my boss is mad that I’m quitting

A reader writes:

I recently resigned from my job. I was only at this organization for a year and a half, but I came into this position with a lot of experience from a similar role elsewhere, so I’ve managed to get a lot done in that time. The organization isn’t in great financial shape and there was a massive restructure after my boss’s boss was fired. During that time, I thought I might get laid off and so I sent out a few job applications just to be safe. During this process, I discovered that I have been very underpaid for my skills, and I ended up being offered a position that pays a good market rate, has excellent benefits, and will allow me to take on more advanced and interesting projects. It was a tough decision to leave my current job, but this felt like an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Ever since I gave notice, my boss and a few colleagues have been making me feel miserable. They are saying things like “the work you do is so vital” and “nobody else can do what you do” and “you’ve left us in a really bad situation, I have no idea how we will get through this.” My boss even implied that if the organization goes under, it will be partially my fault. Almost every time I walk down the hall, I can hear my boss talking with other people about how he feels screwed over by my departure.

I know that leaving on the heels of this restructure wasn’t the best thing I could have done, but I gave my boss almost a month of notice and I’ve been working around the clock to create extremely detailed documentation. He still thinks it isn’t enough. Whenever I recommend someone who might be able to take over a project of mine, my boss says they are either too busy or not competent enough.

I’m in a constant state of anxiety over leaving this job. I feel so guilty. I can’t sleep at night and I dread going into work every morning. Furthermore, I’m worried that he will give me a bad reference the next time I’m searching for another job. Is there anything I can do about this? Should I be worried about a future reference?

You are not alone. A ton of managers take resignations bizarrely personally — acting as if the person leaving has dealt them, and the organization, a callous and devastating blow.

But people leave jobs! And sometimes they leave at times that are inconvenient for the employer. That’s just a normal part of doing business.

That’s not to say that losing a key employee isn’t painful or disappointing. It can be! But decent managers recognize that a normal and expected part of having employees is that at some point those employees will move on. You’re trading your labor for money, and you’re supposed to make job decisions based on what makes sense for your career.

So, it’s both crappy and ridiculous for your colleagues to be trying to guilt-trip you.

Even if it is true that your organization could go under as the result of your leaving, that’s a sign that it wasn’t going to survive anyway. If your company can be felled by a single person’s departure, that means it has serious and deep-rooted problems.

And for what it’s worth, if you’re so valuable to them that “no one else can do what you do” and “you might be partially to blame if the organization goes under,” why didn’t they work harder to retain you before you decided to leave? If your work was so valuable, why did they keep you underpaid? Where was all this hand-wringing earlier?

In addition to making sure you were paid fairly for your work, here’s what they could have done to show that they were serious about wanting to keep you: Your manager could have taken you out to lunch or otherwise sat down with you and said, “You’re an incredibly valuable part of what we’re doing here, and I want to ensure you’re on our team for the long-term. What do you need from us to keep you happy and growing in your position?” That’s especially true during a restructure, when any sensible manager should assume employees are concerned about being laid off and are probably looking around for other options.

But even if they had gone all out to try to keep you earlier — even if they paid you generously, gave you the best clients, and otherwise tried to make this a job you wouldn’t want to leave — you’d still be entitled to leave. Maybe you would have found a job with a better commute or more interesting projects, or you’d have decided to move for a partner’s job, or just felt like doing something different. You haven’t sold your soul to your employer, and you get to decide if another situation is better matched with what you want right now.

You don’t owe any employer permanent loyalty. What you do owe them is good work while you’re there, a reasonable amount of notice when you decide to leave, and help with a smooth transition before you go. (All of which are boxes that it sounds like you’ve checked off!)

Your boss is trying to make you feel obligated to stay as long as he wants you to. But I can promise you that if the situation was reversed, and they decided it made business sense for them to fire you or lay you off, they’d do that. And that’s okay — these are business relationships, and each side needs to act in their own interests.

You haven’t done a single thing wrong here. You were underpaid and your company was unstable. You went looking at your options, and you found a job that pays better, has great benefits, and will let you do interesting work. Of course you’re taking that job. Good for you!

As for how to deal with your co-workers’ angst over your departure, ignore as much of it as you can — and when you can’t, use bland and/or forward-looking responses. If someone tells you how vital your work there is, say, “Thank you. I’m sure you’ll find someone good to replace me.” If your boss says you’ve left them in a bad situation, say, “It’s always hard when people move on! I know you’ll hire someone good.” If your boss implies again that you’d be at fault if the organization collapses, say, “I’m sure that’s not true! There are so many great people here.”

Frankly, it may also be tempting to say, “Since I can see how concerned you are about this, it might be helpful to share that when I started looking around during the restructure — when I didn’t know if I’d be laid off — I found I was very underpaid for the market. If you’re concerned about losing people, it might help to look at whether there are other salaries that need to be increased to be competitive.” That would be helpful feedback for them to hear, but whether or not to say it depends on what your boss is like.

As for your worries about future references, do you know your boss to be extremely petty or vindictive? Does he tend to hold a grudge long after otherwise good employees have departed? If so, you’ll likely need to warn future reference checkers that he took it very personally when you left (and offer others for them to talk with instead). But that reaction would be an outlier — most managers who take resignations personally tend to get over it once things move on and they see that the world did not in fact fall apart.

Please, though, don’t feel guilty. You’ve done nothing wrong. People leave jobs! It’s normal, it’s business, and it’s fine.

Originally published at New York Magazine.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 234 comments… read them below }

  1. juliebulie*

    The boss and coworkers sure had a strange way of saying “thanks for all your hard work.” I think being treated that way would just make me even happier to be moving on.

    People who weaponize guilt should never be rewarded for doing so.

    I sure hope the letter writer eventually got some sleep! And that ultimately, LW’s manager’s recommendation wasn’t all that important.

    1. Cheese_Toast*

      “People who weaponize guilt should never be rewarded for doing so.”

      I wrote this on a post-it and I might tattoo it to my forehead. I needed to hear that, thank you.

    2. Emily K*

      It really gets my hackles up when employers act like changing jobs isn’t an extremely common thing that happens all the time. Everyone is going to leave their job at some point, whether they change jobs, retire, or die. There’s no excuse for 1) not having at least some rough sketch of a contingency plan for departures, and 2) not having a backup person for any work that could be described as mission-critical (I mean, for pete’s sake, you’d think you’d need this just to cover routine vacations or extended sick leave).

      And let’s just say I’m entirely unsurprised that a company that puts the burden of the company’s entire financial future on any one employee, is also a company that is underpaying that one employee. The reason LW is so irreplaceable is because she’s covering 2 jobs for 70% of the going salary for one of those jobs. Dollars to donuts they hired at least 2 people to replace her.

      1. ampersand*

        I had a job a few years ago where (I thought?) I had a good rapport with my direct manager. She asked me to tell her when I wanted to find another job so that she could plan accordingly (she was aware I would only be in the job for a couple of years, as that was the norm, plus it was all she said she expected). This seemed like a reasonable request and could have made for a smooth transition. Except–at the point that I told her I was ready to move to a new position and was actively searching for one, she got icy.cold. Since we worked closely together, it made work pretty intolerable until I left. I learned a valuable lesson there!

        So yeah, it also gets my hackles up when managers act like people don’t leave jobs. For the love of all that is good, don’t punish people for being normal human beings who make totally normal life decisions.

      2. Tatiana*

        I used to work for an agency where the boss forbid us to have a party, or even circulate a card, for anyone who was leaving. She saw it as disloyalty — you could be leaving because you won the lottery and your spouse was being transferred to Mars, and she’d still hate you for it. Man, am I glad I got out of there.

    3. juliebulie*

      Oooh! I had assumed that this was an old letter being republished for NY Mag. My bad.

      Letter Writer, go to bed and get some sleep. It was not and is not your responsibility to keep afloat the company’s remains.

    4. Dagny*

      “I think being treated that way would just make me even happier to be moving on.”

      Yes, this. There is generally a lot more toxicity lurking there if this is how they behave in response to a completely normal situation.

  2. Zennish*

    “You are a rockstar unicorn and the company will fold without you” and “You aren’t worth us offering market rate and decent benefits” are mutually exclusive. They need to pick one or the other, and that’s on them, not you.

    1. Witchy Human*

      I would want to ask the peers who are joining in on the guilt tripping: “would you make a different decision in my place?” Because there are very, very few people who would genuinely prioritize loyalty over more money and stability.

      1. Magenta Sky*

        There are also few people who would admit that.

        If it’s only not about money when it’s someone else’s money, it’s about money. When it’s only about loyalty when it’s someone else’s loyalty, it’s not about loyalty.

      2. Fikly*

        This whole you owe a company loyalty for nothing more than a paycheck attitude is first of all, nonsense, and second of all, a huge pet peeve of mine. You owe them your work in return for their legal obligation of a paycheck, nothing more. They get your loyalty for things way above and beyond that.

        My current company has my loyalty. But they earned that by giving me a huge benefit that I was not entitled to when I unexpectedly got hurt and had to go on medical leave, and they covered my back. Now, is my loyalty going to last forever? No, and it shouldn’t. But they get major points for that for a given time. Because working for a company that isn’t going to kick my butt to the curve (and instead help me!) is something that is rare, and yes, that does get loyalty in return.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Seriously. No, SERIOUSLY, this.

      Even at places that were on the brink of imploding during the recession, I was paid at the top of the market rate.

      Also when you lose a unicorn, you cry and wallow in it. You don’t lash out and tell the unicorn they’re a naughty, basic horse if they leave you high and dry. Even my worst boss just wallowed in it and knew better than to speak out of turn about it. Everyone else shed actual tears and were like “Yeah, I knew I couldn’t keep you forever. Be free, gallop to the next pasture, dear friend. Send us postcards.”

