my boss renegotiated my new job’s start date behind my back

A reader writes:

I’ve just given notice to leave a job that I love because my manager has become intolerable. I’ll spare you the details, but for context, this manager (let’s call them B) has a negative reputation in the company and the two previous departures from my team have cited abuse from B as their reason for leaving. I am the third (at least) to quit because of B.

Just before I gave notice, an excellent new job opportunity fell into my lap at a different company with a start date at about the same time I was planning to leave.

I tried to offer four weeks’ notice and gave up some PTO to ease the transition. B asked me to speak with the boss at my new job (let’s call her C) to ask for more flexibility with the start date. I agreed I would call C, but within an hour of leaving that meeting with B, B called C themselves to try to negotiate a later start date for me. (The field is small, so they are not strangers to each other, but as far as I am aware do not have any relationship beyond passing professional acquaintances.)

C called me surprised and a bit shaken to have heard unexpectedly from B, and the start date for the new position was pushed back by a month because of the pressure she felt. I stuck to my original notice of four weeks anyway, because I am confident I can wrap up my work in that time, and frankly, because I am tired of being bullied and was not interested in being cornered into staying longer in a position than I want.

HR has been aware of the situation with B from the beginning and has been supportive of me, but upper management is hesitant to take any action despite the ongoing departures. My new role will involve contact with important people in my current organization (though not with B), so I need to maintain a positive relationship with the company while I exit.

So, three questions:

• Is it completely bananapants for my manager to have called my new boss like that, or am I off-base in thinking this is wildly unprofessional? I could use some validation if I’m right to be upset, or greater context if I’m not.

• How do I approach my exit interview? It now looks like I am leaving because this new opportunity came up, but the truth is that I was out the door anyway, 100% because of my manager. Should I be honest about my reasons to leave, or does providing honest feedback run the risk of damaging my relationship with the company, given they are not inclined to do anything about the cause of the turnover on my team?

• How do I approach what happened with my new boss when I finally do start the new role?

Yes, it is full-on bananapants for your boss to have called another company and tried to push back your start date. Your arrangements with a separate job are none of her business, and that was a wild overstep.

If you’d been moving internally, this kind of conversation sometimes does happen. But absolutely not with a separate company.

Your old manager and your new manager aren’t two parents arranging a play date for their kids. You’re an adult who makes your own decisions about when you end your work for an employer. (And good for you for doing exactly that and sticking to your original exit date regardless of what your old boss thought she had worked out.)

Ideally your new boss would have shut it down when she got the call — saying something like, “That’s really something I can only negotiate with Jane.” But many people find it hard to shut down weird behavior in the moment, and she’s not the one at fault here; your old boss is. Don’t worry about needing to finesse it with her when you start; it might not even come up, but if it does, you can just say, “I’m sorry about that, I had no idea she’d call you and I never would have okayed it had I’d known.”

Also, do you still want your original start date? If so, call up C now and say, “I had no idea B was going to call you and I’m keeping my last day here as (date) for a bunch of reasons. I’d still love to start with you on (original start date) if that still works on your end.”

As for your exit interview, if your sense is that your input won’t matter, stick to bland answers. If your company wants real input from people, they should ask for it before people are leaving — and they should make it safe for people to offer and should show they take it seriously when they get it. Occasionally real change does result from an exit interview, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve seen signs of that being likely here. That said, you could certainly say something like, “I think you’re aware of why people are leaving the team, and I’d rather not rehash those issues in detail.” You could also mention your boss’s overstep with calling your new employer and say that it’s “indicative of the types of issues that drove me to think about leaving in the first place.” If you do really want to say more, though, do it as unemotionally as possible; the less emotional you sound, the more credible you’re likely to seem. But I’m skeptical there would be much value in it, given that they already know.

{ 189 comments… read them below }

      1. AG*

        This one might be, though. What if the offer got rescinded because the new job manager thought OP must be some sort of weirdo? Even now, OP is losing out on 1 month of employment. There’s probably a term ending in “interference” to describe this kind of messing with others.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Tortious interference, but she didn’t lose the new job so it wouldn’t apply here. (Yes, she lost a month of income but that was partly due to her own decision; it certainly wouldn’t be a slam dunk case.)

          1. JSPA*

            Seems to me (IANAL) that the difference between the two paychecks (the hypothetical one that is being given up, by leaving as planned, and the likely higher new pay) would still be at issue, no?

            And if they represented the LW as “really, really not available until X date” or especially, “really not wanting to leave here until X date,” that could indeed be the sort of active misrepresentation needed for the interference to be improper (???)

            Whether that’s enough money to go through the misery of taking legal action is a separate question.

            1. Grumpykitten*

              Sure, yes, technically, LW could claim tortious interference for the month of lost pay.

              Depending on your location, the barrier to exceed small claims court tends to be around $10k. Most people don’t make $10k in a month. Even if LW does, that means they get to pay a lawyer $3k minimum (this case is not worth enough to take on contingency) to maybe get 10k, in a few years, if the judge cares.

              And in the mean time LW will get to do annoying discovery paperwork and live with the knowledge that they’re in a lawsuit, and their manager – who acts like this – will be able to truthfully tell everyone in LW’s small field that LW sued a former employer, and LW won’t be able to sue for libel because it will be true.

              So, like, not really worth it?

              1. Ash*

                They could sue in small claims court and represent themselves. People do it all the time. Just being served with the lawsuit could compel the first employer to offer them a settlement. But it sounds like OP wants to stay on good terms with the company, so likely won’t go that route.

          2. r.*

            She has material, provable damages in the form of a month’s pay, she wouldn’t have had if B hadn’t called C. I don’t think her own decision would have too much weight here. The underlying theory of that would be that there she had no damages because she’d have the option to continue working for B for another month.

            This theory, taken to its logical conclusion, would result to employers being able to interfere with the new job in whatever way they’d wish, as long as they’d be willing to continue paying the worker their previous wage or salary, without ever risiking running afoul of tortious interference statues. Decisions with type of far-reaching consequences is usually not something a court would want to make without very good reasons.

            But in this particular case it is a moot point anyway. Since OP would need to remain in the good graces of B’s employer even at her new job this almost certainly precludes legal action against B’s employer, and probably for the better or worse also against B personally.

      2. Boop*

        Loss of income? Changing the start date means the person will not be paid for the days there were planning to work between the old job and new start date. I doubt that’s really actionable in any real way, but it is technically a loss.

        Alternatively, OP can go back to new job and re-re-negotiate the start date. If there was a signed contract with the start date, that would be helpful.

