I was offered my boss’s job but now she’s not leaving, negotiating salary through a recruiter, and more

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

1. I was offered my boss’s job, but now she says she’s not leaving

About two months ago, senior management took me aside to let me know that my boss would be leaving the company in a few months and that they wanted me to take her position. It would be a huge bump in salary and responsibility, and a position that is rarely vacant, so I enthusiastically said yes.

Since then. I have been shadowing my boss, attending trainings, having regular meetings with leadership, and sitting on hiring panels in preparation for my new role.

Today, my boss abruptly told me she wasn’t leaving after all so I’m not getting her job, sorry. I’m dumbfounded. She said this literally as she was getting on an elevator so I had no chance to follow up. What do I say on Monday? I feel like sending out resumes right now!

I’d say this to her: “I wanted to follow up your mention on Friday about your plans. We didn’t a get a chance to talk much, so I was hoping you could tell me more about what’s going on.” If she continues to be brusque (and “you’re not getting my job, sorry” certainly qualifies as that), I’d just say, “Okay, thanks for letting me know” and then go talk with whoever offered you the promotion earlier. To them, say this: “Jane has told me that she’s not resigning and that the plans for me moving into her position are off, but she hasn’t told me anything more than that. I was hoping you might be able to talk more with me about what this means.”

They owe you a fuller explanation than what you’ve received so far. Because of the work they’ve been having you do these last few months, they owe you some information about what changed and why (not necessarily micro-details, but at least the gist of the situation) and some discussion about what that means for you and your future there. (The latter might just be “you stay in the job you’re at,” but ideally they’d recognize that this sucks and would talk to you about other paths to development and promotion.)

2. Resigning employee is slacking off during his notice period

An employee of mine put in his two weeks’ notice a week ago. During that conversation, I outlined the tasks for his remaining time, and checked in with him again on the Monday after that conversation. However, for the past week, he has been coming in late, leaving early, and from what I can tell, not completing the tasks we discussed.

I had a conversation at the end of the week with him about my concerns (that he wasn’t completing the tasks and putting in a full 40 hours) and he responded that it was his prerogative to adjust his own hours and that he still had a week to complete the tasks. While the company is flexible with work hours, it’s still expected that people regularly come in for a full eight hours. As for the tasks, a few of them are ongoing and would easily fill his remaining two weeks. After our conversation, I’m feeling very powerless in this situation, and would prefer at this point that he simply not return to work.

While it may be too late to salvage his last week, how do I handle this now, or with future employees who put in two weeks’ notice?

I’d say this to him: “While you’re still working here, we need you to meeting the same standards as before you gave notice. If you’re not up for that, would you prefer to simply make today your last day?” (Say this in a collaborative tone, not a threatening one.) If he says yes but doesn’t change what he’s been doing, it’s your prerogative to intervene and say, “Hey, it seems like we have really different expectations of what these last two weeks should look like, so I think it would be best to wrap things up now.”

Keep in mind that if you do that, he’s going to leave pissed off (which you might be fine with — he’s clearly not too invested in making a great impression on you). Depending on details I don’t have, it might make more sense to just roll your eyes, accept that this guy sucks, know that he’s blown his reference, and just get through the remaining time in his notice period without getting into it with him and be glad when he’s gone.

3. Recruiter is making it hard for me to negotiate salary

About five weeks ago, I was contacted by an outside recruiter regarding a position across the country, in my current field but at a much larger organization and in a narrower (probably less stressful) role. There were phone interviews with the outside recruiter, the internal HR guy, and the hiring manager, and then a day on-site of serial interviews with eight different people.

Initially, I’d provided a target salary range to the recruiter and HR guy, but I qualified that I’d need to look into cost of living. In later conversations, I let the recruiter know that the top of my initial range was where I would need to start in order to break even. In my final interview with the hiring manager, she asked about salary for the first time, and I told her what I’d told HR, and that I was preferably looking for a little above the top of my range. She said she thought she could get me the top of the range, maybe higher depending on how I did with her boss.

I received an offer via the recruiter the other day, but it came in lower than the low end of my initial range, and he indicated HR had suggested they did not have room to move. I really want to go to work for this company, but they’re in an area with much higher housing costs as well as state income tax, and the accepting base salary offered would in effect feel like I was making a little less than I am now. It might still be worth it, but I feel I’m worth more, and I’d like to ask the employer for it.

I asked the recruiter to negotiate on my behalf, but he said our only options are to accept the offer, or to decline it outright but say that I’d accept at the top end of my initial range (or some higher number, if we wanted to leave room for negotiation). I’d prefer not to jeopardize the offer by completely walking away, and to have a final chance to accept the low number. I’ve been considering emailing the hiring manager and asking if she’s open to a conversation, so I can let her know how excited I am about the job but that I’d like the higher salary she thought she could get me–but I don’t want to irreparably offend HR and the recruiter.

This is tricky, because the recruiter might be absolutely right about how to proceed (based on his knowledge of the company and the hiring manager) and both he and the hiring manager could be irked if you try to go around the recruiter, or the recruiter might be totally off-base. If nothing else, though, I’d push the recruiter to accurately represent your position — which isn’t one of the limited options he suggested (reject or accept only if $X) but rather a very normal “let’s talk about the salary” stance.

Any chance you have other questions for the hiring manager? People often do have the sorts of questions that really need to be answered by the hiring manager directly, and one option could be to arrange a conversation for those, and then end up covering salary during that discussion too.

4. Employer requires women to be escorted to their cars

My employer requires that female, and only female, employees have a male employee escort them to their car after their shift is over. I am a 40-year-old woman and have been threatened with being terminated for leaving without an escort who is younger than my own children. I am often times required to wait up to 45 minutes after my shift ends (and off the clock) before I’m allowed to go home. I would think it should be my choice when I could leave work after I am off duty. Please advise?

Whoa, no, that’s not legal. Your employer can’t discriminate by sex, which it’s doing in subjecting you to different rules than men, especially a rule that’s causing you to have to stay at work long (unpaid, no less!). Say this to your employer: “I don’t need an escort to my car, and I need to leave on time. Federal law prohibits us from treating women differently than men, and I know we don’t want to violate the law, so I’m leaving now.” If they push back, the EEOC might like to hear from you.

5. Using a professor as a reference

At what point should you stop using a college professor as a reference? In my case, I have used for several years a trusted mentor and former professor as a reference. I’m not looking for a new job anytime soon but when the time comes, at what point in your career/age does that become something that looks odd to a reference checker?

I find professor references pretty useless — I really want to talk to managers. You might have been a great student who made thoughtful contributions to class discussion and wrote insightful papers, but that doesn’t tell me much about what you’re like at work.

I can understand students or new grads including professors on their reference lists if they don’t have many other options, but as soon as you do have options, you should use those instead. (The exception to this might be if you work in academia, although I’m just guessing there.)

{ 430 comments… read them below }

  1. Goodbye*

    Ii’venbeen posting here for a while under different names and wanted to let you know that I won’t be reading anymore. I’ve constituent m-that should read consistently. Unfortunately, do to your impossible as network, your comment box isn’t working properly. I have never been to. Website with so many ad issues and I think that you should have swapped out your ad network long ago. I hope it’s making you money because it’s losing you readers. Goodbye and thanks for the awesome advice over the years.

    1. Hello*

      I use firefox, ad-block & ghostery – site & comments work perfectly! Would prefer disqus though as it’s easier to follow but whatever.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Sorry to hear that! One reason it’s proved hard to fully resolve is that it’s been really hard to replicate (it’s not happening for the majority of readers, although I know that it has totally plagued some people). I made some changes a couple of weeks ago have helped (at the cost of a slight revenue hit) but I know it didn’t fix it for everyone.

      If you’re up for it, you can 100% stop the problem by using an ad blocker or Flash blocker (these have both worked successfully for others who were experiencing the problem). Here are links to Flash blockers for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, as well as some alternate instructions that might be helpful.

      I totally understand that you shouldn’t have to do that, and if you choose not to, I get it. But those options are there if you want them.

      1. Pokebunny*

        I despise ads. Very few ads are non-intrusive. Ads are a poor business model. I have been using adblockers for as long as I can remember, and many website owners get mad because they aren’t entitled to my clicks. Thing is, I would never click on ads, so whether or not I use an adblocker makes no difference.

        I wish you would put up a donate button. I’m one of those people who donate a few dollars to Wikipedia. I love supporting great sites, I just don’t want to do it through ads, heh.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Ads here are based on impressions, not clicks, but I’m fine with people using ad blockers if the ads cause problems for you. Ads are definitely the best revenue model for the site though; none of the other options would be able to compete revenue-wise.

          1. Case of the Mondays*

            Do the people that pay you know if we use adblocker or not? I thought the fact that ads were hidden was only known on my end and you would still get impression revenue but not click revenue.

              1. AnonInSC*

                I just added you to my whitelist on my adblocker. I’m so used to it that I didn’t think about it. I value this site and the content.

          2. Hellanon*

            I use adblockers at home but not at work, and as you say, the problems must be hard to replicate because I never have them on my work computer. Also, fwiw, I read on my phone all the time & never have issues. But Alison – I have bought the books & I always click through when you recommend a product so I can do my part in keeping things going…

            1. Shauna Malwae-Tweep*

              If you use an ad blocker, one of two things happen, depending on which one you use: it either blocks the call to the ad server entirely, in which no, the site does not still get paid, or the ads are technically on the page but hidden. Not sure if revenue is lost in that instance. Either way, it’s cutting off a major source of revenue for web sites who are providing you content for free.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                LOL your screen name.

                I use an adblocker most of the time because most ads don’t stay off to the side where I can ignore them and click/not click at my leisure. They float on top of the page, scream at me, and generally interfere with my reading.

                1. Shauna Malwae-Tweep*

                  I agree a lot of web sites have very intrusive ads, however I do not think AAM’s is one of them.

          3. Ads Are Okay*

            I just want you to know that not everyone objects to ads. Yes, they can be intrusive. I ‘m certain you can’t pay your bills with people’s good intentions anymore than I can. In addition, I’ve seen several sources that state readership goes down when things are behind a pay wall. Ads are a necessary evil.

          4. LadyTL*

            Have you thought about adding a Patreon account to supplement the ads? I find them to be alot more palatable then dealing with ads.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I don’t think it’s an economically viable model for the site, unfortunately; the number of regulars (the people who would presumably donate) is dwarfed by the number of non-regulars who just come for job search help and then leave or only return occasionally (i.e., not likely to donate). Currently their visits make up a huge portion of the site’s revenue, so ads really are the best model.

          5. Miles*

            Have you considered any direct sponsorships? I’ve heard from a few youtube content creators I follow that those pay much better than just ads (though maybe that’s just because of youtube’s ad model & their cut)

            I’d rather see a note about some service or product you believe in (and are getting paid to mention) than anything about cars or fast food, or celebrity “news.” (And to be honest, the main reason I use an ad-blocker & tracker-blocker is because the data mining creeps me out… I have no problem with ads that come in a format where that doesn’t happen.)

        2. Emily*

          Marketers are actually quite happy to pay for impressions rather than clicks because they still work. There’s a Honda ad in my sidebar right now, which is making me think about Honda when I otherwise wouldn’t have been thinking about cars.

          When you’re in the car listening to your radio and you hear an ad for McDonald’s, just because 99% of the people listening don’t immediately pull over and get a Big Mac doesn’t mean the ad didn’t work.

          It’s been shown that customers are more likely to make a brand purchase if the brand is kept top-of-mind until they’re ready to purchase. Direct clicks are nice, but you’d simply never get enough to be worthwhile. The majority of revenue from ads is indirect lift in other channels, not direct purchases through ads.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            I don’t use an ad blocker (don’t have control of that at work anyway), but I’m really good at not seeing the ads. Honestly, at least 95% of the time I have no idea what the ads even look like, and the few times I do see them (a skiing video), I don’t know what they’re selling. There’s often a big one right before the comments that has people and might be a video. There are ads on the side selling something.

            So, from me, Alison gets the revenue, and the ads fail to influence me. It’s a win-win!

            1. SophieChotek*

              I am sorry they are bothering other people and I’ve seen the various notes Allison puts up to try to fix issues. So far I’ve been really fortunate that the ads don’t seem to bother me or intrude on my ability to read these fabulous column.

              I use Safari 9.03 on a Mac Laptop if that helps anyone. (Never tried accessing site via smartphone, though I’ve read it on my old iPad without issues.)

        3. Erin*

          I don’t disagree, but she has addressed before why a donation button wouldn’t be feasible for the majority of her readers.

          And to Goodbye – I too am surprised such a well-functioning site has so many ad issues. But that being said, she’s been forthcoming with information and updates on the ads, she has experimented with new layouts, and otherwise does everything she can to work through it, including suggesting ad blockers which would decrease her revenue.

          For what’s it’s worth to anyone, or just feedback to Alison, I’ve only had issues with the videos that used to be up (how when they were playing the page would jump back up to the video and basically not let me scroll down). And that didn’t happen all the time. Since those ads were switched with the one at the bottom of the post I’ve had no issues.

          I use Chrome at my work computer (PC [not that I’m reading a blog at work or anything]), Chrome at home on my Chromebook, and I have an Android.

      2. AnonyMouse*

        I read on my iPhone or iPad. Since they can’t run Flash, they are natural Flash ad blockers and I don’t ever have a problem. There’s a block of empty white space where I assume a Flash-based ad would be but I can scroll past it and it doesn’t affect my user experience. Just a friendly tip for those who might be able to use it!

        1. A Teacher*

          Last night and into this morning it kept saying “an error has been detected page reloaded” on my iphone 6. That happens pretty regularly-frustrating but then I figure I’m just not supposed to read.

        2. A Cita*

          On my iphone, if I accidentally touch that block of white space, it redirects me to their ad site. You can imagine I accidentally touch it all the time when scrolling (of course this could be coincidence masking as correlation–in which case, I’m just getting redirected all the time).

          1. Koko*

            That would make sense. The link is the outermost tag, and the ad content/creative is inside the link tag. Flash being disabled or unavailable means the content won’t render, but the link tag is still valid – it will just now be holding nothing instead of the content it was supposed to hold.

        3. paramilitarykeet*

          I’m with you, AnonyMouse. AAM functions very well with Safari on my iPad3 and my iPhone 5c, using iOS 9.2.1 and 9.1, respectively. Sometimes I see a blank space in lieu of an ad, and sometimes I see the ad itself, but it has never been intrusive or interfered with my use of the site.

          ( I am pretty careful not to touch the ad-space, though!)

      3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        I’ll have to see what I can do at work, since installation privileges are severely curtailed, but worth noting I’ve been having problems in IE as well — I think specifically with the ad that pops up between the post and the comments, since when it fails to load everything is fine.

        For my part, I’m great with impressions-based ads as a revenue form — paying for the great advice and commentary here with a small blip of my attention a few times a day is a hell of a bargain!

        1. AnotherFed*

          I also have horrible issues with ads on IE preventing commenting, but that’s only on my work computer – at home I can use a different browser.

        2. StudentPilot*

          Yeah, I use IE at work, and can’t install ad-blockers. AAM crashes routinely here. (I also work in a secure room, so there’s no data signal for me to use my phone)

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Same problem here. Can’t install an ad blocker and can’t use another browser. The pages freeze quite a bit and usually crash. And today I keep getting popped back up to the top of the comments because the ad keeps replaying. (and it just happened twice while writing this)

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  It’s not doing it on every single ad that appears there though, right? What I need is the topic of the ad that’s playing there when it jumps the page around.

      4. Kyrielle*

        I don’t have the problems any more only because my work computer is ad-blocked and my home computer is ad-and-flashblocked. I turned it back on for your site because I wanted you to get the ad revenue, but I immediately had the problem where it bogged down my computer*, and sometimes had the ads that stole focus. I can’t really say whether I would see this on other sites – I have most sites ad-blocked anyway, you just happen to be one I want to give revenue to. :)

        * Not hard – I updated my Windows 8 box to Windows 10 and it’s been nothing but glacial for everything ever since.

        1. mander*

          I had a similar experience on Linux (both Fedora and Ubuntu). For whatever reason this site is slow as heck to load, even with ads and scripts blocked, but it’s a lot worse if I turn the blockers off. So far I have not been able to diagnose the problem, since it happens with every browser I use.

          1. Kyrielle*

            It’s working great for me on RedHat with an older Firefox at work, with ads blocked. That’s a lot of specifics to get there, though.

      5. A Cita*

        The ads are horrible and annoying (on computer–causing my browser window to reload over and over again; on phone, constantly redirecting me to their ad site–I’ve learned to watch for the “loading…” and hit “x” to stop it on my phone).

        One thing I do (when I remember, sorry Alison), is use all the ad block stuff, but disable it once per session to give the impression, then re-enable. Kind of a pain, and can’t do when reading in a hurry, but it’s a small way I can continue to contribute to the site’s income.

      6. Miles*

        I can tell you one of the issues these ads cause is that the <8 third party "things" you have (My addon includes non-ad things in the number, like the google search bar & I don't know what else that shouldn't count) chain load others and it soon balloons to anywhere between 75 and north of 101 third party trackers, analytics tools, etc. and they're all competing for a limited amount of computer resources, and some are probably incompatible with others, causing further issues as the browser tries to accomodate them all.

        With all this going on, I'm amazed there's anyone who doesn't have issues unless they have a much higher end internet connection and computer than most people would need outside of a workplace setting, AAA gaming, or working from home. (Then again, my computer is 8 years old, made from parts you'd see in computers being sold about 4-5 years ago, so maybe i'm underestimating what most people have nowadays)

        As for other revenue streams, have you considered direct sponsorships? A lot of companies are willing to write some pretty big checks for a shoutout or a 'sponsored in part by X, they do Y' note if you can somehow demonstrate that your audience falls within the demographic they sell to. At least that's what I've heard from Youtube content creators who talked about their sponsorship model.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I do periodic sponsored posts as well — generally one or two a month. But to have them match the ad revenue, they’d need to be much more frequent, which I don’t want (both because they’ll start to feel more intrusive to readers and create more work for me).

    3. Momiitz*

      I read on my iPhone and iPad. I have not had any problems reading or posting a comment.

      The ads don’t bother me at all. The ads here don’t slow the page down which is nice. The ads are not on every available empty space. I do click on the ads if I see something I might like. Hey as much as people hate to admit it, we all need to make money to live. Nothing wrong with that.

      There are some websites that the ads really are in every available space and slows the page so much that I give up trying to see the content. This is not one of those.

