update: what’s the best way to resign when your boss will explode?

Remember the letter-writer who needed to tell her volatile, abusive boss that she was resigning (#2 at the link)? Here’s the update.

Leading up to my resignation, I had been feeling strong about turning in advance notice. When I got the call about my new position, I coincidentally had a meeting with my supervisor to discuss planning for the next 6 months. I decided this would determine if I would give notice or not. During the 2.5 hour meeting, she tried very desperately to triangulate between me and my staff, made disparaging remarks against them and racist remarks against our agency partners, and made absolutely no sense in her planning or vision. When I tried to vouch for my staff, she degraded them further – going as far as making remarks against their physical appearance.

That helped me make my decision. I told my staff of my plans, and left HR a copy of my letter of resignation, in addition to my supervisor.

After I left, I learned that she met with my staff and they told her how abusive, inappropriate, racist, and bullying she was. Needless to say, she did not take that feedback well. 30 days after I left, 2 more staff left, and 2 more staff are planning to leave in January. She has since been turned into the new board president for calling a staff member a “bitch,” and the president has promised to investigate everything. The person who went to her asked if I would share my resignation letter in addition to my board letter to the new president, which of course I provided. Based on my letter, the board president said she is concerned about my former supervisor taking liberties moving grant around money.

In the meantime, staff continue to write up reports so there is a record in their personnel file. So unfortunately, the situation has not changed, but I have a strong feeling there is movement to figure out what’s going on.

Needless to say, I’m grateful to be out of that situation and can only hope others find a way out soon!

{ 28 comments… read them below }

  1. AMG*

    I totally read this as saying that she got the title of new board President, not that she was reported for calling someone a B-tch. Good update–hope they resolve it soon. And congrats on the new role!

    1. Adam V*

      True, it should be “turned in to”, not “turned into”. That extra space makes all the difference.

  2. 42*

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t understand how this individual is still employed. Nor why everyone is treating this person with kid gloves.

    1. fposte*

      In this case, I suspect the fact that it takes a board to remove her has played a big part. Often boards really don’t know how a director is day to day with the staff, and it can take something really big or a concerted staff effort before they know. And then there’s the time before they act on that knowledge…

    2. James M.*

      Based on my letter, the board president said she is concerned about my former supervisor taking liberties moving grant around money.

      It seems that you can be royal bwitch with impunity but as soon as you’re cavalier with cold cash, the higher ups take notice.

      1. Sadsack*

        Right! In the original post, OP explained that many others were aware of and discussed her behavior, yet she was allowed to keep operating as normal until now. Disgraceful.

      2. Rex*

        Not a fan of your gendered insult, James, but yes, boards do tend to take financial mismanagement more seriously than personality or management issues, partly because fiduciary responsibility is a key part of their role, and the personality stuff can get squishier in terms of when it is appropriate for boards to intervene.

        1. Observer*

          Up to a point. But, there were at least two issues that the board had a fairly clear obligation to deal with. First is the fact that she assaulted someone. That’s asking for a law suit. So are many of the insults she slung at staff and partners. Racist comments from a co-worker may or may not constitute a legally hostile environment, but when it’s coming from the boss, it’s VERY thin ice.

          Which leads to the second thing. Clearly the outside partners were having issues with this woman. Her behavior is such that I could easily see important relationships being damaged, partnerships ruptured, and possibly even law suits.

          These are the kinds of issues that a functional board should most definitely be dealing with. And, when you get the level of turnover the OP described, that’s also something for the Board to look into. This is not just a matter of the ED not being nice enough.

          1. fposte*

            The board has to know first, though. And they’re not managers who are around the workplace, so usually it means somebody has to tell them. Not that I think they did a great job in this case, but I doubt they ever heard about the assault.

    3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      42 – you have to understand, that often, a company feels it has to save face and back its managers.
      They recognize that managers have different management styles, and some actually think abuse and degradation is the way to manage. And his/her superiors may cringe, but allow it.

      Or – encourage it. Until =

      a) complete chaos ensues in the workplace or
      b) this manager / director is going to cost the company a lot of money.

      But generally, they won’t make a move until the miscreant causes substantial damage.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I’m surprised the board didn’t deal with the racist comments. Even if they personally were so messed up they didn’t mind having a racist on staff, why weren’t they worried about a lawsuit?

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          Nah.. lawsuits are considered nuisances, until it starts to cost a company serious money – or – the company name gets dragged through the papers. If a company gets sued, they chalk it up to a “disgruntled employee”, then the execs leave the boardroom, grab their polo ponies and play a few chukkahs.

          And they often consider the financial payouts and backroom secret settlements a cost of doing business.

  3. Ann without an e*

    On the bright side not only will she likely be fired for cause, there might even be criminal charges……

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Yes, a criminal charge of assault & battery will usually get a manager – or anyone – fired.

      I said “usually”.

  4. hayling*

    OP, I’m not clear from your letter. Did you actually give 2 weeks or did you leave the day you resigned?

    1. some1*

      Agreed, plus, did your coworker ask you to send your resignation letter to the board president, as well as another letter you had already sent to the board that said she was mishandling money? Why couldn’t the board act on the money issue the first time you sent them a letter?

  5. Nivaneen*

    “…taking liberties moving grant around money.”

    I found this confusing. Was it a typo (*”moving around grant money”) or am I misreading it?

    1. Adam V*

      I’m assuming typo – wavering between typing “moving grant money around” and “moving around grant money” and the “around” landed in the middle instead.

  6. Not So NewReader*

    So you spread your resignation news and letter around before you told her? Sounds wise to me.
    I bet that she still reacted poorly, though.
    I am amazed that everyone rallied and told her where things are at.

    Congrats on your new job. I hope it is much, much better. And congrats for surviving that boss, what a train wreck.

  7. ProcReg*

    I gave notice to an awful woman, too, early in my career (I’m 30 now). I now know she was a bully, and that that behavior is not normal in the Real World™.

    I put the resignation letter on her desk and emailed her a copy before I left on a Friday, as she was gone.

    On Monday, the CEO ran me down and said, “Hey, you’re going to get your MBA? You’re making the right call.”

    As I went into the woman’s office at 8:30 that Monday morning, she had a lot of nasty things to say to me. I just let her talk as I looked out over the Cumberland River in Downtown Nashville, not paying attention. What would she do, fire me? She was a liberal, and hated my guts because I was conservative (She told me that).

    Now, she’s been removed from power, and the reason she was a bully and getting away with it was because the CEO was spending a lot of tax payer dollars on wasteful spending, and she knew about it. The CEO is now gone.

  8. Alliej0516*

    I’m surprised no one has filed a lawsuit against her or the organization. Geez, what a piece o’ work.

  9. OldAdmin*

    I’ve had bosses like that twice, and I’ll say one thing about the OP’s former supervisor:

    This is a cocaine addiction rearing its ugly head.
    I’ve had the exact same behavior with my ranting cray cray bosses – one bragged about his substance addition, the other one was caught redhanded with the stuff in the company washroom.

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