my boss is overloading me with work during my notice period

A reader writes:

I have been a manger at a satellite office of a nonprofit for the last three years. It’s been a very toxic place for me for some time (up to and including being stalked by a board member), so I’ve been actively looking for other work for some time. I was very open about my job search and why.

I recently received another job offer and gave my boss 30 days notice. I’m really working to close out as many projects as possible so that I’ll only have to transfer six cases when I leave (I typically have 75 – 100 active cases at a time), and have to move us into a smaller office. This involves finding movers, cleaning out the current office, and donating the furniture we can’t take to our new/smaller space

A big writing project was recently dropped into my lap. The due date is my last day. If I were staying on, this would be my responsibility. Since I am leaving, this was one of the the six cases I flagged for transfer.

I do not want to kill myself working crazy hours trying to get all this done before I leave. I need to be focusing on my personal life — relocating and preparing for my new job which has various licensing and education requirements. Not to mention keeping my move a secret so my stalker doesn’t follow me.

Upper management is of the opinion that this is my problem since it is due my last day. They do not want to transfer it to another person along with my other five cases.

However, with all the work I am doing to close everything else out, there is no way I can get this done without sacrificing my nights and weekends — something that has been demanded of me for the last three years. I have over 500 hours of accrued leave that I don’t get to cash out (note from Alison: I checked and the letter-writer’s state doesn’t require vacation pay-out) because I’ve been expected to pull the workload of three people and “help out” people in all our other offices.

Is it unreasonable for me to refuse to handle this writing project?


No, it is not unreasonable. You are being more than reasonable, and they are being horrid.

I’m assuming that you gave them 30 days notice rather than two weeks in order to be generous (not because of some contractual obligation). Assuming so, they are really abusing your good will here.

Say this to your boss: “I’ve looked at what I can reasonably get done during my remaining time here. I can do XYZ, but I can’t also do this writing project unless I push aside Y and Z to make time for it. Which would you prefer I work on?”

If the answer is, “Nope, you have to do it all,” then you laugh breezily and say, “I wish I’d have the time, but with only a few weeks left that’s not possible, so let me know if you want me to focus on the writing project. Otherwise I’m going to stick to dealing with XYZ instead.”

Your tone matters here. Say it like of course it will be okay to do this since any reasonable person would see that it is. Make sure your tone doesn’t sound overly deferential or like you’re asking for permission. You’re not asking for permission. You’re giving your boss the chance to give input on what you’ll prioritize, and that’s it.

If you still get told that you have to do it all, say this: “There’s no way for that to work. I’m going to work to leave things in good shape before I go, but I obviously can’t work round the clock. I gave more than two weeks notice because I wanted to be generous to the organization, but I can’t spend my notice period working nights and weekends. You’ve got me for four more weeks, and I’ll make whatever progress I can on these projects, but I don’t want you counting on more getting done than what I can do in a normal number of hours per week.”

If your boss says that you’re expected to work the same number of hours that you’ve worked in the past (including nights and weekends, apparently), just say, “It’s not something I can do right now because I’m getting ready to move. Again, I gave you extra notice because I wanted to be helpful, but I need to be realistic about what I can take on during my remaining time.”

Most managers, even unreasonable ones, are going to accept this at this point. You’re putting up boundaries and being firm about them, and often even unreasonable managers will back down in the face of that … especially when they realize that they no longer have much authority over you since you’re on your way out. It’s very likely that your boss is going to accept this after this back and forth.

And by the way, you’d be well within your rights to use up some of that vacation time before you go (I’m talking moral rights here, not legal ones), and you wouldn’t be out of line to say that you’re going to use a few of your vacation days up during your notice period. Some organizations won’t let you take vacation time during your notice period, but that’s usually negotiable when you’re giving more than the required amount of notice, since that’s an incentive for them to work with you on your request.

{ 245 comments… read them below }

    1. MillersSpring*

      Take ALL of Alison’s advice including the vacation days!! Be professional but firm. You can do it!

      1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

        At this point, I’d be taking ten vacation days and letting the chips fall where they may. If an employer weren’t willing to deal in good faith, my good faith offer of a 3o-day transition would be quickly amended. This is dirty pool.

        1. Zombii*

          Make sure to insist those ten vacation days are paid out as 12-hour days—or whatever the “average workday” is at that organization.

          And/or submit vacation time requests for all the nights and weekends they’re demanding. Since they seem to think that’s part of the remaining work time, and LW isn’t going to be working that time, it should be paid out as vacation, right?

          1. Anonymoose*

            Oooooh, this is snippy but I *LOVE* it: “And/or submit vacation time requests for all the nights and weekends they’re demanding.”

          2. Amber T*

            Just be aware of what your employee manual states. My company does not allow you to take vacation time after you give your notice.

            If the manager keeps *insisting* everything gets done by the end of the time period, would it ever be appropriate for the OP to cut her time short? We’re not seeing hostility from her manager at this time, but if the pressure continues, would it be okay for the OP to say “given that I’m preparing for a new job and a move, I can’t keep up with the amount of work you need of me. Therefore, my last day will be X (sooner than the original day) and I’ll focus transferring my projects to colleagues who can get the work done.”

            1. Althea*

              I think if a manager went bananas on the OP, like yelling at her to do her job, or something ridiculous, she would be justified in saying, “I will not be treated like this. If you continue to abuse me verbally, this will be my last day.”

    2. Interviewer*

      Most states do not mandate payout of accrued vacation upon termination, but then they’ll typically specify right in the legislation that if there is a published company policy and/or an established practice of paying that time, then the state’s DOL would still require it. To find out if you’re in one of those states, google state name + vacation pay at termination.

      If the answer is yes – is there a handbook or company policy that specifies a payout of accrued vacation upon termination? Alternately, has anyone else been paid for unused time when they left the org? If so, grab a copy of that handbook before you leave, make a short list of the people that received a payout, and write a letter requesting payment per the terms of the policy or normal company practice. I wouldn’t request it verbally – you may need this documentation later on.

      Good luck, OP!

      1. fposte*

        Wow, I never looked at the numbers of how many states have the law that the policy/practice rules–you’re right, it’s over half the states. It looks like only about twelve states don’t have any law about payouts of accrued vacation.

      2. I am the Original Poster*

        We don’t have any policies and procedures. It’s something I’ve been screaming about since I was promoted. One of our sane higher level people described the company as one of “oral tradition.”

        1. HRChick*

          Ah, “oral tradition” – a.k.a. “I’m going to tell you whatever is convenient for me at the time and I dare you to try and argue with me”

        2. Candi*

          And you don’t exactly have time to go through years of emails and hard copy to piece recorded policy together.

          This one is just checking all the dysfunctional boxes. My sympathy to you.

  1. paul*

    I just can’t imagine why you’re leaving such a wonderful employer.

    TBH, I’m not sure why they think they have any real leverage here.

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      They have none. “My offer of a 30 day transition was made in good faith, but those plans can change if I don’t feel that’s reciprocated.” Boom, there’s all the leverage.

      1. Julia*

        I actually did just that with the job I quit last month. Gave them more notice than required, they acted the same way that made me want to quit in the first place, so I shortened my notice period and took all the damn vacation time they owed me, even if it pissed them off. What were they going to do, fire me?

    2. Barney Barnaby*

      The letter writer can even ask them what their leverage is. “I am committed to working 40 hours a week for my thirty-day notice period, and have even been putting in extra time. Please explain what the harm to me is if I do not finish this extra project.”

      1. Sans*

        Wouldn’t do that. Because that gets them to think of how they could screw her over, like giving her a bad reference in the future. If anyone called to confirm employment, they could say she didn’t leave on good terms. And they’d justify that to themselves by saying she was “uncooperative” during her notice period.