      3. Eldritch Office Worker*

        It’s flirting dangerously close to tortious interference (IANAL but I’m in HR these things come up) but given that they’re willing to pay the employee for the extra time they want them employed and they didn’t actually lose the job offer it would be hard to prove damages. It’s probably right up to the line of legal.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          IANAL, I just hang out with them, etc.

          One key element of tortuous interference is that the interference has to be *improper*. That’s a fairly high bar for good reasons (if I find out that my company has hired somebody I know to be abusive and say “if he’s in I’m out” and the company rescinds the offer should I be on the hook for TI?).

          Absent something more than has been made explicit — for instance if B misrepresented that OP wanted to push the start date or threatened to pull unrelated business deals over it — I don’t think you get to TI. Just asking isn’t improper (in the legal sense — it’s the complete banana ensemble).

          I’m usually the one suggesting consulting an attorney, and it wouldn’t necessarily hurt to talk to one. In this case I suspect that bringing in the threat of legal action is going to do more harm than good.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            “In this case I suspect that bringing in the threat of legal action is going to do more harm than good.”

            Yeah OP is trying to preserve all of these relationships it’s not even a road to walk down.

            1. Phony Genius*

              Yes, especially since at best they would probably only be able to collect the difference between their old and new salaries for that one month.

          2. Twix*

            Yeah, also NAL but I am very familiar with my state’s TI laws due to having to file a TI suit a while back. Laws vary quite a bit by jurisdiction, but in my home state it’s very unlikely this would pass the legal test for TI because it only applies to actions that are in and of themselves tortious – threats, intimidation, slander, fraud, harassment, etc. It’s generally not illegal to try to interfere with someone’s business relationship through legal and reasonable means. (For example, this protects businesses from being sued for trying to draw customers away from their competitors.) Obviously LW’s boss’s actions were not reasonable, but it doesn’t sound like they were unreasonable enough for this to clearly qualify as TI.

            And that’s in addition to the totally separate issue others mentioned above about whether there are damages here.

            1. Kevin Sours*

              The one thing that could push it over is if B made misrepresentations such as OP being unavailable to start as originally planned or having assented to the change. But there is no clear indication of that.

      4. rightokaysure*

        Interreference with prospective economic advantage for causing her to lose a month of wages. If she sends a demand letter and her employer has a lawyer, they will pay her for this.

    1. rightokaysure*

      For sure. There is a clear claim for interference with her business relationship with her new employer. Her damages are clearly a month of wages at her new job. She should at least send a demand letter.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        While it may have legal legs and tactical practicality, a demand letter will harm OP’s relationships. The ‘small industry’ makes that even more of a concern.

        I would pass on the letter and go with contacting the new manager with “I’m fine to start on the original start date if you are…”

  1. Beth*

    It’s wild that B called, and good on you for standing your ground and keeping your original end date in spite of their nonsense. Four weeks’ notice is more than enough.

    It’s honestly also a little wild that your new job’s start date got pushed back without any discussion with you. How did C tell you about that? If you’re fine with a later start date, then whatever, I guess. But if that’s longer than you want to wait, I do think there’s room here for you to say “I had no idea B was reaching out to you, and whatever they said or asked for was done without my input. I’ve told B/current company that I’m planning to keep my original end date of [4 weeks from now]. If the change in my start date is already set in stone, I understand, but I want to be clear that I’m available to start at any time from [date we originally discussed] on.”

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah I agree, try to get your original start date – if you want it, of course. Time off between jobs can be a good thing. But not when it goes like this.

      I’m waffling over whether or not I am mad at the new boss for how they handled this, but it sounds like your current company is a client or associate and that can make these things very awkward. So I agree you should let it go, but I’d probably say something about it briefly just to clear the air. “I hope you know I didn’t give B permission to negotiate on my behalf. Please be assured that I will handle all professional communication in this role myself.” I’m sure that’s not in question but it at least doesn’t leave an elephant in the room.

    2. Lisa*

      I’ve actually witnessed stuff even more bananapants than this – at my old job, a junior analyst quit for a new job and the head of the department decided to call the CEO of her new company (!!) to trash her. Said she was a horrible employee when that was absolutely not true (not that it matters). She was very nervous about the whole thing since she was on a working visa and if her new job fell through, she could have been forced to move back to China. Luckily, her new company probably just thought the guy was nuts.

      1. Mister_L*

        I heard a story about an employee who wanted to switch from his current company to a supplier of said company.
        Apparently the old CEO took it so bad that he permanently banned the employee from all company premises, effectively costing him the new job.

      2. TootsNYC*

        if they’d reneged on the employment, that WOULD be a case for tortious interference, but it might have been too hard to fight.

        but…if the new employee was so horrible, why would the old employer not be glad to get her off their hands?

    3. learnedthehardway*

      Agreed – I would be a little worried that the new manager at the new company is someone who gets pushed around too easily. I mean, all they had to do was to say that they couldn’t possibly negotiate a start date with their about-to-be-new-employee’s current manager at a different company, and that the current manager would have to speak with the outgoing employee about it. That’s what they SHOULD have done.

      Personally, if I were the OP, I would be getting on the phone with NewManager and would be telling them that I was leaving on the date I had set as my end date, and that it was not going to change. I would also say that I wanted to keep the planned start date at the new company, as I had agreed to do. If the OP gets on top of this now – and they should – the new company won’t have even changed the date yet.

      OldManager was way out of line on this. But also, the OP needs to manage their entry into the new company. While they did not ask OldManager to intervene, it might be construed that they DID, if the OP doesn’t push back to maintain their original start date. Besides which, NewManager is going to get asked by HER manager about why the start date got pushed back, and NewManager is quite likely to think that OP was okay/preferred it, rather than admit that she got bullied into it by OP’s OldManager.

  2. Kyrielle*

    “C called me surprised and a bit shaken to have heard unexpectedly from B, and the start date for the new position was pushed back by a month because of the pressure she felt.”

    Wait, does that mean that you will have a month between the end of your current employment and your start date there? Do you *want* that time off? If not, I’d suggest calling C back and saying that…. Alison, what do you think? Is there a good way to address this with C, if the OP wants to?

    1. Momma Bear*

      I would reiterate with the current company that while B might prefer the later start date, it was never agreed to by you. Often there are forms to file with HR, so make sure that whatever YOU have on file matches YOUR end date. I wouldn’t give B a second longer in that office than I needed to. Make a paper trail of this. Document everything. Then leave on your time/terms.

      For the new company, I’d call them back and remind them that B was never permitted to negotiate on my behalf, my availability is the same and I want to confirm that my start date is what was agreed to. Go back to whatever you have in writing from them. I get that the new manager was taken aback, but holy cow, to change everything by a month without talking to your new hire? Yikes.

