the postage stamps, the airport page, and other deranged responses to resignations

Last week I asked about deranged things your employer did when you resigned. Here are some of my favorite stories you shared.

1. The postage stamps

An attorney I worked for had custom postage stamps made with HER FACE on them specifically for mailing folks their last paycheck after they were fired or (usually) quit. There was a lot of turnover there.

2. The document

After I gave my two weeks notice, I recommended that we have a meeting with the CEO, Operations Manager, and the person assuming my responsibilities (which was everything IT for this small 40+ staffed org – sysadmin, website development, hardware and software support, etc.).

During the meeting, the CEO screamed at me to move my chair out of their way as they were trying to squeeze past me to literally print out my cloud document of instructions (which had probably 50 or more hyperlinks to other documents). Everyone else in the meeting had their laptops open. I tried to explain printing it out would be useless. I even tried to loan them my laptop in the meeting so they could follow along. Nope, they wanted to print it out. That was the last time I would be screamed at for such nonsense after five years. I quietly left the meeting, went back to my desk, adjusted my resignation letter from two weeks to one week, and handed it off. I indicated that I would keep shortening the time for every screaming incident. Worked like a charm, and left after one week. I now have my own successful freelance IT business.

3. The freeze

I worked for a nonprofit that had terrible senior management and insane turnover. When I started, there were 60 employees and when I left, there were 25.

After employees announced their resignation or if they were laid off, senior management would completely ice them out. Cancel all their meetings, take them off email chains. They’d even tell other employees not to talk to them.

I have to say, it was my best notice period ever. Up to that point, I was expected to be on call 24/7 in case the CEO had an “emergency” (like didn’t like that I only included the mission statement once in a document). So, being cut off was heaven. I got my transition document done and told my coworkers, then just spent the rest of my time scrolling TikTok and preparing for my new job.

4. The advice

When I resigned from a job a few years back, my manager launched into the usual “follow your dreams” speech. Strangely, the speech devolved into how she’d wanted to get breast enhancement surgery in her early twenties and that she should have followed her dreams and that she might just do that now. The speech was complete with hand gestures of approximate size and lift. I just sat there, smiling, for over an hour. I can only imagine what my colleagues were thinking when they walked past her office. I hope she followed her dreams. She really was a lovely person.

5. The refusal

My boss’s reaction was to tell me that my notice period was way too short and that I was burning bridges. I gave her four weeks notice, the standard in the industry and at the organization was two unless otherwise stated in the job contract (it wasn’t). She told me that I should have told her I was interviewing elsewhere. Then she told me that she would absolutely not release me and that she would escalate this to the Vice President if she had to. What made it even better was that she was making me interview and compete for my current position that I had built from scratch with minimal support.

6. The insult

When I left for a wayyy more prestigious company and twice the salary, the HR person and my manager took me out for lunch. They spent the entire meal explaining that I really wasn’t that interesting of a person and that I would miserably fail with the high expectations of the new job, since it “required someone with social skills.”

Then the HR lady paid for herself and my boss, leaving me to foot my own bill.

(I’ve been at said new job for five years now. I can tell you that my first years were an absolute dream and that I exceeded expectations at every yearly review. Turns out the “absence of social skills” was mostly due to the fact that I just didn’t really like my old team. Sorry, old team.)

7. The well wishes

I resigned and went through long, protracted convos with my boss, grandboss, and great grandboss to get me to stay. I was burned out and great grandboss in particular kept misstating the problems and offering bad solutions. When I finally got on Zoom with all three of them to say thank you but no, grandboss was super gracious and said I was always welcome back if anything changed. Great grandboss waited a beat and then said, “I hope you hate New Employer.”

8. The chaos goblin

I had a job where I gave six weeks notice once. Was asked to documented all I did. So I did, it took two days. Went looking for the folks to hand it off to and train, asked boss how the handover was going to be. Silence. Gave hard copy to my boss along with link to file on work drive. Silence. The only team that actually processed that I was leaving was accounting and HR. I worked 100% until last my last day, 10-14 hours, five days a week, plus on call after hours and weekends. On my last day, I packed the last of my stuff (I had moved most of my personal things the day I gave notice). I went around saying my goodbyes, giving out my private cell and email address to friends. Turned in all equipment assigned to me and had it accounted for. Went to my boss’s office to give him a list of things in flight that may become a problem if not addressed soon. Said goodbye and how it was a pleasure to work for them, I learned a lot, and I wished them the best. (It is what you say in real life so that you don’t burn bridges.) I handed in my keycard and badge to security and almost made it to my car before someone came running up to me asking me to come back. I thought I had forgotten something.

My boss was shocked that I was actually leaving. I reminded him that I had given notice six weeks ago, written out documentation of all my actual duties, contacts, calendar, schedules so that they could write up a job description and had waited to train someone or offload duties to someone who was staying.

He said “I thought you only wanted a raise, not that you would actually quit!” I asked, do I get a raise? He said no. I said goodbye and how it was a pleasure to work for them, I learned a lot, and I wished them the best. (It is what you say in real life so that you don’t burn bridges.)

He asked me to stay for a meeting where we would go over the documentation I gave him five weeks ago. I had already done a 10-hour day (salary), said goodbye to all my contacts, etc. I did the meeting with his boss, a VIP, an owner and managers of other teams to go over splitting up my job.

They decided to schedule a meeting on the following Monday to go over things and start cross training. I reminded them that I no longer worked there. “But we needed you to do this! We aren’t ready! It’s a bad time to quit!” Blah, blah, blah.

I told them that I was no longer in the HR system and unless there was a contract of some type, I would not be working for free.

There was no offer to pay me something.

I said goodbye and how it was a pleasure to work for them, I learned a lot, and I wished them the best. (It is what you say in real life so that you don’t burn bridges.)

My daughter and I then left. Oh, I forgot to say, It was Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

They split my job between six people. Those six friends were pressured by my old boss to call me daily for help. They hadn’t been given my docs. I told some that if they took me out to lunch, I would go over something with them. I contacted boss with a offer to consult, with a price in line with what consultants in my industry were charging per hour. He declined. I stopped helping at all. A friend told me that they had to hire three people to replace me.

I probably would have stayed for 25% more pay and a one week guaranteed PTO increase.

I didn’t have a job lined up but I was burned out and willing to live on savings for a bit to give myself time to figure things out.

Next job I got paid 30% more. I make just shy of three times that now.

Plus my daughter knows the proper way to leave a job.

9. The parking sign

I was good friends with a coworker who was an executive assistant but had been going to nursing school – everyone knew, it wasn’t a surprise. When she graduated, found work as a nurse and gave notice, the boss was so incensed he strode out to the parking lot in his khakis and began trying to uproot her reserved parking sign.

I guess he had considered it a real honor for her to have it (most of us didn’t because honestly, parking was not too hard to come by there). It’s an indelible image that we still talk about, him trying to dig up that sign. I also gave notice a few months later (to work at the same place as my nurse friend, in fact) but he did not tear anything apart, which I take as an insult!

10. The hookers and thieves

I worked for a nonprofit theater company and in the course of a few months everyone in my department save me and the director was either let go or quit. Our director was under pressure from the head of the company and spent a lot of time in her office with the lights off.

I gave my notice after receiving and offer with another organization, and she snapped when I told her—laughing hysterically, rocking back and forth, spouting all kinds of nonsense. She told me that everyone at the new organization were “hookers and thieves” and that they would lure me into an alley to attack me with baseball bats. She completely ignored me from then on out, going so far as to walk into group settings and make a big show of NOT talking to me. On my last day she asked me to lunch as if nothing had happened and told me she’d been planning on taking me with her to her next gig. Dodged a bullet there!

