since I gave notice, my boss has tripled my workload

A reader writes:

A few months ago, I gave notice at my current position. The decision was necessary due to severe burnout issues (to the point where I have been having anxiety attacks) and a terrible boss who, despite repeated conversations about my burnout levels, only continued to increase my workload and micromanage my every move.

My end date is approaching in one month. This is not a job where a transition of workflow could happen with two weeks notice, as there is no one internally to take on any of my work.

Ever since I gave notice, demand on me has tripled. I am being asked to complete projects that normally would not be addressed till after I depart. I want to do my best to make this a smooth transition and leave things in good shape, but I just can’t accomplish everything I’m being asked to. When I say that, I’m ignored. My overall job performance is suffering as the burnout increases. It feels like a never-ending cycle. How do I survive the last few weeks?

Also, what advice do you have for interviewing for jobs with this level of burnout? I try to hide it as best I can, but this level of stress has had physical manifestation — “worn down” has come up more than once about my appearance. I worry that when I have been interviewing, I am not effectively hiding the burnout, which surely isn’t attractive to hiring managers.

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

{ 100 comments… read them below }

  1. Rainy*

    The answer to this letter is fantastic. I once left an extremely stressful job (Office Manager for Teapots Painted By Assholes, Inc) to go back and finish my degree, and I ended up taking three weeks off between my ending date and the beginning of term just to try and rest and recuperate. It worked! I got plenty of sleep, played with my pets, and vegged in front of the tv for three weeks, and by the time classes began and I needed to be able to concentrate and learn, I was ready, and also the facial tics I’d developed from the stress of working with assholes had gone away.

      1. A tester, not a developer*

        All the designs are some variation on wrinkled polka dots… :P

      2. it's-a-me*

        I can’t help reading it to the ‘Doofenschmirtz Evil Incorporated!’ tune but it doesn’t quite work.

        Maybe just ‘Teapots by Assholes Incorporated!’

    1. RUKiddingMe*

      IN OP’s situation I’d be hard pressed to not say something like, “you know what…you’ve always been unreasonable and asked way more than too much, now you’re all of that plus an asshole….bye” ::walk out:: Of course I’m kind of self-sabotaging like that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. Cathy Gale*

        If they are really mistreating you, there’s no reason to believe they will give you an accurate reference. If you have someone else you can count on to give a proper reference, then walk.

    2. Life is Good*

      Haha. I can just see one of the facial tics being pursed lips in the form of an asshole!

      1. Rainy*

        5 of them had to do with my eyebrows, and I had 3 more separate lip/nasolabial fold twitches.

        It was bad, guys. It was real bad.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      ROTFLMAO — I think you just renamed what I have been calling “That Damned Startup Company” .
      (Short version: I got caught in the cross-fire between a CEO & his 2nd in command… I was let go right alongside the VP who hired me. I didn’t want to dip into savings so I took a series of short temp agency jobs where I could be DONE-done at the end of the day and clear my mind.)

      1. Rainy*

        Ugh, I’m so sorry that happened–I didn’t realize that Teapots Painted by Assholes was selling franchises. D:

  2. Ali G*

    I jut want to second the advice on taking some time off from job hunting if you can. When I left Old Toxic Job there was just no way I could have pulled it together to interview successfully. Unless there is a job just too good to pass up, just give yourself a chance to catch your breath when this is all over.

    1. hbc*

      I applied for exactly one job in the three months that I was sure I was leaving my last one. I just don’t have what it takes to work and job search simultaneously. Either I’m trying to rescue the situation even knowing there are better opportunities out there, or my will to live is being drained and putting together a cover letter seems like a massive undertaking.

      I know not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to take that break, but if you can, it’s amazing.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        When I left TeapotsPaintedByAssholes (formerly known as That Damn Startup Company) I didn’t want to dip into savings for a vacation. So I went to a temp agency and requested a few weeks of short-term simple typing&transcription assignments. For me a well-defined process job can be simple, straightforward, and almost meditative. I moved pile A to pile B for 8 hours a day while listening to instrumental music, and walked out the door refreshed. A few weeks of that paid rent until I was ready to look for something long-term again.

