have you ever intentionally burned a bridge?

We talk a lot here about ways to avoid burning bridges when you leave a job. But sometimes burning the bridge is warranted — the provocation is sufficiently bad, and you’re willing to take the consequences.

One example: the person who got an email at 3 pm on a Friday saying they were being replaced by their boss’s unqualified friend and their salary cut by tens of thousands of dollars. So when they found a new job a few months later, they sent a 3 pm Friday email just before a big deliverable was due, quitting and giving two hours notice, the exact same notice they’d been given for their demotion.

Have you ever intentionally burned a bridge because you decided it was worth it? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

{ 580 comments… read them below }

  1. Archi-detect*

    I feel lucky that I have never been that mad at someone to feel the need to consider it. There are plenty of exbosses I wouldn’t give any time of day but I have never needed to do the F this Im out

    1. TheBunny*

      I didn’t do it. But I was close to it at my last job, the boys was that bad.

      I also tick she’s vindictive enough that she would have reached out to my new job and told them as while I didn’t give full details where i was going, it’s not that hard to figure out if you are determined as it’s not the CIA

      1. I Have RBF*

        LOL. Your new job probably rolled their eyes and laughed at that. You are not obligated to tell your ending job where your next one will be.

    2. NeonFireworks*

      I’ve been mad enough, but I work in a very small field and can’t set a bridge on fire without it spreading to every other bridge I have.

    3. A Teacher*

      Yes. Twice actually. I will talk about the first one.

      I got a graduate school. I was an athletic trainer in an out reach position for a fairly large physical therapy company. When I started, it was pretty small, and in three years it grew astronomically. They cut our 401(k) match down, they changed the bonus structure, and they didn’t give raises for over a year and once they changed how you can get bonuses effectively, we took a pay cut. They also lied and we’re pretty shady and some of their dealings with employees. Basic things like telling us we could be disciplined for talking about our salaries or things that were common place. When people would move on to other positions, they would badmouth those people in both our team meetings every month and in our individual one on one meetings with our supervisors. Back then I didn’t realize it was illegal to tell people they couldn’t talk about their salary. My second year, my department had over 90% turnover rate.

      I ended up going back to school full-time to get a masters in teaching because I knew my tenure at this company was not going to be very long. I was always in the top five performers in my department and usually was fairly eligible for a decent bonus. My last quarter that I was there, they dropped my score by 4% and when I asked what I needed to do to fix it, they told me they couldn’t tell me they just made the bonus program harder. I knew if nothing else I would finish out the school year as an athletic trainer for the school I was at and then I was going to quit and become a substitute teacher because my mental health was so bad.

      Enter my sister, who had moved to a decent size city in my state. She found a listing for the local school district which is an urban district. I ended up taking a teaching position at an alternative school, the place where they sent us to get expelled or long-term suspensions, and the principal told me he was going to recommend me for the position, but I couldn’t be 100% certain until after the board meeting that it was approved. It was right before Christmas break for the schools and I got approved on that Monday with a start date for the first day back from Christmas break.

      When I got the call that I was approved for the position, I sent out email to HR and my boss and told them that I was resigning effective in three days. My boss called and started screaming at me and I let him scream. When he stop screaming, I said to him you made it unsafe for me to tell you that I was looking for a position. He told me I lied about that and I said every person that told you they were looking or that tried to put in two weeks was basically perp walked out of their position and slandered all over the company. He shut up. I finished out my last three days and none of the supervisors would talk to me. They had a contract with the local school so they had to cover it for the rest of the year with supervisors which was a 35 to 45 minute drive minimum out of the suburb they were based in every day both ways.

      There are a lot of shady things that they did that I can’t mention, but I was not sad to see the back of that company.

  2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    Oh yes. I’ve mentioned it on the site before vaguely but I left one firm and turned whistleblower – being questioned by forensic accountants and making an appearance in the high court level. The firm was running a ponzi scheme.

    On paper, complete breach of my ethics on IT security. It did bad things to my employment history and to my mental health (I cannot mention my time there nor any concrete details). But the people who did it are now safely in prison.

    I consider that bridge not only burnt but effectively removed from existence.

    1. I'm A Little Teapot*

      When there’s criminal investigations, all requirements to keep your mouth shut go out the window. If you know something, you tell it. NOT doing so is a breach of ethics.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I would like to be able to encourage others to turn whistleblower whenever they can but with the very strong proviso that dealing with the legal stuff and the severe shock it can have on your employment is something you really need strong backup for.

        Mentally and financially. I was lucky in the second (house is paid off) but not lucky on the first. To this day I can’t drive past where that office was – there’s a lot of things that happened at that firm that made me genuinely fear for my life.

        1. It's Marie - Not Maria*

          Same. After I left my position at a company in a relatively small community, I was morally obligated to report them to the authorities. The company, which was absolutely unethical nightmare, was one of the largest employers in the area, and was owned by a Family held in high regard by the community at large (the community probably had no idea how illegal this company’s payroll practices were). I had to participate in the investigation by a Federal Agency, etc. The company was fined a very large sum as a result of this investigation. I wasn’t from the community originally, and had few ties within it. But I soon found that the owners of the company made sure EVERYONE knew that their legal troubles were caused by me. Yes, retaliation is illegal, but very small towns make their own rules. I had already planned to move back out of the community, but this speeded up the process. I hear from a couple people who still live there my name is still an anathema.

          1. RedinSC*

            Yikes. Glad you were able to get out of there.

            It’s amazing to me that people don’t see that the problem was the family and their practices, not the person who reported the wrong doing!

            1. Star Trek Nutcase*

              For me, it’s similar to my family where my maternal grandmother deliberately changed her will to spite my mom. I know this because gma told me she had made the change because mom had dared to allow us kids to visit as long as gma’s husband lived there (a pedo). So gma dies, my mom believes her sister forced gma to make change, mom doesn’t believe me, mom sues, mom never speaks to her for 20 yrs til death.

              I asked Dad why she wouldn’t believe me. Dad said because it hurt less to believe her sister was malicious than admit her mother chose as one of her final acts to spite my mom – the woman who tolerated gma’s crap behavior for decades.

              We can be screwed by others, but the ones that really hurt are those by loved ones or by those we are dependent on & have trusted.

              1. Witch of Oz*

                I don’t understand this story. Maternal grandmother was angry because her husband was a paedophile, but her daughter still allowed her children to visit? So grandma was angry with her own daughter over this and cut her out of the will?

                1. Enai*

                  I don’t understand the causality either. Wouldn’t cutting off the daughter withhold assets from the grandchildren, the victims of grandpa? Why do that?

                2. Random Dice*

                  I think there was a missing “not” – mom would not allow her kids in gma’s house because she lived with a pedophile. Grandma punished her for it.

          2. Cohort 1*

            How do you feel about writing a book about this experience? I can see it: small town, local First Family, stealth unethical and criminal activities, whistle blowing, federal investigation, threats from the bad guys, locals with pitch forks and sneers, escape back to sane country. This could be a very engaging story that could be both cathartic and enriching for you. I’d read that book and maybe someone would want to make a movie based on it. Just be sure you run it by attorneys who know their stuff so the Bad Guys fall on their faces when they try to sue you.

            1. budd*

              It takes time to write a book; I’d be happy with a long post (or even multi-part post) on r/prorevenge on Reddit lol.

        2. RedinSC*

          Oh wow, this sounds super difficult. I’m glad you got through this, and I hope you’re in a better, stable place now. Good for you for doing the right thing, but I’m sorry it came at such a terrible price for you.

    2. Serious Pillowfight*

      I’m so sorry for the effects you’ve suffered, but from one internet rando…thank you for making the world a better place and standing up for justice.

      1. IHaveKittens*

        Yes! I third this! Thank you for doing the right thing and I am very sorry for the negative impact it had on you.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Fourth! It’s so wrong that doing the right thing is so hard; people who do so are heroes.

    3. Past Lurker*

      Good for you! But sorry that it took a toll on you. It’s not fair when “no good deed goes unpunished”

    4. Maglev to Crazytown*

      Yeah, I was thinking whistleblower and situations where people were pressured to do illegal things, and retaliated against if they didn’t. Been in that position, walked away with my integrity intact, but have the trophies (I mean, PTSD and trust issues) to show for it.

      Not like I really did anything drastic to burn a bridge, other than have my lawyer sent HR a nice letter to put in my employee files reminding them of what whistleblower rights and protections mean. Obeying the law, and putting your employer on notice of their inability to follow the law is enough to permanently blacklist yourself from ever returning to an employer. But that is a bridge that needs to stay nice and charred beyond recognition.

    5. allathian*

      I’m glad you turned whistleblower and the perps were put in prison, but I’m sorry for the consequences to your mental health.

  3. Yeah...*

    Looking forward to the comments. My tolerance is not as high as others.

    I am one who believes every bridge is not worth saving.

    1. H*

      My first job ever at age 15 was as a lifeguard in a water park owned by the city I lived in.

      My boss was a bully, and he constantly took advantage of the fact that most of the employees were 14-17 years old. I used to sit on the lifeguard stand and just cry because I was so exhausted and miserable. Also most of the things he did were illegal.

      For example, we had to stay (unpaid) after our shifts ended until people picked up all the open shifts for the week. We’d all be forced to stand in a circle and he would berate us one by one until all the open shifts were filled. If people didn’t comply quickly enough, he’d make us walk the grounds and pick up a certain number of pieces of trash and show them to him, before he went through the lecture again. So every night we worked 20-45 minutes unpaid. Also he wasn’t allowed to pay overtime, so if people worked over 40 hours in a week, he’d move those hours into weeks in the fall, after the pool closed. And since most of us were under 18, there were a lot of state restrictions on what we could do based on age, and those were regularly violated.

      When I finally quit, I went to the city’s website, found the name and email address of his boss, wrote her a long email detailing all of his illegal activities, and hit send. Went back to the pool years later and he glared at me the entire time I was there, so I guess he remembered me!

      1. OMG, Bees!*

        It’s events like this I wish there were high school classes teaching a bit more practicality in the world, specifically dealing with labor and rental laws. Too many people take advantage of teens and fresh adults to not know laws and their rights (and like how someone else commented, not discussing salary because they were told that was illegal, when the opposite is true, being denied to discuss salary)

  4. Slow Gin Lizz*

    Hi Alison! I think my update to the letter you answered a few weeks back answers this question…sorry, commentariat, you’ll have to stay in the dark until Alison publishes it (which I sure hope she will).

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Ok, I’ll bite. The one about Andy who does no work. I’ll let you find it yourself rather than posting a link.

  5. Nea*

    It’s not an exciting story, but I used to work for a company that treated me very badly, especially when it came to leave. First, they didn’t honor the amount of PTO I was offered in writing (I should have quit right then!) Then, after months of not giving me a date for an internal transfer, my new boss set a date that she knew I had planned leave and INSISTED that I cancel my plans. The day came and went without a word from her; not even an email saying “your transfer is now scheduled for (date)” much less “sorry about that.”

    I gave that place exactly 2 days notice and walked out the door to bigger, better things.

  6. DeskApple*

    Found out my employer as an au-pair was keeping the passport of her second, Ukrainian nanny and forcing her to do undocumented work in her chiropractic practice. I wrote a letter to her husband, an international consultant who was very rarely home (and when he was his wife lied to his face saying she was with the baby hours upon hours in the day when it totaled 20 minutes). I let him know not only was I not returning the next day because I was afraid of her retribution, they had three days to return the passport before I called authorities. I also detailed the various clinical symptoms of neglect his child was experiencing as a result of his wife’s not giving an actual damn about her kid. My employer was so enraged that I outed her, she told me she was calling interpol on me, an American and they would detain me at the airport. I reminded her that her citizenship was that of another, non-EU country. A number of panic attacks later (I was only 22!), I never saw the police and her nanny got the passport back and took off. Apparently her husband made her own presence in the country very conditional on her maternal instincts (or faking them).

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Whoa. Did the husband kick her out? I hope that kid is doing ok now after having such a terrible mom. Poor kiddo.

      1. DeskApple*

        As far as I know they’re still together and even had another kid. He makes 10x what she does and he wanted another kid so on some aspects if she wasn’t running her own business I would be worried that she herself was some kind of trafficked. Her kids are now teens and I can only hope they’re okay.

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      You are amazing. Sounds like you really made things better for the Ukrainian woman and hopefully for the kid as well.

    3. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I think stopping a human trafficker was a good use of bridge burning. Wow!

    4. Interpol*

      Interpol? I thought only governmental law enforcement could request warrants. I couldn’t imagine someone taking that call.

      “I want this person to be arrested at the airport. They were mean to me.”

      “Who are you?”

      “I’m a chiropractor. Why are you laughing!?”

      1. DeskApple*

        hahahahahaha! She scared me because I was so young and later I realized what on earth would Interpol want with a nanny who heads back to America? Hell, things were so shady with that job, she LITERALLY handed me money…under a table.

    5. Cyndi*

      I remember you’ve told part of this story before, and I wondered what happened to the other nanny! Glad to hear she got out of there too.

    1. Quill*

      I have popcorn, burnt in the office microwave, which smells unsatisfyingly of fish that do NOT spell out “I Quit.”

    2. Rincewind*

      OK, I saw that link on another post and assumed it meant they sent their office a package, postage due, containing their resignation letter (C.O.D., not cod). NOPE.
      My wife once quit a grocery store job by slamming a fish filet on the wall and walking out, so I sympathize and also found the cod story hilarious. She had been covering 3 full-service departments (deli, meat, bakery) for 10 hours and was told they needed her to stay over for another shift (so 18 hours total by herself) because her replacement wasn’t coming in.

      1. MarsJenkar*

        If we hadn’t had the photo, I daresay more people would say that the “resigning in cod” story was complete pollocks.

  7. testarossa*

    As a freelancer, I wouldn’t say I burn bridges exactly, but I do a lot of holding to my boundaries which means I can’t work with certain clients and I let them know why. The usual reason is unfair contract language that they won’t budge on, but most recently I dumped a client who took 5 weeks to get back to me on some pretty simple questions to define the scope of a project despite me nudging them but then refused to move their deadline (originally 2 months out, at that point 3 weeks out), and I let them know that I can’t work with clients who take so long to respond because it makes it impossible for me to plan my schedule. (At that 5 week mark they also offered me an insultingly low fee so this was a pretty easy decision.)

    1. TooMany Cats*

      When I was a teacher I had a student who demonstrated really aggressive behavior all school year. No matter how many students or staff he injured, my principal didn’t care and didn’t do anything to mitigate the situation.

      Well, one day, he attacked me so severely that I ended up hospitalized. It took more than a month to be recovered enough to return to work. I still had some limitations due to the fact that I was healing from a concussion and could not risk another TBI.

      I met before returning to work to request the student be moved into another classroom due my very reasonable request of not being at risk for another brain injury while healing.

      My principal, who had not once stepped foot in my classroom all year, told me if I wasn’t comfortable with the possibility of being injured then I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. It was so unbelievable, but at least I knew now they were never going to support me.

      So I started to look for another job. I ended up resigning my teaching job in July. As timing had it, my resignation came the day before the cutoff for teachers to break their district contract in my state because it was getting close to the upcoming school year. It would mean they had to scramble to find a replacement quickly, and it would be hard given the shortage in my specific teaching area.

      I emailed her my resignation letting her know I listened when she said I wasn’t cut for teaching and found a new career.

      1. Typing All The Time*

        Wow. I hope that you’ve recovered from your injury. Sad to read that nothing was done about this student.

          1. LC*

            Now school districts are claiming that assault is something teachers should expect to deal with. Look at Abby Zwerner.

      2. Violet*

        TooManyCats, I am a teacher and I am appalled at how you were treated. This is why people are leaving the profession.

        I hope you are ok and have no lasting effects from your injury.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        If you weren’t comfortable with the risk of being INJURED????

        You were not a stunt driver or circus performer or deep sea diver. That someone could say that to you with a straight face says all that’s needed about the entire school and probably the district.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          That part. It is not a teacher’s duty to deal with future delinquents, nor should it be expected that they take abuse. They are very fortunate OP settled for just resigning because if it were me, I would have brought a lawsuit against the school and possibly the district.

      4. StephChi*

        I’m so sorry that you had to deal with it, and that you’re in a better place now. I’m also a teacher, and the job’s hard enough without admin backing us up. It’s crazy that the student was allowed to injure staff with impunity. Would I be correct in guessing that the school doesn’t have a union, or if it does, an effective union? In my school, even if the principal didn’t want to do something to protect teachers, the union delegate would make sure that it happened.

        1. TooManyCats*

          The school did have a very effective union. The union president was involved the whole year, and we exercised every option we had. I’m not sure why everyone is making so many assumptions about what I did/did not do from my comment.

      5. Michael*

        Retire teacher here. Did your district have a union? Why did you not contact the principal’s boss/superintendent. I would have filed a law suit against the district. Hopefully your time off was docked from your sicktime hours.

        1. TooManyCats*

          Why are you assuming that I didn’t? The union president was involved in this situation all year.

    2. H.C.*

      Had been in a similar boat with slow-moving clients who won’t budge on their deadlines, at the supposed end of the project I just turned in what I had so far along with an invoice of my work – which luckily they paid (along with a mutual agreement that we won’t be extending/renewing.)

  8. Dinwar*

    I’ve burned a few. In the environmental remediation world you occasionally get asked to do questionable things–the laws aren’t as clear-cut as people think, and we each have our limits on what we consider acceptable practice. That said, there are some things that cross pretty significant lines. I’ve been asked to do things like collect “confirmation” samples prior to digging the site (illegal), or not analyze for certain things (because if they were found the client would have to deal with them). I’ve also had project managers try to alter technical language in my reports, which is “perjury towards Congress” levels of illegal–I’m talking me personally going to jail, and getting fined, and losing my job because of what someone else did to my report.

    For that sort of thing I give people one shot. You screw up, we’re done working together. No job is worth federal prison.

    1. lost academic*

      I’m in this field and that’s a ‘fire that client’ level offense! (And yet some of the old guard partners…. ugh) And yet I know exactly what you mean on the remediation side – and don’t even get me started about safety (I’m sure you can write a book).

      I’ve got a good story about a multi state investigation into data fabrication by stack testers….

      1. I Have RBF*

        I’ve got a good story about a multi state investigation into data fabrication by stack testers….

        I would be very interested in hearing about that.

        The environmental firm I worked for in the 90s did smokestack emissions testing for compliance. They went out of business due to the horrible regulatory climate due to Congress (Newt Gingrich.) I had to leave the field before that when I became disabled – you can’t climb onto factory roofs or do wet chemistry with only one usable arm.

    2. Kit*

      “No job is worth federal prison,” indeed – my spouse works in politics, and the local organization’s lawyer is very clear about why following certain reporting rules is crucial, especially as a treasurer. His favored line is, “Look, my job is to make sure that your next job title isn’t ‘Defendant.'”

      1. PMaster*

        I have been a campaign treasurer myself. The lack of recordkeeping and reporting buy-in from campaign staff and candidates is appalling. I’m going to steal that quote for some training I’m giving this weekend.

    3. I Have RBF*

      I used to work in environmental consulting, things like groundwater and air quality testing. Even for private clients, we were required to show that the results we produced were collected in accordance with the regulations. We produced compliance reports, essentially.

      Clients who wanted shady shit were told it wasn’t possible, and if they insisted they were jettisoned.

    4. Enai*

      Please explain: what does taking “confirmation” samples prior to digging mean? Like, was it a “well, maybe you found $ToxicOrRadioactiveThing by mistake, try again to see if your second analysis can un-find it” thing or?

      1. JSPA*

        I believe they are asking them to do the tests for “confirmation of decontamination after digging” before any digging starts. So that they can prove they restored the site to its previous status, as required by law. Which is to say, about the most blatantly illegal thing that you can do.

