my boss is handling my resignation badly

A reader writes:

I’ve been working for a consulting company for three years. I am the most senior person on my team after my boss, who founded the company. Over the last three years, I have lost count of the number of people who have been hired and left in less than a year. Expectations are high and the deadlines are nigh impossible — which leads to most people working lots of (unpaid) overtime on nights and weekends and high degrees of burnout. Last year, one person who quit sent an email to the entire company (60+ people) airing her grievances about lower salaries and internal ethics. Two months ago, two people quit on the same day. This is only a small fraction of the drama — which comes primarily from the directors — that we experience on a daily basis. Needless to say, it’s been a very draining atmosphere to work in and it has significantly impacted my mental and physical health. I was trying to make it through the end of my current contract, but after I was not paid by my company for over three months and witnessed a new coworker be bullied to the point of quitting, I decided that I needed to seriously look for new work.

After a few months of searching, I landed a new job and am very excited! I gave my notice two weeks ago. We have a very long notice period (two months) so I gave my boss — let’s call her Sally — nine weeks of notice. She has had a rocky relationship with most other staff members, but for some reason we have cultivated a good working relationship (although I would say she is still abusive). I was honestly expecting the worst when I quit, as I know she has tried to refuse other colleagues’ resignations, but my resignation was received well. We have already hired my replacement and I’ve been working on training her, wrapping things up, and continuing to manage certain projects until my departure.

However, this week, there has been a noticeable shift in Sally’s behavior towards me. She has started piling additional work onto my plate, outside of what we agreed upon in my handover note (in which I outlined key tasks I would complete). Today, she admonished me for the quality of my work, saying that she had felt a dip in recent months and now understood why (i.e., because I was job hunting / wanted to leave) and that she expected I would continue to give 100% and think about my legacy at the company. I will admit that I have started to withdraw from internal conversations on team-building and morale, so perhaps that is where this comment came from. However, I also think my priority should be training my replacement and wrapping things up as much as possible in the next few weeks.

I did not engage with her comment. Later she sent another very long message about how she understands it’s normal to switch off to some extent once you land a new job, but my attitude was impacting team spirit and her own workload (I guess it’s not her recent demands that all staff work unpaid overtime or witch hunts punishing staff members for not doing a task correctly). She then went on a lengthy rant calling me and other coworkers robots. I did not engage and answered very noncommittally that we would finish our collaboration “strong.” But if these sorts of comments continue, I am unsure about how to respond to them, as they are quite emotional and very draining to receive. I would like to finish up my time at my current position well and on a positive note, but how do I navigate my last few weeks (if this is even possible) with these sort of comments?

Given how you’ve described the management in your organization — and your boss specifically — it’s no surprise that Sally is handling your resignation in a ridiculous fashion. It’s almost a hallmark of poorly run companies that people are mistreated during their notice periods, and yours is no exception.

But first let’s talk about the length of your notice period, because nine weeks is a really long time! In most jobs, two weeks notice is typical. There are jobs and fields where the convention is to give more, and perhaps you’re in one … though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is just one more weird thing your dysfunctional company demands for no real reason. And to be clear, nearly all employers would like lengthy notice periods, but it’s not generally a practice expected in the U.S. outside of some very specific circumstances, like if you have a contract that requires it. (And if you do have a contract that requires it … well, I’m pretty sure your employer already violated that contract when they stopped paying you for three months. You would have been entirely justified in leaving with no notice when that happened.)

So my first piece of advice is to revisit whether you really need to stick to the nine weeks you’ve offered. You might feel like you’re locked in now that you’ve offered it, but you’re not. At any point you can say, “Unfortunately my circumstances have changed and I will need my last day to be [earlier date].” You can also tie that directly to how your manager is treating you, if you’d like to: “I’m happy to spend my remaining time training my replacement and wrapping up projects, but I’m not willing to [insert whatever you’re not willing to tolerate here]. If that doesn’t work on your end, let’s plan to make my last day this Friday.”

But if you’d strongly prefer to work out the full nine weeks you’ve offered, you can still do that on your own terms. You can set limits on how much work you’re willing to do during your remaining time and say, “I only have time to complete X or Y before I go. Which would you prefer I do?” If your boss keeps piling work on you and tells you to get it all done, you can (and should) decline to work unpaid overtime to finish it all and can simply say, “This is more than I’ll be able to finish during my remaining time. I’ll do what I can in my normal work hours, but I want to make sure you know I won’t have enough time for all of it.” If your boss demands you stay late or work over the weekends, you should calmly say, “I’m not able to do that. I’ll keep you posted on how much I’m able to do during my normal hours, though.” After all, you’re leaving! They don’t have much leverage over you at this point (and if you find yourself losing sight of that, remind yourself that you could leave tomorrow if you chose to; whatever time you give them at this point is optional).

You should also decline to answer any accusations about your commitment or other emotional missives from your manager. If Sally tells you she thinks you’re not giving 100 percent, you can ignore that … or if you must respond, you can blandly say, “Hmmm, I don’t see it that way. I’m committed to wrapping up what I can in my remaining time,” and then pivot to a work question. If she sends you lengthy messages about team spirit or her own workload, you can ignore those.

Right now I think you’re getting too emotionally engaged in the things Sally is saying to you. That’s understandable, because this is someone who has played a major role in your professional misery for the last few years. But you’re leaving! Her power over you is ending. You no longer need to be invested in how she feels or what she thinks or says. If anything, you should see her hectoring as validation of your decision to leave; every time she approaches you with this stuff, tell yourself, “Yep, here’s the reason I’m getting out.” I think that will help you disconnect from caring — because you really don’t need to anymore.

Read an update to this letter

Originally published at New York Magazine.

{ 194 comments… read them below }

  1. Chairman of the Bored*

    Sally has no leverage and deserves nothing.

    I recommend LW ignore her and going on cruise control for the remainder of her time at this company.

    Or (if possible) just stop working there and enjoy a few weeks off before starting the new job.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, this.

      You’re on your way out, OP, and Sally has piled on more than you agreed to do and is now abusing you. And she’s abusing you because you are leaving and she knows she won’t have to be accountable–she’s not actually sorry to see you go.

    2. Momma Bear*

      I’d tell Sally that in light of her comments and the fact that a new hire has been found, I will be leaving after the required 8 weeks vs 9 and my last day will now be x. In the meantime, you will be doing the agreed on things to facilitate your exit.

      LW may want to train the new hire well, but this place is full of bees and they owe the company nothing extra. Sally has a history of not taking resignations well, and seems like this was just a delayed reaction to same.

      1. Danielle K.*

        agree completely! You can even shorten the notice too – in light of…

        They didn’t pay you for 3 months!!!

        1. Petty Patty*

          I read that as she wasn’t paid by the company she was consulting for, not this company? I’m not sure how it works when you work for a consulting company.

          1. Petty Patty*

            Also, I feel like LW must be in the UK, to explain the required long notice time.

            1. Clisby*

              Or at least, not in the US. I don’t know what the OP means by this “very long notice period”, but that’s pretty much unheard of in the US. At least, for lower-level employees. I guess (no experience of this) there might be higher expectations of someone at the director/CEO level. I (in US) have never heard of a notice period this long.