      1. Talvi*

        I also frequently read on my iPod, and the only problem I’ve had with that is if I try to read from the main page, it always causes the safari app to crash. So I just quickly click through to the first post and read each post individually – with only two ads to load at a time, I’ve solved my crashing problems :)

    4. Hermione*

      Aside from the Ad blockers Alison mentioned, you could also read her posts via an RSS feed – I use InoReader, though admittedly still end up on the site to read the comment feeds regularly. Even with my Ad blocker turned off, I don’t find the ads too obtrusive.

      I hope it’s making you money because it’s losing you readers.

      That said, I think there is probably a nicer way for you to have said this. Or, you know, not at all.

      1. Marcela*

        +1 to your last paragraph. Especially since (good) website hosting and management/administration are not free.

          1. Honeybee*

            Fresh, high-quality content. Multiple posts a day for years on end. So many of the good blogs I used to read have ended or the writer has stopped posting (probably at least in part because of revenue issues). I’d rather look through a couple ads than have this site end.

      2. Kelly*

        Ditto. I applaud Allison for being so kind and patient about someone who was so rude. I would have said “don’t let the virtual door hit you on the rude butt on your way out!” Which is why I don’t write public columns or run a business. :P

    5. Koko*

      Just wanted to chime in and suggest for those who are able to use the Chrome browser. I used it with Windows 7 and most recently upgraded to Windows 8 and I have never had problems here. I don’t use ad blockers either because I find having to purposefully enable the content I do want to see more annoying than ads.

      Internet Explorer is a seriously terrible browser and should only be used as a last resort when you have Chrome, Firefox, and Safari available. I write code and things never work in IE the way they’re supposed to. Stackexchange is full of people trying to figure out hack-y workarounds and you often end up having to write what’s amounts to two totally different sets of code – one that is elegant and works in most browsers, and one that is convoluted and works in IE, and serve up the correct one based on browser signature. It’s not surprising that a lot of lower budget sites make the decision to just publish code that works for 90-95% of their visitors because the 5-10% it won’t work for aren’t valuable enough to be worth the development cost of the second set of code. My condolences to those whose workplaces mandate IE and only IE.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I use Chrome on a Mac. I installed an adblocker specifically because of this site, and the prevalence of autoplay audio on ads. I tried to read it with the ads, for the revenue, but it was annoying to the point of unworkability, particularly when more than one ad was playing at the same time.

      2. Miles*

        People still use IE? Even Microsoft has realized it’s bad and are doing away with it. I really hope any workplace that isn’t part of a national government, or certain specialized fields where the computer is needed but doesn’t access the internet, has something better.

        1. Miles*

          That said, I realize I’m being naiive here. Many businesses still use applications that are business critical and were developed a few decades ago when IE was the go-to best browser, and rely on some IE quirk to work properly.

      3. Kyrielle*

        I use Chrome on Windows 10 and it has had the “jump to the top of comments” problem and also the “bogs down the whole computer so horribly you can hardly get to it to shut it down” problem. I use Flashblock now and no longer whitelist this site. :(

        I’m glad that it’s working for you, but it’s not just IE that has problems.

    6. Kelly*

      Okay, after reading sentence two about 8 times I gave up. How the heck did any of you get past that and bother reading more to find what the heck it was even saying? Seriously? Worst post I’ve ever read on this site and shocked that anyone bothered to decipher it.

      1. Cactus*

        I think the meat of that sentence is just two words “I’ve consistently.” Why they left the whole “constituent m” part or the “that should read” part, I don’t know. That said, I have no idea what they’ve consistently been doing? Saying? Eating? Reading? Hmmm.

  2. Aswin Kini MK*

    @OP 2:

    Before we go into the issue of the person slacking during his notice periods, there are a few things we would like to know:

    1) How was this “guy’s” performance before his notice period? Was he a “just above average or OK types worker” or a good performer?
    2) If the person was a good performer, is there a specific reason he is slacking? Perhaps he had issues that he specified to the management only to see no action and now he thinks it’s “payback time”?
    3) How was the OP’s relationship with the worker?

    I am asking these questions because most often the reason for slacking is obvious, the person has resigned and mentally he/she has cut themselves off from the company. Although they need to ensure the transition is fruitful, this seldom happens.

    However, on the contrary, based on my own experience, I have seen great performers leave the company in utter disgust because 1) Their manager/management took them for granted and obviously he/she is frustrated and is taking it out on them. 2) The employee was a great performer and saw what happened to people who left before him (Read how they were treated like throwaways) and is now taking all steps to avoid such situations purely because he/she doesn’t want to do it.

    @OP2: Sorry these are just my assumptions. Mostly the case is that the person you specified is simply slacking. But just wanted to point out there may be other reasons as well.

    1. Colette*

      I don’t think why really matters when it comes to an employee who is leaving in a week. The OP cannot change the reason, just address the behaviour.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq*

        Well, if the person was a high performer who is leaving because they voiced concerns to management and never saw action on them, that’s super important and useful for a manager to know! Those types of issues fester, and they can start a domino effect of your best people leaving.

        1. Colette*

          Sure, from a general need to know how to make the business string, I agree – but it wouldn’t affect how to deal with the slacking employee.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Even if he’s slacking for the reasons you mention, though, he’s still hurting himself. Maybe he does think it’s “payback time”, but, if so, that’s pretty immature and short-sighted. Are a couple weeks of flagrant slacking worth the bad reference that he’s surely earning?

      1. TootsNYC*

        I think I would point out the damage he’s doing to his reference. Out of a “help the world” impulse.

        “When you leave your next job, you may not be able to use that manager as a reference during your job hunt. So traditionally, you’d use me–most people give their manager from one job ago. But you’re not making it possible for me to say anything good about you.”

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          I like this. He may be young and not realize he’s shooting himself in the foot. Or he may have heard they don’t give references, just confirm details of a former employee, and be resting on that. But when someone “checks out” once they give notice, it says to me they didn’t like their job all that much and there were other issues.

    3. sunny-dee*

      Or another thing … how much of it is slacking? In this case, it sounds obvious, but I transitioned to a different department in my company, and I had a list of work items to clear out. OldManager insisted that I maintain my original meeting schedule (30 hours a week) and emails (about 50 a day, not counting team / project mailing lists, which are 200 a day). Um, didn’t leave a whole lot of time to wrap things up. So he decided to use my last two days to have 1-2 hours meetings with him to berate me for not getting everything cleared off … and then to berate me when I cleared a few days’ extra work with NewManager to finish up tasks because he has everything under control.

      What I’m saying is, if there are unrealistic requirements (attend all normal meetings, handle all normal communication) it may not be possible to resolve everything without a ton of overtime — and what looks like slacking (tasks aren’t done!) may be a byproduct of trying to do too much.

      1. Bwmn*

        Sigh. This so much.

        I gave one boss a 3 month notice period, and the last week was still a complete disaster. No one had been hired to replace me, “stuff” kept on popping up and that needed to be addressed immediately, and my “transition notes” were a two day utter rush job. I put in overtime, gave the organization two extra days (I had originally asked for my last day to be a Wednesday as I was leaving the country but ended up working Thursday and Friday), and it was no where near done.

        I did get more done that had I not put in overtime, but the expectations and capacity to get anywhere near everything done was utterly unrealistic.

        OP, we obviously don’t know what the expectations are and it’s not uncommon for people to use those final two weeks as a slow down period – but I’ve found that when people take their feet off the gas during their final two weeks it often does relate to seeing a list of activities that will never get done anyways.

      2. OP 2*

        Sunny-dee, that sounds awful!

        As for my employee, I actually had him immediately cease his normal role once he gave notice so that he could start on the wrap-up tasks. I even gave him an expected timeline for the wrap up tasks so that he could divvy up his time appropriately. Additionally, I removed non-essential meetings from his calendar. But your point is certainly one for all managers to consider!

        1. Doriana Gray*

          You sound like a very reasonable manager. When I gave notice at the job I just left last month (and it wound up being a six week period), I thought, “Well at least I can get files closed and put action plans in the notes in my remaining open files so that whoever gets reassigned these tasks will know what needs to be done next.”

          That did not happen. My manager, in all her spiteful, infinite wisdom, decided to assign me new cases during my notice period so that I had no time to properly wrap up any of my old work (and no, I was not going to work overtime to do it – they were getting 40 hours out of me, and that was it).

          I know a lot of stuff probably fell through the cracks during those last two weeks, and possibly after I left, but that’s the price you pay when you try to be an asshole.

          If only all managers behaved like you was the point of this diatribe, lol.

        2. Triangle Pose*

          OP 2 – removing non-essential meetings and giving him specific wrap up tasks is exactly how to handle a notice period. If he is even shirking these skinnied up duties he is really slacking.

        3. sunny-dee*

          +1, OP#2 and good on you! It sounded from your letter like this guy really is just being a slacker, but I wanted to raise an incredibly slim possibility. It sounds like you handled this transition perfectly though! … Want to send my OldManager some notes? ;)

    4. OP 2*

      These are all excellent questions.

      1) Performance was okay, attitude was okay. But his major strength was ability to get along with others- he’s very charming and likable. I know that doesn’t have much to do with performance, but I think in the past it had carried him through sub-par performances.
      2) I can’t see this being the case, but obviously I could be wrong. We have weekly 1:1s to bring up things, and he went so far as to mention that he’d be letting HR know how much his leaving was independent of my leadership (an opportunity with more $ and more alignment to his career goals presented itself). However, see point #1 about charm.
      3) He and I were very close, and actually discussed how it would be nice to interact outside work once his time was done.

      As to the two options you list, I hope #1 isn’t true, and #2 couldn’t be since he hadn’t been around for anyone else leaving, so hadn’t seen anyone treated like that. Not that we would treat someone that way in any case :)

      1. Narise*

        I had this happen just last year. An employee was leaving for another job and found out she wasn’t eligible to be paid vacation. She started scheduling a bunch of things to use her vacation time and I told her she needed to extend her last day. She refused but would make promises that she’d take half a day instead of a full day etc. none of which she kept. She also tried to cause problems while training her replacement. I couldn’t change any of it (didn’t have authority to make her leave) but I put a letter in her personnel file. It doesn’t completely bar her from being rehired but I hope it will give someone pause to do so. I also made it clear to HR that we should not provide her a reference.

  3. abankyteller*

    1. I hope there’s another promotion in the very near future for you, then.

    4. WOW. OP, please update. Please.

    5. I have seen, in the past, jobs require work references and personal references. I’d use the professor as a personal reference when that comes up.

  4. Milton*

    #4 – that’s insane, but out of curiosity:

    Is there a “reason” why your employer wants women walked to their car? I mean, is there a goose in the loose that attacks women only? Are you located in the city of Gotham?

    Or is this the kind of bozo that also feels women should not wear pants?

      1. Erin*

        I agree. Walk to the car with a “buddy” or whatever you want to call it, or in a group, so there’s more than one of you if there’s danger. It should be about numbers, not a a male/female issue.

    1. Hornswoggler*

      And also, doesn’t that mean that the escort has to walk back alone from the car-park? Surely you should have TWO escorts, so that nobody is alone… o.O

    2. Random Lurker*

      For #4, I wonder if this is an insane overreaction.

      Story time! When I was in my first job in my early 20s, I was stuck at work until 2am on a Saturday morning once. I was in a very large city that had a safe business district by day, but became unsafe by night. I wanted an escort to my car. The only male I knew in the building was a call center guy and he let me know how ridiculous I was being, but ultimately walked with me the two blocks to my car in an unlit garage. On Monday, I was told off by management. The call center was left unstaffed for 20 minutes because of me and that was not necessary. I asked if I was supposed to take a cab home and then back the next day to get my car (on the company’s dime of course) and I was told “no”. Being young and way less diplomatic than I should be, I marched to HR and let them know that if I was attacked or assaulted due to working late hours for the company, I would hit them with a lawsuit that they didn’t even want to imagine. This is not the way to handle this, but I was young and emotional. The net result: a policy was put in place similar to OP’s. I was grateful at the time, but being older, I think it’s insanity that a making sure employees are safe is a policy that needed to be mandated.

      1. hbc*

        I don’t understand your company’s reaction. Someone requests an escort and gets in trouble for it. Solution: Everyone (or every woman!) gets a mandatory escort.

        Isn’t the more obvious solution that everyone who wants an escort can get one?

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Agreed–it should be an optional service, not a mandatory one, and it should be available to everyone, not just women. HOWEVER…..

            Perhaps there should be a policy that any employees (male and female) who refuse the escort assume responsibility if anything happens to them as a result. I think this mandatory thing is meant to reduce liability, and such a policy could ease managements’ minds on the subject.

            1. JessaB*

              If there’s really a danger, then they need to hire a security person(s) who walk everyone out, without anyone having to wait more than let’s say 5 minutes because person is walking someone else, or 5 people get off at the same time and one took a little longer to get downstairs. More than that, no.

              Also lights and maybe a security camera in the parking area. Seriously lights are the number one defence against problems, nobody wants to rob someone in a very well lit area.

        1. Random Lurker*

          It was a ridiculous reaction, most likely fueled by my threat of litigation. Trust me, I cringed a little inside when I recalled my behavior.

          My point was that my experience has taught me that silly policies and mandates like this are often the response to something that the company feels is a risk.

      2. Jade*

        A previous place I worked at moved employee parking to a spot much farther away from the entrance than before, in a part of the parking lot that was less active and less well-lit. The area where we used to park was now designated for customers, although that seems to have been a wasted effort; there are never more than about 5 customers parked there, and at night there are plenty of open spaces closer to the building that customers could be using. People didn’t feel safe, especially after a woman was recently abducted from the parking lot of our company’s store in a nearby community. Management offered to escort anyone out to their cars at night. My solution was just to refuse to park there if my shift ended after dark. Lots of people invested in pepper spray and pocket knives. They could have avoided this whole hassle by leaving our parking area where it was originally.

        So I understand that maybe the management at OP’s company feel like they’re doing a service to employees with this policy, but if they’re that concerned they really ought to evaluate other options, like a security guard.

    3. Z*

      Don’t forget that there is a possibility that this policy may have arisen from actual women complaining that they weren’t safe walking to their cars at night and/or demanding that some sort of measure had to be put in place, and this was the result.

      A company has an obligation to provide their employees with a safe workplace (in my country). All of them. If someone, either the employees or the employer, believes that women aren’t safe walking to their cars at night, then it is not an acceptable solution to have men escort them, because this exposes those men to whatever danger was threatening the women.

      I’d far rather have to wait to be escorted to my car than to be the escort who gets knifed on my way back to the building.

      Note: OP#4, if you’d like to do some trolling, claim that you’re afraid of being alone outside at night with a male coworker. Results may be more nuts than the current situation.

      1. Mookie*

        Seconding your second para. The OP’s co-workers are not qualified, trained, or being paid to act as bodyguards, and forcing them to do so (it doesn’t sound voluntary and it definitely sounds like it’s off the clock for them, as well) sounds like a liability*. Men — including the de facto “bodyguards” — are not immune to being coshed, assaulted, raped, or robbed, and if there’s a legitimate reason to be fearful of this particular parking lot, that reason knows no gender and the solution to it is involves tightening up security measures. Benevolent sexism at its most inane (and morbidly cost-cutting).

        *especially if a woman being escorted or a man doing the escorting harms the other; forcing this kind of intimacy on people can backfire dramatically

        1. Chinook*

          “Men — including the de facto “bodyguards” — are not immune to being coshed, assaulted, raped, or robbed, and if there’s a legitimate reason to be fearful of this particular parking lot, that reason knows no gender and the solution to it is involves tightening up security measures.”

          This is why my university’s SafeWalk Program never allowed the SafeWalkers to walk alone and were always co-ed partners. Either everyone is at high risk or no one is. I can’t believe a company actually believes men have an anti-attacked shield that radiates off them that women don’t or that a man smaller than me would do better to defend than I would defending myself. I have had to deal with “why are you walking alone” all my life (whether it is walking home in my small northern town or down the back alleys to my hotel in Bali) and every time I point out that, because I am walking alone, I am very aware of my surroundings and my “spidey senses” and have never had any issues and, if I did, they would be the fault of my attacker, not me. Even my husband, the cop who I know has reasons for being overprotective, has learned to never go beyond suggesting he escort me somewhere (and I usually reply “and who would escort you home?”).

          If I was the OP, I probably would have been fired by now as I would have refused to wait for an escort on my own dime and then, after being fired, outed the company publicly for not allowing women to walk freely on their property.

        2. Z*

          Actually, what I was trying to get at in a vague way is that this is not “benevolent sexism” against women. This is malevolent sexism against men.

          I find it pretty offputting that the majority of the discussion relates to women being inconvenienced by this when the men are going to be just as inconvenienced and in addition being put in harm’s way due to their gender. Especially when it is possible that this policy may be the result of women’s agitation and not some misguided man in power practicing some “benevolent sexism” of his own volition. (See also: Random Lurker’s comment above where she describes inadvertently instigating a situation like this.)

          1. Kate M*

            I don’t disagree with the fact that this policy 1) puts men in harm’s way if there is actually danger, and 2) inconveniences men.

            BUT, it IS actually “benevolent (if you want to call it that) sexism” towards women. It’s not just women being inconvenienced. It’s setting women up to be in the position that men think they can’t take care of themselves. It makes women seem “lesser”, and can have impacts on their jobs. Who wants a leader who can’t actually even walk to her car alone, when men are allowed to? It’s sexism in this case that hurts both men and women, so don’t pretend like the only outcome for women is “being inconvenienced.”

            Plus, we don’t know why the policy was put in place. Sure, maybe a woman brought up feeling unsafe in the parking lot. Even if that’s the case, it’s not an excuse for a company to create sexist policies to rectify it. Or, they could be dealing with a sexist boss. Or I’m sure there are other possibilities.

          2. Tallyme Banana*

            Since you’re more likely to be attacked by someone you know, the attacker is more likely to be the guy walking you out to your car. This is dangerous for everyone involved.

            1. blushingflower*

              Women are more likely to be attacked by people they know (e.g. the guy they ask to escort them to their car), men are more likely to be attacked by strangers.

            2. PK*

              This, so glad someone said this. It’s often much, much safer to walk to your car alone than take up an offer to be walked to your car.

      2. Momiitz*

        The policy should not be mandatory. Each woman at the company should be able to opt out of having a male escort them to their car.

        1. Violet Fox*

          Truth be told if anyone wants an escort to their car, it should be an opt-in thing, with trained and vetted security people.

          Then again maybe lighting and security cameras in the car park might look a little bit less overtly sexist then the whole escort thing to begin with.

