my company called my coworker’s resignation “a horrific decision”

A reader writes:

A close friend and coworker recently handed in her resignation. My work has a habit of letting that person leave for the day/sending them home on garden leave and then announcing it to the team.

But this time, when they announced it, they did the usual “we wish her well” but also said that they felt blindsided by the news and that it was the wrong decision — in fact they said it was a “horrific decision” — which I feel is quite unprofessional and makes the rest of the conversation feel disingenuous to me. I feel like it was damage control, to try and ensure that others don’t do the same, but it felt badly dealt with. What are your thoughts?

Wow, a horrific decision. Did she … bomb the building on her way out? Mow down the intern with her car? Is she a surgeon who quit her job in the middle of operating on a patient, leaving them on the operating table, pancreas in the wind? Those would be horrific decisions.

Otherwise, leaving a job is not a horrific decision. That’s true even if it puts the company in a bind, and even if it inconveniences her colleagues. Most resignations are inconvenient for the company. That’s how they go! Working around that is a normal part of doing business.

Whoever made that announcement has a serious problem with their sense of proportion.

I suspect you’re right that they’re attempting to paint leaving as a bad thing so other people don’t get any ideas about moving on themselves … but the funny thing about that is that it usually achieves the opposite, because it looks out of touch and ridiculous. And to anyone thinks about it for more than a second, if an employee’s routine resignation is “horrific” for the organization, that’s a very bad sign about the stability of the company. It’s like yelling “all your projects and jobs are in jeopardy” … which is the sort of thing that makes people more likely to look at outside options, not less.

Healthy organizations know some turnover is normal, expect people will move on, accept that it will happen at inconvenient times, and don’t panic when it does. And unsurprisingly, resignations in those organizations tend to be less disruptive — both because they’ve been incorporated into the planning and because no one is running around screaming that a terrible tragedy just befell them.

{ 199 comments… read them below }

  1. Daniel*

    Yeah, unless she pooped in the potted plant on the way out, this is about management’s insecurity more than anything.

        1. AnonForThis*

          Use the search feature to find “bad interviewers and weird candidates — unburden yourself here!” from 2013. I’ll post the link too but that might get delayed in review.

      1. Ned the Cat*

        …It seems to me, you quit your job like a pancreas in the wind….
        One extra syllable but that’s OK.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          If you sing it as “Pancras” then it fits. There are a few hymns which do this as well.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I mean, if you have someone who drops a deuce in the office (not in the bathroom), then their decision to leave should probably be considered a good one from the employer’s perspective….

      Just opining on it to the whole office at all is patently unprofessional. If you do that for even the worst employee, you’re putting everyone on notice that they may well be publicly judged, too. It’s an unnecessary, divisive, and selfish thing to do.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, and it won’t stop them from leaving. They’ll just be way more sneaky about it.

        1. Candi*

          We’ve even seen that on letters/updates/comments here:

          Person politely puts in whatever length notice.

          Boss goes ballistic, teary, whiny, screamy, whatever, and winds up shoving resignee out, refusing handovers and transitions. Sometimes they don’t get time to clean out their personal stuff, which they may or may not eventually get back.

          Everyone around them mentally goes “ohhhhkaaaayyyyy”. When they leave, they give “effective immediately” resignations, after clearing their personal stuff. The only transition/handover is maybe they left copious notes and documentation.

          3 months to 2 years later, the boss is stuck with newbie turnover and a few workers who know they’re so crappy they’ll never make it in a functioning environment. Boss wonders what happened. Unless the company is really dysfunctional or boss is the owner, boss’ higherups start eyeing their department and wondering why the numbers are so bad.

  2. Naomi*

    Blindsided, huh? Gee, I wonder why an employee might not warn those bosses she planned to leave. /s

    1. Candi*

      I’ve noticed a lot of abusive and otherwise dysfunctional bosses in AAM’s history have been told point-blank that X and Y are problems that are affecting the OP’s job. Bosses blow them off, even when told that the person cannot continue in the position unless things change.

      Then, when person resigns, they’re like “You never told me! Tell us what we can do to fix things.”

      My conclusion: Like many negative people, they only open their listening processing when they will suffer for it.

      (Not that I personally would tell them I was definitely leaving anyway. That type is usually spiteful, mean, and petty on top of everything else.)

    2. RhondaDawnAnon*

      Another mid-level manager at my last job would periodically say that she didn’t understand why nearly all entry-level employeee left the company after 2 or 3 years for higher-paying positions. When I would point out that she answered her own question (junior people left for better-paying jobs elsewhere), she would say things like “That’s selfish” or “they didn’t give us a chance.”