              1. Nebula*

                Not the UK, two months would be a pretty short notice period for a senior person here.

              2. Sewbabe*

                My former employer (in the US) required two months notice. I was a pension/401k administrator in a small consulting firm with lots of client contact. I held much of the institutional history, technical and communications expertise (not that I was paid like it).

          2. coffee*

            Consultants working for a company are paid by their consulting firm. The company pays the consulting firm, not the consultant.

            In this case, the LW is a consultant who wasn’t paid for three months by the consulting company she’s employed by. Which is atrocious! I was reading along like “Not sure you’re being paid enough for this” and then she’s not being paid at all?!

            1. I have RBF*

              Yeah, I would be out of there the first time I wasn’t paid on schedule. Notice, schmotice. If they can’t pay my contracting agency’s invoices, then I’m not going to stick around. I would leave, sans notice, and apply for unemployment citing the fact that they stopped paying me!

              I sure as hell wouldn’t stick around for three months unpaid, working extra time, and then giving them two more months notice.

              My recommendation is that the next time Sally gives you crap, down tools and walk, with: “I haven’t been paid in months. I’m only still working here as a courtesy to you. Since you are no longer courteous to me, as evidenced by (cite examples), I am done. Good bye.”

              If they expect over 40 hours a week, and they don’t pay you even for 40 hours, you need to leave now, they are using you as slave labor (slaves are not paid.)

              Repeat after me: “My boss doesn’t own me.”

      2. Elio*

        Ever heard of the 13th Ammendment? Lawyer up and sue them for not paying you. This woman is going to bad-mouth you to everyone in the industry for leaving this abusive work relationship, if she hasn’t already.

  2. ZSD*

    “[W]e have cultivated a good working relationship (although I would say she is still abusive).”
    This statement is self-contradictory. At the time they wrote this letter, the OP clearly had been warped into accepting a terrible work environment as fairly normal.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, LW, please do a quick online search for “Stockholm Syndrome.” I think you’ll find it applies to your situation with Sally.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        Off topic but I heard a story recently about how Stockholm Syndrome is an invented concept that occurred when hostages were being treated well by their captors and the police were handling it terribly. Someone later disregarded people’s [ahem, women’s] reports about what happened and instead created the theory of Stockholm Syndrome. It is however, true, that people normalize abuse.

        1. Mrs. Badcrumble*

          The podcast Criminal has an interview with one of the criminals involved in the Stockholm Syndrome incident. It’s a fascinating listen.

          1. Relentlessly Socratic*

            They did it on You’re Wrong About, too.
            *tips hat to Mrs. Badcrumble’s user name*
            *off to discover a new-to-me podcast*

        2. Caroline*

          Sure, but how to explain that being treated well by *someone who has you hostage* makes it somehow no biggie and not really a problem?

      1. Smithy*

        While that’s possibly true – I also think it can be part of the problems that a problematic workplace cultivates. Essentially thinking like “All the Sr. Llama Groomers are unprofessional shouters, but I’m fine because they like me.”

        It’s all part of that thinking where all roads lead back to ZSD’s original comment. If all the Sr. Llama Groomers are allowed to behave that way, while they might be ok to you now – the opportunity for that to change will always be there – because they’re allowed to behave unprofessionally. Today they’re mean to reception, tomorrow it’ll be accounting.

        That all being said, long notices in places where it’s not standard, have the chance to go strange. And if you’ve already trained your replacement, there may be a feeling that you’ve now stayed too long? Either way, I once gave a three month notice, and while it was 100% weird – it was also 100% to my benefit. I was leaving the country, I really needed that extra time to pack up/get myself organized, etc. So it was a lot easier to take that weirdness as part of something that helped me out as opposed to something I thought I thought I was doing to help them out.

        1. Mister_L*

          I think it could be the opposite: Sally realized that the replacement might not work out as well as she thought and now she is thowing a tantrum.

    2. There You Are*

      I don’t know. I’ve worked places with horribly toxic managers but, thanks to my abusive childhood, knew how to dance around their issues and stay on their good side. And I did that full well knowing they were abusive glassbowls and that I’d need to get out sooner rather than later.

      So I think OP’s assessment of Sally (abusive) can still fit with OP’s description of the two of them having a good working relationship, without OP believing that Sally’s behavior and/or that work environment is normal.

      1. Meep*

        +1 I have dealt with Sallys. All that matters if she likes you in that moment. You can acknowledge she is horrible to other people why being able to work with her knowing she will eventually be horrible to you so long as you aren’t on her bad side.

      2. bamcheeks*

        But if you’re “dancing around to stay on their good side”, that’s not a good working relationship. A good working relationship is one where you don’t have to do that.

        Thinking that “as long as I [do the thing nobody should have to do at work], she doesn’t actively shout at me” = a good working relationship is the problem here.

        1. Project Management Princess*

          having to tip-toe around abusers is still being under their abuse, just a different facade.

        2. Ellie*

          I’ve had a good working relationship with some absolute psychos, because of my position as a younger female who they were likely attracted to. Of course I got out as soon as I could, but it happens.

      3. Letter Writer*

        LW here – I have known for quite sometime my workplace is not normal by any sense! I am currently working with a therapist as well as I know I learned some bad tactics to survive in this insane environment that I do not want to replicate in my new workplace. I am really looking forward to being done!

      4. Letter Writer*

        Hi, LW here! I am aware (and have been) that my workplace is not normal for a long time – I was trying to stick it out because I did like the actual work, but it’s increasingly become managing my boss’ erratic behavior and the abuse has become much worse. I have been able to avoid most of my boss’ abuse and have been able to shut her down several time successfully, but I did suspect once I gave notice that she would completely turn on me (as in her mind, quitting for a new job is unforgivable). I should also mention that I wrote myself a script when I quit and have not told anyone at my company where I’m going – as I do not trust her to not try to sabotage my new job. I know she has contacted employers previously of former coworkers – luckily nothing came of it, but you never know.

        1. Caroline*

          Re the ”not being paid for 3 months” was that rectified?

          Because if it wasn’t, may I suggest legal action?

          1. I have RBF*


            If they are not paying your agency invoices, and that agency is not paying you, you don’t have a job; you are a volunteer or an abuse victim who is not yet able to leave.

            Who can afford to not be paid for three months? I would be seriously hurting, not making my bills, etc. I would have walked at the second missed paycheck, under the theory that once is chance, twice is a pattern, but three times is enemy action. I also would be contacting whatever agency regulated wage and hours to report wage theft.

    3. Meep*

      I have been where OP was, high turnover and all. Ignoring the red flags because I thought Sally meant well deep down and she seemed to go after people who were bad employees so it was justified. I could admit she went too strong, often abusive, and decreased morale more, but it was easier to stick my head in the sand because Sally was nice to me and I saw what happened when Sally didn’t like you. Then Sally turned on me because there was no one else to bully. I wasn’t surprised. Sally told me the first day we met that she would destroy anyone who got in her way. (Our second conversation was a diatribe of her trashing her adoptive daughter.) But sometimes you have to normalize abuse to get through it. Until you cannot.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        Yep, I’ve worked for two people like that. They’d cycle people in and out of the group they were nice to, and if you ended up on the outside of that group – often for no discernable reason – they were vile to you.