          1. Chinook*

            “Then again maybe lighting and security cameras in the car park might look a little bit less overtly sexist then the whole escort thing to begin with.”

            This! It is cheaper in the long run and does reduce random attacks. I know they made proper lighting mandatory one place where I lived because of a rash of attacks and the numbers dropped drastically because it was easier to be aware of your surroundings.

          2. Alienor*

            That’s how my company does it. They contract with an outside security company, and if you want an escort, the security staff (at least one of whom is a woman) will walk you to your car. I’ve never taken advantage of it because we’re not in a particularly creepy area and I usually leave when there are still lots of people around, but it’s there if anyone wants it.

        2. Case of the Mondays*

          I can think of one reason to make it mandatory but it should be mandatory for everyone. The reason is, no one wants to look like the weak one. In my husband’s job they offer crisis incident debriefing. No one wants to be the one to say “yeah, I really need that.” So, it is now mandatory that everyone involved in the incident attend the debrief. Some of their other safety policies were made mandatory so that others would feel comfortable requesting it. Think about the issue with paternity leave. Many fathers want the leave but few want to be the first in their company to actually take it.

          1. fposte*

            I was thinking of that too–if there really is a significant risk, you don’t want people to have the option of forgoing the protection, because people absolutely will.

            It’s not even looking like the weak one sometimes. It’s a pain to wait, it’s only a few steps to the car, etc. Campuses struggle with this a lot–they offer protections that are unwieldy, and people don’t use them.

        3. Graciosa*

          I would go a little further and point out that being restrained from living the building is likely to be false imprisonment. I would be strongly tempted to call the police and inform them that I was being trapped inside and not allowed to leave.

          Seriously, what idiot imagines that you’re allowed to lock people up like this?

          1. Graciosa*

            Sorry – from “living” the building should be from “leaving” the building.

            My annoyance with this made me race through it a little too quickly!

          2. fposte*

            They’re not being physically blocked from leaving, though; they’re just told that it could be a firing offense. Would that still rise to false imprisonment?

            1. Chinook*

              “They’re not being physically blocked from leaving, though; they’re just told that it could be a firing offense. Would that still rise to false imprisonment?”

              DH the cop says yes. We have had a similar discussion about store security trying to stop you when you exit a store because, unless you have stolen something, they haven’t seen you do anything wrong and any type of restraint, including verbal, could be considered imprisonment. And because he knows my temper when confronted, he has had to remind me that, if I felt like it could escalate or feel at all intimidated, I should verbally refuse and then follow them, insisting that they call the police ASAP to clear it up. He also says to answer all the cops questions and then file a civil lawsuit against the store for false imprisonment. And when I worked retail, he reminded me to never stop anyone leaving the store unless I saw them actually take something (and even then, it isn’t stealing unless they leave the premises) because nothing is worth my life.

              Did I mention he is overprotective and knows my temper?

          3. TootsNYC*

            “Seriously, what idiot imagines that you’re allowed to lock people up like this?”



            Maybe they’ve been forced to stop, but they used to lock the doors as a theft-prevention tactic, and the managers with the keys would go home to bed. People would finish their stocking-the-shelves shift at 1am and have to sleep in the break room.
            At one store, someone called 911 for a health reason that sounded pretty serious, and the EMTs couldn’t get in, and the people inside couldn’t get out. The EMTs busted through the window.

            1. Noah*

              Target also used to lock employees in the store at night, not sure if they still do it. From what I remember of the Walmart case, the employees were afraid to use the emergency exits (which were still operable) because management had told them they would be terminated if they were used and there wasn’t a fire.

            2. Minion*

              I worked at Walmart years ago and store security would skulk around, peeking through racks and around corners, following people. One time, I watched them follow a guy out. A few minutes passed and they came back in with the guy in an arm lock. I saw them force people back into the store, chase people down even after the person had left the property and get into fist fights with customers. What’s sad is that this isn’t even an exaggeration. I assume they’ve had to stop all that now, but it definitely happened on a regular basis, at least at my store.

            3. mander*

              All the Wal-Marts everywhere I’ve lived are 24 hour now, so I would think this happens a lot less. Not that I’m defending the practice, of course.

            4. Michaela T*

              I used to work overnights at Kohl’s and we were locked in as well. Sometimes there was a manger there that had a key and the alarm code, but usually not. If you got sick you had to hang out in the break room until morning.

            5. Cactus*

              The sitcom Superstore (about people who work at a store that is heavily based on WalMart) did an episode about this a few weeks ago. It obviously had a lot of jokes, being a comedy and all, but in the end it also proved to be a real turning point for one of the characters when it came to the way he viewed his job.

      3. TootsNYC*

        We all know that our society–and many others–believes women are more at risk than men are. The sharia societies which dictate that women can’t leave the house without a male family member as escort have forgotten that it started because it was a way to protect women from harm (sometimes even just the harm of a false accusation).

        And, women are (generally) smaller, (generally) less belligerent, (generally) more frequently targeted (serial killers and rapist don’t really go after men that much). That adds to the assumption that they are far more at risk.

        There’s also the idea that if you’re an escort, or are being escorted, you might be more on your guard to “intimidate off” the mugger than if you were just moseying along to your car.

        But true, the escorts are at risk as well.

        1. aebhel*

          I would be more concerned about being assaulted *by an escort* than by some random stranger in a parking lot.

          1. A Non*

            Me too. I’ve learned the hard way that people I know are more likely to hurt me than people I don’t know.

        2. Student*

          Actually, men are more likely to be the targets of violence than women by about double. Rape is the exception, as it hits women at a higher rate than men. Men are more likely to be targeted by strangers, and women are more likely to be targeted by acquaintances.

          So asking for an escort is actually more likely to result in harm to the woman, from the escort, than taking her chances walking past a stranger in the parking lot. Whereas, if the woman was escorting the man to his car, the woman would be more likely to get back to the store unharmed than the man.

            1. Honeybee*

              The link you posted is objectively pretty awesome but doesn’t actually compare rates of violence between men and women – it just states some (terrible) statistics about violence for women. Also, the point Student was trying to make is that men are much more likely to be victims of violence from strangers. When women are victimized it is overwhelmingly by someone they know – an intimate partner, an acquaintance, a coworker. Escorting a woman to her car is unlikely to prevent that – in fact, she is more likely to be assaulted by the escort themselves than by a stranger in the bushes.

        3. Anomanom*

          I was held up a gunpoint leaving work at midnight with a male coworker. Certainly didn’t work to prevent the group who held us up, and honestly I think having him there put me more at danger. You want my purse and you have gun? Here you go. He was going to argue.

    4. Elizabeth S.*

      … And wouldn’t that also mean that women couldn’t bike, walk, or take public transit to work?

      1. Marzipan*

        Ha! Yeah, any employer who refuses to let me leave until an escort can walk me to my (nonexistent) car is in for a long wait…

    5. KR*

      Perhaps they’re concerned the women will swoon with the burden of responsibility on the way to their car.

    6. Stranger than fiction*

      I’m sure it’s well-meant and maybe there was an incident in the past where a woman was attacked or robbed or something. But yeah, they’re not realizing how sexist it’s coming off. And the 45 minute wait thing? That’s not right either.

    7. Janet Snakehole*

      I’d also add that you are many times more likely to be assaulted by a coworker (or someone you know) than a stranger leaping out from behind a bush in the car park. Many, MANY times more likely. This policy is wrongheaded in every way.

  5. M-C*

    OP2, is there any hint than the employee may be leaving over things like insistence for facetime at work over actual productivity? That’d explain their apparent lack of commitment at this time. It’s perfectly reasonable for you to want some items to be done before the person leaves, but if you really want them I’d advise cultivating some flexibility about trivia like actual hours (sounds like they’re salaried, right? have you taken overt notice of their previous overtime and expressed your appreciation?). Likely it’d take the person less time to do your requests than to actually work as usual, so full hours are probably not required. Or maybe you’ve been keeping them too busy with unimportant stuff which they’re no longer willing to do?

    In any case, I’d start requiring delivery of the things you asked for, checking they are in fact trickling in, and forget anything else. Can you ask for those things in order of priority, and make clear which one you expect -today-? It’s a pain, yes, but that’s the drawback of being cavalier about employee retention.. And AAM is right that if they won’t deliver you should probably cut them off, as there’s little point in prolonging the agony for both parties.

    1. OOF*

      There’s absolutely nothing in the original question that would indicate being “cavalier about retention,” nor that the manager does not understand how to define and encourage appropriate hours.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, thank you! It’s certainly possible that this is the behavior of someone fed up with being unappreciated or overworked (although if that’s the case, his way of handling it doesn’t reflect well on him), but it’s at least as possible that this guy is just being an ass. Asses are out there! It’s legit to point out that it could be worth reflecting on where this might be coming from, but we shouldn’t assume we know.

        1. Triangle Pose*

          Alison, I’m curious what you’d think about this if an employee with unrealistic work hours were in her notice period. For example, if you are are a Wall Street investment banker or an associate at a big law firm and just gave your notice but the partners are treating you like a normal employee (i.e. assuming you’ll stay past 8pm, work long nights and even weekends during your notice period).

          Obviously, these positions are exempt and there’s no overtime, but I would like to think your advice would not be “While you’re still working here, we need you to meeting the same standards as before you gave notice.” If you were the resigning employee, would it be okay to say “I’m happy to finish up the projects I can and transition the matters I can’t finish to other people, but I will not be available after 6pm or on weekends and I will not be available to take on any new matters during my notice period.”

          1. Graciosa*

            Well, the expectations of a normal employee vary by position and industry. I don’t see any issue with treating departing employees like normal employees during their notice period (with the exception of needing to coordinate transition work smoothly).

            They are still being paid their normal salary during the notice period, aren’t they?

            Can you imagine a departing president who lost a bid for re-election declining to be wakened for major disasters prior to the successor’s inauguration? A departing doctor refusing to take after hours calls? This is part of the job, and you keep doing it while it’s yours.

            I would feel differently about a situation where long and late hours (and weekends) were not the norm for the job. A secretary or janitor (or office or facilities manager to make them exempt) does not hold a job that generally comes with these expectations, so an employer who expects these kinds of hours for those positions is behaving badly. In that case, a departing employee can certainly enforce the norms for that job without hesitation.

            But the examples you gave involve doing less than the normally expected work of the position while continuing to draw the normal salary. I don’t recommend that.

            They should do the normal work of an employee in that position for the notice period.

            1. Triangle Pose*

              I agree that norms are different, but it’s not like in even the most demanding jobs you are working late every single night and worked full hours every single weekend, and it’s reasonable to expect that you are not asked to burn the midnight oil during your notice period. Your job is not to transition work and tie up loose ends. You are drawing the normal salary to to help the company out in passing along your uncompleted work. In that way, the company should not being treating you the exact same way. For example, on a normal day, you wouldn’t browse the internet for hours, you would look for new projects to take on or help out your co-workers by taking on a new task or helping with an existing task. But in your notice period, you are wrapping things up and assisting in transitioning. It could be perfectly reasonable to browse the internet for hours during the workday because even thought normally you’d ask for new work or help out, you’d only be making things worse by doing so during your notice period. It would be ridiculous to ask for new work or help out on things only to leave them half done when you’ve left. Again, I think the departing employee should have the same level of commitment to the job, but the job has changed. You don’t “phone it in” but it can’t be that you apply yourself to the work the same way.

              And… I disagree with your example – a departing doctor should have whoever is taking on those patients once the doctor has left be the one answering those calls – in fact, this is exactly what is done at my partner’s hospital when someone leaves. The departing doctor assists in the transition, but is definitely not going to suggest new treatments or basically start anything new – it’s all about transitioning the patient’s care to the next person.

              1. Graciosa*

                If you honestly believe it is reasonable for a departing employee to spend their notice time browsing the internet for hours, I don’t think we’re going to agree.

          2. Yep!*

            This was me. I was exempt and working insane hours at old job. Putting in 50-60 per week with no end in sight. The excuse for every project was “this is urgent.” (Newsflash – if everything is “urgent” then nothing is urgent. That is NOT rocket science.)

            You can be sure once I was offered (and accepted) the new job I did not work more than 40 hours. I also did not work through lunch. Old job managers didn’t understand why I wasn’t willing “to pitch in” once I gave notice. I also “bolted” right at 5:00 (had a train to catch – why stay late? It doesn’t benefit me) which they “commented” on. As others have noted below – trying to get blood from a stone.

            Also, for whatever it is worth, based upon what I had seen/heard I knew that old job didn’t allow managers to give references anyway. So, really what did I have to lose? Just trying to keep my sanity.

            I’d also suggest that that OP reflect on why the employee is acting that way. There may be no reason; but, it wouldn’t hurt to reflect on it. If nothing else it will let OP know that they aren’t wrong.

            P.S. yes, the ads are annoying, to the point that I often now type my comment in Word and paste because of my browser locking up and/or jumping around. I certainly read AAM less than I used to. Also, twice last week I got hit with a Microsoft virus warning visiting this site – not cool!

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s a judgement call and there’s no one formula that makes sense for every situation. But in the OP’s situation, the guy is coming in late and leaving early; that’s too much slowing down.

    2. John*

      Unfortunately, a fair percentage of people exiting jobs — I’ve seen it with lots of previously good workers — think they no longer “have” to do more than they feel like.

      Sorry, but unless your employer is going to pay you less for your final two weeks, you owe the same level of commitment. (And, hey, it should be easier because it’s the last time you will perform some of those tasks and you don’t have to worry about what happens after your last day.)

      Folks, always think about how you will be remembered. I have to say, too many colleagues have diminished themselves in my eyes by their behavior those last couple weeks (and by what we discover undone after they’ve departed). Finish strong. It will make a powerful statement.

      1. JessaB*

        With the exception of taking on new work, I agree with you, but unless the work is like a day at a time, nobody who has given notice should be given new projects at that point. Their job should be completing everything they have on their desk (if feasible) and making sure their long term work is properly given to others.

    3. OP 2*

      Hahaha! I wish there was overtime to appreciate! We’ve actually struggled over his hours/commitment to work previously, and I’ve learned to assume the best of someone who would otherwise appear to not be putting in the most effort (maybe he’s working at home in the evening!) Additionally, I’d add that an employee in their last weeks who wanted some flexibility with hours would do best to first bring it up with the manager so that expectations were set. If he’d come to me and said, “do you mind if I work from home half-days since my work can be done remotely” or something to that effect, I at least would know what was going on. As for full hours not being required – in my opinion, we’re paying him his normal salary, there is plenty for him to do before he goes, so I would expect that his work reflects that. If we paid him less, then sure, he could do less.

      As for the final paragraph- that email was sent out on Thursday, and after our Friday conversation, I agree that Alison is right about simply cutting him loose sooner than later.

  6. Lily*

    #5 – I think professor references are slightly more useful if you are, for example, in theatre, where if your college’s department is like mine was, you have interactions with your professors outside of class that are very similar to those you will have with supervisors in the workplace (I’d imagine there are other fields like this, but this is the example I know). I still wouldn’t keep it on there for long, because it’s still not as useful as a supervisor in an actual job, but it’s better than your manager at Starbucks. But, as usual, if you’re in one of these fields, you probably know, and Alison’s advice is spot on in 99% of cases.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      When I was student teaching, my professor observed me in the classroom often and so was able to speak to my workplace experience. I kept her as a reference for one more job search after my right-out-of-college one.

      I could also possibly imagine someone who does lab science keeping a professor as a reference if, for example, they had worked as a research assistant in that professor’s lab over the summer. Still, I wouldn’t keep them on the shortlist for more than a few years.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        If you’ve worked for a professor as an RA/TA/summer intern, they would count as a work reference, and the experience you had with them would be listed under jobs. With a situation like that, they’d definitely be able to accurately judge your work ethic, ability, reliability, interpersonal skills, and so on.

        In academia, if you were applying for post-grad school jobs, your PhD supervisor would definitely be your primary reference (and it would be suspicious if they weren’t). For undergrads, a professor who taught you would definitely carry less weight than someone you had worked with one-on-one.

        1. Nye*

          Seconding this – if you’re looking for academic positions (including lab tech-type jobs in an academic lab), professorial references are expected. Particularly if you’ve worked closely with the professors in question, and absolutely if they were your primary PhD advisor.

          In addition to the fact that it would be viewed as deeply suspect if your PhD advisor isn’t a reference, your academic pedigree is extremely important in academia. (Whether that’s good or not is up for debate, but it’s true.) Having a well-known professor write you a letter can open a lot of doors. Even if you’re looking for a position in academia a few years out of undergrad, it could still be much more useful to have a known professor give you a reference than a supervisor with no academic reputation. Academia can be weird and very insular.

          If you’re looking for a non-academic position, then I’d agree that undergrad professors should drop off your resume in a few years unless you actually worked for them.

      2. Blue_eyes*

        +1. I use my graduate school advisor as a reference because a large part of that role was for her to visit my student teaching sites and make formal observations of my teaching, then talk with me about what I could do to improve. So unlike many professors, her relationship to me actually was similar to a work supervisor.

      3. Callie*

        Yeah, in education, new grads usually list at least one professor, preferably one who has seen them student teach, and their cooperating teacher(s). The CT’s reference is usually the most important because the student teacher has been in their classroom working with them every day for several months and has seen them teach a lot. The #1 question I (college professor) get from principals who call me looking for a reference for a student applying for a job in their school is, “Can this person manage a classroom?”

        After you’ve taught for a year or so, your old CT is still pretty important as a reference, but you can drop the professors and put in administrators from your current school. (Unless, of course, you don’t want your principal to know you are job hunting!)

    2. TheAssistant*

      I used a professor as a reference during my first job search. My college required each student to complete an undergraduate thesis, and my adviser had read dozens of drafts over the course of a year, could speak to my ability to manage my time, make progress on a long-term project while juggling many other short-term things, and my ability to function while manage under a teleworking situation (she had traveled to India for a month during my thesis and we still had twice-weekly meetings; my first position was actually remotely managed, and they did ask how I would handle that experience). So in that specific undergraduate context, it made sense to have one professor serving as a reference. But at least I knew enough not to have professors who only knew me through a classroom context!

    3. Laura*

      Yes, this is probably the only situation where professor references continue to be acceptable. I work in higher education and I know that supervisors absolutely prefer former managers as references, not professors. Now, if I apply to graduate school of course a professor will be requested as a reference– but not for my job.

