can I leave before my notice period is up if my boss is being a jerk?

A reader writes:

What’s the etiquette, if that’s the right word, for leaving a job before the end of your notice period?

I resigned due to a toxic micromanager boss who also leans toward abusive. She has been out on medical leave for the last three weeks, but is back today. I’m halfway through my notice period and my last day is Friday.

She’s going through her emails now and so far I’ve received two from her, both of which literally say, “I’m going through my emails and see this (insert issue that arose while she was out) and I assume nothing was done? Please advise as to why not.”

Actually, both tasks that she mentioned were handled and filed appropriately, and email loops were closed (which she will see when she gets through all her emails). It’s just in her nature to always assume the worst.

I’m wondering what obligation I have to remain at my current job for my full two weeks? I understand I committed to do so … but I’m also concerned about my mental well-being. While she was out, all was fine but her being back is reminding me why I resigned.

So … if she decides to spend 20 minutes berating me for using square and not round bullet points (true story) or something similar, is it an option to just say that the current day is my last? Or does that do too much reputational harm? I’m trying not to borrow trouble, but it’s 10 am and I’ve already been accused (twice) of doing nothing while she was out.

For what it’s worth, I was honest with the CEO that my manager was my reason for leaving and did detail why. Other executives have asked me directly if I’m leaving due to micromanagement from my boss, so it’s not a secret that she’s like this. (Why they let it continue is a conversation for a different email.)

What are my options? Is staying the entire time given in my notice period my only choice?

You don’t need to stay for your full notice period if you’re being mistreated.

If the tone of your manager’s communications remains accusatory or harsh, it’s reasonable to say any of the following:

  • “I’m taken aback by the emails you’ve been sending me today. I’m happy to stay for the remainder of my notice period as long as I’m treated respectfully. But I don’t want to be accused of not doing work that you’ll see I did if you continue through your emails.”
  • “I’m happy to spend the rest of the week wrapping up projects, but I’m not willing to be berated for (examples). If that continues, I’d prefer we make today my last day.”
  • “I don’t appreciate being spoken to like this when I’m working hard to leave my area in good shape before I go. Given that, I’m going to make today my last day. If there’s anything you’d like me to handle before I leave today, please let me know.”

If her treatment of you were particularly outrageous, you could just leave on the spot: “I don’t think it makes sense for me to remain for the rest of the week. I’ll let (other person) know.” That other person could be HR, your manager’s boss, the CEO you’ve already been talked with, or whoever else makes sense.

Speaking of the CEO, since you’ve already told her that your boss is the reason you’re leaving (and I’m gathering she wasn’t terribly surprised?), another option is to go back to her now and say that your boss’s treatment has you questioning your willingness to work the remainder of your notice period. Who knows, she might encourage you to leave now and/or say she’ll handle it with your boss.

The other option, of course, is to just stay and internally roll your eyes, knowing that what you’re seeing from your boss is exactly the reason you’re leaving and feeling vindicated that you’re escaping. Hell, since you’re leaving, you could simply ignore her ruder emails and figure she’ll realize when she gets through all her messages that she was wrong and thus your response is not required. This option could save you some hassle and drama, so you might choose it for that reason. And sometimes knowing you could leave if you wanted to makes it easier to just roll your eyes and deal with it for a few more days.

But you’re absolutely allowed to set boundaries on what you will and won’t tolerate, and you’re not required to stay if your manager isn’t holding up her end of the bargain and treating you with basic respect.

{ 338 comments… read them below }

  1. bamcheeks*

    LW, create an email folder called “bananapants” and set up a rule to divert all your boss’s email into it. Check it half an hour before you go home each day just to see whether there’s anything you need to action, but otherwise carry on with whatever else you’d be doing until Friday and happily pretend you haven’t seen any of her nonsense.

    I mean, what’s she gonna do, fire you?

    1. BeenThere*

      I came to suggest that you use these few days to practice being a grey rock or any other technique for shielding yourself from toxic folks. You are already leaving so there is nothing to loose. What I really love about the email rule is it’s perfect, you can pretend you were too busy to see anything if questioned and it’s not taking up mental resources

      1. bamcheeks*

        I’ve used this kind of thing before and it’s intensely satisfying. Something about pre-labelling the emails as “bananapants” really takes the sting out them. Instead of being randomly ambushed by bananapants, you get to decide when you’re ready for bananapants, you don your anti-banana suit, you open the folder, and you encounter each email with a mild scientific detachment as you decide exactly where on the bananapants scale it is. But instead of being enraged, frustrated or hurt by the bananapants, it’s just something you’re observe. It’s quite delightful.

      2. Helewise*

        This. I’ve found that the best thing to do with this kind of crazy is to let it burn through its own energy. Get too close and you’ll add fuel to the fire and keep it going; ignore it and half the time it burns out on its own. You only have a few days left; ignore and take the high road out.

        1. LetterWriter*

          I made the mistake of engaging too much with her when I first stared in the role. She would say she wanted me to be her right hand, so I (incorrectly as it turns out) thought that meant she wanted dialogue or…thoughts…from me.

          Nope, that would only spin her up and she would then pick at the situation until she got to the point where she could find issue with something I did.

          1. Beka Rosselin-Metadi*

            Nice to know my old manager still has a job but I’m sorry she’s pulling this crap on you.

          2. Beka Rosselin-Metadi*

            I personally have found that when someone says they want you to be their right hand what they mean is they want you at their beck and call 24/7 and do not want feedback (they view it as backtalk) or your thoughts. They want you to do their bidding 24/7 and it better be exactly how they want it. However, my old manager was only happy when she was complaining so she didn’t like it if I did it the right way, so there was no winning with her.

            1. LetterWriter*

              Egads we did have the same boss.

              Yeah it must be her way. Although what that even is changes. She once told me she considered doing official documentation when I said I wasn’t feeling healthy enough to come in to work…she was mad because it meant she had to rearrange personal appointments.

              I had provided her with a medical note the day before. She knew I was ill.

    2. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      I would do this. And delete without response anything like this where all they are looking for is justification. Spend 0 time in responding to that crap. Or create a copy paste reply to each and every one. “Please read later emails for resolution” and say nothing more. Or if you feel bold “Per my later email this was resolved”

      Do you have to stay? Absolutely not. But heck, take the paycheck and ditch the stress. Be petty and have fun with it if you can.

      Will you burn bridges with your boss? That ship has sailed, you would never use them for a reference anyway.

      Will you burn bridges with other potential references in the company if you leave without wrapping what you intended to wrap? That is a question only you can answer.

      1. Nomic*

        “per my later email”
        oh, that’s so delightfully passive-aggressive. It almost makes me wish I had reason to use it.

      2. Mighty K*

        Yes, reply with “resolved as per later emails”

        But don’t send that reply until you’re totally sure that she’s already see the resolution in her email chain. Now you get to add legitimate junk to her inbox too :)

        1. Tally miss*

          I’d probably be snarky and recommend that she sort the unread email by subject so the entire conversation is available.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            “Had you threaded your emails you’d have already seen that this is resolved”

            1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

              Heck, had she stopped and looked for follow-up e-mails, she would have seen it was resolved.

            2. Anonomatopoeia*

              Oh but what about the genius I partially report to, who does read threaded, but only reads the end, then either makes wild assumptions about the 97% of the convo below the water line (and is big mad about all that unwanted assumed behavior) or goes around asking various people to fill him in on their part of the thread, not necessarily in any particular order, while working up to a different big mad about no one telling him or some damn thing.

              Generally when he does this I (turn away so my face doesn’t show that I am busy) attempt(ing) to manifest a world in which he very unfortunately has ghost pepper seeds and juices on his hands when he touches some of his especially delicate mucus membranes*.

              *I don’t usually advocate thinking about one’s boss’s genital region in the worlplace, but I make an exception just for this. As far as I know, it hasn’t worked, though.

              1. Up the Down Staircase*

                I’d assume that you were talking about my boss, except that my boss is female. So infuriating.

          2. Clorinda*

            If boss were reading emails most recent first, like a normal person, she would seethe resolution happening before she even knew there was a problem.
            Step away from the bees, OP. This is boss-on-boss stress cycling and it really has nothing to do with you. if you are a person who can’t leave an email unanswered, you can simply reply “this issue was closed on Tuesday of last week” and move on with your day.

            If you can ignore, ignore.

            1. BubbleTea*

              I totally agree that the problem here is the boss, but I don’t think it’s abnormal to read emails oldest first. Just read *all* of them before jumping to conclusions!

            2. Lenora Rose*

              I always read oldest emails first. I usually check to see the follow up before I assume nothing was done. I definitely don’t send snarky comments at the first message without checking.

            3. Ess Ess*

              I always read my emails from oldest first when I’ve been out. I want to be aware of issues in the order they occurred.

      3. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I tend towards being unnecessarily polite most of the time. Being this blunt and direct would be totally fine in this situation. Even an “actually, this was resolved.”

    3. Overthinking it*

      Ooh! Totally love this! Even if a person had only ONE foot out the door, they could use this brilliant (yes, it it!) suggestion to minimize stress from current job while searching/interviewing. (b/c Searching/interviewing is enough street on its own.)

    4. not nice, don't care*

      I have a WTF folder for random nonsense that usually self-resolves.

    5. Queen Anon*

      “I mean, what’s she gonna do, fire you?”

      I’ve seen it happen and for a very petty reason. In that case, the person who was leaving got to start her new, better-paying job with a better work culture and much better boss a week early. Boo hoo.

      1. MissAmandaJones*

        Some bosses are that vindictive!

        I worked at a company where the VP would actually throw things at employees and lock herself in her office until her therapist could make an office call. She had a new EA who somehow soothed her and when they were around, the VP was less aggressive. Then they gave notice because their partner was accepted to a prestigious graduate program across the country. Everything was calm-ish, less a handful of meltdowns and pleas of “don’t leave me!”
        Then the EA’s last day came. A going-lunch was planned and the owner ordered catering.
        That morning, the VP fired the EA. ON HIS LAST DAY! The EA had to pack and vacate immediately. They didn’t even get to stay for lunch!

      2. Sherm*

        Even then, you’re not really fired. You still quit but with a different end date than what you had in mind.

    6. LetterWriter*

      LOL. I like it. File her under something ridiculous and ignore. I have plenty of other things to do in my day, so it’s not like I really need to engage with her. Thanks for the laugh.

    7. Jellybeans*

      I agree. I think the approach here really depends on circumstances and what you want from the future.

      In most jobs I’ve worked, using any of the scripts in the letter answer (except maybe the first one) would result in you being immediately escorted off the premises and put on the no-rehire/no reference list. Those are very hostile “burn all the bridges and go out in flames” ways to handle conflict.

      That’s fine if you don’t care about or know that you won’t ever need a reference, and you want to go out in flames. But most people don’t want to burn bridges just to make a point.

      If you’ve tolerated a toxic work environment this long, you can ignore some passive aggressive emails for one week.

