being seen around town when I’m out sick, manager hasn’t acknowledged my resignation, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. My manager hasn’t acknowledged my resignation

I handed my resignation in to my manager, but my employer has not acknowledged it. What do I do?

Go talk to her. Immediately. Maybe she didn’t see the notice, or who knows.

For what it’s worth, you should generally resign in person (or over the phone if you’re remote or your manager is traveling), not via a letter. I think people have heard the term “letter of resignation” so much that it’s led them to think the letter is the actual way you resign, but it’s not; that’s normally a face-to-face conversation.

In any case, since you haven’t heard anything back, go walk into her office and say, “I want to make sure you saw my letter of resignation.”

2. Will I get in trouble for being seen around town when I’m out sick?

I have vertigo. I had it for nearly three weeks and was signed off work for two. I just managed to go to my corner shop yesterday, as my gas key broke, and I saw a friend from work. It made me feel uneasy, like I might get into trouble. Will I?

You certainly shouldn’t. Being off sick doesn’t mean that you’re never allowed to leave your house; after all, if nothing else, you still need groceries, medicine, and so forth.

If you get asked about this, just calmly explain the situation. (Now, what is a gas key?)

3. Is this hiring manager lying to me?

I recently had a job interview and was informed that I very likely got the job. They said they would call me in a week, but I never got a call.

I then followed up with a call, to find out more of what was going on. I wanted to get a status report on whether got the job or not. The manager answered the phone, and said he needed a couple of more days to finalize some things. He also mentioned that I was one of two remaining candidates.

What I want to know is: Is he lying to me? Will I even get the job? Because right now I am not sure, and this is coming after two failed interviews.

I doubt he’s lying to you; he doesn’t have any reason to. I’d take him at face value and believe what he’s telling you: You’re one of two candidates, and he needs a few more days to make a decision.

4. Update: I’m not sure if I can afford my coworker’s fancy retirement dinner

Remember the letter-writer in January who wasn’t sure how to handle an expensive retirement dinner for a coworker (#2 at the link)? Here’s the update.

The most interesting thing I found from the commenters here was that most people were hung up on the the travel time to the restaurant, when that wasn’t my concern at all. I was willing and happy to make the drive to celebrate with my colleagues. My job involves lots of driving all over the state, and to me, any drive under 2 hours one way is “short.” Sad, I know, but c’est le vie. I work at a state university that works with/for the state transportation department in Boston. Without traffic, we are located about 90-ish plus minutes from Boston. The restaurant chosen was in the middle of the state, easily accessible from the highway.

About 10 people plus spouses were invited to attend, just the immediate folks that my colleague worked with. On top of the cost of my dinner, portion of colleague and wife’s dinner, and gas, they got him a really fancy plaque thanking him for his years of service (it was quite nice) that they suggested people chip in money for too. I did end up emailing the program coordinator who was planning the evening, and stated that combined with cost, time, and my son’s birthday party that particular weekend, I just couldn’t make it and was really sorry.

That was before snowmeggedon. The dinner was planned in late Februray and we are in Massachusetts, so it ended up being rescheduled to some later TBD date due the fact that the state couldn’t move. (Fun fact: MA was shut down every Monday in February.) We were beyond snowed in. They ended up rescheduling for the spring, and I still wasn’t able to go because I had a family thing that I was already committed to across the state in Boston, so I got an easy out for the reschedule. Was I the only one not there? Yes. Was it a big deal? Not at all! I was so relieved. Thanks to everyone that offered ideas and suggestions of things to say. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a bit much.

{ 151 comments… read them below }

  1. KarenT*

    Some people’s car’s gas tanks have to be opened with a key. I had assumed that was the gas key the OP was referring to, but I could easily be mistaken!

    1. EA*

      When I worked in a job that would occasionally require fueling company vehicles, my company was large enough to have their own gas pumps. Each company vehicle had a gas key which had to be used to activate the pump. Presumably, the departments were billed for the gas, and also if the vehicle was due for maintenance or something, Fleet Mgmt would disable the gas key, so you had to take the vehicle in.

      Not at all sure if this is what the OP is talking about though.

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          It would here (UK) I think as you need to “top up” your meter by putting money on the card – which most corner shops would do.

          *I’ve never actually had such a meter so could be wrong but think this is how it works.

          1. Tau*

            I’ve had one for electricity and that’s how it works. However, I think if it broke you’d need to get a new one from the company that originally supplied it.

              1. Apollo Warbucks*

                No the meters don’t take coins anymore, amd they’re not all pre paid meters, most people Get a bill send out.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  Some of the people who comment on a Facebook page about old London photos were commenting about this just the other day. I usually have to ask them to explain stuff to me, but this time I knew about it. They were telling stories about the lights going out and stumbling over to the meter in the dark to put coins in.

                  I had to have them explain the A and B buttons on the old telephones too, LOL.