    4. Mockingjay*

      I think you just become numb so you can get through the day. That was my experience at ExToxicJob.

      1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        The often thought of “flight or fight” response set to terrible situations has been expanded to include two more typical reactions: fight, flight, plus freeze (become numb and avoid attracting attention), and fawn: butter up the abuser, try to meet or exceed their demands, try to anticipate what they’ll want, and hope that you don’t get targeted because you know what happens to their targets.

    5. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I read this as the boss sucks and is abusive, but seems to like the LW.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      The whole letter is a masterful example of how we can normalize anything.

      OP, is the company thinking about how best to craft its legacy with you? No? Then this legacy stuff is not something they actually care about, it’s just a plea to double the unpaid overtime on your way out.

      1. NeedRain47*

        I read the “legacy” comment as “Placate me or I am going to badmouth you when you’re gone” type threat, but I suspect Sally’s gonna do that no matter what LW does from here out.

        1. Project Management Princess*

          I would have burst out laughing with that “legacy” manipulation, but I have been far away from my abuser (hi mom!) for a while and now I can laugh it off.

          Also, having a good legacy in such a dysfunctional place? what for? so other employees can be gaslighted that you did well in that clusterfuck? Nah.

          1. Letter Writer*

            LW here – I also read the legacy as a veiled threat but it did also make me laugh because the company is such a chaotic mess I do not want my name associated with it after I leave!

        2. kiki*

          Yeah, LW could have done an excellent job with their transition, but as soon as any issue is found (even if it’s something LW could not possibly have handled), I expect LW will be badmouthed by Sally.

          I saw that all the time in my old, dysfunctional company. An employee who had done a great job for years would leave and then all of a sudden folks would be “uncovering what a bad job they actually did.” I know that’s a thing that could theoretically happen, but it happened to too many different employees at my old company and it was pretty apparent that was actually happening is that limitations of the work that the company had been warned about by the departing employee would resurface. And instead of recognizing that the remaining higher-ups had made the decision to put that limitation aside until it became urgent, the departed employee was blamed for “doing a bad job.”

          1. Letter Writer*

            LW here – I’ve seen this happen often at my current company and fully expect it to happen once I leave as well. It’s a way for toxic and abusive bosses to abscond themselves of any blame and shift it onto former employees as they are easy targets! Luckily I’m moving countries and going into a more specialized part of my field where my current boss has zero influence.

  3. Rick Tq*

    Unpaid for 3 months???? That was your notice period, I don’t care what the country standard is. OP, walk away on Friday and good riddance to them. If you want to highlight why you are cutting your notice period short CC both your CEO and HR on every response to Sally’s abuse.

    1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      Yeah, “started looking” after three months of being unpaid is an under-reaction. I would have started after one or two pay cycles.

      1. Meep*

        Seriously. I was tol I would not be paid once because my Sally royally screwed up pay roll and hadn’t billed properly. I said “That’s ok. I will just look for another job until you can pay me consistently”. She found the money within 15 minutes!

        1. CommanderBanana*

          ^^ GOOD.

          Remember that manager who wrote in all miffed because their employee’s pay had been screwed up twice?

        2. Shishito*

          I did the same! My boss couldn’t pay me $8000 in wages because his clients owed him money, so I told him I wouldn’t work another hour until he gave me the money he owed me. I stopped working. A cheque arrived on my doorstep a few hours later. I’m ashamed to say I continued working for him but he’s consistently paid me since then.

      2. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Especially as OP describes themself as very senior. So OP should know whether the lack of pay was due to:
        (a) insufficient cash flow
        (b) broken/incompetent payroll & accounts payable
        (c) deliberate malfeasance as a ‘strategy’ of some sort

        Any one of those is a reason to bail, regardless of whether OP was the one who was shorted salary or some other employee.

        1. Antilles*

          You’re right that all of those options are bad, but it’s not necessarily true that OP would know that. Two possibilities come to mind:
          1.) A 60-person company is still small enough that the CEO/founder could potentially work directly with the accounting staff and handle a lot of the budgeting themselves.
          2.) OP says “I am the most senior besides the founder” but only in the sense that OP has been there the longest – because the place is such a mess that everybody else sprints out the door after 6-12 months rather than OP sticking around for three years.

        2. I have RBF*


          Plus, the LW is working through a contract agency! No pay means that they haven’t paid the agency’s invoice – which means financial trouble or strategic malfeasance on their part. Maybe it would fly for one month – two paychecks, usually – but on the third missed paycheck I would have been gone. The missed paycheck period is what would have been my notice.

          If a company doesn’t pay me, it means that either a) they have fired me, or b) they are attempting to psychologically enslave me. Either way, I’m gone.

      3. MassMatt*

        I’m dumbfounded the LW only started maybe thinking to look for something else after she was unpaid for THREE MONTHS.

        This is a textbook case of a crazy workplace warping your sense of normalcy. She needs to Get out, get out, get out, and not look back!

        I hope LW writes a follow up in several months telling us they are in a better situation.

    2. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      to be fair I don’t think it is the country standard of 2 months I think it’s more the field/ company policy, and the OP is going above that for some reason.

    3. The Original K.*

      100%. They’d have one pay cycle to get it right, and my boss better be breaking her back to get me paid (this actually happened to my coworker and our boss did fight really hard to get it resolved quickly). After that I’m walking and reporting them to the Department of Labor.

    4. Jaybeetee*

      *Cries in Phoenix*.

      (Pay system for the Canadian federal government, riddled with problems, at worst some people were going months without getting paid – and we’re still using it!)

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Oh god yes. I cannot believe that lasted any time at all. My sister-in-law and her spouse are federal employees, and he was one of the ones who wasn’t paid for a long time. But both genuinely loved their jobs and coworkers so it was more understandable they stuck it out than someone in an abusive environment doing so.

      2. I have RBF*

        WTF? Why does the Canadian federal government still have any employees? Seriously, one month and I would be gone!

        1. Lenora Rose*

          Because, until Phoenix and even to some degree during, it’s an excellent pay rate, and because it’s a HUGE employer in the Ottawa/Gatineau area.

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Right??!? I really would like to know if the OP ever got all of their back pay, or if they were still not being paid during their notice period! The latter, to me, means they should have just quit with zero notice as soon as they had something else lined up. Even if they were square by the time the offer was made, the huge pay delay would have burned up a lot of good will, and it sounds like this company didn’t really have any to begin with.

    6. Adam*

      If a company misses payroll *ever*, you start looking. Maybe they give a good reason and make it up to you, at which point you can stop looking, but every employer worth working for treats payroll as absolutely sacrosanct.

      1. Lexi Lynn*

        Afreed. I worked at a company with around 20 employees and we got paid once a month (back in the ’80s). Owners went on vacation with son and were planning to be back to sign May paychecks. Son got horribly sick (can’t remember if it was food poisoning or flu) and they couldn’t fly home.