    8. Nina*

      I’ve had to do this with one coworker who is a known missing stair (like, my entire floor knows this and there are meetings roughly once a month explicitly to discuss how to handle her) but the CEO loves her so she’s not going anywhere.

      If she was less bananapants, I’d answer her emails when they came in, but since she seems to make a hobby of randomly reducing people to tears… nope.

    9. Lauren*

      A friend introduced me to having an “SFE” email folder. If anyone asks it stands for “Sorted & Filed Emails”. What it actually stands for is “Stupid F*cking Emails”.

    1. londonedit*

      Yep. I’ve had (rubbish) bosses who handled emails like this and it’s the most frustrating thing in the world to be sitting near someone who goes through their emails exclaiming ‘Jack Smith wants a copy of his contract! Has no one seen this? Why hasn’t anyone sent it to him??’ every five minutes, so that everyone else has to jump in and say ‘We have sent it to him, we saw the email on Thursday, he’s had the contract since then, you’ll see he emailed back in the afternoon, you were copied in on everything’. And somehow the boss still convinces themselves that no one is doing their job properly, rather than learning to read the *last* email in a conversation before going off on one.

      1. Anonym*

        It’s so hard to think of a way to respond that doesn’t include, “Are you an idiot? Do you not know about linear time and the order in which things occur?”

        1. pally*


          I usually resend the subsequent emails that pertain to the one the boss is asking about. Assumption being that they clearly never received them.

          Thus making their unread email list even longer.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        “Surely a resolution to this issue is not contained within the other 129 emails in my inbox, so I shall choose to get worked up over it”.

        1. Pizza*

          “I do not have time to read 129 emails so I will make it someone else’s problem!”

    2. Clearance Issues*

      If you’re going in the wrong order you make notes to yourself about action items and THEN after you’ve gone through everything, you can follow up and ask if there was any news, POLITELY, since “oops I forgot to copy you on the reply” happens sometimes.
      I’d leave if that manager treated me like that too, glad you’re getting out.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        This is the way to do it. I often end up going through my email and chats from when I was out and then asking someone on my team something like “Did the llama grooming report issue get sorted? I saw a lot of back and forth on it from while I was out and just want to be sure it’s handled and no one needs anything from me on it.” It’s easy for there to be missed cc’s, an in-person conversation you weren’t present for, a chat thread you weren’t on, etc. And sometimes asking for a 1-minute summary of an issue is better than trying to untangle 37 emails across three threads from while you were out.

        So much of this is tone – you have to be asking for information and not starting from a place of accusation.

        But even then, you only do that after you’ve at least skimmed all your email subject lines and preferably read all your email!

        Glad you’re getting out, OP!

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Same! Though sometimes I respond too quickly because I am overwhelmed by the number of emails … in which case I always double back with a “Don’t mind me, responding too quickly, carry on! Will come with questions after I finish this, if I have any!”

          The Boss’ tone is nasty and uncalled for.

          1. Uranus Wars*

            For me it really does come down to tone. Of course I’ve jumped the gun and been like “hey, can you give me a brief update on this”…”oh, wait, nevermind, I have it!”

        2. LetterWriter*

          I am glad I am getting out as well. It’s definitely a resignation that wasn’t hard to write.

          And honestly it was the immediate jump to “why did this get ignored” that I was annoyed with. I do my job. Every single person I have told I am leaving is surprised and replied that they will miss me and that I have been a lot of help to them (and I work with engineers, these people don’t lie or even say nice things to be polite, LOL) so the only person who seems to think I am completely clueless is my boss. I have wanted to ask, more than once, if I am this awful, where are the complaints from others? But, it’s just not worth it.

          1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

            I’d be annoyed, too! Her assumption is because she doesn’t trust, respect, or value you or your work.

      2. AMH*

        Yes; I always start with the oldest emails on my return so I can understand full context and because of quirks with how communication happens at my workplace, sometimes emails won’t be threaded. But I also wait till I have read all my email before responding or asking about anything so I really DO have the fullest context I can, and that’s key.

    3. Tree*

      My current boss does this. She is otherwise mostly fine and is polite about it, but ends up confusing things by jumping in to an already resolved issue and asking me to respond. A few minutes later, the email comes out that she saw I already took care of it.

    4. ASGirl*

      it’s amazing to me that it’s 2024 and people don’t know how to organize their inbox and emails

      1. Pizza*

        I think at least Gmail and Outlook do conversation mode unless you specifically ask them not to, and who in the world doesn’t?

    5. AnonymousFormerTeacher*

      I was wondering about this. I’m about to take my first full week of PTO in a corporate role (I was a classroom teacher for a decade before this and never took off for more than 2 days when school was in session). I was like, “shouldn’t you go through the most recent emails first and work your way backwards?!”

      1. Spencer Hastings*

        I myself go earliest to latest, but I also use email threading, so I can look at the emails in any given thread at the same time. I know not everyone likes to set it up that way, though.

        1. A Girl Named Fred*

          I’m one of the people who hates email threading so I avoid it like the plague, and I also check my email from the oldest stuff to the newest when I’ve been out. But like many others, I make sure I’ve checked all of it (or at least skimmed subject lines/general context) before responding to anything.

          Idk; in my mind I check the oldest stuff first because those people have been waiting the longest for a response, so if their request/issue/whatever hasn’t been addressed before I got back then I want to make sure I get back to them ASAP. I had no idea that wasn’t super common!

          1. Pizza*

            I am curious why you don’t like conversation mode, if nothing else you can just scroll to the bottom of a conversation and move up

            but then again I hate any change to my email no matter how benign so I am not suggesting I am right and you are wrong

            1. Elitist Semicolon*

              It’s a visual thing for me. I don’t like what it does to my inbox. And, as A Girl Named Fred said, I try to answer the oldest first because they’ve been waiting the longest. I am pretty good about skimming for identical or Re: subject lines before I answer anything on which multiple people are copied, though, and overall ennui means I’m not likely to answer an email sent to multiple people anyway.

            2. Esmae*

              Threading gets confusing when people on an email aren’t good at reply-all, or when multiple people send replies at the same time and bifurcate the thread. I love it in theory, but frequently have to switch it off for committee emails.

        2. miss_chevious*

          I do this, too. I start at the earliest emails, but if something needed work or follow up, I switch to “sort by subject” so I can see the whole thread at once before I contact anyone else.

      2. Nocturna*

        I also go earliest to latest because that’s what makes sense to my brain, and I don’t use threading. But I don’t respond to anything until I’ve either gone through everything, or, if it’s something sufficiently time sensitive, searched my inbox to find all related emails (by subject line or keywords if there might be multiple email threads involved).

        I don’t think either method is right or wrong; the important thing is making sure you’re caught up on context before responding (and being polite and professional when you do).

      3. not nice, don't care*

        I skim through everything and flag important stuff. As I read through more thoroughly I unflag as needed until just the pending stuff has flags.

      4. I Have RBF*

        I was like, “shouldn’t you go through the most recent emails first and work your way backwards?!”

        No, I always start with the oldest first. But if I’ve been out, I set stuff aside to see if there’s a follow up. If my email doesn’t thread correctly, it can happen that the follow up, closure is in a different thread. If I find myself asking “Did anyone handle X?” I am also willing to follow that with “Nevermind, I see that $person did. Thank you.”

        The problem here I think is not that the boss wonders about the status of stuff as they go through their email, but that they immediately jump to the conclusion that it wasn’t handled and that the LW is somehow incompetent. I understand that reflex, but not why they feel inspired to put it in writing without first finishing their email to check to see if it was, in fact, done.

    6. Cold and Tired*

      Outlook has a great feature that groups emails together if they’re in the same chain so you can just read the most recent and see where it left off. Baffling to not use that and go from oldest to newest.

      1. Anonym*

        This!! I’ve had trouble convincing some colleagues to switch to using conversation view, and it was baffling.

        1. SpringIsForPlanting!*

          It’s because the desktop version doesn’t enable conversation view, and going back and forth between linear and conversation view breaks my brain.
          In my person experience. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

            It absolutely does. I use conversation view exclusively on my desktop app.

          2. Morte*

            Not all versions support all the same features. This is true for all of the Office suite. I was complaining about something in Teams and a friend told me ‘just do x,y, then z to resolve that”. Those options don’t exist in my version. It’s happened in various programs in the suite that my work version is lacking lots of features.

        2. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

          I’ve never liked conversation view, but mostly because if more than one person replies, the threads can get very confusing. But I also am always on top of my inbox, so I never lose emails and don’t really need the threading to be done for me.

      2. Sterling*

        Was gonna say, conversation view, or if you don’t want to enable it, but want to see if anyone else responded, right click and you can search for anything that would be in the conversation.

        I find conversation view cumbersome for day to day, but when I need to clear a lot of e-mails, say when I get back from vacation, or I’ve just left too many e-mails unread, I’ll enable it temporarily.

        1. stratospherica*

          I think also if you’re replying to an email that isn’t the latest in a conversation, Outlook will alert you. It’s certainly helped me a lot before!

    7. Camellia*

      This is why, in these situations, I change my Outlook sort from “Date” to “Conversation”. That lets you see everything with the same subject, in order, and can quickly see issues and resolutions.

    8. RareCommenter*

      Yes that and doesn’t know how to sort by subject/conversation. That’s what I always used to do when I’d been out of the office. Clears a ton of emails in a couple of minutes.

    9. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      Yeah – this is why the “conversation” view in GMail and Outlook is so valuable, especially when returning from vaccation. You can just see the entire email thread in one go and not have to jump between subjects as you work through things. I just don’t understand why people don’t utilize this view!

    10. Lenora Rose*

      It’s not even in the wrong order; oldest first is totally normal. It’s the leaping to conclusions and not checking for follow-up or marking off the items completed that’s unhinged.

    11. Also-ADHD*

      I always go chronological, but I go fast and pin things rather than start responding and then go back to things that need action (sorting or deleting most of it). I think you can do it in any order you like if you’re not being a jerk.

  2. ChurchOfDietCoke*

    Do PLEASE email her one more time with a very neat (square) bulleted list before you leave. Item one: Dude, when you come back from leave read the OLDEST emails first…

        1. Betty*

          But isn’t that the problem she’s having? She’s reading older email where the problem is identified and missing the newer email where the problem was resolved?

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Is think she is reading the oldest emails first.
      She’s read the older email (where the issue came up), but not the newer email (where the issues was resolved).

      1. The Cannister*

        One of the simplest things to do with a few hundred emails is to enable conversation view then you can review a thread of emails at once. Outlook’s handling of conversation view is awful so I don’t recommend it for daily routine but when coming back after a break it’s far simpler

        1. Uranus Wars*

          I would agree with this – I hate it for day to day but use it after just a few busy days out! I couldn’t imagine replying to emails before going through ALL of them if I was out for 3 weeks!

        2. Nocturna*

          I don’t trust Outlook’s conversation view; I’ve seen far too many times where it’s grouped a single thread into two or three different “conversations”.

          1. ecnaseener*

            I’ve only seen that happen when someone decides to change the subject line in the middle of a thread! (Which is occasionally appropriate if it’s truly a whole new conversation, but usually more headache than it’s worth.)

