing your resignation. But it is a great training for handling situations like that: you have nothing to lose. Talk to the boss. You don’t have to get down to details of how you dream of smashing his face with a bat. Be firm and direct and prepare something general. Insist on your decision and be polite no matter what he says (again, personal dignity). You can cut discussion whenever you feel necessary and walk out. Then hand in your notice, cc HR and get out for good.

      1. Maye*

        Thank you for the advice and response. I’ve been asking people for their advice on how should I submit my letter and everyone said in person.

  25. Chris60*

    This is great; however, your need for praise from your boss is a worry as it bodes poorly for your future in the workforce where you should know if you are competent without needing approval or appreciation from your boss. Some places make you sick due to unrealistic demands, low pay and lack of training and resources. I recently resigned from an owners corporation due to fraud, no pay and bad treatment. Naturally no-one wanted to see the free slave go and decided to hold a metting, which I was told to organise. I set the meeting venue at the local library, kept the books to pass on to a legitimate agent then did not attend after documenting and exposing the trail of cheating with the current manager, who felt entitled to bark orders at me to do all the work and write up all reports. Liars, cheats and bullies are not worth wasting your precious time on trying to reform. Leave and do not worry about the backstabbing that occurs when you depart.

  26. Archie*

    I am in the same position as you are. I have been working in this company for the past 1 year & it is the worst office I have ever worked in. I have 13 years experience (3yrs in 1st company & 9 years in my 2nd one) but nowhere did I have to suffer what I went thru here. My immediate boss is also my ex-colleague-cum-friend from my previous office. Though I don’t have any issues with her on the personal front, professionally she is the worst manager I ever had. She is disorganized & does not have the managerial qualities required for her position. We tried to raise the issues with our higher management but they were just not ready to listen to us! Also we feel that the whole work structure is wrong in this company. Many people have quit due to these issues. Since past 2 months, I started having health problems which made me decide on quitting. I had put down my papers last month (I have to give 2months notice due to my position). She spoke to me after receiving it & wanted me to rethink & promised to give me extra helping hands to reduce my workload & stress. She kept telling me that I need to delegate much of my work to my juniors but there is so much work, that I don’t do that or they too will feel pressurized. I told her I need time to think over it & was almost thinking to stay back. After 1 week she came up with the solution that she will make me an associate, put another Team Leader under me & let that TL handle some of my pressure. But the problem is that person too is overloaded & it would not be possible for her to handle more work. So I decided I will stick to my decision & not withdraw my resignation. I informed the same to HR & her & while the HR accepted it, she is not at all accepting it. She is telling that I am the best here & she just cannot comprehend how to handle if I leave. She is telling that the company will go big & she wants me to be a part of it. I kept on insisting that I have decided & I will not change it. She tried to bring in our friendship & even asked me to talk to our common friend once about this. She has even got one of our dept heads from overseas to talk to me & has also told that one of our heads from our HQ will also talk to me. I have told her that I have made up my mind & no matter whom I talk to, I will not change my decision. Now she has told that she will speak to me on a personal level outside the office, since she stays near my home, I think she will come to my home to convince me. My problem is I find difficult to be blunt & say no to people & I am scared she will take advantage of this fact & manoeuvre me into staying back which I don’t want to do. I am well-off financially & though I don’t have any other job in hand, I have an offer to work part-time or on project basis with my earlier manager (who has opened her own company) who thought will not be able to pay me as much as I get here but will allow me breathing space & a chance to work in a relaxed manner.

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