        1. Michaela Westen*

          That’s how I ended up working with data. I liked that I could focus on it and forget my troubles. :)

        2. Cercis*

          I often say that I’d be very happy with a data entry job provided it was no more than about 4 hours/day and paid $15/hour. It’s so meditative to enter data.

  3. animaniactoo*

    This is really funny, because I followed a bunch of “you might be interested in…” links earlier today, came back to read one of them not 5 minutes ago, and it was the update to this post.

    Short summary: OP stood up for herself, said “nope, I can’t do that”, boss said “fine, we’ll reduce you to half-pay for your remaining time here”, OP said “Okay, I’ll reduce my hours by half to match my new salary”. That plan went forth and she ended up with a great job offer on her last day there.

    1. irene adler*

      Thank you for posting this!
      It’s better than any fairy tale- because its’ true!
      *** OP scores a great job, leaving Toxic Job in the dust. ***
      Makes my day!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        A great embodiment of the advice that sometimes your boss sucks and isn’t going to change, and the answer is to take yourself elsewhere. That’s the part of the equation you can affect.

      2. Perpal*

        I love that update. I was so happy to see LW stood up to the salary cut by cutting the work just as much. Fantastic boundaries, and it all worked out! I sort of wish allison had kept them both paired together in the revisit!

    2. Artemesia*

      LOL. Terrific. I keep forgetting these are dead letters and thus resolution has occurred and specific advice is not needed (just general advice for us all)

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        I forget they’re dead letters too, but I like them being repeated. It allows people who might be new readers to take in all of our wisdom…ok mostly everyone that’s not me…and maybe be able to address something in their own job/work/life that’s happening right now. I especially like the ones where Alison says (paraphrased of course) “you don’t have to put up with that shit.”

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Oh right, I knew I remembered this one!

      I’m still bristling at the “Fine we cut your salary then”, I wouldn’t have even stayed around part time. I would have trolololol’ed to my car.

      1. animaniactoo*

        I had a slight – just a wee tad you understand – bit of schadenfreude over that. Because I suspect that was the moment he realized he was caught in a no-win position. He could neither back down and “lose face” NOR keep trying to go down the punitive path because he recognized he was up against somebody who was prepared to counter and escalate anything he tried to do into a worse position for him.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          True true. I am glad he got stood up to, that’s for sure! I’m just sour because I know that the OP held even more power to dump over the bosses head.

          Granted it was smart to keep something on her pocket in the end. Had he pushed back after the part time card, I’m certain that’s when the “Well I tried, byeeee.” would be pulled.

          I’m a hothead and just dump and run when I’m over it.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            I’m not a hothead. In fact I’m pretty “chill” (some would say cold … potato/potatoh) but likewise when I’m done, I’m done. No regrets, no doubts, no getting back together, no listening to sad songs… Oh wait. Work right? Same thing. No looking back. I just don’t have whatever gene it is that makes me regret stuff.

      2. Antilles*

        That’d be my reaction too.
        I honestly wonder what would have happened if OP had responded to the ‘cut salary’ with a polite-but-professional refusal. He’d either have flipped out about it OR backpedaled hard.

  4. Artemesia*

    The big mistake was giving months notice. You should have given two weeks notice and let your boss figure out what to do next. Even if you are in a country where months of notice is the norm, you should not let the boss bully you into long hours. If he has a cow when you push back about priorities, ask him if he would prefer you leave today — or in two weeks and give two weeks notice now.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah, I find ONE month is the most time I’d give, if I was leaving on good terms. Anything more, and they act like you’re not actually going… or dump tons of crap on you and try to say you didn’t finish it.
      I realize that in some countries 3 months is required to get out of a contract though.