      It was exasperating that a person with a masters degree couldn’t grasp basic cause/effect reasoning even after the cause and effect were clearly explained to her. At least she didn’t have any control over salary bands.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Reminds me of a manager telling me that she wouldn’t be in the next day “because we’re not letting F meet the client by herself, I’ll be going with her” (when said manager didn’t even speak the languages F translated to and from, and thus couldn’t actually contribute anything to the conversation about compiling a glossary). I asked why, because I’m like that, and she said there was too much of a risk of the client trying to poach F, and the client would probably offer her more money to lure her away.
        (as if the client and F didn’t have any way of contacting each other privately should the client be thinking along those lines)

  3. Purple Cat*

    +1 about “achieving the opposite effect” about others wanting to leave.
    If my company says a resignation was a “horrific decision” I’m immediately thinking “the company doth protest too much”. And figuring out why employee was right to leave and whether or not I should be next.

    1. Mannequin*

      Exactly. This would be setting off alarm bells for me and I’d be noping out of there at the first available opportunity.

  4. TypityTypeType*

    If a routine resignation is “horrific,” what will these excitable folks say about actual problems?

    “The remodeling disruptions will be disastrous!”
    “The new parking fees are catastrophic!”
    “Our turnover is apocalyptic!”

      1. Heffalump*

        I’m reminded of the story about how the office got a new phone system and each phone had 2 fewer speed dial buttons than under the old system. Man the lifeboats!

        1. Salticus*

          That is one of my all-time favorite melt down stories. The best was all the confusion from the new employees about why they all had paper print-outs instead of using the built-in phone book.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Something like that happened at an old job. People had to click an extra button to get voice mail and you’d have thought it was the End Times.

        3. Candi*

          With all the time energy such people spend blowing a fuse, they could be having fun instead.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Some of them lead such boring lives, it’s the only way to get a bit of excitement.

      1. Danish*

        Some days I WISH that were a legitimate reaction.

        “I’ve experienced a minor setback. Time to just pack it in for the day!”

        1. ND and awkward*

          I did that the other week. I was feeling a bit unwell, though not quite unwell enough not to work from home, but then I had laptop issues. My boss is head of IT so we were on a call trying to fix it and ended up making it worse to the point that I couldn’t use any MSOffice apps (and half my job is spreadsheets). It was about 11am at that point so I jokingly asked if I could just be down as sick for the day and go back to bed. Boss said go for it, and it was wonderful.

          (My teammate dropped me off a new laptop that afternoon, but I was under instruction not to do anything with it until I felt better. I like my boss.)

        2. Dinwar*

          I have done that a few times. Slow day at work, I already had most of my hours for that pay period, little things keep adding up, screw it. The day’s a loss anyway; the only question is, is it going to be a frustrating loss where I bang my head against the problems for ten hours and get no work done, or is it going to be a fun day where I spend time with my kids and get some chores done and maybe watch a TV show and get no work done? Either way I’m just as productive; one way I’m much happier, though. Benefits of having a flexible schedule.

          On the flip side, you have days were you got 90,000 things done because holy hell there’s MORE and why is it already 6 pm it was 8 am five minutes ago….

      1. Beth*


    1. Midwestern Academic*

      These actually sound pretty accurate for some academic environments I’ve worked in. Nothing was too small to be a portent of the End of all Things.

    2. SnappinTerrapin*

      Oh, no, those are just minor inconveniences for the peons to adjust to. But they are resilient! and loyal!

      Hey, where’d everybody go? They betrayed us!

  5. Reality.Bites*

    I’m just wondering if the message was written by someone who got a Thesaurus for their last birthday.

  6. Jora Malli*

    Even if you privately think an employee putting in their notice is horrific, YOU DON’T SAY THAT IN A MEETING TO YOUR ENTIRE STAFF. This was an extreme overreaction paired with a serious lack in judgment from this company’s leadership, and if I were OP, I’d be taking it as the opening to a red flag parade.

    1. Jora Malli*

      Also. I don’t think I’ll ever stop laughing at Alison’s “pancreas in the wind” line.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        That was epic. And I’m quite sure we’ll all be using it at appropriate times in the future!

      2. Beancat*

        “Pancreas in the wind” had me rolling. It shows just how absurd it is that the company reacted to something so small with a reaction big enough for a, well, pancreas in the wind.