      1. Marissa*

        LOL “naughty, basic horse.” I’ve seen plenty of unicorns leave and come back to places who treated them well years later, or at the very least continue to speak well of the company to others in the industry. Burning bridges when employees leave is such a short-sighted attitude. It’s no wonder the company has issues.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Yep. Who knows. . .those interesting projects at the new place may not be so interesting and OP will be looking again. Or, perhaps CurrentPlace does implode and boss needs a job. . .and OP’s new place has a role that’s a fit. Under current circumstances, no way is she going back or giving the boss a tip on a new job, but it could have been beneficial for all if they didn’t act like donkeys.

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Exactly. Unicorns have long memories and loyalty to those who treated them well.

          I left one place to move 300 miles away. I went back there to help them get their replacement EA set up on the weekends for awhile. All they did was keep me on the payroll to pay my time, they offered to pay travel/lodging but it wasn’t necessary. I stayed with my parents and would have done it for free but I know they were stand up people and could afford it, so I took the money.

        3. Cafe au Lait*

          You know what I’ve discovered about unicorns? They know how to spot other unicorns. If I treat a unicorn well, they will in turn help me find another unicorn when they are ready to move on.

        4. Jadelyn*

          This. I’ve seen it too. If you give your unicorns nice big meadows to run in and the top-quality salt licks, they’ll stick around, or come back later. If you keep your unicorns in tiny stalls and don’t feed them enough, you really don’t get to be upset when they break the door down and go somewhere that treats them better.

        5. TootsNYC*

          So true!

          Use employees often worry about not messing up our reference when we leave.

          But for employers and managers, there is a huge benefit to keeping your reputation good with departing employees. They might refer new employees to you. They might get a coffee with you to help you spitball through a problem.
          They might answer a Q. or two from a former colleague.

          They might come back to work for you, even more sparkly because of what they learned while they were away.

      2. Blueberry*

        “You don’t tell the unicorn they’re a naughty, basic horse” is today’s award winning metaphor.

      3. sacados*

        This is so true. When I decided to leave my last company, it was a really tough decision. It was only the second place I’d worked, I had been there for just over 8 years and grown so much in my career there. I had (and still have) a lot of loyalty to them. And when I left, I knew it was a really really bad time — I was juggling many more projects simultaneously than I should have been, the company was lacking enough people at my same level so those of us there were all had higher workloads than we should have. The company was working to address it, but finding talent with that particular experience who could come in and take over was next to impossible (a person like that would’ve been a TRUE unicorn) and training up internal people takes time.
        It was a tough situation, I knew it wasn’t likely to change much in the next year, and I had decided I was ready to move back to my home country.
        So I sat down with my bosses and worked out with them when my end date would be and how long they needed me to give them in order to properly transition off my projects and not leave things in the lurch. It ended up being something like 4 months notice that I gave — which I was able to do since I was moving country, so it wasn’t really practical to start job-hunting until I was back living locally anyway.
        It was really tough, and I felt bad for leaving other people behind to deal with the fallout (that’s what it felt like sometimes, anyway). As the news got out to more people, I had lots and lots of coworkers coming to tell me how sad they were I was leaving, how hard it was going to be without me, etc.
        But at most it was a jokey, “come on, isn’t there anything we can do to convince you to stay” kind of a way.

        Even when it’s hard, a well-adjusted company is not going to resent you for pursuing other opportunities.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I actually worked two jobs at once so that I could stay with my original company. I had to leave, I was moving and also the first job was winding down and looking to sell [the selling process was…frigging hard and took almost 2 years to find someone who they could finalize with].

          So I ended up giving a years notice in the end and thankfully the other place I had accepted a job with wanted me so badly that they were like “We can only have you part time? Argh…well okay.” It was a perfect setup for everyone in the end. Then I was able to transition and work full time at my new job another year before I had to leave the area completely.

          I always feel bad leaving because nowhere have I worked with a full company of bad people. A couple places had their bad apples that I’d kick into the gutter given the chance but yeah, I always feel bad and miss the places I leave. So That’s just part of life, we form emotional connections even when we try like hell not to!

        2. Wheee!*

          I’ve been in a similar situation, and I gave four months notice. I wasn’t high level, but I was involved in a lot of things. My boss suggested that I might be able to work remotely, or work part time in the office that was a few hours away, but it wasn’t materializing. Ultimately, that was OK, but I was a little bummed. My team was really supportive, but my great grandboss kept coming by and telling me how great it was in current country and how dreary it was in new country. It was sweet at first, but got pretty frustrating after awhile, especially since they were not trying to keep me on remotely or part time. I eventually explained that to him, and he understood and backed off.

    3. Marissa*

      Ugh yes! This is such an old song, and it still boggles my mind every time. “You’re irreplaceable, but we won’t put any effort into keeping you.” Knock it off and pay your employees what they’re worth! Or don’t whine when they leave because that’s 100% because the company sucks at retention.

      1. EB E*

        That’s when you’ve entered “the Slave Zone.” Similar to the Friend Zone, except it’s in the work world. You’re their bestest best friend when something needs to be done, but they’ll never actually invest in you.

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        “You’re irreplaceable, but we won’t put any effort into keeping you.

        Sadly, that seems to be a very common refrain these days – see the letter about Tom from a few weeks ago and that subsequent (not at all surprising) update.

      3. ellex42*

        Oh, I got *offered* a raise to stay. From $12 to a whopping $14/hour, when the new job was starting at $18 with a promise to go up to $22 within a year (this was some years ago).

        I also saw the writing on the wall regarding the longevity of the business, and sure enough, within less than 5 years there was a takeover that hauled them into the 21st century and fired around 75% of the employees because they went “digital” and didn’t need all those people.

        “We don’t know what we’ll do without you!” Too bad, so sad. Not my monkeys, not my circus.

      4. TootsNYC*

        This reminds me of mentor Tom from a few days ago, who was passed over for promotion and whose potential raises were blocked by management, who were then made at our OP for not retaining him.

    4. CatCat*

      Right? The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

      I am reminded of Tom, the rock star from the recent AAM letter who Tom’s supervisor expected would leave, lobbied hard to get him things that could help retain him (better pay, title bump), and the Big Bosses refused to provide those things then blamed Tom’s supervisor for not creating a “magnetic environment” and insisted “money isn’t everything” when Tom predictably quit.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Ha! I should have kept scrolling before I posted above – it’s exactly the Tom situation.

      2. it's me*

        I wonder if it’s less cognitive dissonance and more just manipulation. They know they’re paying OP less and they had a hunch OP would be susceptible to guilt-tripping (sorry, OP) so their plan, consciously or not, was to lean hard on that. Thing is it’s kind of dumb to do that after OP said they’d leave. Do they really think OP’s going to be like “You’re right, lemme stay here”?

    5. pcake*

      Exactly! They want to underpay you with only average benefits but say you are essential? Then how about they pay you ABOVE market rate and offer you what it takes for you to make what you’re worth and to feel appreciated.

    6. designbot*

      The only semi-exception is if the company just literally does not have the resources to pay you what you’re worth. In which case sorry, but the writing’s on the wall, unicorns are not in the budget.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Not a full time unicorn at least!

        I have done some odd jobs throughout the years on a “favor” budget. I’ll take a portion of what I’m worth if you just need some really basic stuff. I’ve got people’s payroll done for them countless times just by dropping in casually and getting things plugged in. Yeah I’ll take a quick $30 for it, whatever. I’ll come and pay some bills for people who have a sick bookkeeper or whatever for a fraction of my usual hourly rates because I’m showered with affection and sugar cubes.

        But if you want me 40 hours plus a week, doing the whole thing, pay me or get yourself a retired show pony who is just winding down and happy to relax from the fast-life.

      2. paxfelis*

        Seems like a lot of places want carousel horses: they look like unicorns, but they’re not going anywhere.

          1. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

            And what do we burn apart from witches?
            Bridges with our best employee!!

  3. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    Think carefully about how your boss acted during restructuring, when his boss was laid off, when other people were laid off. Did he flail in front of the board or his peers and subordinates, rending his garments and making ridiculous claims? Or did he accept a business decision for what it was and get on with his job?
    I’d throw it back. “We’ll never be able to replace you.”
    Not at my salary, that’s probably true.

  4. Bagpuss*

    Yes, this is a boss problem, not a you problem.
    On the plus side, the LW will be gone soon and hopefully in a better environment.

  5. Brett*

    If the organization goes under due to your departure, it is absolutely 100% the organization’s fault. No single person should ever be that important to an organization.

    1. Oh No She Di'int*

      So much this! If the organization folds because one person left, it was going to fold anyway.

    2. Kes*

      This is so true. No organization should be that dependent on one person – beyond leaving for other jobs, people fall ill, win the lottery, etc. If the org fails due to OP leaving that is entirely their fault, doubly so even for a) being that dependent on her without setting up backup plans and b) not paying her well or making any efforts to retain her beyond after-the-fact guilt tripping

    3. it's me*

      Exactly this. If they’re openly freaking out like this over one person leaving it’s not hard to see why the company is failing. This reaction isn’t normal—at a successful place.

    4. Massmatt*

      Especially not an employee with less than 2 years tenure! And an underpaid one at that! This is a sign of the organization either having deeper dysfunction or the boss is being petty and guilt-tripping you for his own reasons.

    5. whingedrinking*

      It’s what I refer to as the “hypothetical bus”. Even if you could install a chip in someone’s brain that meant they would never, ever voluntarily leave their job for any reason – not their parent going into care, not their spouse getting a job in another city, not them inheriting a hundred million dollars from a long-lost relative – they could still get hit by a bus at any time and go into a coma for ten years. So what are you going to do in the event of the hypothetical bus? The answer is almost certainly not “panic and run screaming into the night, since we’re all utterly screwed”. Whatever you’d do in that case, you can do it if the person quits. And if the answer *is* that, you need to either put a plan in place now or close down your business before you wreck stuff for a lot of people. Because, again – hypothetical bus.

  6. Mike C.*

    I know that leaving on the heels of this restructure wasn’t the best thing I could have done

    It was actually the best thing you could have done. This place is clearly circling the drain, you identified the issue and you found a lifeline out. Like Alison points out, they should have been showering you with money or equity or other crazy perks to stay, because that’s what happens all over the business world when you need to keep people attached to sinking ships.