      2. Recovering EHS Director*

        JSPA is correct. A ‘confirmation’ sample is usually taken after the site cleanup is (hopefully) complete – the intention is to show that the remaining soil and/or groundwater is not contaminated above regulatory limits.

        So, for example, you’ve dug up all the soil you think is contaminated and you’re taking samples of the sidewalls of the resulting hole to show the soil still in place is okay to leave in place. If your confirmation samples come back hot (above limits), you start digging again.

    5. Festively Dressed Earl*

      Have you ever been asked to smuggle a gopher tortoise to a different county?

      1. Delta Blues*

        I think you may work in one of the states I do, because I can see that happening here…

    6. Recovering EHS Director*

      OH that’s shady as heck.

      (Ex-remediation guy here too. Seen a few semi-shady things but thankfully never had anyone ask me to falsify a sample result or not analyze for the target compounds.)

  9. NonySquirrel*

    Going anon for this one– I worked as a temp all through college, and got a job as a receptionist/office manager for a small organization after graduating. It was an absolute nightmare of dysfunction, but the thing that made it untenable was that the person who’d “retired” from my job kept coming in every day and berating me for not doing my job to her standards. She was not on payroll; she was not consulting or training me. She was just there to socialize (with everyone else) and criticize (me).

    Her feedback included–this will sound so much like a joke that I thought it was one when she said it, but it really happened and she was not joking–that it was unprofessional for me to have a red stapler at the reception desk. She said this while angrily snatching said stapler and replacing it with a black one.

    The stapler had been on my desk when I started. It would have been put there by the previous person in the role, which is to say…her.

    I eventually got so fed up that I handed in a resignation letter at 3pm on a Friday and just walked out. I obviously left that job off my resume–but 6.5 years later I still had to explain in a federal background check that I wouldn’t be eligible for rehire there because I quit in a huff (and of course I said that was immature, and that I wouldn’t do that again–I kept the “but I’m still not sorry” to myself).

      1. NonySquirrel*

        Yeah I literally thought she was doing an Office Space bit.

        I laughed.

        She did not laugh.

    1. what was my username??*

      You didn’t quit in a huff, you quit because of continual daily harassment by former staff that your boss did not stop.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          LOUDER for the people in the back!

          They allowed an ex employee to come in every single day and harass you!

      1. COHikerGirl*

        Definitely this! That’s wild she was allowed to do that. Definitely didn’t quit in a huff. I wonder what she would have done with two weeks of notice to harass NonySquirrel.

    2. DanniellaBee*

      At an office assistant job while in college, I was berated for moving the stapler from one end of the table to the other as I stapled and organized packets. I quit.

      1. Babbalou*

        What’s with student jobs and the petty criticism directed towards them anyway? I was criticized (while in grad school in my late 30s) for putting sharpened pencils in a cup pointed end up, because the students might get injured picking up a pencil. The students were in an Executive MBA program, I figured they were smart enough to pick up a pencil from a cup without injury.

        I was also told not to use a cart to move all the supplies to the Executive MBA suite from the main office because it looked unprofessional. And then my immediate boss was fired and her boss became my boss and she wondered why on earth I was making so many trips rather than using a cart. Power play by low level staff, I guess.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          If you put pencils in a cup point side down the points break. That was extra ridiculous.

          I think “student” automatically makes certain types think they’re supposed to be “teaching” the person and equating that with ridiculous petty criticism.

        2. 2e*

          As a temp, I was once scolded for putting pens in a cup with the tips up instead of down. This woman claimed that felt-tip pens dry out if they’re stored tip up, even with the cap on–and she was *really* nasty about it. She was also extremely racist and used to get full cartons of cigarettes in interdepartmental mail. Just an all-around prize.

      2. Susie Occasionally Fun*

        At one of my jobs, I was told it was time to take my lunch hour (those exact words). So I did, coming back 55 minutes later, only to be berated by my supervisor for being 25 minutes late. I was supposed to know that a lunch “hour” was 30 minutes. I pointed out the common definition of “hour” to her with a level of assurance available to someone whose parents were still providing room and board. While I didn’t walk out, I was told by the temp agency that they wouldn’t need me the next day. 40+ years later, and I still don’t regret it. Words have meaning!

    3. Anon for this*

      Picked up a part-time gig in my field after being laid off early in the pandemic. From the get-go it was rife with policy violations, unclear communication, and lazy/incompetent bosses. The two final straws (happened in the same week) were when my supervisor berated me for missing a deadline – 4 days BEFORE the deadline (she forgot when it was) – and when my paycheck bounced.

      In my resignation letter I explained in great detail the evidence I’d seen that my boss had been faking her own work and violating government policies that govern the work we do, and stated that I was resigning effective immediately. Oh and CC’d the other managers at her level, as well as her boss and grand boss.

      I have no regrets. I just don’t put that job on my resume, and no one has ever asked about the gap because it all happened in pandemic times. I have solid references from previous and subsequent jobs and burning that particular bridge has yet to affect me in any way.

  10. MPerera*

    I used to work every Saturday for a psychic who owned a used bookstore, because she needed someone to run the bookstore while she gave readings in the back room. She was a very difficult person to work for, and one day when she asked me to work overtime but later refused to pay me for that, I had enough. The next Saturday, I just didn’t show up.

    She called me and said, “Why aren’t you at work?”

    I said, “Because I quit.”

    She said, “You quit?”

    I said, “You should have seen this coming. You’re supposed to be a psychic.” And I hung up.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      As soon as you said she was a psychic, I hoped whatever happened would include “How come you didn’t see this coming?” Thank you for not disappointing.

          1. MPerera*

            I was being paid minimum wage and it was only an hour of overtime so I didn’t do anything. Turned out I didn’t need to. She went out of business a couple of years later.

    2. allathian*


      Sounds like the ad in the paper: “This week’s meeting by the Clairvoyants’ Society has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.”

  11. Midwest Manager*

    Back in the late ’90s I was not even old enough to legally drink. I worked as an admin/receptionist. We got a new manager who was singularly responsible for 100% turnover of employees in the span of about 3 months. Bullying, badgering, harassment, you name it. I was finally successful in finding a new role, but when I had the resignation discussion I was asked to stay on an extra week. The manager was scheduled to attend an offsite mandatory training and I was the only other person in the office with certain authority (notary, check signing, deposits, etc.). The regional manger (grand-boss) was convincing, and I agreed to stay.

    Unknown to me, while manager was offsite staff in the office were leaving documents and notes on his desk for him to handle when he came in the office next. Many were things I was delegated to handle, but he neglected to tell them that. Day 2 of the final week I come in to find a stack of all the documents and notes on my desk with a missive: “I found all this when I stopped in last night. Why didn’t you do your job?” That was the last straw and I decided they could manage without me. I messaged the RM that I was through. Put my office keys and the stack of papers back on manager’s desk with my own note “Do it yourself.” I walked out and left the office high and dry. I have never regretted that departure and over 2 decades later I am still amazed at my audacity and spunk.

    1. Anon a Fed*

      This is fantastic, and I’m also in awe of your audacity and spunk at that age! I would never have had it in me to say no this forcefully when I was ~19, and to leave such a perfect F* U on my way out. Learning that you have standards early is so good, and I hope it’s served your career well!

      1. Sweet revenge*

        Same here! I quit a job at 18/19 in a restaurant, and when I told the boss I quit effective immediately, he shut his office door and wouldn’t let me leave the room until I agreed to come in the next day.

        I called in sick the next morning. Then was terrified to go pick up my final check.

          1. Sweet revenge*

            Oh I finally worked up the courage to go in. Thankfully the boss was nowhere to be seen and my check was at the cash.

  12. Once More with Feeling*

    Yes, and I didn’t look back and didn’t care. I was an assistant trainer at a horse farm and was ready to get out of it. I was burned out and tired. It was right after the 2008 election. Right before, my employer told me if I wanted to keep my job, I knew how to vote (i.e. vote Republican). Yeah….no. One of my students put on social media that President-elect Obama would be assonated before the inauguration so it wouldn’t matter. I responded “hey, you may not want to put something like that on social media”. Employer was livid that I told said student that. I told employer I quit and walked out. I had three employment offers before I got home, but I turned them all down. I was so emotionally drained and beat up from the last 3 years with that woman that I slept for almost an entire month before I could even think about doing any work again. It takes a lot to get on my sh!t list, but once you are on, you are there forever.

    1. The Coolest Clown Around*

      Man, idk if this is true everywhere but in Kentucky, where I grew up, horse farms are some of the MOST dysfunctional workplaces around. And those skills are often non-transferrable so once you’re locked into the ecosystem it’s hard to get out

      1. Keladry*

        Animal jobs in general are super dysfunctional in my experience. Hard to have boundaries because it’s for the animals and you generally got into it for the animals and etc etc…

        I say while working for a non profit that deals with a very niche set of animals. (: Double whammy but I love it anyway most of the time.

        There’s a very interesting book on it, it really resonated with me, but I think it hasn’t come out of the moving box yet – I’ll try to find the name.

        1. Lady Oscar*

          I also work with animals in a dysfunctional field – I’d be interested if you find the name of the book!

        2. Also Anon Here*

          100% on the animal jobs thing, yeah. (Thankfully not my own experience, I wasn’t cut out for it, but) I know second hand that vet work in particular, especially vets working at/closely with rescues? Well, there’s a reason the industry has some of the highest suicide rates in the job world.
          You go through med school, with the same time and money sink as a human doctor, but instead of only having to memorize one species (humans) you’re juggling at least half a dozen at minimum. Then immediately into a job that pays about a quarter what a similar-level med grad is making, being screamed at daily by Pet Parents, having to euthanize beloved animals who’s family can’t afford treatment, or let clearly abused ones leave with their owners because taking it to the vet to refuse treatment is better than not bringing it in at all/no one will take the report, constantly being pulled in fifty directions with emergencies and overtime and death-sickness-injury-outbreaks, and on top of everything else the lack of therapy and sleep (because who has the time?) making 90% of practice boundaries non-existent… yeah, it’s a thankless job, and very difficult to leave due to the aforementioned cost of the degree needed.

          TL;DR – There’s a reason why I bring cookies (and/or a kosher/vegan option) whenever I go to an appointment for my cats. I definitely encourage anyone else to do it as well, if they aren’t slammed it’s a nice gesture, and if they are? Well, there’s likely not enough down-time for them to eat a proper lunch between animals, and finger food might be the only calories they can get in that shift.

  13. Leela*

    In my early 20s I quit a wait staff job on a Friday night and just walked out. The owner fired another server who was a single mom because she rebuffed his advances. I couldn’t stomach it and told the manager why I was leaving. This was a big/well known steak house and part of conglomerate that I’m sure I’m black listed on.

    Worth it, fuck that guy

    1. RunShaker*

      oh boy….restaurants. My sister walked out on New Year’s Eve evening. The manager had a pregnant wife at home and he was getting drunk at bar and doing body shots off of hostess. Body shots as in she was laying on bar and he was pouring alcohol in her naval and him slurping it up. A few of wait staff called in and she couldn’t keep up with 2 sections on her own. Customers were upset and yelling at her. Drunk manager was no help so she said f this and walked out. She came home around 10pm and we celebrated New Year’s together. I don’t know what happened to rest of night and the restaurant closed down less than a year later.

      1. Rainy*

        Why is the FOH manager at every restaurant with a bar like this? I worked at one of these as well, but the restaurant lost its liquor license for unspecified chicanery, so the manager had switched from booze to coke, which was not an improvement. The most notable difference between that dude drunk and that dude coked up was that if he was high he’d get super wound up and if there weren’t any other outlets for his nerves, he’d snap, start screaming at the staff, and usually fire someone mid-shift.

        1. Annie*

          Possibilities include: relative youth and the not-quite-developed mature decision-making capabilities; perception of such a job as their chance to cut loose and live the frat life; “fun” personality traits that make for attractive FOH manaters also correlate with limited ability to resist temptation; people seeking out these jobs because of the above.

            1. Happily Retired*

              FOH maneaters might seriously and adversely impact the number of seated diners.

    2. Candace*

      Oh, I didn’t even think about the restaurants I’ve quit due to sexual harassment. Milder stuff I can handle and I have a sharp tongue when people say awful things. But once, my boss demanded I sleep with him to keep a coffee shop waitress job – I was a teen virgin and was NOT going to lose my virginity to a 60 year old obese married chain smoker. Ick. Second time, it was bosses getting mad at me and other servers for objecting to being groped, repeatedly, by drunk Engineering students from the university beside us. They had cheap beer and pizza. Right next to the Engineering department, and the drinking age in Canada is 19. I finally had enough, poured a full pitcher of beer over the head of a real jerk who took a special fancy to my large boobs, and walked out. No regrets.

  14. Dawn*

    This actually just finished playing out – and in my defense, the bridge burned is with the parent company, and not my management there.

    So where I live, there are mandatory severance payments during any layoff, and they can increase based on other factors. And I was recently laid off – the parent company decided they were closing our whole company and selling off our assets. They spread the layoffs out enough that they wouldn’t fall under “mass layoff” legislation but still owed me two weeks per year I’d worked there.

    When I was laid off, they laid out their “generous offer” for me – pay equal to the mandatory minimum severance payment (although they didn’t put it like that,) benefits continuance for the same period of time, placement agency services, and a year of ongoing employee discount.

    The General Release they wanted me to sign, on the other hand, was extremely restrictive; basically I could never, in perpetuity, mention the company or its parent or any of their subsidiaries verbally or in writing. By the strictest interpretation, putting their name on my resume could have been held in contempt of the agreement.

    I did reach out to a lawyer (thanks Alison,) and then I attempted to negotiate – I asked for what I wanted, they responded with, “If you want to negotiate, have your lawyer send us a letter of demand,” and when I explained that I could negotiate for myself without a lawyer, they asked if I knew what I was giving up (basically nothing) and shortly thereafter the full lump sum showed up in my bank account and I never heard another word from them. Also, from start to finish, this took them a month and a half and I got benefits for that whole time because they just assumed I would sign the agreement.

    So I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be invited to work for their parent company (a major national telecom) or their subsidiaries ever again. Fortunately, I’ve decided to go back to school in an unrelated field, so that was a risk I was willing to take.

    1. Dawn*

      I should mention, continuance of benefits is not worth the same amount here that it would be in America; I can continue my benefits myself for a cost of about $200-250 a month and insurance is offered through the school as well so an extra couple of months of that wasn’t going to make or break me. And although my employee discount on my home services is generous I can actually save more by changing providers.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Yeah, I burned my bridge with my former NP org when I quit last month but it was with the two higher ups who had it out for me and I was confidently able to do it because my boss totally has my back as does her now-retired boss, so I’m not worried about getting a good reference from them because they both love me. And I’m in a different industry so I didn’t care about burning a bridge within that NP sector either. I was completely sticking up for myself and for the other lower level employees there and I regret none of it.

      In your case, what you did was also sticking up for yourself rather than letting them walk all over you, which is great!

      1. Dawn*

        Thank you! And yeah, my bosses and grandboss – who were also forced out in the layoff – have nothing but good things to say about me so I’m not worried about the reference. It does cut me off from a major employer because I know I’m on HR’s shitlist now, but good riddance to them; their severance “offer” was quite literally an insult after the amount of time and effort I put in at that company.

        I also took the time to let all of my former colleagues know to have a lawyer look at their severance agreement and not to sign if they’re just getting the legal minimum anyway. One was shocked to hear that she could decline their offer, she told me she thought you had to sign the agreement or you didn’t get severance. Not when it’s legally mandated, you don’t…..

  15. Colorado Winters*

    I was 21. I was the assistant manager of a retail store and had just had a baby. Throughout my pregnancy, the store manager was not horrible — until she hired her daughter. When I would ask her daughter to complete a task, she would call her mother and ask if she had to do it. She also talked about me behind my back to all of the other employees (most I’d known for years), saying that she thought I was a lazy worker and that she didn’t have to do what I asked. So, on the day I was supposed to come back from maternity leave, I had my now ex-husband take a letter of resignation and my store keys down to the shop and hand them over.

    1. Beka Cooper*

      If you had said a daycare instead of retail, I’d wonder if you were my coworker. The director hired her daughter as soon as she graduated college, and each day the daughter would talk about all of us to her mom, and in the morning we’d all get scolded for things that had happened the day before. She particularly disliked one employee and eventually got them fired while they were on medical leave.

      The only good thing that came out of it was that we started to be allowed to have water bottles with us in the classroom and outside as long as they were out of reach of the children, because her daughter complained. Previously, we’d been required to keep water bottles in a little storage closet outside of the classroom next to our time clock, and we had to announce to the other teachers we were stepping away to get a drink every time.

      I don’t know if this counts as burning a bridge, but I did have a pretty satisfactory last day at work. I quit there about 3 weeks after returning from maternity leave, because the hours and working conditions were just too much for a new mom after only a 6 week leave. One of the things they did to me was tell me I wouldn’t have to do parent conferences for my group of 10 children, because my old group moved on to kindergarten while I was on leave, and this was a group of kids I hadn’t actually taught yet. But then when I came back, they said, “Actually you do have to do conferences.” So I basically just had to meet with the parents and use the goal-setting conference to tell them all I wouldn’t be there anymore, lol.

      Anyway, on my last day, my baby had a doctor appointment. The director’s daughter had conferences in the afternoon and warned me to make sure to be back a half hour before her conferences so she could prepare (us other teachers did not get a half hour to prepare). I said I’d be back when I was done and that I couldn’t control the appointment time. Because I’d opted not to have my child in daycare where I worked because the discount was so bad, I had to drive to my MIL’s house, then to the doctor, then back to MIL’s house before returning to work. So the appointment took a LONG time. When I got back, I could tell the director was so mad, but realized she couldn’t do anything about it on my last day. She said, “Where WERE you?” in a pretty angry, exasperated way, and then just said something like “I wish it hadn’t taken that long,” threw up her hands, and stomped away into her office shaking her head. It felt pretty satisfying to leave after that.

      1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

        What was it with day care directors and not handling staff needing time off? Unless it was their favorite employee. Spent a decade working daycare and off the top of my head I can remember these incidents:
        1)Took an extend lunch break during nap time to run to the local Medassist and pick up my prescription on the way back. I left and returned before the kids naptime ended. Had been working sick for days because we were short handed. Rushed to get back as quick as I did and the director comments to me that “you really should have done this in the evenings in your time off” Umm, except by the time I closed the center and picked up my own offspring the Medassist places were closed.
        2) having to come in to drive the van to pick up school kids because “no one else is available” on the day of my toddlers surgery (ear/nose throat stuff) even though the surgery and my day off was scheduled months in advance and I had reminded her routinely
        3) 6 month check up of previously mentioned surgery that I had reminded her of routinely and came in that day to her having given her pet teacher the day off and had no one to cover my class and I literally had to either cancel the apt or send a relative with my child and a list of questions I had for the doctor
        4) her complaining about how long a coworker took to return after a funeral. This was a full mass Hispanic catholic funeral. For a dear friend who was like a sibling to the coworker.
        5) let a pregnant coworker go on maternity leave and not hold her job for her when she came back. The only reason she didn’t get successfully sued for this was the (fairly new at the time) law required the employee to be employed for X length of time before maternity leave to have a guarantee of the job being held. This poor girl was like 3 weeks short of that. But the director let her believe that her job would be there and didn’t let her know until she called to say what day she’d be back.
        6) Complaining about a coworker wanting off to go to an out of town funeral for a parent. But then wanted all the staff to sign a sympathy card for an employee who recently had to put her cat down in the same time frame. And no the coworker with the deceased parent received no such sympathy card.