        1. Cheshire Grin*

          Now I have the chorus to the song “Oh Pancreas” by Heywood Banks stuck in my head. Ha!

      3. anonymous 5*

        Seems to me, you could lose your life
        With your pancreas in the wind
        Never knowing
        Who to cling to
        For your insulin…

      4. wine dude*

        Gee I went to Kansas…
        “All my glands
        Pass before my eyes, a curiosity
        Pancreas in the wind…”

      5. Trawna*

        Such good and well-warranted snark. I confess, I thought I was reading Chump Lady for a second there

      6. Pipe Organ Guy*

        “The answer, my friend,
        is pancreas in the wind.
        The answer is pancreas in the wind.”

    2. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      Yeah, like even if they were giving notice so that they could take up underwater basket weaving, you don’t say that part out loud in a meeting to your staff.

  7. anonymous73*

    They weren’t trying to do damage control, they were letting their personal feelings about how it was going to affect THEM get in the way of being gracious and professional. In fact what they did was the opposite of damage control and I wouldn’t be surprised if a group of people nope their way out now after being shown management’s true colors.

    1. Salymander*

      Yup. Management thinks it is a catastrophe and a horrible decision purely because it will inconvenience them, and to hell with any benefit the leaving employee will see from their move. I wonder if their rotten attitude will influence more employees to leave for greener pastures. Maybe after the 10th or 15th employee leaves to go to a company that doesn’t behave like this, the boss will realize how obnoxious this is. Probably not, but I suppose they could learn. Maybe.

  8. A Penguin!*

    The first time I resigned, the VP of Engineering (my grandboss) cornered me in my office – literally came in, closed the door and stood in front of it – to yell loudly at me about how it was a stupid move (for me, not the company) and I was a stupid person for considering it. I was probably only trapped there for 5-10 minutes, but it felt like a lot longer at the time. He was already part of the reason I was leaving, all this tantrum did was promote him to a bigger proportion of my reason to leave.

    In retrospect, he may have been badly reacting to the impact of my departure on the company (after some personnel cuts I was the only one who knew how to design – or more importantly troubleshoot – one of our product lines), but he made it all about me.

    That place was a great stepping-stone for my career technically, but boy could somebody write a book on the management malpractice that permeated it.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Doesn’t Alison have a story like that too, being cornered by someone? I can’t remember and may in fact be misremembering, but there’s some kernel of memory in my brain that keeps bringing it up.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Oh, thank you for corroborating my brain! I’m just dying laughing here, thinking of the boss who thinks that locking the door from the inside will prevent someone from leaving…like, that’s not how doors work, my friend.

          1. mlem*

            What it really works for, though, is to prevent anyone from coming in to intervene. Alison’s story is just *weird* since she could have let herself out, but I almost wonder if that boss learned it from someone else who also blocked the door (or remote-locked it Lauer style).

      1. Random Bystander*

        I’m guessing that it’s “only” in relation to the amount of perceived time. One minute of being hollered at might feel like five; five minutes like a half-hour; ten like an hour.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      That’s the impression I got from this.
      The speaker was stating the leaving employee was making a horrific decision. Because leaving there would be stupid. “You’ll never work in this town again!” type of crap.

    3. snarkitect*

      I resigned a job that gave me great project experience and technical skills, but where the workload was unreasonable and my manager was known to be… uh, unprofessional at times. When I resigned, he took me on a 45 minute walk through the neighborhood surrounding the office during which he tried to convince me that I was making the worst mistake of my life and no place could ever be as good as the company I was leaving. I could barely get a word in edgewise and didn’t feel like I could just walk away from him. When I returned to my desk, he immediately called another coworker to go talk to him outside, presumably to vent about my impending departure. So I wasn’t even going to get a chance to tell my coworkers on my own terms. I quickly said, “hey remember yesterday when you were wondering who would be the next to leave? It’s me and that’s what boss wants to talk to you about” and we both had a bit of a laugh about it. The same coworker quit a couple years later (I’m not entirely sure how he stuck it out as long as he did) and neither of us regretted our decision for even a minute.

      1. Goldenrod*

        Ahahahha, this is great!

        My former toxic boss was mystified when I quit, and also expressed GREAT DOUBT about my new job and said I wouldn’t like it and that it would be “too hard.” Okay, whatever, byeeeeeeee!

        1. the cat's ass*

          Same here, and hellbeast’s last words where when they accompanied my to my car, saying,”this is a terrible mistake.”

          My response? I jumped in my cute little car and said, “Not for me!”