    4. Barb*

      I included a professor as a reference because he was the advisor for our student newspaper, and I was the editor-in-chief, so he was something of a manager to me. (I never took a class with him.) That’s another of the few instances where I think it makes sense.

  7. Artemesia*

    A company that wants staff walked to their cars had to have a security person or designated employee available at the end of the shift to do that. Even if we assume there have been assaults and it is a rough area, forcing people to wait around is ridiculous.

    For the OP whose promotion evaporated. I would get on that with the higher ups asap. Don’t let time go by. She were brushed off brusquely and oddly by the boss. You need to sit down with the people above her to review the circumstances. You have been trained to take over — this has been a big production — they owe it to you to explain what is happening and to let you know what other plans they have to move you forward.

    Regardless I would be starting an aggressive job search, not with the idea of jumping to anything but with the idea of finding a more advanced position with more money. You have a new set of skills, and your ambition has been stoked; time to go get the job you want. You can still stay if they offer you something you want, but your inner confidence will shine through when you know you have a plan and will not just take this lying down.

    1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

      I had the same thought about a security guard! If it’s truly a safety issue, then hiring a guard to watch the lot and then provide an escort (if wanted) seems like a much simpler solution.

    2. KR*

      This is what stood out to me. Though the policy is absurd and sexist in the fact that women are required to walk with an escort, it might be less of a hassle if they didn’t have to wait so long.

      1. Hlyssande*

        Having to wait is ridiculous. I could see maybe 5, 10 minutes. But past that? Oh hell no.

        In 45 minutes I’m home, in jammies, have the cat fed, and am making my own dinner or eating it already.

    3. Erin*

      I don’t understand why the company that requires escorts doesn’t invest in some lights and cameras for their employer parking lot. It’s way cheaper than a law suit, probably a tax write off and will make their insurance costs go down.

  8. Chocolate Teapot*

    1. This sounds like a companion to the story of the person who had taken a senior managerial role, but the incumbent would not leave (and she was stuck with him for almost a year). The “You’re not getting my job” is very blunt and finding out what on earth is going on would be my first task.

    From the letter, it seems that the Boss was aware the OP was being lined up to replace her, and it was not a behind-the-back-discreet-bring-in-the-new. Perhaps there is some restructuring and a parallel role planned?

    1. Hornswoggler*

      In my view OP1 should have been informed by the people who offered her the promotion, not by the leaving/not-leaving boss. I would regard the information as unofficial until it came through the proper channels. Has she even cleared this with the senior managers, or just decided it and told OP1 before confirming it? Very odd behaviour, if you ask me.

      1. John*

        Bingo. They offered a position that is now being retracted. When the boss changed his/her mind, management’s next step needed to be to have a difficult conversation with OP before they change went public.

      2. themmases*

        I agree, it isn’t clear from this story that this is how the OP’s management wanted them to find out or that they’ve even accepted the boss reversing her resignation. If this is true, at a minimum it sounds like the boss is just being inappropriate. “You’re not getting my job” is a pretty rude thing to say, and so is just springing it on someone when they don’t have time to respond.

        The OP is definitely owed an explanation, I just wouldn’t assume that what happened is due to negligence on the organization’s part rather than to inappropriateness on the boss’ part. I would probably even mention this story when I asked for more information. In addition to potentially losing a promotion they’ve been training for, I certainly wouldn’t want to work for an unreasonable person who started treating me like I’d been gunning for their job after they resigned.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, I wondered that too–if she’s just heard it from the boss and nobody else, maybe whatever plans boss had fell through and she hadn’t even told the higher-ups she wasn’t going yet. I’d definitely investigate and soon. It may be that OP will have to start a job search to find what she needs career-wise, or to get away from the suddenly-unreasonable boss.

        2. Doriana Gray*

          In addition to potentially losing a promotion they’ve been training for, I certainly wouldn’t want to work for an unreasonable person who started treating me like I’d been gunning for their job after they resigned.

          That’s my concern for the OP. Her boss’s response was oddly adversarial, so I’d be worried that she’d continue behaving that way towards me if it turned out she really isn’t going anywhere. But yeah, OP – find out whether or not she’s truly staying in the role by talking to whoever promoted you. She may have made this decision without going through official channels.

      3. Stranger than fiction*

        Very odd, because now that she’s staying, why would she be so curt and aloof with the Op? Maybe the boss’s other job fell through and she’s bitter about it, but still.

    2. No Promotion (op#2)*

      Open #2 here, typing on a tablet, forgive typos.

      It was,a crazy busy day at work. My boss apologized for being short with me. She was upset about her own circumstances (she was moving to be with her fiance and that situation has changed apparently.)

      I spoke with my boss’s boss, to clarify my place in the scheme of things, and she said there were not of things “in flux” in the company right now but in 30 days I would have an answer – yes promotion or no remain in old job. In my mind there is a third option of course.

  9. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    If #4’s company applied the rule to all employees regardless of gender – say, a security guard has to walk you to your car no matter who you are – would that make it legal to require people to wait up to 45 minutes unpaid? Or would they be required to pay them? Would this be covered by the ruling on that Amazon case, or is it substantially different?

    1. V.V.*

      “… would that make it legal to require people to wait up to 45 minutes unpaid? Or would they be required to pay them? Would this be covered by the ruling on that Amazon case, or is it substantially different?”

      Good question! I would like to know this too.

      Also a related tangent if I may, in regards to a similar non discriminatory scenario:

      If the job is in a sometimes rough area (or even if it is not), and I work at night (my particular case) and there is a Security Guard on duty, does s/he have to escort me to my car on property if I ask? A couple of times I have had to go home mid shift, and thereby not with the rest of the people on that shift. Lighting is poor (something else that is never addressed) and since I am leaving unexpectedly, I am generally alone.

      I have asked my manager before to call the security guard for me, but he claims “escorting people is not his job” and refuses. I have insisted that yes, it is his job, and that if I fall into a hole (dirt lot) or am attacked, or any other such mayhem befalls me, the company is liable. His response to this is: if I am off the clock ( if I am leaving I presumably am), I am no longer the company’s liability and they don’t have to provide anything — my safety is solely my responsibility. “In his defense this manager is newish to managing and perhaps is going off based on his personal feelings on the matter not what is the law or policy.”

      This company will fire me if I have anything that can be construed as a weapon on property at anytime, so it is not like I can carry something remotely effective with me for the defense of my person. Though it would be nice to have the option, I also I don’t think I should have to.

      Is there anything I can do? Is the company obliged to see me safely off the property if I ask?

      1. V.V.*

        Elizabeth the Ginger, I am sorry I shouldn’t have combined my comment above like that (I will be more carefull next time).

        In actual response, I suspect that if the discrimination wasn’t in play, the Amazon thing would probably apply here too (bastards). Not because it makes sense or anything, just because.

        I was thinking to myself that if I personally were in OP#4’s position I would say to myself about the company: “Yeah… whatever, you’re the ones digging the hole here. Keep me after 45 min but I better get フッキング paid for that time!” Of course if these women did get paid for waiting, I would imagine the men could claim discrimination since they are being denied this money making opportunity because of their gender as well.

        Company needs to knock it off!

      2. AnonyMouse*

        Your safety is still the company’s concern when you’re on their property. But I don’t understand why you need to involve your boss or get his approval. I recommend approaching the security guard yourself and explaining that you sometimes leave work mid-shift and are nervous about walking to the car alone. Ask what the protocol is for being walked to your car. Do they prefer you call them at the beginning of the shift to schedule the time to be picked you up at your desk to walk you out? Or perhaps they prefer to meet you by the door that leads to your car?

        Security is there to help you feel secure. I’m sure those individuals would be happy to do their job.

        1. V.V.*

          “But I don’t understand why you need to involve your boss or get his approval.”

          I do appreciate your advice, unfortunately…

          The area that the (usually only) guard is responsible for is expansive, and because he is required to be unpredictable during his rounds he could be anywhere. On those occasions when I do have to leave mid shift, the time between knowing I am going and clocking out is usually less than 20 minutes, since once my manager approves or asks me to go home, it typically means ‘now. On past occasions, the boss could have called and had the guard waiting at the clock by the time I made through the building, but he didn’t because, according to him, that is not what the guard is for (he is for guarding the property not personnel.)

          As for why I can’t call myself: during the day, when you call the Security ext. on a company landline it connects you with the company hq, who will connect you with the guard; at night however that number reverts to the recording. Only managers have the direct number to the guard’s cell phone, so if I am leaving in the night, either my manager has to call or radio the guard to come.

          In case anyone was wondering why I haven’t brought this higher up (aside from the cobwebbed suggestion box,) it’s because those folks don’t start work until a few hours after my shift. I’d be cutting into prime sleep time to argue with people who really don’t ‘get’ night worker issues (“I really don’t understand what you are talking about, so you should just consult your supervisor since he is in charge of nights.”) Ugh.

      3. The IT Manager*

        If the job is in a sometimes rough area (or even if it is not), and I work at night and there is a Security Guard on duty, does s/he have to escort me to my car on property if I ask?

        No. It quite possible that the security guard has a job in which he cannot leave his post or the building. It really all depends on what is defined as his/her job by the bosses.

        1. Oryx*

          This. The security guard has been hired for a specific reason that, from the sounds of it, doesn’t include escorting employees to their cars after their shift is over. He’s not saying No to be difficult.

      4. Artemesia*

        they are going to be liable on their property and the way to secure that firmly is to document this behavior of the boss. Email: I am concerned that our parking area is unsafe after dark and would like our security guard to walk me to the car when I am leaving alone at night.

        Then keep his denial and your protest of his denial. Of course, better to win this one than sue after you are mugged.

    2. Elysian*

      Whether they can make you wait unpaid might depend somewhat on what the person’s job is, but in general, yes they can make you wait unpaid. The Amazon case is the right basis for that – it isn’t about what your employer *makes* you do or asks of you; its a matter of what it means to perform your job. So if you have to arrive 30 minutes early because the parking lot you park in is a long way off, they don’t pay you for that. If you have to wait 45 minutes for their needless escort, they likely don’t have to pay you for that, either.

    3. neverjaunty*

      It’s substantially different. The security checks at Amazon were held to be an “integral and indispensable” part of their work. I’d be very surprised if any court held that requiring female employees to wait for a male employee escort was part of their job in that way.

    4. aebhel*

      My instinct is that if you’re required to be in the building (the threat of being fired makes it a requirement), then you are legally supposed to be paid unless you’re exempt.

    5. Kerry (Like the County in Ireland)*

      See, I don’t think the Amazon ruling would apply here. The line for people to get their bags checked for theft before leaving a warehouse/retail store/factory is a common enough practice–it was the size of the shift leaving that created long delays in actually leaving the facility. But if this is an individual in an office who is not being allowed to leave due to the wait for the security guard, who isn’t getting a bag checked for security purposes but is simply being escorted to lessen the company’s liability while she is on their property*–this is different enough circumstances with the sexual discrimination angle that I don’t think that (IMO totally bogus) ruling would stand.

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        My instinct is also that the Amazon ruling wouldn’t apply, but I have no legal background so don’t trust my instinct to match with what a judge would rule!

        With the gender discrimination angle, I think it’s an open-and-shut case of “this is illegal.” But if the gender part were removed? And is there a line, time-wise? E.g. if it were the policy that everyone had to be escorted to their cars, it would seem absurd for an employee to try to claim wages if they had to wait 90 seconds… but what about 30 minutes? What about an hour? What about two hours?

  10. Dan*


    AAM writes, “Depending on details I don’t have, it might make more sense to just roll your eyes, accept that this guy sucks, know that he’s blown his reference, and just get through the remaining time in his notice period without getting into it with him and be glad when he’s gone.”

    Considering he’s worked one week of his two week notice period, this is likely the path of least resistance. He’s got one week left, which means that if you give him a day or two to get his act together, you’ve got literally 3 days left after you realized he isn’t going to shape up. Just how much of a fight do you want to have with this guy?

    1. Hornswoggler*

      Or you could mention to him: “Well, you need to complete all this stuff as agreed, because it could affect your reference from us in future”. That might make him pull his socks up.

    2. Former Retail Manager*

      Yes, very much this. I think more surprising to me is the overall impression I get from my time here as a reader is that people actually work at the same level once they give notice. I have worked in both retail and professional environments and I have never had anyone continue at anywhere near their usual performance level once they give notice. So long as it’s 2 weeks or less, I’ve always let it ride and taken it as a given and I never held it against them in terms of a reference. I’ve known many people who were excellent at making it appear that they were working hard, but inevitably, after they left and their work was reviewed, it was half assed. I just assume that this will happen and take it in stride.

      And for the OP, I don’t see a reason to raise this issue now. He is virtually out the door. Save yourself the headache and focus on hiring a fabulous replacement.

      1. GovWorker*

        I don’t understand expecting a committed performance from someone who has given notice, which is a courtesy anyway. I have always used that time to clean up loose ends, clean out my workstation, delete useless files and email, no stress tasks. The manager no longer has the authority to compel performance. If I were the one who gave the notice, I would be honest with Ms. bossy lady.

        1. neverjaunty*

          I don’t understand this. If you have given notice, you’re still employed, you’ve just given a date when you won’t be anymore. It may well be that some of your tasks shift to making things ready for the next guy, but you have the “same commitment” because that’s the job they’re paying you to do for those two weeks. It’s a notice period, not vacation-lite.

          Believe me, former co-workers (and managers) notice who phones it in their last time at work, and that will not result in anything like a good reference.

          1. Triangle Pose*

            I agree that you don’t “phone it in” but it can’t be that you apply yourself to the work the same way. For example, on a normal day, you wouldn’t browse the internet for hours, you would look for new projects to take on or help out your co-workers by taking on a new task or helping with an existing task. But in your notice period, you are wrapping things up and assisting in transitioning. It could be perfectly reasonable to browse the internet for hours during the workday because even thought normally you’d ask for new work or help out, you’d only be making things worse by doing so during your notice period. It would be ridiculous to ask for new work or help out on things only to leave them half done when you’ve left.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              But that assumes a very specific type of job where you have to go hunting down work to keep yourself busy; many aren’t like that.

              I’ve known very few people to significantly slack during a notice period, and those who do end up harming their reputations. Going from 100% to 95%, sure — but not the sort of thing the OP’s employee is doing.

              1. Triangle Pose*

                I agree that in OP’s situation the slack is significant and that totally slacking can harm your reputation. I’m missing your first point – I’m not assuming a specific type of job, I’m saying the work and your job changes during the notice period and giving an example. The main issue is that your job is now to wrap things up and take the lead or be helpful in transitioning the work – you should do this at 100%. It’s not to take on new projects or start things you have not finished – it’s unreasonable for your manager to ask you to do that in your notice period.

        2. Cafe Au Lait*

          The last job I left, I used my transition time to clean up loose ends and document steps needed for projects that would continue after I left. My last two days I browsed the internet from the time I got in until I left as there wasn’t anything left for me to do.

          I think expecting anything more than that is unrealistic.

          1. Triangle Pose*

            Agreed. And not just unrealistic, it could be detrimental – you don’t want to start a new process or collaborate on a coworker’s project during your notice period – that will only make things worse when you’re gone.

          2. Alienor*

            That happened to me when I went on maternity leave years ago. I’d already wrapped up all my projects, but I had to keep coming to work because disability coverage didn’t kick in until the baby was born, so I spent the week leading up to my due date and the week after it in the office with nothing to do. I couldn’t start anything new that would take more than a day to complete because I didn’t know from one day to the next if I’d be in the office or at the hospital, so I was just sort of…there. I read a lot of trade magazines and took walks around the building hoping the exercise would make me go into labor (it didn’t). So boring.

        3. hbc*

          Managers should realize they’ve lost their leverage, of course, but like neverjaunty says, they’re still paying you to do your job. It’s realistic for a manager to expect 70-80% effectiveness since the person is going to be saying goodbyes, wrapping stuff up, packing, and probably not putting in *extra* time they might have. But unless you’ve given permission for them to cut your pay, you can’t ethically justify doing a less-than-minimum effort.

          Plus, it’s just self-sabotaging. There are two recurring themes after you leave. “You want to know how to name a file? Jane put together an email with a handy guide.” Or “Why can’t I find what I need? Oh, right, Jane had her own naming scheme that she couldn’t bother telling anyone about so they changed mid 2015.” Even if Jane did great work for all but her last two weeks, when someone calls about her in 2017, if the recent conversations about her have been negative, that’s going to strongly affect the conversation.

          1. Triangle Pose*

            But “your job” has changed – it no longer includes taking on new projects, your job is now to finish the items you can and then help with transitioning the projects you can’t to the next person who will lead them. The commitment to that is the same, but managers should not be asking you to stay late or take on start brand new matters with the same expectations as if you were continuing on past the next 10 days.

              1. Triangle Pose*

                OP 2, I wasn’t commenting on your departing employee. I agree that he is slacking and it could harm his reputation, but a lot of replies here (including the one I was replying to – hbc) focus on”they’re still paying you to do your job.” But no one is acknowledging that the job has changed. I’m not saying he should be arriving late and leaving early and not doing specific tasks of his transition that you are asking of him – those points are addressed in the answer and pretty obvious – but I think the bigger issue with notice periods is what the employee is trying to get from the notice period – and that should be successful transition of work, professionalism and cooperation in documenting of processes.

              1. Triangle Pose*

                That’s true, and the “full workload” for you notice period is finishing up things that you can and transitioning things that you can’t. I don’t disagree with your advice or OP #2, I just think that many of the replies here paint with departing employees with broad brush and wholly focusing on “you still do your job” when your job is something different under your notice period.

                1. Stranger than fiction*

                  I don’t know of any jobs where your full-time job suddenly morphs in to “transitional tasks only” for 8 hours a day.

                2. neverjaunty*

                  Unless your employer shifts you to an entirely different job category on giving notice, no, your job hasn’t changed. Certainly you’re going to shift focus on some things, like handing off tasks, but turning into a slacker for two weeks because “my job has changed” is BS.

                3. hbc*

                  If you have 80 hours (or more) of transitional and finishing things, then that makes sense. But in plenty of jobs, there isn’t that much to transition, and taking on a new job and bringing it 100% or 75% or 2% to completion might have value.

                  I feel like you’re looking at this from a particular job’s perspective, and there are so many jobs where new tasks can be finished in less than a day or be handed off with a 5 second conversation. How would you feel about a maintenance person who sat around with her feet up because she’d only be able to fix 20 of the 21 malfunctioning heaters in the time available?