  16. VermiciousKnid*

    I worked for an agency where people were typically forced out early when they gave notice. I gave 3 weeks notice (my department was slammed), but the owner decided I had “betrayed” the company and needed to go that day. She yelled this at HR over the phone, but was not present in the office that day. HR told me this at 11 a.m. and then asked if I could stay the rest of the day to help my department finish some projects. I said no way, I’ll wrap up the thing I was working on that moment as a favor to my boss and would be leaving immediately after. I thought I had burned the bridge but that same HR person who had to quit-fire me helped me get my current job so it all shook out in the end.

    However, there were SEVERAL people at that job who came in, left for lunch on their first day and never come back. That’s how quickly the crazy started.

    1. Smurfette*

      > However, there were SEVERAL people at that job who came in, left for lunch on their first day and never come back. That’s how quickly the crazy started.

      I had a colleague do that at my first job. But the company was great so we were never sure why he didn’t come back…

  17. Geranium*

    Not me but a family friend – she worked at the front desk of a small office, for a very difficult manager. After a long time of trying to bear with it and make it work, one day she’d had enough. She threw her purse across the room and walked out (she had to go back the next day to retrieve it).

    So, ever since we first heard that story, our family has used the expression, “Throwing your purse” for quitting a job abruptly in bridge-burning style.

    1. Clymene*

      We use “throwing your hat,” a nod to my husband’s way of quitting a previous job!

      1. Geranium*

        In a thread above, I saw a reference to throwing a fish filet. Alison should gather up all the projectile resignations into one list!

  18. Mouse named Anon*

    In a way sort of. I worked at small non-profit, that was a professional organization for niche field. It produced a magazine, events, and one very large conference per year that was its bread and butter. The conference was the very large focus of the organization and practically took an entire year, and our whole (5) staff to plan. Our organization had been going downhill rapidly. Funding was very low as 2 years of low attendance at the conferences had drained our budgets. We even went through a period where we weren’t paid.

    I went on maternity leave. Since my company was so small, it was difficult to get coverage for my job. I offered the solution of a paid intern, as I could train them on the basics before I left. We offered the job to 4 people and no one took it. I received little help from my boss to get any coverage from position and was basically told to just leave my work and “catch up” when I got back. This made me nervous so I offered to work a little when I could I maternity leave. Well my baby was a very hard baby. I also had 2 other small kids to care for. When into a deep PPD hell hole and just couldn’t get it together to work (which I shouldn’t have had to do but anyway…)

    I went back to work and just couldn’t catch up with 3 months of work, plus the work that was coming. Then we weren’t paid, then we had to move locations. My boss wouldn’t pay for movers either. So four 5’4ft and under woman moved an entire office worth of furniture and filing cabinets. Our 6’0 ft and in impeccable shape boss, didn’t lift a finger.

    The at the end of that hellish year, my boss put me on PIP for not “be able to catch up” after my maternity leave. I was given 30 days to turn things around and if I didn’t I would be fired. I was so furious. THANKFULLY the stars aligned and I was offered a job. I left the WEEK BEFORE THE CONFERENCE. The biggest event of the year. My boss was so angry he didn’t speak to me the day I left. I felt guilty for my co-workers but I couldn’t do it anymore.

    I honestly barely remember the first year of my baby’s life. Between colic, and the hellish job its a blur. Its something I spent many hours in therapy unraveling.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      As someone who has been in the PPD spiral, sending you lots of love! It sounds like things are much better now, but still!

      1. Mouse named Anon*

        Thank you! Much better, that baby is now 7. She was my last. So I have escaped thankfully!

      1. Chriama*

        The same way all employees get away with violating the law — people don’t know their legal protections or are unwilling or unable to claim them, often out of fear of retaliation.

      2. Mouse named Anon*

        Not sure but at one point they literally had $0 in the bank. I know bc i had access. Somehow we got a donation that covered pay. Don’t ask me how.

      3. zinzarin*

        5 employees.

        It takes a complaint to a state’s Department of Labor (or similar) to get an investigation going. If nobody complains, the authorities that oversee this don’t know about it and can’t investigate.

    2. Johnny 5*

      I don’t know if bosses from this kind of post qualify for “Worst Boss of the Year” voting, but this one should.

    3. Ally McBeal*

      First of all, I am SO sorry. What a mess you dealt with!

      Also… my industry has a tiny, niche nonprofit with a publication, events, and annual conference… their website to this day genuinely looks like it was made with Geocities (Comic Sans and all) and I’m choosing to believe that was your former employer and they still can’t get their s–t together.

      1. Mouse named Anon*

        Might be! I am pretty sure they still don’t have it together. Sadly I am pretty sure most of former colleagues got laid off in 2020. My former boss was fired in 2018.

    4. kiki*

      I feel like so often employees are coached on not burning bridges with their employers but the same mentality doesn’t go the other way around. In what world could you NOT PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES and then also have them server as your physical movers and still hope that they will leave on good terms.

      This employer set fire to the bridge with you first and dared to act surprised when you didn’t put out the fire.

      1. Mo*

        My thoughts changed quite a bit after working there. I am no longer willing to work in toxic and terrible places. I will absolutely burn a bridge now and not look back. I promise you its not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Agreed, some bridges are worth burning. Employers who don’t pay their employees are #1 on the list of orgs that need their bridges burned. One of the past letters linked on this post is from someone asking that very question, “Why is it always employees who burn the bridges and not the companies?” Spoiler: because companies tend to have more power in the situation, although thankfully that is changing a little bit now. I was able to burn my bridge at my last job precisely because I was leaving the industry for a much better, higher paying job and I was really overqualified for the job I was leaving. I had a lot of power in the situation so rather than thinking of it as 100% I burned that bridge, I tend to think of it more as a mic drop moment when I roasted them to the board. (Did it have any effect, long-term? Too soon to say. I’ll keep you all posted.)

          1. N C Kiddle*

            My boyfriend’s employers (I wrote in to complain about them a while back) are currently failing to pay him. I feel like he’s taking it far too calmly and I’m very tempted to send him this thread in the hopes it inspires him.

  19. Jennifer Strange*

    This isn’t so much burning a bridge so much as maybe knocking a few steps off of it, but I’ll share it anyway! About ten years ago when I had just finished grad school I was working at a waitress/bartender at a country club. Worst job of my life. The owners took advantage of us, did many things that I now realize were illegal, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to work an entire day (6:30 am to 6:30 pm) by myself. After about 8 months salvation came into the form of an internship many states away. I happily gave my two weeks notice.

    On the Tuesday of my last week (Sunday was to be my final day) I noticed the schedule for Friday said that I would work 6:3o am to 2:00 PM and the 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM shift just had “?” next to it (there were three others who worked in my position; two were on vacation and the other only worked mornings). I asked the owner who she had gotten to work that afternoon and she said, “Oh, well I just thought you would.” I said “Sorry, I can’t, I have plans” (said plans were to lie in bed and watch TV). Apparently this was a shock to her. But I held firm. What was she going to do, fire me?

    Anyway, that’s the story of how I had to teach the owner how to work our computer system to take orders.

    1. Thinking*

      I have yet to hear if a country club that doesn’t beat up its employees. A microcosm of our society. :(

  20. Miette*

    This one’s not nearly as spectacular as the linked story, but here goes:

    A colleague with zero experience in my work became my manager (he was a software development director–I am in marketing, it made no sense). He insisted our team focus more on process than on our core job of promoting the firm to the press and potential clients. How we named file revisions was more important than newsworthiness and content accuracy in press releases, if that gives any idea. I mainly was able to work around him, but when he started taking credit for my and my team’s work, I was done. I found a new gig and quit by sliding a sealed envelope containing my resignation across his desk and leaving his office without a word. I never spoke another work to that pr*ck, and I don’t regret it. The company was under SEC investigation a year later for interesting reasons, so it was good timing on my part lol–massive layoffs ensued almost immediately.

    1. allhailtheboi*

      This reminds me when I started my first job as an administrator, it was a job share. My ‘other half’ was a kind, clever woman who basically ran the place, but she had worked there so long I think she genuinely couldn’t understand that there other ways to achieve a goal than hers. Her processes were also reflective that they were set up pre-internet, whereas I love making computers be efficient. Anyway, she once sent me a polite but admonishing email in my first month working there. Because I’d named a file differently to how she would. Because I called it ‘2024 06 06 [patient letter]’ rather than ‘[patient letter] 6.6.24’.

      Like, did it really matter? And also, once she left, I remamed all the files to the standard method, and suddenly it was much easier to find documents!

      1. I Have RBF*

        Yeah, I don’t know why people name files “Project Name Date” instead of “YYYMMDD Project Name Detail”. If you want to sort by project, keep each project in its own folder, and have the items in the folder named with the date first.

        1. Green beans*

          because I usually need to know the name of the file far more than I need to know the date (which is not only secondary but accessible through other means than the file name.) the person who had my job before me filed almost completely by date, and as I have no idea when most things were created, it makes things really friggin difficult to find.

          for my job, it makes a lot more sense to file by content/topic. so much so, that in at least one of my projects, I’ve completely banned people from adding dates to the file title. if for some reason I really need to know the date, I’ll pull the file details.

      2. watermelon fruitcake*

        It did matter. Big-endian date formatting at the beginning of a filename means, even without folders or date sorting, your files will always be organized properly by date, and you won’t end up (for example) with all the possibly unrelated “[patient letters]” or June 6ths of every year grouped together. It is the most efficient and consistent protocol for general file organization, in any case where dates are important.

        This is a hill I will die on (and burn the bridges leading to).

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

    My first “real” job out of college I was hired on to work first shift at a commercial printing facility at ran 3 shifts every day but Sunday. The prepress department was a Cluster… 3 managers in 2 years I was there. The last new manager decided, I guess, that he didn’t think I (female right out of college) should be on first shift. He hired a new man and announced in an all-department meeting that, starting in about 2 weeks once I had Bob trained, I was being moved to third shift — midnight to 8:00 am. I announced back that my last day was the day before the change took effect. I certainly think that would burn a bridge but the place was such a disaster that the whole facility closed down within 4 months.

    1. Bossy*

      Wow, love it when people think they can get away with this crap. I left my last position in part because while I was good enough to train the new directors I worked under – multiple because their boss sucked – apparently I wasn’t good enough to get more money or even a title change. But we could discuss it once o trained up yet another new pair of directors. Color them shocked when I was like I’m done, a few weeks later.

  22. Lizy*

    I quit work as a bank teller with a couple of hours notice. I live in a VERY rural area, so word would likely get around pretty quickly.
    I only worked there like 6 months, and during that time I stepped up and worked full-time hours (I was part-time working minimum wage) while me and another gal basically ran the teller line by ourselves since we were short-staffed, told that I’d be ineligible to receive my (very minimal) short-term disability for maternity leave because I wasn’t eligible for FMLA (right but I was covered under the ADA so…), told not to discuss pay and when I pointed out that we’re legally allowed to, strongly discouraged from discussing pay, found out I was being paid the exact same as a much younger and much less experienced male coworker, told I could not leave to go take care of my sick child because my (disabled) husband doesn’t work and could handle it and the manager was scheduled to leave early that day and I had to “look at it from a manager’s perspective” (but I’m not a manager so…). Oh – and I also refused to take part in the “not mandatory but encouraged” Halloween dress-up and after-hours Christmas party. Like, no, I’m not spending $10 PER EMPLOYEE to get them a Christmas present and spending gas money I don’t have to attend a Christmas party after-hours and you’re not even feeding us? Nope.
    Oh – and a mandatory after-hours meeting that lasted until 8ish where we were told that dinner would be provided. After the meeting concluded, we got cake for the presenter’s birthday, since they had to spend extra hours and travel time to attend this meeting. So “dinner” became “one slice of cake” for some random person’s birthday.

    My supervisor was shocked — SHOCKED — that I wouldn’t give more notice. She indicated I wouldn’t get a good reference for this, and then was SHOCKED when I told her I already had a new job, that I very likely wouldn’t even put this gig on my resume, and that I had no problems doing this to a company that so blatantly screwed over its employees.

    Haven’t seen or heard from her since, and every time we drive by and one of my kids goes “oh there’s where mommy used to work” I’m like THANK GOD I don’t anymore…

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      A Christmas party without food isn’t a Christmas party, it’s a work meeting. UGH, that’s definitely a bridge worth burning.

      1. TiffIf*

        My company traditionally had a sit down dinner with lots of great food for the holiday party. Then one year they tried going bigger on the entertainment budget while shrinking the food budget – I think they had some appetizers and then you could PAY for something more substantial and drinks. I am pretty sure it was the worst attended holiday party and the next year they went back to a sit down dinner.

  23. Ultimate Facepalm*

    I had a terrible boss. Personal favorite convo:
    Me: “I will do whatever you want – just tell me what that is.”
    T: “I am not going to tell you because you don’t want to know badly enough. I want you to want it.”
    Me: “Okay, I don’t know how to execute on this and it needs to be done. I don’t have a crystal ball.”
    T: “Well that’s not my problem.”

    I ended up submitting TWENTY pages of harassment and inappropriate behavior to HR. Illegal, unethical, and just plain obnoxious. HR didn’t read it (they told me later) and didn’t find any evidence of any problems at all in the course of their ‘investigation’. By this time I had quit, so I had nothing to lose.
    T had made the unfortunate mistake of gossiping about the new CFO, who was a personal friend of his.
    When HR emailed me back and told me that T hadn’t done anything wrong, I replied back and copied the CFO letting him know exactly what T had been saying about him.

    “Since you didn’t find any problems with T’s behavior, I am sure that CFO’s behavior isn’t a problem either. T tells me that ‘CFO would give business to vendors to based on who spent the most money on wining and dining him, including going to strip clubs’. ‘CFO grabs women by the you-know-what, Trump-style’. ‘CFO needs everyone to pander to his ego at all costs’, etc.
    So I am sure they are in good company together and I am sure CFO has no problem with T either.”

    I did not get a response back but I did hear later that T was laid off shortly thereafter and his entire team was disbanded. The vendors mentioned did not get new contracts and the program they were on was cancelled completely. Everyone heard what happened to T (because I made sure to tell them). He went to work in an entirely different industry that is known for being the polar opposite of his political beliefs, which are deeply important to him and a huge part of his identity. I hope he is miserable.

    1. Nea*

      Am I reading this right? Your boss wanted you to beg him for tasking and prove you “wanted” it enough?


        1. goddessoftransitory*

          How on earth do these nutbars even get hired? Who’s that good at faking “I am totally normal and not a one man band of disaster?”

          1. Dawn*

            In this case I’d guess it has something to do with, “The CFO is my personal friend.”

            1. Ultimate Facepalm*

              Nope – new CEO joined later. No idea how they hired him. They admitted later he was a bad choice. Just presented well I guess.

      1. 1LFTW*

        I’ve had variations on this boss. In my case it was more along bouncing back and froth between the lines of “you shouldn’t even need to ask that question” and “if you didn’t know, you should have just asked”.

    2. Goldenrod*

      Damn, you handled that perfectly!!

      While I’ve had bosses who expected mind-reading, I never had one who explicitly admitted it. That is bonkers.

    3. Dadjokesareforeveryone*

      I hope your former boss is now being managed by someone who manages exactly like he did.

  24. Not Australian*

    I can only offer a pale imitation of the OP’s story (which I’ve mentioned here before). I had to take several weeks off for planned surgery – not in the US – and Boss was full of promises that she would get an adequate replacement in to cover for me. This hadn’t happened before I left to have my operation, but I was fairly sure it would – although probably on a somewhat ‘relaxed’ timetable.

    I went back to work on time as arranged, to discover that Boss had recruited her seventeen year old son to fill the gap. He’d apparently spent most of his time in my office – which was windowless and therefore very private – using the highly confidential patient database to look up medical information about all his friends and his school teachers, and part of the time he’d also had a school friend in there with him. I’m not sure much work was done, but there was apparently drinking and also smoking going on – both highly prohibited, of course. The excuse was that she ‘wanted to keep him out of trouble over the summer’, and for that he was paid the same rate as me.

    I didn’t waste a lot of time worrying about this, but took a cab to another location and spoke to my grandboss. I told him that if Boss’s son was good enough to do my job temporarily, he might as well do it permanently and I wouldn’t be coming back. I have no idea if this gave them any problems or not – no doubt the narrative was ‘adjusted’ after I left – but a lot of people were pretty incensed about the absolute lack of respect not only for me but for the patients whose personal information had been compromised along the way. Glad I got out when I did, though, as not long afterwards the same institution was involved in a national scandal concerning the misuse of human remains… Just some very lax standards all round tbh.

  25. anonforthis*

    Following, because things at work are bad enough that I’m planning on setting the bridge on fire and blowing up the remains.

    1. High Score!*

      Make sure to personalize the bridge burning, that makes it much more satisfying and gives us a better story to read when you write in later

    2. Chick-n-Boots*

      Truly sorry things have gotten so bad but good luck and may your exit be explosively memorable!

    3. CtheRocker*

      I turned in my resignation today. I have never worked for such a sh*t show of a place as this one. It devolved into something like a bad SNL skit. I hated to not give notice, but I could not choke down another hour in that place.

  26. Heffalump*

    I don’t know if this rises to the level of bridge-burning, but I briefly had a summer job after my freshman year of college. At the end of my shift after a week of the office manager’s verbal abuse, I left and simply never went back, didn’t call next day to tell them I was quitting. At that point in my life I was too much of a wimp to tell the manager off. I figured that ghosting an employer of one week wasn’t going to come back to haunt me for the rest of my career, so there wasn’t much of a bridge to burn.

    1. Mark*

      Ghosting someone after a week sometimes can come back to haunt someone. Finding out our top choice did that is why we took a pass on her and went with someone else.

  27. OrigCassandra*

    I torched the bridge at Toxic Ex-Job and have zero regrets. In a way, though, there really was no bridge to burn; I had been set up to fail from the get-go and my attempts to advocate for myself and the service I was running got read (sexistly) as “abrasiveness.” So I had a job in the bag and was going to resign shortly.

    Before it was quite time to resign (academic calendars being what they are), I had been asked to be part of a state-level panel about the service, along with two people who had actually used it to advantage and collaborated well with me. They were presenting first; I was cleanup hitter.

    So I was able to watch the (sparse) audience as they spoke. The said audience contained several top administrators, all of whom were wearing overt expressions of boredom, disdain, and dismissiveness. And I snapped. I SNAPPED. In TVTropes terms, meanness to people I like is a Berserk Button for me, especially when crossed with power tripping.

    I had a boring, anodyne, inoffensive slide deck prepared. I tossed it and spoke extempore. I named what I was seeing, staring at the administrators in my best I-see-you fashion: “I’m going to be the dark side here,” I said, “the bad guy. I am seeing a lot of so-what faces out there. A whole lot of so-what faces. And that troubles me. But before I explain why it troubles me, I’d like a round of applause for Presenter 1 and Presenter 2 and their hard work, please.”

    I did not add “you bastards,” but it was apparent in my tone of voice. And dang if I didn’t get a sheepish, ashamed round of applause, including from those administrators.

    So then I lit into them. I LIT INTO THEM. I explained what problems the service existed to solve, and I was… quite frank… about why it hadn’t been able to solve those problems — including dragging some backroom (mis)dealing into the open that I wasn’t actually supposed to know about.

    I closed with “Maybe this service isn’t the answer to these problems; that’d be an important discussion to have. But I would not be standing here if I didn’t think those were important problems that every institution in this system needs to work out an answer to. I don’t know what that answer is. If you do, I’d love to hear. Thank you.”

    But it was the opener that got them, precisely as I meant it to. If their eyes had been any wider I could have strung them end to end and built a bridge across the Atlantic.