            1. Guacamole Bob*

              In my office it sometimes happens when someone not in our org responds and there’s a lot of “Re: [EXTERNAL] Re: [External] Llama grooming report” nonsense going on as the thread goes back and forth and each org’s IT setup does its thing.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I’ve seen the opposite problem– email chain branched because people did NOT change subject line.

            Maybe your problem is the solution to my problem that occurred in the early days of threatening.

    2. I Have RBF*

      My suggestion would be “When you catch up on email, make sure you’ve read it all before you conclude something wasn’t done.”

  3. some dude*

    I normally would err on just rolling my eyes and being like, whatever, glad I’m leaving soon.
    but given that she’s such a nightmare and her horrible management is why you are leaving, I’d seriously consider telling her (and the ceo) that, actually, you are not going to stick around to be abused by her anymore (with receipts provided to senior management). Assuming you aren’t burning bridges with the firm.

    They can write off someone leaving for “another opportunity,” but someone leaving before their notice is up because they cannot stand working for the manager would at the very least be a good data point for them to have.

    1. LetterWriter*

      I have, obviously, considered just saying I am done.

      The latest, and this just happened, is the boss wants to have a final 1 on 1 meeting before I leave. My guess is that she spoke with the CEO and wants to have a chance to address the reasons I am leaving with me, so she can feel like she did something. That should be an interesting meeting, as I have no plans of discussing it with her. I refuse to listen to her tell me that her abuse of me wasn’t abuse, or that I took it wrong. Nope.

      I actually had a meeting with her to try to address some if it, and she essentially told me it’s her management style and I needed to get used to in the moment feedback.

      How berating me for 20 minutes (literally) over incorrect (in her opinion) bullet points is feedback, I will never know.

      1. WellRed*

        I think your last paragraph is what you should say to her. Repeat as necessary.

      2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Can you mentally add “in your opinion” after everything she says? Come in prepared with some vague, non-comittal statements you can repeat to gray rock her, since there’s no sense in debating anything with her. Stuff like:
        “I understand your perspective on this” (note, you’re not AGREEING with her perspective, just saying you understand her bananapants way of thinking about this)
        “I see”
        “That’s one approach”
        “Well, everyone is different”
        “I just have a different approach”

        1. StellaBella*

          In the best Big Lebowski voice….

          That’s just like your opinion, man.

        2. Mango Freak*

          But why bother? That sounds like good advice for if LW still had to work with her, but now she could just not show up. Hell, she could show up and say “in your opinion” OUT LOUD if she wanted.

          1. Plate of Wings*

            Definitely good riddance!

            These techniques are new to me so I would want someone to try them on! I am definitely the over apologetic type, and I could really use some practice being cordial but firm lmao.

      3. Ms. Murchison*

        LetterWriter, if it’s true that you’re unwilling to listen to her berate and yell at you the whole time, then you might want to plan an exit strategy for the day that the 1-on-1 is scheduled for. Because it sounds like that’s exactly what will happen.

      4. Kevin Sours*

        Is there any point to having that meeting? You don’t owe it to her. You probably don’t owe it to the CEO. And it isn’t likely to anybody any good. If nothing else, be prepared to end it early and walk because you owe it to yourself to avoid that particular pile of used hay.

  4. Michelle Smith*

    Play the song “Take this Job and Shove It” in your headphones on repeat until you’re out of there.

    1. MsM*

      Or “Two Minute Notice” from Helluva Boss. (Warning: NSFW; do not look up if you are not looking to leave without notice.)

      1. Freya*

        My favourite is “F*** This S*** I’m Out” by The Theme Song. Language warning, obviously, since the actual title isn’t censored, but it’s a 24 second piece that has, on quite a few occasions, been the last thing I played in the (empty) office before finishing up and leaving for the day, or what I play through my headphones as I walk across the car park. Small joys can be very cathartic.

  5. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    If you leave today:
    She will not give you a good reference;
    She will have a negative opinion of you;

    If you leave in two weeks:
    She will not give you a good reference;
    She will have a negative opinion of you;
    You will have another paycheck;
    You will have medical insurance for two weeks.
    You will have stories to astound your friends about a jerk who cannot understand linear time

    1. Lusara*

      Actually LW will still have their health insurance if they leave today. Assuming they are in the U.S., you have 30 or 60 days or whatever it is to decide if you want to continue your coverage through COBRA.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I did not realize that. Thanks. (because, although I am confident my job is secure, I thought if I left, it would just stop. This is really good to know!)
        and as for my original
        Edit: two more weeks of only paying employee portion of medical insurance.

      2. WellRed*

        You have time to consider Cobra but your insurance will end per whatever the company policy is, sometimes on the last day, sometimes it lasts through the end of the month.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          But to add to this, if COBRA applies, you can decide retroactively. So if you have 60 days to decide and get injured on day 32, you can sign up and it will cover the injury.

        2. Miss Muffett*

          This is correct – companies set their benefits end dates to whatever they want. Sometimes it’s end of month of employment, sometimes it’s the last day. If this is a factor, the LW should be aware of what that date is.
          It’s common, too, to just not have Medical for a short period of time in these situations. You can always take the chance within the first 60 days and not enroll in it and then if something does happen where you need it, you just enroll in COBRA before the 60 days is up and it’s retroactive (you have to pay retro too, but that might be worth it depending on what medical care you needed — one prescription? Probably better to pay out of pocket. Dr or – worse – hospital visit in that 60 days? Sign up for cobra for the short period you need it for).

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Also consider details about access to your year’s FSA contributions. If you are two weeks into FSA period, go for it. If it’s 11 months, first check if you should use up some of those funds first.

      3. kage*

        Sure, they have 60 days for electing COBRA continuation, but that comes at the OP then needing to cover the full insurance cost if they do. So leaving early and then also needing COBRA/coverage could mean thousands extra out-of-pocket that they weren’t planning on (both in visit-expenses but then also the extra premium/coverage costs). On top of then also lost wages/income for quitting earlier than expected.

        OP says that they are halfway thru their notice period and their last day is Friday, so they have maybe 4-5 more workdays to deal with this headache (assuming they emailed on a Monday). It is worth doing the math on how much might that cost OP in both lost wages/income and potential extra expenses as well as considering OP’s mental health for their own personal balancing of what’s better overall for them. There’s no one right answer.

        Whatever the result – congrats on having a definite escape date! When you do walk away for the last time it feels amazing knowing without any doubt that you made the right decision.

      4. Double A*

        I believe you can also sign up through the ACA exchange which would probably be much more affordable that COBRA.

        1. MA Dad*

          I am finally on my last month of COBRA after 15 months of unemployment/benefit-less probationary period at my new job. My monthly COBRA payment is within a few dollars of my current biweekly paycheck. A family of 4 with a super high deductible still cost us over $1800 per month. Our savings is mostly gone and will take a couple of years to make up since my new job is about $15K less than the old one.

        2. I Have RBF*

          When I got laid off in 2009 the COBRA for my wife and I was ~$1500. I had to sell stock to afford it and my other bills.

          Unemployment in my state is a cheese-paring joke – HCOL state, maximum is $450/week (the equivalent of $11.25/hour), while in many jurisdictions in the state the minimum wage is $15/hour. Even red-state Texas pays more.

      5. Jam Today*

        COBRA only allows the employee to purchase individual coverage in the group plan, they have to pay full freight. If she’s in a state that didn’t demolish their ACA exchange market, she can probably get a decent plan for half the cost. COBRA at a prior job was $650 per month, the “silver” plan from my state’s exchange was a skosh under $300.

        1. Relentlessly Socratic*

          Depending on where you are (I’m in MA) they state that qualifying events for coverage do not include not electing to pay for COBRA.

          COBRA is 102% of your premium (total paid by both you and your employer) so you can calculate it if needed.

      6. Kindred Spirit*

        And, in my experience, the employer-based health coverage isn’t suspended until the end of the month, not on the exact separation date.

        1. MA Dad*

          Not always apparently. I lost my last job with my final day being March 3rd , 2023. Benefits ended March 3rd, 2023. With no help towards COBRA, I had to foot the entire bill myself for a long time. I looked at ACA but I was already through my deductible that year so I took the gamble that COBRA would be short lived until I found something. I finally get on new job’s insurance June 1st so I probably would have been better off with an ACA plan (if all my wife’s specialists would even take it)

        2. I Have RBF*

          One time I left a job near the start of the month, and they demanded that I pay COBRA for the second half of the month, even though my employer said my insurance would go through the end of the month. Rare, but it does happen, especially with cheese-paring companies.

    2. FormerIntern*

      I agree with you on all points, but I do want to caution as well that if OP leaves now without completing her notice period, then she may be considered ineligible for rehire. If a future job calls HR to confirm her employment dates, HR will most likely mention that.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I think OP should stick it out. The benefit to mental health is less than the benefits of paycheck, insurance and your excellent point of rehire as well.
        It’s a week. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. And to quote another piece of Hollywood (Heaven Can Wait) “when your team is ahead, you don’t make mistakes.”
        OP is leaving on her terms. OP is leaving with a head held high. OP made no mistakes. No need to risk making one now.

    3. Joey*

      The medical insurance will last until the end of the month either way. If you are employed on May 1st and quit that day your coverage will end after 5/31. If you start your new job May 2 your coverage won’t kick in until 6/1.

      1. E*

        Not always, all 4 previous places I worked at coverage stopped on the last day worked. If you wanted coverage after your last day you had to sign up for COBRA.

    4. Cat Tree*

      This is where I land. Stay and get money if at all possible. There are times when mental health is a higher priority than money and OP can decide if this lands there. Otherwise, stay and get paid.

    5. LetterWriter*

      Ok, lots to unpack in this.

      My health insurance is good through the end of the month (yes, I am in the US). Employers (sometimes) try to act like this isn’t the case, but health insurance ends at midnight on the 1st. Other benefits that are company sponsored sometimes do immediately end, but the health insurance isn’t one of them.

      I agree on the pay thing and getting my entire week of pay…to a point. Financially, I am actually just fine were I to leave early. Is it a good financial decision? Probably not, but it’s not one that will wreck me financially. At this point, I have worked Monday and Tuesday (I am salaried and if I do work for more than a portion of the day it counts as a full day, so 2 days of pay at minimum.

      The new job starts next week. I am eligible for their insurance on the 1st of the month after 30 days, so July 1st. I have always had new insurance before I need to decide on the COBRA paperwork, and sometimes before I receive it. I am not super worried about that as if something happens in May, we are covered. June, COBRA kicks in if needed and July the new insurance. As it’s retroactive, and I likely won’t even have the paperwork for COBRA until late June anyway (companies have to send it within 14 days of the qualifying event and it’s another few days before it arrives for me, so likely the 20th or so) I am not all that worried. To the point above, if we need it, we absolutely will use it.