    This place used you, this place isn’t worth your time and energy and while there’s nothing wrong with leaving on a high note, you shouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Clock out at the end of the day, get rested and prepared mentally for your next job, maybe see if you can take some time off before the start of the new one just to clear your head.

    1. WorkIsADarkComedy*

      It’s all of a piece, isn’t it? Forced restructuring and layoffs, underpaid employees, incompetent management (unprepared for an employee to leave) and blaming someone for taking a better job. By any chance, do they describe the office as a family?

      OP, once you’re settled elsewhere I’ll bet you’ll see other aspects of your current workplace that were dysfunctional.

      The layoff scare was a blessing in disguise.

    2. President Porpoise*

      Agree with Mike. Maybe it wasn’t the nicest thing you could have done, but for your career, clearly it was the best thing you could have done. You don’t want to be there while this sort of floundering is happening.

      Boss and coworkers’ reactions are only reinforcing this fact.

      1. Artemesia*

        There is nothing NOTHING ‘not nice’ about it — when a business is restructuring and laying people off that is EXACTLY when a sensible person is looking for potential options. There is always potential turnover of top people in a re-org unless steps are taken to secure them (i.e. money, titles, authority etc)

        1. President Porpoise*

          I’m thinking “not nice” in the context that many women deal with at work. “Nice” would be resigning yourself to the lower pay and uncertainty because ‘the company needs you’ and ‘how will we go on without you’, because a ‘nice’ person puts others’ needs before their own. This brand of ‘nice’ rarely if ever corresponds to success, and in no way actually has anything to do with what actual niceness is.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Exactly this.

      Think about this, LW. If their restructuring had involved phasing out your position, they would have done so without hesitation.

      1. rayray*

        Yup. Never ceases to amaze me how someone quits a job with a courtesy notice period, managers freak out and feel so insulted. Yet when it comes to firing and stripping away their income and livelihood, they just do the firing and go on with their day.

    4. Artemesia*

      This – part of a restructure should be ‘who are our key personnel and what are we doing to make sure we can count on them to be here through this transition’. There should have been a big raise during restructure if you are that important.

    5. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      So much this. OP is getting out before having his/her entire work perspective screwed/skewed. If OP thinks for a minute that the fate of the company rests on one person’s shoulders, that is the result of horrible leadership – both if it’s true and if it isn’t.
      Secondly, SERIOUSLY! We need you so much. Not enough to pay me. Everyone else is incompetent. Hmm, what are you telling THEM about ME?
      This is far too personal and emotional response to a work situation. In another year, after you’ve worked with healthy, functional grownups you will realize how messed up this is.

  7. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    If anyone ever tells you that the existence of the company depends on you working there, run don’t walk for the hills.

    No single person makes or breaks a place unless it’s already in massive amounts of distress. Seriously. If you’re the last Jenga piece that is pulled that tumbles the tower, YOU DIDNT DO IT, all the other missing pieces and precarious structure did it.

    This guilt tripping crap is for the birds. I’ve left places that truly did depend on me greatly and some where in financial disarray for various reasons. As the dragon, laying on the not so big pile of company coins, I promise you that this is nothing to do with anyone but bad decision after bad decision made by senior leadership and also just the sometimes brittle economy we have going on at any given moment. Businesses don’t always survive. Some last for hundreds of years and go under. Some last for a couple years and never get off the ground. Some last for a generation and then they’re closed down for so many reasons.

    This. Is. Not. On. You. EVER. Unless you’re a CEO who pillaged the dang place, made awful decisions that wrecked the structural integrity or something very specific.

    You’re their band aid over a bullet hole. You cannot stop their bleeding but they sure wish you could.

    1. Kiwiii*

      The bandaid over the bullet hole is such a good analogy bc like, there are so many other ways to fix that problem — they could do stitches or surgery or even make YOU one of those really cool suture-style bandaids, but instead they’ve chosen to blame you, someone who had no part in choosing how the problem could be solved.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Yes, it feeds into the fact they’re so cheap [band aids are cheaper and easily accessible, whereas other options are more expensive and involve getting others in there to fix it completely]

        In these situations I’ve seen, it’s always that story about the boy putting his finger in the hole in the dyke. Instead of you know, fixing the failing structure. But that takes money and time and more bodies. It’s so much easier to just sacrifice someone else to the “Gods” to try for that miracle.

  8. Autumnheart*

    This company sounds like it’s crumbling under the weight of its own incompetence. And with management like that, no wonder.

    LW, you are not morally obligated to go down with the ship, especially when it was already sinking when you came on board. Enjoy your new position.

  9. Peggy*

    I can commiserate. When I left my previous position after voicing my insatisfaction with so many things for over a year, it came to my manager as a complete surprise. He tried to guilt-trip me into staying and when that failed, tried to sabotage my company internal transfer. When that also failed, he wrote me a dishonest, bad evaluation… He also told my team how I left them hanging and refused to let me hand over my tasks, so that my departure actually caused a lot of problems for them, which he happily blamed me for. So not every managers gets over it after you have left

    All I can say is: It is just a couple of weeks. Try to ignore it and look forward to what sounds like a good next job! Mine is great! :-)

    1. Kes*

      I don’t know why these bosses are always *so surprised* when people leave. I had a similar situation although my boss wasn’t malicious, just bad – I’m sure he’d give me a good reference but when I told him I was leaving he spent half an hour guilt tripping me over it, “why didn’t you talk to me about this” (um, I’ve mentioned these things I’m unhappy with in every yearly review), told me he wasn’t going to accept my resignation until my last day and was going to try and change my mind every day until then (I was relieved when shortly afterwards they went back and hired someone they had interviewed after another of my coworkers had left a bit before). Of course, new job also involved a rather higher salary which they couldn’t match, even though in fact my new salary was still somewhat underpaid for my experience.

      Fortunately, as you say, it’s only a couple of weeks and you can be bolstered by the knowledge that you’ll shortly be out of there and at your new and better job

      1. Magenta Sky*

        “told me he wasn’t going to accept my resignation until my last day and was going to try and change my mind every day until then ”

        “You know, boss, I’m not *obligated* to provide *any* notice at all. If you’re going to make this a hostile work environment until my last day, today will be my last day.”

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Yeah, especially if you’re in a “right to work (for less)” or “at will” state, you actually owe a company zero notice unless you have a written contract that gives you consideration for a fixed notice period (eg a union contract.) If they can sack you (lay off, fire) with zero notice, you can leave with the same lack of notice.

          1. Magenta Sky*

            Nit: “Right to work” and “at will” are completely different things. At will is relevant here, right to work is not. And 49 states in the US are at will, and Montana is, well, not entirely *not* at will, but sort of, from what I understand.

            So, absent a contract that says otherwise, it seems quite unlikely that most people have any obligation at all to continue to put up with that kind of childish bullying.

            1. Devil Fish*

              Montana here. Not being at will means they can’t fire you without cause after probation (if there’s no probationary period designated by the employer it defaults to a year, so they have a year to fire you for no reason). Usually they just make something up and fire you anyway because it’s not like you’re going to get a lawyer since those cost money.

      2. Massmatt*

        “”My boss stole me he wasn’t going to accept my resignation until my last day”—this seems bizarre. As though he could cover his eyes and pretend it wasn’t happening? It reminds me of a toddler covering her eyes and saying “can’t see me!” It’s cute for a toddler, crazy for an adult.

    2. CatCat*

      Fortunately, when I did an internal transfer, I didn’t get sabotaged. But my manager was Surprised. And suddenly wanted to talk about how we could fix the many Issues that I had raised in the past to try and get me to stay. Yeah, no, it is too late.

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        Yeah, I went through an internal transfer that coincided with a service award (dictated by duration at the company, not in any one role). So my transfer-out boss gave a heartfelt speech that absolutely *dripped* with enough guilt trips that, if they qualified for airmiles, would have flown me around Jupiter and back.
        Add to that my coworkers “joking” about tracking me down elsewhere in the building to ask me questions relating to the old job and yeah, it was an uncomfortable six weeks.

        I just had to remind myself that my new boss knew what was going on (she was present at the service award speech and her face was a picture!) and fully had my back in terms of setting boundaries.
        OP – this has an end date. Unless your boss is planning on kidnapping you and handcuffing you to the office radiator, you are going to be leaving. And you should have references from the job before last (where you got plenty of experience if I read your letter right).

      2. Kyrielle*

        Seriously. If you can’t or won’t fix the problems when they’re raised, then people are going to leave – and last-minute promises won’t change much for most people.

        I…actually once raised at a job that I was being payed below market rate for my years of experience with no product expertise, and I had a lot of product expertise in their product. I said I really loved my job and wanted to stay, but that those numbers were a little stark. They said they’d look into it. It resulted in a 35% increase in my salary (all at one time) after they looked into it.

        I think *I* found the unicorn there, but if someone brings an issue to you and they’re vital to you, you want to be closer to that end of handling it than the “ignore until and unless you need a counter-offer” approach.

    3. Mannheim Steamroller*

      “He also told my team how I left them hanging and refused to let me hand over my tasks, so that my departure actually caused a lot of problems for them, which he happily blamed me for.”

      In other words, he deliberately sabotaged your former coworkers (and possibly cost the company money) just to make you look bad. His boss would probably want to know that.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        I had a boss who did this when I left (she sent a nasty-gram to the AVP of my new division before my departure, which he circulated around the company like, “This woman is nuts,” and she burst into tears when I told her I was leaving, hence her nasty-gram to new hiring manager). Her manager found out what she did, and the career sabotage she did to me to block a previous internal transfer that would have kept me in their division, just on another team – that, as well as her mistreatment of a coworker with cancer, led to her demotion and transfer to a new team and manager a few months after I left.