    2. Lucia Pacciola*

      “I don’t blame you for saying whatever you needed to say in the moment, to get B off your back, but obviously my start date is what you and I already agreed, right?”

  3. AJ*

    Okay but LW is still going to be out of work for a month because C caved to B’s demands, right?? Can LW not push back on that decision at all?

    1. Cyndi*

      Yeah, if LW is in a financial situation where she can just surprise miss a month of pay, I’m happy for her! But she didn’t indicate either way, even if she is it doesn’t make it OKAY that her old and new managers did her out of a month of pay, and I feel like it’s a pretty big deal here.

      1. Momma Bear*

        Not just pay, though. If this is a US-based employer, OP might be facing a gap in healthcare coverage, too. Or a really pricey COBRA payment.

        1. Sedna*

          Yeah, as someone with a chronic illness in the US, my thoughts immediately went to insurance coverage. (Fun fact! Before the ACA, a gap in coverage like this would have been used by many insurers to exclude you from their plan based on having “pre-existing conditions”! The possibility of being caught in a gap like this was one of my worst nightmares for the first 15 or so years of my career.)

          1. Hannah Lee*

            That’s a good reminder. It’s good never to forget that. Especially since *some* politicians would love to roll back the ACA if given the chance.

            I remember so many instances with co-workers and my friends/acquaintances where people stayed at awful jobs either because they were pregnant or they or a family member had a chronic condition or had had a health issue that even though it was treated and resolved which would have landed them in the “no coverage for you” pile.

            They couldn’t afford to change jobs for better pay, career advancement because they wouldn’t be able to afford health care. I even remember one where a co-worker’s spouse got a great job offer, including relocation of the family to a place they’d wanted to move to for ages, and they wound up turning it down because she was pregnant and one of their existing kids had a health issue; they were terrified of losing access to his treatments, of the baby or pregnant woman needing special care when the time came, and that healthcare costs would bankrupt them.

          2. PlatypusDeniability*

            Specifically, they were happy to take your/your company’s money and have you on their plan, they just refused to pay for treatment for every condition you already had before starting! Forget unemployment, just under-employment or lack of benefits could mean you never had coverage for your chronic condition again.

            With all sincerity, thank you Obama.

            1. Random Dice*

              The Guardian just had a report that 67% of bad hospital debt is from people with health insurance. It used to be 10%.

        2. Artemesia*

          Do note tht you can bridge a 60 day gap with Cobra without paying — you have to pay if you use the insurance, but if you sign up you have 60 days or so to pay and if you never use it and are on new insurance at the end of the 60 days you have had coverage for disaster without paying. Obviously check legal details before relying on this — I did this 12 years ago with my husband who lsot insurance when I retired and was not quite eligible for Medicare.

    2. amoeba*

      I mean, I hoped when reading that they were actually OK with a month between the jobs – I’d certainly actually prefer that if I could afford it at all. But yes, if that’s actually an inconvenience to them as opposed to “a surprise opportunity to take some time off”, I’d definitely push back!

  4. Snow Globe*

    Yikes. I hope you tell this story to (trustworthy) coworkers so they know not to tell the boss the name of their new employer when they get ready to leave.

    1. Princess Sparklepony*

      That was what came to my mind. Reason 1,395 why you should never tell boss or coworkers what company you are moving to until after you have made the move.

  5. Falling Diphthong*

    Upper management is hesitant to take any action despite the ongoing departures.

    Odds that this is because they intend to do layoffs and want headcount down, vs that this is because they hope your boss will be replaced by a clone and save them an awkward conversation?

    Everything to do with this company on the way out the door is contained in that sentence.

    For your new role, I think it’s worth reaching out once, very calmly and neutrally, to say that you are surprised your current boss tried to renegotiate the terms of your last weeks, and you will be leaving when your four weeks are up, as you had planned for some time.

    1. ferrina*

      Could also just be conflict averse or “we don’t know what we’d do without Missing Stair.” I’ve seen upper management take this technique.
      Probably the worse version I’ve seen of this: “Well, Missing Stair is trying his best and he reminds me of a younger version of me. I’d hate for him to lose his job just because half of his employees have left, citing him as the reason. Besides, the complaining employees all left, so I’m sure the problem is resolved!”

    2. juliebulie*

      I was the second person to mention in an exit interview that our boss should get some “anger management counseling.” He was double-demoted after that, so he was reporting to a person who had once reported to him.

      If they’d done that after the first person complained about him, I probably would have kept working there!

      So yeah, sometimes it takes a while. But it can happen.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Another vote for an honest exit interview. OP if you keep it fact-based and emotion-neutral, you shouldn’t get any backlash. But they need to hear from you that you’d still be there if not for this boss.

        I have made so many changes based off exit interviews, because it’s solid information you can bring to leadership to show the impact of the things they don’t want to deal with.

        1. Squirrelly*

          Agree, or at least read the vibes. Does the exit interviewer ask follow-up questions? Are they actually writing anything down? Do they seem skeptical or interested? I had a very long exit interview when I left my last job (which also had lots of departures) that gave me the distinct impression HR was looking for evidence that this person should be fired. It left me wondering whether there was conflict among the upper brass.

      2. StarTrek Nutcase*

        My exit interviewer turned out to be the HR person, B, whose was half of the reason I quit without notice (due to retire in 4 months or so). When B asked me why I quit sans notice, I told her her editing of my email while responding to it to deliberately move a significant error from her to me was part 1. Part 2 was S’s, my boss’s boss, stupidity in ignoring the edit and believing I (her ‘star’ employee) guilty of error and not B (HR’s employee on a PIP) and telling my boss to reprimand me without questioning. (Both S and B were to stupid to realize all previous copies of my email were still available in our system to verify.)

    3. FricketyFrack*

      Or the place is just run poorly. I quit a job without notice once (and only once) because I was so fed up with everything about it, but primarily the way one of the leads treated me. I was the fourth person to quit and cite her as the reason – two girls in her training class went to lunch one day and didn’t come back, another made it maybe a month or two before leaving, and I made it a whopping 4 months. The company just didn’t care.

      I think they only took action after I left because I laid out specific examples of sexual harassment that I’d experienced, not just general dickbaggery, and they were probably afraid of being sued.

    4. Sloanicota*

      Weirdly, I’ve always found it to be more common than the reverse that the company backs a bad manager even if they’re driving away most of the staff. I’m not sure what the psychology is there. Perhaps multiple reasons, but in general, the top brass backs the highest managers at the expense of the lower staff.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Humans will go through a surprising amount of torture on the principle “Well, I would hate to admit I was wrong.”