    4. Rolly*

      “all this tantrum did was promote him to a bigger proportion of my reason to leave.”

      Dude should take this to heart: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

    5. Velocipastor*

      A friend had something similar happen when they resigned! She told her boss that part of the reason she was leaving was that she was tired of being yelled at every day because something minor (that friend had no control over) didn’t go his way. His response to this was to yell about how he doesn’t yell.

      1. Web Crawler*

        Oh no. My sister time travelled, switched genders, and became somebody’s boss. Or worse, there’s more people who yell about how they’re not yelling and don’t see the contradiction.

        1. Candi*

          And those type are yelling -it’s never loud-but-not-shouting aggressive/asserting volume. They’re shouting and screaming.

          If you let them go on long enough, they wear themselves out because they never know how to properly use their lung power.

    6. Candi*

      “We were stupid and didn’t arrange backup or failsafes, but we’re going to project it all onto you.”

  9. Critical Rolls*

    Beyond reinforcing the decision to quit, this is the type of thing that makes it impossible to take official communications seriously, even when they really should be. It’s a form of crying wolf that will make your employees think management has no sense of proportion and can’t be trusted when they describe something as an emergency.

    1. Leela*

      That’s a good point – beyond the regular morale issues and second-guessing my want to stay that I would experience, I would have a really hard time taking management’s “this is an emergency” communication seriously down the line – especially if it resulted in extra hours for me or coming in on a weekend. An employee leaving in a great job market for job seekers is hardly a “horrific” decision and the fact that they would characterize it that way would also make me question other adjectives I heard from management that came my way!

    1. Candi*

      Guacamole Bob brought the cheap ass rolls to the mandatory potluck even though his pancreas was flapping in the wind.

    1. Daniel*

      Garden leave = you’re instructed to stay away but you stay on payroll. Usually because they’re trying to enforce a non-compete clause or they are afraid you’re going to take sensitive and up-to-date internal information with you.

    2. GlitsyGus*

      I’ve mostly heard that from my UK friends. It’s essentially when you put in your notice, but for whatever reason the company doesn’t feel the need to keep you ITO during your transition period and send you home. So essentially, you’re still on the books as an employee (or you’ve been paid out in severance) but you are chilling in your garden rather than in the office.

      This is especially common in industries that have standard “you can’t work for a competitor for X months” clauses. It’s a way to let folks get through that period while still paying the rent.

      1. londonedit*

        Yep, it’s more common in industries where you might be privy to inside information about the company (like finance or banking etc) and it’s more common for senior people who might have a 6-month notice period. The idea is that the company doesn’t want you taking information with you that might be useful to a competitor, so when you resign you go on ‘gardening leave’, which means you stay at home for the duration of your notice period so that you’re not privy to any new information, and the information you did have will be six months out of date by the time you start your new job. Other industries do occasionally use gardening leave – I’ve even heard of it in publishing now and then, where people are moving to a direct competitor and they’ve been put on gardening leave so that they don’t have access to the latest information about the old company’s acquisitions and plans. I once had a boss who immediately forbade me from attending editorial meetings when I handed my notice in, and then told me that I could finish work halfway through my notice period – it wasn’t quite gardening leave, but I was going to a competitor and they weren’t very happy about it so they wanted to make sure I took as little information with me as possible.

      1. Salymander*

        Yes! I want garden leave! I have garden stuff to do, and I would like to be paid for it!

        But seriously, this boss is just ridiculous. It would be very difficult to have respect for them as a manager after that. Having an employee quit is not a sign of the apocalypse. Boss needs to chill out before everyone else gets tired of the selfish and overly dramatic management and jumps ship too. All of those doom and gloom pronouncements could end up being a self fulfilling prophecy.

    3. Ally McBeal*

      This is specific to Wall Street, but stock analysts create intellectual property for their company (i.e. research reports on stocks), so when they leave, their old firm wants to make sure that there’s no IP violations, so they require and enforce non-compete policies that usually last a couple months (a fiscal quarter is probably most common). So the analyst’s new company will often pay for that period of time when the analyst is unemployed and technically not allowed to do any work, the expectation being that the analyst will still keep their ear to the ground and start planning what they’ll do when they officially start at the new place.

    4. Candi*

      You know how in UK and some other countries you normally give 1-3 months notice instead of two weeks? Garden leave is when they have you run out your notice sitting at home instead of working at the office. You can’t start working at your new company yet (and they know that), but you spend time puttering, relaxing, or even go on a trip if you have the funds.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I think the closest we get to that in America is when a retiree uses up their vacation time for a few weeks/months before their official end date.