11. The memo

The year was 1988. I worked for a publisher of computer hobbyist magazines. It was a tiny family business and the boss was kind of a jerk, compounded by rage issues. When I gave my two weeks notice, he demanded an explanation. My official reasons for changing jobs were more money, convenient location on campus where I lived, and good resume experience.

My unofficial reason was that it was a sexist environment, I had had to prompt them to raise my pay by 25 cents as they had promised, and the boss was generally a jerk, treating us like a bunch of goldbrickers when we were college students doing professional work producing a high quality magazine for $4.25 an hour. And he was a sexist pig. And he often threw temper tantrums.

But I wanted to leave on good terms, so I didn’t say that stuff. Until.

The day after I gave notice, there was a memo on everyone’s desk about how disappointing and untrustworthy and ungrateful we were. That really made me mad. So I went home and composed a memo of my own and gave it to him the next day.

The vein in his forehead began to visibly throb. He called all of us into the conference room and proceeded to read my memo to everyone. Occasionally he would pause in disbelief (for dramatic effect) at what I had written. When he was done, he said, “None of this is true.” And I replied, “If that’s so, why do you never make those remarks when your wife is around?”

That did it. He threw me out. Several of my coworkers got jobs on campus after that too. I don’t know how he continued to produce the magazines, but changes in the home computer market would render them obsolete in a few years anyway.

Details on the memo are here.

12. The lengthy break

I guess I didn’t technically resign, but a job that had promised me full-time hours starting in the summer just took me off the schedule for an entire month. With no guarantee that they’d even put me back on, let alone give me the full time I’d quit my other job for.

So naturally I started job hunting and took a new job. SIX MONTHS later, I had to swing by the old job to pick up some paperwork and the front desk said, “Oh, we’ve been meaning to call you. Can you come in Thursday?” They seemed legitimately surprised that I wasn’t sitting around for half a year waiting for them to call.

13. The freeze, part 2

This was my first job out of college. I resigned my extremely entry-level job with two weeks notice. I explained I was leaving for graduate school and had enjoyed my two years with the organization. My manager looked at me and said, “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me, I can’t even talk to you anymore.” She walked out and for the rest of the two weeks gave me full silent treatment and only communicated with me by email and post-it note.

What made this even more awkward? We were a small nonprofit and shared offices (really small rooms like a bedroom) and so for two weeks my manager refused to speak with me and sent emails for every single request/put post-it notes on my desk, all while sitting right next to me but still talking to the other colleague that shared our space. It was a painful, but quiet two weeks!

14. The moral choice

Just out of college, I started and then quickly bailed on one of my first office jobs for multiple good reasons. When the owner received my notice, she not only told me not to bother coming back for the notice period, but informed me that she would expect me to return all the money she had previously paid me for work already done and that I should send a check within 90 days. She used this phrase, I have never forgotten it: “It is the correct moral and responsible choice on your part to restore our investment to us, for the good of your future career.”

I later heard through my small-town grapevine that I was not the first or only office employee she’d ever tried this with, especially trying it with other young and inexperienced workers.

Me, I just kept the money and counted myself lucky to be gone.

15. The insistence

I worked as the office manager for a small company for about a year and a half. (A year and a half too long! But we won’t get into that!) My boss was the owner, and when I gave him my resignation, he was furious. He yelled, “How could you do this to me?” The next day, as sweet as he could be, offered me $20k to stay, shortened hours, and extra PTO. I politely declined but he became furious again and told me, “I insist you stay!” It took everything I had to stay for my two week notice.

16. The advice, part 2

When I was 23, I was an office administrator for an accounting firm where I was underpaid and just treated terribly. When I finally decided to quit after two years, I walked into my boss’s office, to tell him I was resigning and that my last day would be in four weeks. He said he was sorry to see me leave, and said: “Can I give you some advice? Freeze your eggs. You never know, you may have trouble conceiving when you decide to have kids.” He spent another five minutes talking about why I should freeze my eggs, before I walked out.

17. The counseling referral

I told my manager that I wouldn’t be continuing in the role once my contract expired (academic postdoc role, he was trying to get funding to extend the contract). He’d already derailed my internal redeployment attempts by causing people enough hassle that they decided to pull a role that would have been great for me instead of hiring me for it. This was after he’d casually gone, “So if they offer you that role, you’re turning it down, right?” He was not delighted with my response on that one.

I’d anticipated trouble because he was brilliant but also awful at interacting with people in general, and had already had a chat with HR complete with paper trail of his bad behavior and let them know I wanted out. I emailed over a resignation and then when he said he wanted a face to face meeting, I told HR about the meeting and then went in prepped with a strong message of “this is happening so how do we want to handle the hand-over?” Instead he spent the meeting trying to persuade me to stay and ignoring what I was saying until I just left the meeting in tears because he wouldn’t listen.

The next day, HR got in touch to say that he’d contacted them to ask them to send me to the university counseling service because I was “making rash decisions.” Thankfully they’d already realized he was not a rational human being about this and let me handle it how I liked, and gave me a HR contact I could use as a reference for job hunting. I’m now in a role where I’m much happier and can use it as an exciting anecdote.

18. The obliviousness

I once reported in to a CFO whose disrespect and abuse escalated to screaming “NO” and “GO AWAY” when I would come to his office to request tasks that only he could perform, like international wires of bills that urgently needed paying (and I had to go to his office to follow up because he would just ignore my emails). Like, he would scream “GO AWAY” at me before I could even say “hello” or ask my request.

I was so relieved when I got another job and gave my notice to HR. When HR informed him I had quit, he marched into the group accounting office, and screamed at me, demanding to know why I hadn’t simply come to talk to him if I was so unhappy.

19. The airport page

In the days before cell phones, I had a terrible boss. She was suuuuper sweet, but she always found an “innocent” way to get people to do work on nights and weekends. She’d either manufacture an emergency or pretend to lose important papers so you’d have to come in only to find out from other people she had what she needed all along. She once made me come in at 9 pm on a Tuesday to redo her schedule to reflect all her rebookings for a work trip only to learn the next day that she had decided the previous week she wasn’t going at all.

Boss only acted like that to unpaid interns, which I was.

When I gave notice, my workload increased and increased to the point I couldn’t pack up my apartment because my boss kept calling me with “just one more question” and “we really need you so can you come in just one last time?” The day I left town, she told me I had to come in and work a half day before my flight or else she “didn’t know” if she could write me a letter of recommendation. So I did because I thought I didn’t have a choice.

As I packed up my apartment and did a last minute check, my boss continued to call me and leave messages on the answering machine. (My internship gave us furnished apartments so that’s why it stayed plugged in.) I never responded. A couple of years later, I found out from an ex-coworker that my boss was asking her staff to call DC’s National Airport to have me paged so I could answer more work questions before I boarded. Apparently, you can’t use the paging system for that.

20. The loon

When I left OldJob, one of my six (six!!!) bosses called me repeatedly – from her cell phone to my cell phone, so I could clearly see it was her – and hung up. She forbade everyone from getting me a cake for my last day. She ignored me for two weeks, then scheduled one hour on my last day for me to “teach her my job,” and showed up 20 minutes late…

The icing on the cake is that it’s a very small town, and her daughter and mine have been friends since kindergarten. Her last order of business when I walked out the door was to tell me “it’s not personal” and then uninvite my daughter from her daughter’s birthday party the next day.