      2. MassMatt*

        Sunk cost fallacy, combined with an assumption that people quitting are disgruntled quitters who quit and who cares what THEY have to say. And generally just wanting to avoid having to have the unpleasant conversation and perhaps replace the manager.

        Plus, nasty or bullying managers are often very good at being selective about who they are nasty TO.

        When an awful manager finally moved on at my old job, their manager kept mentioning how great they were, even months later. Finally someone snapped and said no, she was nasty and rude, she took credit for other people’s work and ducked many of her responsibilities, and multiple people quit or transferred out of the department because of her.

        Surprised Pikachu face; obviously she’d never done any of that to HIM. Shame on him for being clueless about one of his primary reports. But at least the heaping of praise on the wicked witch stopped.

    5. BellyButton*

      It could also be that leadership thinks this manager has a bigger impact on the success (profits) of the business and are willing to turn a blind eye. I recently had to deal with this, a leader was refusing to let go of someone that was causing a huge amount of trouble because of the revenue this person brings in. I had to clearly lay out the the turn over was costing us 3x the amount of money this person generated.

    6. Flouise Belcher*

      Maybe but that would be a terrible way to go about layoffs (as I think has been noted in comments on other letters). It would drive out the best people leave first. I think it’s more likely they are conflict avoidant or there is some other reason they are are attached to keeping this particular manager.

    7. Mireya*

      Several years ago there was a post on LinkedIn about a company with a toxic manager, “Freddy.”

      The company was fully aware that Freddy was toxic. But they looked the other way until his normal behavior during an interview cost them a candidate they really wanted. Only then did they arrange for Freddy to leave.

      After the original post, many readers – after they stopped gleefully laughing at the poetic justice – asked the original poster why the company had tolerated Freddy for so long. Freddy was great with clients and wrapping up the sale, but afterward wasn’t involved with doing the actual work. So the clients he secured never saw what he was like to work with.

  6. Llama Llama*

    How big of a relationship does new company have with old company? I work for a company that does lots of contract work for another company. Many people have moved from my company to the other company. Start dates have certainly been negotiated between the two. But in that case they were already doing other company work.

    1. Llama Llama*

      Oh to note, it doesn’t sound like this relationship is the case since the new company manager was out off by the request.

    2. Sloanicota*

      This was my exact thought. This is wrong and shouldn’t happen … EXCEPT OP notes that the two orgs work closely together. I can totally imagine this happening in my small, somewhat unprofessional field if the new org was somehow a client or otherwise dependent on maintaining a good relationship the old org. Could also be something about an individual relationship between the old boss and a decisionmaker at the new org.

      1. Dinwar*

        I’ve seen it happen. One sub on a jobsite poached a driller from another sub. During negotiations the schedule shifted, and the two companies negotiated new start dates.

        In this case, the driller was involved in the conversation and was okay with the shifted start date. As far as he was concerned the only change was who signed his paycheck; the nature of the work was the same. As long as he was getting paid he didn’t care.

  7. ferrina*

    Seconding Alison’s advice to only say what you are comfortable saying at your exit interview. Especially if they are already aware of the issue. My old job was famously anti-feedback. Multiple employees had told them the same feedback repeatedly, and the C-Suite attacked the employees instead. My exit interview ended up being hilariously anti-climactic.

    HR: What feedback do you have for the company about your experience here?
    Me: Well, I’ve shared my thoughts and feedback repeatedly throughout my time here. Do you have any specific questions about anything I previously shared?
    ….HR awkwardly shuffles papers …..
    HR: Well, I think we’ve gotten what we need here….

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      This is perfect. I was feeling that OP should go to the exit interview reply with with, “well, why do you THINK I’m leaving?”
      But your reply is politically and professionally poetic.

    2. Throwaway Account*

      That is so perfect ferrina!
      “I’ve shared my thoughts and feedback repeatedly throughout my time here. Do you have any specific questions about anything I previously shared?”

      I’m going to save that and share it!

  8. Chris*

    This is one of the most bananapants things I’ve ever read on AAM, and that’s saying something.

  9. workfromhome*

    I think a call to new boss would be in order.
    If I’m correct you were to start your new job in one month. Now the start date has been pushed out to two months. A LOT can happen in 2 months. what happens if something happens at new company where they realize they need someone NOW? Do they rescind the offer and move on to another candidate who can start sooner?
    This has put the OP in a very precarious position.

    At the very least I’d call new boss and say :

    “There may have been a misunderstanding. Without my knowledge B called you regarding my departure date from my current job. I didn’t authorize this. I will be leaving my current job in 4 weeks and will be available to start as we discussed. Are you able to accommodate me starting on the date we discussed. Im anxious to join your team.

    1. waffles*

      I probably wouldn’t use the word “anxious”. Maybe eager, keen, excited. Something that sounds less worried.

  10. Hiring Mgr*

    Obviously the old boss is terrible and it’s easy to see why you and others left, but I’m also extremely disappointed in the new boss.

    Even if she was flustered in the moment, this is your decision and your timeline and in no way at all should she have agreed to this. I’d be wondering if that’s how she typically reacts in stressful situations, will she have your back, etc.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      It sounds like there’s some kind of existing relationship with the companies and I’d assume that’s a factor. But I would still say go back now that her panic has settled and see if you can work things out. If she holds the line of your new start date I’d call it a yellow flag to keep in mind.

    2. SoloKid*

      Agreed! This is already a huge mark against NewBoss that they would agree to something like this without contacting OP.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I wonder if BadBoss misrepresented the situation to NewBoss along the lines of: “LW and I were talking today and I know she would prefer to push her start date out with you – could you help us out with this?”

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        That is, if a rockstar in your field schmoozed through a phone call in that way, it might take you a while to go, “Wait, hold up, is that actually what LW wants or have I been swindled?”

    4. ecnaseener*

      Same. Obviously old boss is the one causing problems here and we can cut new boss some slack for not reacting perfectly, but I still think you learned some valuable information about new boss.

    5. Stebuu*

      This is a rare instance where I disagree AAM. Old Boss is clearly the worst, but New Boss ABSOLUTELY has some blame here as well. This is a bad enough situation where I would be passively looking for a new job immediately, at the very least.

      1. WellRed*

        Yeah, I’m side eyeing new boss here! I hope this is a freak occurrence and not the first in a line of red flags!

      2. Molly Millions*

        I’m kinda torn.
        Manipulators have a strange way of convincing everyone that OF COURSE THIS IS A REASONABLE THING TO DO. And it’s quite possible OldBoss lied and said the OP asked her to reach out on her behalf. But NewBoss still should’ve put her foot down.