        1. Anonymoose*

          I agree with this, however, I have a feeling that over time this place will more and more be the black cloud in her background checks. Sounds like the type of place that would rarely give a good recommendation anyway (their ‘standards’ being ridiculously high).

          1. Barney Barnaby*


            Moreover, even states that have laws to protect companies from giving out bad references do not give immunity to false or misleading references. She gave thirty days; she worked 40+ hours a week through the end of that; if the company wants to complain, they will find themselves on shaky ground.

            It’s not something that you sue over; it’s something that you understand and communicate to the boss (if he starts to imply that he will give a bad reference).

    3. TootsNYC*

      Depending where she is, etc., a 30-day notice may have made her look a little over-accommodating–i.e., weak.

      And that signal may prompt a lot of this sort of thing. Even someone not a bully may take that as a sign that the OP values the organization over themselves, so they’ll unconsciously take her up on that.

      1. I am the Original Poster*

        30 Days notice is standard in my field. I could be cited for professional misconduct if I just bailed.

    4. Zombii*

      The only leverage they have—and it’s more like “leverage” than leverage—is that they’re a semi-guaranteed source of income for LW during her notice period. I’ve noticed this logic more from organizations that don’t pay out vacation: if they paid out vacation, the exiting employee would have no incentive to stay for their full notice period, because they’re getting all this “free money” from the company anyway.

      I worked at a place where payout of accumulated vacation hours was forfeit if the exiting employee didn’t work their full notice period—including if the employer told them to go home on their last day. That was some leverage for overstepping reasonable hours requirements during the notice period.

      1. sstabeler*

        as an aside, I hate the “free money” classification for vacation time being paid out. It’s a little clearer in the UK, where it’s not uncommon to get 20-25 days per year, but how vacation accrual is supposed to work is you are employed for X number of days per year ( X being 365 minus any vacation and the weekends) so a 14 day vacation entitlement means they are promising that every other week, you get a 4-day work week. The payout is because you worked both weeks for all 5 days- hence, they owe you for an additional day’s wages.

  2. Dzhymm, BfD*

    Are you able to move up your start date at the new job? At my last job I gave two weeks’ notice but the new job was eager to have me start as soon as possible. If my boss had gotten too difficult during that period I would have said “Would you prefer that my resignation be effective immediately?”

    1. AndersonDarling*

      I concur. If the OP doesn’t do all the work during her notice period what will happen? Nothing. They can’t fire her. And I wouldn’t worry about doing everything to keep them as a good reference, because it doesn’t sound like they would give one anyway.

      1. AMG*

        You’d be totally justified in saying, ‘actually, let’s make it 2 weeks. Also, I will not be working evenings or weekends so my output will be at a rate of 40 hours per week.’

        1. Aphrodite*

          This. Shorten your notice period to the required one. Use that extra time to rest and to prepare for your move. If you can move earlier, do so and have that extra time after the move to get settled.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            Two weeks is a courtesy, not a law or rule, unless she has a contract saying something different. She can absolutely walk out anytime she wants.

            She should know the laws in her state for how long they legally have to get her last paycheck to her, though.

            1. Zombii*

              Also, the point of that courtesy is to maintain a good relationship with the employer, and not sabotage a would-have-been good reference by leaving them without coverage with no warning. Employers who treat their employees like this—unreasonable hours expectations, not paying out accrued vacation (that the exiting employee was discouraged from using while working there)—don’t deserve that courtesy.

              If there’s no good reference to protect, what’s the point (other than the principle)?

      2. lcsa99*

        I was just coming to say the same thing. What are they going to do, fire her? Refuse to pay out her accrued vacation? They have already used up all their cards. She would be well within her rights to just walk out the door if they kept trying to abuse her generosity.

        1. Bobbocio*

          Firing her is pretty unlikely, although not impossible. It sounds like they would refuse to pay out her accrued vacation though.

          1. Zombii*

            According to the letter, they’re already not going to pay out her accrued vacation per company policy. They have no leverage.

            1. Bobbocio*

              Oh, I misunderstood Icsa99’s comment on leverage. I thought she was saying they will pay it out, so they have no leverage. But re-reading it, Icsa99 is saying, work already refused to pay it out, so that is not a threat anymore. My bad.

      3. MillersSpring*

        OP may be trying to preserve a good reference in the future from this manager or employer, but I don’t know if this manager would even be reasonable. If so, OP, your best bet in the future for a reference from this employer would be a different leader who has left the organization and could speak to your work.

      4. I am the Original Poster*

        My new job begged me start earlier, but I can’t in good conscience leave my clients with the people who I know will not handle their cases well. You’d think I was asking for an organ donation when I ask someone to take over a handful of clients.

        1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

          You can absolutely do that in good conscience. Your employer is responsible for how cases are handled; you are not responsible for that after your duties end.

        2. Karanda Baywood*

          But they will ultimately be dealt with by those same recalcitrant coworkers.

          Save yourself, OP. This is madness.

          1. sstabeler*

            I think OP’s thoughts are that she can minimise the number of clients who have to deal wit the recalitrant co-worker…

            1. I am the Original Poster*

              Yes. I am trying to set it up so the everyone is good to go before I leave, and only a few are left for reshuffling.

        3. Hibiscus*

          Why not start earlier? This organization doesn’t care about your clients because they are treating you this way, causing you to leave.

        4. The Strand*

          Is there something you can put together for your clients, as a resource, to help them game the difficulty your soon-to-be-former colleagues will give them? Like, a checklist, workflow guide, and a list of names (e.g., “Betsy at x456 always has the most updated TP Report template.”) Consider that providing a transition – not seamless coverage through the last day – is what the clients need.

          I agree that your conscientiousness is being taken advantage of, just as your vacation days were. You sound like an awesome teammate to work with, but ultimately you need to start shifting to your new position and providing coverage there.

          1. TootsNYC*

            This is really powerful–your clients’ difficulties will persist long after you’re gone. Give them all the info they need to advocate for themselves.

        5. Anon13*

          Like others, I’m glad you’re getting out.

          Though I generally agree with the advice others are giving regarding not owing this workplace anything, I can understand why you don’t want to leave your clients in bad hands. I think this is one of the hardest things about working for some nonprofits, particularly those that help underserved populations. (I’m not sure if this is the case for you, just kind of generalizing.) Feelings of guilt when leaving a dysfunctional non-profit that helps those who need it the most are perfectly natural – you have no reason to feel that way, but I understand it!

        6. Artemesia*

          there is endless work; the client handoff happens sooner or later; in a year how you started your new job will matter; how you left your old job won’t. These people are not giving you a good rec anyway; bullies never do. Relax, do what you can, and if they get nasty, cut the notice to two weeks and leave. (and don’t tell the new job — take a week breather)

          1. I am the Original Poster*

            I actually arranged it so I have 2 weeks between departing old job and starting new one. I need time to decompress and transition.

            1. M-C*

              Good for you! That’s excellent planning, especially if a move is involved but you’re perishing from overwork already. I’d keep that info an absolute secret.

              And follow Alison’s advice, make them choose what your remaining priorities are. At a strict 40h/week. And if they give you any trouble, take a day off on the spot, for “stress”, and reiterate your request for guidance when you return.

              Meanwhile concentrate on the cases you had planned to close, don’t do a lick of work on the report. They might well not get back to you with a clear order to do it till it’s too late, at which point you can point that out, or just not finish. Don’t let them bully you further OP, and I wish you the best of luck with the next job!

            2. Mookie*

              Between planning this transition as well as you have — conscientious both to yourself and your clients — the new employer is lucky to have you. Enjoy your time off!

            3. ZenJen*

              THAT is good!!! Sounds like you seriously need a break!