      2. Peggy*

        Yes, I seriously considered raising this with his boss. However, having complained so much at all levels during my time there with no effect at all, I decided against any further attempts on fixing things. Sometimes it is not just your direct manager who is problematic…

    4. Beatrice*

      Oh god, that gave me nightmares. I had almost forgotten the short-term boss for the job that I left because I was overworked. She expected me to do my 60 hour a week job, AND document all of my processes, AND participate in a 15 hr/week side project during my notice period (which she had extended to 4 weeks instead of 2, because it was an internal transfer and she could do that). I generously worked 60 hours a week and got the side project, a lot of my regular job, and a smattering of documentation done, and then my new boss agreed to let me continue to do some face to face, hands-on “you better write this down because I’m only saying it once” training after I left. Then they had a crisis, that unfortunately was tangentially related to my new job, so I got loaned back to her to help (but on my terms…so all brain work and no grunt or admin work…she tried to assign me a bunch of crap and I could say no).

      She badmouthed me a LOTTTT for leaving her in the lurch. It bothered me for a while and I was worried about my reference, but she was only my manager for a few months, I had other references, and she was fired in less than a year and left the industry, so I’m fortunate that she doesn’t have any influence anymore.

  10. Witchy Human*

    This is the kind of thing that will make future departing employees give exactly two weeks notice (if that), and not even consider giving a month out of maturity and responsibility. How they’re treating you is going to have long-term consequences.

    Probably even some of the colleagues piling on right now will eventually think–hmm, best not give them extra time to guilt and torment me, even if it would make the transition easier.

    1. France*

      Oh god. I gave two weeks once. Didn’t think I was leaving on bad terms or anything. I got a call the next day saying don’t come in you’re fired. That’s fine…except you just fired the only person with access to certain databases in which you can’t get replacement passwords without my approval. Smart.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I would have ran this scenario by the employment security department. Some places would have paid you unemployment for those 2 weeks because their decision to fire you instead of accepting your resignation washes away the “But they quit” excuse. It’s a case by case, state by state, city by city kind of thing but I’d have two weeks to sit and get some balls rolling to try. Worse case they deny you and you go “oh well, I tried.” and the paperwork on their side is going to cost them money either way if they want to fight it or if they don’t fight it. I’m all for wasting the time of those who are this grossly incompetent.

        1. France*

          Yeah, my husband suggest I do the same thing (I could have filed for unemployment) but I was able to move my start date up at my new place so I had no break between the two. Worked out well but yeah that was so weird to hear.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Ah good, you had a place that was happy to move your start date. So that’s no biggie at all, I would have left them in the dust.

            This is why we always tell people start dates are flexible and if they get cut loose early to know we’re happy to have them immediately.

            They cut my notice period by a few days at my last place only they didn’t “fire” me because they’re only 99% jackholes. They also paid me out for the days despite having me leave early. So I ended up moving my start date as well and getting paid from both places for the first few days.

            1. Curmudgeon in California*

              Yeah, Several places I’ve worked will walk you to the door the day you give notice, but pay you for your notice period. That’s why I continually update docs and cross-training, because you never know a company or boss is that way until it happens. Also, it handles the “city bus”* and “lotto win”** scenarios.

              * “city bus”: What happens to your employer if you get hit by a city bus and are unable to communicate with anyone about your job?
              ** “lotto win”: What happens to your employer if you win the lotto, get a bad case of fuckitall and go flying off to Tahiti?

        2. CatCat*

          Yeah, seconding this. In my state, there’s a one week waiting period, but you’d qualify for benefits for that second week.

          This can impact the company’s UI rate owed to the state. This can be an added satisfactory cherry on top.

    2. Trout 'Waver*

      WTF? Giving a month isn’t a sign of maturity and responsibility. It varies in some industries, but nobody ought to feel less than 100% mature and 100% responsible for giving two weeks’ notice.

      1. Witchy Human*

        I definitely didn’t intend it that way! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving 2 weeks, and there are plenty of circumstances where it’s justifiable to give less. But if you could give more notice and make your departure easier for your coworkers to adapt to–which was obviously LW’s intention–it’s dumb of a workplace to make it seem like a bad idea.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        That’s a logical fallacy–suggesting that it was mature and responsible of the OP to offer so much notice does not at all mean that people who give two weeks notice cannot also be mature and responsible.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I gave three weeks notice at my last job and I was surprised that multiple people tried to talk me out of it before I did. I guess I’m retroactively very grateful to have worked at a place that I was confident would work with me to make my transition out as smooth as possible for everyone!

      1. J.B.*

        I gave close to a year’s notice at my last job (going back to school), was offered part time which was then yanked, then got asked about part time again and put off the conversation until I had another offer.

  11. AdAgencyChick*

    OP, you owe him NOTHING.

    The best you can do about the reference is to be cordial and work hard through the end of your notice period — and not one minute longer. Hopefully you have other coworkers from this organization (perhaps ones who were laid off?) who can serve as additional references to counterbalance your boss in the future.

  12. meh*

    Same thing happened to me when I left my last job, my boss screamed at me over the phone (we worked out of different cities) then gave me the silent treatment for the first week and was super passive aggressive. Just keep on thinking positive thoughts about your next opportunity!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Oh man. You scream at me and my notice is removed, I’ll walk right there. Try. Me.

      My worst boss just went into the beautiful stunned silence mode for my notice period. He knew that I was already done, so just frigging give me a reason to pull the plug on the drain.

  13. MollyG*

    Companies that underpay their employees get very little, if any sympathy from me. It is not the duty of an employee to forgo fair compensation to prop up the organization.

    1. Witchy Human*

      Or if you give his motivation the benefit of the doubt: he’s still a pessimistic crybaby who isn’t really suited to leadership. Not any better.

  14. Lora*

    OK, so as others have said, while you were an employee, you were totally vital to the organization but they couldn’t be arsed to pay you fair market wages and be extra nice to you. And now that you are leaving, *instead of* trying to counteroffer with a giant Scrooge McDuck swimming pool of gold coins and a 24/7 on call personal massage therapist and a crate of champagne delivered to your doorstep weekly or whatever – they’re just going around being unpleasant enough to work with that they’re causing insomnia? Because….they think that’s a lot better, and will totally change your mind? They figure you’ll just say, “you know what, you’re right, I don’t need an extra vacation / to pay down my student loans / some really great shoes for my birthday, I want to work at poverty wages for an uncertain future in a company that’s restructuring, can’t offer me fun projects and doesn’t have the sense to make succession plans worth a crap, until the day they decide to lay me off. You’re right, that’s a lot better.”

    Professional relationships are, by and large, transactional. That is why they are professional. Cause you get paid. That’s….sorta how this whole “work” thing goes.

    1. addiez*

      This is what I came here to say! There’s actually a very common structure in place when someone plans to leave and you don’t want them to. Many don’t recommend accepting counteroffers, but if they can’t even be bothered to try to pay you slightly more than they’re deluding themselves – the org is already insolvent if they can’t afford to pay even their best.

  15. arcya*

    Bud! If the company had decided during the restructure that they didn’t need you, you’d would have let go in an instant. Don’t feel bad about “loyalty” they would never have shown you. This is like when someone’s shitty ex tries to guilt trip them about leaving: “Oh, I don’t know what I’ll do without you…” Like that ex, the company will learn to cook / do accounting / whatever on their own like big kids. Leave! Never look back, except to occasionally look them up on Instagram and feel better about your life since getting out of there!

    1. Archaeopteryx*

      Applies to jobs, relationships, bad friendships- “ when these issues were hurting me, you didn’t want to change. But now that they’re hurting you, suddenly you want to solve the problem .”

  16. dealing with dragons*

    OP, to be brash, what if you died or were otherwise incapacitated. The company should plan for that. One of my team members tore a ligament and was out for two weeks. Luckily, we cross train as much as possible and make sure that no one is a linch pin.

    For real! you could get into an accident driving into work and be out for months! Goodness.

    1. CupcakeCounter*

      My company is working on that now – new assistant controller came on and was shocked that we had no process docs or clear backups. Truthfully there are a couple of critical operations that have no backup because the person who should be the backup refused to train on the new system. I’ve written about her here before – Little Miss Perfect.

    2. Witchy Human*

      My job always insists on backup files and cross-training with “what if you got hit by a bus?”

      (It was suggested that they start using something less gruesome, and turned into “how about ‘what if you win the lottery,” then “but if someone won the lottery, they’d still spend a little time helping us transition,” then “nope, if I won the lottery I would peace out immediately and you’d never hear from me again.”)

      1. Filosofickle*

        someone recently mentioned their office combines it into “hit by the lotterybus” which i thought was cute

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          For a while in my department it was “hit by a bus in Tahiti” after we somehow combined “hit by a bus” and “won the lottery and moved to Tahiti”.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yep, the age old “What if they were hit by a bus?” question.

      I saw what happens in real life when you don’t have backup procedures and documentation in place. It wasn’t a bus. It was dementia that locked away all that information into an invisible tower somewhere. This isn’t a Disney movie, so there’s no Prince to come rescue the Princess from that invisible castle.

      I walk into every job asking if they have procedure documentation. When the answer is “what? no…?” my response is “Okay, I’ll be creating that because I don’t want that kind of thing hanging over my head, I found out long ago I’m not immortal and I don’t want you to be lulled into any kind of false security that things can’t go sideways at a moments notice.”

      Sadly still nobody is cross trained but at least they have some scrolls to look through to figure things out if I’m abducted by aliens tonight.

      1. LolNope*

        That’s my hope too. I’m the only person who can do my job, esp since my semi-backup moved to a diff department and no one seems to know if/when her replacement will be my new backup.
        Documentation is troublesome due to a screwy finicky ever-changing software system, but I have posted what I can to our shared files. If I hopped on the lotterybus tomorrow though, thousands of people would lose access to a critical platform, and a decade of institutional knowledge would be lost.
        I try not to worry about it.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          These jabronis are lucky, I’d never quit if I won the lottery, I’m a workaholic LOL I’ll be the old lady who works through retirement God willing healthwise and such.

          But in the end, I feel fine with everything as long as I feel I’ve left enough bread crumbs along the way for them to piece them together for a good portion of the loaf in the end. I can’t worry about them much more than that. I can’t give anyone that much real estate in my head, I have other things to worry about.