          2. Jazzy Red*

            OK, I still don’t understand this. What does “top up” your meter mean? Is that like paying your utility bill at the grocery store (although we can’t do that any more) so your gas in the house won’t be cut off?

            All our meters do is keep track of the water, gas and electrical usage, and we get monthly bills online or in the mail.

            Any way, the OP shouldn’t worry about being seen outside her house. As Alison said, she still needs groceries, meds, etc., and it’s reasonable to take care of these things.

            1. UKAnon*

              So in the tracking system you use gas/leccy and then pay for it in monthly etc bills after you’ve used it; with the keys, you put money onto the key and then use that amount of energy. Once you run out of money, energy stops until you top again. So you pay your bill in advance, essentially.

            2. Brenda*

              It’s a pre-pay system. You put money on the card at the shop, and then put the card into the gas meter, and it will provide gas until the money on the card has run out.

              I’m not sure how widespread they are anymore – I think they’re pretty old-fashioned and usually in apartments that are rented, so the landlord isn’t on the hook for the electricity/gas and you don’t have to go changing the names on the bills every time a new tenant moves in. We had this system when I first moved to the UK as a student and I did find it strange the first time we ran out of money on the card!

              Sounds like the key suggestion below is the correct one for this letter though.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  I’m reading a book where that happens! And it’s an old enough house that it doesn’t even take the current coins, so the landlord just keeps a supply of antique coins around for the tenant to use.

        2. Daisy*

          I have a key for my electricity meter, and if I lose/break it you can get a replacement at some shops. I imagine gas is the same.

    2. Blue Anne*

      There’s a standard type of key in the uk which is used to open some older models of gas meter to allow it to be read. Corner shops usually have a section of little basic domestic items in plastic baggies – hair ties, pacifiers, picture hooks, twine, fuses, gas keys, and so on.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)*

        Not just older models, ours was moved outside into a box about 5 years ago (used to be under the sink) and I need a key for that. The meter is old but the box it unlocks is new.

    3. LookyLou*

      Where I live we have scannable/swipable key fobs when gassing up to automatically charge our cards without the hassle. Most people call these their “gas key” because it is like a key to actually get gas.

  2. FiveByFive*

    #2 – Do you have a good reputation at the office? This is where people who have a rep for being slackers will pay a price. The boy who cried wolf, and all that. If that’s not the case, you should be fine. As Alison said, people still have to live their lives when they are sick. Just don’t feel the need to be defensive if it comes up.

    And. Vertigo. Sucks. I hope you are doing better.

    Is a gas key something used for a fireplace?

    1. NYC Weez*

      I was going to say that if OP was out sick for two weeks, as a coworker, I’d assume that there were plenty of doctor visits needed to deal with the issue. It wouldn’t strike me as weird to bump into the OP outside the office at a store, unless they had some history of slacking.

    2. MK*

      Also, the OP was seen in a corner shop doing necessary shopping; unless they have a reputation for slacking, no reasonable person would think they were abusing sick leave. It would be another thing if they were seen in a bar drinking the night away.

    3. Jeanne*

      If you are signed out for 2 weeks by your doctor, it means you are not cleared to work. It does not mean you may never leave your house. You weren’t out partying. You were running an errand. Everyone needs food or other supplies. Don’t worry about it. Feel better soon.

      It’s different when you just call out for the day. I had a boss who said if you call out you better answer if he calls to check. I told him that when I’m sick I sleep not answer the phone. I also will often go to the doctor if I need it. As far as I know he never called me.

      1. Jen RO*

        Fun fact: until this year, the Romanian law stipulated that an employee on medical leave could have been visited at home if there was suspicion that s/he wasn’t actually ill. If the employee was not found at home between certain hours, the employer could have stopped paying for the medical leave.

          1. doreen*

            It happens in the US,too- although I’ve only seen it at government jobs that 2)have very generous sick leave benefits ( often unlimited) b)are unionized and c) have difficulty with unplanned absences ( so you might see it for a firefighter or a police officer, but not for an office or maintenence worker in the same agency) . There are two versions- one is that you call a sick desk and report that you are leaving for the doctor, grocery shopping, etc and call again to report your return. In the other , you are allowed to leave home during a set block of hours (say 10am-2pm) for doctor appointments and grocery shopping, etc. The block can be adjusted if necessary for medical appointments outside of those hours.

              1. doreen*

                I don’t know- I myself have never had that sort of job and none of the people I’ve known who did had childcare issues (largely because many of them had SAH spouses and the rest had older children).

            1. Hush42*

              I did a brief stint as a 911 operator (I hated it so I only lasted 4 months) and the director of the center was known to drive 1+ hours to employees houses if they called in to make sure that they were home and were actually sick. I never had cause to call in but I was told by several people that in the directors opinion, if you could get out of bed, you should be at work. So in the case of OP #2 I would have been in trouble had I been seen because almost all of the people I worked with would have snitched had they seen me around town and I had called in sick. It was a massive change for me when I got my current job. I can call in for any reason and my manager couldn’t care less. I was scheduled to leave at 2 on Friday (which is already 3 hours early) and I decided at 10:30 that I wasted to leave at 12:30 instead and my manager was completely okay with that. Of course I don’t actually take much time off or it might be a different story.