        I wouldn’t *stop* looking at job postings if I were OP, though…

    6. KA*

      Same. This is pretty disqualifying of New Boss (NB). I would be running for the hills to work for someone who has no respect for me and my autonomy as a Whole Adult Who Negotiated For Herself. Could this potentially go to New company’s HR right away?

    7. SereneScientist*

      Her reaction was not great, but absent more information, this is a bit of a leap and not super helpful to LW. It’s simple with the benefit of hindsight to say how we would or would not react, but I can’t imagine it was exactly an easy conversation between B and C.

      What LW needs to do is to probe and learn more about NewBoss before reaching any conclusions about how good/bad she’ll be.

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        Not saying burn a bridge or don’t take the job, but it’s definitely helpful for the LW to go into the new role with eyes wide open. Don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

  11. Ms. Norbury*

    Yikes! The year has barely started and we already have a likely contender for the “worst boss of 2024” awards.

    1. Jojo*

      I was thinking the same thing, but I’m guessing that by the end of the year, this won’t even come close to making the worst boss of the year. If there is one thing I have learned here, it’s that banana pants managers are pretty common. It really take the full banana suit to make it to worst boss level. Sigh.

      1. Ms. Norbury*

        You are probably very right about the chances of this looking like small potatoes (small bananas?) by the end of the year! I guess the commentariat (me included) just can’t help be flabbergasted when faced with yet another whole new flavor of bananapants boss that we haven’t seen before. The novelty of the horribleness makes the whole thing more shocking, I guess, even if it’s not nearly as horrible as some other situations LWs have described.

        1. Kyrielle*

          We’ve also “closed out” the previous year with the voting, so mentally most of us are comparing them to what else we’ve seen this year, not the overall arc of the past several years, which might make some of them look smaller.

          I don’t think this will approach a worst-boss nomination by the end of the year. It’s ridiculous, aggravating, wrong, and worthy of eyerolls, but…there’s no body parts (kidneys, maybe), massive bias / legal liability, or newsworthy levels of chaos here. It will probably fall to something else way before December. Which isn’t to say it’s not awful! Just…it’s not that bizarrely awful. This is at least adjacent to some things that are almost normal behavior (not welcome, but normal).

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Have you noticed that a similar comment has been posted on roughly every third post since the new year started?

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            I’m just making bets with myself about how long it takes people to comment this at this point

            1. I should really pick a name*

              Now I want to go through the worst boss lists and see what percentage of the nominees are actually from the first month of the year…

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                It’s at least in part because my mail piles up for the last five weeks of the year while I’m on vacation and nothing is getting answered. Then when I come back, I’m always unable to resist tackling the really juicy stuff right away. So there’s always a little backlog of it that then comes out all at once the first few weeks of January.

                So January is always dramatic for that reason! Which is bad timing, really, because January is also the worst month for ad revenue for the whole year and if I were more mercenary about it, I’d hold some of those letters for later on but I cannot.

                1. Stay-at-homesteader*

                  Your readers thank you for treating us to this juiciness during the dreariest months of the year.

                2. Prismatic Garnet*

                  Youtubers RedLetterMedia used to have a delightful annual video entitled “F* You, It’s January!” , because January used to be the month of the studios dumped all their terrible movies into theaters that they knew wouldn’t do well.

                  Given the uptick in juicy letters, maybe around here, it should be known as “F* My Boss, It’s January!”

        1. François Caron*

          Dumpster fire hot! It’s the first time I read about two bosses from two different companies discredit themselves simultaneously with a single phone call!

    2. Electric Pangolin*

      On a related note I want to nominate this post to be filed under “wait, what?!”, or as I like to think of it, the “Best Of Banapants” tag.

  12. Anonymous Koala*

    I could have written this letter – this exact thing happened to me in my first job after grad school. Any chance you’re in higher Ed OP? This kind of bananacrackers thinking seems all too common there.

    1. Andy*

      I work in Higher Ed and a coworker in another department (same division) was the B to my C about 5 years ago. I also caved because of the internal division context at play, but the first conversation w the new hire was “B called and this is what happened, I only spoke to them due to (internal context) but to be clear if this was not an internal call I wouldn’t have entertained it. I felt I had to because (reasons specific to situation)” My hire was VERY understanding but it was a terrible foot to start on with a new report.

      1. Fergus*

        something like this happened in July 2019. thus consulting company in Nebraska contacted me and asked if I would agree to fly to Missouri for a short time and the rest was work from home. I worked in Washington DC and in what I did for a living I could ask for what I wanted and still work from home without leaving my house let alone get on a plane, but I wanted and it was 20000 less than I was making where I lived. The company I would be doing work for couldn’t find qualified candidates. After about 6 weeks I knew exactly why. I didn’t call I didn’t get on a plane and I blocked all contact with said company and the company who hired me. I didn’t care if it burned a bridge it was a five hour flight nobody in Washington DC would give a wet hot monkeys ass about some auto parts store 1000 MI from DC, but I wouldn’t have done that in DC. Too many times I would go to an interview and low and behold I would be interviewing at a new job and I wad interviewing with someone I worked for in the past or on a project that changed hands multiple times.

  13. Nope, hate bananapants*

    C is as bad or worse.than B. I’d look for another opportunity during your 4 weeks off.

    1. Tio*

      I don’t necessarily think they’re AS BAD, but caving in to B like that is definitely a red flag. How did C even get that approved with her higher ups? Is an 8 week notice period more common in that industry?

    2. Phony Genius*

      Not necessarily worse, but bad enough that I would not want to work for C, either.

      I’m very sorry, LW, but I think you will not be much happier working for C than you were working for B. Albeit for different reasons. You’re going from a boss who is a bully to one who can be bullied and will likely let others bully you. She certainly didn’t advocate for you in her conversation with B.

      At the point you’re at, and being in a small field, you should probably go ahead to the new company anyway, but keep an eye out for other opportunities elsewhere, including working for a different boss at that same company.

    3. 1-800-BrownCow*

      I don’t agree new boss C is as bad or worse. I’m with Alison, some people are caught off guard with very odd behavior such as that B’s and don’t know what to say in the moment. We also don’t know what all took place during the conversation. B could have lied and said they were calling on behalf of the LW and the LW did say C was surprised and a bit shaken from the call.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think you are really underestimating how much intra-org politics can matter with stuff like this; the LW says the two orgs work together and need to maintain good relations.

      C shouldn’t have agreed, but “as bad or worse than B” is really overstating it, in my opinion!

      1. Observer*

        I agree. And I don’t think that what the LW needs is over-dramatization. They are deal with enough genuine drama!