      1. Free Now (and forever)*

        I gave a year’s notice in my last job (forever), which was at a non-profit. I had injured myself and needed to leave, but my husband asked me to stay until he achieved a certain goal in his job. My boss, who was the best boss I ever had, was appreciative of the notice for planning purposes, as several people in the organization were nearing retirement age. I oversaw a major change in the portion of the organization that I ran, and they gave me a lovely retirement luncheon, that my husband and several of my volunteers attended. They also named a fund after me.

      2. TardyTardis*

        I gave about three quarters’ of a year notice, and given that my husband continued to have medical emergencies during that time, my taking early retirement turned out to be a very good idea–but I needed to make the end of the year to get the maximum out of my 401(k) and the least amount of wait for it to be paid (long weird story).

  5. Uncle Bob*

    It takes a mental leap for people who always consider themselves reliable and “can-doers” to say no, but its so so liberating once you do. We can all feel like we are: letting the company down, are failures, or worse, that the company will collapse without us. All of those are false, but are sometimes not easy to move past. With micromanager bosses like this the best strategy may be a hybrid of what Alison said – ask the manager “which tasks would you like to me to drop”, along with changing your date to 2 weeks.

  6. Bunny Girl*

    I had a manager do this. I gave her a little over two weeks notice so that I was in-line with our pay system so it would make my last paycheck easier to deal with. One of the reasons I was quitting was because our department was understaffed and I was doing my job, the empty positions job, and my manager’s job because she was extremely lazy. When I gave notice, she told me I had to finish up a project that we were supposed to work on this summer. So somehow squeeze three months of work into two weeks along with all the other work I did. She was extremely aggressive when I told her that I could do X and Y but couldn’t get all of what she was asking done. Luckily I was in close contact with HR and my manager’s boss about her behavior. I got as much done as I could and then at like 4:55 on my last day I emailed her with what I’d gotten done and left. She was so awful. I just couldn’t believe it. She also had a huge amount of turnover in that position. Weird most people don’t like doing three people’s jobs.

    1. RUKiddingMe*

      Did she contact you later to complain about you not finishing the summer project or anything? I need a good “hey fuck off I don’t work for you” ending.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        I don’t have one of those! She’s never contacted me. I was really candid with both HR and our department director when I quit and I know they had a little sit down with her after I left. Some of the things she did while I worked there fell into maybe getting sued territory and so I think she probably realized that it wouldn’t end well if she harassed me. I still work for the same company in a different department, and I’ve had a couple people contact me to ask me questions, but never her. I did feel bad for our clients though. Part of my role was to help people through the process of getting a certain benefit and I was doing 100% of it and she knew almost nothing about it, so I’m sure that process is suffering a lot or getting done incorrectly. Not my circus, not my monkeys but it does make me mad that they’ve continued to keep this person. Apparently I haven’t been the first person to complain about her and none of her assistants last more than about a year.

  7. Kaden Lee*

    what timing! I’m in my last week in my current position and this morning my boss found out about an opportunity we’d normally jump at, but unfortunately we found out about it today and proposals are due tomorrow. He still wanted to proceed with a proposal, which would’ve been about 8-10 hours of work nearly entirely on my part alone and would’ve required me to either stay late or work from home tonight. Thank goodness once I spelled out exactly everything required for this proposal, he backed off.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Ha! I’m in the proposal world as well and it’s my last week with my current company too (twinsies!). I came in today to five frantic emails about a post-proposal interview where the customer wants us to write two more proposals, print 10 copies each, and conduct a 60 minute presentation for the evaluation committee – interviews are next week. Luckily, my manager didn’t try to make me do all of the prep work myself – I have a whole PM team helping me (and I’m literally copying and pasting sections of the already submitted proposal into the new interview proposals because nobody has time to write two whole new proposals – bye!).

      I cannot wait until Friday when none of this will be my problem anymore, lol.

      1. Kaden Lee*

        good luck with your new gig!