              Also, I hope you have a restraining order against your stalker–if not, consider it, esp if old crappy company finds out where your new job is, and tells the stalker :-(

              1. Candi*

                Right -if you have sufficient proof for the courts, get that order. It’s a very black and white thing (they violated it or they didn’t) for the DA’s office.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Exactly this. You don’t have to pull it out immediately, but you can ask them if it makes sense to go the full 30 days if you can’t agree on a reasonable transition plan. They truly have no leverage over you at this point, especially since you’ve got a new job and don’t need to rely on them for a reference.

      These folks are awful, OP, and I am so sorry. I’m glad you’ll be able to leave.

      1. Legal Secretary*

        Off topic, but I just wanted to tell you Princess Consuela, that the person who commented directly below your comment is named “Mike.” :) #Friends

  3. Mike*

    500 hours of leave you haven’t used?!
    62 days?!!!?
    3 MONTHS!?!

    Good for you OP for leaving. Never let someone take advantage of you again like this. Always use your leave. For vacation, mental health, anything. Use it.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I don’t think it’s terrible to bank it if they pay it out if you leave (which the OP’s job does not). I have 10 weeks banked, but I am starting to get a little panicky that they could change the policy and I would lose all of it.

      1. Mike*

        Check your state’s laws regarding it. In Indiana, without a clear forfeiture policy, it must be paid out. Additionally, if they change the policy, it cannot be retroactively applied.

        So for you, they would have to pay out your 10 weeks, and then from there they could force forfeiture of unused days.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Thanks, Mike. I did check, and my state does require vacation payout if your company has a policy to pay out unused vacation. Similar to IN, they can’t change it retroactively.

          I didn’t really worry about it when I had 3-4 weeks saved up, but at some point I realized 10 wk in the bank a lot of cash that I wouldn’t want to give back. I thought my mom had lost vacation at one point, but they may have just cut her annual allotment. . .it was a while ago & I don’t remember the full story. She had been at her job ~20 yrs, and the new owner knocked her back from 6 weeks to 3 weeks annual vacation. She may have got to keep whatever she already had on the books, or they may have illegally wiped it out. Who knows.

          1. Zombii*

            Related question: Is it illegal to wipe out vacation hours if there’s a cap on accrual? My last employer had a policy to pay out unused vacation upon separation from the company, but they capped the hours you could earn, and there was no option to receive a payout unless you were separating from the company (there used to be, but they took that option away).

            Background: My state requires payout of vacation hours according to company policy.

            1. Slytherin HR*

              If the cap on the accrual was in place when you started accruing the benefit, then no it’s not illegal; the company is saying you can only accrue up to X amount of hours and no more. You’re not accruing anything over that so nothing is technically being wiped out. It’s more complicated if the cap is changed after you’ve been accruing.

            2. nofelix*

              Best to illustrate with example: say you have 100 hours accrued and the company adds a policy capping accrued hours at 50 and all must be used within the calendar year. If your state bans retroactive changes then those 100 hours will be safe. However, you wouldn’t be able to earn additional hours until you were back under 50.

              Then say you use 60 hours and earn 10 before the calendar year ends. This would put you at the max of 50 hours, which should all be forfeit on Dec 31 by the new policy. However, 40 of those were earned before the new policy and so should be safe.

    2. Aurion*

      I had originally divided it by 24 hours per day and was gaping at 21 vacation days left unused. And then I realized I was so, so wrong.

      OP, you are well rid of this place.

    3. the gold digger*

      I was ticked off at losing a week of vacation (my former employer did not pay out unused time). I – shockingly – found myself coming in very late, taking a long lunch, and leaving early for my last nine days.

    4. H.C.*

      Since I live and work in a state that does pay out accrued time off, the idea of workplaces that don’t boggles my mind (esp considering that any non-sick, non-emergency time off is subject to manager approval, meaning just because one accrues those hours doesn’t mean one is able to use them.)

    5. I am the Original Poster*

      This is a half them (wherein there was no one to cover my work if I went on leave) and a half-stalker (wherein I was terrified my house would mysteriously catch fire and my pets would be murdered during a prolonged absence) accrual.

      1. she was a fast machine*

        Good lord, I hope the police got involved and your stalker is no longer with the board! That’s truly terrifying to be afraid of.

        1. Aunt Margie at Work*

          LW notes that s/he is not letting current employer know about the move so that stalker doesn’t find out. Oh, these people really have your back if stalker is still in the picture or even if you think employers would share that with stalker

          1. I am the Original Poster*

            I learned when this all started that I would be unsupported on the stalker issue. Which is why the job hunt started and I’m not telling anyone where I’m going.

            Stalker is still in the picture and still a concern. However, new employer knows about stalker and actually put safety protocols in place at new office in the event I am found.

            1. CEMgr*

              Your dedication to your clients in extraordinarily difficult circumstances is amazing. It goes beyond what most people would do.

            2. Legal Secretary*

              This made me teary and indignant on your behalf. Nobody should have to live like this. Please stay safe.

            3. Justanotherthought*

              I am SO SO happy for you that you have found a new, supportive job. Best wishes to you that everything goes well and word doesn’t get out about where you’re moving or working. How heartbreaking!!!!

            4. Candi*

              “new employer knows about stalker and actually put safety protocols in place at new office in the event I am found.”

              (Cheers) That is fantastic.

      2. Isben Takes Tea*

        What. The. Hell.

        OP, I’m SO GLAD you’re getting out of there. It sounds like you’ve got support and a plan, but if you ever need more resources, I’d look up

        1. I am the Original Poster*

          Nope. In fact when I first started reporting issues it was repeatedly suggested that I take stalker out to lunch so we could become BFFs. The Old White Person in charge didn’t really seem to grasp how tenuous my situation was when I did not have all that societal privilege protecting me.

          1. Cassandra*

            WOW NO. This is scuttling-octopus levels of NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.

            I’m not the right person to recommend appropriate legal action, but I am getting a strong whiff of “might need a restraining order” off this situation. Please, please, please protect yourself, OP!

          2. Jerry Vandesic*

            in that case, I think you should tell them tomorrow that you will be leaving the company at the end of the day. There is no reason that you should have to put up with an employer that tolerates stalking.

          3. Julia*

            Buy them a (used) copy of The Gift of Fear and leave it as a parting gift? Holy turtle, what is wrong with some people??

            1. Bolistoli*

              Despite the fact that this entire thread is serious, I must give a shout out to *Holy turtle*. I believe I will be lifting this. :)

  4. BPT*

    While it’s not your work’s fault that you have a stalker (nobody can control another person’s actions) – I sincerely hope that when you described them as a Board Member, you meant EX-board member.

    If so, even though your work isn’t liable for that, if I was in a position where one of my employees was being stalked by a board member I would be BENDING OVER BACKWARDS to help them get out safely and make a smooth transition. If they are in fact still on the board and your work is still treating you this way, they are so off base I wouldn’t blame you for walking out this instant.

    You’ve given them more than enough.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Seriously. I wanted to ask about this but was worried it would open a can of worms or derail since it’s kind of a side issue. So I’ll say this: In what sane world does an employer keep a board member who stalks employees? (Answer: None.)

      1. phedre*

        The nonprofit I work for would toss a board member like that out so fast. It’s just appalling that the LW’s didn’t. But just like the for-profit world, the nonprofit world has such a broad range of professionalism. I’ve worked for some very well-run nonprofits and some where the lack of professionalism, morals, standards, common decency, etc. was just incredible.

        I’m so glad to hear the LW is moving on!

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I also don’t know that I’d be broadcasting my move around the office just in case people are in contact with this person. In fact, you could open a PO box now and use that as your last address of record so you don’t have to share your new address.

      1. I am the Original Poster*

        Only the people I trust implicitly know where I am going. Stalker is going crazy trying to find out where I’m heading. The rumors I’ve heard are amazing. One of them was even that Stalker was being sent to jail for many crimes, and I was going to be transitioned into her job in the community – as well as her position on the Board.