              2. Triangle Pose*

                Ah, I see what you meant above with regards to jobs doing customer service or processing payroll. So if in those roles you just mostly keep doing what you’re doing during your notice, what happens when you leave? It just gets dropped dead or someone else does it seamlessly? If so, I don’t know why a notice period is really necessary. At this point 2 weeks notice is a professional norm so it would be harmful not to give it, but I just wouldn’t want someone leaving to do all the tasks the same way and expect the same level of performance. I’ll bound to be disappointed and I’d rather focus on how those tasks will be covered instead of having to unwind bad work.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  It really varies. In most jobs, there are going to be plenty of transitional tasks too — meeting with people to transition work, updating on statuses of projects, transitioning contacts, leaving behind documentation, whatever it might be. So it’s a combination of continuing the work and doing transitional items.

                2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

                  Even if someone is going to pick up the slack when the employee’s gone, though, while they’re there they should still be working hard. For example, if one member of a 3-person IT help desk gave notice today, the company might not be able to find a replacement in two weeks – so starting March 14, the other two IT folks would have to cover all the help desk requests for a while. But if a new person starts on March 28, the two remaining employees only had to work extra-hard for two weeks.

                  On the other hand, if Person-Who’s-Leaving starts slacking off now, then the two employees who are staying will have had to be in overdrive for almost a month, and will probably (rightfully, IMO) feel resentful about that. By continuing to work hard, PWL is mitigating the impact on their coworkers – and leaving them with a better final impression, which could make a difference if they cross paths professionally again!

            1. blushingflower*

              This assumes that your job is project-based. If you work in operations where your tasks are basically the same every day, then the job remains the same. If I quit my full-time job, my responsibility during my notice period would primarily be bringing other people up to speed on my current projects and writing up process documents on anything that is currently my responsibility. But for most of the other jobs I have had (including my current part-time job), my last days were more or less the same as any other, with the possible exception of an exit interview or taking some time to pack up personal effects and return company property. It isn’t always the case that there are projects to wind down or transition, sometimes you just keep answering the phone.

              1. Alienor*

                Yeah, at the last job I left, it was very much “just keep doing the work” until my last day, which was a half-day where I mostly said goodbyes and did a few small things. If I were to leave the job I have now, it would take two weeks just to wrap up and transition my main project to someone else, not even taking into account the other, smaller things I work on.

        4. Hannah*

          I agree with you. I think expecting a really high output from someone during their notice period is unrealistic. They are going to be winding down, not continuing at the same pace until the last minute of their employment.

          I maintain long hours and a high output at my job in service of performance reviews and promotion opportunities. If I officially gave my notice at my company, my foot would be coming off the gas pedal for sure. I want to tie up loose ends and be helpful, but I’m not fighting for it in the same way anymore. I would really take issue with someone who gave a bad reference just because a person started relaxing their schedule and output during their notice period.

        5. Ms. Bossy Lady*

          I guess I just operate under the assumption that being paid for work means you actually do work, whether you’re in your last two weeks or first two.

          1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

            I operate the same way. That magical last two weeks still includes a paycheck. Want the paycheck? Do your job, right until you walk out the door.

            The responsibilities don’t go away until that last walk out the door.

        6. Stranger than fiction*

          Um, no, they’re not paying you for two more weeks to just sit there and tidy up your cubicle.

      2. Elizabeth*

        I’m in retail too, and I figure once someone gives notice, they’re as good as gone. I know that even when I’ve given notice, I may show up and do what needs to be done but my heart is no longer in it. I worked for one huge retailer and hated my job…got a job at another retailer known for their awesome customer service, went there for orientation and knew I could never go back and finish a week’s notice with store 1. So I called in every day to retailer number one, went to work at the other, didn’t care if I blew a reference.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          But “didn’t care if I blew a reference” is key there — most people do care (about the reference and about the reputation that they hopefully worked hard to build).

    3. GovWorker*

      Is it reasonable to base a reference on two weeks of however long the person has been employed? The halo effect is bad for performance reviews and bad for references too.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        The issue is that it goes to conscientiousness/professionalism — it says “I don’t care about meeting my obligations now that I’m about to leave.”

      2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        I think there are plenty of times where bad behavior only very occasionally can still be a very valid basis for a reference. If I work with customers, it’s not enough that I’m civil 99% of the time if I swear a blue streak at one customer in a hundred. Not every day or week will be your best day or week, but you should be putting forth an effort consistently.

  11. Dan*


    OP asks how they can prevent this from happening again. You really really can’t, unless you want to micromanage your employees to death after they give notice. If you do that, be prepared for people who leave with no notice because they don’t want to deal with a manager constantly watching over their backs.

    Too often people have something not ideal happen once, and they want to create rules and procedures to prevent it from happening again… when the reality is that 1) Mistakes happen, and 2) Some people just suck. You can’t create rules to force people to stop sucking, only to minimize the effects.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think there’s anything in the letter to support that; the fact that something’s ongoing doesn’t mean it’s not important, and it’s reasonable to expect people to maintain decent productivity while you’re continuing to pay them.

        1. Nico M*

          So someone works well for say 2 years, slacks off to 75% in the last 2 weeks…. That deserves a bad/no reference?? A 0.25% drop overall?

          1. babblemouth*

            The disregard for work ethics that it implies definitively warrants a bad review. If someone has a bad couple weeks at work due to illness, or personal problems at all, that’s understandable. If it’s simply because they’re not worried about consequences? That’s a terrible reason and deserves no slack.

          2. GovWorker*

            What is going to happen when the lame duck employee is gone? Management time would be better spent securing a replacement instead of hounding the lame duck. I hated coming in behind someone who did not clean out their workstation or file anything. Two weeks is nothing and should be a time of orderly transition, not a time to squeeze every drop of work from an employee who will be gone shortly. It sound to me like the manager in this case is power tripping a bit.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It’s not about hounding the person or squeezing every drop of work from them; it’s about expecting that they’ll behave professionally and responsibly, and it being a significant, reputation-impacting thing it they don’t. Most people do (at least in reasonably healthy workplaces with reasonably high standards).

              1. GovWorker*

                I see behaving responsibly and professionally as not leaving a mess for your replacement. Coming in late and leaving early might be a problem. But I would not expect a lame duck employee to go all out during the notice period.

          3. neverjaunty*

            Yes. Your math makes no sense. If an employee is honest for ten years and on her last day steals from petty cash, would you argue management should overlook it because that one day is only a tiny percentage of her work time?

            Checking out is a signal that the employee doesn’t have a sense of responsibility and doesn’t care whether they dump work on the rest of their team.

            1. Triangle Pose*

              I agree with your premise, but I don’t think that’s a good comparison comparison. Having a sense of responsibility and closing out your work is important during your notice period – not doing so and dumping on your former coworkers is something that colors the employee’s reputation for the entire term of their employment for sure. However, it’s not really comparable to stealing on your last day. Being honest until you steal or peaceful until you punch a coworker is just not the same as having your productivity level dip a little bit during your notice period. It’s natural that an employee would maintain long hours and a high productivity in service of raises, performance reviews and opportunities for promotion. If an employee gave notice, it follows that her “foot would be coming off the gas pedal” as another commenter stated. It’s responsible to tie up loose ends and be helpful, but expected that she not drive hard for it in the same way anymore. This is not at all the same as stealing or punching someone on your last few days, and should not be treated as such in future references.

            2. GovWorker*

              Stealing is breaking the law, not the same thing at all. Let’s reverse the scenario: If the lame duck employee performed outstandingly during the notice period, but was just average for two years before, is a better reference in order? It’s just two weeks, people.

              1. neverjaunty*

                Two weeks is plenty of time to let people know exactly what kind of character and work ethic you really have. Two weeks is plenty of time to create a mess your co-workers will have to clean up when you’re gone, and to let things slip through the cracks.

                Ironically, your counter-example is really proving the point – because Ms. Suddenly Outstanding is signaling that she’s only getting her butt in gear because she wants a good reference.

          4. OP 2*

            Not the situation, but I wish it were! Think more like 8 months, and slacks off to 25% (being generous here.)

    2. babblemouth*

      The last weeks in a job are key to ensuring a good handover of the work. They’re not at all insignificant. A bad handover could means weeks of lost productivity in the future.

      1. Rubyrose*

        Yes! I’ve been taking over work from someone who was a silent slacker during his two years, gave 1.5 weeks notice during the holidays, and my manager let him take an additional day off for a sports event. It is a mess and for some reason my manager now thinks I should be able to take over his stuff with no reduction in my other duties and be on top of it all. She is implying that I am not prioritizing well. It is causing me to resent her.

      2. John*

        Thank you. I don’t get all this support for people slacking off. Yeah, you shouldn’t be expected to spend your last two weeks burning the midnight oil and coming up with new ideas, but finish strong.

        Two colleagues left over the past 12 months in ways that made me think a lot less of them. One, who was big on process, took with her all records of how she did things. The other dropped lots of balls during the handover. Weeks after he departed, his clients were contacting his boss to find out where the work was that he promised. The former looked really petty and mean-spirited (not wanting her successor to succeed?) and the latter really sloppy and didn’t-give-a-darn.

        Both were good employees. But when you exit that way, it’s the last piece of information about your character that you give to those you leave behind. Neither will get bad references. But I suspect that will be a bit less enthusiastic.

        1. Triangle Pose*

          Yes! +1000

          I agree that both of those employees handled it badly and it’s not unfair to think less of them.

          On the first colleague though, how did the company not prevent her from taking her processes with her when she left? During her notice period, someone should have walked through all her tasks and make sure the company retained the processes to ensure the next person can succeed in the role. I come from an environment where you can’t take anything with you for client-privilege purposes, but even outside that, the company should have it together to get this stuff from the departing employee. Again, I agree she should have not done this, but I think a well run company should have processes in place to prevent her from trying.

          100% agree that you should not ask departing employees to burn the midnight oil during their notice. I would totally think less of an employer who did this and in my world word-of-mouth references of the employer matter and I would make this known to candidates who reach out to me.

          1. TootsNYC*

            “On the first colleague though, how did the company not prevent her from taking her processes with her when she left? ”

            The company many have expected her to leave the binder of documentation on her desk. And didn’t think there was any need to have her make a second copy for her boss.

            That’s what I do w/ all my procedures & documentation–I leave it behind. Usually I hand them off to a specific person, but if I were leaving my job and my replacement hadn’t been hired yet, I would just walk off and leave them there.

            1. Triangle Pose*

              Agree, I leave it behind too. And of course, if you’re not expecting a problem you would have faith that the departing employee leave documentation like that. I just think for truly important processes and documentation, as the manager, I would ask that it all be completed with enough time for review to ensure something like this doesn’t happen. Hindsight is 20/20 and I do not think this is at all the manager’s fault, but for really important things like processes that no one else might know how to do, I’d absolutely have the employee deliver it with enough time for review (at the cost of other routine tasks). This is akin to “what would you do if employee were hit by a bus tomorrow?” Well, you have processed and documentation in place – it’s the kind of CYA thing that rounds out a functional workplace.

          2. John*

            Her manager was also on her way out.

            But I’ve seen how difficult some people can make it with the handover. For example, they will promise all the relevant docs before they leave — “just making sure I have it all together!” — and they hit send an hour or so before they depart, and the manager doesn’t have time to check everything through. (Or they say they saved it all on the shared drive.)

            P.S. — it is galling to me that the person in this situation viewed her work as her personal property. She created her processes on company time. Hand it over.

            1. Triangle Pose*

              Yeah, I agree with your P.S. It is absolutely company property, not personal property. I can see wanting to have a copy of processes you created in the hope that you can use it at your next position (again, only if your policies allow it and there are no confidentiality issues or NDA or protected know how or trade secrets) but to take it with you and not leave your company a copy is really over the top.

  12. SusanIvanova*

    I’m on the flip side of #2 – I’ve been laid off, but I’m halfway through a 60 day “working notice period” even though there’s no work to be done. There was no planning done before the higher-ups decided that some of my team would get a normal layoff and a small remnant would have to stick around, so we have nothing to do – and we were a highly productive team before this happened, so it’s very frustrating.

      1. SusanIvanova*

        Management miscommunication is rampant – I’m not sure the direct higher ups knew what we did. Higher ups in other divisions definitely did and are upset, but the decision’s been made and their attempts to undo it have failed.

    1. Booker*

      When my department was eliminated at a past job, they gave the four of us three weeks notice. After about three days, the work dried up and we literally just sat at our desks for eight hours a day, searching for new jobs. It was stupid.

      1. LQ*

        Generally when this happens it is designed to give you that time to look for work while getting paid and being able to say you have a job. I don’t actually think this is a bad thing, and I think very different from the scenario above.

      2. Triangle Pose*

        Well, I don’t think it’s stupid if they were still paying you and allowed you to use work resources (computer, logins to industry job boards, printer for resumes) to job search. My friend was let go and he essentially got a 4 month period where he could tie up her projects, tell everyone he would no longer be available for new projects and then job search. He didn’t have to come in but could come in to meet with the company’s professional development people, use the printer, etc. – he still had a website profile and phone line and could hold himself out as an employee of the company (obviously makes getting the next job easier if you’re technically still employed).

        1. Booker*

          If they’d paid me and I could do the job searching from home, I’d have been a lot happier. But we had to come in “just in case” any work came through, but nothing did because they’d already outsourced all the work. I’d rather have just had an extra three weeks of severance and been cut loose early.

        2. Booker*

          It also took me another month after those three weeks to find a new job. Being technically still employed didn’t make anything move faster or easier.

          1. Triangle Pose*

            Agreed that being butt-in-seat for “just in case” work would be annoying when they have already outsourced the work – how painful!

            With my comment about getting the next job easier if you’re technically still employed, I meant the maxim that finding a job is always easier if you have a job – something that many posts here on AAM describe.

        3. SusanIvanova*

          It is stupid. The people on “non-working notice periods” get paid for the same 60 days (it’s a legal requirement for companies our size), but they don’t have to come in to work so they can job search or go do vacation things, and still are employees. The projects we worked on are essentially cancelled; there’s nothing left to tie up.

  13. Z*

    @2: I’ve been through three jobs and a department being made redundant and I’ve only known ONE person other than myself that didn’t go a bit… feral during the period between quitting or being given their redundancy date and that date. Literally every other person had run completely out of fucks to give and started coming in late, taking long or extra breaks, doing less and lower quality work etc.

    Is this not normal? The only reason I didn’t also go feral is that in the first case I knew the people who were taking over the department and wanted to do right by them, and in the second I quit after 6 months for health reasons and needed a positive reference (and liked my supervisor enough to want to avoid burning him).

      1. Z*

        Oh. I thought that once you’ve quit or otherwise have some upcoming end date, and you’ve already secured yourself a positive reference from someone within the company, it would be totally normal to check out completely and do the bare minimum (set to a very low bar) during that time. This has certainly been what evidence has beared out for me so far.

        Then again, these have been people in entry level jobs and/or in a really, really bad work environment so it might just be that the people I’ve seen behave like this are all people who have very low emotional investment in their work.

        1. Booker*

          This has been my experience as well. Especially in retail. I gave a month’s notice when I left my retail job, and I can tell you that during that last week, I just ran out of caring, especially when certain managers were on duty who I knew didn’t care if I did the bare minimum during my last week, because I had proved myself so much in the previous five years.

        2. Erin*

          No, it isn’t the norm. I too have had work norms skewed for me from being in poor environments like what you just described.

          In an ideal situation, you give a minimum of two weeks notice and work at the same level during that notice time, helping in addition to transfer your work to other people, and possibly helping to hire or train your replacement. You would do this for two reasons: Because It Is The Right Thing to Do, and also if you leave on good terms it sets you up to use them as a reference or a contact in the future.

          But with toxic work environments all bets are off. Recently someone I know had quit their job giving the two weeks, had another job lined up, but then during that time frame got screamed at (literally) by their boss, so they quit on the spot. Soo it happens.

          Just keep in mind that prospective employers can call any of the prior jobs on your resume, whether you’re using them as a reference or not.

  14. Random Lurker*

    #2 – one thing to keep an eye out for is how his behavior is impacting the rest of the team. I’ve seen people slack off during their notice period and drop such lovely gems in front of their coworkers such as, “I’m not emotionally engaged in getting this done” or “what are they gonna do? Fire me?”

    Some people are just immature/unprofessional and use the 2 weeks to unwind before starting their next job. Not much you can do to fix this, but you need to make sure that your team morale isn’t impacted.

    1. GovWorker*

      Two weeks notice is a formality to benefit the employer in having lead time to secure a replacement. No one is required to give it, and can give less, more, or no notice (which is kinda rude). Employers who dismiss employees who have given notice for not working like they had previously done are petty and overly controlling and likely upset that they may have to pick up some of the slack themselves. How many professional positions are filled in two weeks anyway?

      1. neverjaunty*

        During that “courtesy” period, the person is still being paid to do their job. Giving notice is not a magic trick that requires your employer to pay you for doing nothing other than show up.

        1. GovWorker*

          That’s extreme. Most people do show up during the notice period, whether late or not. The person has a new job so just cut their notice period off if you think they are getting away with something by paying them during a notice period they were never required to give.

          What is worse: “slacking” during a notice period, or not giving notice at all?

          1. neverjaunty*

            You’re presenting two bad options and suggesting one of them really isn’t bad because the other is worse. I don’t understand this.

      2. Triangle Pose*

        It’s never really about having the position filled in 2 weeks. It’s about having 2 weeks to finish up final items, and assist in either documenting what you’re leaving behind or your processes and then transitioning someone (again, not necessarily the new hire, but maybe a current coworker who will be taking on some of your more urgent tasks after you leave).

        Agree that it is a courtesy, but it’s a courtesy that is now a professional norm and if you do give notice, you should be committed to doing the above. Obviously, it’s unreasonable to ask departing employees to be 100% committed to the future of their remaining projects, but it is definitely reasonable to ask them not to express sentiments like “I’m not emotionally engaged in getting this done” or “what are they gonna do? Fire me?” That is just asking for the bare minimum of professionalism, which is rightfully expected during the notice period.

        1. GovWorker*

          I pretty much agree with you, but emotional engagement from a lame duck employee should not be expected the be the same as an ongoing employee who is working for good performance reviews, bonuses, and raises.

    2. Frances*

      This. This is exactly what I was thinking of– how does this employee’s behavior affect the rest of the team.
      It probably is easiest to just let the slacking go when it is such a short time frame. That being said it is important for OP #2 to find out how the rest of the team sees this and to not let it affect their morale.