{ 213 comments… read them below }

  1. Heffalump*

    OP1: The attorney was actually giving her former employees an opportunity to hang onto the envelope and stamp and tell their friends, “See how weird my ex-employer was.” But I’m sure she didn’t think it through that far and wouldn’t have cared if she had.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I honestly don’t know if I’d even have noticed the stamp on the letter. Totally wasted on me. :P

      2. Heffalump*

        I’d scan the envelope, put a black bar across my ex-employer’s eyes, and send the image to Alison.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        Shadowbox frame with its own spotlight and a little button to push to hear the tale.

    1. Antilles*

      Or if they actively disliked her, it provides an easy opportunity to let off some aggression physically: Stick it to a punching bag, toss it in the fireplace and watch it burn, toss it in the toilet and dump on it, etc.

      But yeah, she absolutely didn’t think that far. In her mind, I’m confident she thought “seeing my face will make them feel regret and shame!” and left it right there.

        1. Elitist Semicolon*

          I actually made a dartboard of our boss’s face for someone who was leaving a toxic place I once worked. (I did make a point of telling him not to open it at work.)

          1. Reluctant Mezzo*

            I recall an SF story where someone worked for a video gaming company and used the boss’s face to paste onto the boss villain. The boss found out, did not end well, etc.

    2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      I was thinking the former employees would hold onto them and carry them around like challenge coins.

    3. Mister_L*

      Has anyone else here read Terry Pratchetts “Going Postal” and thought of the joke with the portrait stamp?

      1. What the what*

        No but now I’m going to read it!

        I once told a coworker “I hope someone doesn’t go postal about XYZ.” I got a super frosty look and a very terse response of “My dad’s a mailman”

  2. BecauseHigherEd*

    God, I just remembered this. Sort of a reverse-leaving. I did the AmeriCorps program right out of college. Things went well at my organization, and so just a week or two before I was supposed to finish my AmeriCorps contract, the CEO offered me a full-time job. Great! I didn’t initially say anything to anyone, because I was expecting the CEO to make an office-wide announcement.

    Well. Word was not conveyed to everyone else, and so someone organized a going-away party for me. There was cake. A few people brought gifts. People kept asking what I was going to do after this AmeriCorps year. I just sort of sat there awkwardly, not really sure what to tell them, and also not sure if I should accept the going-away gifts or not. After I talked to a few coworkers, it also became clear that some of them didn’t particularly care that I was leaving and wouldn’t particularly miss me. It was with this backdrop that the CEO stood up, with a dramatic flourish, began speaking about all of the things I had done during my year, and finished with, “Aaaaaaaand, she’s NOT actually leaving!”

    It was incredibly awkward.

      1. BecauseHigherEd*

        He was really into theatrics. A lot of his job involved public speaking and he never missed an opportunity to have a dramatic, inspiring moment. I kind of think that he went, “We can celebrate that our AmeriCorps did all this work for no money and make an exciting announcement at the end and everyone will be so pleased!”

        That’s not how it worked out.

  3. Willow Pillow*

    I have a question after reading #8 – what do you say in real life so that you don’t burn bridges?

    1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

      You firmly squelch your overwhelming desire to tell your godawful manager exactly how terrible their management style/your pay/the job’s demands/etc. really are (aka the truth) and give an anodyne reason for leaving your horrible job. Taking a position that’s more in line with your qualifications, that focuses more on your particular skills and interests and/or that gives you opportunities to do what you’ve always wanted to are good, neutral answers that won’t antagonize your godawful manager (unless they’re bananapants crazy, in which all bets are off anyway.)

      Not antagonizing even the worst former boss is actually in your best interest, especially if you’re in a niche field in which managerial staff in your company often talk with managers of similar companies; a spiteful comment here and there can really damage your reputation in other companies for which you might like to work. And of course, you will NOT get a decent reference from a manager whom you’ve angered!

      Rule of thumb: don’t say anything to colleagues or managers that you wouldn’t want transcribed and put in your personnel file.

      1. Your Mate in Oz*

        I’d put it as “don’t say anything on the way out that you don’t want to have to explain to your new boss, or in a job interview”.

        “your permanent record” is often imaginary, but “I was talking to so’n’so the other day and they mentioned that you had … as you left their company” is a very real thing.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        “I’ve certainly learned a lot here.”
        “I’ll never forget my time here.”
        “It’s been a once in a lifetime experience here.”

        Just the most neutral, beige room phrasing of “I wouldn’t pee on this place if it was on fire” you can manage in general.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Especially with her daughter along to observe. That is not the time to model “Mommy screams at the idiots.”

    2. anon because have you met academics*

      #8 and #19 have reminded me of when I left an academic teaching job (it was temporary and my contract was up, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to anyone). A couple of years earlier I’d been strongarmed into taking over the management of a big course run by a very senior professor after she received lots of complaints from students. I dutifully reworked it all, which included making a very beautiful online teaching area full of up-to-date resources. When I left the course reverted back to the senior professor (who was paid about three times what I got), and the complaints started up again. Two years later (universities work… slowly), she was called into a meeting with some administrators I’m still friends with (UK context, so poorly-paid admin people rather than managers) about how bad the online learning area was, and she told them that she hadn’t done anything to it (including transferring my material from previous years), because it was my job. When reminded that I had stopped working at the institution two years earlier, she continued to maintain that it was my job to manage her course area, and could not be persuaded otherwise. I haven’t seen her since, but we work in the same niche area so it’s likely that some day I’ll run into her at an event, and I have no idea what on earth I will say to her.

    3. DawnShadow*

      I wondered about all the repetition too, and then when they said they had their daughter with them for Bring Your Daughter To Work Day, I thought OF COURSE! Now it makes sense. They were thinking of the whole thing as a teaching moment and that’s what you do to reinforce the lesson.

      1. I'm on Team Rita*

        Yeah, but I’d prefer they didn’t teach the daughter to sit in a meeting for more than a couple minutes when you’ve already turned in your badge. Or answer questions you aren’t being paid for.

  4. Sara*

    #12 reminded me of when I was in HS I worked at a tutoring center for a couple years. At some point they hired a manager that hated me on sight for whatever reason – I had no complaints or issues prior to her hiring and then constant write ups after. After a few months, she just didn’t put me on the schedule at all EXCEPT for the week of spring break, which I had asked off for. When reminded, she said the schedule was locked and I needed to find my own coverage. No one was available to cover, so I just waited til the first shift and called out sick from a rest stop on the way to Florida. She told me if I didn’t come in, I was fired and I was pretty much like “ok, seems fair”. I found a new job at a shoe store when I came back.

    1. FricketyFrack*

      I really love when managers try that crap with teenagers who generally care just enough to show up and do a pretty ok job. Like, oh nooo, I’m fired from a job that barely matters and I don’t have any real bills yet, whatever will I do? I guess I’ll have to go apply for one of the million other crappy jobs that pay minimum wage.

  5. ferrina*

    #20 Wow, that’s just cruel. The poor kid! Both daughters- I’d hate to have the loon for a parent, and poor OP’s daughter is caught in the middle.

    1. Be Gneiss*

      That one is mine – I feel so famous! Both girls are well-adjusted, still friends, and will be heading to the same college in the fall. And Loony ExBoss will not even make eye contact with me at school events.

      1. Critical Rolls*

        Wow, good for ex-boss’s daughter! I imagine it was a bit of an uphill battle to get to well adjusted with a parent like that.