        Head of finance told us no paychecks until owners returned and we should have managed our money better so a delay wouldn’t be a problem. Employees revolted and by end of day, CFO has signing power and paychecks were delivered.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Funny how fast they figured that out once YOUR problem became THEIR problem. LOL

      2. Kyrielle*

        Yup. I *did* have a payroll screwup once that I didn’t start looking after, but that’s because it was first brought to my attention the same day by an apologetic announcement to every one of us that had been affected about what had happened and how they were fixing it ASAP. (In other words, before I could even catch it, the company had flagged it and was working on fixing it.) It introduced a weekend delay into our getting paid, and it got the temp who caused it released immediately, and they promised up and down (and, as far as I know, made good on) that any fees incurred because of the delayed payment would be covered by the company. Which is what you do when you mess up people’s pay, because *that’s why they are working*.

    7. Lenora Rose*

      I left one job over two bounced paycheques (The company is still in business, the boss just didn’t make sure to put in the deposit in time for payday), and another over paycheques getting later and later (Company was running down.) I gave the latter, with its good intentions, probably two months total before I added my notice, even though it was the one that wasn’t likely to remain a successful business, because I could see the effort involved.

      An abusive place that ALSO failed to pay and where others were quitting without notice? I’m amazed the OP lingered at all.

    8. Miette*

      I wonder if OP is a contractor? I have had clients not pay me for 60 days, sometimes, but after that there would be a work stoppage…

      1. Miette*

        Also, I meant to add that this could explain the notice period being so long. Many of my contracts require 3 months’ notice on either side to end the relationship.

          1. I have RBF*

            Then you should be claiming unemployment, because if they aren’t paying you, you are not employed!

  4. bamcheeks*

    >> for some reason we have cultivated a good working relationship (although I would say she is still abusive)

    LW, I hope that a few months into your new job yoh look back at this statement and you have healed enough that it looks as bananapants to you as it looks to everyone else.

    I strongly, STRONGLY recommend setting up filters that direct Sally’s messages into a folder marked “bananapants”. Check it once a day. In my experience this massively helps with the emotional energy it takes to deal with such things. You think, ah, it’s time to check the bananapants folder. You know going in that it’s going to be bananapants. Yoh confirm that it is bananapants. But since you’ve already prepared yourself for the bananapants, you can simply observe that it is bananapants and absolve yourself of the responsibility to engage with the bananapants. After all, it says bananapants right there. Thus you cultivate an air of supreme detachment.

    1. BananaFan*

      This is absolutely brilliant advice. Filing it in my head for future use, it’s truly perfect

    2. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      I once worked for a company very similar to this, with an abusive owner and where we didn’t get paid for a month. It was also my first introduction to AAM when I wrote in about it.

      It takes a lot of time to get over bad situations like this, even if OP knows it’s bad, but she is trying to be overly professional to her own detriment if the abuser is still abusing.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        A dozen or so of my friends worked for a startup that one day ran out of investor money and simply stopped paying. At least it was year 2000 and my friends kept coming into work, so they could use the office internet connection to search for jobs. Everyone found something and was gone within three months. I suspect the outcome would be different if it happened today.

    3. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      This is a great idea and I’d take it one farther and create a template answer like, “As we agreed, my priorities are x, y, z. I don’t think I will have time to address other priorities, so those should be reassigned.” Tweak as needed but don’t create from scratch. Also may have a bonus grayrock effect.

    4. MigraineMonth*

      In addition to this, imagine you’re collecting research materials for an expose of your toxic workplace. “Hmm, would this new email be a better fit under Chapter 4: Delusional Expectations, or under Chapter 5: Emotional Blackmail.”

      Just remember that you have collected enough research at this point (“didn’t pay me for 3 weeks” is sufficient) and can walk out the door, head high, at any time.

    5. A reasonable Jane*

      Or, just say hello and subtly place a “Bananapants” sign on her blouse. Hell, I’ll do it.

  5. Milfred*

    “after I was not paid by my company for over three months”

    You floated the company a 3 month loan, and now they say you owe THEM something?

    You don’t owe them anything.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      And I would be pointing that fact out to Sally and anyone else who has the nerve to complain that you’re a bit disengaged.

  6. The New Wanderer*

    That sounds like an awful environment. I’m not sure why OP thinks they have to give the rest of the nine (!!) weeks of notice. They mentioned that the manager took the resignation well at first, but the situation is worsening and it is unlikely that their manager is going to be a reasonable reference in the future regardless of how much OP puts in the effort.

    Also, not being paid for three months?? Since it wasn’t addressed further, I have to imagine that OP did get back pay and is currently being paid, but that’s another point in the “get out now” column.

  7. Code Monkey, the SQL*

    Sally’s messages read to me as the last-ditch attempts of an abuser attempting to drag a victim back into the circle. Being conciliatory didn’t work, so she tried negging. Then she tried guilt-trips, then DARVO, then forced teaming. This is a sign that OP is doing the level-best thing possible in leaving, and the rapid shuffling of strategies is indicative that Sally knows she’s lost her power and wants it back.

    Keep it low drama and low emotion OP – you’re almost out!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Conversely: Sally has lost control of the OP and thus feels free to indulge in escalating bad behavior since it won’t come home to roost.

      But it doesn’t really matter: Sally sucks, this workplace sucks, and the OP is right to GTFO.

      1. Project Management Princess*


        Leave, never look back, and for the love of all things fluffy, never give good references about that place. let it crash and burn.

    2. Letter Writer*

      LW here – thanks! I’ve been using the don’t JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain) and grey rocking techniques for a while. If any readers here are in similarly bananapants situations, using JADE with abusers and narcissists gives them a roadmap to abuse you. Non engagement and super bland responses is really the only way. However if things continue to worsen, I may move up my leave day earlier to get some much needed rest.

  8. Antilles*

    Nine weeks of notice???
    If a company went three months without paying me, they’d be lucky if I gave them nine minutes of notice.

    1. Antilles*

      Also, just lol at “think about your legacy at the company” when you’ve worked there as an employee for three years. At a small business like this, the only person in the entire company who’s building a “legacy” that will be remembered is the founder whose name is on the masthead (e.g., Jim of Jim’s Teapots).

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        I took “think about your legacy” as a veiled threat to a reference.

        1. I have RBF*


          “Why did you leave your previous employer?”
          “They didn’t pay me for three months, then threatened to give me a bad reference when I resigned!”
          “That makes sense.”

    2. Hotdog not dog*

      Exactly! It only takes me about 2 minutes to gather my belongings and walk out the door.

  9. LB33*

    First part I noticed was “I haven’t been paid in 3 months” !!! You truly owe this company literally zero. Leave anytime and enjoy a little time off before the new place

    1. Elsewise*

      I literally skipped over that on my first read-through, it was brought up so cavalierly. OP, I don’t care if they’ve since paid you, you owe them negative three months of notice. Nine weeks is absurd!

      1. Letter Writer*

        LW here – yes I did! But everyone’s pay has been late for months as well. I’m not senior enough to be privy to financials but if a company struggles to make payroll, it’s always a bad sign (and time to start looking for an exit).