          I know darn well, on a personal level, that it’s hard to find anyone who can slip into a position with JUST written documentation. I’ve done it just about my entire career and this is why people think I’m a unicorn, when I’m just a puzzle and math enthusiast. So I can just reverse engineer things myself and figure out how it all clicks. Whereas others cannot always rely on the instruction manuals when constructing things, let alone doing an entire complex job!

          1. Filosofickle*

            My SO always said he could never retire, that he couldn’t handle the idle time. And it’s true too much time has been bad for him in the past. Then, this past summer, he had 3 months between the end of his contract job and the beginning of graduate school. We nervously planned ways to keep him busy — hikes, gym, activities. He swore he’d keep getting up early out of habit. LOL! He took to summer break like a duck to water and absolutely loved it. This is great for me because I want someone to share my retirement! (I barely work half time as it is. I love my work and take it very seriously. But I need a ton of downtime.)

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              I know for a fact what I’m like when I’m not working unfortunately.

              Downtime —> depression —-> no motivation to get up —> binge watching Netflix and playing Best Fiends —> Sciatica and massive weight gain. I could have used the time to travel or whatever, I’m not suffering from lack of funds for that kind of thing. Still nah, no thanks.

              I don’t have hobbies or activities that motivate me. Money motivates me, I need to be making money.

      2. Aggretsuko*

        We have/had (technically she hasn’t quit yet, she’s stretching out her benefits as long as she can) a woman who got blinded by medical malpractice. No, we can’t get into her email, folks….

    4. Diahann Carroll*

      I’ve actually had a couple of former coworkers die suddenly in their sleep (no cause known). Luckily, they worked on teams that were adequately staffed and were trained to handle the work the departed employees handled. If they hadn’t, it would have been a disaster.

      1. Artemesia*

        I consulted with a company where a difficult employee literally had them over a barrel as he had so many of the secrets, from passwords to procedures and his own director didn’t have enough information to manage him. I immediately had her trained properly, and cross trained the staff (it was an office with uneven seasonal workload that had not figured out that everyone needed to be able to hoe in the spring and harvest in the fall; they had the hoer and the harvester who were always overloaded during their season.) A few people have unexpectedly died over the course of my career and in one case I had one day to get someone new in a role — you cannot run a competent operation without adequate access to necessary information to those who need it and some sort of backup.

      2. emmelemm*

        Yeah, I had a coworker hit by the heart attack bus last year and he took the lion’s share of institutional knowledge with him.

    5. rayray*

      I agree. I thought about this a lot at my last job. I had someone who had taken over many of my old responsibilities as I moved into New ones, and while they were similar, she’d still need to learn if I died or anything. I asked management a few times if we could cross train her and was told “Yes, we will do that at some point”. We’ll I quit before we ever got to “some point” and I am guessing she or the replacement hire probably endured some hell in getting those responsibilities taken care of- there were so many odds and ends and odd scenarios I had to deal with but management refused to let me train anyone. Their fault.

    6. RC Rascal*

      At my workplace, Mr Irreplaceable got called to federal jury duty and placed on a big case that went on for months. He had no backup & projects ground to a halt. It was a good lesson for upper management. And there is no way off federal duty.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        That’s not true.

        If it causes you an undo hardship, you can be granted release. When I was operating a business, they deemed it a hardship for me to be away for longer than 3 days at a time. You just have to jump through a ton of hoops and answer a lot of questions that have to end up “if I’m gone for longer than a few days, the place shuts down.”

        But the problem is your Mr Irreplaceable wasn’t as high up enough in the structure to win that argument, he was just shouldering a lot of work, which happens as well.

      2. blackcat*

        No, there are ways. In my direct ancestry, I have 4 lawyers and 3 judges in the past 3 generations (parents, grandparents, and great grandparents).
        I have been called for federal jury duty twice, and they find a way to get rid of me as soon as they realize I’m the relative of an appellate judge.
        A friend of mine got a deferment for being 38 weeks pregnant, then another for breastfeeding (because the court offers no breaks/room for a woman to pump, apparently), and still hasn’t served after 2.5 years from being originally called.

  17. What the What*

    Wow. This is a scene straight out of “Emotional Blackmail “ by Dr Susan Forward. Controlling…er…. “managing” people with emotional blackmail isn’t a great way to get the most out of your employees. I like how one commenter referenced “weaponiz(ing) guilt.” Very apt description. Good luck and hope your new workplace is a healthy environment where you can flourish.

    1. Massmatt*

      It’s not a great way, but given they pay below market rate and their benefit plan is inferior to a competitor, who also offers more interesting projects… well, what else they got? Guilt and fake loyalty.

  18. jamberoo*

    Hahaha. I once gave notice at a menial retail job and was pulled into a closed door ‘meeting’ where my manager berated and mocked me for “deciding to move because of a guy” (not entirely true, and also I was 22) and how the decision would blow up in my face, this guy was not worth it, I was being a silly little girl and was laying the groundwork for many more poor choices to come. This was a minimum wage position at a countrywide clothing chain.

    I’m happy to report that 15 years later I’m in a global responsibility position and am married to that guy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. jamberoo*

      Oh also she confirmed she had contacted the manager of the store in the city I was moving to and that they were expecting me — that was a lie that left me jobless for months.

        1. valentine*

          I was being a silly little girl and was laying the groundwork for many more poor choices to come.
          “I’d better get started, then.”

          she had contacted the manager of the store in the city I was moving to and that they were expecting me — that was a lie that left me jobless for months.
          She claimed to have transferred you, so you didn’t do a job search?

          She sounds jealous.

          1. jamberoo*

            She claimed to have transferred you, so you didn’t do a job search?
            – Correct. I asked about the possibility of transferring (since I was moving 400 miles away and did not have time during school to travel and job search) and she said absolutely.

            I was young and trusting (even after the lecture) and absolutely believed the store’s manager would know about me, since my current manager confirmed as much to my face.

    2. Jenny*

      I was told by my minimum wage fast food manager that going to college was a mistake. Never mind I immediately got paid more at my work study job at college and my boss there didn’t verbally abuse me.

      1. littlelizard*

        At a part-time, back-end retail gig I took during college, I tried to negotiate being scheduled right before exams (which I had brought up when being hired) and was told maybe, but that “you made a commitment to working at [store]”. I almost laughed out loud at how seriously that was phrased. The day of the shift in question I went in, went straight to the employment office, and asked for quitting paperwork.

      2. Wintermute*

        when you’re young a fast food GM seems like such a powerful position, it’s kind of silly looking back how much faith I put in their opinions of anything now that I see them from the perspective of a professional in the business world, rather than a young kid. Now you can make a decent living doing it, don’t get me wrong, I never look down on anyone for their job, but if your career capped out at 40k and five days vacation a year, you’re probably not qualified to give kids advice on “the working world out there”.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Oh yeah…those retail gigs, they so often turn into high paying careers after all. Even managers make peanuts in a lot of those places, rolling my eyes so hard.

      My boss was at least adorably cute when I moved for my partner. He tried to bribe me. “What if I give you *not a small amount of money but not a large amount of money* to stay? Can’t you just find a new boyfriend?!”

      “LOL buy me a private jet, with pilot and I’m all yours.” was my counter offer.

      1. jamberoo*

        She was a terrible wart of a person who would take every opportunity to put others down in order to make herself feel superior.

        I wore a scarf to work for a whole week because my stupid partner had given me a hickey — she went out of her way placing me at ease: asking me how much I liked him, when he was visiting again, all to build me up and watch me crumble when she finally looked me up and down and sneered, “You have NO class.”

        And that’s not even taking into account the times she refused to hire highly experienced, strong salesmanship women who were larger than a US 10 because “This is the fashion industry, and we need to reflect what our customer wants to look like” or the time she scolded a gay employee thusly: “All of you are nothing but sex-crazed maniacs!”

        I hope she’s buried somewhere.

  19. CupcakeCounter*

    Many, many, many people do exactly what you did during a restructure. When your livelihood is in limbo you don’t “owe” your employer time to figure out if they will still need you, if they can still pay you your current wage, if they are going to dump 3 people’s work on you with no end in sight. Outside of being an asshole about things, you look out for you and your best interests. I guarantee your employer isn’t going to think about your family situation when making business decisions that could have a major impact on your life.
    Its time to shut this down. Your boss has proven that no matter what you do, outside of staying, is going to change his opinion so STOP working around the clock. STOP feeling guilty about doing a very, very normal thing. And if this treatment continues, shorten your notice period and take a little you time to decompress before you start your new job. All of this is on them not you.
    I am going through something at my work as well – lots of consolidation, restructuring, and while they are being as transparent as possible, they simply don’t know the answers at this point. You bet your ass I’m looking. Due to systems issues I know I am safe for a couple of years but we’ve been informed that raises are off the table, all hiring requisitions have been halted, they aren’t going to back fill some roles, so those of us still around get to take on their work. I’ve been here long enough to know that the parent company doesn’t think things through very well and pushes things through without proper planning, training, or even notification. I know that if I leave there will be a huge hole in my department and I wouldn’t bet money on a replacement being approved. That isn’t on me – that is on the company.

    1. Artemesia*

      My daughter once knew her company was flailing due to bad management but thought she had X months because of a big project she had just started for a client; she got almost no notice her job was gone when one of the incompetent managers lost a big client and so needed to move into her client facing role in order to have work to do and so took her project – that she had landed and was doing. An unstable business can be unpredictable.

      1. LolNope*

        I worked for a company who was bought by a larger company and promised no layoffs. A coworker found out he was laid off when a larger than normal paycheck hit his account early. He was off that day, signing closing papers on a house that he wouldn’t have bought had he known he was getting laid off. The extra pay was his severance.

        1. RC Rascal*

          Just happened at my work. Business unit sold; one employee had just closed on a house & another preparing to close. Both laid off. And the one who had just closed had to come in from his moving day to find out he was laid off.