      I didn’t participate in the FSA. I do have 401k which obviously stops at the end date, but conveniently they use a company I already have a personal relationship with, so rollover won’t be too annoying there.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Oh, man, LW, I totally feel you! I’m on my penultimate day at a job that was pretty ok up until they hired a new dev person who is so dreadful and doesn’t do any work. My boss has a lot more interactions with her (but she’s the leader of a different team, not ours) and luckily we’re on the same page about her being a fraud. But my boss is about ready to quit herself (just needs to find a new job) and I told her yesterday that I don’t want to do some dumb task that the dev person finally got me the info for last week (after telling us she’d get us the info for literally months). Dev person emailed yest to ask if I’d have time to complete the task and I told boss that “oh shucks, probably won’t have time for that” and boss is completely on my side. Haven’t told dev person yet but if she asks again I’ll be like, “oh, sorry, so many things to wrap up (true) that I didn’t get to that. Perhaps if I’d had the info sooner I would have, my apologies.”

        Anyway, another colleague refers to it as old-timer’s disease and boy do I have it bad. I assume you do too.

      2. Miss Muffett*

        I strongly recommend, then, that you wait COBRA out and see if you can get through June without using any medical benefits – maybe get some Rxs prefilled, if you can (docs can often help with this). Don’t pay for COBRA unless you end up actually needing to use Medical in June, otherwise you’re all set on 7/1 with the new place (and you’ll have some time to enroll in your new hire stuff, and it will be retro to 7/1).

    6. fhqwhgads*

      LW said they’re halfway through the notice period, a week past with a week to go.

  6. Green great dragon*

    I do get that this is horrible to be on the end of, but that’s kinda hilariously off target. Can you email back with identical emails saying ‘ I am surprised you made that assumption since you can see from my email of XX it is not the case.’

    1. OrigCassandra*

      I must say, my mind went straight to “you know what happens when you ass-u-me…”

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        That and ” You assumed incorrectly.”

        Neither of which I would say in a job I was continuing but both of which I might consider in a job I’m already leaving because of that manager.

    2. urguncle*

      One horrible boss would do this to me and when I would respond with “oh, actually I already did that, please see the attached” with proof, she said I needed to stop “being defensive.” Wild.

        1. LetterWriter*

          LOL to all of that.

          She would absolutely say I was being defensive…or some other version of why I was the issue.

          She was dealing with a bunch of stress a while ago and snapped at me. I didn’t say anything as I am the type of person to let things like that go as long as they happen infrequently. She, being her, learned that I was doing this and told me that I needed to go to her, and only her, if I ever had a concern about my job or felt I was being treated badly (guess she didn’t want others to know how abusive she is) and that by not immediately telling her I didn’t like what she said, I was showing that i don’t respect her as a manager.

          Ma’am. That is true, I do not. But that is NOT why.

      1. Garblesnark*

        This reminds me of the time I was written up for something my boss demonstrably did while I was on medical leave, and when I pulled up the documentation that my boss did it, HR said, “Garblesnark, no one is attacking you.”

        Citation needed, HR. Citation needed.

        1. Indolent Libertine*

          So… You were being written up, which means you were officially assigned responsibility /blame for whatever this was? Which had been demonstrably done by someone else while you weren’t even there? I don’t know where your HR is from, but on my planet, a reasonable person would absolutely experience that as an attack.

      2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I’d be very curious what she would say if you asked her how, specifically, she would like you to respond the next time. You know, just so you can make sure to do it right. Mostly because it would be funny to watch her scramble to provide an acceptable wording.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          She wouldn’t scramble though. She’d just start snapping generally and not even attempt to answer the question.

  7. CastielNeedsHisOwnShow*

    Or you can just stay, collect your paycheck and be obnoxious to and/or ignore your toxic boss (as Allison noted). The worst they can do is escort you out the door, and that would likely be with pay for the remainder of the two weeks notice.

    When you are being mistreated, there is nothing wrong with mistreating that person back. Have some fun….mess with your boss. Go into full condescension mode (“Wow. I’m surprised that I have to explain such basic things to you, but let’s start from the beginning…..”) and when they do something egregiously stupid, just cc the CEO.

    1. LetterWriter*

      Yeah. Since I wrote this letter, the manager has decided she wants to keep the 1 on 1 I canceled.

      Not sure why, and I told her as much.

      I am guessing she got wind of the meeting I had with the CEO and wants to discuss with me my reasons for leaving. Really not a conversation I am willing to have. We will see how it goes.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Hoooo, boy, good luck with that mtg! As I commented on another thread, I’m also about to leave a job with a terrible boss-level person (luckily she’s not my actual boss, thank goodness, but just having her here is ridiculous). She canceled the mtg we were going to have with a brand-new-last-week-employee to discuss a task that I take care of (along with my boss and grandboss). Thank goodness, b/c we’ve already had this discussion with her THREE TIMES. If she’s not knowledgeable enough about it to tell her new employee, that’s on her. Anyway, plz let us know how the mtg goes! Hold your head high and grey rock, or else let her have it!

        1. LetterWriter*

          You may not even see this as it’s an old thread now… but in case you do.

          She took my saying we had nothing to chat about to heart. She asked me to detail to her a few things she was trying to piece together while she was out and that was it.

          Kind of disappointed honestly as I had my whole speech prepared but didn’t need it.

      2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        Looks to me like you might need to run an errand at the same time as that meeting…

  8. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Why do they let it continue?

    Because middle/upper management is likely fully aware of her management style. And if she is efficient at getting things done, they won’t get in her way.

    They may cringe at her way of doing things, and they probably don’t really like it – but they have to support her , as long as her decisions don’t cost the company a lot of money, and they certainly will avoid legal slings.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Or who knows, since they’re making a point of asking, maybe they’re building a case to fire her.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Asking questions is one thing — whether management will act based on your statements is something else entirely.

        Last but not least – OP should just grind out the last two weeks. Management may attempt to goad reactionary behavior out of the short-timer — it’s important to not burn your bridges. Management might do it – they may act unprofessionally – but don’t lower yourself to that level.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          Refusing to be mistreated isn’t lowering yourself. Nor is it unprofessional.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            I wasn’t clear. I meant to say – when you give a two-three week notice, your management may pull unprofessional, and unethical behaviorial stunts.

            Don’t get sucked into it. Yes, you should command respect. But don’t return disrespect. Appreciate that your departure is causing your management some additional, and perhaps incalculable distress.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        I left my last job in large part because of a terrible direct manager, and directly said so to his boss and also in my exit interview. Another colleague left 100% due to the same manager and directly told many higher ups that. A third colleague spoke to HR about how he felt the manager wasn’t doing a good job.
        The manager got promoted.
        Never assume they’re “making a case” for anything.

        1. Jan Levinson Gould*

          Had the same experience with a horrible manager. Within two years after I left, four other people (pretty much the entire group) left. I did not say anything to senior management or HR on my way out, but a few people knew I was leaving because of the awful boss and word spreads. I know there were complaints made to HR about her after I left, so senior management must have been aware. I couldn’t believe when she landed a big promotion a few years after I left – apparently she “went for the throat” of the person in the job she coveted and got that person fired so she could take that spot. She must have been the poster woman for the Peter Principle once she got into the senior role.

          Although I blocked the awful boss from LinkedIn, ten years after I left I saw that she took a new job at a much smaller company with what appears to be a lower title. Not sure if she got canned or burned out in the big role and downshifted.

    2. Mouse named Anon*

      I worked somewhere that had a manager like OPs. She lost 10 people under her in less than 9 months (She actually lost an ENTIRE DEPT IN LESS AN MONTH). Management was continuously told how horrible she was and no one did a thing about it. I still don’t understand why.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        Ugh. I worked under a woman who had 100% turnover every year she was promoted. As in, every single person that was hired quit. This happened for three years before the organization moved her to a department where she had no direct reports.

        I had another horrible boss and it took the org four years to fire her.

      2. Elle Woods*

        A friend worked at a place like what you’re describing. The department turned over three times in a little over two years; all of the employees bemoaned how awful this manager was to the director but nothing was done. It wasn’t until a new director was hired that things changed. The new director was in the role for less than week before she reassigned the awful manager to a new role that didn’t include managing people.

      3. I Have RBF*

        I worked for one asshole who had over 100% turnover within a year. Upper management loved him so much they promoted him. He was a classic “kiss up, kick down” manager, who would literally insult people on his own team and others in from of other departments, even derailing meetings to berate the person running them because they didn’t do things the way he (erroneously) wanted them done. He was a pile of shit in a skin suit.

    3. ashleeeeeey*

      There are plenty of people who can get the job done without being complete choads. It’s so frustrating when an entire group or company is essentially being held hostage by a terrible person.

    4. LetterWriter*

      I am not sure on their thinking, honestly. I know there have been some things that didn’t go well with her in charge of them, but why she stays? Who knows. But I wasn’t waiting around to find out.

  9. sofar*

    LW you are SO CLOSE to being out of there. Is there any chance that if you leave before your notice period, your boss could make things difficult for you in your field?

    Personally, I’d stick it out and be relentlessly positive.

    “Hi Loraine! Yes, absolutely this was done on X date [include a square bullet list of specifics]. I’m guessing you haven’t dug out of your email yet, so here’s a screen shot of the email in which the loop was closed as well as of the finished project. Please let me know if you have any further questions, happy to share details! Also, copying Person A, Person B and Person C on this for visibility, as my last day is Friday, if anything regarding this comes up after I’m gone — but it shouldn’t, as everything has been wrapped up.” (Persons A-C could include CEO).

    Rinse, repeat for other similar emails. Phrasing could also include. “Hmmmmm…. I’m a bit confused, as this issue was confirmed wrapped up on X date [include screen shot]. Loraine, did you get that email?” Copy everyone.

    1. ldub*

      I love this approach because a) it will feel good while you’re doing it and b) it makes your boss everyone else’s problem, which she will be soon anyway. This is what I’d do for the rest of the week.

      1. MsM*

        I’d avoid pushing her off on other underlings who can’t escape yet if at all possible, though. Make it upper management’s problem.

        1. not nice, don't care*

          Daylight the bully, and model the behavior for other employees. Maybe they will feel empowered to escalate.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      AAM patented, “of course you are asking these questions because you are concerned about the status of the project and not trying to find some great big GOTCHA, so I will reply in that spirit.” With EVERY SINGLE DETAIL.
      sofar you are awesome.

      1. 1LFTW*

        Yes. When I left a particularly toxic job due to a sadistic micromanager, I was tempted to tell her exactly why I was leaving and what I thought of her. I pulled off “relentlessly polite and cheerful” by reminding myself that I had plenty to be cheerful about because I was leaving, which meant my time with her BS was limited.

    3. Sunshine Gal*

      I would be inclined to do something very similar to this, endless positivity and turning the micromanagement around so it goes from you to her. Let her have a taste of her own medicine. And when asked on you last day why A, B, C aren’t done, you can cite the extreme amount of time you had to invest in catching poor Lorraine up on the work that was completed while she was out on medical leave. Bless her heart, may she have a speedy recovery.