  10. A reasonable Jane*

    “I did not engage and answered very noncommittally that we would finish our collaboration ‘strong.’”

    You have answered your own question, OP. Sally sucks and she always will, and you are free to react to her as though you’re bored, and, best of all, to dream of the greener grass you’ll be on soon. Congratulations!

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      You’ve handled things really well so far, OP. Not engaging with all the bananapants stuff Sally is doing is absolutely the right move. Sally is going to Sally and nothing you say is going to change her perception that you’re less committed. Since you’re getting out of there, you don’t have to care what she thinks! Who cares if a ridiculous human being is judging you? Past experience has shown you her judgment is highly questionable.

      1. Letter Writer*

        Thank you – I do not really care about my bosses’ opinion. I have been trying to take the high road and wrap up what I can for the sake of my remaining coworkers / my own principles. However it does seem to be a waste of energy, as regardless of what I do or say, my boss has a narrative in mind about me. I have seen this too many times before to not recognize when it’s happening to me. Luckily I have good relationships with other former, more senior coworkers who I have and will use as references in the future.

        1. Caroline*

          Free yourself then. Honestly. Do it today or on Friday maybe, if that feels better.

  11. Sara without an H*

    LW, where does this two months notice thing come from? Do you have a contract in which that’s actually set down in writing? Or is this just “how things are done” at Toxic Mess, Inc.? And then they didn’t pay you for three months??!!! I would have been out the door at that point and talking with an employment lawyer.

    I made a remark about Stockholm Syndrome upstream, and I stand by that. Alison has said many times that if you stay too long at a dysfunctional organization, it warps your sense of what’s normal. Please rethink your “good relationship” with Sally — she is clearly not interested in your welfare, so why are you concerned about leaving on a positive impression behind you? Set up a rule to send all of Sally’s emails/messages unread to a Bad Boss folder, work to rule (40 hours only, no more, no less), and make it clear that you’ll walk out if you’re mistreated.

    After you start your new job, remember — your sense of what’s normal and acceptable in a workplace will need to be recalibrated. Keep reading AAM and check out the “workplace practices” section of the archives.

    Good luck, and send us an update!

    1. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      I’m assuming here that OP has this in a contract, or they are not located in the US where work is mainly considered “at will” and only two weeks notice is generally advised to be “professional.” Otherwise, I cannot imaging giving nine weeks notice at a company that didn’t pay me for three months and is being abusive to people who give notice.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        The phrase “handover letter” tipped me off that maybe OP isn’t in the US. I’ve never heard that phrase before and wonder if it’s standard language in a different English-speaking country.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Or maybe a handover letter is just a document you write up when leaving a job to delineate who will be taking over which of your tasks? I dunno, not something I’ve heard about before.

          1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

            I’m in Canada and have heard the term “transition note” for this. It’s basically a record of all your projects and tasks, the current status, and next steps, with links to documents. Like, quarterly, we do the Llama Report using [link] template. You need to get information for the Llama Grooming Section from Jane, for the Llama Feeding Section from Wakeen, etc. When the Llama Report has been drafted, Monica will approve it, then it’ll go to Fran and Allen. It needs to be submitted usually by the end of the month after the quarter ends. Previous reports are in [linked folder].

            And the Llama Pen Expansion Project is underway. The contractor has been hired and will submit blueprints by the end of June. The blueprints need to be approved by Fern and Jim. Once that happens, the contractor will begin the work. We’ve planned on meeting with them every 2 weeks to track progress. Current timeline is to have it all done by the end of September, so the llamas can move back in before it gets cold.

      2. Snow Globe*

        I’m sure the contract also states that the LW is to be paid promptly. No contract would obligate the OP to give notice if she hadn’t been getting paid as agreed.

    2. Sc@rlettNZ*

      Long notice periods are not uncommon outside of the US. I’m a kiwi who has lived and worked in HR in NZ,Australia and the UK and for senior positions, six months wouldn’t be unheard of (we also have employment contracts where salary, leave, notice periods etc are clearly stated so folk know the deal going in).

      1. Letter Writer*

        LW here – my notice period is written into my contract and I am located outside of the US. However I do agree and have consulted with some lawyer friends who stated that failing to pay me on time nullifies the contract. If I do decide to walk earlier (which seems increasingly likely), I do not feel concerned about breaking the contract so to speak.

      2. radiant*

        Yep, I’m in the UK, one month notice is common in employment contracts for lower level positions at least. At my last company the notice period was based on how long you were an employee for – the longer you were there, the longer your notice period (because the longer you’d been there, the more industry-specific knowledge you had to hand over to the replacement).

  12. I should really pick a name*

    What I want to know is if the LW was eventually paid after those three months,
    Is the process to challenge an employer for unpaid wages difficult/expensive? I feel like that should have happened long before the three month point.

    LW: You will not get a good reference from this company, so there is no benefit it trying to stay on their good side.
    Figure out what you want to do, and do it. And that can mean deciding that tomorrow is your last day.

    1. Lady Blerd*

      I agree, I just want to know if LW got paid. For the rest, Sally is just squeezing as much abuse as she can before LW leaves.

      1. Enai*

        I, too, want to know if LW was paid and made whole for lisses incurred (fees they had to pay for loans, lost revenue from liquidated assets to pay for bills and the like).

  13. Aphrodite*

    I feel sorry for the LW’s replacement because I have no doubt that having watched these terrible antics, she will end up leaving much sooner than later. (OP, tell her about not getting paid; she deserves to know that.)

      1. Ellie*

        That’s a really good point, OP, I’d get out sooner rather than later, you do not want your ‘replacement’ to end up leaving before you do.

  14. RJ*

    You cannot have a good working relationship with anyone who is even a bit abusive, OP. Tell Sally bye and accelerate your exit from that company. You have nothing to gain by burning out at one place and starting off exhausted at your new one.

  15. Gary Patterson's Cat*

    You are absolutely right that your priority should be training your replacement and wrapping things up as much as possible in the next few weeks, not taking on new work. PLUS, you gave NINE WEEKS notice? And that’s all STILL not enough for this cray-cray person who acts like you finding another job was a personal betrayal. You’re right to get out. This person would never change.

    Feel free to ignore their comments. You’re probably not going to get a good reference from them anyway if she’s already acting like a child. Honestly, if she continues to give you a hard time, I’d leave even sooner. Sometimes you think giving a long notice will help them transition, but it can actually make things worse if they abuse your generosity.

  16. ENFP in Texas*

    “I know she has tried to refuse other colleagues’ resignations”

    This statement confuses me. How can you refuse someone’s resignation? Employees are not slaves. Yes, if you have contractual obligations where you need to finish out a certain period of work, or if there is a contracted notice period, that’s one thing. But to “refuse” a resignation? “You can’t stop working here, I won’t let you”?

    Sally sucks on multiple levels, and the OP should go back to the documented handover note of what the transition responsibilities were.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      In many ways you have the power to do whatever you can convince somebody to do.