  10. Anon (and on and on)*

    I don’t even understand the grammar of this statement. Did the person making the announcement mean it was horrific for the company? If that’s the case, wow! Way to freak everyone out about the stability of the company and make them all want to jump ship! If they meant it was horrific for the future of the employee, talk about egotistical. It’s like an abusive partner telling someone “you’ll never find someone who’ll love you like I do” as they’re being broken up with. Yikes, way to confirm to the person why they wanted to leave! Either way, what a seriously tone-deaf thing to say to a huge group of people. Not only is it undermine the genuineness of any well-wishes they were attempting to give the person who was leaving, what a way to torpedo morale for everyone who stayed.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I am with you on this grammar point.

      I thought it meant the company was going to collapse without this person. As we know, even in mediocre companies one person’s exit should not create hardship for the company. I would have been asking if we were in danger of closing our doors.

      It’s either that or they riddled her with machine gun bullets. Way too much emotion going on there for something that is THEIR JOB to take care of.

    2. Candi*

      Another interpretation is the speaker finds it a personal affront the resignee left. Which falls into both the “abusive partner” thinking and, possibly, “overly invested” in what the resignee means to the speaker’s sense of self.

      And if the speaker means a project or more will go badly or fail without the resignee, that loops back to “jump ship”.

      There’s just no interpretation of this that looks good for the speaker and anyone that agrees with them.

  11. L.H. Puttgrass*

    I’m stuck on the word “horrific,” which means that something inspires horror. And unless people will die in rather messy and, well, horrifying ways, “horrific” is just a completely, well, horrible way to refer to someone’s voluntary departure.

    Although I was certainly horrified at the letter. Just not about the employee’s departure.

    1. Laura*

      I could think of a few resignations in my place of work which would insprire horror in anyone left behind…

        1. Laura*

          Because it would mean, for management, serious delay of important projects (and very annoyed customers), and for everyone uncounted hours of overtime. There should always be two people able to do any critical task, but, well, the company is removing “redundancies” and so there are not.

          That issue is on my mind a lot at the moment.

          1. Candi*

            Someone skipped the part of the lesson where “redundancy” is a good thing in many places.

            Management that clueless is very bad for the company. Hope you land on your feet.

  12. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    It could have been–if her parting words were “I’ll be back.” I’ll bet against it, though.

  13. SheLooksFamiliar*

    At a former employer, someone was on a PIP and decided to resign instead. On his last day, a bunch of customers were in the front lobby waiting for a new product launch meeting. He walked to the front door, paused, and mooned the lobby.

    Yep. That’s what we talked about in our meeting, not the new network interface device…

    1. Candi*

      Well, that’ll tank your reference from “had X, Y, and Z problems, but was good at herding cats and turning diamonds into drill bits” to “NOPE”.

  14. KS2*

    I’m wondering if they meant “horrible decision” instead of “horrific”. It still doesn’t look good on the company as it comes off as sour grapes but makes more sense.

    1. KayDeeAye*

      The word “horrific” has been diluted a lot in recent years – which is a shame because there are times (including Alison’s pancreas example, which I love so very much) when it is the perfect word, so I hope it doesn’t suffer the fate of, say, “awesome,” which used to mean “fills someone with awe” and now means “That’s good to hear.” So anyway, they probably did use “horrific” on purpose. They just used it very, very badly.

  15. Gracely*

    Jeez. We’ve lost several crucial people that impact our coverage (and we’re having to fight for higher ups to approve hiring replacements) but I don’t know anyone I work with, even those who are stuck working extra hours, that would say those people leaving was a “horrific decision”. Inconvenient for us? Sure. But everyone we’re losing is moving on to much better jobs/pay, and it’d be crazy not to wish them well.

    Major side-eye to whoever made that announcement at your company, OP.

    1. Jora Malli*

      I can be melodramatic sometimes, and with that comes hyperbole. I know I’ve probably detailed to my journal how upset I was about someone’s resignation making things hard for me. But even then, I don’t think I’ve gone so far as to say their decision to resign was horrific.

    2. Alexis Rosay*

      Yeah, exactly. I supervised a bunch of underpaid and overworked employees (despite my best efforts to advocate for better conditions in their role). It felt really crappy for me when I got resignations, but I cared about these people and was happy they found something better.

  16. jr*

    Gave my last employer 17 days notice. I was told this was not enough time for transition. I responded with detailed notes for each of my clients. The new assignees (yes, it took 3 people to replace me. 1 full time. 2 part time). The full timer came to me with questions on my last afternoon. I wish them well.