    Honestly it was glorious. No regrets then, no regrets now.

    1. Exhausted Trope*

      This makes me want to cheer and sob simultaneously. I bow to you and your masterful handling of the situation.

    2. TinySoprano*

      “If their eyes had been any wider I could have strung them end to end and built a bridge across the Atlantic.”

      This is the most perfect line I have ever heard!

    3. Never Knew I Was a Dancer*

      My heart is bursting with applause and admiration. I want to be you when I grow up!

  28. Constructively Discharged*

    My last employer decided they were no longer willing to offer me a remote work accommodation for my disability and told me that I had to either come in the office or find a new job, with some thin justification for what was pretty clearly just that they didn’t like having me remote and were happy to put my health at risk. I talked to a lawyer and they advised that there was no way to predict the outcome of a lawsuit or formal complaint, and I couldn’t stomach working for them at that point, so I gave notice. I wrote a long email in which I tried to convey “your justifications are an obvious smokescreen, I am being constructively discharged, and you people are the worst” as professionally but clearly as possible. It would have been more strategic to at least pretend that the break was amicable, in case I needed the connections in the future but I wanted to make my loathing and disrespect clear. Obviously I’ve torched that reference at this point, but after how things went down (and other bad behavior, not just directed at me) I did not trust them to give a reference without undercutting me, anyway.

  29. LiedTo*

    I was in a role that had been marketed as “temp-to-hire”, and had been told that the 3 month temp assignment was going to serve as my probation. After 4 months, I got a call on Friday at 5:15pm that the company had lied to both me and the temp agency, and that my services were no longer required, and that when I returned the mailbox key I could get my personal items back the following day. I said, nope, you get the mailbox key when I get my personal items, I’m not driving 35 miles each way two days in a row after I was lied to. Turns out…they filled the position with the boss’s niece. I left them a scathing review with the temp agency, and last I heard, the temp agency was no longer working with them. No regrets.

    1. pope suburban*

      I had something similar happen. Role was advertised as temp-to-hire, made it to the allotted time, asked the person I was working for what to do. He referred me to the office manager, who bald-faced lied to me that the role had never been temp-to-hire…but I could stay anyway. I was there for a year or so, no issues, I would have liked more hours but the job was fine and everyone was happy with my work. Come in one day and my email isn’t working, but I figure the IT guy will sort it out when he gets in, so I work on other stuff. Around 10:00am, I get a call at my desk from the temp agency, informing me that the contract is up and I need to go. So I have to tell everyone this and let them know where their projects are. They’re all shocked and one of the junior scientists actually cried. I go to the temp agency office and they are FURIOUS with the office manager. She apparently called them in for a meeting after I’d left on Friday and dropped the contract. She didn’t tell anyone and she walked pat me working, and sat in my eye line as I worked, and said nothing on my last day. The agency paid me out for that and blacklisted the company for her appalling behavior. She was known to be abusive and not very good at the job, so this was not overall a huge surprise, but it was still a really unpleasant experience for me, my colleagues, and the temp agency.

  30. Brightfire*

    Oh yeah!

    I was working as an HR Generalist when I became pregnant. I took early FLMA to deal with some pregnancy issues. When I came back to work, they put me on a PIP, took away all of my HR tasks and instead asked me to stock the vending machines and answer phones. It was very clear that I was being penalized for voicing safety concerns to the owner and for going on FMLA. I cleared out my desk and went back on FMLA to job search while being technically employed.

    The company was already in the midst of an OSHA investigation. I called OSHA, told them what was going on with me and provided pictures of clear safety violations. OSHA fined them over $60,000. It was sweet, sweet justice.

    1. pope suburban*

      I’m amazed that anyone would be so thick as to try to illegally discriminate against THE COMPANY HR PERSON. Like…how do you think this will go? How can you not see that you will be found out? These people deserved at least a fine. They’re not just evil, they’re buffoons.

      1. 1LFTW*

        I mean, they didn’t just illegally discriminate against their HR person, but they did so *while facing an OSHA investigation*. Like, they had to know that’s someone who has the receipts!

  31. many bells down*

    Hired at what I thought was my “dream job” and pretty quickly realized I hated it. Then one day my manager lied to a client’s face and asked me to corroborate what she was saying. It was a safety issue and we’d already had a possibly-permanent injury come from the issue.
    A few days later I purposely dropped my security badge in the parking garage as I was leaving for the day and never went back. I don’t put that job on my resume ever.

  32. Loose Socks*

    This was unintentional, but I have left that career field completely now and do not regret what I did.
    I worked as a preschool teacher at a privately owned outdoor preschool. I had a contract that included PTO, paid holidays, pay rate, and hours. This school also had 3 locations, and I worked at the one nearest to my house. I also worked part-time (outlined in the contract)
    One day I received an email from the director that my contract was being voided effective immediately as they have found someone that can work full-time at the location I worked, thus they no longer needed me there, however they would continue my current pay if I agreed to be a long-term sub at a location 30 minutes away. As my kids also attended this school I was desperate to make it work, so I accepted. Two months went by of me working the exact same hours for the same pay, but with none of the benefits. I had a friend who was in law school at the time look over my contract, and verified the school had no legal right to void my contract. At this point Christmas holidays were coming up, I was facing 3 weeks completely unpaid and still needing to pay my children’s tuition, so I reached back out to the director with this info and asked her to reinstate my contract. She claimed some BS legal reason for why she could void it, then refused to reinstate it until after the holidays (saving them the expense of paying me for the holidays). I refused, and she sent me an email saying that my services were no longer needed.

    Here’s where I burned the bridge: I ended up posting on the outdoor schooling facebook group. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the founder and previous director of the school was a part of that group. She was also still very active in the school as a board member. She discovered this, and while she never reached out to me directly, I later found out she had that director fired for this and many other issues that came out as a result of my post and the investigation. This director had her nephew hired on to “replace” me, but he was 18, had no experience, spoke very little English (it’s important to mention that this school did not offer any second language or language immersion classes, fluency in English was an absolute MUST) and his immigration visa hinged on him having a job. She had illegally fired me to keep her nephew in the country.

    I then sued the school for illegally voiding a contract and won, however the outdoor school community in my area is extremely small and word travels, so I was no longer able to work in that field again. I am now working in HR making nearly double what I made there, so ultimately it all worked out.

    1. FrivYeti*

      I know that this is common, but it remains mind-boggling to me how many industries there are where “being the victim of harassment and illegal activity from your bosses and not accepting it” makes you unemployable forever.

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        Bigger question: in what industry is this not the case? (honest, not being snarky)

    2. K*

      I have to ask–what is an “outdoor” preschool? I’m picturing like a petting zoo but with children romping around in pens.

      1. MsSolo (UK)*

        They’re called forest schools in the UK, if that’s any help. There’s usually a toilet block and some kind of shelter for extreme weather, but generally kids are outside rain or shine, and most of the traditional preschool activities are adapted for outdoors – like numeracy is counting spots on ladybirds, literacy is drawing letters in the mud with sticks, art is nature collages and so on. Heavy on practical skills and practical safety (there are usually camp fires, even with toddlers around), and wearing the kids out so they sleep very well at night!

  33. restingbutchface*

    At first I thought I didn’t have any bridge burning stories, but after a moment of reflection, turns out that I love the warm glow of a career relationship in flames.

    I’m not ashamed of any of them either. At some point, you burn the bridge to protect yourself from the people on the other side.

    The least identifiable one was about 20 years ago – I was a mid level manager and my manager was a blatant racist. I had one direct report who was an absolute sweetheart and I thought he had a great career ahead. He received one anonymous, unfounded customer complaint and my boss fired him while I was on lunch.

    No investigation, no validation – she just wanted an excuse to fire a young black man and she didn’t see the problem with it. She also told the unemployment office that he was fired for gross misconduct, meaning he wouldn’t receive a penny until he found another job.

    I was so horrified and I knew these were people I needed to be far, far away from. So when I was sorting the mail and found a letter from the unemployment office confirming that he had been fired for gross misconduct, I sat down at my desk and wrote a letter on headed company paper advising that was incorrect. I photocopied it and left it on my boss’s desk with a note saying I know what you did, I can’t work for a terrible person, bye,

    I walked out, put the letter in the mail and never went back. My only regret was forgetting my jacket. When HR called me, I told them why I wasn’t coming back because I owed that woman nothing. She was demoted to a different non-managerial role and my ex-report received the money he was entitled to until he found a new job. He has no idea what happened and I am glad of it.

    1. Fitz*

      “you burn the bridge to protect yourself from the people on the other side”

      Bravo! What an amazing way to put it.

  34. the one who got away*

    I have two, both from friends. What makes these both extra delightful to me is the fact that both women are among the most polished and professional people I’ve ever worked with.

    The first worked for a volatile and unkind micromanager who found fault in weird things all the time. The final straw was when he yelled at her for writing with a pencil instead of a pen (on her own stuff, not anything related to him or his work). She scrawled her resignation letter in pencil, in giant letters, on a ripped out sheet of notebook paper, and left it on his desk that day.

    The second was a high-level director in a critical role who’d been hired and working for over a year for an acting C-suite person. They chose to hire an external candidate for the permanent role, even though literally every member of that department had gone to the CEO and said they would be unable to work for this particular candidate and did not feel he was the right fit for the organization. The acting C-suite person was highly respected and had done some pretty major organization-saving things during her time.

    My friend, the director, knew about the hire weeks before it was public, quietly found another job, and waited to put in notice until after the new hire was announced in an organization-wide email.

    She emailed her resignation to the entire organization eight minutes later.

    1. allathian*

      I hope that resulted in a reply-allocalypse of epic proportions, each wishing her luck in her new endeavors…

  35. Sharkie*

    Yes. I actually wrote in and Alison published the letter! I was passed over for promotion, and not only was the person they hired unexperienced she told everyone else interviewing for the role to not bother interviewing since it was her role and no one else was going to get it. After being told by management that I would have to train the new team lead, and the new hires at my level, I put in my 2 weeks notice. A week after I put in the notice, my manager offered me a one time bonus of $1,000 to keep me on, and when I turned that down, she tried to tell me that my 2 weeks notice started that day. When I corrected her that I only had a week of notice left, she told me this is disappointing and I needed to stay for an extra week to “make nice” . After I said no, she ignored me the rest of the week and had IT take away my computer on my last day. It was hilarious.
    She then tried to hype my new position at a very desirable company on Linkedin, saying that I got the job due to her training and management style and I shut that down so quickly. I was only there for 7 months and she did 0 training for me since I have 8 years of experience in my field.

    1. Ally McBeal*

      I would love to know how you shut down her comment! Did you delete it, refute it publicly…?

      1. Sharkie*

        I sent her a dm asking her to remove it. When she didn’t I commented publicly that while I was thankful that I was apart of her team and learned a lot from her and the organization, this wasn’t completely accurate, and my accomplishments are not because of a manger I had for 7 months.

        Thankfully the company doesn’t have the best reputation, and is known for being a stepping stone employer, so the post didn’t get a whole lot of traction.

    2. Sharpie*

      I think I remember reading that letter! Well done you for shutting that isht down – and how petty does someone have to be to take the computer away from someone on that person’s last day on the job!

  36. Microwaved Anchovies*

    I quit my job at a fast-casual restaurant on the last day of my two-week notice. I decided to leave after my shift manager dangerously mixed cleaning chemicals in my mop bucket. On my final day, I found out my shift manager sent my closing co-worker home, expecting me to close the restaurant alone. Frustrated, I started my prep work at 4 pm to make closing easier. While I was prepping for closing, the grill guy and the mid-shift server complained that I was making a mess and refused to help. I ignored them. Then, the deputy general manager told me to stop prepping because other people needed to learn how to close. I told him that if I didn’t get to do my prep work, I would only close the part of the store with the cash register and leave. He agreed.

    Later that night, I finished closing my part of the store. However, the shift manager (same one who mixed cleaning chemicals) told me I couldn’t leave until I finished the rest of the store. It was 11 pm. Fed up, I flipped him off, walked out, and called the regional manager to quit.

    That week, I got an email saying I was “ineligible for rehire” and banned from the store for my unprofessional behavior. Even though the staff has changed many times since then, I’m still banned from that store.

  37. sgpb*

    In college I worked as a cashier at a national chain pet store. The pay was dismal but it was pretty easy work, so I stuck around. After working there for 3 years and getting promoted, I broke my foot (not at work). When I went in the next day and said I would need a stool/chair, the manager flatly refused, scoffed and said “If I can’t sit down, no one can.” (He definitely had a chair in his office so this was total BS). I was the only cashier scheduled for that evening (and generally this was the case, there was never a backup). I said, “Oh, OK, then I guess I have to quit.” I walked over to the fish tank area, dropped my register key in the biggest tank and left out the side door. They called me three times the next day (and my emergency contact!) to ask where my key was. I never responded.

    1. knitcrazybooknut*

      I wonder if they ever found it!!! I’m sure that depends on whether or not they cleaned the fish tank regularly.

  38. BBB*

    i wouldn’t say i fully burned the bridge, but definitely nixed any chance of a reference from my boss or grand boss!
    classic tale, bad bosses, toxic disfunction ect. Not as bad as some stories here but bad enough it was taking a toll on my mental health. But basically my boss(es) didn’t like me and thought I was difficult so they froze me out of any promotional opportunities or growth. At my work there is a pretty heavy line between hourly employees and salaried employees so I’d been promoted once but both positions were hourly, and I could not make the jump to salaried. They actually promoted the person who backfilled my first hourly position to a salaried position (aka the person I trained who had less experience and education than I did) while telling me I wasn’t qualified for the same position – I distinctly remember grand boss encouraging coworker to apply for that position in front of me, literally days after rejecting me for the role. no shade to that coworker, they were more than qualified, it’s just that i was too (heard through the grapevine after the fact that i was the top choice for that role and grandboss squashed it).
    The worst was when there was a big snow storm and leadership told everyone to work from home that day (pre panini times so this was a big deal) except my boss clarified that only salaried employees could work from home. As I was only hourly, I had to use PTO or come in during a dangerous ice storm. ya know, because hourly staff’s lives are less valuable than salaried staff :)

    Anyway, i’d been job hunting heavily for months and through some connections who absolutely hated my boss/grand boss, i was offered a salaried position with the same company but in a different department. The new department wanted me to start ASAP to make the pay cycle change cleaner (bi weekly vs monthly pay) so I got to give my shitty bosses a whole 4 days notice before I left. grandboss looked like he’d swallowed a lemon when I told him :D

    i (sadly) didn’t get to totally burn things because I was still with the same company, but they had to scramble awfully hard after I left and I heard some truly delightful stories from old coworkers from that transition time.

  39. Justin*

    I ALMOST got to do something perfect, and I missed it by a few days.

    One reason I left my last job was obsessive micromanaging. Towards the very end of my tenrue, my boss emailed me telling me to write an email differently. And I’m literally a published author, several times over, and it really bothered me that she didn’t trust me to send an email.

    She ended her email to me with a very condescending sign off.

    And I was hoping I’d receive the job offer that day, so I could use the same sign-off when I sent in my notice. But I didn’t get the offer until the next week so it wouldn’t have been as satisfying.

    (I wouldn’t have worried about the burned bridge because that job was soooo niche that no one there will ever be in a position to hire/fire/recommend me.)

    1. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

      I had an eerily similar situation where I had been trying to get some time with my (horrific, now ex) boss to go through an executive briefing I was putting together for our CEO and CFO for a big project I was leading. Both my boss’s and my calendars were pretty gnarly that week so my boss (grumpily) suggested I just send her the document and she would provide feedback. Perfect, I thought.

      She then emailed me the next day that she had had to make significant edits to my document so instead of waiting for me to absorb and make the changes from her feedback, she just edited my document and sent it to leadership herself. I was already fuming at this when a colleague of mine forwarded the email our boss had sent.

      My boss literally just added periods to the end of my bullet points. She did not change a word of the content itself.

      I’ve mentioned this boss before in other comments here on the site. I did not stay much longer in this job and when I left, I asked HR for an exit interview and laid out all the bullying things my boss had been up to, named the person she had picked as her next target, and shared detailed notes I had taken after every time my boss would gossip about her boss, the CFO or the HR VP.

      My boss was let go 6 months later and I still feel like I won despite it being a fairly derailing year vis-a-vis my mental health.

      1. Justin*

        I mean, I definitely won in that I make 40k more 2 years later and have a much better workplace and career.

        She’s still there, being bad. Oh well.

  40. ZinniaOhZinnia*

    Yes! I worked at a museum that really abused its workers (context: it almost lost its accreditation as museum because it did not pay its lowest-paid workers -like me!- anywhere near a living wage in a very high COL city). The other people in my department consistently refused to do a major part of their job, which included being in a greenhouse whenever visitors were there (as mandated by various national standards due to the live animal exhibit). You couldn’t leave visitors alone in there, and if someone didn’t come in to do their shift and relieve you of your duties to, say, use the bathroom, you were stuck in there for hours.

    The final straw was banning me from leaving an enclosed, hot greenhouse with a malfunctioning HVAC system: the heat went up to about 125 degrees Fahrenheit that day.

    I got a job a week later and called out at 10pm, no notice period, and literally said “good luck coming up with coverage for the greenhouse” because, well….. nobody else was doing their job but me. AFAIK, they didn’t even find a new person to do my whole, complex job; they just hired someone to sit in the garden 8+hrs a day in sweltering heat. Honestly, good luck to them and good riddance to that organization.

  41. Daring Darla*

    Yes, and I don’t regret it! I worked at a 15-person organization where the owner (sole-proprietor, so no board, anyone higher or any HR-in fact, they tacked HR onto me despite having no experience) He would tell me constantly that he wanted me NOT to hire certain racial groups, purposely took opportunities from women of color to white male coworkers for the sole reason that “it would look better to clients, but they can do the work behind the scenes without credit” and would talk about the staff as though they were dogs, lamenting who had a lower “pedigree” because they weren’t born into wealth. He was very vindictive and a huge liar to cover up all the other unethical stuff he did (every client got a massive monthly bill of all the work we supposedly did, but it was just him pulling numbers out of thin air since we hadn’t touched that project in months) My very short stint there was mainly arguing with him and telling him why everything he was doing was illegal, but there was no one to report this to and incredibly hard to prove with a the legal routes so I wound up picking a day on my calendar and just didn’t show up again. Sent an email resignation letter and blocked everyone on everything. Never heard from them again and it was the best decision of my life! There’s a weird spot on my resume but I learned how to talk about it honestly with future employers and haven’t had any trouble getting work since. I know it wasn’t best practices but, as a woman of color with a “low pedigree”, I wasn’t going to risk mental health and safety.

  42. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

    Can I comment with a time I didn’t, but really wanted to, and in hindsight I wish I had?

    It was many many many years ago. I was working 2 jobs -a mind numbing full time job that didn’t pay GREAT but was pretty easy and really wasn’t even a full time gig for one person, let alone two, but because of the nature of the work they needed two people, full time. It was a paycheck with benefits and while the paycheck wasn’t great, it wasn’t much less than I’d get elsewhere at the time, so because it was so easy it also allowed me to work a second job to save/pay off some credit card debt before starting graduate school. In fact, my original plan was to stay on at least through Thanksgiving because with all of the downtime I’d have bandwidth to study for grad classes, getting me over the insurance hump so my mom could add me back to her plan Jan 1 (this was pre-Obamacare, I am dating myself!).

    In May, a Very Close Relative that was not a(n official) custodial parent passed away. It was not unexpected, and in fact in April I asked about the bereavement policy because I knew I might need it, because I wanted to verify that this relation would count. I was told 3 days, and assured it was by my boss. We were a satellite office and had no on-site HR presence. She was effectively HR for us. (A separate issue, as an HR professional (now!) I understand!)