    4. Water Everywhere*

      I think this is what I would do. Except I’d use round bullet points :)

      1. Pterodactyls are under-cited in the psychological literature*

        I would alternate round and square. Or no, an irregular pattern. Possibly all square except one round in some random location, not first or last. Then I would grin evilly as I hit send, secure in the knowledge that I had either gotten paid for my time doing something stupid and petty that boss would never even notice, or that I had gotten paid for my time doing something stupid and petty that would grind her gears but good.

        (I would not actually do this in a real job I cared about. But in this instance? Heh heh heh…)

        1. Garblesnark*

          MS office has a feature where you can make any picture into a bullet. Maybe the boss’s profile image or an itty bitty dog or…

        2. I Have RBF*

          What, she didn’t like square ones? Oh, well I found these cute stars, or maybe hearts, or little target thingies…

        3. Mr. Mousebender*

          And don’t forget to use Comic Sans! I’m not sure whether it would be more aggravating to use it on every word, or just sprinkle it on random words like pixie dust.

    5. Jenny off the Block*

      After spending several hours doing this, it would be appropriate to ask your boss (cc’ing her boss and the CEO) for help prioritizing tasks. You can point out that you were planning to spend your final days getting things in order and writing up notes for whoever will be taking over your projects, but you have spend X hours finding emails that your boss already has, summarizing their contents, and sending them to her. Of course, if this is the best use of your time, you should continue doing that, but it’s relevant that it’s preventing you from doing anything else in the N days (M hours) that you will be working at your company and you want to make sure your work is aligned with company priorities.

    6. LetterWriter*

      Yeah, this would be satisfying, can’t lie.

      We are in the same field, so I suppose she could try to do some damage, but I am not sure how far it would really get as there is nothing she could ever point to that was actual damage I had caused.

      Is she petty enough to try? I don’t actually think so as she prides herself on being nice and constantly says that she will lose sleep if she upsets someone, so I don’t think trying to trash me to others will be something she will do.

      1. Bird names*

        “she prides herself on being nice”
        Oh, I am really not surprised to read that. Funny how that does not extend to her behaviour, but that would actually require self-reflection I suppose.

    7. Sleeve McQueen*

      I love this. Do timelines of every response and breakdowns. Graphs, screenshots. Put it in a PowerPoint. Really enjoy yourself

  10. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

    I mean, if you’re already willing to torch the bridge by walking immediately, why not return fire? Respond to the emails with:

    “Bless your heart. You’ll see it when you get to it.”
    “You’re trying your best, and that’s what matters.”
    “I’m sure you’ll feel better after a snack and a nap.”
    “I’m sure you’ll miss me when I’m gone, and that warms my heart.”

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’d go a bit more “malicious compliance” by digging up in my Sent folder the reply that I sent that addressed the earlier email, and attaching it with just the text “As per my previous email”. If she wants to waste my wrap-up time reminding her of things she could find herself, I’m OK with that, because that’s on her. For me, it takes much of the sting out of the rebuke, and hey, it’s actually addressing the question she asked.

      1. Cat Tree*

        In D&D wizards have fireball. In real life, office workers have “per my last email”.

    2. Yum*

      I wonder if the OP could link her to a remedial course on managing email correctly. “Since this seems to be a topic of some confusion for you, I thought this might be useful”.

    3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      My favorite line was =

      “You remember the movie ‘Office Space’??? You’re aware, that was a satire, not a management tutorial?”

      1. LetterWriter*

        Sorry for my part in the hot tea thing. That sounds painful.

        I do think she believes Office Space was a tutorial, she is quite literally the worst boss I have ever had.

    4. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      “You’re trying your best, and that’s what matters.” made me LOL extremely loudly. Glad I’m alone at home!

  11. Onigiri*

    Why would you assume nothing’s been done about something in an email… when you are checking the oldest one first?! Am I a minority that I check all emails first, before responding to anything? Come on now. OP, I am sorry you have to deal with this person.

    1. londonedit*

      Nope, I do the same. But I think some people – particularly if they don’t have emails arranged as ‘conversations’ – start at the bottom of their inbox and just can’t help themselves from going ‘Oh! Thing happened! We need to sort Thing out!! Has anyone sorted Thing???’ as soon as they see an email about it, rather than thinking hang on let’s scroll up a bit and see if I can find out what happened. Possibly because it’s far easier for them to just yell out ‘Did anyone sort Thing????’ than for them to actually spend two minutes looking for the answer.

      1. starsaphire*

        For me, that’s what the flags are for.

        I read the emails oldest-first, but I just flag the ones that I think need attention, then remove the flag when I get to the email where Jim sent over that contract because he was covering for me while I was OoO.

        When I get all the way through, I review all the ones that are still flagged, and start working on them, oldest first.

        Probably harder to do when your emails are in the four digits rather than the two or three digits, but it’s a very effective process.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      You are not a minority, you are a healthy, functioning adult.
      You are trying to get the job done, not trying to justify micromanagement and prove that everyone does nothing when you are not there.

    3. Enai*

      Also, don’t most email programs organize them by thread? So that I can read an email about “business issue 1” directly before “Re:business issue one: now it’s an emergency” and then Re:re: business issue one: not so urgent after all” and finally “Re: re: (…) Re: business issue 1: the anticlimactic solution” instead of jumping wildly around in the different email chains regarding business issues 1 to N? I can see how the latter can lead to needless confusion, but its also easily remedied. So much pointlessly stressing about nothing…

        1. Pocket Mouse*

          …Why? I’m aware of benefits, but not drawbacks. It’s been eons since I *didn’t* have them grouped by conversation.

          1. AMH*

            For some people, it’s that threads are more confusing and if you aren’t technically — adept is not the right word, but comfortable, maybe — it can be difficult to find information at a glance. Some folks are old school. Others, like myself, work places where threads break because of internal/external replies, or whose organization communicates in such a way that threads and individual emails will be going on concurrently, and threads can make it harder to keep track.

            In my personal life, it’s all conversation view all the time. In my work life, it’s a mix.

          2. BubbleTea*

            For me, it’s a combination of the fact the subject lines nest inwards so aren’t neatly lined up (not very important) and the fact that multiple not-recent emails move to the top of my inbox along with the most recent (important). I just don’t like how it looks.

        2. Freya*

          I love threaded emails because it allows me to collapse the massive thread of people confirming that they saw the last email, and deal with all the emails relating to the same thing in one go.

          It does get annoying when people respond to the last email thread to attach this week’s timesheet for approval instead of starting a new email thread for the new timesheet with the date of that timesheet in the email header, because the original email thread they and their timesheet approval people have kept replying to every fortnight started OVER A YEAR AGO, but I’ve solved that by only having the actual inbox of my emails show things in threads and all the subfolders unthreaded, so once I file the newest email away as dealt with, it doesn’t show the full thread anymore.

    4. Andre*

      you are not in the minority, I don’t think. I absolutely get the entire lay of land before rifling off emails accusing anyone that they didn’t do something while I was out.

    5. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I’m guessing that micromanagers tend to think they’re the only intelligent, competent person around. So if they weren’t around to control every single thing, then *of course* nothing got done. But they’re basically always wrong about that.

      1. LetterWriter*


        She constantly thinks that if she isn’t there to direct it, it wasn’t done. She also can’t handle the idea that she isn’t absolutely vital to the existence and continued functioning of the department…I think she honestly believes that if she isn’t there to make sure everyone is doing every little thing then it’s not getting done because no one else could possibly be competent enough to do it.

        1. linger*

          And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when micromanagement drives off those who are competent enough to do the work independently (who, by virtue of that fact, have choices about where they work).

  12. PrincessClutter*

    I’m literally in this position right now, and appreciate the question and response.

    May be just walking out later today. Especially as I’m owed 3 days pay that haven’t been reflected in our time system.

      1. PrincessClutter*

        It’s nice to see people getting out of bad situations. Best of luck!

  13. Through Being Cool*

    Smugly send “Dear Boss, you are not responding to the latest email in this chain. Please check your inbox for the latest email.”

    1. JelloStapler*

      Please continue doing so with every email before berating me about an issue.

    2. Zona the Great*

      Dear Boss, I can teach you how to set your email settings to Conversation vs. Single Emails. Might help you avoid acting like this in the future.

    3. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      “Dear Boss, the e-mail chain continues after this message. You’ll find the final one here.” [attach final e-mail in the chain]

  14. Cacofonix*

    Doesn’t sound as though sending an email reply will be at the top of boss’ list to read. I’d be taking Alison’s advice in person, rather than being tempted to email these messages to the boss. If you are willing to stay, be explicit in saying that you’ll only be responding to respectful communications. If she doesn’t hear back from you, she would be welcome to review her original request and rewrite it.

  15. bassclefchick*

    Sometimes it surprises me that people either don’t know about or refuse to use the option to group emails by conversation feature in Outlook. But then I wouldn’t have this wonderful site and the entertainment it brings.

    1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      It’s a great option until you have a person that “responds” to emails by starting a new email or decides to change topics within the chain and you’re looking for all of the Llama Project information, but their responses are part of the Re: Goat Project chain.

      1. Scooter34*

        Yes but you can switch back and forth between views. No system is perfect.

        When you are returning from a period away, it behooves you to look at the conversations first and then the single emails.

        1. AMH*

          I think it really depends on how your workplace communicates and how you best process information. I use a mix, myself, but conversation view can sometimes mean I don’t see other related emails simply because of how communication happens in my organization. I don’t think saying it behooves people to use it is fair; all people are behooved to do is to ensure they’re updating themselves/reading all emails.

    2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I think it varies by what kind of job you have because no one I know likes having their emails organized by conversation. Especially when there is the “see related messages” option.

    3. Froggy*

      As day-to-day management, I find this feature terrible in outlook. Email responses get buried and the chain get all out of order making it impossible (for me) to manage my email. However, as a way to group things after being out for a bit, it does help.

  16. Hiring Mgr*

    Since you’re already talking with the CEO and other execs about this, I’d ask them about being a reference for you in the future so you don’t even have to worry about the current boss from that standpoint.

  17. Beth*

    For me these wouldn’t hit the bar of making me forgo another few days of paycheck–they’re rude and show a lack of respect and consideration, but knowing I’m free on Friday would be enough to tide me over. But it’s okay if it is enough for you! Everyone already knows you’re leaving because of your boss, and it sounds like everyone knows that’s a reasonable choice, so I doubt it would be a shock if she managed to chase you away earlier than planned.

    If you do decide to leave early, make sure to talk to your CEO and other relevant higher-ups directly about your decision. Since your manager is an asshole, I think it’s in your best interest to have a strong enough relationship with others in your reporting chain that you would feel good about using them as a reference.

    1. LetterWriter*

      Yeah, I haven’t heard much from her once she got through her emails.

      She did, however, decide that she wants to meet today for a 1 on 1. I told her she had my list of pending items so I wasn’t sure why, but she insisted.

      I am guessing she wants to discuss my reason for leaving. I am not interested in discussing being abused with my abuser (and I assure you, this was just an example and far from the full list). So, that might not go well.