      2. allathian*

        Congrats on your impending liberation from school events where you have to run into that horrible person, at least until your kids graduate from college. I’m glad your daughters are still friends.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        And I bet that’s not the only time ex-boss used her kid as a weapon. Poor kid. Glad she stayed friends with the LW’s daughter.

    1. Chick-n-Boots*

      Honestly, I would have been so tempted to just shout “GO AWAY!” at him when he walked in the room!!

    1. morethantired*

      I was actually thinking it could be helpful because 98% of the mail I get is junk so when I have to look out for important mail, it’s nice when it’s easy to spot! ha ha ha ha

    2. londonedit*

      I had no idea there were countries (the US?) where you can get your own custom postage stamps made. Here we do have the odd commemorative run of special stamps, and the Post Office do special stamps for Christmas, but otherwise it’s just Charlie on your stamp.

      1. Christine*

        The US Postal Service has to fund itself, so they have myriad stamp designs. I have a large number of flower-themed stamps left over from my brief foray into writing in the 90s. Since I rarely post mail anymore, they’ll be going to my heirs.

      2. Kim Gwen*

        the Netherlands is another country where you can do this. We used custom stamps for our wedding invites :D

    3. Lana Kane*

      I love it, personally lol Was she smiling in the picture? Was it kind of a smirk? That’s what I picture.

    4. Reluctant Mezzo*

      Can we match her up with the employee with the cod? That could be a truly magical moment.

  6. ZSD*

    #16 is just so random!

    Is #1 legal? How do you get stamps made with your picture on them? Isn’t there a law against having people’s faces on stamps until something like 30 years after they die (but only 10 years or so for Presidents)?

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Oh no you can get personalized stamps. I can’t remember where I ordered some for my wedding, but it can be done.

      Basically as long as the post office gets paid, its legal.

      1. Clisby*

        I *think* they stopped doing that. I know when I was trying to get some with a picture of our cat for my son and daughter, I couldn’t find how.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I’m trying to emphasize and recreate the feelings you would have on receiving something this creepy and hilarious.

      1. BigLawEx*

        Ooooh. That’s too bad. My son’s pic was the basis of them for holiday cards the year he was born.

  7. Pastor Petty Labelle*

    #5 — oh hahahahaha, escalate to the VP. Like what are they going to do? Chain you to your desk?

    Resigned means gone. You can’t make people stay and work for you. There’s a whole Amendment to the Constitution about that.

    1. Anon for this*

      Funny you should use that phrase “chain you to your desk.”

      I had a CEO tell me I wasn’t “allowed” to resign until “all your projects are done…hahahahah I may just chain you to your desk and make you work until they’re all completely finished. Say maaaaaybe three months from now you can leave?”

      In 2020. During lockdown. On Zoom. In an at-will state.

      Yes, he was serious.

      I couldn’t help laughing out loud. Then I said as if he was making the best joke ever, “Yeah no. My firm and final resignation date is X.”

    2. AnonForThis*

      When I was underemployed after college, an ideas guy who had no experience with software wanted me to work at his “tech startup”. I was desperate to do anything with my computer science major, so I agreed to contract with him for 200 hours (in hindsight I was absolutely an employee, but that was the least of the problems).

      When I failed to deliver a fully-functional electronic health records system that was completely secure, interoperable with every other health records system, and also incorporated a third-party questionnaire from a company he wanted to partner with, he threatened to sue me unless I worked for free until I could deliver one.

      I politely declined to be his slave for life.

        1. AnonForThis*

          At the time, I actually felt guilty because the “CEO” went from love-bombing me to calling my contributions worthless and pointing out that I was paid better than my coworker even though he did so much more work than me.

          This backfired when I talked to that coworker about the fact that he wasn’t being paid enough; I learned that not only was he paid less per hour, he estimated he’d already worked about 600 hours unpaid. (Which is when the guilt was replaced by seething righteous anger.)

          Every one of the startup’s employees/contractors quit within the next two months. The company hasn’t produced a product in the last 15 years, but the CEO still occasionally invites me to interview for “job openings” at his “company” like an abusive ex who somehow thinks you’re friends.

        1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

          Every once and a while I remember that campus exists and fall down the Internet rabbit hole of looking at pictures. When I go to my doctor and he complains about the software, I point him toward their website and just shrug.

        2. AnonForThis*

          Yes, but Epic has a) more than four employees and b) pays more than $15/hr for software developers with a Computer Science degree.

          Ironically, I did end up moving to Wisconsin and working for Epic. It pays very well for software devs and project managers, but watch out for the lead parachute. Thanks to an insanely broad non-compete agreement that includes all clients, vendors and potential partners, you will be locked out of any job in healthcare tech in the Midwest for an entire year, even if Epic fired you.

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      I can’t believe how many seemingly rational adults don’t grasp that they aren’t running a medieval fiefdom and don’t actually own their employees.

  8. nothing personal, kid!*

    #20- “It’s not personal. I’m going to now do a thing that is very personal.”
    Just- LOL.

  9. Polly Hedron*

    #7 …grandboss was super gracious and said I was always welcome back if anything changed. Great grandboss waited a beat and then said, “I hope you hate New Employer.”

    Could great-grandboss have been trying to give you a compliment, i.e. he hoped you hated New Employer enough for you to come back?

    1. Doc in a Box*

      Tone/non-verbals makes all the difference here. I could see this being either an awkward joke or a dead-eyed stare (“Nice new employer you got there. Be a shame if something happened to them.”)

      1. lizjennings87*

        OP #7. Doc in Box has it. Tone and non-verbals shifted as soon as I gave my decision. The comment shocked the rest of us into silence for a few beats.

  10. High Score!*

    #8 Chaos Goblin
    Glad you got out & showed your daughter the way. Although, once you resign, it’s ok, even on salary to limit yourself to 8 hour days.

    1. Heart&Vine*

      He said “I thought you only wanted a raise, not that you would actually quit!” I asked, do I get a raise? He said no.

      This guy is next-level deluded and love how OP handled it! No notes!

  11. Unwatered Office Plant*

    In #3, I think there’s something missing from the third paragraph. What’s inside the parentheses doesn’t make sense.

    1. Velawciraptor*

      The parenthetical comment is an example of what the CEO called an emergency: she didn’t like that LW only included the mission statement once in a document.

      It doesn’t make sense because it’s an unhinged thing to consider an emergency.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      I read it the same way as Velawciraptor. The “like didn’t like” that starts off the parenthetical means “for example, the CEO didn’t like”

  12. PotsPansTeapots*

    #12 reminds me of a writing agency I used to work for – was promised a minimum of 10 hours a week, didn’t get even 2 and was told to stop asking for work. Fine, message received; I effectively stopped working with them. I even figured I’d been marked “inactive” or w/e in their system.

    Nope, nine months after I’d done any work for them I get multiple emails begging me to come back bc they were busy. None acknowledged that they had only delivered a tiny fraction of the workload promised. Hey, it was nice to get a reminder to actually cut ties with them.

  13. Anonynon*

    I left a job with one week’s notice for very personal and very urgent health reasons. The job also sucked, so I wasn’t sad.

    My boss, the owner of the company, leaned back, tented his fingers and said in a very, “I am a serious businessman” voice, “What’s your contingency plan for this?”

    My contingency plan? Man, my plan is to go take care of my family. I hope you have a contingency plan for your company.