    It happened, despite being “prepared”, I was absolutely devastated, and spent most of the summer crying. I actually recall reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in the office during downtime and full on SOBBING AT WORK during the scene where Dumbledore was killed. It was rough. Anyway, I ended up taking a full week off, and indicated I was going to charge my leave for the extra time on top of the three days.

    I returned the following Monday. Was told by my boss, Oh, so sorry, but you’re not actually eligible for bereavement. Was also told by the office manager and my counterpart that an “emergency project” dropped while I was out and my absence caused a bit of a hardship for her. Both were INCENSED on my behalf that she did this to me, knowing full well I wasn’t just banging off for fun.

    In hindsight, I wish I had just walked out that day. Part time job would have gladly given me full time hours to make up for it. There were many Reasons at the time I didn’t do it, not the least of which was an ingrained sense of misplaced responsibility. (There were other reasons, too, which I won’t get into here.) Instead, I worked until mid-August, and then put in my 2 weeks, instead of working through Thanksgiving as was my original plan. No burned bridge. I’ve literally never seen any of the people in that office ever again and let’s just say I don’t live in a huge area. I have no idea if the company even exists anymore.

  43. Anon for This*

    I (then a teenaged cast member) once rage-fired a community theatre group’s “leader” (who was in his 40s) in the middle of a rehearsal for a show he was producing and that he had told us we were doing legally when he had, in fact, not acquired the rights to perform it at all. After learning that and watching him horribly bully cast members for weeks on end, I became so angry that I don’t remember what I screamed at him (but I’m told it included the line “HAVE YOU EVER DONE THEATRE?”), and he stormed out while throwing the keys to our rehearsal hall on the ground. I was heartily congratulated by every other community theatre company with whom he had worked, and well over a decade later, people still send me warnings of where he is around town so I can avoid him. A bridge well burned.

    1. Quill*

      “Have you ever done theater?” Yes, that’s why I can picture this scene precisely, lol.

        1. Anon for This*

          I was 19 and quite headstrong. Nowadays, mustering the energy to get out bed (much less curse out someone with that verve) is exhausting.

          1. Doozie*

            I’m sorry to hear this! I hope you can get some help and that things get better for you!!!

            1. Anon for This*

              Thank you. I doubt it will improve, as the exhaustion is a side-effect of a medication that I’m required to take for the rest of my life. I find that I *can* function alright once I’m up, but the thought of a whole day of being pleasant and pretending not to be tired is daunting to no end every morning.

  44. Tio*

    I kind of did this. I had quit my first job in my career path, and several people (including my boss) wanted to take me out. Mostly people I had worked directly. One manager was not terribly well liked overall as she wasn’t great at her job, and we didn’t invite her. So we went out on lunch, and it was enough people that it was noticeable, but not like the whole office or anything. But this manager had a meltdown because she wasn’t invited. She ended up confronting me outside the building as I was leaving (she was out for one of her many “smoke breaks”) and gave me a bunch of attempted guilt tripping, ending with “bUt I ThoUgHt we wErE FRIENDS!!” and I looked her straight in the eye and said “No, we were not friends, we were coworkers.” She started crying and later tried to report us all to HR (for having lunch together) who basically told her to get a grip.

    Should I have alienated someone from a job that early in my career? Probably not, but I had a feeling no one would ever check with her on me, and I was right. I had plenty of other people in the company who were very competent at their jobs who had glowing references for me.

  45. Keeping My Anonymity*

    Student job in college, about 10 hours a week. Mostly grunt work in a lab- cleaning, prepping samples, etc. Lab manager was… interesting. I had called out sick and the next day when I came in I stumbled across lab manager and a fellow student worker creeping on my facebook page (manager was /not/ on my friends list and couldn’t see anything, so student was showing her). She wanted to check if I had been partying and called out because of that, or at least that was her justification. I noped out of that- quit on the spot, and obviously unfriended the non-friend costudent worker. I got a different student job on campus that ended up being a MUCH better environment and I’m still in touch with my mentor there many years out!

    1. I Have RBF*

      I have a policy of not friending coworkers on FB, and not posting anything about my job publicly. I will friend people after I move on, but not while I work there.

      I also seldom post minutia about my life, so even if a coworker was FB stalking me, they would end up seeing either major announcements or memes, nothing about my day-to-day life.

    2. LostCommenter*

      there’s a reason I look up all my new co-workers and block them as soon as I start a job.

    3. Mark*

      This is one of the reasons I never accept friend requests from coworkers or former coworkers. I want a complete separation on Facebook between work and personal lives.

  46. I come in here I give these things to you*

    About 10 years ago I accepted a job while I was still in the interview process for another job that I really wanted more than the first one. I was given and accepted an offer from job #2, so when I told job #1 that was effectively burning the bridge.

    1. Ultimate Facepalm*

      Somebody at my company just did this – she had a horrible team and wanted out by any means possible. She got the internal transfer, then got a job offer at another company the day she was supposed to start the internal transfer job (my team). She burned a bridge but I don’t blame her. This place is toxic af.

      1. allathian*

        If you don’t blame her, I suppose she didn’t burn a bridge with you after all. Even if she did with the company as a whole?

    2. I Have RBF*

      About 30 years ago I started a contract job at one place because I needed an income. A week later a permanent job came through. I gave notice at the contract job. They were disappointed, but they understood the difference between contract and permanent.

  47. noname*

    not me but a coworker

    this coworker had been at this department forever and the company offered early retirement payout twice during their time at the company which they applied for but the department rejected both times.
    so they were BITTER and rightfully so
    so this coworker had reached retirement age and quietly arranged it all with HR and didn’t tell a soul. didn’t announce it, didn’t give notice and got HR to delay routing all the paperwork until the day they left.

    I came in one morning to find a trail of glitter from the front door to their office, the room practically wall papered with comic strips and memes about bad bosses/quitting/see ya never. it was AMAZING. funniest thing I’d ever seen in my life.

    the cherry on top? the department replaced the carpet in the hallway a few months later and to this day I am convinced it is because they couldn’t get the glitter out of the carpet.

    1. Ama*

      I have to think HR must have also disagreed with the early retirement payout being rejected, if they were willing to play along with the timing.

  48. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    Not me, but we recently had a disgruntled employee who resigned in a profanity laden, scorched earth email bashing the company, their Manager and myself (the HR Director). The Manager’s and my own ancestors were thoroughly trashed, we both were called vile names, and the company was consigned to the deepest depths of h*ll. They signed off with “I am a spoiled a$$ college student and I don’t need to work. My Parents have big bucks.”

    Fast forward a few days later, when I received a Verification of Employment for this person from the local DHHS. Hmmmm…. And shortly after that, this person applied to similar positions at a two of our Partner Companies – for which I am also HR Director. Beautiful Karma in all its glory!

  49. NMitford*

    At one of my early fund raising jobs at a liberal arts college located in one of the outer boroughs of New York City, I got a new boss who was not pleasant, not competent, and apparently not happy to have been reduced to working somewhere other than Manhattan. After suffering for months with him, I found a new job and gave my two weeks’ notice on the last Friday before Christmas. The issue with that was, of course, that the college closed over the holidays, so it meant that I packed up my desk that afternoon and never returned. He was absolutely livid that I’d resigned “without notice” since I wouldn’t be coming back when the college reopened in early January.

    It felt so good.

    1. GladImNotThereAnymore*

      I accidentally did something related – put in my 2 weeks notice unknowingly the day my manager went on vacation. The day he came back coincided with my last day. Oops. Surprise!

  50. Medium Sized Manager*

    I gave an extended notice period and offered to work Saturdays until they found a replacement since they were already understaffed (in addition to my new full-time position and existing part-time position). The office manager was thrilled and allowed me to cash out my vacation pay as a reward. One of the other leads found out and went over the office manager’s head to the very volatile practice owner because she didn’t like the office manager & could use it against her, leading to me not getting my vacation paid out.

    I changed my last day on the spot, and I refused to work any Saturdays. They were hit with a negligence lawsuit within a year or so because of the poor oversight from the lead, and I think ultimately shut down the location. It definitely wasn’t related to me, but I also didn’t feel sorry for them.

  51. Annon*

    I used to do seasonal work for a finance company and ended up in a permanent position there. My role involved processing daily payments to clients, and the system was brand new and really poorly designed so I ended up the Fixer for it. Any time the transactions exceeded a certain amount it would knock the system over and I was able to sort it.

    I was treated like absolute trash – gaslit about promises of overtime pay leading to over a hundred hours in one month unpaid; excluded from team building breakfasts and meals; berated constantly for not keeping up with an impossible workload. It came to a head when they cancelled a WFH arrangement because my manager didn’t want to print a daily pdf – literally just print it – while I was out of the office looking after a family member who had had an operation, something I’d begged and bargained for severalmonths earlier.

    I didn’t go in. I went off sick with stress (I had paid sick leave) the day we were due to be hit with twice the number of transactions as normal. The system collapsed, as expected, and they got into serious hot water with multiple clients. I then quit without notice the day my paid sick leave ran out. I went from reliable hire to poison and I honestly couldn’t care less.

  52. Maleficent2026*

    My previous job was in a call center for a major insurance company. Three months after I got married, my husband was deployed to the Middle East for 7 months. I had been working for them for 3 or 4 years by then. He wasn’t able to call regularly, but when he was, it was typically around the time of my lunch break. He’d email me saying he would call in about 10 minutes, which would give me enough time to log off and get to quieter area. The company was VERY strict about us taking our breaks at our assigned times, but I only wanted the flexibility to adjust my lunches while he was deployed. I was going to do it anyway, because that was the only way I was able to talk to him. (Important side note, I live in a very military heavy area and the company I worked for is one of the largest employers in the area.) I ended up having conversations with at least half a dozen people in various levels of management about my “refusal” to follow my break schedule. They were dumb enough to put some of this in writing, too. They didn’t back down until my last meeting with them, where I told them that if they continued to push back on this, I would be forwarding their last email and scheduling an interview with a journalist friend (who had worked in the field long enough to have contacts at almost every news outlet in my state) about the company’s treatment of a tenured employee who is also a brand new military spouse. Everyone knew how much that would have blown up around here, so they quickly ended that meeting. Within the hour, I got an email from the VP of our department saying that OF COURSE I could flex my lunch break, and they want to do ANYTHING to support a service member and their family. I stayed long enough to finish my undergraduate degree (that they paid for) and left with about 4 hours notice. I will work ANY job before I ever work for them again.

  53. noname*

    not me but a coworker

    this coworker had been at this department forever and the company offered early retirement payout twice during their time at the company which they applied for but the department rejected both times.
    so they were BITTER and rightfully so
    so this coworker had reached retirement age and quietly arranged it all with HR and didn’t tell a soul.  didn’t announce it, didn’t give notice and got HR to delay routing all the paperwork until the day they left.

    I came in one morning to find a trail of glitter from the front door to their office, the room practically wall papered with comic strips and memes about bad bosses/quitting/see ya never.  it was AMAZING.  funniest thing I’d ever seen in my life.

    the cherry on top?  the department replaced the carpet in the hallway a few months later and to this day I am convinced it is because they couldn’t get the glitter out of the carpet.

  54. Quill*

    Not notable for anything beyond my manager not understanding reality, but here goes:

    I worked campus food service while a senior in college, hated it, and thought it was badly organized. Around spring break I got screamed at by the manager for “why aren’t you helping this customer?” who had approached the register while I was turned around getting a pizza out of the oven, and burnt myself.

    When I went to quit a week later, my manager told me “If you quit before the end of the semester, you can never work for campus food service again!”

    To which I, a graduating senior, replied “So?”

      1. Quill*

        Plus, free weekends to study for finals.

        Pro tip, if you’re traditionally short staffed at the end of spring semester because people quit to focus on finals… maybe don’t sneak up behind your employees and scream at them?

  55. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

    This just happened. After almost a decade of constant broken promises, inconsistent feedback, hypocritical leadership, and an unrealistic workload, my best friend started looking for a job and almost immediately found a great one in slightly related field. Snuck into her office at Old Job over the Memorial Day weekend and cleared everything out. Tuesday morning at 9AM she sent her resignation email, effective immediately.

    1. Ama*

      I know someone who did something similar — in his instance it happened over the week his office was closed between Christmas and New Year’s. He was a senior level person and they had let all the junior people in his department leave during a hiring freeze, and the only other senior level colleague had been on medical leave for almost a year. He was told right before Christmas that the colleague was not coming off leave in January as planned, and no they would not lift their hiring freeze to fill even one of the junior positions because of this.

      Over the week the office was closed he and his family cleared out his office (which was a big effort — he’d been there for decades) and he emailed his resignation letter. He’d also been a significant donor to his employer’s associated foundation and he let them know they’d never be receiving another dollar from him (I heard a rumor the foundation head really let the business leadership have it for screwing up a major donor relationship but I don’t know if that’s true).

      1. ferrina*

        That’s amazing. Good on him for leaving! And leaving them with the same consideration they had shown to him.

  56. Not Anish Kapoor*

    I started looking for a new job in early 2020, because the owner of the place I was at was a racist, misogynistic, sexually harassing A-hole. The last straw was when his VP told me to only correct a payroll error for the people who asked about it and only for that one payroll when I had discovered that it went back to the prior year and affected a few other people.

    I had an offer for a new job, but by then it was early March and Covid was first hitting the area and everything was super uncertain. The old bosses were the type of people who came into work sick, coughed everywhere without covering their mouths, and were saying that Covid was no worse than the flu, so I definitely didn’t want to work for them anymore. So I took the new job, called out sick at the old job for my first day at the new one to make sure that I was at least on-boarded in case they closed due to Covid, and then emailed the old job the next day and said I quit. Oh, and the last person who gave two weeks notice before I left was walked out the door the day that they gave notice and was not paid for those two weeks. So why would I take a chance on that happening to me?

  57. Clearance Issues*

    toxic work environment, got a new offer for a better company, did not give them the “6 months” they’d need to review my pay rate. Instead I gave them “Friday is my last day” notice and then took PTO.
    my current company hired a few more people from the old place and we did the math.
    Right after I quit my old Great Grand Boss went to their office and was complaining about how nobody wants to work anymore, that they had 0 initiative to get a better paying job because Fast Food was paying better. He had 9 more resignations within 24 hours.

    1. ferrina*

      Wait…..Great Grand Boss was using the “nobody wants to work anymore” line while acknowledging that the Fast Food place pays more? Someone needs to explain math to this guy.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Like, managing to generate a resignation roughly every ninety minutes?

  58. anon't*

    Company owner (Canadian citizen with offices/houses in BC and WA) of a fabric supplier to red carpet level designers was cheating clients and lying to customs/banks/insurance companies and bullying certain employees. She went off on me one morning for explaining overtime laws to one of her targets.
    That was that. When she started screaming in my face and trying to intimidate me, I let her know I had contacted her customers with evidence of her thefts, and would be contacting federal agencies about her lies to them.
    She had planned to fire me, but I was so angry I drowned her out with my “I quit!” declaration, followed by my promise to have her deported. No idea what the feds did, but her US business was shut down not long after.
    I filed for unemployment, which the owner contested. Once I explained the physical bullying and threats and illegalities, I was approved for unemployment too.
    Best rage quit ever. So cathartic.

  59. Abundant Shrimp*

    I quit without notice once, angering my employer greatly. This happened eons ago, in my home country. I’d lost my job after my oldest son was born. One of the other women my employer had laid off while I was on paid mat leave, became head of the newly-formed employment agency, and found me an office admin job at a tiny private school. My new boss was a royal pain to work for. I saw a lot of unethical behavior from him towards parents, clients, vendors, and of course myself. After two school quarters, I was done. My husband said he’d support me if I wanted to quit, so I did. But not right away. I shared the office with the admin assistant and we were paid twice a month. No direct deposit as this was in prehistoric times. Instead, she’d give me cash. I decided to wait until next payday to quit, because knowing my boss, I figured he’d make me work triple hours during my notice period and then come up with a reason to not pay me for it – or extend the notice indefinitely promising to pay at some future time as long as I was still working there – basically I expected some kind of shenanigans. On payday, I brought my toddler son to work. Boss walked in and frowned at seeing my son in the office. I explained that my husband had just started a second job, and so couldn’t take turns watching our son while I was at work, like he’d done previously. Son wasn’t yet ready for daycare, so I had no other choice but to quit effective immediately. I explained all of it to him as I was putting the cash in my purse, that I’d just been paid with. Boss said I needed to work out my two-week notice period. I said I would’ve loved to, but couldn’t because I literally did not have childcare anymore. (BTW I lied. Husband did not have a second job. I just wanted out.) After a few minutes of heated back and forth, boss said that I had no integrity, promised that my sin would come back to me, and I wished him a great day and left. Three weeks later I found a new job, that made better use of my skills, had me working on a team with some of my former teammates from my old programming job that I’d lost, and paid 3x what I had been getting working for Boss. Six months later, Boss was still looking for my replacement. It was a small town and he had already built himself a reputation bad enough that no one wanted to work for him.

    1. Abundant Shrimp*

      I shared the office with the accountant* the admin assistant was me. I hadn’t said a word to her about my plans to quit. She found out the same time Boss did. She was a bit hurt about that, but I explained that I didn’t want to put her in a position where boss could accuse her of knowing my plans, but not having told him.

  60. Democracy is Union Strong!*


    Unionized my old school DC NGO then filed the first grievance against my PIP weaponizing boss and won. Then quit and moved to a new state (which was the plan all along).

    Union made things a bit better for everyone (a few Directors were moved along due to their long term bullying and harassment and the HR director quit – she had been a big time enabler of all this nonsense) and stopped this boss and his boss from bullying our team.

    Did I play a huge part in all this chaos primarily to mess with my boss and his boss? Yup.

    Nuked that bridge for sure!

    1. ferrina*

      Unionizing the organization is the best way to fight against terrible management. Well done!

  61. Light that bridge up*

    When I was fresh out of college I took a job at a local manufacturing plant that was owned by someone my dad had a loose connection to. When I interviewed I was very clear that I was going to grad school for engineering in the fall of the next year, and the company owner said that was great, and that they would also ensure I got some time with their in house engineers. Basically it was supposed to be like an internship/job hybrid where I would work on some small health and safety projects as well as work with the engineering team. Crucially the safety manager had said that she only had about 15-20 hours worth of work for me.

    My first month went great. I was given a raise after thirty days and my boss was thrilled with the progress I made on the projects I was assigned as I had essentially finished them in about a quarter of the time she’d anticipated.

    Literally the day after my review where I got the raise the owner of the company called me into his office and said that I was not performing up to snuff and that I’d been handed a terrific opportunity that I was wasting. He was professionally cruel when I asked for examples. Basically it was the scene in Gilmore Girls where Mitchum tells Rory she “doesn’t have it.”

    I went home, and tried to rally but he tore my confidence to shreds. I came back in the next day and was told that my time would be split doing filing in the finance department. I asked about when I was supposed to be working with the engineering team and he said “I have no idea what you’re talking about, that was never something we discussed.” I stuck it out for another month before I said “F*** this” and went in and said I was quitting.

    Apparently after I left another 5 people who had had long tenures at the company left shortly afterwards. I heard through the grapevine that at least one of them was influenced by the fact that a 22 year old was unwilling to put up with the insanity, and it made him rethink his own choices.

  62. Knittercubed*

    I worked at a Fotomat booth after college in a parking lot. It was the 70s, recessionary times, no jobs. The new employee manual was 4” thick in a 20# binder. It was winter. The booth had no heat. The booth also had no bathroom….you were told to use the bathroom in the furniture store across the road.