      1. Beth*

        I hope your meeting goes less badly than you’re anticipating. But if it does go how you fear, remember that you don’t need to discuss or even disclose your reasons for leaving with her. “This makes sense for me right now, I don’t see a reason to discuss it further” is a complete answer. She might not like it, but what’s she going to do, fire you?

        If she does get mad, though, I like Alison’s “I’m happy to spend the rest of the week wrapping up projects, but I’m not willing to be spoken to like this” line. Whether you use it to shorten your notice period or just walk out of the 1:1, it sounds like she could use the reminder that she doesn’t have power over you anymore.

      2. Indolent Libertine*

        Can you insist on recording the meeting with your phone? For everyone’s benefit and protection, of course.

  18. Hell in a Handbasket*

    Though this sounds super aggravating, to me it doesn’t rise to the “walk out immediately” level — she’s not (at least in this example) yelling, name calling, etc. I would go the “roll your eyes and ignore” route so as to not burn bridges with other people in the org.

    1. LetterWriter*

      She doesn’t yell. She berates and goes on and on until instead of defending yourself any longer, you say “ok” at which point she tells you that it’s clear you agree with her because you said ok.

      No. But…ok, I guess.

      1. LCH*

        “i’m not really following what your issue is. could you put it in writing? i’m better at seeing concepts when they are written out. thanks!”

  19. Immortal for a limited time*

    I will be sad if you don’t reply with: “I’m going through my emails and see that you made an assumption prematurely. Please advise as to why you would accuse me of not finishing my work before you have finished going through your inbox. To avoid wasting more of each other’s time, should today be my last day?” (and cc: the CEO)

  20. ENFP in Texas*

    For the “I assume this wasn’t handled” emails, a Reply with the message of “Please see attached for final resolution” and attach a copy of the resolution email (which is already in her inbox but she hasn’t gotten to yet) is my suggestion.

    Simple and straightforward. Maybe not as emotionally rewarding as some of the other suggestions, though. :)

  21. theletter*

    “I’m going through my emails and see that you are actively jumping to conclusions instead of thoroughly reading your emails. Can you give me a reason as to why?”

  22. Someone Else's Boss*

    “Hmmmm, I’m not sure why you would assume that since you don’t seem to have fully caught up on email. For now, I’m going to disregard any emails regarding tasks I have completed. If, once you are completed your email review, you still feel anything is missing, do let me know.”

    Your boss is undoubtedly a handful, and I’m glad you’re leaving. You can, of course, leave early if you want. In fact, I doubt strongly it will change your life in any way, much less a negative way. That said, I think you should stick it out. Consider watching Season 3, Episode 10 of Gilmore Girls, “That’ll do pig,” for great advice at getting through an interaction with an unreasonable authority figure. If nothing else, I think you’ll laugh.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Oh – I LIKE that response. “Do your job. Get it done before assuming I haven’t done mine. Thanks.”

    2. Zona the Great*

      My favorite thing to do with bosses like this is not respond at all and let her fizzle herself out. She’ll eventually see she was wrong and will have no leg to stand on. She won’t admit it, though. Still entertaining.

    3. Sydney Ellen Wade*

      “For now, I’m going to disregard any emails regarding tasks I have completed. If, once you are completed your email review, you still feel anything is missing, do let me know.”

      THIS. Don’t create even more work for yourself by showing her the receipts.

  23. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

    Eh, don’t leave over that. Boss is being annoying and clueless but it doesn’t rise to the level of storm-out-in-a-huff. If you do that, it could make you look irrational to the higher-ups you talked to about Boss and they might downplay your concerns about her.

    1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I don’t think it’s fair to characterize this as a “storm out in a huff” question. LW said she is thinking about leaving for her mental health. Some people are sensitive or have rejection-sensitive dysphoria. If she can stay and use it as a learning experience to let go of some of that, that would be great, but if it is better for her to leave, she should leave. There is no objective answer on this.

      1. Seashell*

        If someone has to leave over something so minor damaging their mental health, then I would have my doubts about them being able to function long-term in any workplace. The end is in sight. No need to be a perfect employee or take any email personally in the last few days, because none of this is going to be their problem soon enough. I’d say feel free to respond to the soon-to-be-ex boss in a mildly snarky manner.

        1. Hell in a Handbasket*

          I agree — and I think it would also potentially damage relations with the CEO and others in the company to leave without notice over something that, while annoying, is not that egregious.

        2. Wounded, erratic stinkbugs*

          It might sound minor to us, but I don’t think we have enough context about the overall work environment to declare that someone who is deeply bothered by it might not be able to function in any workplace. From my perspective, that’s veering into “unnecessarily uncharitable” territory.

        3. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          There’s a reason that “the straw that broke the camel’s back” is an expression. This is a symptom of a much bigger problem in the workplace.

          1. LetterWriter*


            And while I know it’s not meant for me to defend myself, I was at my job prior to this one for 6 years. The one before that, 5.

            It’s less the emails, more the abuse. She has been abusive for months. The last 3 weeks have allowed me some distance from her and the behaviors, and have left me questioning if dealing with her for the next few days is going to resurrect the damage of the last few months that I had gotten distance from with her out.

            Some of the pre-camel straws:
            1. Asking me to take ownership and then berating me for not doing something her way. This took 20 minutes in which she pointed out things like there not being enough spaces in an indent, the wrong bullet points, and other minor things. To which I just kept saying ok. She then got aggressive with challenging me and saying I clearly knew it was substandard, as I keep saying ok. She then asked me to defend to her why I turned in awful work.
            2. Telling me a project I turned it was “not quality work” and when I asked how and what her concerns with it were (I have since shown it to people who would tell me if it was awful) her reply was to advise me that I should know quality work when I see it and she shouldn’t have to tell me. (not the same conversation as the one above)
            3. Telling me if I have concerns about my job, I need to come to her and only her. That making the slightest comment about anything (this started after I commented on it being difficult to book 1 of the 2 rooms we have for interviews when we were all in office) diminishes the trust she has in me and that she expects any criticisms I may have to only be shared with her.
            4. She literally eavesdrops on any conversation I have and then makes me explain things to her that she didn’t like, even though she only heard one side. And, I don’t mean factual inaccuracies, I mean things like “you said you didn’t like it either when you were talking to so and so” and demands to know what I was referring to. Once it was the new ketchup they were using at the closest lunch place. I had to explain that to her more than once before she believed me.
            5. She asks for a recap of any conversation I have with anyone if we go to lunch. She says it’s to know what her team is talking about off the clock.
            6. If I have a date in my notes that something is due, and she doesn’t have the date, she asks me things like “Are you sure the date is really there” and other passive aggressive ways to tell me she thinks I am lying.

            These are off the top of my head. I am sure there are more. So, no, the emails are not the only issue.

            1. Bird names*

              All-around crap manager, I see.
              Unable to set measurable goals, expects you to read her mind, puts her ego (need to be indispensable) above good work product, unable to delegate or work in a collaborative manner and of course overstepping boundaries with respect to off the clock interactions. Quite an impressive list, I must say.
              I am glad that your last day is so close, whether you decide to shorten that remaining time or not. May she some day get a clue far, far away from you.

            2. Enai*

              Wow, she sounds exhausting, and not in a “Yeah, she’s an annoying hardass but it saved us frim making countless costly mistakes” – way but rather in a “Her annoying hardassery about irrelevant things costs us dearly” kind of way.
              Three (3) days remaining until you’ve had to see her hide for the last time. And well done you for walking away.

  24. sgpb*

    I would respond with step by step instructions on how to turn on group by conversation in outlook.

      1. Sterling*

        ribbon – View->check the box “Show as conversations” in the messages section.
        right click on a message -> find related -> Messages in this conversation.

  25. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

    Gosh, I worked for this person. The greatest gift he ever gave me was not talking to me or emailing me ever again after I put in my notice.

    1. LetterWriter*

      I want this gift. It would be amazing.

      She is definitely communicating with me less, that’s for sure.

    2. Mark This Confidential And Leave It Laying Around*

      I worked for this person, and watched her drive a lot of talented people out the door before she was finally pushed out (a full year late IMO). She did grant the gift of invisibility to anyone so rude as to give notice. But fair warning she tried to spy on them by bustling around the office whispering “What did she say about me? Did she say anything?” To those of us left. (Lots of “What? Who? Can you speak up?)

  26. Doofus*

    I wonder if you’re being set up to fail. If you don’t respond, she can say that you were obviously ashamed of not doing the work required. If you respond with anything other than groveling for forgiveness, she can point to that and say it’s lucky they’re getting rid of you. Either way, it is explicitly not her fault that you’re leaving.

      1. LetterWriter*

        Oh she not only wants groveling, she gets mad if she gives you feedback and then don’t want to have a conversation about the feedback. She has said, more than once, that feedback is something she gives because she wants to talk about it. But when I tried that, I was berated for 20 minutes. She wants me to say I agree. That’s all.

        1. Ms. Murchison*

          Seriously starting to wonder if you work for my former boss. Is she hanging onto her position by the skin of her irreplaceable institutional knowledge?

          1. LetterWriter*

            No. But the company isn’t in a place financially to replace her role without having to explain the financial position.

        2. Garblesnark*

          She sounds like a real peach.

          In good news, I’ve heard even the Mafia treats their people better, so your new job ought to be a breath of fresh air.

          1. LetterWriter*

            She’s a delight.

            Although I got my wish. She’s completely ignoring me and actually darted out into the street against a light so she wouldn’t have to wait on the same corner with me while walking back from a meeting.

            So the ignoring has begun. And it’s amazing.

  27. Audrey Young*

    With scripts like this, you’re going to be praying your boss says something out of line!

  28. H.Regalis*

    I assume nothing was done. Please advise as to why not.

    Wow, your soon-to-be-ex boss sounds fun. Ugh. Glad you’re moving on.

    1. LetterWriter*

      She’s a delight. :) People always say that employees don’t leave jobs they leave bosses, but this is the 1st time I have ever been in a situation where this is 100% what is happening.

      1. Doc McCracken*

        well, we all know what happens when you assume…per my email on x date…

  29. Overthinking it*

    Unless you’re actually looking for a reason to cut your notice short. just roll with it – maybe with the tiniest push-back. I’d go even softer than Allison recommended: “I think you’ll see, as you get further along in your email backlog that this was handled and completed. I’m disappointed” (or “surprised ” if you want even softer) ” that you would assume otherwise. If there’s anything else you consider critical for me to finish in my remaining week, be sure to let me know so I can make it priority. Bye!”

  30. Grapes are my Jam*

    Stick it out by having some fun with her. Bring in a candy dish with your favorite candy. Every time she does something belittling, reward yourself with a piece. When she’s at your desk, hover your hand over the candy dish and at the moment she says something snappy, say under your breath, “there it is” or “mmm-hmm” and pop a piece in your mouth. Do it subtly enough where she wonders to herself if you’re doing something, but she can’t be sure.

    1. Tulip*

      hilarious! I love this suggestion, especially saying “there it is” or “mmmhmm” quietly. Made me snort-laugh into my morning tea!