  14. singularity*

    I used to work at a gas station in high school that did not correctly train me on how to use a cash register. Whoever programed it put weird presets in that made no sense, and I didn’t know how to balance a till. The station changed ownership while I worked there, and didn’t want to change out the cash registers. I told them I wasn’t officially trained on the registers, that I didn’t understand how they all worked. They insisted they would figure it out, and never bought new ones or reprogramed the old ones or trained me. One day my till was short $50. They had a security camera pointed at the register at all times, and still accused me of stealing money.

    They tried to take $50 out of my check to cover the loss, even though they had video evidence that I hadn’t done anything wrong. I put in my two weeks notice over it because I found another job at a bookstore. My manager was ANGRY. I was the only person working there that wasn’t a family member of the owner. I guess they thought they could get away with bullying a high school kid over money I didn’t take. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  15. Addison DeWitt*

    Best story I can think of (one thing about ad agencies, people coming and going is so frequent, and your odds of working again with someone are so high, people tend not to be complete D-words when you leave): I was packing up my office. The security guy started to ask how he was supposed to know that something was my personal property. I just held it up and said, do you really think the company ISSUED me a framed photo of Boris Karloff smoking a cigarette and drinking tea in full Frankenstein makeup?

    1. Lenora Rose*

      To be fair, while my knick knacks are obvious, I made sure to label the one charge cord I brought in for myself, and I have a couple of pens of an odd colour that are not from our office supplies orders. Of course, I wouldn’t weep if I had to leave those behind the way I might for my chubby seal figurine (the artist and I shared studio space.)

      I found the Union membership card for the person who used to work at my desk at one job almost a year after I started there. Since she has just moved into a different department, I tucked it and her cute hair clip into an internal courier envelope. I was pretty sure she’d laugh.

      1. AG*

        One job, I brought my own space heater into the office space with the decorative thermostat. I was the only one in that, well, alcove. My supervisor told me to get the label maker and label it as “Personal property of…” She had a story: When the department was doing inventory work, they had come in and slapped an inventory barcode on the printer that she had brought from home.

  16. ReallyBadPerson*

    #18 I swear, if my boss screamed at me to get out when I went into his office, I’d assume he was looking at p%rn, or worse, servicing himself. Younger me would have slunk out, but today’s me might have said, “Why? Do you need, um, PRIVACY?”

  17. Alex*

    I wonder what it says about me that I now want to get custom postage stamps and send passive aggressive letters to everyone I dislike.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Strong, strong, strong agree.

      Some of it can be attributed to sexism, some of it can be attributed to cronyism, and some of it can be attributed to capitalism with an extra helping of Stockholm syndrome.

      1. allathian*

        And the vast majority can be attributed to the obligation to avoid nuking bridges from orbit with soon-to-be former managers for reference reasons.

        As it is, I guess living well is the best revenge, and I hope that everyone who’s shared their stories in posts like these gets some satisfaction out of the large number of commenters who are angry on their behalf.

  18. A Simple Narwhal*

    I’m super curious as to what type of photo #1 used for the stamp. Their professional headshot? A glamor pic? Them looking super angry? Looking super happy? I can’t decide which would be better/more unhinged!

    1. RVA Cat*

      Anyone else imagining what the limits are on custom postage stamps? I assume certain body parts are off limits, but now my inner 12-year-old wants them with a rude hand gesture.

    2. Zona the Great*

      Remember that hilarious college student who brought a massive cutout of his face making a face to basketball games? I’m picturing a face like that.

  19. Maggie*

    It really says so much about the way society works that people who behave this way continue to not only have jobs, but jobs with considerable control over other people and a paycheck to match. Really undercuts any potential claim that we’re living in a meritocracy.

    1. Festively Dressed Earl*

      The bosses in letters 5, 8, 11, 15, 17, and 19 all realized too late that they were losing a valuable resource that they would be hard pressed to continue without. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if #18 did lose his job once he gave hard evidence of his horrible temper and incompetence in front of HR. And #2 either learned from his mistake, or someone else locked him in his office and took away his keyboard so that he couldn’t make an ass of himself again.

    2. Mister_L*

      Unfortunately, the “merit” is usually excellence in kissing (let’s just say) butts while kicking down (preferably without rising to the level of being legally relevant) or being related to someone.

  20. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    I don’t know if this counts, but…

    I had been working 90-100 hour weeks for months on end, then it happened. I got dumped. In retrospect, duh, but at the time I was still deluding myself a bit. As hard as it had been to find a job, finding a relationship was an order of magnitude harder, so I put in my notice. I intended to salvage the relationship instead of the job. I knew my job was miserably difficult to fill, so I put in a month’s notice, contingent that I worked five eight-hour shifts per week.

    My boss smirked and told me “Sweethearts come and go. You’re sure this a good decision?” I confirmed “No.” At least I was honest.

    My boss knew I had a few screws loose by that point, and just getting to that point was evidence of a few more. The relationship wasn’t coming back (my sweetheart had changed medications and become a different person. I found out later that my boss had lived that scenario). So my supervisor took the mountain of work I’d done over those past 9 months of endless hours and gave it to the laziest, least professional, least careful programmer in the office. When I questioned the decision, she told me “You’re leaving and I need to have coverage.”

    I lasted almost a week of watching all my hard work be mangled before my eyes before I rescinded my notice, went back to the 7 day x 13 hour weekly schedule, and worked there for another 2 years.

    1. Expelliarmus*

      So… your manager had someone undo your hard work that you did for the company just to teach you a lesson? That seems really shortsighted of the company at best and like a big “F You” to you at worst.

    2. Generic Name*

      Whyyyyy did you care so much about work for a company that clearly didn’t care about you? I really hope you are now at a company that appreciates you and treats you well and you also have a partner that appreciates you and treats you well.

    3. allathian*

      Oh noes… I don’t think I could survive working such long days, ugh. I’m *certain* my work product would be completely crap.

      I hope you at least got paid decently for all that work.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I was hourly. That helped some. I still found it to be a raise going to salaried when the time came.

        1. Sharpie*

          Totally random aside but I love your username! Latin is a fun and fascinating language to learn!

      2. No Longer Looking*

        I tried once. I lasted about three months before burning out. I ended up sleeping through all my alarms and was summarily fired.

  21. BellyButton*

    Attorneys, as a generalized whole and in my OWN experience, are in the top 5 pettiest people and worst managers I have ever encountered.

    ** not all attorneys

    1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

      I don’t agree on the pettiness front. My people can be surprisingly blase which really can create other kind of nutty problems when you need them to care about some small detail and they are just like “nah, we good.” It’s a big “we will cross that bridge when it is on fire” energy.

      But on average, yeah, most of them are not great people managers. You can’t really have certification and career development that is totally focused on becoming a subject matter expert and a completely “win/lose” scheme of measuring success and be shocked this yields people who are almost universally unsuited for managing actual humans.

      1. BellyButton*

        My job is organizational and people development. I work with all kind of very highly qualified and specialized subject matter experts, people choose not to prioritize people management. You can be both an incredible SME and a great people manager.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Absolutely! My field just isn’t the place where you find that particularly often. We are also educated in a manner that is deliberately antagonistic–so imagine if you spent 3 years having what feels like 6 hour long classes where one of your classmate is put on the spot and batted Twitter-esque whataboutisms by someone who has been teaching this field for longer than said classmate has existed on the earth. It attracts a kind of genius and it breeds a kind of genius by design. It isn’t really a problem as long as you accept it is the game.

        1. BellyButton*

          I have been doing what I do for 25 yrs. I have 2 master’s degrees- organizational development, and leadership… I have worked with some of the most successful CEOs in North America– but I will not work with teachers, doctors, nurses, or attorneys.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I love working with nurses. They are wickedly funny, have seen everything, don’t put up with nonsense, and appreciate people who are good at their job.