    1. Anonymouse*

      What ever happened to cross-training employees or the manager knowing their managee’s job?

      1. Birdie*

        bawhahahahaha. Cross-training seems very rare these days, and the number of managers I’ve had that couldn’t find their way out of a wet paper bag is absurd.

      2. BabyJabberwocky*

        I’ve begged and pleaded to be cross trained. Not only is that not happening -or any professional development for me- they are using my intermittent FMLA as the sole reason to say I’m undependable (I confirmed that my work is great while there and no other issues) and my junior was chosen to train instead and they want him to train me after he is done. “It’s not your work. It’s that you have problems and when you can get those under control and settled down you’ll get a chance to get trained. We wanted to give you a break at work.”

        1. Candi*

          I’m reading “we’re bigoted against you using FMLA and the reason why you’re using it, but we can’t say that or you could sue us and retire.”

          Hope you’re looking and find a fantastic place that judges on quality, not butt in seat.

  17. irene adler*

    A long time ago, the accountant put in her two weeks notice.
    This was a small start -up company. Like 35 people. She was a young, talented go-getter and realized quickly that she was made for a bigger and better future at some other company.

    So the CEO, when he heard she was quitting, marched into her office and told her she was stupid for quitting.
    He begged her to stay. Nope!

    On her last day we held a special luncheon for her.

    The CEO gets up to make a speech.
    “Let’s all describe the most embarrassing moment we’ve ever had with Christine!,” he said.

    No one said a thing.

  18. quill*

    If she didn’t even quit with cod this email composer’s sense of proportion is extremely fishy.

  19. Calamity Janine*

    “pancreas in the wind” is not a phrase i expected to read today, but i’m glad i did

    1. H.C.*

      Same – and wondering how I can repurpose that for myself.

      “Oh, no dessert for me today, all that sugar will put my pancreas in the wind…”

  20. Ursula*

    Is it just me, or is the letter writer saying they put this person on garden leave while simultaneously saying that they will be lost without them? WHY DID YOU PUT THEM ON GARDEN LEAVE THEN?

    1. Leenie*

      I’m pretty sure LW was saying that they make a practice of giving people two week’s garden leave in lieu of having the resigned employees work out their notice. So just noting that it’s normal not to see coworkers after the day they resign.

  21. Red5*

    Can I just say that I hope the phrase “pancreas in the wind” sticks around this site and takes it’s place amongst legends such as “cheap ass rolls” and “guacamole Bob”?

  22. Susan Ivanova*

    “all your projects and jobs are in jeopardy”

    Or “only you can protect your job” when the question was “what are you doing about all the people who are leaving?”

    1. Candi*

      Was that second line a letter? I think that second line came from a letter on here. And did not inspire confidence.

  23. Elenna*

    They felt blindsided, eh? Well, pushing people out of the office and simultaneously calling their decision to leave “horrific” is not exactly the kind of behaviour that will encourage other people to be open with their plans to leave… just saying…

    (Not that anyone needs to, or even necessarily should, be open about planning to leave regardless of how management has reacted to resignations in the past. But behaviour like this definitely does not help.)

  24. Beth*

    Ah, the Four Horsemen of the New Apocalypse: Death, War, Plague, and Employee Resignations.

    1. Dasein9*

      Lol! Pretty sure the Horsemen were aiming for employees resignED to their circumstances, not resignING from them.

    2. OrigCassandra*

      I almost wish Gaiman had thought of that one for the Good Omens TV series… it fits really quite extraordinarily well…

  25. Em*

    I used to work for a company that acted like this whenever people left. Coupled with piling impossible amounts of work on the people staying, and telling us “We’re so sorry we’ll need you all to stay late to take care of all this, but since so-and-so left we’ll need you all to work extra hard to get everything done.” And of course, with the constant turnover due to the place being so toxic, there was always someone who had just left and it was always apocalyptic.

    Management never could figure out why turnover was so high. They were convinced it was a great place to work. They were constantly sending out surveys, and several of us were willing to be completely honest about being overworked, underpaid, and generally unappreciated. Management concluded that we were all ungrateful and impossible to please, and also that anyone who left was stupid and would never be able to find a better job anywhere else. Those of us who left for higher salaries and better working conditions were, of course, all lying.

    Sorry, I just typed out this whole vent and realized it’s only barely related to the point. But anyway, screw your company’s management, OP. They are being absurd and sending the exact opposite of the message they intend.