        1. Artemesia*

          I hope the police know about this person and you are prepared to escalate your protection. People like this always find you. Yikes.

        2. eplawyer*

          So Stalker is still on the board? Yeah, What the WHAT???

          I know you feel for your clients, but you can’t help them if you are tied in knots yourself. You need to get out NOW. You have all that unused vacaton time — use it. You do not need to work right up until the last minute for this bat guano crazy place. You need time to recover and readjust to normal before you start your new job.

        3. Legal Secretary*

          You know what? Please lead the stalker in the wrong direction. If you’re going to Napa, please direct them towards Vermont. If you’re going to Buffalo, drop hints about the Hamptons and Montauk. Put up a banner of a sports team in a state you’re not going to. Make jokes about having to learn to make fried chicken or sweet tea if you’re going North. Talk about the best types of snow boots to buy if you’re moving to S. Florida.

          1. Candi*

            National monuments. Headed to the PNW, talk about how cool it will be to visit Valley Forge or Gettysburg every year. Headed to Texas, talk about Mt. Rushmore. Florida, talk about the old gold fields in Alaska. Stuff like that.

        4. Gadfly*

          I’d almost be tempted to feed the rumor mill. Like if you were going to Montana, start talking about how much you love the beach and warm southern climates…

  5. hiptobesquare*

    I had a manager drop something massive on my last day on me once at a previous job – prep for an event I wouldn’t even be able to attend as it was after I left – and then proceeded to berate me for not doing it how he wanted five minutes before the end of my last day (had to get on a plane, so.. I think I responded with, “I’m really sorry, that’s how I’ve done it for every event I’ve done here, and there is nothing I can do now. It’s been nice working with you.”)

    Alison is SPOT ON. Be firm. I wish I had been firmer (Even the clients were confused why I was prepping an event I couldn’t run). My only thought is that your boss is trying to get you to complete something that only you have the skill set to do well, and they’re not sure how it will get done without you – which isn’t your problem anymore!

  6. stk*

    My guess is that 30 days IS the minimum notice. (It is in my job, as it is for most professional jobs in the country where I live.) OP, good luck getting out of there.

    OP, you are definitely reasonable in your desire to finish your time without working extreme hours. I think the phrase “unfortunately that’s not possible” or similar might be your friends. You aren’t being rude if you state it as a fact: calm, friendly, but immovable. Or I like the phrasing of “if I do x, I can’t do y – which you would you like me to do?”

    1. fposte*

      Since Alison knows the OP’s state, she’s in the U.S. and there’s no minimum notice here unless you’re bound by a contract, which is atypical. The convention is two weeks, so the OP was well above and beyond.

      1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

        I am wondering if the OP is some sort of clinician or caseworker … in those types of roles (for example), it is considered a best practice for employees to give (at least) one month notice as opposed to 2 weeks because transitioning caseloads is more involved than transitioning administrative work. Some places have it written into their employee handbook, but many others it’s just an unspoken thing that This Is What You Do.

        1. I am the Original Poster*

          Yup. Best practices, but not enforced. If I just ran screaming out of the office one morning (we’ve had people do that before I was hired), there aren’t really any consequences other than the knowledge you’re a horrible person who abandoned your clients through no fault of their own.

          1. orchidsandtea*

            I am unsurprised to hear that has happened. Please, please guard your sanity, safety, and health. You don’t need to sacrifice yourself, even for your clients’ sake.

          2. Kj*

            OP, I get it. Leaving clients sucks and makes us feel awful because we know we are working hard for them and worry the next person won’t. I hate it. That said, toxic nonprofits will kill your ability to help anyone by burning you out. Trust that your clients will be mostly OK; they will be cared for. Right now you need to care for yourself so you can keep doing the work safely and healthily.

        2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

          In a comment above she did make reference to transferring clients so my guess is that you’re right.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I’m curious how they enforce that. . .do they fine you, or not give you your last paycheck if you don’t complete a 30 day notice period?

      It seems hard to require something like that when the normal consequence of not following policies at your job would be firing you, and you are leaving anyway.

      1. stk*

        Much like enforcing the two week rule: your pay can be withheld if you just leave, and there is a strong social stigma against it. Just leaving, if you didn’t already have a job lined up, would potentially make your job search very hard, and you would not be eligible for certain benefits.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Well, they legally can’t withhold pay. If you work, you have to be paid, per FLSA. Similarly, if you use health benefits, they have to offer you COBRA protections (even if you were fired for cause).

          Most employers “enforce” “mandatory” notice periods by saying they won’t pay out vacation leave if you violate the employee handbook “notice period”, they may refuse to pay out accrued leave (which they are doing anyway!), or say you aren’t “eligible for rehire” (OMG, what a tragedy), and also there’s always the risk of a bad reference (again, it’s probably not going to be good anyway).

        2. JHS*

          There’s no enforcement in the U.S. of the two week rule. It’s just a courtesy, but you might lose your reference if you don’t give it. Employment in the states is “at will” which means you can leave at any time or you can be let go at any time. If an employer withheld your pay, in every state I’ve ever worked in, the employer would be violating labor law and the state department of labor could come after them.

          1. M-C*

            No, no. They cannot legally refuse to verify past employment. And your references of course are people you know and trust, not Schmuck Manager. Don’t overstate the possible consequences of walking out right now, which are basically none, since it sounds like the OP could start the next job earlier if her finances required it.

        3. CAA*

          Well, actually the two-week “rule” is not enforceable in the U.S. at all. A company cannot withhold your pay if you just up and leave. They are legally required to pay you for all the time you actually worked, and there are requirements as to when that money has to be delivered. If a company fails to live up to their legal obligations, then each state has a department of labor enforcement where you can file a complaint and they will work to get the money (the department name varies from state to state, but generally companies do not want to hear from this department).

          As where you are, there is some stigma attached to leaving without notice, and it will usually affect your rights to unemployment benefits, though there are some circumstances where you could collect anyway.

        4. MegaMoose, Esq*

          Ouch at your pay being withheld – that is absolutely illegal in the United States. Even if you punch your boss then streak through your office after turning in your resignation they still can’t withhold your last paycheck.

      2. sunny-dee*

        I don’t know the country, but there are places in Europe that have huge penalties for that, both ways. My company has done hiring in Brno, and there is either a 2 or 3 month gap between when we hire someone and when they can start because of the labor laws and mandatory notice periods.

        1. stk*

          Where I am (UK) I think you only get in legal trouble if you’ve signed a contract, which not everyone else. Contacts are definitely a lot more common than I understand them to be in the US though.

          1. Antilles*

            Contacts are definitely a lot more common than I understand them to be in the US though.
            Yeah, contracts for employees in the US basically don’t exist unless you’re a union worker. The law is basically “the employer/employee relationship can be stopped at any time with no notice whatsoever for almost any reason whatsoever” (outside of a few very specific exceptions, like racial discrimination).
            A few very rare, highly desirable senior people can use their clout/desirability to force the company into negotiating a true contract with specific payout periods, but these are the exceptions that prove the rule.

            1. Sal*

              Teachers often have a yearly contract. But the hiring norms are generally nutty in education (source: partner is a teacher).

          2. GingerHR*

            Slightly off OP’s topic, but pay cannot be withheld in the UK. If you have, as most salaried people do, a months’ notice period, then if you don’t work it you will only get paid until the day you finish, but a company cannot withhold money you’ve earned. However, UK holiday is on an annual basis, without the kind of accrual you can get in the US – so most companies will allow a 5-day carry-over, but generally you take in in the holiday year (usually financial or calendar). This does mean if you for instance leave half way through the year, you have 5 weeks annual leave and you’ve taken 3 at that point, your company can deduct the couple of days over the pro-rata entitlement – there must be an express contractual provision about deductions, which is pretty standard. It’s done this way because EU law requires a minimum of 20 days leave taken each year (hence the annual basis) and you don’t have to accrue it before taking it – so companies want to protect themselves against someone taking all their leave early in the year then leaving. Also, everyone working must by law have a statement of terms and conditions, which is usually termed a contract.