        1. Nashira*

          I am glad to hear the law has been changed, because that’s obnoxious. Being too sick to work doesn’t mean being too sick to leave your bed. Anybody with a brain/sense/empathy could have figured that one out.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            Wow right. And do doctors still make house calls there? Otherwise the former law is totally impractical.

            1. De (Germany)*

              I’d assume the “house visits” would be by an employer.

              Also, at least in Germany, GPs do house calls, at least for elderly or disabled patients. Is that not the case where you are?

              1. Oryx*

                Right, but what if you’re AT the doctor when your employer comes around? I think that’s what Stranger meant with doctor’s making house calls.

        2. TeaGirl*

          This is also the case in the Netherlands — sort of. If you’re on long-term medical leave, you must consent to (scheduled) home visits from a doctor who is contracted through the employer, and you must allow the doctor to examine you independently of your own personal doctor(s). But it’s only when you’re officially on long-term leave; not when you’re just off for a few days for ordinary illnesses.

    4. LookyLou*

      I myself am an employee with an excellent reputation – in over a year I never once took a sick day. My management was aware I suffered from debilitating migraine at times but managed to work through them until I got home that evening.

      One day I woke up with a killer migraine, I could not stand up without feeling like I was going to go down or be sick. The pain was unbelievable so I called in that morning and said I was too unwell to come in.

      That day a coworker seen me out walking my dog in front of my house. The coworker then tattled to my boss that I was up and about. They never said a word to my face but I discovered they were asking around the office about how I was behaving the day before and even documented the absence in my personnel file. They made the assumption that I was lying despite my perfect attendance and knowledge of an existing condition.

  3. Rayner*

    #2. A gas key could be in my experience; either the key for the meter box on the outside of the the house (it’s triangular in shape) and it is mandatory to lose at least five of the ruddy things every decade, or it could be the key that many homes have in the UK where you are metered for power and pre-pay. You go into a store and they can put money on an electronic ‘key’ which you then take home and bung into the meter. It then lets you have power for that amount.

    And OP, don’t worry. If they had seen you raving it up in a club, then it would be a different matter but going to the corner shop doesn’t matter. It’s not like life stops if you get ill.

    1. Lillie Lane*

      “You go into a store and they can put money on an electronic ‘key’ which you then take home and bung into the meter.”

      Is that like those boxes in houses (years ago) where you would have to put a coin in to get the gas to turn on? This is unfamiliar to me (live in the U.S.) but I’ve seen it in British period films and found it fascinating.

      1. UKAnon*

        The one we had when I was child (for electricity) was sort of like that. AFAIR you took the key to a shop with the capability to top it up, paid the shop the money, then when you put the key back in the meter at home you got power for as long as the money lasted.

        It was actually a terribly effective way of controlling utility spending, and would probably make a lot of people’s lives somewhat easier, but they’re increasingly rare in the UK nowadays.

          1. UKAnon*

            Hah, I didn’t realise that bit! I suspect they’d probably find a way to ensure it still cost more, alas – but the basic model is, was and I think would be a good way of controlling energy use.

        1. Tau*

          I had one in my last flat and found it a real hassle to deal with. (Especially if you forgot to top out and electricity went out at an inopportune time.) Also, although I can see the appeal for someone on a tight budget, I was left with the distinct impression that the pre-pay was more expensive than the direct debit I’d been doing at my last flat.

          Never to mention that having the electricty turned off the instant you’re out and needing to run to the corner shop right then can be… impractical.

          1. uk-based anon*

            Prepay is more expensive, but if you don’t have a good credit record (or if you have no credit history), the electricty/gas companies will insist on a prepay meter. Also, they are common in rented property as it means the landlord won’t be left with debts from the tennant.

            1. uk-based anon*

              PS most meters have an “emergency” button that lets you use an extra £5 of electricity/gas, which you then repay with your top up card. This means that if the power runs out during the night you are okay. However, you need to be able to open the meter cupboard to access this button, which could be the OP’s “gas key”. My gas meter is in a small box on the outside of the property, which is opened with the triangular key described above.

            2. Cat*

              Out of curiosity, are there aid programs for people without much money for who, it might be dangerous to go without electricity? (E.g., elderly people during a cold winter.)

              1. TheLazyB (UK)*

                Older people get some kind of allowance for their power bills to cover most of those eventualities. There’s a lot of fuel poverty in the UK (ie where your fuel bills make up a disproportionate amount of your outgoings).

          2. the gold digger*

            When I lived in Chile, I had an analogous situation: my hot water came from water passing through flames in a box on the wall (called a calefont). It’s actually a brilliant way to heat water – rather than having 50 gallons of water heated all the time in a hot water tank, the water is heated as you use it. (When we have to replace our water heater, I am going to investigate getting that kind of system here. Can’t remember the brand, but something like it is available in the US.)