        Unfortunately for me I’m one of 5 total employees so…. I know it’s pretty crappy on everybody to be losing 20% of the work force but also, no, I’m NOT going to do that when you keep dodging my requests for a transition meeting.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          I don’t blame you. And good luck on your new gig as well. Remember – after Friday, this is no longer your concern.

  8. singularity*

    OP, don’t damage your own health for the sake of this terrible boss. Your workload has tripled? Convenient that your boss suddenly needs all of this work done now that you’re leaving. You can use this to help you on your job search –what you DON’T want in a company and in a manager.

  9. Linzava*

    OP, this is one of the ways bad managers manage to avoid responsibility. They worked you so hard, you broke, now, they’re working you harder so they don’t have to rush to rehire. Also, your hard work is making your manager, the cause of your health issues, look good to their managers. You are basically baking a big thank you cake to the person who’s been grinding your face into the dirt with their shoes. Just sit back, do the basics of your job, and let your manager face the fruits of their labor.

  10. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    The best way to interview after such extreme burnout is to remind yourself that this is a new adventure, this is all wonderful and you’re not just free from Those Dingleberry Jerkwads but you’re putting them in the dust even further by moving on to the next position.

    I didn’t have any problem hiding my burnout while interviewing because I took a big bite out of the side of the mushroom that made me grow taller and put on that happy face of “free at last, free at last!”. Distancing yourself and thinking about the future, now that it’s so bright and cheerful without the miserable jerks you’re leaving behind does wonders.

    After I gave notice, I stopped working after office hours. I deleted the work email from my phone and it was so beautiful. I just got done what I could in 8 hours a day. You cannot let them hold you an emotional hostage at this stage. A resignation letter in this situation should be like chains being cut off, laugh inside at the extra work being piled around you and know that you’re not responsible for it.

    I absolutely agree with the advice that if they want to be hostile or aggressive with you during the end stage, you just gather your stuff up and leave early. They have no power over you, you’ve already quit.

    1. Gail Davidson-Durst*

      “They have no power over you, you’ve already quit.”

      Couldn’t say it better, and I love this whole post!

  11. Earthwalker*

    It’s astonishing how many employers think they own their employees 24×7, and how many employees think they do too! How do we buy into that so often?

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Power dynamics and deeply ingrained fear brought on by lack of control in situations.

      The employer has all the carrots [aka money] and they like to play the “You’re replaceable” card vigorously. People get stuck in a cycle of abuse because they have fear of being jobless and left out in the cold.

      It’s the same system of why people stay in abusive relationships or keep dealing with their abusive parents long after they’re out of the nest.

      It’s psychological issue at the core.

      1. LQ*

        In addition to all of that some people want to do really want to do well and think that this is the way to do well at their job/be great at the work/(dundundun…)help a lot of people.

        I fully recognize I am likely always someone who will be highly susceptible to abusive relationships. I can try to avoid them and spot them, but they are sneakier than most people think. To which end just Nope to most relationships, and I try to accept that I’m going to push myself into a bad place at work, even when I have a boss who isn’t that way, I will still work more and more and more. It’s a cycle I can’t seem to break so I try to manage. (There are so many people I can help if I only…)

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It’s true some think that they are doing the right thing and by accepting the abuse, they’re going to be rewarded for it. You get a lot of nasty stories about how “oh I worked my way up, you have to pay your dues!”

          It’s frequently done in apprenticeships and you see people being “hazed” and told that they won’t get higher up in the organization unless you come in early every day and scrub the toilets and spend 14 hours a day licking the mud off your bosses shoes.

          As someone who worked their way up from an assistant to a leader in organizations, I can slap that idea out of minds given the chance. It’s rare that an abuser will ever let you move up in reality. Someone who really cares and will let you thrive is an ally, they aren’t pushing you down and telling you that you have to crawl before you can walk as an adult in the workforce.