  31. Mouse named Anon*

    OP be careful about vacation payout. I worked somewhere that would not pay out vacation if you left before your 2 weeks was up. Not sure how legal that is. I left somewhere in November. I am almost walked out bc of the toxic environment. Then I realized I would loose nearly 2 weeks of paid of vacation time if I did.

    1. LetterWriter*

      So, I am in CA where they don’t have the option of not paying out vacation.

      Unfortunately, the job is “unlimited” PTO so I have nothing accrued I can cash out. But, it’s ok, as I took a week for my birthday and wouldn’t have accrued enough to be paid for the time…and it would have meant I had virtually none to cash out as is.

    2. HR Khaleesi*

      In the US, this is illegal. Vacation time is something that you’ve earned, and it belongs to you, and must be paid out on your last paycheck. Sick time is different, and doesn’t need to be paid out, but vacation time does.

  32. Jules the 3rd*

    The last week of my last notice, I did about 2 hrs of actual work, closing the loop on one item that… really didn’t need my input. Go with option 3 on Alison’s list, and cc the CEO.

  33. Mim*

    My choice of what to do would depend on how much in person interaction I’d have to have with her. At least for me, that’s so much harder to deal with.

    Assuming you mostly will be communicating via email, I vote to stay, roll your eyes and delete her sh*t, but first reply with attached proof of the work you did, cc-ed to the CEO. She should be embarrassed, so help her along.

    If you’re going to have to deal with this stuff face to face, I vote telling the CEO and/or HR what is up, and then leaving. Don’t tell her — not worth whatever potential confrontation may occur. If you’ve told her boss and/or HR, you’ve done what you need to do.

    1. LetterWriter*

      3 days in person (one of them Friday) and 2 virtual this week, so that will definitely help.

      She is insisting on a 1 on 1 meeting, which I asked why and she said she wanted to have it. I am guessing she wants to discuss my reason for leaving. I have no intention of doing so with her, so it may be how I end up on the way out anyway.

      1. linger*

        Not sure I would be brave enough to use this, but … “I am conscious of having to use my remaining time here as efficiently as possible, and needing to document as much as possible of my work. 1-to-1 meetings not leading to documentation, and lacking any detailed agenda, are an inherently inefficient use of time.”

  34. Zona the Great*

    I was raised by a woman who was very strict about all things work. You don’t call in sick when you’re not. You don’t quit a job without another lined up. You don’t leave anyone high and dry. You don’t complain. However, when I moved out and called to tell her about a very nasty boss who treated me terribly, my mom was the one who went, “why on earth would you stay another second? You tell her ‘buh-bye'”. It was so validating for even someone as scrupulous as my mother would walk away with nary a thought. You can always walk away from jerks, morally speaking.

  35. Typing All The Time*

    Also before leaving, maybe create a list of completed tasks or finished up projects so you can show a documented completion of everything you’ve done?

  36. Pizza Rat*

    Whenever they leave, I hope LW manages work, “You know I’m leaving because of you, right?” into one of the last conversations with this boss.

    1. LetterWriter*

      So…since I wrote the email to Alison, this boss has decided we need to have a 1 on 1 this week.

      I am guessing it’s going to be her trying to have a conversation with me about why I am leaving, and trying to tell me that I am wrong or misunderstood her.

      Nope. The most she will get from me is that I am leaving 100% because of her, and how she treats me, and that I am not open to discussing it further. My absolute line is I will NOT listen to this abusive boss berate me about leaving because of her. Absolutely not.

      1. MsM*

        I’d just tell her you’ve already discussed your reasons for leaving with the CEO, and you need to get back to your transition tasks.

        1. 1LFTW*

          Yes. Repeat as necessary. People like LW’s boss are looking for a fight. It’s difficult not to give it to them, but much more satisfying after the fact.

        1. LetterWriter*

          It was…nothing.

          I tried to cancel. She said she wanted it. I said why, we have nothing to discuss.

          I joined the meeting. She asked if I had anything for her. I said no. She had a few questions about some things that happened while she was out. I answered.

          At the end she paused. I said…oh look were at time and I have another meeting. Bye. And ended the call.

          She’s stopped speaking to me unless witnesses are present which is lovely.

          So all signs point to me making it to the end of the week.

  37. Procedure Publisher*

    This boss needs to be told about this handy feature in Outlook that deletes messages that are already in other conversation. When I had took a week or so off to move, that feature was so awesome.

  38. Pretty as a Princess*

    I had the same concern as another PP – could leaving before your notice period cause other problems? (Like them changing the coding in their HR system to “job abandonment” or affecting other things – like for example, here if you are employed on the first of the month you get PTO credited and we pay your health insurance the whole month. Leaving 2-3 days early could be pretty costly. If I gave notice for the first of the month and left on the 30th of the prior month it would easily cost me well over 5K. )

    My thoughts, for what they are worth:
    – do not respond to any of these emails. at all.
    – forward the *resolution email* for each item to whomever would be the next person in line after you leave. “Druella seemed unsure about this before I left so I wanted you to know in case she has questions after my departure.”
    – if Druella follows up with “why didn’t you answer my email” I’d say “I assumed that when you got further into your inbox and saw the resolution email from X on Y date that you’d realize this was resolved. I realized there were multiple such inquiries so I decided I will make a list to address all of them at once to avoid flooding your inbox with extra statuses on completed items. I will index it and send it along to you soon.”
    – make a list of these items called something like “Special items of interest for Druella”. Spend a lot of time on it and make it very fancy and cross-indexed. Send to Druella and anyone affected on your last day so that “Druella and the team have it close at hand if Druella has further questions.”
    – copy your list to the HR team.
    – sashay your way out with your head held high on your last day.

    Kill ’em with kindness and don’t get shorted on any benefits/payouts.

  39. Carol the happy snark*

    “Obviously, your “Medical Issue” has made it impossible for your brain to grasp that the answers you so desperately need have already been attended to. (See *email, sent FOURTEEN DAYS AGO) I’m also pleased to note that your absence for “medical issues” wasn’t squandered on keeping track of the events at “Company”, evidenced by the fact that you have just (again…) cluelessly embarrassed yourself by firing your cannons without ammo. The work was done, finished, completed. It was logged and notifications were sent in a timely fashion during your “recovery”.

    Since we managed just fine while you were gone for “Medical Issue”, may I suggest that- even though you searched high and low and still didn’t find the documentation right there in emails- perhaps you aren’t as recovered as you need to be to function on all two cylinders.

    Maybe another week in recovery would help? I’m sure the staff can manage to scrape by without you….”

    I. Moutta Here

  40. Sh(commatothetop)Dynasty*

    I left a job two days before my notice period once and I regret nothing. The assistant manager was astonishingly cruel to me (undermining, micromanaging, racist comments, even insulted my mother once for no reason) and when she did it for the last time a sense of calm came over me and once she had finished I waited til she left the room, went to our boss and told her it did not make sense for me to come back the next day. Since our boss was very aware of her behavior this was accepted with resignation but understanding. Like you I wonder why she was aware of the problem but unwilling to address it, but that’s probably a path to nowhere.

  41. it’s gonna be bye bye bye*

    There’s a fourth option!

    Option 1: Ignore every annoying message from her completely, and wait out your notice in serenity, knowing you are untouchable now.

    Option 2: Go back to the higher-ups and make explicit that if this treatment from her continues, you won’t finish your whole notice period.

    Option 3: Emboldened by the fact that she could never be a reference anyway, and that you’re already leaving, reply a little more frankly than you normally would- “Per my subsequent email…” etc.

    And the hidden option-

    Option 4: Reply to her idiocy as though she is a new acquaintance, fresh out of high school at her first job, and be helpful in explaining things to her that no competent adult should need explained: “Oh I see the confusion! It looks like you’re going through your messages, oldest to newest, and responding before you read the whole batch! What usually helps me is waiting until I am fully caught up before responding to things, that way you don’t make the mistake of responding to something that’s already been resolved :)” Do it sweetly, without a hint of sarcasm or condescension. Poke the bear while remaining unassailable polite and cheerful. Yes, I don’t want you need to explain to them, but clearly she does, so why not help out a poor office noob?

    Between these four options, you have an absolute gourmet buffet of reactions available to you. You’re in a good position; follow your heart.

    1. it’s gonna be bye bye bye*

      *should say, Yes, no one should need this explained to them…

  42. LetterWriter*

    Wow, you guys are quick with the comments, and I appreciate them! I will attempt to read through and comment. (Thanks to Alison for publishing my question!)

    To answer Alison, the CEO was definitely not surprised. When I told them my reason for leaving, the response was “well, that’s a reason”. We then moved on to things like making sure we were connected on LinkedIn. Also, yes, this “first day back” with the awful boss was in person. We are hybrid and will be remote Wednesday and Thursday, but not yesterday or today.

    Micromanaging boss has calmed down, some, on the emails. I am guessing after being told 4 times yesterday (2 more after I wrote the email) that things had been completed, she was either through her email or tired of being told she was wrong and the task had been completed (my guess is the first option). But it is still annoying that she automatically assumes the absolute worst of everyone and everything…and not just in this instance.

    For now, and I stress *now* as in Tuesday am (yes, I sent the letter on Monday) I am planning to take the roll my eyes and stick it out approach, as it is easier dealing with the boss knowing I am leaving. But, Alison’s answer really helped me with the idea that if it gets awful, I CAN leave…and knowing that and getting confirmation from a trusted source who would say if that was a huge mistake, definitely helps.

    Boundary setting is something I am good at, but as my husband said yesterday, my default is to listen to my boss and be subordinate to authority figures…so pushing back on her, and being willing to say no to things and behaviors that don’t work for me is definitely a new mindset that absolutely feels like I am doing something wrong, hence the original letter.

    If I do end up leaving early, I am definitely sending in an email using the “wrong” bullet points. :)

    Off to try to reply to comments! I appreciate all of them.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Thanks for the extra info! Best of luck with the rest of this week, whether you choose to stick out your notice period or leave early!

    2. EA*

      Good luck with the rest of the week! I’m Team Sticking it Out, but I’d put in as little effort as possible. If she sends accusatory emails, just send back the shortest reply possible – “It’s taken care of!” “All done!” etc.

      I think a few more days of putting up with this is worth it for a potentially good reference/recommendation from the CEO in the future.

    3. Diatryma*

      Some reprimands are a gift. You can use them as examples of how ridiculous your boss has been, and everyone will understand.

      Strength to you.

    4. Hrodvitnir*

      Thank you for replying! Sorry there is a number of unthoughtful takes here. Anyone who has been bullied knows that commonly, by design, individual examples sound insignificant.

      I think only you can decide if you need to leave! I must say, as someone whose instinct can be to send professionally passive-aggressive responses in situations like this (not recommending, just saying I have been known to use the kind of fantasy responses letters like this elicit), I’d very much be inclined to ignore stuff like that. The “make a folder” advice above was great!

      It was an idiotic email, she’ll have her answer soon enough: were she to ask in person you can peppily pretend she’s not acting like a freak and show her the outcome.

      Good luck!

      1. LetterWriter*

        Thank you.