            You never run out of hot water.

            Unless the gas tank, for which you pay a huge deposit and which is replaced by a guy bringing you a new one on the back of a bicycle with a carrier, goes empty while you are in the shower.

            Nope. No way to know when the tank is approaching empty – no indicator. You find out you need a new one when your water goes from hot to cold and you still have not rinsed the shampoo out of your hair.

            1. Marcela*

              Hehe, I was truly surprised when I discovered -watching a tv program called Ask This Old House- thein the US you keep a huge tank of water hot at all times. It seemed such a waste of energy to me… In the same program, they showed not only calefonts, but something which is an hybrid between the water tank and a calefont, which should bring the best of both worlds (since the calefont has the horrible problem of wasting a lot of water while you wait for it to warm).

              BTW, I always wonder where did you live in Chile. Because I remember you have told about not having a fridge? and that’s not normal at all, even my very poor grandparents had one. Washing machine? Sure, many people still don’t have one. And now you say that your home didn’t have the extra gas tank homes usually have, so when one tank empties, you just change the connection to the full one and call for the empty one to be replaced. Of course, if you are not rich, you just can’t fill the empty one asap, as it used to happen with the small tank I used to heating my room, but nonetheless the big ones use to be installed in pairs (most of the time they have small roofs on top, so they can be outside our homes, but protected from rain).

              1. the gold digger*

                Hi Marcela,

                I was in Temuco. Everyone I knew who owned a house had a refrigerator, but I was renting and a fridge did not seem to come with rental houses. My roommate and I eventually bought one. I don’t remember if it was used – we looked for a long time trying to find a used one and there is not a big secondary market in old appliances in Temuco! It made it harder for us to find stuff, but on the other hand, I could get things repaired in Temuco (shoes, walkman) that I would have had to throw away in the US because if you can find someone to do the work, it’s more expensive than buying a new item.

                Maybe everyone else knew to get two tanks? It never occurred to my roommate and me! Now that you mention it, it is a brilliant idea! Although I am remembering now (this was 20 years ago) that my roommate and I had some problems with kids stealing our tanks.

                As soon as I saw a calefont, I had the same thought you did: How stupidly wasteful it is to keep water heated all the time.

                fposte, I think a lot of the problem with tankless heating in the US is you have to have your house (or at least my house) re-plumbed.

                1. Connie-Lynne*

                  We replaced our hot water tank with a heat-on-demand system five years ago.

                  It only required a little bit of replumbing, as our tank was interior and the instahot is required to be outside the house.

                2. Marcela*

                  Oh, oh, now I get it! Of course your rental place didn’t have a fridge… that’s not usual. Most people are very suspicious of tenants, and they do not include basic appliances thinking they are going to break it or steal it. My grandmother was truly paranoid about it and for some time refused to provide a stove when renting the independent second floor of her place, until we pointed out that if the tenants were able to take the stove out using the really tiny independent stairs, well, they were magic users and she would be at their mercy anyway (when they moved in, usually we had to let them use the big entrance of the house, since their stairs was essentially the size of a person).

                  About the second hand market, that’s something I love about being in the US, where I can find anything in Craigslist or eBay. I do wonder why we don’t have a strong second hand market, since there are great things you can get that way, and it is less wasteful. But somehow, for my people it seems used stuff is only for who can’t spend in new things. Or young alternative people.

                  I think I had the idea that you were living with somebody who was Chilean, so I wondered why your experience was so radically different from what I know. I love your stories, because they are the exact opposite to mine, and I can see my country from your eyes. It’s a very, very special feeling (I loved when you said once that my country felt and looked occidental, but everything worked differently: it was such a clear description of my own feelings here…). And I discover funny facts, too, for example, only now I realize how silly it is that our gas tanks don’t have any meter and we have to guess or suffer when they empty!

              2. V*

                If the water coming into your house in the winter is 40 degrees, the on demand heating units don’t work very well for getting it hot, especially the electric versions.

            2. fposte*

              FYI–I’m looking at new water heaters at the moment, and I looked into the tankless ones (which is the US term for those). They are more energy efficient, but they cost a ton more than tank water heaters in the US, and Consumer Reports estimates that it’d take over 20 years to earn back the difference from efficiency for most households. By which time, the water heater has likely been replaced anyway.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Yeah, that’s one reason I didn’t get one. I had to replace my heater–an old 30-gallon one–and they said manufacturers don’t make that size anymore. So I got a 40-gallon one and it’s fabulous. I don’t run out of hot water in the middle of a shower anymore. And I take long showers. :)

              2. Marcela*

                Thanks for this. I am not looking for one now and probably I won’t for several more years, but I was convinced I wanted one of those. But 20 years is too much, specially if you can use a solar water heating system, so I am not wasting gas or electricity. My FIL has one and it works great. And I don’t think they were as expensive.