      2. CupcakeCounter*

        Luckily my company is massive and it wouldn’t go under, it would just be absorbed by the parent org. For many, many systems reasons they couldn’t just move the financials (which I “own”) from system A to system B. The current estimate is 3 years and $8 million (which means parent company will try to do it in 9 months using only internal resources).

  20. 2 Cents*

    OP, I sympathize but also wanted to suggest you do what you need for any successor, but don’t kill yourself by working OT for documentation. Because, I guarantee, you could write down absolutely every last bit of info and it’ll either be criticized as not enough or never referred to after your departure. You owe these people nothing.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      You don’t necessarily document everything for *them*, you do so for yourself, because it’s the professional thing to do.

      Professionalism has its limits, though, and one of those limits is when the company becomes abusive during the notice period. That’s grounds to just walk, and never look back.

    2. juliebulie*

      I can attest to that – I wrote everything down, printed it out on pink paper, and taped it to my old computer. For weeks after I left, I would get phone call after phone call asking what’s the password for this, how did you do that, etc. and I’d say “read the thing on the pink paper.”

      I mean, the first time, I was like, okay, they just need to be reminded to the pink papers stuck to my old computer. But after the fourth or fifth call I really started getting pissed off (and remembered all too well why I had quit in the first place).

  21. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    You need to stop allowing them to get into your head and make you feel bad. If they needed to get rid of you to save a few bucks, they wouldn’t hesitate. You did nothing wrong. In fact, I’d be sure and remind them that you gave more than the generally acceptable amount of notice when you quit, and if they’d prefer, you could walk out the door at that moment – their choice. I wouldn’t worry about the reference thing – do you really want to use your petty, vindictive manager as a reference for a future role?

  22. SuperAnon*

    Your boss is an idiot and isn’t going to change. Hold your head high and have a great future!

  23. That One Person*

    While some joking could happen IF you happen to have that kind of relationship with coworkers/superiors this sounds just…dumb. It’s like an attempted guilt trip that’s a really sad compliment if ONE PERSON was keeping the place afloat. When I left my last job there was minor jokes with people I’d worked with for years about how I was abandoning, but it was with a smile and our group’s usual sass. For the most part people were happy for me.

    I kind of wonder if some of them are just balking at having to pick up more duties to fill your void until a replacement is found, or if they’re going to become permanent duties. This could be further fueled if some of these people are job coasters and don’t like that they’ll have to put forth some actual work. This is just speculation, but really makes me wonder since it’s more than just your boss and otherwise they’re just a tight-nit group of toxic individuals.

  24. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

    When I left my last job after a lot of abuse I was told I was stabbing them in the back. One of my subordinates told everyone that would listen that I was betraying the company (probably because she was given a job beyond what she could handle and they wouldn’t do anything about it).
    I like to think of the CeeLo song “Forget You” in these situations. Leave with a smile, OP, and enjoy your new money and job. I certainly did.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      “When I left my last job after a lot of abuse I was told I was stabbing them in the back.”

      I believe my response would have been, “Good. Did I hit anything vital, or should I twist the knife a few times?”

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would have said “I wouldn’t be looking at your face right now if I was stabbing you in the back. I’m not that flexible. Stop being melodramatic, Karen.”

  25. Another HR manager*

    OP, I agree with the overall assessment from comment above. I would not lose sleep over leaving this company or the reference. However, you might be able to do some possible damage control. If your relationship with your boss was effective before this moment, it might be possible to have a bit of a heart to heart where you stress that you have “loved this job” but “need to take care of my career”. Tell them that you would like to use them as a reference in the future (and that they have been an important mentor), and then listen and see if you can discern what kind of reference to expect. Also, I am sure that other staff are sympathetic — the non vocal ones. Can one or two of them be appropriate references for you in the future?

  26. ErinFromAccounting*

    I’d probably be tempted to move up my last day, with that kind of treatment. Oh, you guys are mad that I’m leaving? I’ll get out of your hair now.

    1. Allypopx*

      Honestly I came here to say the same thing. OP if you’re getting outright abused and having anxiety about going into work every day – honestly f*** it. This bridge seems to be burned anyway. I would move your last day up to as soon as you are comfortable with the loose ends you’ve tied up, and I would also make it very, super, ABUNDANTLY clear why you’re doing so.

      1. Luna*

        Maybe go so far as to leave everything loose. Grab your stuff and take it home, then say you won’t come back. Something not done? Not your problem anymore.

  27. blink14*

    This reminds me of leaving my last job, at which I gave 2 business weeks of notice and was told I didn’t give 2 weeks. And that I would “have” to find, hire, and train my own replacement. Now I look back and think, what were they going to do, dock my pay if I didn’t find my own replacement? It was absurd. I so wanted to tell the person I hired to run away, quickly.

    1. Luna*

      I was given the paperwork and told I was being let go on a Monday. My last day of work would be that Thursday, with the Friday being an off day because of overtime and a week’s worth of vacation before the contract’s official ending date of two weeks.

      Aside from things going horribly in the hotel for those four days — like the system to check people in being slow, freezing, crashing, and generally not working — my personal care for what was going on was non-existent. At one point, I grabbed one of the little stools in the lobby and sat down, waiting for the system to work. My supervisor saw and gave me the shaking-head-and-finger-wag.

      I decided to be nice and continue to stand, but there was always that lack of care. Like, what were they gonna do? Fire me? Hahaha!

  28. Jenny*

    I can’t help but think LW is a convenient scape goat. Sounds like the place is going under anyway and instead of admitting to failed management or planning, they are foisting the blame on LW, maybe in their own minds as well.

    Don’t lose sleep. This is the job equivalent of a bad romantic saying they’ll do something drastic if you break up with them.

  29. Jen RO*

    We are in the middle of a hiring freeze and a very competent coworker just announced her resignation. It will be harder without her and we won’t be able to replace her any time soon, but what did we do? Wish her the best and hoped to stay in touch, of course, because we are not savages! OP, your boss and coworkers are terrible and you shouldn’t stress out because of them.

  30. RobotWithHumanHair*

    My last boss (in higher ed) was FURIOUS with me when I gave notice. I’d been there for 17 years and I gave him a very generous three month notice. Some bosses are just going to take it personally, I suppose.

    1. Sleepless*

      My first boss took it incredibly personally when anyone quit. He just couldn’t believe it. Why weren’t they more grateful that they had a job? I left after 11 years and gave two months notice. He fired me on the spot.

  31. Some Windex for my Glass Ceiling please*

    So let’s replace your anxiety, OP, with anger at the way boss, etc. have treated you and the fact that they allowed you to be compensated at less than the fair market rate-okay?

  32. Someone On-Line*

    As a manager this makes me so frustrated. We just lost a great employee because another organization was able to pay her more. Well, good for her! She deserves to be paid more for the excellent work she does!

    Similarly, we just hired someone and were able to pay her more than her previous employer. Her former boss is complaining that we’re paying her double for doing the same work. Well, don’t underpay your employees?

  33. RJ the Newbie*

    Do not feel guilty, LW. You are making the right move. This is completely a boss issue and nothing to do with you or your work. If anything, this validates your instinct to leave. Good luck with the new job!

  34. Tisiphone*

    Ugh! I’m sorry to hear about the guilt-tripping. When you walk out that door for the last time, don’t look back. Good riddance to walking away from the toxic waste dump that was that job. You are not responsible for their underpaying you. You are not responsible to make sure you part ways during a time of plenty. Most people do jump ship as soon as it is evident that it’s sinking – or they fear they might be cast adrift without warning and without a lifeboat. Nothing wrong with that. Loyalty goes both ways, not just from employee to employer.

    It’s easy to say, don’t stress out and not so easy to be the one trying not to stress out. (I know – I’ve had a battle with insomnia for the last few years) Take extra good care of yourself until your last day.

    Good luck in your new job!

  35. Vivianne*

    I totally empathize–I was in a very similar situation a couple of years ago. Our company sold itself to another company, and it was all over the media that there were going to be huge layoffs as part of the restructuring process. Meanwhile, the job I was hired to do (revamp the llama product line) was shelved, and I was tasked with continuing on in a menial capacity (sewing clothes for the current llama clothing product line). When my peer, another director-level employee, heard, she said she felt personally betrayed. She proceeded to give me the silent treatment for the remainder of my tenure, whereas before we were quite close, eating lunch together and meeting throughout the day as our projects took shape. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Our employees (hers and mine) struggled mightily and felt terribly guilty as they iced me out but gave me looks of friendship over the tops of our cubicles. I lost weight, felt constantly sick, and deeply dreaded every day that I made the long, painful walk to my desk. I cried every night.

    Now on the other side of the experience, I say–soon you will be on the other side of this experience, working at a place that is excited to have you and with colleagues who will value your experience and talents. On the other side of the experience, it won’t matter what this boss said or thought. In the meantime, do whatever you can to take care of your emotional well-being. Take extra-special care of yourself to balance out the problems you are facing at work.

    1. Artemesia*

      I hope if that ever happens to you again, on day two you walk out with ‘well I gave two weeks notice but since it is clear I will be harassed during those two weeks, this will be my last day.’

  36. First time commenter*

    Where was this letter earlier this year when I was in an eerily similar position?? I sympathize and relate, OP. I gave SIX WEEKS’ notice before leaving a job I’d held for a year and a half that was unfulfilling and fraught with drama at the institutional level. My direct supervisor berated me in my office (with the door open!) about how betrayed they felt and how immature my decision was.

    So from my personal experience I can assure you that they will either A) be perfectly fine without you (despite their catastrophizing, which was mostly just for show), or B) completely fall apart and recognize that they should’ve tried harder to keep you. In my case it was A, but in yours, most likely B. Either way, you have nothing to feel guilty about, for the reasons Alison already described. Best of luck in your new position.

  37. SigneL*

    I wonder what kind of world people live in when they say “we can’t function without you!” I was doing a complicated and not-well-documented job (oops) when I had a stroke. And they managed to function without me.

    1. SigneL*

      And yes, a few days after my stroke, someone wanted to visit to ask a few questions. Fortunately, my father was a doctor who enjoyed explaining in great detail why there would be no work for me for weeks.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        You win.