    2. Michelle Smith*

      I suggest doing a search on the site. There is at least one letter I remember where the person got conned into several MONTHS of additional work past their intended notice period because their boss declined their resignation. Some people don’t realize they can just walk, because they’ve been in a toxic environment for so long that their sense of normal has been warped. So yes, they technically can walk away, but they have been so deeply affected by the toxicity and abuse that they don’t realize it.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Exactly. And they need reminding that a resignation isn’t a discussion or negotiation, even though some employers try to guilt people into staying longer than they want to. A resignation is the employee informing the employer about a decision they have made.

        1. Letter Writer*

          LW here – I was actually prepared for this reaction from reading AAM and was ready to tell my boss that giving notice is just that. It’s not a question, it’s a notification.

      2. Elsewise*

        I knew a girl my senior year of high school who was very upset that her boss refused to let her quit her job, so she couldn’t go to college. I think someone eventually set her straight on that, but it wasn’t me, because I didn’t know that wasn’t okay either!

  17. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    I’m surprised that Alison didn’t acknowledge that the OP hasn’t been paid for 3 months! I would be making sure that I got my back pay before I left and that they hand me my paycheck on the last day! Also, please report them to the labor department, and suggest others do as well. I highly doubt everyone is classified as exempt from overtime and they should be getting paid!

    1. Letter Writer*

      Hi, LW here! I did get paid eventually what I was owed. We get paid monthly (I am located outside the US at present). Although the instance I mentioned was the lengthiest, everyone in my company has been paid late for the last several months. This has also inspired many of us to leave and find more stable work – as it has become a consistent issue of late.

      1. tg33*

        Is your pay currently up to date? If you resigned on or just after pay day, can you walk away with your pay up-to-date? What are the local regulations around pay? Most countries / juristictions are pretty definite about being paid on time.

  18. Hibiscus*

    What legacy? If the company hasn’t paid you for 3 months and is losing people left and right, they are probably not going to exist much longer!

  19. I AM a Lawyer*

    My first instinct was to move up your last day, too. However, some folks can’t afford to go very long without pay or just don’t want to. OP, if you did want to move up your last day, you might see if your new employer would be okay with you starting earlier than planned. They might be relieved to have you onboard quicker!

    1. Milfred*

      If they didn’t pay LW for 3 months, what makes anyone think they will pay them for the last 9 weeks?

      My prediction: The company will not pay the last paycheck and force LW to sue them for it.

      They already think LW is a pushover (LW stayed at a company where they weren’t getting paid). Why wouldn’t they try to cheat them one more time?

  20. MagentaPanda*

    OP: Your experience is 180 degrees opposite of my experience. I submitted my retirement letter (which my boss knew was coming). Since then, I’m basically just taking up oxygen at work until my last day. I am working on those not-all-time-sensitive projects which I’ll submit before leaving. They haven’t piled on new work; has been incredibly accommodating of appointments; and even noted I didn’t have to come that last week if I didn’t want to (“work from home” so to speak). I admit that I’m spoiled, but wouldn’t it be nice if more bosses were like mine.

  21. Jaunty Banana Hat's former employee*

    As someone who survived a similarly abusive work environment – Sally is insane. It’s a power move and you owe her nothing. (Take it from me – I’m the OP for letter #4/Jaunty Banana Hat boss last week. I say this not to make things about me, but to clarify that if I’m recognizing parallels between Sally and my old boss, it’s *bad*.)

    1. Letter Writer*

      Hi! LW here – your post actually inspired me to write in to AAM. Sounds a lot like my workplace – I’m glad you got out and am looking forward to greener and saner professional pastures soon.

  22. scurvycapn*

    That email from sally would have been my go out guns blazin’ moment. I’d reply, add the organization’s “All” address, and go to town.

    “Sally, this is why myself and others have left. Don’t get me wrong, failing to pay me for three months was bad enough, but bullying your employees is not the way to go about things. Speaking of not paying me, I’m pretty sure that nullifies my contract, so consider this my last day with the company. I hope the rest of the ‘robots’ have the computing power to process the contents of this email thread and consider what is best for them.”

  23. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    First of all, I don’t know what the laws are in OP’s area, but here in the good ol’ People’s Republic of Massachusetts, non-payment of wages is NOT “a matter between the employer and the employee”. IT’S A FELONY. I had to remind my management of that fact in one company when they started screwing around with me in that area.

    That aside, we’ve talked about burning bridges. Sometimes employees departing for better circumstances do that. And often – MANAGEMENT is upset that an employee is leaving and decides to burn the bridges themselves. You can’t do anything much about that, except keep your eyes and ears open for slander and defamation.

  24. Kevin Sours*

    “Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great. You have no power over me!”

  25. Ontariariario*

    Alison has said this many times, but I want to repeat that the notice period is meant to wrap up projects and is not meant to include time training a replacement. It’s great if you can make it work, but there is *no obligation* that you stay long enough to train a replacement!

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Exactly. At least in most fields. In others, it may be a little different. Like a family doctor can’t just quit with 2 weeks notice because they or the practice have to figure out who will take on their patients. From the letter, it’s definitely not clear to me whether this is a case of being in a field where more notice is expected/required or if it’s a demand from the company specifically.

  26. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

    It’s funny that she mentions being called a robot in her letter because that is actually a strategy I have for dealing with super difficult people. Like, I have a call scheduled with Counsel Bananapants representing Missing Stair, Inc., and I tell myself: be a legal robot. It actually really helps!

  27. yala*

    “as I know she has tried to refuse other colleagues’ resignations”

    …how…would that even work? Like, I mean, what are you going to do, chain them to the desk?

    1. L. Bennett*

      Right?? That stuck out to me too! How do you try to force someone to work for you??

    2. Michelle Smith*

      Again, I suggest doing a search on the site. There is at least one letter I remember where the person got conned into several MONTHS of additional work past their intended notice period because their boss declined their resignation. Some people don’t realize they can just walk, because they’ve been in a toxic environment for so long that their sense of normal has been warped. So yes, they technically can walk away, but they have been so deeply affected by the toxicity and abuse that they don’t realize it.

  28. Sandangel*

    Stories like this make me so glad that when I left my essential retail job, my bosses basically ignored me my entire notice beyond standard pleasantries. It still wasn’t great, but at least there wasn’t any guilt-tripping involved.

  29. L. Bennett*

    OP, take the last 7 weeks of your notice period and go on a vacation or something. You don’t need to deal with this bananapants company.

  30. Anne Wentworth*

    “I would like to finish up my time at my current position well and on a positive note…”

    LW, that may be your heart’s desire, but everything you tell us about that workplace makes it clear that there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING, at your current job that will allow, much less facilitate, the exit you would like. That goal is on a different planet run by a different species, and decidedly not in your current office.

  31. BellyButton*

    When I gave my resignation I included a list of on-going projects as well as a exit strategy. My boss barely glanced at it and kept piling the work on. I would reply with “I’ll add it to the end of the list!” and added it to the list. I completed what I could, none of which was the extra.

  32. Pete*

    Combining with the previous letter yelling is allowed if you have not been paid for 3 months!

  33. Tesuji*

    I don’t understand any part of this letter.

    I wish I knew where this business was, because the only way it makes even the slightest sense is if there’s some non-U.S. cultural/legal context that I’m just not getting.