            They also don’t think very highly of many doctors.

          2. Dog momma*

            You’re gonna hurt yourself patting yourself on the back like that.

            Retired RN.. I expect most nurses wouldn’t like working with you!

            1. NameRequired*

              Between us, the various members of our family have been hospitalized for 3 days to 3 weeks several times over the last couple of years, due to falls, heart issues, surgeries, and just plain bad luck and clumsiness. We felt lucky if we saw the Dr. once every other day or so, but the nurses and med techs? They were AWESOME. Caring. Funny. Informed. Professional. My DIL is an ICU nurse. The things nurses are subjected to. They run the hospital, and any Dr. worth his license knows it.

    2. not nice, don't care*

      I loved walking out of the law firm I worked at on a Thursday in May in Seattle when the next day was forecast to be lovely & 70 degrees. Fk your wack ass demands for servitude. I have a weekend to attend.

  22. Dragon_Dreamer*

    I think the link to the memo is incorrect, I’m not finding the memo mentioned in that comment.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      The comment the link takes you to is the list of what was in the memo. If you scroll up a bit, you can see that juliebulie is the original poster of the story. Hornswoggler replied “Oh… I SO want to know what was in your memo!” And then the linked comment is juliebulie listing out the contents of the memo.

      It is a bit confusing without that context.

      1. Llellayena*

        I was taken to a random post that had nothing to do with the original story, but I have the website set to collapse comments so that might have affected it since the link goes to a nested comment.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Yeah, linking directly to a nested comment goes all wonky when the website is set to collapse comments. Expand the comments and the link should work. Or search for “juliebulie*” or “hobbyist” (as Jay did) and you can find the thread that way.

    2. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I expanded comment and did a search for “hobbyist.” It was worth the effort.

    3. Timothy (TRiG)*

      For some reason, my browser opened a random section of the page, but when I highlighted the address bar and hit enter, it jumped to the right comment. I think the site lazy loads some elements after the main page load, which causes bits to jump around, so you end up in the wrong place once the page has fully loaded.

  23. Kristin*

    #8 – That is, hands-down, the most satisfying leaving story I have yet read!
    #18 – You probably didn’t, but I hope you yelled “NO!” and “GO AWAY!” at this clueless jerk.
    Great stuff, all OPs!

  24. sparkle emoji*

    I had an aunt who also had her own face stamps, but she was just a zany retired teacher who did it because she got a kick out of it, lol

  25. Kiwi*

    My last two jobs my managers pretty much didn’t speak to me once I gave notice (one didn’t even tell HR, so that was a weird scramble).

    Those responses feel very well adjusted and normal in comparison to these stories.

  26. BellyButton*

    I hope people reading are taking note… we often feel this unwarranted sense of obligation or after being in school for all those years that something will go on our “permanent record” or burning a bridge could end our careers. One of the things I have learned in my 25 yrs in the professional working world is all of that is BS. I don’t owe them anything but common courtesy, I have no permanent record, and not one leader has ever had the level of influence over my career as they think they had or I was led to believe they would have. Typically if any of every tried to do or say anything that paints me in a negative light it almost always says more about them than me.

    1. BellyButton*

      *Alison, would a good Ask the Reader be “Has a former manager ever negatively impacted your career? “

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Except how do you know that you didn’t get that job because your previous manager stopped taking their meds when the stealth reference check happened?

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          That’s a good point. I think it far more likely that you would get the job despite a bad referral from a former manager, and the HR team knew that this person was quite obviously bananapants and chose to ignore this reference because all of your other references are absolutely glowing, and then told you after you’d been hired.

          But still, I would imagine that the question as asked might have some interesting responses. There is a lot of weirdness in this world.

  27. Magdalena*

    I was giggling the entire time and then when it was revealed that it was actually the Take Your Daughter To Work Day, I laughed so hard I cried.

    Hats off. You belong in the Ask a Manager Hall of Fame.

      1. MsM*

        “You see, sweetie, when company management has their heads planted firmly up their posteriors…”

        1. Kyrielle*

          Being there during a well-handled quitting scenario is a lot more usefully educational than the standard take-your-kid-to-work programs!

      2. Higgs Bison*

        I hope the constant “It is what you say in real life so that you don’t burn bridges” was an aside they were making to the daughter.

    1. Cattleprod*

      I’m imagining a live action reenactment of this panning over to reveal the daughter partway through, and I want to know if the people begging the LW to stay also had their daughters with them.

    2. Ms. Murchison*

      But the LW had already been there for a 10-hour day. With their daughter in tow. Then they stuck around for another meeting. With their daughter still in tow. I don’t think that’s actually sending any good messages to the kid.

      1. Ms. Murchison*

        How about “Wow, I would have loved to meet with you to go over this any time during the last five weeks, but I’ve already done a 10-hour day and I really need to get my daughter home for dinner and to get her homework done. Best wishes to everyone!”

  28. Jo-El*

    First job in high school was at a BBQ place in our mall. Every week I was given 47.5 hrs to work because “overtime in fast food is 48 hrs”. Didn’t find out until I tried to get my W2 about 8 months after I quit because he got drunk and threatened to come up and teach me a lesson that wasn’t true but no one in the state of Arkansas would listen to my complaint.

  29. casey*

    OP #1: The last line doesn’t sound like sarcasm, so now I’m curious about her! How was she lovely?

    1. HalJordan*

      Not OP4, but it sounds like the derail was entirely out of character? Like, lovely, unexceptionable, normally-entirely professional manager heard “I’m resigning” and that flipped a switch so OP instantly went from “direct report” to “person I no longer work with & with whom I have a close-friend/personal-mentor sort of relationship”

      1. DawnShadow*

        This was my thought too, but I thought maybe she was caught off guard, thought “oh no, I’m supposed to have Words Of Wisdom! What do I say?” and just started on a random tangent and couldn’t stop herself. Happens.

  30. Irish Teacher.*

    The best story I have on this topic is a) not mine and b) just poor phrasing and not really somebody reacting badly, but last year, one of my colleagues left and on her last day, the principal gave a speech, saying that he was “delighted” when she told him she was leaving. He meant that he was delighted to hear she’d gotten an offer that was so perfect for her, but…maybe not the best way to put it.

  31. VV007*

    This reminded me of how crazy my last supervisor was at my old job. We had a tense relationship as she would veer between oversharing her private life, telling me how worthless I was, and storming out angrily anytime I pushed back on either of those things. We were in mediation with HR but I saw the writing on the wall and found a different job. On my last day she threw me a party to “express how much she appreciated me”. She had a banner made, gave me a gift card, flowers, a card, and provided coffee. The coffee was from the worst coffee place in town (one that I had told her to avoid when she first started since she was new in town) and the gift card was for a brewery even though I hate beer and had commiserated with her at one point that our town had so many breweries and no options for wine or cider. The whole thing felt very passive aggressive. Thankfully, I had confided in 2 other employees that worked for a different supervisor and we had a blast soaking in the awkwardness of the whole affair!

  32. Jessica*

    I’d like to nominate #14 for the Worst Boss of 2024. I know it’s very early, but I think she’s a worthy contender.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I second this, although I’m not sure we get to nominate bosses from comments, only from letters and only from the current year. But I sure hope that boss got run out of the small town on account of her being a total monster. I really and sincerely hope that none of her former employees gave her back the money they so rightfully earned.

  33. KateKateKate*

    I missed the cut off for this but wanted to share my story. I had a manager who was terrible for many many reasons.