        I was mad and [quit after I was healed] that someone called and texted me the day of my gallbladder surgery with questions. If I were in patient for anything, my mother would have feasted on their faces and I would have been bed bound, unable to stop her. She wouldn’t even hear of my stressful friend at the time coming to visit “You’re sick. She stresses you out. Give me that phone right now and go to bed.” Cuz…mom.

    2. Curmudgeon in California*

      I had this happen to me. My boss visited me in the hospital to get an idea where I was at, then went out and did the field work that I was scheduled for himself.

  38. AKchic*

    Your boss is an abuser. Full stop.

    Look at this from a relationship perspective. You just broke up with a toxic person. Someone who made changes in their life and kicked someone else to the curb (rightly or wrongly). You, seeing the writing on the wall, decided to make some changes yourself; and now they are mad that you broke up with them. They are guilt-tripping you and using public opinion (the other staff/managers) to gang up and dogpile on you to guilt trip you into what? Coming back? Not leaving? I don’t know what the end goal is. And why? So you’ll agree that yeah, they were right to undervalue you for 18+ months? That it’s *okay* to berate, belittle and harass someone they supposedly put so much stock in (yet undervalue)?

    No. These are classic abuser tactics. Stop doing so much for them. Put in your standard work day. Start moving stuff off your plate and maybe even call them out on their ish. And openly document the bull. I’m the confrontational type who would openly record them doing it (I’m in a single-party consent state) and smile while doing it.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      Agreed. This is just emotional abuse and it’s designed to cause maximum harm. OP, if you can leave early, do so. You don’t deserve any of this. Congratulations on your new job and hope things improve soon!

  39. SassyAccountant*

    This is EXACTLY what I went through in December of last year. Starting in the fall we started losing our larger revenue streams, then we started letting people go, then the bosses and VP took pay cuts. I started looking when I was called in and threatened with part-time unless I could prove I was needed full-time. Turned out a co-worker already “went to bat” for me and this was just a “formality” I put that in quotes because basically I was made to beg for no reason. The boss’s mind was already made up. But, how long would that last? We were still losing money and employees. When I found something I gave notice and it was hell after that. People that worked with almost a decade stopped speaking to me, the bosses wouldn’t engage with me, my attempt to train anyone or show anyone anything was met with stonewalling, bad attitudes and snide remarks. In fact my one co-worker took it so personally she’s the reason a job recently wouldn’t hire me. Because that boss was best friends with her husband. So yeah unfortunately this could follow you around and you won’t get a good recommendation. Just proves you needed to leave in the first place.

  40. GreenDoor*

    It’s quite possible that your boss and colleagues also had some kind of fear/panic when the restructure happened. Sometimes when that happens, people freeze and do nothing. (My husband is worried about his company folding and despite my best nudging, has yet to update his resume or contact recruitiers or his network). I’m sure some of the negatavity is coming from them being jealous that you had the foresight to start looking and were able to find a new opportunity so quickly. Still, no excuse to berate you.

    One other option is that if things get really bad, you could always say something like, “I have done my best to work with Company since I announced my departure. But it appears that I need to move up my exit date.” And then leave sooner. No shame in that – you’re trying to be professional and they keep crapping on you.

  41. Trout 'Waver*

    Why are employers so weird about labor? If you were selling them bananas and found you could sell your bananas for twice as much elsewhere, they wouldn’t get weird about that.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Unless by selling your bananas elsewhere means they can no longer have your bananas, then they’d be mad.

      People get angry at vendors all the time, just the same way they get made at employees or clients. It’s absolutely weird.

      People take things personally when there’s nothing personal about it.

      Also lots of people have misplaced loyalty in general. They think that a business did them a “favor” by hiring them to do something and therefore you owe them the utmost loyalty and never ever would you speak poorly of them, ask for more money, ask them to pay your parking and travel expenses when you’re off-site, etc.

  42. Massmatt*

    No matter how many letters we get on this theme of bosses acting as though your leaving is a personal betrayal I am always amazed at the cognitive dissonance.

    Everyone they hire with experience is leaving a prior job, unless they were fired or laid off. Do they think “let’s look for some traitors with no loyalty to come work here”? Do they ask “So tell us why you are betraying your current company? Don’t you CARE that they can’t possibly survive without you?”

    It’s absurd. OP if the snide remarks continue I would consider moving up my last day, or threatening to. You hold all the cards here!

  43. Elbe*

    These people are the worst. I’m sure they’re upset about the LW leaving, but they need to manage their own feelings without making their future work her problem.

    I liked Alison’s advice to respond with pleasant, flippant reassurances. The LW shouldn’t feel pressured to respond to these statements as if they are accurate. I’m sure she’s a valuable worker, but I think that these people are exaggerating in order to make her feel guilty. Their goal is to try to make her feel bad, not to convey an accurate depiction of the situation.

    Salary and benefits cost money, but guilt is free. They’re trying to retain her in the cheapest way possible.

  44. Dust Bunny*

    Hell, no.

    You don’t owe them more investment than they had in you. If they wanted to keep you, they should have treated you better.

  45. baffledmouse*

    This was like my last two jobs. I got a lot of praise for my work at both of them, but they weren’t giving raises or promotions. I was at the first one for four and a half years, and they knew that the low salary was causing an issue with morale, but the purse strings were held by their headquarters in another country so there wasn’t a huge amount they could do. I was their main events person and improved processes a lot, and when I gave my two weeks notice they were shocked and upset. They said they thought I would give a month’s notice (I was essentially an admin/event assistant, it was my first job out of college) rather than two weeks, and they didn’t hold the typical farewell they did for staff.

    The second job I was at for three and a half years, and my original manager and then her successor both told me I did exemplary work and I should get a raise and promotion for my work and said as much in two annual reviews in a row. I was doing fundraising events and they all greatly surpassed their goal (not really thanks to me; mostly we got really good honorees, but I knew we weren’t hurting financially). The raise/promotion talk got stuck with my manager’s boss and their boss (despite both of them saying they didn’t know what they’d do without me), and they were hiring new people but not giving raises to people already there, which caused a lot of morale issues on the team. I left with two weeks notice again – I was an event coordinator in a nonprofit, two weeks was still standard. My manager’s boss and her boss both told other employees that “no one actually gives two weeks notice” and they had an all-team meeting (that included me) where they said “If you’re looking to leave, you should tell us – we can help you find a new role, whether it’s here or elsewhere… You shouldn’t leave on just three days notice.” They also didn’t do the typical farewell email that was sent out to all staff thanking them for their work. Others on the team saw how they handled it and are also looking to leave..

    The guilt tripping is really baffling.

  46. TheCommenterFormrlyKnownAsRUKiddingMe*

    OP your boss is a douche. Stop working so hard. He doesn’t appreciate all you are doing to make things as easy as possible for him/coworkers remaining behind. You’re out of there anyway.

    Also: “I have been very underpaid…” Good enough reason right there.

  47. Eukomos*

    Oh man, this is like a glimpse into my near future. My boss always handles people leaving the office extremely poorly, and my contract is up at the end of the year. She’s already trying to find ways to convince me to come back in January for just a little while to help train the replacement. Last person she pulled that on didn’t get out until May. Added onto that, I need to start job searching now, and if I should be so lucky as to get a job before my contract is up, I really can’t stay until the end of December, much less January and whatever else she begs for after that. I checked with HR, and they said there’s no problem with me leaving early on there end, it’s just her hurt feelings I have to salve, but that’s enough of a task.

    I’m honestly not sure what I’ll do if I get a job offer before the end of the year. I’ve toyed with the idea of asking her boss to be with us for the meeting where I give notice, because she’s been known to say really inappropriate and unprofessional things to people when they give notice, especially if they’re leaving even a week or two before she expected. Also especially to people who hold firm on a confined notice period, even if that period is as long as five weeks! There’s no way I’m giving five weeks of notice. And I’m not interested in coming back for a week in January, either. But how the hell do you navigate that conversation? If I ask her boss to come she’s going to be suspicious the instant I request the meeting. If he’s not there then it’s going to be an ugly scene. I’m kind of jealous of the girl this spring who had a good old fashioned “you can’t fire me I quit” moment, emailed her pre-prepared complaint to HR, and bounced before anyone else had even come in to the office.

    1. CatCat*

      Put in your 2 weeks notice and if your boss starts saying really inappropriate and unprofessional things, stop her from talking. Like literally hold up your hand in a “stop” signal and say, “I’m going to stop you right there. I won’t be spoken to like that. I am committed to ensuring a smooth, professional transition, which is why I am providing the standard 2 week notice. However, if you are going to speak to me that way, I will need to accelerate my time frame and today will be my last day. What do you prefer?”

      And if she doesn’t chill out and continues saying inappropriate things to you. “Okay, today is my last day.” And walk out of the room. You can call your grand boss or whoever to explain the situation. “I wanted to let you know that I just gave my two weeks notice to Cersei. However, she started verbally abusing me, I asked her to stop, and she continued. Because of her verbal abuse, I told her today would need to be my last day. I just wanted to make sure you knew what was happening and why my notice is now so short.”

      1. Eukomos*

        Thanks, I’ll see if I can manage that. She tends to cloak her poor reactions in telling other people that they’re unprofessional for…leaving a job I guess, which I suspect is in reaction to someone telling her that this kind of behavior is unprofessional in the past. She takes the stance of being convinced that all of her behavior is entirely appropriate, and hires people like me who have held few office jobs before so while we know she’s way over the line and no one else would treat us like this, it’s hard to put your finger on where exactly things went wrong. Like, she doesn’t start swearing at you, and she always speaks really loudly so it’s difficult to say “OK now it’s yelling and you need to stop.” I need to hold on to my awareness that quitting is perfectly normal and refuse to get pulled into an argument. Man, it is going to be great to get out of here. Sometimes we have meetings with people from other, normal offices and it’s such a breath of fresh air.

        1. TheCommenterFormrlyKnownAsRUKiddingMe*

          I say use CatCat’s script anyway and go ahead and tell her she’s yelling. What is she going to do…fire you? And seriously unless she physically blocks your exit, just walk away.