        The one thing I would say that you’ve learned about C is that she can react less than ideally when she’s ambushed by ridiculous behavior. So you are probably going to be wise to always give her a heads up if there is ever the slightest chance that someone is going to be totally off the wall, banana-pants inappropriate. This way you have chance of her making the right decision. Do it in a non-dramatic and matter of fact “I just want to give you a heads up about a possible situation” type of delivery.

      2. Andy*

        I was a C in a prior circumstance and it was a lose / lose for me. I wanted to protect the new hire but was constrained by the (very strange, very contextual, situation.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yeah, I remember a case where a former company of mine had poached one too many employees of a client to work as trainers, and we absolutely could not hire anyone from there or talk to them any more. Never mind that *they* were applying to *us*, the client had told us off and we couldn’t risk (never mind guarantee burn-down) that relationship. I could see a similar situation arising between any two organizations that work together, and where C’s organization can’t afford to just casually torch the relationship (which doesn’t require B’s organization to be a client of theirs, there are lots of ways that can happen).

          In which case, C may be able to let OP start as planned, or may have to defer the start to when they moved it, just so they can shrug and tell B that they moved the start date out….

      3. TheBunny*

        I think people are often stunned into agreement in situations like this. I can see myself agreeing with B were I C… just to get B off my phone because I had no idea what the heck else to say…and sputtering in shock isn’t effective communication. If you already know someone is loony, getting out of the conversation quickly is priority 1.

      4. Hiring Mgr*

        Not anywhere as bad of course, but still pretty disappointing for the LW to be starting the new job with this, especially when leaving a toxic one and you just want a good fresh start.

        And yes, sure there could be some unique relationship between the two companies, but not to the extent that you let them more or less hold managers or employees hostage.

        Could just be a hiccup and it all turns out wonderfully, but still signs to keep in mind

      5. New Jack Karyn*

        I agree that C isn’t as bad as B, but I also think you’re underselling how bad C’s actions were. She cost OP a month’s pay by caving! There’s preserving a relationship, and there’s being a doormat.

        C has shown OP that she will sell out whoever she needs to, in order to avoid a difficult conversation. C’s line was, “Let me chew this over, and talk to some folks around here.” Then contact OP about it, to clarify what OP wants. If she felt she couldn’t handle calling B back, rope in her own boss, or HR, or the board, or whoever. She let herself get steamrolled and OP has to bear the significant financial burden.

    5. Beth*

      We really don’t know what B told C, or how closely B and C’s organizations work together, or what politics might be at play there. It’s possible that C is a poor or weak manager. It’s also possible that they’re stuck in a tense and difficult situation (created by B), and they’re navigating it as best they can. Given that OP doesn’t sound upset with C, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

      1. LW*

        Hi all! LW here. In this instance, it was definitely the latter. There are a lot of politics at play (way more than I was aware of when the new opportunity first came up), so C was definitely put in a tricky position and I don’t fault her at all. I appreciate all of the validation and commentary on the situation! Y’all are great, and thanks, Alison.

        1. Beth*

          So glad you’re getting out of your old place and the politics seem to be getting managed one way or another!

      2. Bruce*

        That C was “a bit shaken” makes it sound like B made warnings/threats about the business relationship. Not clear from the letter, but seems plausible.

  14. Platypus*

    honestly, I’m side eyeing the new boss here. If the old boss throws a tantrum and demands the LW do more work for them, is she going to cave and bring that up to LW too?

    1. Ally McBeal*

      My best guess is that Old Boss is well respected by her peers in the industry and New Boss was somewhat intimidated. Or, because it was such an insane thing to do, New Boss was so flustered that she just agreed in a state of shock.

  15. Teapot Unionist*

    that happened to a former colleague of mine in my previous job. in her case, we were the new job that got the call. the fact that the request from her old employer was not only entertained, but actually accommodated, should have been a red flag for all of us to start looking elsewhere.

  16. Just Saying*

    This is a full banana tuxedo. Jacket, vest, pants, bow tie.

    I left a job once, gave two weeks notice and was deliberately vague about where I was going and when I was starting. All I would say is “It was an opportunity I could not walk away from.” My boss ( reason #1 I was leaving) still asked me for an additional 2 weeks. I said I was unavailable.

    I am now always vague when I move on to a new job. They can find out if and when I update on Linkedin.!

    BTW, I left to take care of my mom, which if they had known would have opened up a whole bag of bananas.

  17. I should really pick a name*

    I would suggest speaking to C and explaining that you’re concerned that a decision on your start date was made without your input.

    The fact that C called you to inform you about the change in date instead of ask you about it is a problem.

  18. Katara's side braids*

    Honestly, I’d be nervous about having C as a manager after seeing her cave to B like this.

  19. Anonymous for this*

    Something similar happened to me! Two jobs ago I gave 4 weeks notice, which was a completely appropriate amount of time for my title/position at the nonprofit. The Board Chair(!) (who was also a donor to new nonprofit job) thought that wasn’t enough notice and called the Director of new job and threatened to pull funding if I didn’t stay at old job longer. Director of new job then talked to Director at old job about my notice period. Ultimately I left after my 4 weeks notice. I found out months later from a co-worker at new job (who knew because Director of new job asked co-worker what to do about the angry donor) that all of this happened behind my back. I was livid. It made me especially angry that both Directors were men and I’m a women. Like I didn’t have agency over my own career and these two men were going to decide my life. I was also annoyed with the Board Chair (a woman) who didn’t even send me an email or acknowledge I resigned, but was somehow still indignant enough to make a fuss about it behind my back.

  20. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    Hey, Boss C if you’re an AAM reader:
    you’ve just damaged your relationship with your new report before she’s even started!
    Grow a backbone and proactively ask her if she’d prefer her original start date.

    OP: do call her to regain your original date.
    If she chickens out, can you afford to take a month’s unpaid vacation between jobs, so you don’t have an extended time fuming under Boss B?

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      you’ve just damaged your relationship with your new report before she’s even started!

      The LW didn’t state that, so let’s not put words in their mouth. We don’t know what B said to C, and the LW even states the two organizations have a relationship that they themselves want to maintain.

  21. Double A*

    WOW LW, if you do want some time off between jobs how about changing your notice to 2 weeks (or no weeks!) and seeing if you can keep your original start date with your new company.

    (I know there are a lot of reasons the LW probably can’t do this, including maintaining relationships, but it is very satisfying to imagine).