    So in my first week I was written up for not adequately sweeping the booth. My next scheduled day was Sunday. I had to go to the bathroom but the furniture store was closed. I filled out a film envelope with “I quit” written on it, locked up, put the keys in the drop box and went home.

    Fotomat died in 2009.

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Yeah, I worked in, and helped manage a gas station that was right near a Fotomat.

      The city asked about a rest room, “where will your employees ‘go’???” And they said “the gas station, we’ve made arrangements.”

      They had NOT. But – my boss went to the next city council meeting and said no formal arrangement exists BUT the employee was free to use our station – AS LONG AS WE WERE OPEN.

      Then the Arab oil embargo hit. We went from 24×7 to 4 hours a day (6-10 am) 5 days a week. So the “Fotomate” had, no place to go within reasonable walking distance.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I too was a “fotomate”. I was told the bathroom was in the bank and then the bank closed. The only option then became the employee bathroom at the gas station and it was gross.

      But the air conditioning in my booth worked like a charm.

  63. Janeway, Her Coffee In Hand*

    Not my bridge burning but one I witnessed. Angelica was a junior but extremely competent member of our marketing team. One day I noticed that she’d cleared out a bunch of items from her desk. She explained it away as “spring cleaning”. Cut to Friday in our big weekly meeting. At the close of the meeting, Angelica gets up and declares to everyone “I’m done with this place, I quit”. Walks out, grabs her bag, and is gone. Everyone is so confused, we didn’t know anything was wrong. I’d never seen this happen at this company before.

    A year later, I found out what happened. Angelica is Jewish. Her Director has a daughter with ADHD. During a meeting with a vendor, the Director made a joke about how she needed to find a summer program for her daughter and said she was going to send her to a “concentration camp”. When confronted about the joke later, she refused to apologize and acted like Angelica was overreacting, which prompted her to leave. Yikes!

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Oh no! That’s really terrible. Good on Angelica for making her point.

      (And to be honest, that would be a terrible joke even if there weren’t any Jewish people present. But Director’s stiff-neckedness is just awful!)

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      WHOA. I am not Jewish and I find that truly offensive. (I am also of German origin and I have ADHD, but that may or may not be relevant.) That’s just awful.

      Also, Janeway is my #1 captain. Just sayin’.

    3. Non-profit drone*

      Wow. That is hideous. I hope Angelica spread the word far and wide about the anti-semitic director.

  64. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Only once. And while it didn’t do ME any good – it DID cause the higher-ups at corporate HQ to review the entire salary structure of the place – some people with many years of experience were making far less than newbies.

    Sure, I could’ve sold my house, moved into a trailer park and continued to drive junk cars. Then again, I was in IS/IT and it was just so easy to jump and get that 33% increase in pay.

    I wasn’t hesitant to say so in my exit interview. And stated that I attempted to get this “fixed” for six months, was laughed at, and it was time to stop negotiating with a brick wall. It didn’t save my career at that company, but because I (and several others) resigned around the same time, and for the same reasons, the executives of this very large company ordered an audit – and fixes – and for some, major retroactive increases.

  65. Anonforthis77*

    Worked at a portrait photography studio brieflly in high school, back when those were more common. This was locally prestigious; I was supposed to be in training to be behind the camera, but it was all admin as the head photographer turned out to have jealousy issues letting anyone else being behind the lens (including the other photographers she’d hired as employees).

    Zero training on using the computer system, bare bones training on answering the phone, and mostly I stuffed envelopes with fliers or sorted developed prints for customers. The highlight of the day was the trip to get lunch, led by the photographer’s son, and there was a lot of goofing off. At 16, this was great! They even took my senior pictures for free.

    Cue two months in, when head photographer starts screaming at her son at the top of her lungs and dropping F bombs in front of customers. Apparently he’d followed in his already-fired sibling’s footsteps and had been stealing money from the business. Suddenly there were no lunch breaks, my senior pictures weren’t free, and I got yelled at a lot for not knowing how to do things or even that I should be doing them.

    The kicker was a two month review a week later telling me how terrible I was for being untrainable, even though there had been no training. I quit that night by leaving my newly-arrived embroidered t-shirts behind with the keys on top. Yep, they’d left me alone to lock up even though I was apparently incompetent.

    1. ferrina*

      Gotta love when you are “too irresponsible” for any perks and they spend soooo much energy reprimanding you, yet you are somehow responsible for major business needs that they don’t want to do.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yeah, there’s a lot of terrible people who use this tactic and it’s ridiculous. “You’re so incompetent…btw, you’re working the overnight shift by yourself, best of luck.” Sheeeesh.

  66. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    Not me but the office next to me. New boss was making things difficult. One employee went on her morning break and then texted a coworker from the parking lot to let them know her ID and keys were on her desk and she would not be returning.

    1. CorruptedbyCoffee*

      I worked a fast food restaurant where, due to staffing, I had to close alone. It took me 3 unpaid hours and I got out at 3 am instead of 12. I was exhausted and fell into bed. I was woken up at 4 am by my boss (who came in to bake bread). He called to inform me I missed a spot when mopping the floor and berate me for it. At 4 am. After he knew I closed alone. I quit at 4 am over the phone.

      1. goddessoftransitory*



        I am already assembling my best profanity and building a time machine to unleash on this guy.

    2. Abundant Shrimp*

      Ahh, I saw one of these and heard a story of another.

      At my current job when I just started and we were at that time a brand-new startup and were hiring a LOT, one of the devs we hired went on lunch and didn’t come back. After being worried about her, wondering if she was okay etc, people finally went to look at her desk and she’d left a note on it that she was quitting.

      Not something I personally saw but I love this story so much, a teammate told us that at her old job, a new hire once came in on his first day, went through orientation, told everyone he needed to go get something from his car, and never returned.

      1. I Have RBF*

        One guy started in my IT group, and was sitting with the rest of us on his first day. Now, I have a habit of cussing at my computer, which I did. Not at him, or anything, just a “Stop that, you piece of shit” at my computer. He didn’t show up the next day. He apparently said he “couldn’t work in such a negative environment”. The rest of us were flabbergasted, since we all cussed at our systems.

        1. anon tech writer*

          At ToxicOldJob, we had one of these too – someone showed up for their first day, was there for about an hour, and unfortunately that was the morning that the empty suit who sat in the corner office burst into our open-plan office to deliver one of his monthly tirades.

          Dude just looked around, clicked a few keys on his computer (I assume it was the I Quit email), stood up, got his jacket, set down his badge, and walked.

          I wish we’d known; we’d have applauded him on the way out.

      2. Lis*

        One place I worked a new employee on the first day saw that they were in an open plan office situation with 7 other people in the room, said at lunch they needed to sort out their bank details and left and never came back. When Manager checked up to make sure he hadn’t been hit by a bus he apparently thought that for a data entry role he would have his own office. Which he could just have told us before leaving, no-one would have judged him.

      3. Baby Yoda*

        That happened to me. New employee went to “get cough drops” and just drove off and never returned.

  67. Peanut Hamper*

    I was working at JC Penney when they were going through some changes. (Anyone remember the ex-Apple CEO disaster? It was during that time.)

    I normally worked the closing shift, which meant that the store closed at 9:00 and was normally out of there between 9:30 and 10:00. But then one time they changed the schedule so that I was working until 1:00 in the morning. No notice, no warning, no explanation.

    I am not, by any means, a working until 1:00 in the morning kind of person. And there was all sorts of other bullshittery going that I was just about done with.

    So I simply never went back. Never heard a word from them. But when I was shopping in there a year later my old boss asked me if I wanted to come back to work for them. I’m still confused by that.

    1. Your Mate in Oz*

      The bosses who want you back are the weirdest.

      I quit my first “proper” job after university on bad terms. We had a major project that went badly, once it was done they fired the new business director who had led it, business director took one person with them, they let one person go and I was the only one left from that team. So they sat me down and explained that I wouldn’t be getting the pay rise they’d promised and already delayed once, but I would be “promoted” from Junior Whatsit to Whatsit and if I was lucky I might get a partial pay rise in six months time.

      I started looking, got an offer three days later, and gave my week’s notice. They were furious. They were even more furious when I took my pay slips and exit offer to a labour lawyer who wrote them a nice letter. Then we went to court and it turned out that actually they *did* have to pay out my accumulated time off in lieu, and that the magistrate would be very happy to send them to collections if they didn’t pay me promptly.

      A few years later I ran into one of the directors in the street and he offered me a job. I just about fainted from the shock. But I was polite, I just said I couldn’t imagine ever being that desperate.

    2. N C Kiddle*

      I ghosted a delivery job (they would send me a batch of letters with addresses on Monday and I would send the counterfoils back) when I was 25 and struggling mentally. Three months later I finally got myself in gear to apply for benefits and needed a tax form confirming I’d left that job. I called to apologise and beg for the tax form, and they asked quite cheerfully if I wanted more work.

  68. Dorothy Lawyer*

    I was 21, newly graduated from college and began work at a law firm. I had been there a month, I still had no place to put my purse and lunch (no locker, no desk). I stood at the copier ALL DAY and made copies. Among other petty things, the office manager berated me for stepping out of my high heels as I stood at the copier. I finally went to her, said “I quit,” took my shoes off, and walked barefoot out the door. Still not sorry, she was awful.

    1. anon't*

      I quit a law firm job after a few months too. I had no idea how brutally awful the lawyers were to staff, and was not interested in being treated like a serf. The forecast was for a lovely Friday in May, in Seattle, so Thursday afternoon I went to my boss and noped out.
      She asked if there was anything misleading in the job description etc and I replied that there was no information about being treated so poorly as part of the requirements, and that I would rather be unemployed than endure another day of vileness.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Man, respect, especially in Seattle! HCOL doesn’t begin to describe it.

  69. Fluffy Fish*

    In my 20’s once briefly worked for a gov agency doing outreach and compliance checks on apartment recycling (it was mandatory that complexes recycle).

    My direct supervisor position was vacant so I was reporting to the business recycling lead in the interim.

    All was fine until I was doing rounds on my own. On multiple occasions I, a solo female, was put in situations that turned out ok but if the person wished me harm I would have had no recourse. Think things like people trying to get in my (locked) car, being cornered in back alley’s, etc. When I addressed this with my (also female) acting boss and asked her for guidance on improving my safety, her response was basically “well nothing bad has happened, so its fine?”

    The last straw was when my colleague, also on the business side, tried to show me how to do something totally unsolicited in the computer system. I nicely stated I prefer to try to figure things out on my own, but would for sure come to him if I couldn’t. He immediately turned nasty stating he was just trying to help and I was acting like a know it all etc etc – like aggressively nasty because I didn’t want his super special wisdom.

    I came in the next day, stuck my immediate resignation note in the grandboss’s mailbox (who had hired me), and walked out.

    No regrets and absolutely f both of those former coworkers. If they read here they will absolutely know this is about them and I both hope they do read here and step on a lego barefoot everyday until they die.

    1. Katherine*

      I never understand why some men want to force you to accept them doing you a ‘favour’ that you don’t need or want.

  70. Jake*

    My wife needed to have surgery on her gall bladder. She was working as an RN at a hospital at the time for her first job out of college. When she told her boss about the date of surgery, 4 weeks ahead of the date, she was told the schedule is already made, you have to work unless it is emergent.

    She was in quite a bit of pain, but it wasn’t emergent.

    We had been considering moving across the country for my job at the time, but still had a couple months before it was reality, and it certainly wasn’t set in stone yet. After a lot of discussion, she waited until a week before the surgery, and she quit after the following schedule had been released. We ended up making the cross country move 2 months later, and it was a much easier decision when she wasn’t working.

    During the surgery, they discovered that on top of the gall bladder issue, she had ovarian cancer. Putting off the surgery probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference since her type was very slow growing, but you also just never really know, right?

    This was 11 years ago, and anytime people get hassled by their employer about a medical procedure that doesn’t appear to be emergent for it being inconvenient, I tell them this story. My wife ended up fine, but who knows how it would’ve been if she’d delayed surgery by the 3 months they wanted her to.

  71. CJ*

    Was working as a retail assistant manager, catching more than 40 hours a week. I started back on a PhD program in the fall, and I tried to juggle retail and teaching and classes, but I eventually mid October told the store I had to cut back to part-time non-key lackey – 20 hours maximum, regardless of anything. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I gave my keys back (a 42-hour-week), and looked at the next week’s schedule, which incidentally contained my birthday.

    38 hours, as a “part-time” sales associate.

    The best birthday present I ever gave myself was walking out of that store that day and never returning.

  72. Unkempt Flatware*

    Yes. I worked for a truly awful woman. In fact she is still listed in my top 3 worst humans I’ve ever met. It’s hard to summarize just how bad of a human she really was. I finally had it set up to where my next paycheck would include all my hours worked up to date. I was off the day of that paycheck being cut. She had called me her usual 15 times that day trying to get me to come in because someone else quit. I ignored them all until it was time to go pick up my paycheck. When I walked in she spit out, “where the hell have you been!?” and I mustered all my strength and acting chops to pretend not to understand what she meant. I had been innocently hiking in the deep mountains all day and simply had no idea she needed to reach me! While saying this I smiled as I signed to receive my paycheck, pulled it out of the accordion folder, and said, “see you tomorrow and sorry I missed your calls today!” as I skipped out of the place. Never to see her nasty face again.

  73. David Migicovsky*

    Not a big burn, but I was working as a testing tech in a factory that made cable tv equipment. On Fridays we had to sweep our areas. And one day they announced immediate temporary layoffs AFTER the sweeping, which I thought was petty and churlish.

    We got called back earlier than anticipated, after a couple of weeks that I spent job searching. When I got the call that I had a new, better, job, I did finish my shift – but I also quit with no notice.

  74. Lobstermn*

    Yes. I had a boss who was (and presumably still is) a CEO at a dysfunctional family business. I took a position there as my first job out of school for a career change. Because his CEO job was genuinely quite easy, he would create crises to generate “work” which would then make him feel busy. He had been slowly creating a crisis where he wanted to convert his warehouse to a warehouse/light manufacturing facility without hiring any staff who had experience in manufacturing. As turnover increased, this task fell more and more to me. I was less and less successful in pleading ignorance of manufacturing (true) and impossibility of business case (also true) over time.

    The last straw came from a deliberate provocation, where my boss purchased a concealed carry pistol holster on a company account to which I had access on a Friday afternoon. By this time, I had been conducting a job search and was 2 interviews deep in 2 other companies. I discussed the issue with my spouse, and then returned to the office on Saturday. I let myself in with my key, cleaned out my desk, left instructions for my successor, and then re-armed the security system, locked the door behind me, and returned my keys via mail slot. My resignation, effective immediately, went out by email, and I blocked all communication from my boss’s cell phone or other numbers.

    The office manager made sure my paycheck went to the right place, and after that I never spoke to any of the people in that organization ever again. I got a job with a $10k pay raise a week later, the culmination of previous search.

    1. Mark*

      I’m missing something. How is buying a conceal carry pistol holster on a company account a provocation? It’s not uncommon, in the Midwest anyway, for a business owner to carry a gun.

      1. JSPA*

        Maybe they wanted to claim the LW was buying personal items on the company card? (That’s all I’ve got… Even in states were concealed carry isn’t/wasn’t legal, I don’t think the holsters were?)

  75. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    Sure have. I used to work for a large construction-adjacent contractor, in a role that worked directly with the builders and superintendents who were our clients. It was a high stress, very dysfunctional environment with a horribly petty, high school type office culture. My grandboss liked me, and made the curious move of telling me he was planning to promote me to department manager, and immediately increasing my pay to manager level. (I guess he was afraid I would leave if he didn’t do this, I don’t really know for sure.) Then the promotion ended up going to someone else, but I got to keep my higher pay. Great, whatever. I was already looking for another job at that point.

    About a year later, I finally found another job and left. 3 months after I started my new job, my old company reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in coming back and taking that manager position after all. I was tempted, because it would have been a step up in my career and a good opportunity to get on a management track. So I said sure. Then they proceeded to make me interview for my old job again, after which they sent me an offer…. for my old job, at the old job’s pay rate.

    I was livid at them for deceiving me and wasting my time, so naturally I happily accepted their offer, then ghosted them on my start date, blocked the numbers and emails of everyone there, and left a filthy review on Glassdoor about my experience. Funnily enough, my old grandboss sent me a Facebook friend request years after this all went down and we’re still friends on there to this day. He’s never mentioned it. The company is still limping along and still as chock full of bees as ever.

  76. Not my usual name*

    At the time I was working as a sub-contractor on a military base. My on-site boss, who worked for the primary contractor, decided it was time to retire. He recommended me to the primary contractor as the replacement as I had been the number 2 person for several years and had actually covered his job before he was hired.
    The company decided to reassign another current employee to my base instead. That guy was so incompetent that the base he worked at, told the company if they wanted to keep their contract, they needed to assign someone else. The guy had a bad reaction to that and got banned from the base. He also has a restraining order against him for stalking and sexual harassment against an employee at a third base. He met her at a training event became obsessed.
    When I spoke with the company’s manager, I explained I was fine if they didn’t want to hire me (that’s just life), but they shouldn’t send that guy here. He would just cause problems. They gave me the run around and a bunch of platitudes. So, I dished all the dirt to my local governmental rep, who immediately called the company and asked for explanations and details. In the end, I got a decent boss, but I was told I would never ever work for that company and was limiting my opportunities in this field along with other similar threats. I didn’t care. A few years later the same company got into trouble for losing several million dollars and are no longer a player in my field.

  77. a clockwork lemon*

    This isn’t a very fun story but when I was in law school I spent like two weeks “clerking” for a solo practitioner who put me to work paying his personal bills and designing invitations for some party he was hosting. One day I wore a pair of pants and he claimed his wife had the same pair then touched my thigh, so I quit that day and told my law school career services what had happened so he couldn’t re-post the position on our school’s job board.

    Dude told me I would regret the decision and would have a hard time finding a job after that. I told him that if I wanted to be someone’s personal assistant, I could be doing it for more money and exponentially less student loan debt elsewhere.

    1. newnon*

      oh! oh! when I was in law school about a decade ago, several friends and I all got messages on OkCupid (is that still a thing? idk; I wasn’t actively using it but I got an email that I had a message so I checked it) from a guy claiming to be a local lawyer who basically said if we rejected him he would publicize our photos, tell the law school, and make sure we’d never get jobs as lawyers in our city (not that he had our real names or that the photos were anything problematic, but one of my friends was pretty scared by it anyway). I sent back something like “lol” and then at least two of us took it to the law school. We didn’t know exactly who the guy was or if he was really a lawyer at all, but just to be on the safe side given the threat. IIRC, the director of student life was like “yeah we don’t care if you have an account on a dating website, you’re an adult” and I never heard anything else about it.

      Not a rage quit thing, so off-topic, but your post reminded me. Why do people do that? Gross. He was counting on most of his targets being young women with minimal real-world experience and therefore scared or naive enough to believe him. I’m sure some did. I’ve been fortunate enough never to have it happen in a workplace, but I have friends and family who have. I hope they all learn eventually that the people who make these threats don’t have the industry reputation they think they do.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        I had a friend who did a dual JD/MBA program at an Ivy-adjacent university and they told him at orientation that he should delete or otherwise remove all forms of social media from his life for the duration of the program, but that was more of a “you’re not going to have time for all that” thing… not “law students aren’t supposed to be dating” (?!?!?!) thing.

        1. anon here*

          At the orientation at my Ivy law school in 2007, they told us to lock down our internet and social media presence but it was in the “you can embarrass yourself–and, by extension, us–pretty darn hard these days” way.