    3. Jennifer*

      You think this is bad: I had a teacher once on his last year before retirement and that dude gave no fucks for the entire year. He did the bare minimum. Whenever he was out “sick” (he was using up every sick day before he went), they frequently had to call in the vice principal because the room became a sexual harassment free-for-all. My parents complained and the VP was all, “I understand, but we have NO way to motivate this man to do anything now. We’re stuck too.”

      Seriously, there’s no incentive you can give to someone who’s got a foot out the door already if they aren’t inclined to be nice and still pitch in.

      1. Triangle Pose*

        They couldn’t fire him?! For a “sexual harassment free-for-all?!” Was it harassment of the kids? Obviously also unacceptable if it was of other teachers or staff, but I just have such a hard time with “unfireable” shields like this.

        1. SusanIvanova*

          Sounds like he was calling in “sick” and the free-for-all was because nobody was supervising the classroom – though I’d expect there to be a substitute.

    4. OP 2*

      I like that you brought this up. I definitely see it affecting the rest of the team, which actually pushed me to address it head-on (I likely would have just grinned and bore it otherwise). When the others are whispering about how little the soon-to-be-gone employee is doing, I figure it’s pretty serious for team morale.

      1. GovWorker*

        When someone gives notice it always affects those left behind, whether the notice giver is in the office or not. The remaining workers start to think that maybe there is something better out there for the, so maybe it’s time to polish up that resume. Just human nature.

  15. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

    We always decide how long we want an employee to work during their notice period. We always pay them for their notice period, but we don’t necessarily want them to work it or work out the whole thing. For people who are already mentally as their next job, two weeks is very long for them, and for their co-workers!, and there’s no obligation (as long as you pay them) to have them work the entire time.

    So that’s literally the management email that goes out to the senior managers. “XYZ just gave notice [insert story]. How long should we have her work?”

    My cute story I shared previously is about someone who I adored personally who didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of keeping it together for two weeks. By the time I returned to my desk from accepting her resignation, she was already dismantling her desk items, boxing them, and gathering a crowd to give items away to. She didn’t mean harm but that was literally her personality, on to the next thing. I pulled her back in the conference room. “Give me four more days [to do this specific training], and we’ll pay you for two weeks and do not pack a single thing until [time on this day]. Can you handle that?”

    It’s just how some people are. It’s okay. Everybody in the set up is moving on to something new.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      This is an incredibly reasonable comment (not surprisingly!). It’s tough on both sides– companies want people to stay and work, workers are mentally on to the next thing. Senior-itis is totally normal. While I do think the guy should complete his tasks during his notice period, I think OP #2 should be flexible. After all, the harder you push, the more likely it is that you won’t get anything.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

        Sometimes it’s just over. The best thing to do during a notice period, if it’s being worked, is to focus the leaver on very specific things that need to be tied up or people who need to be trained. You’re likely to be disappointed if you expect routine incoming and outgoing work to be completed.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          And you can get yourself into a big pickle. I was once in a meeting where the manager of another department started suggesting all kinds of partnerships and data sharing and ways to go about approaching a new project, only to find out the next day that she would be gone in a week. The meeting was business as usual, I’m sure she was expected to attend and to conduct that business as usual, but it put us in a bit of a weird position.

        2. Triangle Pose*

          Agreed. And honestly, focusing the departing employee on specific things you need to be tied up is likely the best use of their notice period anyway! As the manager, you should have a better idea of priorities and will be in the best position to let the departing employee know what needs her focus and what things can be assigned to other employees with a minimum of fuss.

    2. neverjaunty*

      I feel like I’m missing something – that’s very practical, but isn’t it a little tough on the employees who aren’t flakes? Gallant Employee works diligently through her notice period for her pay; Goofus Employee gets a paid vacation.

        1. GovWorker*

          Frankly, soon to be old employee is gearing up and saving energy for newjob. The other employees may be a tad jealous, as they could find a new job too and ‘good off” for two weeks.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Or they may be a tad resentful that they’re expected to cover for (and clean up) after an employee who is mentally checked out, yet still getting paid.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

              Yeah but that’s a thing that always happens. If we fire somebody, we (generally) give two weeks severance for every year worked. If Goofus has been was us three years, and he’s been screwing up and goofing off in the last year, we fire him, he gets 6 weeks.

              Gallant cleans up his messes and Goofus has 6 weeks pay, not 2 weeks.

              It’s just a thing that happens.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

        Gallant still has advantages. Gallant is, in most cases, the employee who is getting the best reference and the employee who is most welcome to return should she want to. (There’s not a penalty to references for someone you ask not to work the whole period but, obviously, your most stable and productive employees are going to be the ones you want to work through the two weeks.)

        There’s no way around it. You have to pay people for their notice period.

      2. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

        Oh, p.s. forgot the most important thing:

        It’s the Gallants on staff that are most benefited by approaching notice period this way. Gallant does not want to watch a Goofus goofus his way through a two week notice period. Drives Gallant nuts. Gallant is happy to see Goofus go on his way.

        1. neverjaunty*

          I agree – and you can see from the comments here that there are a lot of people who share the Goofus attitude of “to hell with all y’all, mentally I’m at my new job”, and it’s definitely better to ease them out. I just raise an eyebrow at workplaces (not yours, as you clarified) where the process isn’t transparent to Gallant.

    3. Noah*

      This is completely reasonable and actually has been my experience as well.

      Some positions or employees it just makes sense to pay out the notice period and any accrued PTO and then part ways. FWIW it is not always bad performers either. The company I used to work for was acquired by a much larger company and my entire department was pretty much redundant. I laid my entire staff off and was offered a few different positions in other states myself. Ultimately I took a job at a new company and gave the required 30 days notice to receive by accrued PTO balance. The company smartly determined that I really didn’t have much work to do since it was all transferred to staff at parent corp and I was paid out the full 30 days plus PTO and only worked a week to wrap up a few small things.

  16. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    #1 – It occurs to me that your boss’s brusqueness may be unrelated to you — the immediate explanation that pops into my head is that whatever job she was going to be moving to fell through, and she’s probably feeling disappointed and hurt as hell about it.

    But, of course, that’s not an excuse for how she spoke to you. Bosses get paid the big money to do things that are hard — and part of that is sucking up her personal feelings and not taking them out on you.

    So, overall — talk to your boss, but I’d suggest tempering your approach with sympathy. Not to excuse her for being brusque with you, but because having an exciting job offer — that reached the point of giving notice — fall through is just a shitty thing to have happen, and asking her about it from your end can feel like salting the wound. And maybe just get the basics from her and more detail from the folks who offered you her job.

    1. CM*

      Yes, I’m hoping this OP comes back and gives us an update after talking to her boss today, because the abrupt “you’re not getting my job” comment and then disappearing is so weird that I feel like there must be more to it.

    2. No Promotion (op#2)*

      Yes, it was. She was leaving for personal reasons that suddenly changed. I think I just caught her at the worst time. She apologized and she’s not usually like that so that issue at least has been resolved. I don’t know what’s happening with my job – they want me to hang tight for 30 days while they figure things out.

  17. Colette*

    #4 Aside from the fact that this is illegal discrimination, how are the male coworkers screened to make sure that they are not a danger to the women who are forced to be alone with them? Has the company done police checks? Do they have to meet a minimum level of self-defence skills?

    1. Myrin*

      I think you’ve already touched on this with your self-defence sentence but I still wanted to add, yes, not only could the man accompanying the woman be the danger, he could also be in danger himself once he’s alone after the escorting is done (or always, really, since I presume every man working there has got to leave the building sometimes). I mean, I’m sensing some fear of a sexual predator lurking just around the corner in this policy and as far as I know women are far more likely to be the victim of that but really, it’s not like men can never be the victim of such a crime or like there’s only this one sort of crime committed, ever. What about muggers or someone running around with a weapon hurting people willy-nilly? As you say, aside from the illegal discrimination aspect, this seems very badly thought-out at best.

          1. Tammy*

            The person responsible for security (among other things) at my company told me that security cameras and the like actually increase liability for the company because, once you have cameras, you have a duty to monitor them and take action if you see something happening. If you don’t have them, you can claim the company disavows responsibility, and the potential liability is less. I don’t know if this is true everywhere, but apparently this is why my company doesn’t have security cameras in our parking areas. (We do, on the other hand, have a designated security guard on-site after dark who will escort employees to their vehicles if requested.)

            1. TootsNYC*

              Exactly! Cameras don’t prevent. They only document. And they do that VERY poorly. And after the fact.

              At my small, self-managed co-op, the president made an incoming tenant-owner research security cameras, and when he reported on the results to the board (it was the first *I* had heard of if, and I was on the board), she said, “Well, we can’t afford it now, but I’m sure the board will want to do this soon.” I spoke up and said, “I’m on the board, and we’ve never had a vote on this issue. If we ever do, I’ll be voting no, because a camera will not stop someone from breaking in. They will only help us prosecute after he does–and we won’t be able to see the face clearly, so it won’t be any good. Plus we have to pay to maintain the thing if it breaks. I’d rather spend the money on a really good door jamb and lock.”

              Cameras don’t help that much.

              1. Stranger than fiction*

                Cameras help if they’re high enough resolution and placed correctly in the building to get the optimal field of view. So, obviously camera quality and the experience and know-how of the company that installs them is key. As far as I know, you’re not obligated to monitor them 24/7, just to hand over the relevant footage to the authorities if something happens. 24/7 monitoring would be crazy expensive, that’s why the newer network cameras have triggers that notify an appropriate person when certain events take place.

                1. TootsNYC*

                  But they don’t PREVENT.
                  All they do is take pictures that cops can look at later.

                  And in our co-op, that isn’t really helping us.

                  (and of course, people need to look at them–remember that guy who got trapped in a McGraw-Hill elevator for more than a day, and he was clearly visible on the cameras. The camera operator got fired. Appropriately.)

              2. fposte*

                I dug briefly to see whether cameras are documented to act as a deterrent, because that’s always been my assumption, and it immediately came up as something with evidence in both directions–so highly inconclusive. I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on something inconclusive.

              3. SusanIvanova*

                Wish you’d been on my condo board – we have storage closets in the underground parking with cheap locks on them. Some of them got broken; some of the residents flipped out. After months of research and campaigning, we finally voted on the options: 2 (just two!) people wanted on-site security. 20% wanted cameras (the “cheap” option at $20/month). The rest of us probably thought like I do: spend $20 once and replace your lock, assuming you’ve even got anything in there worth stealing. (Oh gosh, someone could get my windshield washer fluid).

            2. neverjaunty*

              I am super skeptical of your security person’s explanation. Taking no security measures at all ALSO increases liability – and it’s not going to look good for your company if their explanation for not having cameras or security guards is “well we thought it was better to let people get hurt in case we get sued”.

      1. blackcat*

        I think I remember reading somewhere that in the absence of large purses (=easy target), men are more likely to be mugged than women. This may have been true about armed mugging (eg, where the mugger has an advantage unrelated to size of the individual).

        I can’t find it now, but I think men are basically just as likely, if not significantly more likely, to be the victim of crime in a dark area.

        1. Myrin*

          I meant that as far as I know, women are likelier to be victims of sexual assault (I see why you and fposte read it differently, though, I kind of messed that sentence up), not all crimes, but you’re absolutely right – I, too, remember reading several times that when it comes to street crime in general, men are more often the victim.

        2. TootsNYC*

          yeah, someone w/ a gun or a weapon or even just a penchant for violence is not going to worry about a guy.

        3. TootsNYC*

          Do you suppose this is because women are generally warier, and they keep themselves out of risky situations? Maybe they don’t GO to dark areas, and they are more alert when they do, and more attuned to the body language of someone nearby? Women know that can be harassed and accosted, in addition to being robbed or assaulted, and we’ve built up a store of experience avoiding it. But men, who always feel safe, and who get messages (like the one sent by this escort policy, actually) that tell them they’re safe, aren’t alert to trouble.

          That’s interesting to think about.

          1. fposte*

            I’ve heard that men are more likelier to be walking alone, which makes them better targets; that’s especially true if they’re drunk.

            Texting and earbuds may start evening the stats out, though.

            1. TootsNYC*

              “I’ve heard that men are more likelier to be walking alone, which makes them better targets;”

              In which case, the only worry is the escort walking back, and if his escort-ee is standing by the car keeping an eye out, the target status goes way down.

    2. Sutemi*

      People are more likely to be raped by those they know than by strangers, by about a 3:1 margin. A coworker walking me to my car could easily be someone who is looking to put a woman into a vulnerable spot and take advantage.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        And your comment just made me think, perhaps the Op should/could arrange for a local cop or sheriff to visit the employer and educate him/her on such statistics/facts.

  18. hbc*

    OP4: This kind of thing is my biggest pet peeve, so my advice should be framed that way. For me, yes, this is the hill would want to die on. I will gladly be fired while waving the flag from atop the barricades Les Mis-style on this issue.

    1) If they’re keeping you from leaving, you need to be paid. Period. That part is non-negotiable and well worth bringing to the relevant government agencies.

    2) Depending on how dangerous the parking situation is, the policy either needs to be changed to optional escorts or mandatory escorts/exit teams for everyone. If you have reasonable HR, they should be able to see that it’s the only way to handle it. If not, off to the EEOC.

    1. Dulcinea*

      YES. You are probably owed back wages for all the time you’ve been forced to wait. You should mention that along with Allusons suggested comment about how ” we” don’t want to get in trouble for discrimination. But confirm w Eeoc or lawyer first so you don’t have to eat your words.

  19. Bluesboy*


    Clearly this is wrong, and the company should absolutely not threaten you with the sack if you don’t wait (unpaid) for an appropriate moment.

    I’m going to assume though that this is a situation about personal protection – you don’t mention working in a dangerous area, but I can’t see any other reason for the company to insist on this.

    This leads to me wondering how a company should behave when a situation is genuinely, clearly more dangerous for a woman than a man, and I’d be interested to know what others think (I repeat, the specific example given above in number 4 is clearly NOT the appropriate way…)

    I once worked for a company where to arrive at the parking facility staff had to walk through an area that, after 8pm was highly populated by ladies of the world’s oldest profession. The company provided an armed, uniformed security guard to walk women back to their cars after that time (men were in no danger of anything other than embarrassment while women could be threatened or propositioned, and certainly felt very unsafe). I have no reason to believe this would have been denied to a man if he’d asked for it. But this was a company that could afford to provide that, what should a smaller company do in this situation?

    I was once sent out to the offices of a new client. After getting off the underground there was a 15 minute walk through an area where I really felt unsafe (I’m a man). Back in the office I mentioned that it was a rough area.
    “We know!” they answered, “That’s why we sent you!”
    “Well, we could hardly send a woman to such a rough area, could we?!”

    Same question. Should the company have been equally open to sending a man or a woman? Refused to take the contract? (It was one of our biggest clients, although all the other work was on a different site).

    I honestly don’t know what the right thing is, so not trying to stir. I’m also outside the US, so don’t know the legal situation there. Would be really interested though to know what people think!

    (On an off-topic note, I sent an application to join the LinkedIn group yesterday, but can’t seem to send a message to confirm that I’m an Ask A Manager reader. So if one of the group administrators happens to read this…I’m the guy who works in Institutional Sales & Corporate Broking. Please accept me!)

    1. KR*

      It took close to a week before I was accepted to the group. I’m sure someone will accept you soon! I think companies should offer someone to walk with people to their car, regardless of gender, but shouldn’t require it. For instance, where I work in Job B they make it clear that if you want someone to walk you out to your car at night they will, no hassle, but it’s not required.

    2. hbc*

      The solution is to offer it to everyone and not make it mandatory. If a guy is worried about getting harassed (what, prostitutes are always respectful when trying to drum up business?), he should be able to get an escort. If a woman feels safe enough to go solo, that’s her call to make too. I’m a petite woman but I also have a black belt and am better equipped to defend myself than anyone who has ever “helpfully” insisted on keeping me safe. Interestingly, the people who *are* trained in security and whatnot are never the ones who argue with me–they seem to respect my ability and/or autonomy.

    3. Helena*

      Inside the U.S., I can’t think of any situation where it would be “genuinely, clearly” more dangerous for a woman than a man. In the situation you describe, a man could get mugged just as well as a woman. The only exception I can think of is for radiation work, and even then, the maximum allowed exposure only changes when a woman is pregnant. That said, it’s normal for U.S. women working in many Middle Eastern countries to have different rules from U.S. men working in the same country. In some cases, local law compels these rules (even western women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia); in others, it’s just good common sense because of how the locals view women. My experience is that the women have no problems with it, but the men get grumpy for not getting extra “privileges”, like the much-shorter women’s line at customs.

    4. Z*

      It should never be acceptable to choose who to put in danger based on gender, and I’m pretty sure that this is illegal in all first world nations.

      Even if you can demonstrate that women are in significantly greater danger than men*, it’s still not acceptable to sacrifice those men to protect women to a greater degree. Some solution needs to be found to protect everybody to a reasonable extent. If there was some case to be made that something does not pose a danger to one sex but does to the other (e.g. handling a chemical that causes infertility in women but has no effect on men), then fine. But ask yourself, if this was a situation where something had a 10% chance of hurting a man but a 5% chance of hurting a woman, would using women for this task be harmful sex-based discrimination? I’d say yes, because women would be forced to get hurt to avoid men getting hurt.

      *Which you can’t, in this case. Men are about twice as likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by strangers.

  20. Cassandra*

    As a higher-ed instructor who OFTEN AND OFTEN serves as a reference:

    If we know what we’re doing — and it’s true, not all of us do — we can write excellent work references and do very well on phone reference calls. (For one thing, we tend to be good writers. For another, we’re not limited to verifying attendance as many industry references are.) To get the best reference possible from an academic, I suggest:

    * Sending us your résumé. We can brag on the work you’ve done if we know what it is.
    * Sending us the job ad(s). This makes it far easier to tell the hiring manager what you learned from us that’s relevant to the position.
    * Reminding us which course(s) you took from us and the actual work you did in them. Trust me, we know what we assigned, but we don’t remember your particular spin on it.
    * Throw us a few hints in email about personality characteristics and goals you’d like us to talk up. (We get that “what are their weaknesses?” question too. It’s not always easy to answer.)

    It’s probably worth being aware of which of your instructors are career academics versus professor-of-practice types. The latter (among whom I count myself) will likely do better recommendations; they’ve been there. Conversely, if you want a recommendation to grad school, consider picking a recommender with an advanced degree. Some of the recs I see from applicants’ managers are… not helpful.