            1. stk*

              The ‘only being paid what you work, so if you leave early you probably won’t get paid’ bit was what I meant, but I have since realised that that was not what I said!

              And I thought it didn’t count as a contract if both parties didn’t sign it? There are plenty of people working, like, market stalls and stuff who don’t have anything like that. It is certainly possible they legally should though.

              1. GingerHR*

                In UK employment, a employment relationship is formed at offer & acceptance – the verbal offer is as binding as a written contract. If for instance, the company offers then withdraws, they technically owe you a weeks’ notice. Even if no contract is given (or if you get one and don’t sign it), by working you are accepting the implied terms. And statute enforces certain requirements: technically, on that market stall, if you’ve worked there for three years (and if you count as an employee – that’s another story), they can’t legally just say don’t come back tomorrow, they have to give you three weeks’ notice. Of course that probably wouldn’t happen in that instance, but it theoretically should.

            2. Jessesgirl72*

              In the US, I’ve had vacation assigned that way (at the beginning of the year, not accrued) and the language about owing it back- normally if I worked less than 6 months of the year- was also in my contract. In fact, my husband still has his vacation given in January, and could take all 4 weeks then. I don’t know if he has to pay it back or not, but I would guess so.

              It’s more of an old fashioned way of doing it, but it’s still fairly common.

              1. Pebbles*

                Yep, this is roughly how my workplace does it. My 5 weeks vacation (5 sick days are separate bucket) are deposited in my time sheet on January 1st. I could take all 5 weeks in January/February if I wanted to, but anything that would not have been accrued if I left in that year would have to be paid back. It’s so that we have the flexibility to use it whenever we want during the year, plus with a use-it-or-lose-it policy, there’s no way to have rollover into the next year.

      3. Observer*

        In the US, you cannot legally withhold a paycheck. Period. Even if the person knowingly walked off with equipment, or other firing offenses.

  7. 42*

    >>”…especially when they realize that they no longer have much authority over you since you’re on your way out.”<<

    Keep this first and foremost in your mind as you push back on this unfeasible and absurd request. YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY OUT. Waaaaaay out, over and out.

    Good luck OP!!

    1. AMG*

      “Say it like of course it will be okay to do this since any reasonable person would see that it is. Make sure your tone doesn’t sound overly deferential or like you’re asking for permission. You’re not asking for permission. You’re giving your boss the chance to give input on what you’ll prioritize, and that’s it.”
      ^^^ This, because:
      YOU are in control of this, not your employer. You have the authority and you are holding the cards. Be good to yourself.

  8. Alderaan*

    Just walk away. Really.

    They have no leverage. You’re leaving for very reasonable reasons. You’re not going to use a place that lets senior management stalk you as a reference. Upper management is abusive. They aren’t going to cash out your vast unused leave.

    It’s GFY time. Take care of yourself and your needs.

    1. Engineer Woman*

      Second this. It’s same as Alison’s advice: just say it in a matter-of-fact / mom-negotiable tone of voice.

      1. Property Manager*

        I hope “mom-negotiable” was not a typo … because I love it. Reminds me of my mother :)

  9. beetrootqueen*

    OP good luck in getting away from your stalker I hope it goes well. I was lucky in that mine moved away and forgot about me completely. I wish you luck and happiness

  10. Nervous Accountant*

    Dang 500 HOURS? I would have taken the next 29 days and come back on the last day. This is ridiculous and toxic.

  11. A*

    Seems a bit like dumping an abusive boyfriend, and having him demand that you clean his house before you leave. If you’re still stuck in the black hole of his BS, you might be tempted to do it. But if you’re outside of that soul-sucking void, it’s like, “Haha, GFY!”

    What would Future You say to their ridiculous demands?

  12. JanetInSC*

    Am I the only who thinks she should just take her vacation time and leave? If they whine, she can write a letter similar to the one she wrote here and threaten to contact the authorities about the stalker.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      She’s probably motivated here by wanting to maintain a decent reference. (Even though she doesn’t need it for the job she just got, she probably wants it for future job searches, especially since she probably won’t want them to talk to her then-current employer.) She also may be motivated by wanting to preserve a good reputation among coworkers who might be affected by her just walking off the job (even if they understand the reasons for it).

      That still may end up ultimately being the best course of action, but there are good reasons for not going straight there.

      1. I am the Original Poster*

        I thought about it. After all, what are they going to do? Fire me? :) But many of my clients have been with me for years and I can’t just cut them loose.

        1. The Strand*

          Have your clients be your reference. A place that mistreats you this badly cannot be counted on to give a glowing reference.

          1. TCO*

            That wouldn’t be appropriate in some kind of therapeutic/social-service setting (which it sounds like this is). Regardless, OP, I hope your team’s decision really highlights how terribly your organization has treated all of you. It’s commendable that you care about your clients, but that’s your organization’s responsibility, not yours, and they’ve abdicated that by being so abusive towards their staff.

            1. The Strand*

              Yes, agreed, if it’s that type of setting. On the other hand, if you’re consulting or contracting, especially if you work out of office, that type of client may genuinely know you and your work better than your employer of record. E.g. you’re a web developer working for an agency and work long term with a third party, at their site. (I was in that scenario: the agency I worked started doing shady stuff then went out of business. I used the client as a reference.) Or, you’re in a large organization and you have internal clients who can speak about your work, if not your direct supervisor.

              In a therapeutic/social service setting, others can speak to any ethical pitfalls, but perhaps a third party can vouch for you, for instance, a case worker from an organization that puts you together with your clients, does referrals, or works in conjunction with your team.

              OP, you should have some of your former team mates keep in touch as reference, as well as anyone who is remaining and can be trusted.

          2. OhNo*

            Using the clients as a reference might end up with the same problem, though. If OP leaves early, the hand-off of responsibilities might be rocky, and they might not be able to get a good reference from the client OR the organization.

            This is one of those situations where having a good work ethic bites you in the butt. Staying makes you feel bad because the environment is awful, but leaving also makes you feel bad because you’re abandoning your projects/clients.

        2. CM*

          I know someone who felt such a sense of responsibility to his clients that he got into a situation where he was suicidal and his marriage was on the brink of divorce. Like you, he felt that he was the only one who could help them and that he couldn’t trust others in his organization. And he may have been right, but you can’t save everybody. Reading your answers here, I just want to tell you to take care of yourself and remember that you’ll have to recalibrate your sense of normal after you leave this place.

      2. AMG*

        And really, it’s the right thing to do for the sake of doing the right thing. Even if they aren’t fair to you. OP, you sound like a caring person with a lot of professional integrity.

    2. A*

      That sounds a bit like, “Let me do what I want, or I’ll tell the cops what happened.” In other words: blackmail.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Good! I was going to come back and say that if they didn’t, they should, based on what you’ve shared. I’m glad they do – keeping yourself safe is important.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        No, this isn’t how blackmail works.

        If the company did something illegal, and if OP threatens to notify police that she’s being stalked by a board member, her decision to make the report is not blackmail—it’s exercising her legal right to complain of harassing criminal conduct.

      2. aebhel*

        That’s… really not blackmail. “Stop making my life miserable or I’ll stop covering for you” is more like it.

        1. A*

          But that’s not how the previous poster phrased it: “… She should just take her vacation time and leave? If they whine, she can … threaten to contact the authorities about the stalker.”

          Vacation time = getting money for not working. If they whine (i.e., don’t agree to hand over the money), then she’d threaten to report the crime. “Pay me or I’ll tell on you” is blackmail.