  78. hereforthecomments*

    I’ve mentioned this before in the comments, but I was working at toxic-exjob where the staff had just been given a “pep talk” that basically said we should be thankful to have a job, we could all be replaced at any time with no problem and calling us various things such as unprofessional, etc., without any concrete examples. I was already in the process of job hunting at this point in time and a few weeks later I was hired somewhere else. I had a vacation payout coming from this place, hadn’t had a day off in nine months and needed to get myself together before starting new job. I took the “pep talk” at face value and since they would have no problem replacing such an unprofessional employee, I gave one day’s notice. I actually put my resignation letter on the boss’ office chair after she left the day before so that she got it first thing the next morning. That’s the only time I’d ever seen her move with such speed when she came out of her office after reading it (I was watching). The whole day was spent in panic mode trying to get someone else to do what I did (guess I wasn’t so easy to replace). I’m sure I burned that bridge but we’d also been told that the only reference any of us would get was confirming we worked there and the dates, so I didn’t lose anything. I was glad that I did it then and even more so now!

    1. Adverb*

      Did this “pep talk” occur at a team-building exercise in Columbus, OH? If it didn’t I’m horrified to know there are two people who have given that same speech.

      After that talk, and months of blatant gender inequality (I was a guy with an earring in the back office of a bank) I filed a harassment complaint with HR. I had dates, names and witnesses. My harasser, an EVP, was asked to leave. I took credit with my peers, then gave my notice hours later. Neither my department nor HR were pleased with me.

  79. Pokemon Go To The Polls*

    When I was in my early 20’s I worked in a commission-only sales job (do not recommend, by the way!) that did not offer any PTO, people just took time as needed. There was no written policy on time off at all. Business was very slow and we were fully-staffed, so I figured taking a week to visit my grandma would be fine as nobody else was out that week, so I booked plane tickets. My boss said no, I wasn’t selling enough. I went anyway and was fired upon my return, as I assumed I would be.

    Leading up to the trip, I confused the hell out of my boss by showing up for work during a major winter storm (I got a ride from somebody who worked in the area) despite knowing I wouldn’t make any money that day (commission-only+no customers=no paycheck). The boss notoriously refused to close the store for bad weather, despite, again, nobody making a paycheck on those days, so he came in to sit around and be away from his wife and imagine his surprise to find me there having already opened up the store. It was the day before my vacation and it was AWKWARD.

    Semi-interesting details – this was during the financial crisis, and the product we sold didn’t sell well when people were losing their houses or upside down on mortgages, so EVERYBODY had poor sales, not just me. It was also during the slowest period of the year. I was also the only one of my political leaning there and sometimes found it hard to keep quiet when coworkers were being outright racist, which didn’t always make me the most popular person (I’m not sorry for telling them that Obama was indeed NOT an antichrist Muslim terrorist intent on invoking Sharia law in the US). This was also a year after, with no notice, the owner discontinued cash Christmas bonuses ($100/year worked) in exchange for a cheap branded item, with no notice. There were some people who had been there 10+ years and would have been expecting over $1000 and instead got an useless piece of junk. That was the Christmas he spent a month driving his new car around Europe to avoid paying taxes or something. I know personal money is not business money, but the optics were not great on that at all.

    I have no regrets.

    1. Pokemon Go To The Polls*

      Adding that in the two months between the request and the trip, I somehow sold SO MUCH. Like I was top-two in sales for those months, I believe, which worked out alright because you didn’t get paid your commission until the product was delivered and some were two-month lead times, so I had paychecks until I found a job that actually paid me for showing up.

  80. Wonky Policy Wonk*

    I’ve burned exactly one professional bridge in my entire career and I 100% stand behind it. I worked at a really toxic job for a number of years and my resignation was just as toxic, but I made the mistake of agreeing to coming in on Saturdays (for an abysmally low hourly rate) to train my replacement and answer questions (via email or text, specifically noted not to call during work hours) after I started in my new role. I wish I had known about AMA back then, because Alison’s advice about not doing this after quitting is spot on.

    I was getting absolutely swamped with questions from the staff member that was temporarily covering my duties while they trained my replacement. When I didn’t immediate answer her emails, she texted. And if I took more than 5 minutes to text back she called my personal phone. And if I didn’t answer my personal phone she called my work number (it was listed on a public directory, I never gave it to her). I emailed my former boss about it the response was “we’ve [management] discussed this and concluded that this is a personal issue between you and [staff member]. You can work it out between yourselves”. I was just… livid. I sent an email back, after getting payment for the Saturday training I had already completed, stating “I’ve discussed this with myself, because [staff member] is not my coworker or employee, and concluded that this is outside the scope of what we agreed on when I quit. I will no longer be answering questions or coming in on Saturdays to train [replacement], you can work out the transition between yourselves”. I blocked the staff member and my former boss on both my personal phone, marked emails from the company as spam, and screened any calls from them on my work phone. I was going through my spam folder a couple months later to look for something else and came across a reply from my old boss calling me wildly unprofessional while also simultaneously offering me an extra $10/hr to keep training on Saturdays. Gave me a good laugh.

  81. Goldenrod*

    The only time I ever burned a bridge was admittedly at a temp job, so the stakes were low. I figured I wouldn’t be able to work for that temp agency again – but it was worth it, because I was temping in a doctor’s office and the doctor actually yelled at me.

    He thought I’d deleted a draft of an email he’d been editing. To this day, I don’t think I actually lost his edits, but I can’t prove it.

    Anyway, he massively lost it and yelled at me for a few minutes, then stormed out. I was shocked. Then I quietly got up, put on my coat, and left without another word.

    Much to my surprise, my temp agency called me the next day to ask me what happened. When I explained, they actually apologized to me, and extended the offer for me to work again for them anytime! Which I ended up doing and it eventually let to the job I have today.

    To this day, I’m surprised that they actually supported me. All I can think is that this guy had a track record!

  82. Anonymous Again*

    Back in the dark ages, when I was a teenager, I worked for a big box retailer we’ll call “Ball Cart.” We lived in a small rural town without many opportunities for kids to work and this was not a bad job to earn a little spending money. I gained some very valuable lessons about working with the public. I had absolutely no intention of making a career with this company, nor retail in general. I was told I did a good job and was regularly called in when someone called out. After high school graduation, I had my college orientation scheduled. About three months prior, I requested the time off both verbally and in writing. I was assured it would not be a problem. I reminded my manager again at the two month mark and again at the one month mark. After that, I reminded them every week. The week before I was to be gone, the schedule came out, and you guessed it, I was on it. I approached my manager and reminded him of our numerous conversations. He looked at me as if I had sprouted a second head and said I needed to decide if I wanted to go to the orientation or keep working for Ball Cart. I told him it wasn’t a hard choice and quit on the spot. This was very unlike me. As I walked out, he yelled that he would make sure I never worked for Ball Cart again, I yelled back that I would risk it. My parents were surprisingly supportive of my actions. I almost immediately got a job for the rest of the summer at a local nursery with better hours, better pay , working in fresh air, and not having to deal with crazy customers. And I went to my orientation. When I would go in Ball Cart to shop, the manager would just stare at me angrily. I figured it would blow over as turnover there was constant. I was later told that over a year later, he was still using me as an example of the wrong way to quit.

  83. Bookworm*

    I have quit with no 2 week notice (yes, I know it’s a courtesy). I don’t think that quite meets the threshold. Am fairly certain they are not someone I could ask a reference for, though (I wasn’t there for 6 months and it was an internship).

    I have made sure to leave negative reviews for a small business I worked for not long ago. It’s unfortunately a relatively niche field and if the people who I worked with find it, they’ll know. I don’t care, because it was such a toxic environment and there is no other recourse. This field is unfortunately notorious for this type of behavior and I’m tired of it.

  84. Bridgeburner McCyber*

    I quit a 4 person startup the day the founder’s firstborn baby was due, via email, saying that it was effective immediately and that I’d be in touch with legal representation if my wages weren’t paid out. Pretty serious bridge burning moment.

    This was my first job after getting out of the military, and a seriously important resume generating role for me in transitioning into the next phase of my career. The founder took advantage of that by paying me well below market rate, firing the 3/4 of the rest of the team with the understanding that my commitment to the mission would mean I’d work (unpaid) overtime to get things done, and by creating an atmosphere of macho “can’t believe you don’t know this stuff” BS to try to keep the other remaining employees on their heels and unable to gain a position of confidence from which to speak up.

    The last straw for me came when he wanted me to fake results for a client so we could get paid, since we were overdue on a project and the startup was strapped for cash – to the point where nobody had been paid in weeks. I was told to lie, falsify screenshots showing something was implemented that hadn’t been, and then secretly continue working on it under the guise of “ongoing maintenance” in order to get the project to completion.

    I was terrified of refusing. The founder was influential in the industry within the city I was living in at the time, and I had deep concerns about the likelihood of him retaliating. However, I have integrity and refused. He gave me til the end of the day to change my mind, and that was when I started writing my resignation email.

    In the end he did bad mouth me to the client, blamed the project’s failed state entirely on what he claimed as my incompetence. At the time that stung deeply, but now I understand that this reflected far worse on him than it did me. I stand by my decision to burn that bridge, and have had a flourishing post-military career despite this rocky start in which I’m proud to say that I’ve always stayed true to my personal values.

  85. goddessoftransitory*

    I once worked at a tee shirt store where the very good manager was poached by another place. The woman who replaced her seemed fine at first, but grew more and more erratic and odd over the ensuing weeks. It culminated in a phone call from her kid’s school saying he hadn’t arrived; when I told her about it, she flipped out and yelled at us for “violating her privacy.”

    This led to us finding an explanation for her behavior–a hidden bottle of booze in her wastebasket. We employees (three of us) got together and faxed a request to the corporate headquarters to release this person, as she was A) a bad employee and B) still in her trial period. They replied that they “couldn’t” do so due to said trial period, even though that was entire point of that setup in the first place. It was clear that they didn’t care who “managed” the store (they were on the opposite coast) as long as somebody was holding the title.

    So all three of us went to our old manager at her new store, got jobs with her, and quit en masse. Corporate saved themselves one hassle in hiring a new manager, sure, but they no longer had a staff!

  86. Anon for this*

    Long long ago I had a job that was full of bees – missing crucial supplies and safety equipment, late/short pay, boss that would randomly lose her temper and start screaming – all kinds of great stuff! Despite this I did my job as agreed, finished out the contract I’d signed, and simply declined to re-sign for another contract. I gave them something like 5-6 weeks’ notice that I planned on leaving after my contract ended.

    A week after my contract finished, they called me asking me to come back and I said no thank you. I later heard that my replacement had ghosted them and that’s probably why they’d called.

    Apparently that was my fault lol, as they proceeded to harass me with threats to sue me for libel and for encouraging my replacement to leave (I didn’t – she just saw, correctly, that they were full of bees), and even threatened to interfere with my new job (fortunately I had lied to them about where I was moving on to).

    I didn’t burn that bridge on purpose, but I’m definitely not mad about it being a smoking crater now.

  87. Alf*

    Not me, but this was a legendary story at the first restaurant where I worked, a popular downtown brunch place. A previous kitchen manager had a strong hatred of cooking egg whites – he felt like it disrupted the entire flow of everything to stop and carefully separate the yolk from the rest of the egg. Over time, he got angrier and angrier at customers who ordered egg whites, especially during the weekend rush. One Sunday, when an order for egg whites came in, he decided he’d had enough. He took the bill and demanded to know which table had ordered it. When the server told him, he marched over to the table, slammed the bill down, and said, “Buddy, you can cook your own f&$@! egg whites.” He tore off his apron, walked out, and never came back.

    1. Cranjis McBasketball*

      Not a very smart kitchen manager apparently… this is a brunch place, so I assume they serve eggs Benedict dishes, right? Which come with Hollandaise sauce – made with egg yolks. Is this dude separating the eggs for the yolks, dumping the whites, then complaining he has to separate another egg instead of, I don’t know, saving the whites somewhere knowing people will ask for them?

  88. HiddenC*

    I burned the bridge at my last job. My boss was the owner of the business and there was only one other employee. The problems with that place were myriad, but I stayed way longer than I should have out of a misplaced sense of loyalty (she didn’t fire me during the pandemic once she got a PPP loan, although she literally didn’t allow me to work from home even during the height of it, despite it being 100% doable) as well as the fact that job searching is literally like torture for me (likely due to neurodivergence). By the time I found my current job, I spent most days being one comment away from screaming at her (I didn’t scream at her ever, but I came close many times). I gave her a month notice to find someone else, which she didn’t bother to do (which didn’t surprise me, since she never bothered to replace the employee who quit a year after I started, instead making me do her job on top of mine). About a week before my last day, I realized that I had several days of vacation I never used, and asked her if they would be paid out (she wasn’t legally required to). She refused to answer me despite me asking a couple times, so I decided that day was my last day (she’d already left for the day, she often left hours before close). I set up my desk with all the info she needed for the last couple small projects that were due that week and texted her the next morning that everything was there and she shouldn’t have any issues picking things up. She went “wow, I was gonna talk to you about it this morning, but okay”. I just replied “then you should have told me that.”

    The following weekend I went by on a Saturday and pushed my office key through the mail slot. She never paid out those vacation days, but she did accidentally pay me the paycheck on the following month because she was a Luddite and didn’t realize that the payroll account she’d made for me was *mine* despite her giving it a generic name (the name of my one-person department). So she tried to pay whoever she’d hired through that account and it went to me. Of course it was reversed the next day and I didn’t try to spend any of it, but I often wonder just how badly everything has gone to hell since I left last year.

  89. whatchamacallit*

    I’m just assuming this bridge was burned. I have never bothered to follow up.
    My first job out of college, I worked in an office as a temp-to-hire. The temp contract was 9 months (In hindsight, I would never accept a temp-to-hire contract that long.) and paid 11 dollars an hour, and of course I got no PTO as a temp. There were other benefits I didn’t get as well since I was not a direct hire, like transportation benefits, so I was both making less money than direct hires and paying more for my commute than them. Unsurprisingly, there was massive turnover, and it seems like their hiring process for entry level at least was always temp to hire through staffing companies, rather than just direct hiring. I lost count of how many people quit/fired in my less than a year there. Horribly strict rules. Women were required to wear pantyhose, even under pants. My first week I was reprimanded by my supervisor because I wore dress pants and ballet flats and, gasp, it was my bare feet in my flats, when I needed to be wearing pantyhose. I could go on. (This was 2015. Not 1970.)
    Anyway, I quickly decided I would be getting out somehow and ended up applying and getting into grad school and was given enough of a scholarship that I decided I could make it work. I decided to travel to admitted students day, which required me to take a Friday off. Since I had no PTO, I called in sick that day. When I got back after the weekend, I was called into the main boss’s office. Immediately, I thought I was getting fired for unexcused absence. (I had had a few others where I was straight up interviewing for other jobs.) Instead, I was told they were really impressed with me and were getting the temp agency to waive their fee so they could make me permanent month early. They asked “So what do you think? Are you thinking about sticking around for awhile?” I said yes.

    Several months later, I triumphantly turned in my resignation letter saying I was moving out of state. I’m sure they were pissed. I didn’t care. If I’d been paid as a permanent employee to begin with, I don’t think I even would have been looking at grad school. I’m sure they still have massive turnover problems.

  90. Nora*

    I left a nonprofit whose CEO was horribly mistreating me. On my way out I had the agency blacklisted from the local university’s internship program. My next employer happened to be a state agency which sometimes paid the nonprofit for services rendered. I casually mentioned to the agency head that the nonprofit did not employ any licensed practitioners whose work would qualify for payment. Whoopsie daisy. Should have given me my last paycheck on time.

  91. Golf*

    This is a local industry legend. A senior person who worked at an ESOP announced their plans to retire in a year giving the company time to fill their role, but was starting to not really care about much. Word got out that there were plans to by a Golf Simulator to woo customers. Senior person was unimpressed with how they were spending a huge chunk of money when the company always stressed about profits and savings benefiting all the employees of said ESOP. Senior person waited until the golf simulator was formally announced at a company wide meeting and got up to question the purchase and the intelligence of company Pres and other leadership. After a string of cursing they were escorted out and retirement started early. Why not go out in a blaze when you can retire anyway.

  92. MysticAlpaca*

    My former employer definitely sees this as bridge burning, but I see it as justified karma for rampant gender bias. I started my career in a consulting firm in a historically male dominated industry. Almost immediately I noticed a distinct pattern–a man and woman would be hired to the same team at the same time, with similar levels of experience, but the man would always come in at a slightly higher level and with significantly more pay than the woman. There were always justifications–“he had an MBA, not an MS”, or “he spent 2 years working instead of getting an MBA”, etc–the only consistency was that the men always came out higher.

    The final straw for me was learning that an incompetent (male) coworker of mine at the same level as me was making 30% more than I was. I literally had 10x the sales as he had that year, which supposedly made up 80% of our performance evaluation metric. Soon after, one of my clients gave me an offer to come in-house for close to double my salary, which I happily took.

    Then the “bridge burning” started. My new company still had a contract for the same work with my previous company, which I got to manage from the client side now. My old company replaced me with one of the incompetent, overpaid men on their side. Predictably, he did a subpar job–missed deadlines, significant errors (which he blamed our team for), and an arrogant attitude on top of everything. This wasn’t just my opinion– my new boss and coworkers all noted this man’s arrogance and how much of a drop in quality there was compared to my previous work. Our contract was up about a year after I joined, and we sent the project out to bid. Even though we knew we wouldn’t choose them, we still invited my former company to bid on the project (which is a lengthy process), but ultimately chose a different vendor.

    When we shared the news, one of the partners from my old job called me up to tell me how much I’d regret this and how much I had messed up his metrics for the year by losing this project, and how disrespecting “where I came from” would haunt me in the future. So far no haunting yet, our new consultant does an amazing job, and at least 6 other women from my previous firm left to work for clients and then fired our old company. So maybe it was our old company that burned the bridge with us.

  93. DoNotDisturb*

    I definitely thought I burned this bridge….. but I quit a job about 2 years ago that was super toxic. I’d received another job offer and told them that’s why I was leaving, but the real issues were that my boss was super toxic and verbally abusive, and I could see that the company was close to going under.

    In my exit interview, HR could tell I was trying to be more conservative and filter my responses. He told me that he knew the issues on the team I was leaving and had experienced them himself, so to please be honest. With that, I was 100% honest…. I told him that my manager had no business managing a team (folks I supervised) and that she was actively creating not only a toxic environment where the whole team was looking for ways to leave, but that she was making the work more difficult by not allowing us to streamline processes. Those were my 2 major bits of feedback, but there was much more in between – including verbal abuse, backwards processes, me having to be a buffer for the team so that they wouldn’t have to deal with her directly, etc. Most of my staff called me within a week at my new spot complaining that they didn’t know she was ‘that bad’ and that they were sorry they didn’t do more to help me manage up. 3 months after I left, they were all laid off and I provided references for some of them.

    The funny thing is, I thought I’d burned that bridge and they reached out to me to try and rehire me when they restructured. I ended up staying at my current company, moved to a better role for my skillset, and even got a significant raise in the process!