              3. TFS*

                Ah, but tankless water heaters can be mounted on your wall, making them flood-proof (and less of a space-hog). After a lot of research we bought a new tank water heater because the tankless ones were so expensive, only to have it ruined a year later when the basement flooded (which is not covered under the warranty). That was painful! Wish we would have purchased the tankless one in the first place.

            3. Mephyle*

              We have those heaters now – in Mexico they’re called a ‘calentador de paso’. I was going to add that in English they’re tankless heaters but it’s already been noted.
              For gas have a ‘tanque estacionario’ which holds about 300 L of gas and is filled from a big truck that runs a hose up to the roof where the tank is. Since we only have to fill it every 3 months or so, I have to be vigilant about entering a reminder on my calendar (step 1) and paying attention to the calendar notification (step 2) otherwise we will run out and then have to wait a day for our gas guys to com once I call them. (Surprisingly, I’ve only failed on this front once.)

        2. Rayner*

          I found a lot more people actually use them – when I lived in student digs, landlords thought they were the bees knees and decided to install them everywhere which was great. Until you had an idiot who left their TV on all day or the oven all night with nothing in it and then you had no alarm clock, cold showers, and no toast for breakfast because there was no electricity.

          And there’s always a queue for meter top ups when I go in our local shop so… idk.

  4. Sonya Mann*

    #2, if you still feel awkward after going back, preemptively mentioning it to your coworker might help. “Wasn’t it funny that we saw each other when I was sick? I had to drag myself to the store…” Along those lines. Also, if you saw your coworker, weren’t they off work too? Or was this after hours? Regardless, like Alison said, it’s probably fine.

  5. Mean Something*

    I read #1 a little differently, Alison–it sounded to me as if the letter writer had resigned to her manager, but not received any acknowledgment from her employer about the end of employment–which I took to mean HR getting in touch about wrapping up paperwork, notice of end of benefits, returning keys, exit interviews, that sort of thing. I have always worked in colleges and, now, a school, so I’m not sure what this might be like in a typical company. I’ve read here about people being asked to leave before the end of their notice period, for example. What sorts of steps happen in a large company after you resign?

    1. Myrin*

      That’s how I read it. After all, it says I handed my resignation in to my manager, but my employer has not acknowledged it. If the OP meant one and the same person, surely she would have just said “I handed my resignation to my manager but she hasn’t acknowledged it.” But, like you, I have no idea how that works in large companies, especially American ones.

    2. Kiwi Librarian*

      I read it the same as you “Mean Something”. I don’t know about in the US, but in NZ, the standard is usually a letter as well as resigning in person, as the employer needs something in writing. I’ve recently resigned – met my manager to tell her and give her the letter. I was prepared to work out my notice period, but asked to leave a day earlier (which shouldn’t be a problem). It took over two weeks for anyone to tell me which day I could leave on (despite asking). I still haven’t received anything in writing to acknowledge my resignation – which I think is unusual and a bit rude. In previous places of work, we always sent an email, thanking the person for their work and confirming their last day. That said, my current Place of Work is unusual!

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ah, it could be. I hear from a startling number of people who think they’re supposed to resign by leaving a letter for their boss and so I read it that way. OP, could you clarify?

      1. Merry and Bright*

        I have resigned from 2 jobs (as opposed to finishing a fixed contract or being made redundant). Although I gave my notice verbally to my manager, both times I was asked to confirm it by letter. Apparently HR needed it as a formal record. Maybe it is to discourage claims later for unfair or constructive dismissal. My current organisation says in its handbook that resignations must be made or confirmed in writing. Don’t know if email counts at this job. Maybe it’s more a UK thing.

        1. acmx*

          Last two jobs, I’ve written and signed a letter, also (can’t remember further back than that but I think I’ve always provided a signed letter).

          1. NoCalHR*

            HR always (at least, in my experience) wants written confirmation of resignation. It is useful in figuring final pay checks, prevents “But I thought you said Thursday, not Tuesday!” conversations, etc. Not a big deal – a dated and signed sticky-note will work, as does email and formal letters. And no explanation required either; “ABC Company: Effective Tuesday, Month Day Year, I am resigning my position as Teapot Designer. My last day of work will be Tuesday, Month Day Year. Edie Employee.”

            Note that I ask for effective date and last day of work, due to funky CA laws regarding issuance of final pay checks. Many people prefer to resign effective last day of the month, which could be a weekend or holiday, and they have to be paid within a time limit based on last day of work.

        2. BananaPants*

          In the U.S. and working for a large company – if someone resigns verbally they are asked to confirm it in writing. I think HR does this so that if the former employee tries to claim unemployment, they can stop the claim pretty effectively.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It’s not uncommon to be asked to put it in writing after you have the resignation conversation — but I’m talking about people who resign only by writing out a letter — no conversation first.