          I think she should get her vacation pay AND the cops should know about the stalking. One shouldn’t be contingent on the other.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Eh, blackmail implies you’re receiving unlawful payments or benefits for something you didn’t earn or deserve by holding bad (but substantially true) information over someone’s head or threatening to have them criminally prosecuted. In this case, OP is fully entitled to her vacation leave, regardless, just as she’s entitled to report the stalker-board-member at any time. So just as a technical matter, this isn’t blackmail or extortion.

            But I agree with you that Janet’s framing is a little more transactional/cut-throat, and I understand why that might make someone feel icky.

          2. Mookie*

            Vacation time = getting money for not working.

            No. Paid vacation time is earned by working and was negotiated as compensation for doing so.

            If they whine (i.e., don’t agree to hand over the money), then she’d threaten to report the crime. “Pay me or I’ll tell on you” is blackmail.

            They’d be committing their own crime if they withheld what they owed her. And reporting the other crime is not illegal (whereas blackmail is).

          3. sstabeler*

            I mentioned this further up, but vacation time is NOT getting paid for not working. You agree to work a certain number of days per year- which in the US often works out as 21 out of every 30 days. the unclaimed vacation represents- in the OP’s case- something like 62 days when she was working over-and-above what her job actually required. Paying out vacation time when you leave is recognition that you effectively worked that many extra days.

  13. A.Nonymou.S.*

    “I have over 500 hours of accrued leave that I don’t get to cash out “…

    I feel like your nights and weekends are suddenly free for the remainder of your time there. And maybe most weekdays, too.

  14. Jeanne*

    You are not their slave. After years of this treatment, you are used to having to obey them. Just say no. “They view this as my problem.” Nope. It’s their problem. Be honest that you cannot get it done. Then don’t do it. It doesn’t matter if they keep thinking you are doing the writing project. You have been honest and explicit and you should have no guilt. Take care of yourself. If they continue with the guilt and pushing you to get it done, ask them if they would like you to move up your end date since this isn’t working out. But just keep up with No. be polite but firm and say No.

    What a horrible situation. I am glad you have a new job and place to live.

    1. Pebbles*

      OP, is your manager’s name Dave by any chance?
      “I’m sorry Dave I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

      1. I am the Original Poster*

        This would be EPIC. I will need to work this in sometime before I leave. We do have a number of Dave’s on staff…..

  15. Ashley*

    What are they going to do – fire you?

    Do you – I would consider moving up my notice. They are being totaly jerks, you don’t have to give them any more of your soul.

  16. Natalie*

    “‘It’s not something I can do right now because I’m getting ready to move. Again, I gave you extra notice because I wanted to be helpful, but I need to be realistic about what I can take on during my remaining time.'”

    One comment on this: to some people, reasons = reasons to argue. If you have any inkling that your soon-to-be-ex employer is like that, don’t say you can’t because you’re moving or whatever. Just leave it at “It’s not something I can do right now. I gave you extra notice…” It might feel weird, especially if you’re accustomed to the idea of giving an explanation or you really want to them to accept your reasoning as valid. But you don’t actually need to do that – you can just say no (politely) without telling them why.

    1. M-C*

      I would really second that, having seen both styles of refusal in action. The less you say about your motives for doing things, the less they can try to twist them around. It took me years of practice before I truly learned it, but it’s made a world of difference.

      Repeat to yourself “no is a complete sentence” before you talk to them.

  17. Cynical Lackey*

    Remember the words of the great 20th Century American Philosopher Janis Joplin. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”. Enjoy your last couple of weeks there and do whatever work you can in those last few weeks.

    1. Cynical Lackey*

      Also, get a post office box in your new city right away. use the new box for ALL address changes,including your mail forward, your HR office, all utilities, all magazines and everyone else that does not need to know your new home address. Once that address becomes part of your permanent history, it is much easier for the stalker to find you. You are required to provide a physical address when you apply for a PO Box, but if you get one BEFORE the move you can provide your old address (which I presume the stalker already knows anyway)

        1. De Minimis*

          If possible, maybe get a PO box in a nearby town instead of the town where you live. I’ve had a variety of PO Boxes and sometimes they try to be a stickler about having a physical address in the same town, but sometimes they don’t care [nor should they, but people don’t always understand the rules.] When they do raise a fuss, I always say that I work in the area and it’s more convenient for me to have a PO box there.

          I’ve found it makes it harder to figure out your location from an online search engine if you have PO boxes located in a lot of different places.

  18. I'm Not Phyllis*

    Noooo. No. No. No. Your notice period is generally spent cleaning up your current work life (any projects, files, office space, that type of thing) and not for dropping major projects on you that would eat up all your spare time. Work the time they pay you for (40 hours a week or whatever that is – for me it’s 35!) and do a good job while you’re working those hours, but absolutely don’t work overtime during your notice period. They already owe you 500(!) hours of time that you’re never going to get back. I recognize that it’s not all about the money, being a non-profit, but that doesn’t mean they get to do this to you either.

    OP it sounds like they’ve been taking advantage of you for way too long. Say no (or use Alison’s much more professional phrasing) and stick to it. If the situation becomes unbearable, tell them that you’ll have to move up your last day. They have no leverage here.

    Also … I know this isn’t in your control but … I hope it’s an EX-board member? How scary!

  19. Ask a Manager* Post author

    The OP sent me an update that she gave me permission to post here:

    “Just so you know (because I’ve seen you’re very dedicated comments section) we’re actually down to 2.5 weeks before I go, and without me there to shield them from upper management, every other person in my little office has decided that they are giving their two weeks. All of us will now be leaving on the same day.

    I didn’t realize they were only staying because of me until yesterday. I’m the youngest manager in the agency by about 20 years and I made my share of mistakes when I first started.

    Apparently I did enough right to keep some amazing people on staff for the last several years. If I could take them with me to my new job I would!”

    1. I'm Not Phyllis*

      Wow. Sounds like my former employer … they’ve had entire office turn over (more than once, in some cases!) since I left less than two years ago. (And yet still no intervention from the board …).

      Sounds like you’re making the right decision. Good luck in your last few weeks!

    2. Kyrielle*

      *sporfle* Well, that will make the “move to a smaller office” task infinitely easier as soon as it’s known, right?

      May not make the OP’s reference with these guys any better, they will probably blame you, OP. Not your fault, and not something you should own, but just be aware this is probably a reference you will have to craft a message around, the next time you are looking for a job.

    3. Kalamet*

      I love this update. And OP I really hope you don’t feel too badly for the clients. It’s unfortunate that they might get shafted in your absence, but that is 100% not your fault. Blame your jerk employer – if they’d treated their people better, they wouldn’t be losing an entire team.

    4. Cassandra*

      Hubris, nemesis. Looks like this workplace is getting what it richly deserved.

      OP, I’m worried for you because of the stalker situation. I hope that can be resolved swiftly and decisively. Do whatever you can to protect yourself; don’t consider the impact on your soon-to-be-former workplace.

    5. The Strand*

      OP, this speaks well of your integrity! That kind of loyalty is earned by very few managers. Keep in touch with that team.

      Please take good care, but also enjoy your new position and a major shift to a more positive work environment!

      1. Mookie*

        Alison, can we get a round-up of these at the end of year? Possibly vote on them? It’s heartening to revisit them months later.

    6. LawCat*


      I’m hoping for an update on the update in a couple weeks based on the entire office’s last day. Dang.

    7. paul*

      I’ve seen similar things happen to local non-profits here in town 3-4 times over the years. In 2 cases they went out of business within the year, and good riddance. Another one righted itself pretty admirably–from what I heard the board basically voted to remove a couple of problematic board members and the CEO and that helped. It made for a rough year or so for them though.

      The 4th case I’m not as sure if that’s what happened or if there was more going on.

      But sometimes something like this needs to happen for a board to pull its head out, so I hope it works!