          1. LQ*

            But sometimes it can be self induced. All my big professional jobs…no one has asked me to put in 60 hours plus a week, but damned if I didn’t do it anyway because I believed I could do more good if I put in more hours (nonprofit and government work so good for people not cash for bosses). That’s the thing. No one has to tell me to do it, I just see more work to be done, and if you look right there’s always more. And then you’ve been at the office for 12 hours.

            I try really hard to watch for the tendency in others and to …not act like this is what you need to do to be successful and stop other people. (I had a good moment Friday and got someone who was panicking and thinking she needed to work all weekend to stop and take the weekend off instead by adjusting things that needed to be done.) But I don’t know how to stop me from doing it.

    2. singularity*

      I think part of it is a hold over from the time when people spent their entire careers at one company as well or the situation people find themselves in when they live in a small town and there are very few employers to choose from. It’s difficult to negotiate change when you depend on those few companies for money. There’s a town near where I live with less than 2,000 and Walmart was one of their main employers. Then they moved out of town a year ago and a lot of people are on unemployment and trying to find work elsewhere.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        If only it was a small town thing, it’s anywhere that heavily depends on one industry look at Detroit :(

        It happened in timber and mining previously. It’s an infrastructure issue.

      2. animaniactoo*

        It also has to do with the fact that between wage stagnation and rising COLs, a lot MORE people are once again living paycheck to paycheck and don’t have the savings to say “I have the room to ride this out while I look for something else”.

        It’s very hard to stand up for yourself when you aren’t sure where the boundary is between professional norms, sanity, and the ability to pay the rent this month. Mostly because you don’t have control over the other half of the determination, which is how the whomever who has the ability to fire you will take it, including at the end when you may still be trying to get out with a good reference.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          Also unions, or rather the decline of them. I know most white collar jobs weren’t unionized like blue collar ones were, but some non-management ones were. People had protections and union negotiated contracts with benefits, responsibilities, etc, for workers and management spelled out.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      Unfortunately, this mentality is ingrained into workers and it starts in school… training us to be good little obedient worker-bees. Especially in the US, where it’s pushed that you should not advocate for your own best interests as a citizen or as a worker.

      It’s the same mentality about saving/spending money. As in: “Don’t buy that fancy latte if you want to be a millionaire by the age of 40.”

      AS IF the 1% ACTUALLY GOT THEIR WEALTH by skipping coffee and packing lunch (they didn’t, most inherited it or had established family networks/best schools and therefore got high-level positions in finance or as CEOs). It’s just a way to keep the 99% of the working poor Americans shamed and working more for the 1%. Sadly, so many of the 99% actually BUY INTO this bullshit. Those people are quick to jump in with their stories about how they saved all their money and are now worth millions and if you can’t do the same you must be lazy and dumb, blah blah blah. Uh Huh…. No, I guarantee you didn’t.

      Another example: Have you ever seen all the free shit CEO’s and executives get? Coffee, lunches, dinners, taxi’s, travel, etc., even “promotional” items like motorcycles and cars, it’s nearly always done on the company dime. The CEO of the company I worked for took his entire family to the Olympics on the corporate jet on the company dime. Seriously, the guy made upwards of $1m/year but he couldn’t pay for them to fly?

      1. singularity*

        Agree 100%. It’s getting worse as the gap between the 1% and the rest of us gets larger. I’m a teacher and I have 2 jobs for the summer on top of teaching because it’s just not good enough to have 1 job anymore. The health insurance used to be great, but increasingly that sucks too as deductibles get higher and higher. People are pushed to the breaking point because ‘hard work’ is valued over everything else. Unfortunately, people are rarely in the position to take time off to take care of their health because they don’t have the savings, like
        animaniactoo was saying. :/

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It’s the circle of poverty and the institutionalized eternal punishments for those trapped in it are given.