    1. KR*

      This is so helpful. Most of the business professors I had in school encouraged us to share stories and examples from our current jobs so that they could apply the learning to our life. We did not have to share where we worked specifically in class, but we could share just the industry and omit the company name. So a lot of my professors knew a lot about my job!

      1. Paquita*

        I have one of my professors as a reference. I graduated in 2011 but we have lunch every couple of months. He definitely has not forgotten me, we are now friends.

    2. Artemesia*

      The advice I always gave to students exactly. You have to tell your referrer the details you want highlighted. They probably have a positive vibe about you but with thousands of students over the last few years, they won’t remember the specific projects you did, the work or volunteering you did in the community, your specific strengths. So any request for a reference should include a resume and a briefing on the kinds of things you hope they mention. ‘She was an excellent student’ is not much use. ‘She organized a survey research team for a class project that gathered date from XXXX and managed the writing of the report’ like a work reference is concrete and describes useful skills.

  21. Blue_eyes*

    Re #5: I think references from professors can work well when for graduates of a professional program where the work done as a student is very similar to the work done as an employee. For example, I use my graduate school advisor as a reference because my degree is in teaching. My advisor visited my student teaching placements at least once a month for the entire year to make formal observations of my work. We also met weekly to debrief, look at lesson plans, watch videos of me teaching, and discuss problems and solutions. This certainly won’t be true of all professor recommendations, but I think that in a professional degree program with a practicum component, the supervising professor can be quite knowledgeable about the student’s abilities to do actual work.

  22. Brett*

    #4 I once worked for a company that had a mandatory escort policy (for everyone, not just women). The reason behind it was a pattern (yes, pattern) of employees being ambushed in the parking lot and forced back into the building to either open the safe directly or used as a hostage to get a manager to open the safe.
    Not only was an escort required, but everyone at end of shift had to wait in the parking lot until all cars were started before anyone left.

    1. fposte*

      I appreciate the safety coverage, but I have to wonder if there were any non-exempt people and if they got paid for the extra time.

      1. Brett*

        Everyone was non-exempt and was paid for their time. (Mostly because the managers were non-exempt too, so it was in their best interest to have everyone clock out with them.)
        My post is more about why mandatory escort policies arise, but I guess also shows the right way to do one. I wonder if it would be a lot less difficult to find escorts in the OP’s company if everyone had to have an escort (and basically leave at the same time).

        1. fposte*

          Wow, then they really did it right. And it may be one of the cheaper ways to address the problem, but it does require coordination.

        2. Lindsay J*

          When I worked for New York and Company the policy was the same.

          Everyone closing left together. Everyone clocked out together.

          And any waiting for a straggler and the typical retail bag inspection were done on the clock.

          And we waited to make sure everyone got in their car and started it before we left.

          It was the right way to do things.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      A company I used to work for had the ‘wait in the parking lot until all cars are started’ policy for the people leaving at the end of the night. It wasn’t the case for anyone who left earlier, because there were still people inside that could be asked for help, but once the doors were locked, no one got left alone. We’d all get in, start the cars, and roll forward a bit, then once everyone had, take off.

      I appreciated it — it didn’t take more than a few minutes, since it was a small place, and I felt a lot safer.

      1. Chinook*

        ” It wasn’t the case for anyone who left earlier, because there were still people inside that could be asked for help, but once the doors were locked, no one got left alone. We’d all get in, start the cars, and roll forward a bit, then once everyone had, take off. ”

        Wow – this is definitely a case of cultural differences based on climate. Around here, once winter hits, I have yet to see anyone be left alone in a parking lot with their vehicle because you are never guaranteed your car will start in cold weather. So, it becomes standard procedure for everyone to check that everyone else has their car running before you take off. Am I to assume that this isn’t standard in warmer climates?

        1. KR*

          We do the same thing in the winter too – especially if there’s snow. My managers don’t leave until they know that everyone’s car is cleared off, it started, and can get out of the parking lot through the snow.

          1. fposte*

            And that’s a good reminder that we’re likelier, in some areas, to run into car trouble than other danger, and that if temps outside are low, that puts you at serious risk too.

        1. Brett*

          In my case, they got a ride or they worked midday shifts only. I did not drive at the time, and a manager gave me a ride home every night.

    3. Cathy*

      I worked for a hospital in a large metropolitan area which was, unfortunately, not in the best area of town. After dark, all of us were escorted to our cars with an armed security guard AND their K-9 companion. And if you reported for duty in the dark, you had a special pager that connected only to the security guard so they could come get you and escort you into the building.
      It was a very secure feeling having them there, but on the other hand, I would have been just as happy if the situation hadn’t called for that level of protection!

    4. jhhj*

      Though that’s a sensible policy given everything, it sounds horrible to work somewhere that there’s a pattern of employees being threatened.

  23. techfool*

    No. 3
    It could be that that the outside recruiter just wants you to sign up to get his/her commission. IME, they’ll tell you all kinds of lies and horror stories to that end. You should speak to the hiring manager direct.

    1. Jimbo*

      I’ve negotiated several contract-to-hire jobs and always dealt directly with the company. However, when I get the call from the recruiter telling me the company is happy and are going to offer me FTE, I always ask their advice regarding salary. I figure they have placed other people at that company in the past and are constantly placing people across the city so they should have some insider knowledge. Having said that, the recruiters low-balled me all three times. I got between $10-15K more each time. This is just my opinion, but I think it helps their relationship with companies (i.e. their customers) to place good people at lower-than-average salaries. “All the people we get from Acme Staffing want top dollar” is not the reputation they want.

      1. OP 3*

        Jimbo, interesting point about the reputation. I wish I could say I got more after the negotiation. I did get a sign-on bonus but not a higher salary. I feel a little dumb.

    2. OP 3*

      Yes, that was one of my worries. Unfortunately, I did not speak with the hiring manager before verbally accepting the offer. (I posted a long update at the bottom of the comments.)

  24. Kat*

    re #4: So I have a part time job at a hotel and management has been requiring male staff to escort women to their cars in the evenings and early mornings. This is because we have been receiving threatening, harassing calls from some anonymous creep targeting female staff. I personally appreciate having someone walk with me to my car but someone does it immediately after my shift, and does it for all female staff as soon as they are ready to go. What would the legalities be in this situation since there is a direct reason it’s only for the women on staff?

    1. LucyLoo*

      I don’t know about the legal side as I’m not in the US. But they should not force all the women to accept an escort if they don’t want it, and they should make it available to men who do.

      Make it optional and make it available to all. That’s the only good way to do this.

    2. HR Recruiter*

      Escorts should always be an option. I’ve been in similar situation (hotel management) and we let affected parties know of the threat and tell them a Security escort is available if interested. And give them instructions on who to call if they would like an escort. Our escorts are always someone from security, not a random male employee. If they never ask for an escort we never bring it up again. In your case affected parties would be all female staff. You should never force a female employee to be escorted by a male. I’d much rather walk to my car by myself than be escorted by some of our male employees. If you don’t have onsite security than I would use managers as escorts since hopefully they have been through sexual harassment training.

  25. Allison*

    #4, this would make me livid! I remember working a very brief stint at a fast food place that had a parking lot routine built into closing procedures so everyone could leave safely late at night, which seemed like a pain for the closing staff but kind of made sense.

    I could totally understand women wanting a safety escort available to them, and I could also understand a company being concerned for people’s safety after work, but this isn’t the option. Any time anyone insists I shouldn’t go somewhere alone and I need to take someone with me, I get mad. I’m an adult, I’m capable of making informed decisions based on my comfort level and what makes sense for me, to have someone else decide those things for me is just plain insulting – adding the pain in the butt that comes with having to wait for an escort when I have places to be after work, yeah, I’d be mad.

    1. KR*

      I am so with you when people insist that I shouldn’t go somewhere alone – I pity the man who tries to hurt me out on the street. After I hit him in the crotch, I’ll lecture him on misogyny until he’s marching on Washington and burning bras.

      1. fposte*

        They mostly just want your money. If they are hurting you, it’ll be a surprise, and you’re not likely to be able to recover from being struck in time to kick them in the crotch.

        Marines get mugged, boxers get mugged; it’s not something that happens successfully only because people are too wimpy to fight back.

        1. KR*

          I’m not arguing that people get mugged because they’re too wimpy. I guess I’m just supporting the idea that women especially don’t need to be told to not go anywhere alone with my own fearless views.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Which I hope everyone is 100% on board with, but that’s kinda different than ‘well that would never happen to me’.

  26. Just me*

    I’m in a similar situation to #5 and don’t know what to do. I’m almost three years out of grad school and have been employed at one large corporation A since graduating. I’m starting to look for a new job and my grad school references feel completely irrelevant but I can’t provide a manager because I don’t want either of the two people I’ve worked for/am working for to know I’m looking. Is it OK to use academic references in this case? Trusted coworkers who know I’m looking?

    1. Ghost Town*

      I work in higher ed administration (advising/student services).

      To me this would be fine. I would try to find a balance, so that the academic references are not the bulk. Also, did you do any extra-curricular/academic work with/for any of the professors? If you can list Professor Xavier, Supervisor for X-men team missions, not just Professor Xavier, courses taken include “The Ethics of Mind Reading,” that will go far.

    2. themmases*

      I would include them if you worked for them, they were your thesis/capstone advisor, or if you did an independent study or smaller/more advanced class with them. In pretty much that order of preference, unless the culminating experience for your degree was very ambitious or related to a work experience or required the advisor to get to know you very well.

      If you don’t have anyone like that that you want to use, it’s not ideal but it’s common for people leaving their first job to use trusted coworkers– especially if they were senior– or people to whom they were responsible and delivered work but didn’t directly report. If you’re looking at a non-academic job you might also want to consider staff on your grad school projects to whom you may have reported. For example, a grad research assistant might be supervised day to day and even report directly to a program director or research coordinator.

  27. Workfromhome*


    The Departing employee may very well be working at far less than peak or even desired capacity during their notice. One would obviously hope for better but it might be a good opportunity to reflect on what might have transpired before to cause this. Maybe they had a great career and now they just decided to be a slacker for the last 2 weeks. Nothing can be done about that it can, does and will continue to happen.

    But there are also other possibilities:

    Maybe this person is leaving because they put in extra hours for years with no appreciation. Maybe this isn’t payback but more along the lines of I’ve worked my tail off and they still didn’t appreciate it why would I continue to do that?
    As we have heard many times maybe the relationship with supervisors is so bad they know there is no chance of a good reference anyways. I often see “You have to give notice/work hard if you want a good reference” but it’s difficult to hold that over someone’s head if they know its not going to happen.

    If there are critical tasks that can only be done by this employee or things that need to be documented that will make things difficult after they leave …maybe you might want to look at documenting them going forward,cross-training people or having a succession plan so that the NEXT time someone leaves you won’t need to depend on a person in their 2 week notice period to do this.
    I don’t mean to sound harsh because this happens at my work all the time. The documentation to cover off 10 years of knowledge that is created in a rush in the last two weeks of notice is not likley to be very complete. Have these things docuimented as they occur. Have someone crostrained so that if employee A leaves B already has a good idea how to do the job.

  28. Ghost Town*

    #5 – As others have mentioned, the context of how the professor knows you is going to make the difference. If you did any research, project, support, etc. work for this professor, then they can speak with authority similar to a manager. If you know the professor purely in a class/academic setting, it might be in your interest to remove them as reference sooner rather than later. Caveats abound, though. If you are in academia, higher ed administration, or even academia-adjacent, a professor reference won’t hurt. If the professor is a superstar or well known, that could help. If their research interest/discipline somehow lines up with a prospective job/company/interviewer, it might help.

    1. Artemesia*

      Many college classes involve community based projects, practica or do class projects that are hands on and skill based. If one doesn’t have a work reference thinking through which classes have parallels to work behavior and then asking those profs and providing them with suggestions about what to focus on may be your best bet.

  29. Can't get the tone*

    Re: #2 — No matter how many times I run through it in my head, I cannot find a way to say this — “If you’re not up for that, would you prefer to simply make today your last day?” — in any sort of collaborative, constructive, or otherwise non-threatening way. Moreover, I think if you try to say it sweetly, it comes across even worse.

    I would be more inclined to start with the language Alison recommended — “While you’re still working here, we need you to meeting the same standards as before you gave notice. Can you do that?” — and see how the employee responds. Their response may actually give you a clue to what’s going on. And if they completely blow up or flat-out say no, then you also know where you stand and can proceed accordingly with the next line — “It seems like we have really different expectations of what these last two weeks should look like, so I think it would be best to wrap things up now.”

    1. TootsNYC*

      “You know, you don’t have to give us notice; that’s just a tradition. But the idea is that during those two weeks, you help the company get set up for not having you, and you do your tasks as normal during that time. If you don’t want to do those things on your employer’s time, it’sprobably best to simply quit effective now, without notice. Otherwise, if you’re taking our dime, you really should give us your time and attention.
      “Would you like to just quit now? You don’t have to stay. It’s pretty clear your heart’s not in it/”

    2. Betty (the other Betty)*

      I think you add a sentence: “If you’re not up for that, would you prefer to simply make today your last day? We will pay you for the full notice period.”

      It costs the company an extra week’s pay (maybe). But it saves the company from having a less-then-engaged employee around for that week. Win win.

  30. The Other Dawn*

    RE: 2. Resigning employee is slacking off during his notice period

    I agree with Alison’s advice. And I also agree that it might make sense to tell him that if he doesn’t do what he’s expected to do, then he shouldn’t expect a reference.

    I once had an employee who gave notice and didn’t follow through on her tasks during her notice period. About a week into it, it was obvious that she was just biding time until she left. Based on prior behavior–she wasn’t a star employee–I told her that she only needed to do X, Y and Z, and if she didn’t do those tasks I couldn’t serve as a good reference for her in the future. I didn’t even make her do her routine work! She was young and immature at the time, so this didn’t make a bit of difference to her. Unfortunately, she chose not to do those tasks. She did, however, choose to clean out her desk by dumping everything she possibly could into the shred bin: live checks, original loan documents, stamps, etc. How lovely. She chose to burn a bridge with us.

    1. KR*

      I like that you specifically mentioned that the employee chose to burn a bridge with you. It doesn’t matter how good this employee was before their notice period – they’re being paid and they can either choose to finish the job or choose to burn the bridge.

    2. Triangle Pose*

      Wow. Did you ask her to leave when she dumped everything into the shred bin?! At that point I think I would end the notice period and ask her to leave. I may still pay the entire notice period because I don’t want any employees to think I wouldn’t pay it barring something egregious like punching another employee during your notice period..but shredding live checks comes really close!

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Unfortunately, I didn’t know she threw everything into the bin until the EVP needed me to open the bin because he thought he accidentally threw something in there. Luckily, the bins hadn’t been picked up yet. As I was digging, I started coming across all sorts of things we had been looking for, such as the loan documents. At the time the documents were missing, we thought the lawyers hadn’t sent the documents over after closings. When I saw those, and some other things, like daily system reports, I realized what she had done; she was the one who was handling these documents from time to time to help out that department. I dumped the entire shred bin on the floor, and my new employee and I went through it all. We found all sorts of stuff that had gone missing, like daily system reports she was supposed to be reviewing (input vs. output), the items mentioned above, and things like company stationary (no wonder we had to reorder so fast!), unused notebooks, etc. Our CEO had me compile a list of all the items. He then sent the list and a certified letter to her asking that she ensure that nothing important, like customer information or original documents or checks, was “accidentally” taken home, as well as a request for her to certify that in writing, which she did.

        One of the reasons she wasn’t a star employee was that she had a very big problem with staying organized, among other things, which is something that’s really important in my business. I had talked to her about it a few times. (Remember the desks in elementary school where you could store all your books and papers for the school year? And remember how some desks looked as though you couldn’t fit a tissue in there and everything was all crumpled up? Yeah, that’s what her desk was like. In an office. As an adult.)

        1. Triangle Pose*

          Yeah, it makes sense that organization was a big issue that led to her termination. I can’t imagine shredding live checks or original signatures on loan documents! I think your CEO was smart to act fast and ask for her to certify in writing that nothing important was taken home. I’d bet there’s not much you can do to “enforce” such a certification, but it was good of him to do so if it ever came up at least you can show that you did everything you could. From what you described here, it sounds like she just threw everything away and wouldn’t want more paperwork to take home anyway, sort of the “slash and burn” method of organization.

        2. CM*

          Whew! Lucky thing that you happened to look in the bin! As a lawyer, just reading your story is giving me hives.

    3. OP 2*

      This sounds like my exact situation! Super young, first professional position…I just can’t imagine why he thinks this is an okay way to end his time here. I guess I’m lucky he doesn’t have access to any sensitive documents :)

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I’m guessing he probably just doesn’t know that it’s not what he’s supposed to do in the professional world, and I’m assuming maybe he was never told by anyone, whether it be in college or internship, or whatever. Of course, maybe he was told and just doesn’t care. He might figure, “What are they gonna do? Fire me??”

      2. TootsNYC*

        Given that it’s his first professional position, I absolutely would sit down and lay out the idea that he needs to shepherd his reputation, and that this is part of it.

        Even if it came across condescending. I’d do my best to keep it from being scolding, etc., and to give it the best chance of getting past his defenses. But I’d do it.

  31. Macedon*

    #1. Think you may have caught your boss on Fri right after her plans fell through, and she took it out on you. Pure theorizing, but that’s my gut instinct. I hope she’s able to provide more (and gentler) input when you ask for details. Sorry on your end too – crummy situation.

    #2. How much are you paying this person? If we’re talking company veep levels where you’re breaking bank to keep this guy on the pay line while he’s not really earning his keep, have the conversation Alison suggested about whether it’s not mutually beneficial to cut ties early. If he’s at least getting some work done and it’d be more of a burden to find coverage for it during the remainder of these two weeks, keep him on. Not trying to justify him in any way, just in favour of a cost/benefit analysis on this one. Re: his reference – I wouldn’t say to withhold a reference or let two weeks of mediocre work sour your feedback. In the grand scheme of things, they’re just two weeks. An otherwise great performer should be remembered for the excellence of his overall service (and if he’s not been that, obviously, you already have a story to tell.)

    #3. Definitely push the recruiter to faithfully represent your stance. You don’t want to walk away. You want to accept, given X and Y and Z. If the company defaults to that being the same as you rejecting their offer, so be it – but at least you know you’ve put that ball in their court. Would advise continuing this conversation through the recruiter, unless you’ve been getting dodgy vibes off him or her, as it

    1. Macedon*

      …sorry, I have no idea where I was going with that last sentence. Terrible habit of not writing sequentially, dropping a few sentences in a graph, moving on to a completely different one, etc.