    8. Observer*


      That should tell you something about who is being “reasonable” or “unreasonable” here.

      How did your bosses handle this?

    9. Cazkiwi*

      Well, there you go… Surely that makes it easier for you to say NO now!

      I’m willing to bet none of the others quitting with you will be doing any extra overtime or work, so you’re not going to look any worse in the boss’ eyes for not doing it yourself … Well, other than how he feels with you taking the whole staff out the door with you, hehe

      I think when they started pushing back with you on your workload and hours is when you lost a good reference…,I don’t think even if you worked all your notice and overtime out and did the world’s best, most perfect job ever….that you’d be getting a favourable one from these people anyways. Disassociate, finish your notice out… and then walk out with your head high and with a clear conscience

    10. phil*

      I once had a creative job where my boss would accept the work, turn it over to me, and then present the finished work as his own. They all eventually cottoned to the ruse and when I left I took them all but one with me.
      And later I got him too.

    11. Old Admin*


      *Mic drop*
      Wow. I am in awe. And very happy that OP is getting out early, and the TPTB are losing *everybody*.

      OP, see this as a true affirmation that great wrong has been done to you!
      Get that P.O. box, get out, stay safe, and move on with my very best wishes!

  20. Antilles*

    I’m really working to close out as many projects as possible so that I’ll only have to transfer six cases when I leave (I typically have 75 – 100 active cases at a time), and have to move us into a smaller office. This involves finding movers, cleaning out the current office, and donating the furniture we can’t take to our new/smaller space
    I’d just like to mention that this is a really odd task for an employee who’s leaving to be in charge of. Okay, fine, this is typically an office manager’s role and maybe she’d already started the process, but this just seems like a recipe for disaster. What if OP’s start date changes and she needs to bail out before the move is finished? What if the new place isn’t quite ready on time so there’s a delay in the move? What if a critical box of paperwork/equipment gets lost in transit? What happens when the movers submit their bill two weeks after OP leaves and nobody else actually knows what work was performed?

    1. I am the Original Poster*

      I didn’t actually think of that. I just laughed because of course they want me to supervise the move. I’ll make sure it’s done right! They make fun of millennials right up until it’s time to make sure the internet and phones are working after a move….

      1. Observer*


        Not your circus, not your monkeys. You do the best you can then “leave the office behind”.

  21. CAinUK*

    This sounds like a bridge that is on fire.

    I’d be much more straight forward with your manager. In a polite but stern tone:

    “I gave 30 days notice as a courtesy. I am transitioning my projects including this office move, not completing them or doing new work. If I do not complete this writing project, will it jeopardize your reference?”

    If manager says yes: “Oh, well since it isn’t feasible without sacrificing more nights and weekends on top of the 500 hours overtime I’ve accrued, it makes sense for me to leave today.”

    If manager says no: “Great, then I’ll proceed to transition these 6 cases as planned, and let me know who I should give the writing component to so that person can meet your deadline.”

    Either way, if this non-profit mishandled their Board member stalking you in any way, file a complaint with your state labor board. And if that Board member is still employed, file a police report.

    And Glassdoor is your friend here – especially if you doubt they will give anything less than a glowing reference.

    1. Lemon Zinger*

      Great advice, I love this. Especially important for OP to leave detailed Glassdoor reviews!

      1. Jaguar* is a website that lets employees leave reviews of the companies they work for. Yelp for employers.

      2. Jessesgirl72*

        Besides reviews, you also can give your position/experience/salary to help people ballpark what the market rate is for their area.

    2. M-C*

      No, no! Don’t even mention a reference! You don’t want to remind them of the only possible card in their hand..

  22. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

    This reminds of my last day at my previous job. I worked so hard to get everything wrapped up. I handed my completely incompetant manager a list of my open projects (all minor stuff) around midday, as I planned to spend the rest of the day clearing out my files/desk space. She wanted to talk over the list, and every point she kept asking me to do the next step and every point I responded with “well since this is my last day, that does not make any sense”. Middway through the list manager looks at me and goes “so what of this are you planning to do?”. I could barely keep a straight face when I said “None of it.”

    1. she was a fast machine*

      Argg, sounds like my last job too! My manager just seemed to have no comprehension that I was leaving, as in gone, as in everything I’d been doing would no longer be done. He half-heartedly had me put together a list of pending things, stuff I was working on, procedures for things I did, etc., but then refused to talk to me leading up to me leaving, acted like nothing was up, and now I’ve discovered, four months on, that the department is basically on fire and nobody is happy because none of my work is being done (or if it is, incorrectly).

    2. designbot*

      Yep, at one job they kept me so busy that on the last day I was late to my own going away party because I had to get a presentation out. I showed up unprepared to my exit interview and got berated by my boss because he had shown me the COURTESY to prepare for our meeting!
      Saying yes to these fools will literally get you nothing. It will not make your remaining time there easier, because they will keep making you feel like you’re not doing enough no matter how much you take on. Refuse to engage.

    3. esra (also a Canadian)*

      I worked for two incompetent managers who decided they didn’t need half the staff at our small nonprofit (spoiler: they totes did). Immediately after they laid us off, the second-in-command came over to us and asked us what we were working on.

      So I told him: Everything.

      And he kind of blinks and looks at my coworker like I’m joking and she says, “No, we actually were working on everything. The website, social media, program branding, design and execution, copywriting, editing, all creative, everything. Just the two of us.”

      1. CM*

        So, first they lay you off, and THEN they ask you what you actually do? Interesting management technique.

      2. Candi*

        And some people think I’m nuts when I insists that certain levels of technology development need certain population numbers.

        Nothing gets around needing a certain number of hands on deck and butts in seats -in the office or working from home.

  23. not quite a nonnie*

    This hits home to me, OP, because I’ve been there. I was the admin for a department in a nonprofit, but our actual manager was supremely incompetent so I essentially ran the department and he…sent some emails to other people sometimes. I had made it known at the start of the summer I was looking for other work because I could no longer subsist on the waaaaaaay below market rate they were paying due to personal changes in my life. They were encouraging, but did nothing to fill my parallel position that had been vacant since the previous December. When the time came and I turned in my two weeks, it was like all hell broke loose. The list of things I was expected to complete was monumental. Instead of wrapping up my actual duties and writing up procedures for whomever they hired to replace me when they finally got around to it, I was stuck with setting everything up to keep the dept. running as long as possible without my boss because he was, again, useless. I ended up spending my second to last week working on revising the LOP(why was an admin revising an LOP you may ask? yeaaaahhh….). That place was a dumpster fire, and now whenever I see my former co-workers, and even our ED, they wax poetically about how much they wish they still had me, but I feel zero guilt. They shot themselves in the foot.

    Oh, and we had our own weird (married) board member who liked to hit on the admins, and a guy who worked with children resign rather than face accusations of sexual harassment to some of our younger female staff, and they LET HIM.

    I’m glad to see you have a great following because you seem like a great person, but take it from someone else who’s been there; you cannot get out of there fast enough.

    1. I am the Original Poster*

      I get a feeling you may have once worked for this place. Seriously. Incompetent managers propped up by amazing admin staff? Check. Sexual harassment/hostile work environment/weird racial undercurrents/bizarre expectations for LGBTQ employees? Check. Chaos when the good people resign? Check. No ability to plan transitions? Check.

      1. Clinical Social Worker*

        I would say the same but you’d be surprised how often the same tactics get used in toxic work places. They all sort of blend together. Alison suggests we not say things like “oh man I bet you worked for the same place” or “is this place in Oz? Near the brick road?” because it can make people a wee bit paranoid. I think it’s moreso that unfortunately there are a LOT of abusive toxic places, especially in the nonprofit social services world, that work to create martyr complexes and weird codependent relationships to trap people in work situations like this. And just like so many kids from abusive homes, “oh man, my mom did that too” the patterns resurface all over the place.