          I was just watching a doc on a serial killer from South Central and I was already upset because murder…then they brought up the fact that if you’re convicted of a felony [drugs in this case], after your release you cannot receive any kind of social services, so you expect a person to get out of jail and not return to a life of crime, when they cannot even receive food stamps and they’re already severely limited in the jobs they can obtain? That’s how ingrained in our society that we throw you away the first chance you give us, especially if you’re a minority or ill, mentally or physically.

          1. LCL*

            Don’t forget you can’t get a student loan with a drug conviction on your record.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              I have no knowledge of student loans because I was born too poor to parents who didn’t understand the system and therefore refused to give their personal information for student aid. Sigh. So I didn’t know that but I’m sadly not shocked.

              And yet we still want to romanticize the Reagans and the trickle down economics monstrosity they sold Americans. War on poor people is more like it.

              1. Rainy*

                My first husband (may he rest in peace) had a full ride, need-indifferent 4 year tech theatre scholarship to a fancy private liberal arts school in the area and his stepdad–the millionaire–refused to fill the required but moot financial disclosure forms because, quote, “It’s nobody’s goddamn business how much money I have”.

          2. Michaela Westen*

            I don’t think these laws are an accident. I think the powers know perfectly well what they’re doing. They don’t want anyone to have anything, they want to take it all for themselves, so they take every opportunity to screw people. It’s easiest to screw criminals and others who are disadvantaged.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Correct. The system is setup to destroy the underprivileged and those seen as “weak”, which tend to be minorities, women and the develop mentally delayed because that way we will always have people to kick around.

              This is why wars have been fought throughout history. It’s all about the ones at the top, controlling the ones below them. It’s the evolution of the human pecking order.

              1. Michaela Westen*

                When I saw the movie Braveheart on TV and the king said “use up the Irish first against the enemy”, I was shocked and horrified. I’ve since come to understand that’s how it really is. Elites see those less powerful as things to use to make themselves money.

                Also after work last night I was thinking one explanation for laws that don’t allow criminals to reform is… for-profit prisons. Have to keep those full to enrich the owners, right?

                1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

                  Not to bring you down or go totally off-topic, but you are spot on. For-profit prison is also a way to de facto keep slavery going. Just google prison labor or similar terms, and you will be horrified.

          3. Free Now (and forever)*

            And if your family lives in a housing project, you can’t move back in with them. Let’s make you penniless, homeless and jobless and then blame you when you sell drugs or steal stuff to make money.

    4. mousie housie*

      Lack of labour law protections don’t help this. I’m “exempt” to use the US term and therefore hours of work, hours of rest, overtime pay, time in lieu, etc. are not rights I legally possess. My employer could ask me to work 140 hours a week and that would be A-OK.

  12. Quickbeam*

    OP’s situation is my worst nightmare. I am facing retirement and I know that as soon as I give even a hint of that, my workload will expand geometrically. I’m holding my cards to my chest for as long as possible. All my retired friends cautioned me about saying anything too soon.

    I think they are trying to bully OP to squeeze extra work out of her.

    1. Rebecca*

      One of my friends handled retiring from her unreasonable office job like this: waited until vacation and PTO time refreshed at the beginning of the year, scheduled appointments at the social security office, etc. to get everything set up with the date she was going to retire, and then used up as much of her vacation and PTO allowed…and then, retired on a Friday. No notice, no nothing. And this company deserved it. 2 years prior, they had issued “attendance points” to her for using PTO without notice. She had chest pains and thought she was having a heart attack, and had to go to the ER, and missed a day of work without prior approval. I can’t believe in this day and age there are still companies who would do this, but there are. They got all the notice they deserved.

      1. LKW*

        My uncle’s retirement story is my favorite. He had been with the same company for years. He got a new boss who wanted him to start commuting +2 hours per day to the office where she worked, and not the office 5 minutes from his house. Nor the office 15 minutes from his house. So he walked down the hall, got his retirement papers and was retired by the end of the day.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        How dare she not schedule her medical emergency in advance!!1! [rolls eyes]

        1. Rebecca*

          Right? The only reason this company gets away with it is because this is a rural area, job opportunities are scarce, unless you want to work for a big box store part time or some other part time low paying job, and they have health insurance as a benefit.