    1. Candi*

      Eh, I think it’s well related to the point.

      People leave.

      Management acts like jerks and tries to badmouth the leavers.

      Current workers aren’t buying it and leave in their turn.

      OP’s letter just hasn’t reached step three yet.

    2. The only Game in Town*

      They were convinced it was “A great place to work”. Flashback. I once worked for a large organization where the professionals were excellent but the administration was an absolute nightmare. Treated department support staff horribly and could not get out their own WAY. Amazing talent left the company because of management issues.

  26. Birdie*

    Oooh, was this submitted by a former co-worker of mine? My boss lost her freaking mind when I resigned last month. Not to me, mind you (she just ignored me completely for my 3 week notice period), but to everyone else. And because my former office had a hardest working gossip mill I’ve ever encountered, I promptly heard from everyone else about how my decision “blindsided” her, “came out of nowhere,” and many more reactions along those lines.

    The thing is….I had spent months saying I was feeling burned out, overworked, taken advantage of, ignored, belittled. And because of the aforementioned gossip mill, I know at least 3 other people had gone to boss and said “Birdie is going to leave if you don’t address these problems on you team.” But, sure, she’s caught off guard, I’m leaving her in a lurch, how could I do this to her, blah blah blah.

    Her reaction has caused at least two other employees to reach out to me since I left to plot out their own exit strategies. We all knew things were dysfunctional, but my departure really brought it out into the sunlight and it’s ain’t pretty.

    1. Please Mark This Confidential and Leave It Lying Around*

      Oh my are we former colleagues? I have a grand boss who flounces around in a snit, taking it very personally when someone leaves. She very much frames it as you having a better opportunity AT her. She treats it very much like a break-up, not a business event, and it’s very uncomfortable.

  27. Tristan*

    “Is she a surgeon who quit her job in the middle of operating on a patient, leaving them on the operating table, pancreas in the wind?”

    Truly amazing image, made my day! Thanks Allison :)

  28. I just work here*

    love the phrase “garden leave.” I’d like to get some garden leave to work in my garden….

    1. Pipe Organ Guy*

      “Garden leave”: what’s the equivalent in U.S. English? Inquiring minds want to know what this felicitous turn of phrase means!

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        I don’t think that we have one, because most employers over here will either let a person work out their notice or let them go on the spot.

        Based on earlier postings, it means getting paid for your notice period, but not coming into work.

        I like the thought.

      2. Sad Desk Salad*

        There is none! Americans don’t believe in leave! You work until you die, and thank your employer for the opportunity to do so.

      3. Kevin Sours*

        The phrase I’ve generally heard on this side is “payment in lieu of notice”, which frequently actually takes the same legal form (you’re technically employed but don’t have assigned duties and have been asked to not come in to work). The time it happened to my wife they reserved the right to call her back in if they wanted her to work.

      4. I AM a Lawyer*

        We call it “administrative leave” and let them stay on leave during their notice period. It’s very rare and only if there’s a need to cut off access to information, documents, or the building. Otherwise, we let people work out their notice period.

  29. Lobsterman*

    Sounds like this is another good candidate for zero notice resignation, when the time comes.

  30. Apple Townes*

    About 10 years ago I resigned from a job and my (terrible) boss actually called up the mutual acquaintance who had referred me for the position, informed her that I had given notice, and insisted that I was making a huge mistake. My former colleague was like “okay, well, she’s an adult so…what do you want me to do?” Nothing like a heaping dose of validation that getting out was the right call!

  31. Momma Bear*

    This is why I’m not upset about form emails that so and so is no longer employed by ABC company and should be treated as a visitor going forward. Simple. Generic.

  32. I AM a Lawyer*

    When I left my last job, I had multiple higher ups do things like cry or say my resignation demonstrated a failure on their part. I was like, “it’s part of business, and I’m completely replaceable.” Luckily, as far as I know, they didn’t say/do these things in front of anyone else.

  33. kiki*

    I feel like how an employer handles departures is actually one of the best indicators of the health and/or toxicity of the workplace. When I started my last job, I was a little weirded out that a departing employee was kind of “disappeared.” One day he was there, talking about plans for next week, the next day he was gone with no leadership or management mentioning it to other people. It was a small company and the departing employee had a job that directly interfaced with a lot of people. It was *so* weird. And then it happened again a month or two later with a different employee. It was only later that I saw more closely what a mess leadership and management were– they genuinely thought disappearing folks and never mentioning them again was a solid strategy. And that it would minimize how much other employees noticed departures and make them less nervous about turnover. Ummmm, no, it only made us think that one day we might all mysteriously disappear.