  22. HonorBox*

    I think I’d start with a call to C. It is odd that C was willing to negotiate with B to push back you start date, yes. But it was done without your input or permission. If you want to start with the original start date and C is good with that, go for it. Keep the comments in your exit interview neutral and be on your merry way.
    But if C isn’t willing to honor that original start date, I think you probably need to take this to HR/higher management because that inappropriate negotiation is costing you money. Maybe the four weeks is a blessing in disguise, but blessing or no, four weeks sans paycheck is something you have a right to be upset over and it is worth sharing that B’s actions have cost you money. I would hope that there would be recognition that B had no right and potentially put the company in a situation where there’s possible financial liability. In this case you’re not going scorched earth just to highlight how bad a boss B was for you and others, but you’re reporting something that B did that is highly inappropriate and well outside of the way things are done.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I think ‘negotiate’ is the wrong word. Maybe ‘extorted’ or ‘coerced’ would be more accurate.

      1. HonorBox*

        Yeah. The only reason I said negotiate was we’re not entirely sure what was said in that conversation between B & C. B may have shared some bs “reason” that LW needed to stay and they requested a push back in date to accommodate “needs” and given that it is an interconnected field, C thought they were doing the right thing. But it is altogether possible that there was more a more negative take on the conversation.

  23. Rick Tq*

    I would be temped to call up C and ask if I could start Next Monday. Then I’d send an email 5PM Thursday announcing my resignation effective Friday at 5 PM.

    Let B stew about losing me 4 weeks before they had planned, but messing with your start date at a new company is well over the line. Something to be shared at industry meetings as juicy gossip…

  24. Pizza Rat*

    Totally bananapants.

    I love so many things about this answer. Yes, C should definitely have shut that the hell down, but also YES that some people aren’t always able to shut down weird in the heat of the moment. It’s hard to think when your brain is going, WTF.

    Yay to keeping that original last day and the original start date.

    1. Ama*

      Yeah, I manage a grant funding program and we’ve had some weird situations where a grantee of ours decides to change jobs and their current job calls us up and tries to tell us that what the grantee wants to do is leave the funding at their institution and have them appoint a different person to run the project. Our policy in that situation is always to talk to the grantee themselves before giving any response to their employer (not surprisingly their intention is usually to put in a request to transfer the grant to their new job).

      The first couple of times after I took this job when this happened I almost fell for it — they would say “oh this is what grantee wants to do” in a very polite and professional manner and I just had a hard time believing people would lie so blatantly about something so easy to check. But thankfully my boss back then insisted we verify with the grantee. These days I don’t even let “do I believe this person” enter into it — I get told something about a grantee by a third party, I go straight to the grantee to confirm.

      Which is to say that if this is an unusual situation for C to find themselves in they just might not have been able to think of how to handle it properly in the moment.

      1. Laser99*

        I’m not often at a loss for words, but ….DANG. What do you think the reasoning was behind it? “Just call and tell them X wants us to keep it, maybe they’ll go for it”?. Also, did o you ever call out the sleaze merchants after the fact? (Not that you should have to, but I would be sorely tempted.)

        1. Kevin Sours*

          Desperation make people do stupid things. Losing a grant can have some brutal implications for the people working on it.

  25. BellyButton*

    I would very much like LW to speak to HR or whoever at the company to state “I will be keeping my original resignation date. However, since Boss crossed all the lines and talked my new company into a later start date, I would like a 4 week severance to cover the gap in my employment that I would not have if boss interfere in my life and career…” And see what they say.

    1. BellyButton*

      Note: I know the boss didn’t do anything illegal, but as inept as many HR departments are, they may not know that, and a little bit of push may result in some extra money and satisfaction.

      1. Just Saying*

        And maybe if the boss’ banana-pants behavior starts to cost some money, they might actually take a look at it.

      2. HonorBox*

        Perhaps not illegal, but perhaps not not illegal. If the new company won’t allow LW to start until the newly negotiated start date, boss did prevent them from earning 4 weeks of income…

        1. BellyButton*

          Yeah,, Alison talks about it up top. It is skating the line. Often a little push to HR gets them to agree to things just to make the problem go away. I would happily take the 4 weeks and the extra 4 weeks of pay.

        2. BellyButton*

          I would probably throw in a “this seems like Tortious interference to me….” and scare the crap out of them.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            That’s the sort of thing that leads to you conducting all future communications via mail with the legal department not “maintaining a positive relationship with the company while I exit”. Honestly, you shouldn’t ever do that sort of thing — it’s your attorney’s job.

  26. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    The problem here is the B and C companies are too closely linked (is B a customer of C?) so they are acting like OP is a resource or deliverable to be negotiated between them.

  27. scorchedearth*

    I’d go and tell HR I’m rescinding my notice period, my last day is today, and exactly the F why. But granted, I am a person without a need to keep on the good side of the company or worry about being unpaid for the notice period so it’s easy for me to fantasize about going scorched earth.

    1. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn Profiles**

      Then Call C and ask if the start date can be changed to Next Week. (Even if C refuses and cites her “deal” with B, that deal really shouldn’t be binding because OP wasn’t a party to it.)

    2. Fergus*

      I have not only scorched the earth I scrocked every plant in the known galaxy and that IA approximately 100,000 light years. I would give new company benefit of the doubt if you call new company and they are very accommodating, and let old company and leave the next day and flap in the wind. no one has the control to when and where you work.l, I have had neighbors knock on my door and tell me what I should be doing on my own property, they were lucky I let them walk away, some oeople are just too stupid.

  28. Ally McBeal*

    And THIS is why people fib or evade the question when asked where they’re going next. With the wisdom of hindsight, LW might’ve replied to Old Boss with something like “It’s a new role and they’re not ready to announce it yet, but I’ll be sure to update you [or post on LinkedIn or whatever] once I’m settled in.”

  29. NeonDreams*

    This is FUBAR times infinity. I can’t wrap my head around how incompetent and malicious this is.

  30. TheBunny*

    This is the gold standard example of why, if you have any doubt or gut feeling about doing it, you decline to tell old employer the name of new employer.

    I started a new job at the end of last year. I told a select few I trusted where I was going. One was a former manager (who was also a reference) but pretty much no one else.

    1. Bruce*

      YES! Came here to say this. Don’t disclose the new job to anyone you can’t trust with your life, especially the abusive soon-to-be-ex-boss. Hopefully they can get their start date back to the original deal, 4 weeks notice is already excessive if this is a US based job (People I work with in other countries tend to have longer notice periods, to be clear)

      1. LW*

        LW here! Unfortunately since the field is small and the two companies do work closely, B not knowing wasn’t really an option – B heard through the higher-level grapevine about the offer before I said anything. Which honestly was a small blessing, as I wasn’t looking forward to the reaction I would have had to go through if I broke the news myself.

        1. TheBunny*

          Oh no! That’s even worse. Sorry you are dealing with this…and that not dealing with it wasn’t an option.