        1. The Strand*

          Yes, I know three people who worked in toxic nonprofit environments in California, Colorado, and North Carolina. Completely unrelated places, fields, clients/audience – but the same creepy stuff, sociopathic leaders, superhero admins, an expectation that people would work their fingers to the bone for low pay, etc., etc.

      2. not quite a nonnie*

        Honestly, re-reading the letter felt like it!! We even had satellite offices and managers who were rightfully adored by their staff because they tried their best. Everything you mentioned, with a big old dollop of “hey, it’s not weird if we have huge prayer circles that everyone has to stand in and btw we’ll buy you a cross if a loved one dies” religious weirdness too.

        Sadly, my non profit was a contracted GOVERNMENT AGENCY and all this still happened. They knew the laws really well, and were excellent about skating them.

  24. Emmie*

    Many US states have address confidentiality programs for crime victims. These programs offer even more protection than a PO Box. A PO Box cannot be used for voting registration (and that’s searchable.) PO Boxes usually cannot be used for banking, utility bills, cable, etc… But, the address confidentiality programs for crime victims can. Every state has slightly different requirements and protections.

    You will find these programs by Google’ing “National Center for Victims of Crime” and “Address Confidentiality Programs.” The website also has the hyperlinks. I would check the website before you go because in some cases having that police report you mentioned earlier is helpful support. I’ll add the hyperlink to the comments, but it may get stuck in moderation.

    Good luck, OP!

      1. BM2*

        Also, UPS offers a similar service to the post office, in which they will provide you with a mailbox. But the difference is the UPS location’s street address is the street address your mail will go to.

  25. Workfromhome*

    Email to boss:
    Dear boss I wanted to update you on my departure plans. Please pick the option that works best for you
    A: Move the X files away from me as listed below. Reassign the writing assignment. I will close as many of the remaining files as possible in a 40 hour per week work week before my departure.
    Option B: X (being one day after the email) will be my last day.

    You are leaving. They are offering no incentive (vacation pay etc) for you do anything other than what you want to do. They can either allow you to set your own (reasonable) departure plan or they can take care of things with you gone.

  26. De Minimis*

    I’ve seen this type of behavior in the nonprofit sector, which explains why burnout is so common.

    We ask for a month’s notice, but we try to have people use up any remaining vacation time during that month [it is way easier to not have to do a vacation payout in addition to a last month’s salary.]

    I’m pretty worn out by my time in the sector, and am looking forward to when I can leave [and spending those final vacation weeks!]

  27. Willow*

    Love Alison’s answer. What are they going to do if you refuse to do that extra work – fire you?

  28. Lady Phoenix*

    I wonder if the manager is trying to push the OP into quitting early.

    I just finished a NotAlwayWorking story where a manager tried to force the OP into working a long shift despite the OP saying before the scheduling, “I have a big big project so I can’t.” And yup, manager schedules OP to try to work that day by changing the schedule at the last minute. OP gives manager a 1 week notice. The commenters stated that that incident would make them quit.

    Then another commenter mentioned an incident where they turned into their notice because of a health condition. Doc says the commenter could only work for 4 hours. Manager in that story tries to force a 10 hour shift on the commenter. Commenter deicded to hand in their notice where they would be gone BEFORE the 10 hour shift.

    Are managers really that heart/idiotic, or is this their way of forcing people out earliar?

  29. Merida May*

    Just wanted to commend the OP for being a true professional even in the face of all this absolute crap that has been slung at her. 500 accrued hours that you have to just give up? You gave a month’s notice and they’re saddling you with a workload that requires night and weekend hours? A (current?!) board member stalking you?! I’m not one to ever advise burning a bridge, but this would seriously tempt me to light ’em up.

    Definitely seconding the advice for you to double down on what is and isn’t workable for you. Though I imagine upper management would like you to believe otherwise, you have a lot of power here. I’d like to say they should have planned better, and that an employee’s notice period is really supposed to help the company make as smooth of a transition as possible… who am I kidding? That only happens at the good places. As so many of the stories in the comments above illustrate, businesses with crummy management seem to use that time to get as much work out of the leaving party as possible, and ultimately brace for impact once they’re gone.

    OP, I think this is a good time for you to start disassociating from your work. That’s always something that I’ve struggled with, I really want to do a good job right up until the end and try to make that smooth transition happen even if I’m not getting the guidance I need to do it. At my last job I wrote a binder’s worth of training on everything I did, and when I tried to reach out to my bosses to see what else might need covering I was met with ‘Ohhh, I can’t even think about you leaving!!’ right up until the afternoon of my last day. I felt guilty walking out of there, and I wished I’d stopped associating carrying out those tasks in full as my work that wasn’t going to get done because I was leaving. Mentally transitioning, especially out of a toxic place, is important, and you can start that right now if you haven’t already!

  30. Observer*

    I’m going to agree with most of the posters (and disagree with a few.)

    I think you are right to work the 30 day notice, and you shouldn’t threaten to walk even one day before that, unless Stalker shows up, which is a whole different kettle of fish. Nevertheless, just let the boss know that you are NOT doing this other file because there is not enough time to do that AND the handover of the clients that needs to be done. As everyone says, the only thing they can do is fire you – and you’ve got one foot out the door anyway.

    Take your time to decompress. Also please try to find some way to come to terms with the fact that this workplace waaay out of the reasonable spectrum. The fact that you even asked “am I being unreasonable” about pushing back on glaringly unreasonable behavior says that you may have a bit of a skewed perspective. Being up to your neck in dysfunction can do that to you.

    Lots of luck!

  31. MommyMD*

    That’s horrible and abusive. Unless you are under contractual obligation I would give immediate 14 day notice. You are being punished for quitting.

  32. TheBeetsMotel*

    If ever you had pretty much all the power, now is it. You’re already leaving; there’s no punishment to be had from them by refusing to do unreasonable work. Do what is reasonable for normal working hours and no more. They’ll get by.

  33. Elsa*

    BIG QUESTION: Since stalking is probably most often gender related (men stalking women) and OP seems to have made her employer well aware of this situation (I presumed OP is female; sorry if I misread!), yet they’ve apparently done nothing to stop this or protect her in any way, much less remove the stalker from their board… doesn’t that constitute a legal harassment situation? She even let them know this was a reason why she had to seek and finally accept another job and to move! Or does the stalker, being a board member, rather than staffer, give them (or the org) immunity?

    1. Observer*

      I don’t know if this would be a legal harassment situation. But the fact that it’s a board member does NOT give them immunity – on the contrary, it’s someone at the highest level, who is theoretically acting for the organization.

      Also, there is a liability issue. There is no doubt that if the board member did something “sue worthy”, the OP could sue both the director personally as well as the organization.

  34. Rick Tq*

    OP, regarding being “stalked by a board member”. Have you gone to your current District Attorney to get a Restraining Order against the creep? That should go a long way towards convincing them you are serious. You should also be able to take it to your new Police department to put them on notice….

    Second, and this is said with complete sincerity: get a gun and learn to shoot. A paper restraining order doesn’t get the police there any faster if your stalker shows up at your new home…

    You might want to review comments by the Lawdog ( for a LEOs opinion and experiences…..

    1. Candi*

      Not everyone is comfortable with firearms, even if they can legally own one and get the necessary training. Even if they’re comfortable with the gun, shooting someone is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. (Army kid here.) And you should never draw unless you intend to shoot the minute it’s necessary.

      I would, however, advise getting the nastiest, strongest pepper spray it is legal to have in your jurisdiction.

      Original Poster mentioned elsewhere they have pets. Get the biggest dog water bowl you can find and stick it on the porch or patio of your new home, somewhere visible. And even if you have no security system in your new place, put stickers saying you have one up anyway. Perception from a distance is more important then fact.

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