        2. Anono-me*

          You already have lots of good advice, and there’s a lot you can take away from the other comments on this post. I want to specifically address your concern about knowing when your boss has crossed into unprofessional territory. Think about the sweetest kindest smartest most professional person you’ve ever worked with in the world. Pretend your boss is talking to that person. If you would think your boss was wrong to talk to your unicorn co-worker that way; your boss is wrong to talk to you that way.

          1. Eukomos*

            Almost everything she says to a subordinate crosses that line, frankly. Even when she’s trying to be nice.

  48. Briar S*

    oh dang this is timely for me, I’m going through a very similar situation! Leaving a company that’s been drastically underpaying me, at a really unfortunate time, and my boss has been saying for years that I can never leave because the company would fall apart without me (trying to emotionally blackmail me into putting up with shit). And she now feels I am betraying her by leaving. I feel awful about it because of the timing, but also feel a little bit like backflipping out of the role with both middle fingers raised.

    1. Blue Horizon*

      It’s good to push back on this stuff early, and not let them frame things in those terms. For example, the first time you get the “this company would fall apart without you” comment:

      “You understand that people can choose to leave at any time with an appropriate notice period, right? Or they could get in an accident, or have a health issue, or any number of other things. It sounds like we have an unacceptable business risk because the company is relying exclusively on me for too many things. What’s our plan for managing that risk?”

      By which you mean: what’s her plan (because it’s her damn job, and she should do it!) As a manager she can put the execution of it on you if she wants (e.g., ask you to train up someone else) but the plan itself is her responsibility, and she doesn’t get to cop out and claim it’s yours.

      1. Massmatt*

        Well I wouldn’t turn such a conversation into how to replace me, I would tell them “Yes, I AM that good, and remember that when it comes time for my review!”

        Make them say it with cash (or other tangibles—more exposure, better assignments, more PTO etc. or it’s meaningless.

  49. Warm Weighty Wrists*

    OP, your first responsibility in life is to take good care of yourself, and moving on to a new job that will pay you fairly and give you more interesting work is doing exactly that! Your secondary responsibility (when it doesn’t damage the first) is to take good care of those around you–in this case making the transition when you leave as smooth as possible, and you’re doing that too. You’re doing exactly what you should do!
    The problem here is that your soon-to-be-ex-boss believes your responsibilities are reversed in priority. He believes you should take care of him and his company instead of taking care of yourself, and all his arguments are predicated on that, i.e. “You’re making my life hard” is viewed as an argument against pursuing something that’s better for you. My advice is, don’t engage with him as though his priorities are correct. The answer is [sympathetic hmmm noise/token I’m sorry to hear that] and “This is the right decision for me.” Repeat as needed.

  50. IrishMN*

    This may have already been said but: you have to do what is best for YOU!
    The reason you started looking was because you thought you might get laid off. If the company felt it was necessary, you’d have been let go without a second thought.
    If a company will fold at least in part because of one person leaving, that company was in SERIOUS trouble to begin with.
    You gave them notice. You’re trying to make the transition as smooth as possible. You owe them nothing more.

  51. Annabelle*

    My former boss and supervisor both were terrible my last two weeks.

    Supervisor refused to acknowledge my presence at all, and walked away from me when I went to shake his hand and thank him for being a good boss (there’s got to be some irony there).

    Boss (Supervisor’s boss) walked by my desk coughing “traitor” every. single. time. Which was a lot as his office was opposite my cubicle. The phrase “turncoats” was also used multiple times.

    Looking back it’s probably a combination of their personalities (awkward engineers) and being disappointed I was leaving. It hurt at the time but gives me a funny story to tell. I know it sucks now, but you’re on the way out!

    1. Mannheim Steamroller*

      I would have shortened my notice period after the first occurrence of “traitor.”

    2. Anono-me*

      No. I’m sorry. They did not act like jerks because they are awkward engineers who don’t know how to be civil. They acted like jerks because they are jerky people who happened to be engineers.

      I know too many PEs to believe that being a jerk and being an engineer have anything in common. Yes, some people who choose engineering prefer less social interaction and tend not to talk much at social gatherings. But that is very different from actively choosing to say mean things out loud.

    3. Luna*

      I would become just as passive-aggressive and petty as those guys became. The supervisor would have gotten a loud, “Well, I *was* gonna thank you for being a great boss, but now I definitely won’t”, and the boss would have gotten the line of, “I’m so sorry, did you just say something? I thought I heard you say something.” or even offer him a cough drop. They want to play passive-aggressively? Don’t try it with someone raised on how to be passive-aggressive.

    4. lasslisa*

      Well, fwiw hearing my old manager call the person who quit before me “disloyal” had the effect of making me ramp up my job search. So, the good news is that those things definitely can backfire.

  52. Jack Balfour*

    You work. They pay you. They’ve already admitted that you’re worth way more than you’re getting paid.

    I guarantee you that the company doesn’t feel any of the loyalty to you that you feel to them. If your presence there was unprofitable, they’d throw you out with a lot less guilt than you’re feeling now.

    You don’t owe anything to a for-profit business.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You don’t owe anything to a non-profit business either. If they start losing donors, you’re out the door the same as if a for-profit starts losing customers.

  53. Exhausted Trope*

    OMGeez! I’m so sorry you are going through this! Your coworkers and especially your boss are spoiled children.
    I resigned from my job recently and although my supervisor is the best (she’s sad I’m leaving and doesn’t hold it against me in the least) I asked her to keep my resignation secret because my other coworkers would behave exactly like yours. I would have heard wailing and weeping for days.
    Although I can’t offer you advice that hasn’t already been given here, but I wish you a speedy notice period and much luck in your new job!

  54. Don’t get salty*

    The very first thing you should do is stop feeling guilty about this. The second thing you should do is pat yourself on the back for finding a higher paying job. The third thing you should do is pop some champagne in celebration of getting away from an asshole boss and crew who were exploiting you.

  55. Marie*

    OP, just ask your manager and others if they’d be able to provide future references. I was nervous about leaving my last job for similar reasons and was reassured when a couple of senior people said I could rely on them for references later. Some of whom I was surprised by, given their catty dispositions (they were middle aged men, but I have 2 cats and know of what I speak).

  56. Jack V*

    Imagine you’re starting a business. People ask what your business plan is. You say, “I’m going to hire someone really amazing and ask them to work way below market rate, and base the whole business plan on them being willing to just do that forever for the sake of the company.” Does that sound sensible? Ethical? Or terrible?

    There are some managers who go above and beyond in loyalty to their employees, and even then “work underpaid for the rest of your life for their benefit” is not usually a fair recompense. These guys don’t sound like they’re reciprocating the loyalty AT ALL. WHY do they want you to be loyal? Well, it sounds like, because that’s convenient to them. That’s not very persuasive to you!

  57. Manderr*

    So this just happened to me a few months back. I was with a firm I was very happy with initially for around 4.5 years. However, during the last 2 years things went super downhill. Bonuses stopped rolling out, management of both the company and our projects became extremely poor (to the extent deliverables were sent out without having a director/ manager review or provide input which is key in our industry) and new projects were increasingly won at unrealistic timelines for super low prices just to undercut our competitors.

    Additionally, for around 90% of those 2 years, we were consistently threatened with lay-offs and whatnot at least 2-3 times per month, all while providing stellar work albeit unmanageable deadlines and scopes. Rather than get any praise, completing projects that once required 8-12 weeks in 2-4 weeks wasn’t seen as amazing by management, but rather the new norm since we managed to do it a couple times (and get severely burned out and fed up along the way!). management explained to us that “its just the way the market is now and we must do whatever the client says”.

    Fast forward to Q3 2019, I finally got an offer from a direct competitor and resigned. I thought I was doing them a favor given the incessant (almost daily at this point) threats of being laid off and what not. Instead, they actually had the audacity to get upset and guilt-trip me about and even threaten legal action (where I live, these non-compete clauses often found in employee contracts won’t be enforceable by the ministry of labor or the law, unless you are of a very high-ranking position)!!

    End of the day, do what makes you happy and pays money because if the tables were turned, they certainly wouldn’t give a crap about you and your welfare!

  58. Luna*

    They are trying to emotionally manipulate you with guilt. Don’t let them. Just strut through the office and make it appear like all this talk is pearling off of you like water from a raincoat. If they honestly thought you were so indispensible and vital to the organization, they would have taken you into a meeting and offered you any deal to have you stay, as soon as they heard you were leaving.

    These are just little toddlers whining because their toy is being taken away.

  59. animaniactoo*

    OP, I once quit a job because I had more responsibility than anyone who didn’t have a stake in the company should have had and it was starting to make me nuts. They weren’t in great shape at that point anyway to the extent that we occasionally had payroll issues, which was another sign that it was time to get the hell out. They hired 2 people to replace me. They folded within 18 months. I was given to understand by other people who had worked with them there, and before, that my leaving hastened the end of the company by about a year. I was kind of stunned and bewildered for a long time. However, my response remains the same: Nobody who didn’t have a stake in the company should be able to have that much of an impact on it. The fact that I did meant that the problems with the company were way above me, and were not my fault. Same to you.

  60. boop the first*

    Honestly, I would feel pretty great about this!

    I recently quit a job that was a lousy environment and involved being lied to by the owner on the regular. Every job I have, we start out with 3-5 people sharing a workload. Over time, those people start dropping off like flies until I am alone with the workload. Direct managers seem to like me, but I always end up underpaid and overworked. After a while, it makes me feel like I’m delusional about my own worth. I *think* I’m an excellent worker, BUT, I get paid significantly less than my equal-ranking coworkers and I stagnate forever.

    But then I quit, and when I come back for the last paycheque, there are 3-5 new people (each paid more than I was) there to take over that one workload and suddenly all is right in the world.

  61. Greg*

    I’m reminded of a famous quote that is often (mis)attributed to Charles DeGaulle, but was apparently written by Elbert Hubbard:

    “The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without.”

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