    “They didn’t pay me for three months, so I started eventually looking for work,” “sometimes they just refuse to accept people’s resignations” and “so I gave them nine weeks notice” are each completely incomprehensible to me, so I can’t even get to the “so, this insane place with an insane boss in which I’m insanely bending over backwards for isn’t treating me well” issue.

    If there isn’t some bizarre and specific context here, it feels like the only answer is to just hope the LW gets the therapy she really needs before starting her new job.

  34. English Rose*

    I share all the outrage over this ridiculous non-payment for three months. I’d have walked.

    On a broader theme of notice periods though, perhaps the letter writer is outside the US? Here in the UK we have written employment contracts – it’s a legal requirement – and these set out notice periods on both sides. Four weeks on each side is standard in most sectors, and those of us in more senior roles are very often on three months, that’s not at all unusual.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      Going unpaid for months and “refusing resignations” is quite unusual though!

  35. redflagday701*

    “…she expected I would continue to give 100 percent and think about my legacy at the company.”

    Oh no, OP — this is not a thing. Unless you are Karl Lagerfeld or Helen Gurley Brown, you do not have a legacy at your company. You’ve only been there three years! Once you’re gone, they will not set aside a day each year to celebrate your contributions. Under no circumstances will they even hang up a small plaque. And no matter how hard you work during your absurdly long notice period, they will almost certainly bad-mouth you to clients and future employees, because they are awful people. Run. RUNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!

  36. Jaybeetee*

    OP, have you ever encountered a really, *really* angry toddler? Where they’re not just crying, but telling you they hate you, trying to call you names, that kind of thing?

    Your boss is a toddler in an adult body. Let her kick and scream all day, you can be the adult between the two of you and decide what the best course of action is.

    Hint: Never negotiate with a tantrum.

  37. Richard Hershberger*

    In addition to the parts that others have brought up, this is a company that can’t keep employees because it overworks and underpays them until they leave. Either the owners are making out like bandits, or it is a company lacking a business model. Either way, it isn’t a place where employees should stick around.

  38. HonorBox*

    LW – IF (and the ALL CAPS is intentional here) you want to continue working through that 9 week notice period, I’d suggest the mantra “ignore, ignore, ignore.” Your boss is hostile and isn’t going to allow you a graceful exit. So do your best to ignore the nasty comments and do what you can do to get done what you can. That doesn’t mean it won’t suck. It will. And that is a really unfortunate situation that your boss has created. But count down the days to a sunnier situtation.

    You may want to just have a conversation and let her know that you put together a strategy for your exit that actually exceeded the expected timeline for the company and that was done as a courtesy to her and the business. You are happy to work out the time, but do not plan to take on new or urgent projects.

    What’s the worst that happens? She fires you? Check with your new company. I’d bet dollars to donuts they’d be happy to have you start sooner.

    And finally, if you do stick around, knowing that you’re probably not going to get a great reference anyway, on your last day, send a reply to her. Indicate what you have witnessed over your three years there and how many MANY people have left because of treatment like you’re getting. You absolutely shouldn’t be expected to work your ass off, not be paid in a timely fashion, and be subject to this kind of treatment.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Just practice mentally adding “in your opinion” after anything Sally says.

  39. CSRoadWarrior*

    Didn’t get paid for 3 months? Require 2 months’ notice? Like what one of the commenters said above – good riddance to them. I’m glad you are finally getting out of there.

    In this case, just work your notice, do enough to get by, and finish your last day and then leave quickly. Hopefully, you have some time off between jobs to relax and recuperate, because it sounds like it is much needed. But your new employer is being forced to wait for 9 weeks before you start because it was not your choice. Hopefully your new employer understands and allow for some time off despite the long notice period.

    But my goodness, I don’t know how you lasted that long. And not getting paid for three months? I would have quit much sooner in that case. You don’t owe them anything. In fact, they owe you and I hope you finally get paid for those three months sooner than later.

  40. CommanderBanana*

    You weren’t paid for three months! YOU WEREN’T PAID FOR THREE MONTHS.

    Unless there is some iron-clad reason not mentioned in your letter about why you may need to stay, see if you can move up your start date at your new place, or take some time off, and GTFO.

    1. sdog*

      And if that happened once already, what’s to stop it from happening again. How are you going to ensure that you even get paid for your notice period, OP? I’d seriously think about moving up your date to like yesterday.

  41. Ellis Bell*

    OP, I don’t think you’re going to overhaul an abuser’s approach in a matter of weeks, so you’re going to be dealing with her draining comments if you do decide to stay for the whole notice period. I personally, would not; I would simply say “I had hoped giving such a long notice period would work out, but it’s clearly not making either of us happy, so let’s cut our losses and make my last day X” (The key here is that every time she says she’s unhappy, just indicate you don’t care enough to soothe her because you’re literally just looking to get out by the smoothest exit, and that’s okay). If you do decide to stay and collect her silly statements for banapants bingo, I think it’s very important to remember she has no leverage whatsoever with you and no one cares what this desperado thinks. It’s perfectly possible, and indeed preferable, to do the professional version of a shrug whenever she wails about how you’re not behaving like you’re quite so desperate/brainwashed/miserable enough any more. It’s also okay to start mirroring back her silly comments to check on whether they apply in a two way street kind of way: So if she says that she “has felt a dip in recent months and now understood why”, try deliberately misunderstanding her with: “I understand there’s going to be a dip in training or developing someone who’s already leaving, and rest assured I consider that totally natural in a manager. I’m willing to just provide my support to (replacement) and focus on handover instead.” If she says she “expected I would continue to give 100% and think about my legacy at the company.” I would say: “Please don’t feel you need to provide me with career opportunities, or legacy footnotes, while time to complete a handover is so tight. I’ve had my time to shine in the past; if my legacy is not complete yet it never will be. I am here simply to 100 per cent support the reputation of (replacement) now, rather than myself”.
    If she says she “understands it’s normal to switch off to some extent once you land a new job, but my attitude was impacting team spirit and her own workload” just hear the polite disclaimer rather than the rest: “I am so glad for your understanding. It’s a difficult transition for me too, to be playing support and handing over responsibility rather than being centre stage. If a long notice period gets too difficult for yourself or the team, please just let me know”. It does sound exhausting though! Please consider a swift exit stage right.

    1. Momma Bear*

      Especially this part:

      “I had hoped giving such a long notice period would work out, but it’s clearly not making either of us happy, so let’s cut our losses and make my last day X”

      If your notice is not legally required and just nice to have, cut out. Companies have walked people out the same day they give notice. It wouldn’t be without precedent. Either Sally will realize her error or she’ll just encourage you to pursue the expedited exit.

      1. Caroline*

        I’ve used this to great effect in a similar situation.

        I’d resigned and tried to be as fair as possible about it, and got a long, long lecture, plus interrogation about how I could POSSIBLY have imagined I was doing a good job, with a litany of my failings. Anything I raised was immediately smacked down as YOU’RE WRONG!! by the full-of-bees employer. Anyway. After letting her rant on and on and on AND ON, I said ”well, it certainly sounds like my resignation has saved you having to fire me. Possibly I should make today my last day? I mean, I don’t want to let clients down, but equally, if my work is such a problem, might it be best to say goodbye now?”