        4. College career counselor*

          Also required to follow up verbal resignation with a letter. The reason I was given was that hr would not post the job without a confirming letter.

        5. K.*

          Ditto, and I’m in the US. Nothing fancy needed. “I am resigning from my position as Senior Teapot Analyst. My last day will be September 1.” But that always came after I told my boss face to face that I was quitting; it was an HR thing.

        6. Kelly L.*

          Yup, I’ve been asked to do this too. It was just something simple–I hereby resign, yadda yadda, effective (date).

        7. Kyrielle*

          I was also required to provide a written letter (email was fine) to HR after resigning verbally to my boss, in the US, this year.

      2. Mean Something*

        AAM also gets quite a lot of letters from people who have a problem but have never actually gone and spoken to the person who might be able to resolve it, so I can see how #1 might sound like one of those!

      3. manybellsdown*

        I did this once, when I worked as a PA for a real estate agent. I attached my letter of resignation (one month’s notice, in July) to my daily report, and he apparently never read it. Three days later he called me into his office to talk about vacation time for the Christmas season. I was confused and I blurted out “But I’m quitting!”

        He was very nice about it when we finally cleared up the confusion. But yeah, don’t just leave a letter and assume it’s taken care of.

    4. LBK*

      In my experience, your manager would do all of that. I’ve never been contacted by HR or IT or anything, all the access and technology stuff was my manager’s responsibility. Maybe OP is expecting something to happen that doesn’t actually happen at her company?

      1. Kyrielle*

        Huh! My last job, there was a checklist from HR as well as going over COBRA, 401k rollover, last pay check, etc.

    5. TFS*

      When a coworker left our employer, she was left by her manager to tie up all loose ends on her own–not even given instruction that she should get in touch with HR herself. So there were definitely steps to be taken, but she had to proactively ask about them–she wasn’t contacted and walked through the process. (This type of thing, incidentally, is an example of why she was leaving). So definitely follow up and ask if there is paperwork that needs to be done!

  6. katamia*

    3. Hiring often seems to take longer than people say it will. I was once offered a job (didn’t accept it for many reasons; this wasn’t the deciding factor) 3 weeks later than they said they’d get back to me. Stuff happens. Don’t stop applying to jobs in case, but unless you’ve seen other red flags from them, there’s no reason to assume that he lied to you.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Oh yeah I’ve been contacted months later a couple of times now and asked if I’m still interested in a job I had interviewed for and I had already started a new job both times and one time I barely remembered the interview.

    2. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

      I had a hiring manger get really rude with me when I explained I had taken another job 3.5 months after the interview!

  7. Ruth (UK)*

    2. I assumed the key was for the gas meter. I had pay as you go gas and lecky at the last place I lived, but now I pay both in a monthly bill which is handy (no more random unexpected darkness to be plunged into when you forget to pay).

    Also, it annoys me when employers think that sick people should be home all day. I used to work in a fast food place that insisted this. It’s possible to be sick enough that you can’t handle a 9, 10, 11, whatever hour shift on your feet, with limited times you can have a drink, and no sitting down, but are well enough to handle a 10 minute walk to the corner shop, or a 30 minute trick to the grocery store where you can rest when needed, and carry water. With food jobs, being contagious is also more of a worry. But they insisted – if you were spotted out of your house, you were clearly not sick. (They even used this against a guy who had broken his arm the day before so couldn’t work, and was spotted sitting in a pub. Apparently if you can sit in a pub, you’re obviously fit to work).

    Luckily for me, I now work in a job where my boss has sensible understandings over taking time off for illness. And even luckily-er for me, I am rarely sick anyway. In the 3 days I worked in fast food, I only needed to call in once, and I have not yet needed to call in at my current job (nearly 2 years).

    1. Jeanne*

      Right. Maybe you didn’t plan ahead for being sick (like most of us) and you need cough medicine or ginger ale or whatever. I live alone. I have to go get my own supplies. I would suspect many managers who think that way are men who have wives willing to run all their errands.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Same here. I always try to keep stuff on hand, but it sometimes expires or I run out and forget to replace it. Nothing is worse than having to go to the store when you feel like crap, actually.

    2. Anonymousy*

      Quite frankly, this conversation comes up here and at work sometimes and it’s just… well, there’s lots of different illnesses, there’s not just colds and the flu, for which resting is good (and during which people still might have to leave the house). During the last years, I have been off work sick because of rheumatoid arthritis, miscarriages and more, for all of which going for a walk or even light sports was perfectly fine (I went swimming once while off work for arthritis, because swimming is soothing for the joints).

    3. Ruth (uk)*

      Extremely late correction of a typo I made… But in the three YEARS I worked fast food, I called in sick once… Not three days!

  8. Rebecca*

    Re#1, I too thought you had to hand in a resignation letter. When I get a new job, that’s what I was planning to do – type up a letter, sign it, scan it, and email it to my manager and HR, and then immediately hand in the original copy to my manager. I am hesitant to simply tell her verbally as I know her track record on taking care of things, and if she throws a tantrum, I really don’t want to have to stay in the office and deal with her.