    2. OP 3*

      Thanks for your advice. Definitely makes sense. Unfortunately I didn’t get him to agree to faithfully represent my stance, but I did get a final chance and took the low-ball offer (when the pot was sweetened with a sign-on bonus, which probably would have come anyway).

      (And I do the same thing you described, in my writing, frequently.)

  32. KR*

    I’ll preface this by saying I’m a feminist who would rather eat nails then let a man get away with any type of misogyny or discrimination, so this may come across as harsh.
    OP4, I’m sorry your company is so sexist. This is infantilizing to women because it assumes that they’re unable to take care of themselves or handle the real world. It’s like people who won’t let women lift heavy things, think women can’t possibly have a family and balance a career, or think women can’t handle swearing, meanness, or violence without getting their panties in a bunch because our delicate female sensibilities can’t handle it. Clearly whoever makes the policies at your company has never read The Feminine Mystique, slept through all three/four waves of feminism and also has never heard of the EEOC. Are women at your company forced to wear skirts and get coffee for the men too?
    I agree with the other readers that this absolutely is a hill to die on. Demand that your employers pay you back for the time you’ve been waiting around at work for an escort and demand that they abolish this escort rule all together. If you live in a dangerous area, it should be an option for ANYONE to get an escort to their car but requiring it specifically for women is discrimination, without a shadow of a doubt. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Fight the power.

    1. Mike C.*

      Agreed and as a dude, I don’t appreciate that my own safety isn’t considered. Who’s to say I don’t get mugged or whatever?

        1. Noah*

          Yeah, it’s like they applied one (poorly though out) corrective action and then didn’t follow-up to consider the residual and replacement risk they created.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

        Well OKAY then, if you don’t want to do your manly duty being my bodyguard, I have some water cooler bottles here for you to lift.

        I’ll wait here while you get them.


    2. TootsNYC*

      Also–everybody knows when a shift ends, so that escort had better be there so nobody’s having to wait, off the clock.

      1. TootsNYC*

        My theory is that this is what happened with the sharia laws.

        Women were at risk, so men always escorted them. Eventually the purpose of that was forgotten, and it became a burden women had to carry.

    3. Allison*

      Seems like this one policy could cause or exacerbate other gender issues in the workplace. It could impact how female employees are perceived by their male counterparts, it could drive them away to other companies, leaving the gender ratio horribly skewed; it could even discourage managers from hiring women.

      1. I'm a Little Teapot*

        Excellent observations. (It could also drive away men who don’t want to get stuck with escort duty and don’t appreciate the company’s lack of concern for *their* welfare. This policy is just bad for everyone.)

    4. Apollo Warbucks*

      I agree, it’s totally dumb to suggest a woman can’t take care of themselves. A lesson I learnt when I was 16 working as a bus boy in a dive bar come restaurant there were two female security guards as well as a few men, one night some guy slapped one of the women across the face he was laughing for about 2 seconds before she threw the best right hook I’ve ever seen and knocked him out. Honestly I’d feel safer with her looking out for me, than most of the guys I work with.

  33. AnonForThis*

    #4 hits a nerve for me. My company started condescendingly having men walk women to their cars. If someone from off the street (we’re a public services non-profit, so homeless people or people sown on their luck come into the building often), throws a fit or looks like they may be a danger, the front desk and HR person calls whatever men are on site to come escort them off.

    During a recent incident, their was a conference so most of the staff was missing. The only male available was a young man named Tom, maybe 100 lbs soaking yet, who is also disabled and cannot walk very well. That’s who they called up to help.

    Why did this enrage me? I’m a woman, but a trained mixed martial arts competitor; I also trained in Israel in pressure point combat. My coworker is a female sergeant who served 2 tours in Afghanistan. But despite knowing these things, we’re female and therefore not useful–it’s better to put Tom at risk in a situation he is in no way equipped to handle than use 2 women who have significant training and ability. *bangs head in*

    1. fposte*

      Though it’s not about the training–the goal is to affect the perception, not to make you better able to beat somebody up if they try to mug you. That being said, this sounds crazy–if you need somebody to walk you to the car, and there are two of you, then you’ve got somebody to walk you to the car.

      1. AnonForThis*

        But perception doesn’t cover it all the time–as many pointed out, what if the man who escorts you to the car is attacked when he’s alone? What if it’s a group who mugs couples? I would hope whoever is the escort knows how to handle themselves at least a bit!

        1. AnonForThis*

          Moreover, I can escort someone out of the building using one hand–the pain is so extreme the body can’t move except for where I direct them, and it leaves no marks :) Rather effective!

          1. fposte*

            When you’re escorting somebody out of the building, sure. But the mugger hoping for your money isn’t going to be deterred from trying to mug you by that, because he doesn’t know about it. Employers are trying to reduce the attempts, not just the successes.

        2. fposte*

          Sure, but it covers the reason why people aren’t supposed to walk on their own. It’s because people walking on their own are likelier to be targets. The goal is to reduce the chance that you even get approached, not to reduce any chance of any assault anywhere ever.

          It’s stupid to make it gendered, but to preclude people from walking alone to transport isn’t a bad plan.

      2. Observer*

        Even so, a woman who is fit and trained in martial arts is going to present much more strongly than a skinny guy who has a hard time walking. So, even if perception is the issue, it’s still a stupid thing to do.

        Also, these women have the kind of training to de-escalate a situation in ways that some guy, disabled or not, won’t have.

        1. fposte*

          There is some evidence that how you walk helps, it’s true.

          But I’m mostly saying that two is better than one, and the gender doesn’t really matter; hence my point that if AnonforThis is walking out with her sergeant co-worker, that should be ample.

    2. Allison*

      Two things about that bug me:

      1) Assuming that women can’t handle security duties, simply because they’re women. It’s like when I was younger and someone would need help carrying something like a table, and would specifically ask for boys to help them, and when I offered to help too they’d say “oh no, sorry honey, it’s better if the boys help with this.” I’m stronger than I look, people!

      Then again, would I be able to deal with a belligerent homeless guy? Probably not, but not because I’m a woman, because I am small and not really trained to deal with people like that.

      2) There’s a reason why we have people working in the security profession; dealing with dangerous people is a skill people develop, not a trait men just inherently have, and if a person is sent to deal with an angry homeless person, that person could get hurt – or just as bad, act improperly and unnecessarily hurt the homeless person, opening the company up to a lawsuit. If a building has persistent security issues, they need to hire security personnel, not just call on random male employees. Having your male employees deal with security issues is like delegating all the cleaning, note-taking, and party-planning tasks to female employees.

      1. Chinook*

        “It’s like when I was younger and someone would need help carrying something like a table, and would specifically ask for boys to help them, and when I offered to help too they’d say “oh no, sorry honey, it’s better if the boys help with this.” I’m stronger than I look, people!”

        Ditto. I dealt with this last week setting up for a meeting. I had a guy who was over 60 and not in shape mention that I shouldn’t have to move the tables alone (because wearing a skirt and heels makes me feeble?). Then he saw me pick one up like it weighed nothing and asked if I was a farm girl. I just smiled at him and said I was from a small town and used to having set up by myself and then mentioned how the new tables are plastic and not wood and metal, so they are nothing. I then pointed to the other (over 70 y.o.) women moving chairs and said he may want to go help them instead so we could set up faster.

        I envy my nieces who (hopefully) won’t have to deal with this attitude as often as I do when they are my age.

        1. KR*

          Another chorus on the lifting! Job B is a shift supervisor on the front end of a grocery store, which involves a lot of bagging. When I lift heavy items like a rack of water, charcoal, or kitty litter male customers act like I’ve insulted them to their face by being perfectly able to lift something heavy, like I don’t do it 10 times a day.

  34. B*

    Playing devils advocate – You outlined his tasks and checked in with him on Monday. Are the tasks you outlined actual legitimate tasks to be completed before he leaves or are you trying to use him for everything you can? Did he work above and beyond normally and now he is tired and burned out? Were you and your company gracious when you accepted his resignation or was it rude and pissy? Did you decide unilaterally you want everything and anything done, which is not realistic?

    Yes, this person may be checked out and acting irrationally and you did everything proper. However, I am also asking for you to take a look at yourself and your company? If this was a great worker normally and now he is doing a complete tailspin that suggests something happened.

    1. OP 2*

      1) Yes, they are actual, legitimate tasks that have been on his to-do list for a while, but have played second-fiddle to his other daily work. They are the ongoing tasks that everyone has on their lists for slow periods. Nothing at all onerous, but necessary for the team to grow and advance.
      2) No, he has always very clearly drawn a line between personal and work time, and puts in a very strict 7 hour work day (that 8th hour is at the gym).
      3) Super gracious- my previous comment even mentioned that he and I had discussed how nice it would be to have a relationship outside our working one. He may be an excellent actor, but he genuinely seemed to be leaving on a positive note when he gave his notice.
      4) No, and I’m not sure why everyone is assuming this! I would say quite the opposite, just the general clean up of accounts, and ongoing tasks that are easily done and actually would provide a great time to catch up on some podcasts.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Given this:
        3) Super gracious- my previous comment even mentioned that he and I had discussed how nice it would be to have a relationship outside our working one. He may be an excellent actor, but he genuinely seemed to be leaving on a positive note when he gave his notice.

        I feel even -more- strongly that I’d sit down and brief him on how this “reputation” thing works.

  35. Erin*

    #1 – Wow, I can’t get over how she said this as she stepped onto an elevator. That’s almost as bad as if she’d said it in an email or something. If that were me (and I’m not a manager in full disclosure) I would have pulled you into my office and said, “Unfortunately, my situation has changed and I’m staying. Obviously this is a huge bummer for you. I want you to know how much I and (other people) appreciate everything you’ve done to step up to the plate here and….” and then ideally segue into other opportunities for advancement down the line.

    But, “Oh hey, BTDubbs, I’m staying” as she gets onto an elevator? How immature and cowardly.

    This sucks, you are owed more explanation, and I would go ahead and start job searching if I were you. Keeping working at full productivity of course (unlike #2’s employee) but…yeah…

  36. TootsNYC*

    #4–waiting 45 mins for an escort to your car.

    I know that in the stories about Amazon.com’s warehouse culture, I read that Germany is leaning on for “wage theft” because people have to wait 15 minutes to be searched before they leave the warehouse for lunch, and the employees have clocked out then.

    Do we have anything similar in the U.S. about being required to be at work, but not being paid?

    (I’m remembering stories of Wal-Mart employees who were sleeping in the back room because their shift was over int he middle of the night, but the store was locked and they couldn’t get out, bcs all the managers were home in bed.)

    1. fposte*

      That’s an ongoing question for non-exempt employees; in general, “engaged to wait” is usually considered to be on the clock, while “waiting to engage” (being on call at home, for instance) is generally considered not to be.

      But the Amazon decision throws a shadow on that; as one summary says, “merely because an employer requires a pre- or post-shift activity, does not mean it is “integral and indispensable” to the performing employee’s principal duties” and therefore workers don’t have to be paid. Which was a unanimous Supreme Court decision, so it’s not like Ginsburg et al. were fighting this ruling and lost.

      And I think it’s nuts, but it does, now that I look at it, suggest that the employees might not be entitled to pay in the OP’s situation either. (It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the Victoria’s Secret case, but that’s the 9th Circuit, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it were an outlier.)

      1. neverjaunty*

        I would be very surprised if any court upheld something like the OP’s situation. This isn’t a security check for all outgoing employees to prevent theft; this is forcing women only to sit around unpaid at work, whether they want to or not, until a male co-worker can walk them to their cars.

  37. TootsNYC*

    #5 is an argument for getting a job, any job, while you’re in college or high school. Simply to “seed” your work experience.

    Sort of like deliberately getting a credit card and putting some sort of revolving scheme in place (your phone bill is charged to it, and your bank account automatically pays the credit card) simply to begin establishing your credit record BEFORE you really, really need it.

  38. CQ*

    One thing I’ve learned in life is that there are people who will do good work no matter what the circumstance, because their moral compass guides them to, and there are people who constantly look for excuses to work as little as possible.

    1. LabTech*

      Interesting, because I’d fall in the former category when my work is appreciated (and appropriately compensated), and in the latter when its not.

  39. Apollo Warbucks*

    #4 At my old job there was additional parking that was a little bit of a walk down some dimly lit walk ways and felt really unsafe after dark (Oct – Feb) mostly people wanted to walk in a group so they arranged it themselves and all left at the same time or if someone was working late they’d walk down and get their car and put it out side the office.

    It never occurred to anyone to make it a gender issue, or mandate that people only went in groups it really isn’t OK that you are being forced to stay late to be accompanied, I hope you can talk some sense into the management, please come back and let us know how the conversation went.

  40. NylaW*

    OP#1 A very similar thing happened to me last summer. A coworker who is in a position that pays significantly more and that would be a slightly up and lateral move for me, was leaving. I was tapped directly to take his position, I did all the paperwork and we started transition. Then he decides he’s not leaving, the company un-accepts his resignation and everything just evaporated. There was almost no follow up with my boss and despite discussing that this is exactly the career track I want to be on and how I want to advance, nothing has come of it. I’m now bitter and looking for a new job for the first time in 8 years.

    You may not get any satisfactory answer and if your company doesn’t follow through on moving you up or other options within 6 months – a year, it’s never going to happen. Best of luck to you.

    1. Shauna Malwae-Tweep*

      ugh that is awful, sorry that happened to you. What a poor want to handle something. The company should have been like, sorry, you resigned, too late, NylaW has the position now.

      1. NylaW*

        I posted this is an open thread but the whole thing was so random. It was 3 weeks into his 30 day notice, they’d “bought a house” (i.e. had an accepted offer were coordinating inspections and stuff), his wife had also accepted a job, they’d told friends, family, and the school where they volunteer they were leaving. It was basically a done deal. And then Monday of his last week he comes in and it’s all undone. All of it. It was odd, but basically they had started not feeling right about a lot of it both with the jobs and the builder they were buying the house from, and they had to go with their gut and stay put. I felt bad for him because he was really upset, but I can’t lie and say I wasn’t pissed off and disappointed for myself. He’s a great coworker and I know he’s very highly valued so I wasn’t surprised they let him stay, more surprised that they got that far into the process and THEN had all these reservations.

    2. Kali P*

      I would think waiting for promised promotions is always a risk. I know of a colleague who too was promised a promotion in my previous company within a year. Promotion time came and it didn’t materialize. This was after more than 1 full year of working at a higher responsibility (managerial) role well above his current pay grade. He was totally cheesed off about the whole thing, but hey – he had already clocked more than a year of managerial experience. He leveraged that in his resume and found a new job, higher paying job in 3 months, tendered his resignation and left happily. Who knows if he would have been able to get a better job or not without having the managerial experience in his resume? At least this story has a happy ending!

  41. Miles*

    #3: If the salary you’re offered is less than what it costs to live in the area, you have literally nothing to lose by asking for more. If you accept the job at the offered salary, you won’t be able to survive (figuratively, and also literally) for long in that situation and holding out for a raise in that situation is a recipe for disaster.

    Especially when you consider that being paid less than you can live on will drastically and negatively impact your performance at any job that requires the use of your brain.

    1. OP 3*

      Thanks, these are good points. I’m fortunate that I can live on the salary offered, but just in a less nice housing situation than I’m in now.

  42. JHS*

    What do people think of listing a professor as a reference after a PhD? I’ve had my part time job for seven years, so my PhD supervisor has really seen as much of my work ethic as they have, and older references seem a little too far away to be useful. I’ve also taught at the college, but it’s up to our supervisors to keep an eye on us for that, and we don’t have a line manager as such…

  43. Lauren Hopkins*

    Re #2:
    I had a situation like that where an employee gave his two weeks notice and then we had a major issue (something he said to a client and tried to claim was a joke). At that point, it became a liability for him to keep working for us and we had to let him go immediately. Does it still count as a voluntary termination (on his part) or does this become a situation where we fired him (and thus he could be eligible for unemployment)? It ended up being a non-issue, but I’m just wondering if that changes the terms of his termination.

  44. OP 3*

    Thanks so much for responding to my question. Both of your suggestions–insisting that my position be accurately represented, and arranging a call with the hiring manager to address other things–are really great and make a lot of sense.

    Unfortunately, due to the timing, I felt under pressure to give the external recruiter a response before I saw your excellent advice. I did not end up going around him and talking to the hiring manager. I told the recruiter if accepting the offer and walking away were my only options, I was walking away.

    Later, he came back and told me the offer was the best they could do, that HR had told him that the budget for the position had been reduced recently unbeknownst to him (he’d been working the opening for a while, and he’d previously placed another candidate who would be my peer in a position with basically the same title). Not only that, I was offered at the low end of their new budget. (And the high end of the budget also equalled the low end of my initial target range.) The explanation for the offer being at the low end was that although I had the technical qualifications for the position, I came from a much smaller organization, and also that I could use some work on soft skills/communication. (I think the latter is a bit of a cop-out, but who knows.)

    He also said that when the hiring manager said she thought she could get me at the top end of my original target range, that that included the target annual bonus. I really think I was specific on discussing base salary in my second interview with her, so that kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

    Nonetheless, I had decided I really wanted the job and could probably make it work at the lower salary, so I told him if they could make up the difference with a sign-on bonus, I would take the position. They came back with a sign-on bonus that got me to the midway point of my initial target, and I verbally accepted.

    In reality, they were going to pay a sign-on bonus either way, but that gets me most of the way there for the first 12 months. If they pay 1/3 of the target annual bonus during that time, that gets me the rest of the way there. I figure if they don’t get me to the base I think I’m worth after 12 months, I will have (hopefully) stayed long enough to avoid having to repay any of my relocation package cost, and I will start looking for work then.

    I am still waiting for the final written offer, including the relocation package terms, but it looks like this is a happy ending. I will walk in suspecting that my immediate peers (also recent hires) are probably getting paid more than me, knowing that the company was rather rigid in refusing to negotiate (and even flew me out there knowing the only target salary I’d mentioned was higher than they ultimately paid), and knowing that my new boss didn’t come through with what I understood her to say she could do for me. But currently those are mild irritations, rather than major resentments, and I’ll need to keep it that way, since this is a great opportunity.

    Assuming everything goes well with the relo package, I will probably ask to speak with the hiring manager before I accept the written offer, when the time comes. She mentioned we could take comp time for any overtime we worked, and I want to confirm that. I’m not sure there’s a good way to bring up the salary thing at that point, though, without causing hurt feelings.

Comments are closed.