          1. TardyTardis*

            Yes, that’s where I worked–low wages, but I had wonderful benefits, and that made me aristocracy in this town. Sorry, people, can’t move…

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You’ve worked your entire life towards this retirement, keep those cards to your chest and bust out the royal flush when it benefits you best. I’ve seen too many people not being able to enjoy their retirement for various reasons, sadly mostly health related and any employer who wants to squeeze the last drops out of a hard working individual right at the very last stretch can come fight me. I’m sorry that you have to worry about this nonsense.

    3. Pebbles*

      My mother was managed out into an early retirement where her relatively new manager tried to tell her she didn’t know how to do her job correctly. The job that she literally made up for the company 30 years prior by saying, “hey, we could better serve our clients if we had this QA position, and here’s what it would need to succeed”. Her manager put in so many roadblocks that my mother could no longer do her job efficiently, was written up for it, and then given a PIP that outlined weekly meetings between her, the manager, and HR for the next 6 months. My mother took the weekend to talk to my dad about it. She was 61 years old, didn’t have a college degree, and wasn’t likely to find something similar. My dad’s an accountant, so they figured out how their finances would handle her being out of work, and then she walked in with her retirement notice Monday morning.

      1. Mr. Shark*

        Good for your mother, but it’s unbelievable that a new manager would have that kind of attitude towards someone who had been with the company that long and had created the job position, and knew it inside and out.

        1. Observer*

          It’s actually EXACTLY what I would expect from a certain type of person. A lot of “ass”umptions involved here, though, on the part of the manager.

        2. Michaela Westen*

          Better at controlling than understanding what she was doing. All about power and making people do unnecessary things. Unfortunately this is common.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This reeks of age discrimination in the root cause of what was happening here.

        There was once a random “newb” manager that tried writing my mother up for some minor transgression that was just a glitch in the computer system in the end. My mom told everyone that she was going to quit if that warning actually stuck in her file. The manager who was training that newbie was livid at the fact the person overstepped so drastically and almost cost them one of their most valuable employees. Thankfully my mom didn’t have to quit, everyone was on her side and they made a show of shredding that nonsensical “warning”. The newbie manager was quickly forced out because she was clearly not the right person and didn’t understand how to do the job. Filling the spots are horrifyingly hard, so they’d have been so screwed if my mom quit.

        Whereas my father was forced into early retirement due to the recession and him being older. They kept shifting him around on shifts so that he’d be eligible for layoffs when they came around. The union just sat back and let them do it, there was no protection under their CBA.

        It’s disgusting and happens all the time. My dad was able to get by with the early retirement. I was still at home and working, contributing to the bills and it was during the recession when there were a lot of unemployment extensions available. So he was able to limp towards 62 before drawing his pension.

        1. singularity*

          That’s how it so often works, though, doesn’t it? Why keep someone on with years of experience when you can pay a newbie a lot less? With many companies, all about profits over people.

          1. Michaela Westen*

            Yes, exactly. When they do that they don’t care about long-term success for the company, they want short-term profits from paying lower wages. If they continue with that approach, the companies I’ve seen do this go under within 10 years.

        2. TardyTardis*

          Yeah, and the last class action suit for age discrimination sank without a trace (thank you, Supremes!) and so all the companies know they can do it without any consequences.

  13. Southern Yankee*

    I’ve seen this kind of unreasonable expectation from an otherwise reasonable boss in a non-toxic job. A co-worker was leaving for an internal position in another location at our company. My boss (and his) starts ranting to me that he only gave two weeks notice, but since it was an internal move she expected a full month which was “standard”. My boss was generally a good mentor with good insight, so even though I thought this was over the top, I checked it out discretely with other sources. Boss was completely wrong (two weeks no big deal, although normally timing was negotiated between new boss and former boss with some flexibility common).