    On my last day, after spending all week doing a handover, scanning and saving documents, leaving notes, everything I could to ensure a smooth transition, I was taking my old notebooks and bits of paper to the recycling and secure bins if it was confidential. My boss saw me do this…about an hour later she stands over me and demands to know where I took ‘company’s’ property. When I told her she demanded to know which bins and which secure bins so she could retrieve it, including unlocking the secure bins to go through them.

    Anyway, looking back everything she did was bananapants and I love telling people about her crazy ways.

  34. Ex-prof*

    #14, Good Lord, I hope no one ever fell for that.

    I have to admit, as a card-carrying middle aged crank, this is really how i handle stuff like that, at least when there’s no one around to talk me out of it:

    1. Say yes, sure, I’m happy to morally and correctly repay your investment in my career! Can you please tell me the exact amount?

    (Let her bustle about getting that. Frown over FICA and get her to double-check everything so I can be sufficiently moral and correct in my repayment.)

    2. Say once I get my final paycheck, I’ll write her a check for the full amount.

    3. As I’m leaving on the last day, make sure I have the correct information about whom she wants the check made out to.

    4. And done.

    5. Unless she later contacts me to ask where the check is. Then it’s “Oh, i mailed it two weeks ago! Did it not arrive? Damn, the post office… I’ll stop payment and send another.”

    Repeat ad infinitum.

    Of course it would be a lot less trouble to simply report her to the state Department of Labor, but less fun.

  35. Gaslit*

    It was a dark and stormy winter. I was working in my first large company after a career of early stage startups and short term contracts, because I wanted a mortgage and and a pension and a modicum of stability. It wasn’t to be, alas. I was brought on as an as an architect of the large company’s dream to escape the confines of having all its servers in the basement, necessitating an internet connection massively out of normal scope for the small village near a medium English city that it was proud-ish to call home. They would move into the 21st Century. To the Cloud! We would do it all in 18 months, reengineering every internal and external service to take advantage of the benefits of the new world order. The architects would design it, and the existing teams would build it.

    I joined late in the previous year, and our small team started with enthusiasm. One year later, all that was gone. The project was mired in political power struggles, technical complexity and a complete lack of project management for the initiative. A year into the job, and we had shifted precisely zero services to the cloud. After a couple of weeks off over Christmas showed me what work was doing to my stress levels, I came in for the first day of January with my resignation in my breast pocket. Six weeks notice – 2 weeks on top of contracted requirement. After our morning standup/therapy session, I pulled my team lead aside and gave him the letter. It was not a surprise.

    Word got around quite quickly, and the general reaction was disappointment but little surprise. A few of the higher level managers popped up at my desk to check on my reasons, and went away promising to “fix this”. I had started several people questioning their future in this project, and they decided that if they could convince me to stay, their motivation problems would cease. I told them to take their best shot.

    A week later, and five weeks before my last day, there was an All-Hands meeting of my department, to which I was conspicuously not invited. Our section of the floor went silent for an hour as all thirty-odd “transformation” engineers and architects filed into a large meeting room where the acting-director responsible for the initiative told them that, and I summarise, there would be so much jam tomorrow that the trees would spontaneously sprout scones and upon bushes would pots of clotted cream grow; and that incidentally I was not resigning as was rumoured, and would instead be promoted and be moving to a management position in the London office.

    I discovered this when people came to my desk to congratulate me on the promotion, and apologise for spreading the false rumours about me leaving. My manager and team members were a little miffed I hadn’t told them; and over the next week every engineer I worked with asked me questions about my new role. Neither upper management or directors would return my emails asking about this, to the point of dodging me in corridors. I tried to explain that I had no idea about this London role, I hadn’t accepted anything, and if the commute here every day was killing me (which it was. Due to bus schedules I was commuting four hours a day, which in turn killed all time and energy for driving lessons), exchanging that for a commute to central London wasn’t going to make it any better.

    Five weeks of handover and documentation and training passed. My final day arrived and I got an invite from the (not acting) director for an exit interview. It turns out he’d just got back from four weeks of medical leave, someone had run with his suggestion just before that, that I might want to transfer, and they’d assumed he’d had that meeting before he left in a hurry. The refusal to engage with me afterwards was never explained. He then asked if I would want to apply for the management position when it opened up in the next six months.

    My leaving party was later that day, and I started my new job the following Tuesday.

  36. Peanut Hamper*

    I would rather work at a place that is full of hookers and thieves than with that manager.

  37. casey*

    OP #19: This might sound hyperbolic, but that boss truly sounds nigh-evil. I guess it’s possible that she was under THAT much pressure, but I have my doubts. No way there weren’t other problems.

  38. Mad Mac*

    No. 8, have you ever seen that screen grab where someone tweeted about overhearing a woman in an airport say something like “Or we could’ve just done it the way I suggested the first time” and pledging their undying loyalty to her? That’s me reading your entry here. I for-real want to be like you if I grow up.

  39. Ms. Murchison*

    I wonder how many times LW#10 has told this story while also naming and shaming the director with “dodged a bullet!” when it sounds like she cracked under whatever pressure she was getting from above and losing her entire staff. A person who starts laughing hysterically, rocking, and babbling when the final straw breaks could be a completely normal human being in a not-broken situation.

    1. Andromeda*

      Agree on that last part, but also… LW was on the receiving end of some nasty stuff and she does have a right to accurately state what happened.

  40. fiverx313*

    took a part-time contract job at a university at once, to assist in launching a new doctoral program. i was all but promised it would become a full-time position at renewal time (i know, i know). absolutely smashed it if i do say so myself, working with the interim program director to recruit a full roster of students and create a successful launch AND spent two months also doing all the duties of the department’s office manager while she went on a cross-country bicycle trip. when said office manager came back and everything was running smoothly, she decided i was a threat. the actual program director started a month before my contract was up for renewal and the office manager spent that month filling her ears with absolute bullshit about me and my performance all year, and when my contract was up for renewal i was offered a probationary, half-term, still part-time contract based on ‘performance issues’. the new program director would not tell me who told her these things, and when she listed them they were mostly made up and some things that i had been doing for a year without anyone telling me they were an issue. the upshot was, i declined to renew my contract. found out later the university declined to keep my position, so all my duties landed with the office manager who shivved me. i had a better job within two months :)

  41. TwiceBitten*

    I have a snarky nature =
    # 13 At the end of the notice period: “Thank you boss, for making the last two weeks so peaceful and quiet”

    # 14 Re their statement “It is the correct moral and responsible choice on your part to restore our investment to us”, my response would be “It is the correct and LEGAL responsibility to pay workers for time worked, regardless of how long they have worked for the company. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do anything ILLEGAL, for the good of the future of your business, would you?

  42. Elizabeth*

    Ugh, I’m so sad I missed the submission period for this one! Years ago, I left a small, immensely dysfunctional company for a job at one of the most prestigious companies in my industry. I later learned from my boss (who was great, my one saving grace at that place) that the CEO had said in a meeting after I left, “She’ll be out of a job when we buy [prestigious company].”

  43. Wendy Darling*

    The stamp thing is so petty, so absurd, and so ultimately pointless that I find it hilarious. It is SUCH a dumb thing to do!

  44. ZucchiniBikini*

    When I left my last salaried job, my then-boss, upon hearing that it was my intention to freelance, firstly blustered and told me I “couldn’t” leave, then tried to tell me I “had” to give 3c months notice, and finally snarled “You won’t get any work. No one will want to use some random no-name contractor, why would they? Everyone prefers big firms.”