    So, what are we supposed to do?

    1. Sorcha*

      Tell her verbally, including your expected last day based on the notice period. Two weeks is usual. Then follow up with an email (not a scanned letter, that would be weird and unnecessary, just an email is fine) to her (cc’d to HR if you feel the need) confirming your last day.

      If she throws a tantrum and makes it difficult for you to work your notice, tell her that you need her to treat you professionally, and if that continues to be an issue suggest that you move up your last day to “today”. Or if it’s really bad, just announce you are doing so.

      You check out some of the letters under the Resigning tag here for Alison’s advice on this.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yep, exactly this.

        And as Vorthys says below, if she’s going to throw a tantrum, she’s going to do that whether the resignation comes in person or by letter. Let her be unprofessional, but you be professional and resign with a conversation (followed up with a normal email to HR).

    2. Vorthys*

      Unless you don’t intend on giving notice with your resignation as the plan is to immediately flee into the night and never see her again, you’ll be risking your manager’s fit regardless. You can always follow up with a written confirmation if you need to, and leave if she’s throwing a tantrum.

    3. Apollo Warbucks*

      Meet with her and hand over the letter in person, then email a copy of the letter to her and HR.

      1. KathyGeiss*

        Bingo. The purpose of the letter is for HR to have on record to show that you resigned voluntarily (this would impact unemployment claims I do believe). The letter is sort of the formality after the fact. I always treat the conversation as the Actual Resignation and the letter as the necessary after-the-fact paperwork.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But just to clear: You have the conversation, then you give her the letter (if it’s required; it isn’t always) as documentation. You don’t just hand her the letter and let it deliver the message (which is what some people think they’re supposed to do).

        1. LBK*

          I’m not even sure how that would go – do you stand there and wait while they read it? Do you just hand them a letter and walk away? Both of those sound extremely awkward to me.

    4. Stranger than fiction*

      My significant other has resigned from two jobs and both times he had a letter in hand, scheduled a time to talk to his boss, and brought the letter to hand him after the conversation. Same thing others have said though, the letter wasn short and sweet and intended as documentation and the reasons or other details were discussed in person

  9. blackcat*

    On #5, I remember seeing a meme out there, where someone had altered a “Welcome to MA” sign to say “Closed on Mondays.”

    I don’t think anyone kept their plans in February!

    1. Lily Rowan*

      I just need to say this as many times as possible: My job was closed ONE DAY last winter. And the day the T was closed, we could work from home. Other than that? I was in the office.

      1. Lefty*

        Our office was closed 2 days due to snow and we had some odd staffing hours due to the T as well… I’m not sure if you (Lily Rowan) and I are in the minority, but I seem to remember the snowfall affecting more weekends than workdays. Of course, the public transit system suffered the effects longer than it took for the snow to fall, so maybe some employers shut down in light of that?

      1. OP #5*

        I also want to add that yes many private companies chose to open when it was unsafe to to move about. Schools, municipalities, and state offices were closed down at least the following Monday, if not longer (many cases longer) Even though I brought home what work I could, not all my work can be done from home like the few commenters that posted. So while yes some people went to work, the state was practically shut down.

  10. schnapps*

    #2 OP – unless you’re caught at the bar across the street from work after you’ve called in sick, like one of my coworkers was a number of years ago, I doubt you’ll be on the receiving end of any disciplinary action.

    (Yes, that really happened. Several years later, she took a leave of absence/sick leave to go to rehab and is on her way to 3 years sober)

    1. Hattie McDoogal*

      I used to work in a bar/restaurant and once a co-worker said he wasn’t feeling well and asked to leave early. The KM said OK, at which point sick co-worker went and sat at the bar (our bar, clearly visible from the kitchen) with his friends until closing time. Ballsy!

    2. Anon for this*

      My old co-worker called in sick on a Saturday and later posted FB pictures of herself on the beach. She was “feeling a lot better” when asked about it.

  11. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

    #1 When I was 16 I purposefully resigned in a letter and put it in my managers inbox since I knew he didn’t ever read his mail (which was one of the reasons I was quitting since his failure to address important documents coming to him frequently. While at 16 I felt smart and clever and vindicated, 10 years later I’m more embarrassed about the passive-aggressive move than anything else. I also burnt that bridge and unfortunately management took it out on the rest of my family who was still working there. So yeah. Simply resign in person. If at all possible I would also extend your two weeks notice.

    1. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      Whoops. *(Which was one of the reasons I was quitting since his failure to address important documents coming to him frequently caused me grief at work).

    2. LBK*

      I know you were young and have obviously learned your lesson by now but I have to chuckle at the logic here. So if he never saw the letter, what was going to happen after your last day? Were you just going to stop showing up and hope he took the hint?