          I hope you love your new job!

    2. Fergus*

      I had a company I turned down call me every few months I think for about a year and ask me where i was working. I never met this people and they were very interested in me and I had totally no knteresy in them..I had so little interest in them it was like having a one night stand that lasted 5 secs that was a year ago that I couldn’t remember her name and couldn’t remember what she looked like because she consented to a bag over her head, but she keep calling me asking who I was dating, it does happen

    3. Inkognyto*

      I agree had left a position where it was the boss. My field isn’t small but my area kind of is, if you’ve been here 20 years you know most of the companies to work for.
      I would not have told old manager where I was going.
      I tell people I respect where I am going and I’m not under any obligation to do so.

      I’ve left positions just saying that my last day is ‘end date’ and if people ask if I have another job, I say that it’s a private matter.

  31. KA*

    Same. This is pretty disqualifying of New Boss (NB). I would be running for the hills to work for someone who has no respect for me and my autonomy as a Whole Adult Who Negotiated For Herself. Could this potentially go to New company’s HR right away?

  32. Still looking for a good name . . .*

    I think you should be very clear with current boss: “I hear you interfered with my new job. You seem to be under the misapprehension that I am leaving here in order to go to work there. But I am not leaving x date in order to start at new job. I am leaving x date because I am quitting, and I will be quitting x date no matter what date my next job starts. I don’t like it here, and I have had enough.” THEN, go back to C and tell them you are available x date, and would like to start then.

    1. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn Profiles**

      The C will reply, “Oops, B has now ordered us to revoke our job offer. Sorry.”

      1. Sacred Ground*

        The current situation barely skirts the line of tortious interference. That would put it right over the line.

  33. Jamboree*

    OP I speak for the commentariat when I say we’re going to need an update immediately after Old Boss finds out you won’t change your end date. I mean need-need, not just want-need. Tell your boss we said good riddance!

  34. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    Given that the LW said that theirs was a small field, and that her old and new managers likely knew each other (or at least knew OF each other), New Boss might not have been eager to antagonize Old Boss – after all, she might have to work with her someday. Whatever the case, New Boss now knows that Old Boss is nutty as an almond grove and can take that into account if she ever encounters her again.

    LW, congratulations on your new job and here’s hoping that the rest of your old team gets the heck out of there before Old Boss warps their expectations and tolerance levels for toxic behavior on the job!

  35. Festively Dressed Earl*

    As to how to approach this with new boss, I’d just leave it and say as little as possible about B once you’ve started the new job. Like everyone else, I’m raising an eyebrow at C for going along with it but willing to give her the benefit of the doubt (taken aback at The Audacity). Small field + exodus of people working for B + firsthand experience by non-employees of bananapants behavior = B either has a reputation for being horrible, or she’s about to get one no matter what LW says.

  36. Mireya*

    I heard of an instance in which a legal admin asst got a job at another law firm, and her current HellBoss found out where. HellBoss called new employer and said they couldn’t hire admin because of a conflict of interest. The new employer caved.

    I’m madder at the new employer because conflicts of interest usually are an issue only at the attorney or paralegal level. If for some reason it would be an issue for the admin asst, then it should have been dealt with during the hiring process.

    Especially if the new employer was a smaller outfit, I could see them being put off or spooked by HellBoss. Still, they should have held firm.

    1. Luna*

      And that’s a good way for new employer to get a horrible reputation! Don’t bother applying there, if there’s even any problem with you starting, they’ll drop you and you’ll be SOL for that job.

  37. Luna*

    Wow, not only does your old boss talk to your new boss, but your new boss decides to go with what the old one says? Yes, that is absolutely bananapants, and I’d say already something to keep a wary eye on when you do start.

    If anything, I’d put my foot down and say that since they demand you stay longer, you will actually take the PTO that you had agreed to let go for the earlier departure date.

    1. Delta Delta*

      That was my thought exactly. If they ask where you’re going or what you’re doing, you can just say you found another position and leave it at that. That way none of this nonsense happens.

  38. Lola*

    This would actually make me worried about C as a manager. If they accepted B’s interference in setting your start date, where else will they cede to people steamrolling and pressuring them? Is C new to the field?
    What B did is horrible, but you already knew they were a horrible manager (and were in fact leaving because of that). But C’s reaction is new information – don’t disregard it and tread carefully in the new job!

  39. Workerbee*

    I strongly think OP should devote some time to continuing the job search & interviewing.

    It’s this that clinches it for me: “My new role will involve contact with important people in my current organization (though not with B), so I need to maintain a positive relationship with the company while I exit.”

    The fact that Boss C was “shaken” by B’s call, and felt pressure to acquiesce to B’s demands, tells me that:
    –Despite this new role allegedly not going to have contact going forward with B, B has enough clout / bullying tactics to influence people B should have no influence with, and
    –Now there is no guarantee Boss C will put OP first when future unreasonable demands come down, via B or otherwise.

  40. UpstateDownstate*

    WOW! Your soon to be ex-boss is nutso. Congrats on leaving that situation.

    I would skip the Exit Interview all-together. You know it’s not going to make any difference and it’s just a waste of time and it will stay in some drive with your name on it, why do that? Just either say “I’m sorry I really need to focus the little time I have left on wrapping things up…” or push it off until your exit.

    Good luck at your new job!

  41. Database Developer Dude*

    Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it’s right. Boss B is completely and totally in the wrong here, and so is Boss C for caving to the pressure.

    If that were me, I’d continue looking, and when I found a job elsewhere, I’d give Boss B not a two week notice, but a two minute warning. As in, in two minutes you’re going to notice that I’m gone.

  42. Molly Millions*

    I think regardless of whether you prefer the original start date or not, you should absolutely correct the record with the new manager. She was clearly weirded out by this request and you don’t want her to think you’re unprofessional/not fully committed to the new job.

    You can soft-pedal it so you don’t look like a bad-mouther (“there must have been a misunderstanding”/”she’s likely stressed because we’ve had a lot of turnover”).

    And you might want to emphasize that you have a plan in place to wrap up all your remaining tasks (in case she claimed you’re leaving them in the lurch)

    But definitely let them know you didn’t authorize that call.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      I wouldn’t obfuscate any. Just sticking with the bare facts should be fine “No, I didn’t ask B to do that that, I have no idea why she did”.

      1. Molly Millions*

        Agreed. I was just thinking, it *might* be wise to let OldBoss save a little face (“must have been a misunderstanding”) if there’s any chance she might have to communicate with her old company in the new job. If she seems to have animosity toward the old firm, NewBoss might be reluctant to put her on files where they’re the vendor, etc.

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