    Reader, in the eight years since then, I have never been less than fulltime loaded with client work. I give myself 8 weeks of leave a year compared with the 4 I used to get at my job; I work primarily from home; I set my own schedule. The kicker: I make about 50% more than I did at that job. My ex-manager, however, was made redundant about 9 months after I left, and it took her over a year to find her next job. She contacted me about 3 years ago … to ask if I could do some freelance work for her new organisation, “because we had a project with a big firm and it didn’t work out.” That was the happiest (polite) “thanks but no thanks” of my freelance life so far.

    1. casey*

      Oh hmmm! Can I ask what you do (even if, say, you shared via email)? I’m looking into various fields. Of course I wouldn’t have your experience, but I’d be curious to know!

  45. Mister_L*

    # 6: If I ever get in this situation (lunch), I hope I’ll have the presence of mind to just call the waiter, pay and leave in the middle of the meal. I wouldn’t even give them the chance to pay, simply so they don’t think I “owe” them.

  46. Reb*

    I recently quit my first job. It was mostly uneventful. In the first week I noticed I was still on the rota for the day after my last day (so Saturday just gone), spoke to the manager on duty about it, and he said that it was probably fine and they just didn’t bother to change it.

    Different manager phones me that asking where I am and trying to gaslight me into thinking me notice was one day longer than it actually was. I had to double check my copy. Then tried to lecture me for not telling anyone. I never really liked that guy in the first place, he recently tried to put me on a PIP because I didn’t make eye contact with him. So that made it easier to be matter of fact about things.

  47. Emily Byrd Starr*

    Number 4 sounds like a real boob, but I guess she just had something she needed to get off her chest. I can’t believe that I’m the first one to make these puns, so I have to milk them for all they’re worth. That’s all I have to say about tit.

  48. Hit the ground flailing*

    I didn’t get a chance to answer the questions from the other post so I’ll do it here.
    My boss bit me when I told him I was leaving. I’d just let him know when the phone rang. I had to turn my back on him when answered the phone. He bit me on the back of my upper arm – you know, the fleshy tender part. He left teeth marks and everything. I was so flabbergasted I just turned and stared at him.
    To clarify, my boss was a full grown man. Not a rabid raccoon or vampire. Just a weird, weird person.

  49. My cat is the employee of the month*

    And here I thought the time my supervisor started giggling when I gave my resignation was strange. That was nothing compared to some of these weirdos!

  50. Elizabeth West*

    8. The chaos goblin

    I’m in the office today and had to clamp my hand over my mouth to keep from braying like a donkey. Thank you so much for this. :’D

  51. Rebecca*

    I resigned from a job where I got pulled aside and lectured for being 2 minutes late (the CEO would sit and watch all the login times pop up on his computer) and where my boss once kept track of how many minutes I spent talking to one of my coworkers (in fairness the talking was excessive but I, a woman, got a stern lecture while my boss never even mentioned the incident to my husband, a man). When I told my boss I’d accepted another job he asked where I would be working. I told him and he said “Well, we’ve had people leave this company for that company before and they all hated it.” (I did not hate it.)

    I also worked at a horrifically toxic nonprofit for 3 years and suffered through the appointment of a new executive director who was a brilliant scientist but a terrible people leader. I worked directly with her several times and she was always condescending; on my last day she walked past me in the hallway and wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. She was later fired (sorry, “asked to resign”) and my former coworkers told me about overhearing her yell and stamp her feet in a meeting with the chairman of the board. Wish I’d been there for that!

  52. Lyn by the River*

    This is from more than 10 years ago:
    Working at a nonprofit and my boss (the director) had an oddly competitive approach to dealing with our peer and collaborative organizations, including funders.

    Once, we were going over a presentation where we expected the leader of a peer nonprofit to be attending. My director told me at a certain point in my presentation I should “stop and stare” at this leader, as a way of putting her on some kind of notice, I guess? I flat out said “no, i am not comfortable doing that.”
    He left the office “to go for a walk” and then later returned to retract his advice. I found out later that he called the board chair to complain about my “insubordination” and she told him his idea was a bad one.

    In another instance, a big name funder was meeting with us to understand our work (I think because the stuff coming out from our director was so odd) and when asked who was on our board my director said, “oh, you wouldn’t know them.” I was horrified and stumbled over myself trying to name as many board members as I could.
    As we were leaving the meeting (which went very very poorly, although the funder agreed to give us half of what we requested) he tried to give the funder a white paper about the “starvation cycle of nonprofits” as a way to guilt him (?) into donating to us?
    I was so wrecked about the whole thing (this was a small org I’d worked to build up) I literally vomited the next morning when I came into work and saw my director.
    And to top it off, at the end of the week I’d left town for the holidays and checked my email to see that the director had resubmitted the proposal asking for the original amount (not the half the funder had agreed to)! As if his stubbornness would win him points? Bizarre!

    This director was gone within the next year, and closed out the weirdness by insisting we meet, and then confessing his love for me. I responded by saying I never wanted to speak of his feelings again and left the cafe immediately. It was wild!

  53. Sub-standard Freddie Mercury*

    Sorry, English is not my first language. So: i once gave ONE YEAR notice at a non-profit i helped to set up – i didn’t want to ‘abandon’ my clients abruptly (i was one of the three key coordinators who all resigned at the same time due to incredible incompetence and toxicity of the organization’s director. Actually, this would be another very long story…) The Director called me after a few weeks and asked me to stay – her counter-offer was that i could ‘do as i please’ at the project i had been managing and she would ‘not interfere anymore’. I declined but offered to train my successor. At the time i was leaving, there was still nobody to train. I tried to do a hand-over to the Director (travelled 650 km to the city where she was based) but she wasn’t around when i arrived to the office and just let me know that she ‘went to the cinema’. I dropped the laptop and key documents in her office but kept all the soft-copies for another year in case they needed my help. Once they finally managed to hire a new person, I offered to meet as i had a lot of institutional knowledge to share. The Director attended the meeting as well and they both humiliated me to the point that i left crying. Later on, i was told that the new hire was asked to burn all the files i left behind. Fast-forward seven years – the organization collapsed after a failed audit and the Director went bankrupt. She went on to work for various other organizations and caused issues wherever she went. I am still happily working for the same employer i joined after my resignation. The woman who was hired after me left after a few months, completely traumatized. She now works at another non-profit and we get to collaborate frequently. The sad part is that a lot of good people lost their jobs that they desperately needed because of all that happened at the organization. Some still work at what was left of the organization as they refuse to abandon their clients. It’s horribly unfair. I myself still receive occassional requests for help from my former clients as certain things that needed to be followed up after i left were ultimately never taken care of. I am unable to help them and it doesn’t reflect well on me at all, unfortunately. The lesson i learned is to run as soon as i see the first red flag – staying at a job like this can be incredibly damaging for many people on so many levels.

  54. Pam Poovey*

    I had been working by car too many hours for way too little money for an extreme narcissist boss at what was basically a clickbait website. As most people do, I hit my limit a few months in, and decided to quit. Nothing lined up, but I had a safety net and some connections to fall back on. I sent my notice via email, and couldn’t bring myself to go back for a full two weeks so admittedly it was a shorter period. The response from the owner was a screed about not giving enough notice and how unprofessional I was (from someone who literally screamed and swore at and degraded people in front of the whole staff over the smallest things) and blah blah blah. I didn’t even finish reading it, just replied and said “if that’s how you’re going to speak to me, I won’t be back.”

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