  34. Fikly*

    Yeah, you know how you keep a valued employee? By demonstrating to them in very tangible ways that they are valued. Funny how the adjectives used to describe departing employees are almost always more accurately applied to the company and management, rather than the departing employee.

  35. TheSüperflüoüsUmlaüt*

    Ah, this reminds me of when I left and OldJob some years back (large-ish, legal-ish kind of professional firm, which I had been with well over a decade in total – I resigned to take up a similar position in a rival firm, just wanting a change and fresh environment). I was given the usual Friday afternoon “everyone meet in the boardroom to give TheSüperflüoüsUmlaüt her pressie and warm send-off” experience, and everyone (including my direct boss/attorney) was quite lovely to me. Yes, I may even have become a little teary by the end. My emotions hardened up however when one of the other attorney partners came up to me, shook his head, and patronisingly informed me what a “stupid little girl” I was for leaving. Yep, that’s how you get experienced staff to want to stay and work for you…

    1. Candi*

      In my opinion, unless the law firm is one where non-legal people fall down in reverence when they hear the name or the names of the partners, or is one of the misogynistic good old boy law firms that still thinks it’s the 1950s where women are concerned, law firms can be pretty interchangeable when it comes to career advancement.

      1. TheSüperflüoüsUmlaüt*

        The attitudes in StupidGirlOldJob v the two firms I’ve worked in since (the one I was poached away from StupidGirlOldJob with, and my current one) are *very* different, culturally speaking, so they’re not at all interchangeable. Thank goodness! I regularly overhear my current boss on the phone with clients, telling them what rockstars he has on staff – or sometimes he just tells us directly. Feeling appreciated makes all the difference when it comes to staff loyalty.

  36. Waving not Drowning*

    I went to a small farewell afternoon tea for a former team mate (I’d already jumped ship from the Team because of *issues*), and the manager was complaining (at the afternoon tea!) that this person leaving had left them in a complete bind staffing wise.

    They only got around to replacing my position 7 months after I left (they replaced my full time position with a part time one, and, downgraded the role at a lower pay rate/level), and its a new recruit with no experience.

    I’m cringing, thinking THIS is one of the reasons why she’s left! The staffing bind is of their own making!!

  37. sammmmmmmmmmm*

    This sounds similar to my last boss who while announcing my departure in our team meeting (2 weeks after I gave it, 3 days before I left) “Samm is leaving to start her own business (I had been successfully running the business for 2 years at that point and the entire team, but him knew about it). While I do wish her luck, I just want to say I hope it’s not a decision you regret, the statistics of small businesses surviving one year are near impossible and I don’t know if you have the drive or ability. You still have a few days to change your mind”.

    It’s one meeting I’m so glad I took my cellphone out and recorded everyone’s reaction, because I was dying laughing, everyone’s faces were shocked.

    HR called me a few weeks later to discuss the meeting (someone tipped them off) and ask if I wanted to file a personal complaint, I forwarded the video I took on my phone and said that should be all you need.

  38. Irish Teacher.*

    This sounds a little like the lecturer I had at college who declared we were “very foolish” (imagine a tone of voice you would expect Umbridge to us) not to do her course in 2nd year, but she supposed we did other things, then proceeded to refer to the alternative option rather disparagingly and in borderline racist terms. OK, the last part goes beyond what was done in the LW’s workplace, but…well, you can see the reasons we didn’t take her course and I’m wondering if there might be good reason why somebody might leave the LW’s workplace too. Of course, even a perfect workplace will have people who leave for various reasons, but…I am wondering if this is the only unprofessional thing this company has done. It’s such a bizarre way to announce a departure that I would expect there to be other red flags.

  39. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

    I mean… I might privately say that my coworker who resigned to “focus all her positive energies and thoughts” on the MLM she’d joined five weeks before made a horrific decision, and told them the same to their face, but I certainly wouldn’t put it in the announcement of their resignation.

    1. Candi*

      I’ll agree it was a bad decision, but it’s definitely something you let people conclude on their own -you’re right you don’t say it at a public announcement!

  40. Accidental Manager*

    Oh my. ‘Pancreas in the wind’ is just offering too many visuals for me today. Thank you!

  41. Pancreas in the Wind*

    At OldJob there was an Office Pooper who left a present on the carpet on his last day. Interesting person. He also liked to drink other people’s salad dressing straight from the bottle.

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