  12. Cheryl Becker*

    Two things. (And I confess I haven’t read ALL of the comments above!)
    1. I too want to know what a gas key is. All of the comments I read above help, but I don’t think I see the exact meaning, as the OP describes it?
    2. RE: letter of resignation. Yes, you have the conversation, but then you follow it up with a formal letter, correct? I see that Alison HAS answered this one, above. And, this is the way I’ve always done it. Except for the one time I didn’t want to talk to that boss at all. I still had to talk to her about it afterward, of course, but I really just wanted to resign without discussing it. I was WELL over 16, and knew better than to resign that way, but it was a toxic workplace with a toxic boss and we were all leaving in droves.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      I think if there’s that much tension with the boss then it’s ok to have the discussion with HR instead, but be prepared for them to call the boss in to the meeting

    2. Erin*

      I see resignation as a two-part thing – you have the conversation in person, and while doing so, you hand them the formal letter.

  13. HarryV*

    3. Sort of going through this now. Just passed the 3 week mark after the 2nd interview and have heard nothing. So hard! Already sent two emails last week – one to the recruiter and one to the hiring manager.

    1. OlivierW*

      Man, going into my first week after the follow up call. It’s nerve racking.. something they said would take a week.. has ended up taking 3 weeks so far. If I didn’t get the job.. just tell me..

  14. ORLYNOW*

    3 weeks with vertigo? That’s not vertigo. Once you start treating it with meclyzine (non-drowsy dramamine), can be bought over the counter, doesnt need a prescription, it goes away fully in about 8hrs. Maybe 12. I’ve had problems with vertigo since 2002. Every year, I have one serious bout that leaves me puking anytime I try to move. Every time, the meclyzine fixes it within 8hrs. (I dont care if “omg everyone responds to meds differently”, that’s rare. I dont want to hear your special snowflake exemption stories either)

    If you felt uneasy, it’s probably because you know you took advantage of your “vertigo” and could’ve gone back sooner.

    Your post raised some red flags for me in regards to the veracity of it. I study statement analysis. I have taken official courses in it.

    1. Liza*

      Wow. I find your comment insensitive. I’m fortunate enough not to have vertigo myself, but a friend has had vertigo for years. I’ve learned from my friend’s experiences that there are multiple causes for vertigo, some of which do not respond to medication. (I believe one difference is whether the person’s vertigo is caused by a disfunction in the ear or in the brain. This is not about special snowflake exceptions, this is about your unwarranted generalization.)

      1. Lily Rowan*


        I’m no special snowflake, but when I had vertigo, the doctor suggested I try a number of different meds and tactics, none of which worked for me. (But also, it wasn’t severe enough that I was off work more than a day.)

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Uh, what on earth? That’s not how we talk to people here.

      I had vertigo for weeks once, but that’s not even the point. The point is that this is rude and not okay here.

    3. Ruth (UK)*

      Vertigo is quite a general term and people can suffer it for a number of reasons. I’m no doctor but I process hospital admin stuff so I get to read a bunch of ear and neurology referrals etc. A good thing I’ve taken from that is that the same symptoms in different people can be caused by different things and the same medication sometimes doesn’t work – and there any many people who can’t take certain medications (eg. Heart problems, pregnancy, stomach ulcers, intolerances, allergies, autoimmune problems, and more).

      I do think you were quick to judge the op here. For all we know, they have a number of medical issues and symptoms including vertigo but called it just ‘vertigo’ for simplicity when writing the letter. Or maybe it is just that but they experience it differently than you.

      The point is that, unless an employee starts developing a pattern of unexplained / dubious absences or similar, it’s usually a good idea to trust someone when they say they are not well enough to work.

      (also the nature of their job might matter a lot. Vertigo may not interfere too much with most desk jobs but would be a major issue for a truck driver, police officer, life guard, anyone who needs to stand or run etc a lot and so on)

        1. Fact & Fiction*

          Also I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night so am totally qualified to Internet diagnose and serve as forum judge and jury.

      1. TFS*

        I was irritated by the post until I got to the official courses in statement analysis part. Then I just giggled and giggled…

    4. Tangerina Warbleworth*

      If you study statement analysis, why didn’t you see the inherent arrogance in yours?

  15. Teebee*

    3. Is this hiring manager lying to me?
    A possibility is that they’ve offered the job to the other candidate and are waiting for him/her to sign contracts etc. They have not told you yet, just in case the first candidate changes his/her mind.

  16. AnnaBella*

    I assume the person is in the UK who is talking about a gas key. Its a way of budgetting for heating and hot water in a pay as you go/pre-payment meter way. You go to 1000’s of stores and pay money onto a card or key and put it in the gas meter for heating and hot water. In the UK gas is in houses: petrol is in cars and never gas (I’m a Brit recently moved to North America)

  17. K*

    Ahhhh I remember Snowmageddon. That was fun in New Hampshire. I shoveled so much this winter I did damage to my wrists. So happy you found a way to get out!

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