    I started mentally preparing my script for when I eventually transferred to another job since I wasn’t going to adhere to the b.s. one month time frame. Another co-worker left for an outside position and Boss expected him to complete a project that absolutely could not be done in the two weeks. Thankfully, Boss moved on before I did, so I never had to deal with her weird expectation. I eventually attributed it to a futile need to limit the impact by the leaving employee – which is just odd since it was co-workers impacted more than Boss anyway. I’ve never encountered that attitude again, thankfully, but it goes to show even otherwise reasonable people can have unreasonable expectations.

  14. Yikes*

    One of the things I’ve learned in my time on earth is that there’s little more thankless than providing more than two weeks notice. If they aren’t equipped to handle you leaving on a two week timeline, that’s not only their problem, but probably an indication of extreme dysfunction. Any employee could be hit by a bus any day, and employers need to have systems in place for that.

  15. StaceyIzMe*

    It’s too late to find a job first, then give shorter notice, but that’s a better transition plan than chaos/ recovery/ new paycheck.
    If you can afford to move up your date of departure, that would be best. Since you’re shell shocked, maybe go over your boss’ head and see if you can negotiate a transition plan that you can live with that includes a reference that will help you land your next job.
    If that’s not an option, then yes. Health first, (either take a 1/2 day or a full day, sleep and recover- then move up your departure if needed), then reference (negotiate exactly what is to be said and exactly what is to be finished before you leave, then new job search.
    When you HAVE to reinvent/ reinvigorate your professional brand under pressure and you’re short on energy and positive vibes due to fatigue and prior abuse, get some outside support. (Life coach, counselor, other listening ear or two). Also, work from a plan that you can commit to and that you can live with. What will it take to survive? What will it take to succeed? What will it take to thrive? Once you’ve got your bare minimum, acceptable midpoint and dream job/ dream life vision mapped out- you’ll have clarity. That’s empowering. Keep that vision in front of you. Focus on it. Prioritize it. Find some ways to be accountable for performing the steps needed to get there. Your progress will build a sense of confidence and help to distance you from the toxic dump that is your current job. The truth is that you’re BETTER than the job you have (or you wouldn’t be leaving it) and you’re on your way to a better life. Put this place in the rear view and work out whatever you need to in order to recover/ prevent a recurrence and keep on going.

  16. Wendy Darling*

    To me the one slightly freeing thing about this situation is that LW is not going to get a good reference from this boss no matter what they do, so they may as well just do whatever works for them. :/ There’s no point in trying to cater to unreasonable people.

  17. Jaded*

    Another possibility (may depend on the laws, culture and sick leave provision in your country) is be signed off sick by your doctor for the remainder of your notice period. Not going to lie, OP, I’ve been in your shoes too and I carried on to the bitter end, but my doctor knew how unwell I was, probably better than I did, and it’s a not uncommon way to finish at an unbearable work place in my country. You do sound like you’ve reached the point where you have medical levels of stress. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

  18. Bulbasaur*

    I love Alison’s “you don’t seem happy with how things are going so perhaps it’s best if we agree on an earlier end date” strategy. That is code for: I’ve already resigned, I have nothing at stake here, and my notice period is a courtesy that I reserve the right to revoke if it’s not reciprocated. Even more concisely: if you’re going to be an asshole, I’m out of here.

    You have resigned. You get to decide how much you are willing to put up with from these people. They are hoping that you are enough in the habit of putting up with it that you will continue doing so, but you don’t have to go along with that. In fact, choosing not to put up with it (by deciding for yourself how much is reasonable to accomplish, then doing that and no more) will be valuable practice in setting boundaries.

  19. FairPayFullBenefits*

    I’m curious where this OP is located – giving months of notice is so out of the norm for most jobs in the US, but I think I’ve heard it’s more common in Europe?

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