        It was like all the oxygen left the room. All of it. ”Oh no, no. Now. YOU NEED TO LEARN TO TAKE CRITICISM… … …”

        Reader. I exited stage left. No idea what Lunatic boss did about the various clients she’d booked me to work for. Don’t care.

  42. Rick Tq*

    I suggest checking your local laws for how soon your employer has to provide your final check, and send a resignation email to the CEO and HR with *exactly* that much notice. To send the point home you might include a reference to the law so they know this check can’t be ignored for 3 months.

    Sally’s behavior is not something you should have to shrug off for 9 weeks. You owe her nothing, and all you owe the company is to not sabotage any projects you worked on.

  43. KP*

    Leave. Burn that bridge.

    Send a company-wide email that you’re resignation is now effective immediately because your boss is abusive. Wish them the best of luck with your remaining projects.

    Let’s light this candle.

  44. yllis*

    Your legacy at a small consulting company that already has the reputation of underpaying and running off good employees?

    LW – you have the plane, you have the parachute, you have a good landing spot.

    JUMP and get the heck out of their now

  45. Whomever*

    Not related to Sally (I’d walk out the door) but since this is partly about notice periods, one industry in the US that does make them longer is Wall Street. Typically Vice Presidents are expected to give a months notice with higher ranked people more (Note “Vice President” in a banking context just translates to “senior employee”; it’s not especially rare–I’ve been a VP of two separate banks). Often they will put you on garden leave (pay you not to come into the office). I wish they did that last time I quit, but instead I ended up flying to a different country to set up my successor!

    1. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      Isn’t the extended notice period in your contract though?
      You’re not legally required to give a two-week notice (or any notice at all) in most states in the US, whether or not Wall Street wants you to or not. Unless it’s in the contract you signed.

  46. Cindy*

    Honestly – OP should fake an illness or something and/or have some family members. This seems like a lot of mental gymnastics just to take the high ground for someone openly disrespecting her. What are you going to get from her? You wouldn’t probably even be able to get a “verbal” reference from her.

  47. Dances with Sunlight*

    Seriously, LW – congratulations on getting the heck out of there before that bananapants factory you work at totally warps your sense of what’s normal at the workplace!

    Not paying you FOR THREE MONTHS?! Expecting you to work uncompensated overtime? Piling extra work on you at a time when you should be winding down the projects you do have AND training your replacement? (Speaking of whom, HAVE they hired your replacement yet? Have they even started LOOKING for one?) This is the kind of place that gives toxicity a bad name! Alison is right: don’t consider yourself bound to stay there for nine weeks.

  48. CeeBee*

    You owe them nothing. Those are the last, futile grasps at some kind of leverage over you. They have none. They know it. I’d skip the super long notice period – 2 months! – and rest and recover before you start your new position.

  49. Victoria Everglot*

    Personally I couldn’t give two rat farts about my “legacy” at a company that is THAT much of a complete horror show. Nor would I care about ending things on a positive note. It would be 100% autopilot, not one second of overtime, and not one single braincell dedicated to placating this woman.

    When it comes to unreasonable, unpleasant people, I have what I call the Barking Dog Rule. Is my neighbor’s dog barking because the house is on fire, or someone is injured? No? Then I can ignore it. No matter how loud or annoying or how long it goes on for, if they’re not barking for a good reason, I don’t have to respond or give it a second’s thought. I tune it out. Is this really hard to do when you’re dealing with a person? Yes, very. But learning how to disengage from abusive but powerless people is a very useful skill indeed. “I’m ruining my legacy? Bark, bark, bark, bark.”

    1. Raida*

      Yes, cultivating a healthy amount of not-caring goes a long way with whingy people. and bullies.

  50. Inkognyto*

    LW – most US states employment is ‘at will’. Unless the contract states otherwise.

    The 2 weeks is already just a nice thing for the employer.

    It works both ways in that they can drop you and you can drop them.

  51. Jammin'*

    I am puzzled by the “unpaid overtime” comment – does that mean they SHOULD be earning overtime (if so, report them to Dept. Of Labor!!), or that the exorbitant hours are just expected as part of an exempt position? Both are bad; one is fixable. (Technically, both are fixable – and LW found the solution to the second by quitting!)
    I have worked at places that expected horrendous hours, especially working for an Australian company with 13-17 hours time differences. Doesn’t seem to apply here…..

    1. Letter Writer*

      LW here – OT is just expected and built into the position, which is also a reason why I am leaving!

  52. CouldntPickAUsername*

    ” I was trying to make it through the end of my current contract, but after I was not paid by my company for over three months and witnessed a new coworker be bullied to the point of quitting, I decided that I needed to seriously look for new work.”

    at least here in Canada if your job doesn’t pay you when they should you can file for unemployment.

  53. Lizzie (with the deaf cat’*

    Hello OP, congratulations on having rescued yourself and getting a new job! Well done, it is not easy to get out of a sticky swamp and yet you have done it. Your future is on dry land, with ordinary people, and I hope there are some friendly ones at your new job and that the work is engaging.
    Your ‘legacy’ at the swamp monster workplace will be as ‘escapee number whatever’, that’s all, but it will be a sign to others that escape is possible.
    I worked at a place once which had an 85% turnover, 40 people left or were pushed out in a two year span. I was still surprised when I was the 41st – such workplaces warp your ideas. Do some debriefing with a professional if you can to get the swamp mud off you, and any self care/treats you can get your hands on. Best wishes and once again, congratulations on your escape!

    1. Letter Writer*

      LW here – thanks so much! I’m very happy to have found a new position at a saner place (I have friends in the industry who have said great things about working there so fingers crossed!) I am also trying to help other coworkers get out of this bananapants environment as well.

  54. Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii*

    Did you get that 3 months of money?
    If not then speak to a lawyer today.

    And consider quitting effective immediately while you pursue those stolen wages (on advice of that lawyer of course).

  55. C'est la vie*

    I’ve had similar issues at the last 2 places I worked: one manager piled a bunch of last-minute work on me on my last day and then called me to pretend she was sad I was leaving (legit asked if I cried and laughed at me), and the other told our entire C-suite team before I had the chance and started rumor-mongering and then tried to guilt me into staying (she laid off my whole team 3 months after my exit and apparently spent most of that time complaining about my management style, even though she was the most hated person at the company). I still maintain that 2 weeks is not only standard but good practice – but dang it all if it isn’t tempting to just let the bridge burn and walk away like the star of an action flick! Sorry you’re dealing with this, OP – better things are ahead!!

  56. Raida*

    Now hear me out…
    you don’t need her recommendation.
    everyone knows she sucks.

    Might I suggest, based on an assumption that if you have a good relationship with a bully you’re probably the kind of person who they know they can’t *really* bully due to not being a doormat:
    “Oh fck off Sally.”
    “Sally, I’m busy. Go away.”
    “Hey Sally? Yeah no.”
    “Oh that’s fine Sally, I prepared myself for you acting like this when I quit.”
    and, of course, “Oh, fck off Sally”

    Professional? No. do I care? ummm no.

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