        Honestly I found the bulk of the responses to be pretty supportive. A few definitely didn’t see why I would be considering cutting my losses, but they also (thankfully for them) haven’t had the joy of working with my boss.

        And I get it. The emails do seem small. And if they were issue 1 and 2, or even 8 and 9, they would be. But for me, it was more a “here we go again” and after 3 weeks without her I just didn’t want a week with her to cause damage.

        I did see a few discounting the mental health aspect of it. And that’s OK. If you haven’t been there you don’t understand that mental health is like an ear of corn being picked at kernel by kernel until there’s nothing left. I just wasn’t willing to give her any more kernels because you can’t get them back.

        On the bright side, she’s ignoring me and due to a schedule quirk my last in person with her day was today. And since she’s ignoring me… it’s easy to ignore her.

      1. LetterWriter*

        Due to a quirk of scheduling and a bonus day of the company is giving, my last in person day with her was today.

        My last work day is tomorrow and the entire company is off Friday, so I survived. At least it appears that way.

        It helps that she’s literally not speaking to me. At all. Is polite in front of others but if it’s just us she forgets how to use her words. So it’s been quiet. Literally and figuratively.

        I’m glad I ended up staying as watching her behavior, instead of making me feel bullied again, is actually liberating. She’s clearly furious at me. Probably because the CEO told her I’m leaving because of her. She is showing her true colors now. And I’m seeing that who she’s been with me this whole time is absolutely who she really is. That person is easy to leave.

  43. Sled Dog Mama*

    8 years ago I walked out of a job during my notice period.
    The company provides a service to other companies. I had a terrible interim chief who was brought in for Reasons, so while he was the site chief he wasn’t my supervisor and he was brought in on a contract for 3 months for that one site so also wasn’t an employee of the company.
    In my field 6 weeks is customary for notice due to needing to get coverage in place and in some places make changes in responsibility formal with the regulating body. I was covering 2 sites, one where this chief was supposed to be there when I wasn’t and one that I was solely responsible for. When I put in my notice the company asked me to continue at the site I was solely responsible for on a contract basis for 2 weeks after my last employed date to ensure a smooth transition, perfectly do able since I had planned 4 weeks between last day and 1st day.
    I had already made several complaints to my supervisor about Interim Chief because he had several times said things like “Your work is crap!” when I had received good or excellent feedback from supervisor and clients.
    On my second to last day as an employee I was at the site with Interim Chief. Every month he insisted we (me, him and the two site employees we worked with) have a meeting to review our QA results from the month. So the meeting looked a lot like “here you can see I tested X and it was within tolerance, and Y was also in tolerance and Z as well.” (13 years in this field and this 3 months was the only time I’ve ever had these meetings) Definitely a meeting that could have been an email or just skipped altogether.
    I’m in the middle of presenting that everything is within tolerance when he interrupts me to ask when my last day is. I politely replied that I didn’t believe that was at all relevant to what we were reviewing. He yelled back “That’s bull@$^$! When I ask you a question I expect a direct answer.”
    I replied “Right now.” Got up and walked out the door, grabbed my purse and left. I was shaking pretty badly from adrenaline when I got to my car so I sat there and called HR to make sure they heard from me what had happened and had contact info for the site employees who were also present. HR was awesome, told me to take the rest of the day off (it was before noon) and called me later to say they did need me to return to the site for my last day for paperwork and turning in badges but they had ordered Interim Chief to be elsewhere.
    The person who was in HR has since moved on from there but I still see her at industry conferences and she is a good friend.

    1. LetterWriter*

      Wow. Yeah, that sounds awful and I am glad you did that. People, as I am learning, really use positions of power as an excuse to be abusive. I don’t understand it, and I am not sure why they feel the need to behave like this, but they definitely do.

  44. M.D.*

    Okay… I know for sure I didn’t write this, but damned if it isn’t the EXACT issue I have with my current manager and one of the main reasons I’m leaving. The last time it happened, I wrote up a detailed response with the reply numbers in which my boss could find my responses to each part of the issue, because I was just so shocked that this continues to be a thing two years in and this woman has not figured out how to sort her inbox by conversation yet OR how to ask a question instead of assuming something wasn’t handled and going off half-cocked.

    I’m an adult who’s 20+ years into my career and has a stellar reputation and track record. I have multiple degrees and industry certifications, too. It’s infuriating to be talked to as if you’re three years old and need Work Mommy to hold your hand through everything so you’ll actually get it done (and do it correctly).

  45. Not that other person you didn't like*

    So there are practical reasons to stay through a notice period for non-union jobs in the US like recommendations (if not through the manager then through HR / exec), benefits, money, etc. But they key empowering thing is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO. You can just (bleep) the (bleep) right out the (bleeping) door any time you like. And you don’t have to take any abuse whether you do or not.

    Frankly, I’d malicious compliance my way through the week:

    “I assume this isn’t done. Can you explain why?”
    “Your assumption is incorrect.”

    “Can you come into my office…”
    “I’m not available today.”

    “I need to see you about…”
    “That’s not a priority for me right now.”

    “blah blah blah” — any comment or email
    “I’m going to need you to delegate that to my replacement, thanks.”

    1. Enai*

      Alternate answer, to fantasize about:
      “I assume this isn’t done. Can you explain why?”
      -No, I have no idea why you would assume that.

  46. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    Worth considering forwarding these messages on to the CEO or whomever. The problem isn’t just the micromanaging, it’s also that this person is rude, dismissive, and adversarial towards employees. If this is her typical MO, that’s information the CEO needs to have.

    1. LetterWriter*

      I did detail the communication style of my boss when I met with the CEO and I gave examples.

      While I have receipts of it continuing, I don’t want to come off as too aggressive and make it look like I’m trying to get her in trouble.

      I’m doing nothing of the sort. I was honest about her behavior and treatment of me. If that causes her problems, now is a good chance to reflect on next time.

  47. Yes And*

    A couple of commenters have referred to reading newer emails first… or even better, set your inbox to thread emails by conversation. That way you can deal with a whole issue at once.

  48. Kindred Spirit*

    If it’s only a few days, I would stick it out, mainly because my work has always involved/impacted other people, and I want to wrap up projects and transfer things as neatly as possible because to do otherwise would create extra work for the team I am leaving behind.

  49. nerdgal*

    doesn’t OP need to work all.of ger notice days to get paid for all of them?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Yes, but sometimes people decide that avoiding a few more days in a toxic environment is worth going a few days without pay.

    2. LetterWriter*

      Yes, but I am fortunate enough to have a good nest egg set aside from a vacation payout I received from a previous position (I have only been in my current role for 7 months). 240 PTO hours is a nice sum, let me tell you. So, while it’s not the financially “responsible” thing to do, it also wouldn’t cause big waves in my bank account.

      And, it’s a dangerous place to be, knowing I have resigned and knowing I don’t have to put up with it to pay my rent next month makes it that much harder to stay without thinking about walking out.

      1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

        That’s not dangerous. At least, not to you. That’s freedom! FU Money is the best money and insecure petty power trippers are scared of you realizing you can use it.

  50. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    If being a jerk was a gross boundary violation, e.g. pulling your ponytail as in the previous post, you should leave without further notice.
    However, she is just being rude, so if you can emotionally disengage – she has no power over you now you’re leaving – you could stick it out for the extra few days’ pay and so your reference would not mention leaving before your notice date.

  51. Eurekas*

    My sister-in-law as a young college graduate, had a job at a childcare center.

    And then a better job fell into her lap, so she put in her two week notice.

    I think this was unusual for them, and they weren’t quite sure what to do with people who quit but were still around. So they decided to make sis-in-law’s job 90% changing dirty diapers. (and 10% whatever the other worst jobs were).

    She made that day her last day. She’d been ok with her job being a little suckier than usual for that last week (being a floater, rather than having a consistent set of kids), but all diapers all the time was NOT on.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Ugh! yes, definitely a reason to leave that very day

  52. LawDog*

    Let the CEO know what’s happening, let them know you’re leaving early for that reason.

    Let the boss find out from the CEO why you left early.

    No need to take abuse.

  53. StormyWeather*

    Fair warning, I’m quite immature. Nonetheless this is what I’d describe as a golden ticket. I’d respond to her emails with just a question mark and then enjoy.

  54. Ms. Chanandeler Bong*

    If there was *ever* a time for a petty AF “per my email below, dated…”!

    I’d be copying anyone they copied and making them look foolish, just out of spite.

  55. oaktree*

    Everyone knows that triangular bullet points are the best bullet points.

    Now, let me spend 25 minutes explaining why in increasingly condescending/accusatory tones…

  56. Nica*

    Set up an auto forward for all boss’ emails and then an auto delete on the folder. Work out the rest of your notice and leave your nasty, micromanaging boss in your rear-view mirror…forever.

    Good luck!

  57. Starhibiscus*

    I had a boss like this. I took the abuse for over a year (doubled down trying to please him). I ended up taking 4 months of accrued sick leave for PTSD when I broke down in my doctor’s office asking the doctor what was wrong with me. The petty a**hole immediately cut all access and told all my coworkers and direct reports they could not contact me or they would be written up. I came off leave with having another job lined up and walked in to HR with a letter of resignation and the keys. HR manager told me that they would not pay out any remaining leave unless I exit interviewed with the boss. I told her I was not exit interviewing with my abuser. She insisted. I said you’ll be talking to my lawyer (it’s illegal to withhold accrued earnings!). Then walked down the hall to the big boss, explained everything and said pay me or pay my lawyer. He apologized and said I would be paid. Last I heard the old horrible boss lasted another year but ran everyone off, moved up a position, finally hit his level of incompetence and fell very hard down the ladder.

    I had been with this local government organization for six years. Had been doing this specific job for 6 months – doubled metrics and sales within the first 8 weeks. Loved my job but he made it so that I never wanted to invest in liking a job ever again. I lost 20 pounds and would leave work with a migraine – think vomiting. He once berated me in front of my fellow male managers for wearing sunglasses inside and faking the migraine. I ran out mid rant to vomit in the next room. Pretty sure he was very pissed thinking I did it to embarrass him. He wanted to write me up for that episode as I “deliberated embarrassed him”. I could go on…but my advice is LEAVE while you have your sanity. I stayed too long.

    1. LetterWriter*

      I’m so sorry this happened to you.

      Until you’ve been the target of abuse, it’s so hard to know how it feels. I actually thought I was handling it ok until before a 1 on 1, my hands were shaking and my pulse was racing like I needed to flee.

      Public speaking doesn’t bother me. But when I told a friend about it he said that’s how he feels before he has to get up in front of a room of strangers. Not quite a panic attack, but definitely something.

      I’m glad we both got out.

  58. Fiachra*

    “Dear (boss),

    You know what they say about assuming. For example, if you assume I cannot walk out before the end of my notice period if I’m being mistreated.


  59. KJ*

    I would advise the individual to read their employment contract and company policies before deciding. I worked somewhere where I would only get my unused PTO paid out if I gave 30 days notice, so I sucked it up for the full 30 days in order to not forfeit the extra pay.

Comments are closed.