  94. KP*

    Not me, but I was very proud of my daughter for the way she left a job a few years ago. She was placed by an agency as a temp-to-permanent hire. It was a new industry for her so steep learning curve. They assured her there would be lots of training and that she would be hired and eligible for benefits after the first 90 days. They trained her for 2 days, then there were newer hires who needed training so they said, “Let us get them up and running and we’ll get back to your training” but they never got back to her, in spite of her repeated requests. She was expected to just “figure it out for now” and this went on and on. She DID figure it out, but it was a lot harder than it needed to be. She created elaborate spreadsheets, task lists, and priority flowcharts so she didn’t lose track of anything. Meanwhile, at 90 days they said, “We can’t hire you right now because [reasons] but you’re doing a great job and we absolutely love you so we’re going to extend your temp contract another 30 days then you’ll get hired and be eligible for benefits.” Repeat this conversation every 30 days for a few months. All the while, she was told she was doing a great job and we don’t know how we ever lived without you, etc. Finally when she pushed for a decision on hiring her as a permanent employee, they let her go because she “just wasn’t able to get up to speed on all her tasks” – the ones she’d been begging for training on and had been told she was doing great figuring it all out on her own. She wasn’t really mad about being let go at that point, but in her words, “I’ll be damned if the next person they hire gets to waltz in and make it look easy because of all the groundwork I did when I was told to basically train myself.” So she said goodbye to the coworkers she liked, waltzed into her office, and proceeded to shred and delete every spreadsheet, task list, and flowchart she had created to help her stay on task and meet deadlines. Towards the end of her time there, her grandmother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and she requested a few days off to go see her. She was strongly discouraged from going and it was implied it might hurt her chances of becoming a permanent hire. But by that time the writing was on the wall and she went anyway. The parting of ways was a few months later and I don’t think her absence was ever a real factor in that, they just wanted to use a temp without having to pay benefits for as long as they could string her along. But as she later said, if she’d missed that opportunity to see her grandmother for those jerks, she’d have never forgiven herself or them.

  95. Stella70*

    Worked for a small family business, a husband and wife “team” – the husband was fearful of her and his own shadow, and the wife was every type of awful.
    (Early on my first day of work, their St Bernard head-butted me, causing a massive nose bleed that wouldn’t quit. My yellow blouse looked like I had been shot. Even though I only lived three blocks away, she would not allow me to run home and change my clothes, saying I was conceited if I thought anyone would pay any attention to me.
    She knew cigarette smoke triggered my migraines, so she always had a Marlboro lit when she was standing near my desk, and insisted I keep an ashtray for her use.
    She once set me up on a blind date with the ex-husband of a friend of hers. I tried to decline, and she made it very clear that declining would cost me my job. My blind date turned out to be 62. I was 23. She didn’t like him, either.)
    She loved Vegas; she was obsessed. That year’s “long” trip – 7 days – coincided with a project that needed completion. I was never smart enough, in her mind, to assist with her work, but she had to make an exception or postpone the trip. She prepped me for weeks, and the abuse was off the charts. I decided I would rather live outdoors than continue working there.
    They left for Vegas on a Thursday afternoon. I was to complete the project with the client the next day (Friday), plus handle a few more (admittedly, important) tasks as well that day.
    Before I left Thursday evening, I sent a fax (yes, I’m old) addressed to them, to the front desk of their Vegas hotel. It read something like, “You may want to cut your trip short, since I quit.”
    Then I securely locked up the business and left the key with the business next door.
    They did have to fly back early, and they tried to withhold my last check as punishment (the Department of Labor stepped in).
    It sounds terrible and macabre to admit, but years later, when I ran across her obituary, my first thought was that she would not be able to abuse anyone else. Unfortunately, husband passed before her, so he never knew a day of peace.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      Nothing terrible about it. If someone wants people to be sorry she’s gone, she shouldn’t live in a way that triggers Champagne corks popping and fireworks when she passes.

    2. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

      Just realized this is Stella70 of the Holiday Party story!
      I concur with previous comments on other threads that you MUST write a book!

  96. Former HR Disney Princess*

    Oh yes! Back when I was young in my HR career, I worked for a manager who was narcissistic, terrifying, and rude. Some examples were her yelling at the payroll manager for not being as fast as she used to be (she was going through chemo and STILL came to work every day!), talking ALOT about guns and how she has many, telling the entire HR team that we are not to be bubbly and fuzzy HR because “we tell people what to do, and don’t need to ask.”

    The day I knew I had to leave was when I made a small error in a spreadsheet (easily correctable), and she pulled me into her office and, loudly enough for the whole department to hear, berated me for embarrassing myself; the department, and her. She did not stop until I cried.

    I grabbed my things the next day, went to another HR director, and told her I was leaving. She apologized and told me I was the THIRD HR rep they’d had in three years. This was an ongoing issue. I did not need nor want my old manager’s reference. I’m no longer in HR and leaving was the best thing I ever did.

    1. allathian*

      It’s odd they didn’t see the writing on the wall and fire the incompetent and abusive manager.

  97. Helen_of_the_Midwest*

    This was a bridge that I attempted to burn but didn’t succeed in burning. When I was 22, right out of college, I did a year in a stipend volunteer program similar to Americorps, making sub-minimum wage working full-time at a nonprofit. I was one of four people total who worked at the nonprofit and was the youngest by 37 years (as in, my coworkers ranged in age from 59 to 73). It was a toxic, dysfunctional cesspit and deeply ineffective at its mission, to boot–an absolute hotbed of racism, misogyny, and transphobia despite supposedly having a justice-focused mission. The nonprofit’s CEO had been active in local politics before, but he wasn’t an office-holder or candidate when I worked for him.

    Fast-forward a few years. The winter I was 25, I heard that the CEO was running a primary challenge against an incumbent I liked. Our area is sufficiently dominated by one party that the primary was the election that mattered, and the office at play was extremely influential. I felt like I had a major decision to make. The CEO had participated in a lot of toxic environment sexual harassment during my time at the nonprofit (never creeping on me, but making lots of generally inappropriate comments and jokes, etc.), and I’d caught whiffs of potential misclassification of my (measly) salary as a “program expense” (which, based on my position, it definitely wasn’t), but I didn’t have a paper trail or anything.

    There was a lot of more damning information about him already publicly available, but I still wondered if my coming forward could tilt the election results, and I agonized over whether I was ready to be a whistleblower. I decided to try to come forward anonymously, and I cold-DMed a local politics blogger on Twitter asking for advice. She put me in touch with a local journalist and also advised me to write to Alison, which is how I found out about AAM. Alison didn’t publish my letter, and the local journalist decided my testimony wasn’t worth publishing either, so nothing happened, but in the meantime I took that job off my LinkedIn profile, removed my former coworkers from there as contacts, changed some privacy stuff on my social media, etc. It was a terrifying few weeks.

    And then! Two years later, the guy decides to run another primary challenge against the same incumbent, despite having lost the last time! At this point I’ve had two years of mulling over whether I’d been the right combination of brave and cautious in trying to come forward anonymously, I’m two years further into my career, and I’ve got more potential references and a more established reputation. I am beyond caring. I write a factual but scathing op-ed, sign it, and send it to my local paper. And . . . nothing. They don’t publish it. So I send it to another, smaller journalism outlet, and they also say it’s not a fit for them. At which point I give up.

    So yeah, I don’t think I’ve managed to burn a bridge with this nonprofit and its (now former) CEO, because they don’t know any of what I’ve been doing on this front, but damn it, I *tried.*

    1. NothingIsLittle*

      Advice from someone whose mother held local office, go to the person he’s running against! That is the person with the most to gain from the story getting out and the most channels to disseminate it. Maybe they still decide not to platform it, but they’re your best bet getting the story out under a lot of circumstances.

  98. The Bridge is So Burned*

    Not using my usual posting name, just in case.

    I was at a job and just miserable for a variety of reasons. I gave 4 weeks notice, and that only meant people went out of their way to make my remaining time more intolerable. So as I spend the weekend dreading how my last week is going to go, I realize I have 99% of my stuff wrapped up, and so my plan is to go in Monday to cross my Ts and dot my Is and then walk out the door that afternoon never to return.

    Well, I get in Monday morning and promptly see an email announcing there will be a lockdown drill at 10am! Oh no, oh no, oh no. I cannot be locked in a little windowless room with these people. I started sobbing at my desk.

    No one else was there yet, but I know I have, at best, 5 minutes to act. So I fired off an email to my boss saying “I quit, effective immediately,” closed my laptop, left my keys and security badge on top and just………left.

    I cried the whole way home. Just heaving sobs. But it felt really good to finally take back the slightest bit of power in that moment.

  99. J. Cavanaugh*

    I absolutely did. My last job, I left without notice and left a scathing letter spelling out why I was leaving, why their turnover was a fifth of their staff in under a year, why people were unhappy and complaining… I went DEEP. Not that I think they cared at all.

    They were all very young (only 4 people were over 40) and using techniques they thought were cutting-edge, but had been debunked as ineffective at best and harmful at worst. They hired mostly new college grads because their lack of work experience meant they could be manipulated to give up extra time and attention to the company. They also hired these kids from other states, so the only real relationships they’re able to build are with coworkers.

    It was bad, and I’ve never done anything like that before, but it was destroying my mental health and something had to be said.

    And then, about 6 months after J left, they were reabsorbed by the parent company that had sponsored the President and CEO in striking out in their own. The company I worked for (and burned the bridge with) no longer exists.

  100. Just Me*

    I took a job working for my pastor in his private medical practice (he was both a pastor and a doctor). There was no HR and he was the sole owner. On more than one occasion, when calling me to discuss a work issue, he would start the conversation with, “I’m just calling to flirt with you, but it’s OK, because my wife is right beside me.” (Cue the wife’s maniacal cackling in the background at his “joke”.) During the 7 months I worked for him, he commented on my body, clothing, and hairstyles, and told me he loved me frequently. He also warned me to keep an eye on him in the presence of one of his female patients, because she reminded him of his wife early in their relationship. I was in deep denial about his behavior because he was a “man of God”, but my mental health was suffering. Finally, I confided in a friend who set me straight about how wildly inappropriate his behavior was. A couple of days after the conversation with my friend, he came into the office early in the morning when no one else was around and put his hands on me and told me had thought about me all the way to work and he loved me (in a godly, nonromantic way, of course). I literally fled the office immediately and officially quit the job in a meeting with him and his wife at church the following Sunday. Shortly after, my husband and I left the church too – we were “invited” to leave by the pastor’s father in law, who was the bishop. That pastor/boss was the worst human being I’ve ever known and I regret nothing.

    1. Rainy*

      You know, I grew up in a religious cult with rampant abuse, harassment, violence, etc, and I still don’t think I’ve ever observed or heard of anyone being as blatant and immediate as your former employer/pastor was about what a terrible person they were. Yikes.

      I’m so sorry he did this to you (and probably every other woman he encountered) and I hope that you have recovered.

      1. Just Me*

        Thank you. I’m doing well, but it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, for sure. I’m 100% sure he was a narcissist who thoroughly enjoyed getting away with shockingly inappropriate things because of his status as a pastor and doctor.

  101. Nightengale*

    This bridge was burnt on my behalf

    I’m a physician in an incredibly niche specialty. 758 of us in the country. I knew this was the type of doctor I wanted to be but ended up in a residency program that didn’t have any. We had a required rotation in the area but it was run by other people. Think I wanted to be a llama groomer and our program had a llama costume designer and a llama haberdasher who did some grooming but was not a trained groomer. For most residents it gave them sufficient exposure to the field but I was dead set on being a groomer. Oh and legally we had to have a groomer as faculty to maintain accreditation.

    I had reached out to a larger program about doing an elective with their grooming staff and they seemed amenable. Meanwhile, our program got dinged for not having a groomer and brought someone in from out of state periodically to give lectures and advise. Of course I glommed onto him pretty quickly and he remains a mentor to this day. He supported my request to do the elective. I put in an application for the elective and it was denied. He went to a meeting on my behalf and was still denied.

    His commentary on this meeting will stick with me forever in his particular accent. “The first thing I did when I got here was say ‘here’s a nice bridge – let’s burn it!'”

  102. Jay (no, the other one)*

    I tried once but it didn’t take.

    My first job out of fellowship was at an urgent care center. We’d moved for less than a year so my husband could do a post-doc and I figured part-time work would be a nice way to recover from residency and fellowship. I should have known I was in trouble when the hiring partner looked at my CV and said “you did a whole residency!” and then turned the page and discovered I was board-certified and his jaw dropped. Anyway.

    I’d been there about six months when I walked in one morning and the staff told me the hiring partner, who supervised the part-timers, had reviewed my charts the day before and was coming to talk to me. Ok, fine. He arrived about 11:00 AM and proceeded to tell me that he’d noticed I wasn’t using the rapid strep tests (this was 1990 – they were brand new and basically useless). I said no, I’d read the literature and didn’t think they would add anything to my assessment. He said he disagreed. I was certainly willing to listen – he’d been in practice much longer than I had – and waited for him to tell me the evidence. Instead he said. “We make $7.50 profit every time you do one.”

    I said “I hope you’re free the rest of the day, because I’m scheduled to work until 8:00 PM and I quit. I will change my practice based on evidence or the best interests of the patient. I’m not changing it so you – or me – or anyone else can make more money.” Stood up, took off my white coat, and picked up my purse.

    He said “That won’t be necessary.” I waited. He shrugged, turned around, and left. I worked there until we left town the following spring and I never saw him again.

  103. Kesnit*

    This one wasn’t me.

    Sometime around May or June 2018, the office where I had worked for a year hired a new person to replace the one who had recently left. New Guy seemed pretty nice and I was looking forward to working with him.

    Our office opened at 8:30. I always tried to arrive around 8 because (1) I lived 45 minutes away and wanted the buffer travel time, and (2) there were mornings when I had to be there by 8:10 and decided it would be best to just always arrive for those days. So most every day, I had the office to myself until people started arriving about 8:20.

    Imagine my shock when I arrived at 8 to find New Guy (who had been working there about 2 weeks) standing outside the front doors. I thought he had arrived early for something but had forgotten his keys. Nope. He had left a two-line resignation letter and his keys on the boss’s desk, then waited for me to show up so he wasn’t leaving the doors unlocked. He tried to explain to me why he was leaving, but I did not understand. (A coworker told me later she knew why, but never explained).

    By 2022, I was realizing the office was toxic and by 2023, I knew I had to get out. I often think of New Guy, wonder where he is now, and wonder how things would have turned out if I had understood him back in 2018.

    (If a reader recognizes this story and recognizes yourself as New Guy, please let me know.)

  104. Untamed Shrew*

    Not work-related, but we did burn a bridge with my daughter’s high school basketball coach/team. We didn’t burn it actually — we nuked it.

    This particular coach from the outside appears to be an outstanding coach, with a record number of career game wins, 20 trips to the state final four, and 7 state titles. Once we got onto the team, we found that she’s an absolutely horrible person, and she and her staff treat the girls on the team abominably. Berating them constantly for no good reason, blaming specific players for game losses in front of the team — just really bad.

    The last straw came when the head coach sent out an “anonymous survey” to the girls on the team that was a list of questions asking who they did and didn’t like. Questions like, “Who do you think should speak up more?” and, “Who do you think should speak less?” And also, “Who is your best teammate?” and “Who is your worst teammate?”

    It was so appalling that we decided we didn’t want our daughter being coached or in any way influenced by someone with judgement skewed enough to think that doing something like that was a good idea. Can you imagine what would happen if a manager sent something like that out to their employees?! Plus, basketball is my daughter’s passion and she wants to play in college, and the team culture, environment, and coaching were so poisonous that it was draining all the joy from the thing she loves most. It was so bad that was ready to throw in the towel and just quit.

    We sent an email with screenshots of the survey to the school principal and copied the superintendent and everyone on the school board. My husband sent a text to the parent group chat stating that we were pulling our daughter off the team effective immediately, citing the coaching as the reason with some comparisons to Bobby Knight (which were right on point). We removed her from the team, pulled her from the weight training class that the coach teaches, and enrolled her at another school with an excellent basketball program starting next year.

    And, we have shared the story of the “anonymous survey” — as well as the accompanying screen shots — with every single person we can think of in the local sports community. When the dust settles, we’ll probably reach out to the media as well.

    Treating children that way — and these girls are children, even though they’re in high school — and pitting them against each other, encouraging them to snipe and gossip behind each other’s backs when you’re in a position of trust is just so utterly repugnant. Our mission is to make that woman’s life as unpleasant as possible.

    1. Satellite Gal*

      I would have responded to “who should speak less” and “who is the worst teammate” with the coaches names! ha.

      1. Untamed Shrew*

        HA!! That would have been awesome.

        After we talked it over, my daughter responded to all the negative questions with, “I’m not going to trash talk my teammates.” We talked about how horrible it would feel for your name to be the answer to one of those questions, and she didn’t want any of her teammates to feel that way.

        1. allathian*

          Your daughter has a good head on her shoulders and her heart is in the right place. You’re teaching her to stand up for herself and for others when they’re being poorly treated, and she can do that because she knows you have her back no matter what.

          I hope your daughter thrives at her new school next year and that the school has a decent human as a basketball coach.

  105. Ama*

    I have never *had* to burn a bridge but I learned from my last job that when I start idly fantasizing about situations where I would be justified in burning a bridge and quitting on the spot, it’s time for me to start looking. That’s apparently how my subconscious tells me I’m unhappy at work.

  106. James*

    Oh boy. I worked on the team developing sites for a novel technology. I had a good relationship with the CFO and Chief Legal Officer and a strained relationship with my boss, who was very touchy (the kindest way I can think of framing it) and borderline incompetent when it came to managing details. My boss and CFO absolutely HATED each other, though our CEO for reasons unknown really liked my boss. I led several site acquisitions and we were beginning to prep them for financing for the new technology when the prototype started failing dramatically. That was irrecoverable and we had to begin to sell our existing sites.

    I led the process to sell our sites, was far along on documentation for one site, and our best site had received a couple offers. The sales from these sites would bring in enough revenue for us to sell our patent portfolio and wind down he company as gracefully as possible. If the sales failed then a graceful winddown would be impossible. Unbeknownst to me, after we had already presented offers internally on our best site, and (I thought) made a decision, my boss approached the CEO directly with his own offer to buy the best site. His price was better by the barest of margins, and he had a financing contingency. The CEO told my boss that we would accept his offer. I went to bat against it, along with CFO and CLO. My boss proceeded to start lobbying me to support his offer. I simply kept it bland and didn’t say I would or wouldn’t.

    One day my boss asked to take me to dinner. I mentioned it to CFO and he said “Careful – [your boss] is a liar.” I didn’t think much of it. At dinner, Boss proceeded to harangue me about not supporting his offer vigorously enough. He said he was aware I had been speaking against it alongside CFO and CLO. He claimed to have supported me internally when the CFO wanted to fire me and said a number of other things intended to be intentionally manipulative but instead had the opposite impact. I lost my cool and proceeded to tell him that “CFO said you were a bleeping liar.” We each stormed out of there in a huff, except Boss called CFO and they got into a shouting match over what I had said. I then had to try to smooth things over with CFO. I had cortisol coursing through my veins the next several days.

    The next day I sent an email detailing what had happened to C-levels and said that if Boss wasn’t fired, i was quitting effective immediately. the CLO came and found me and said not to worry. Boss was gone by end of week. He knows it was me. I haven’t heard a peep from him since.

    1. allathian*

      Yay! One of the few instances when threatening to quit unless a higher-up is fired actually worked in your favor.

  107. brutally honest*

    I was brutally honest in my exit interview with HR, despite knowing that the HR rep was pretty tight with my manager. And I was leaving because of my manger. I detailed exactly how she was abusing her staff to make her numbers look good. She was the “top manager” with the top performing team in the company because she’d constantly yell and belittle us and make us feel horrible. Several of my teammates had left for the same reasons, so I mentioned them too. I didn’t have another job lined up at that point (although I was interviewing) so I was definitely burning a reference should any of the things I said get back to my manager. Thankfully I got an offer a week later and they didn’t ask for references. She was laid off less than 2 months later.

    1. allathian*

      I’m surprised that she was able to rule by fear that way. Most people perform better when they aren’t being yelled at or belittled.

  108. Satellite Gal*

    I was 16 and working my first job at a sandwich chain well known for the foot longs. I had been there 9 months and had the longest tenure of any employee in the store (if that tells you anything about the turnover). I had never missed a day of work, never been late, never done anything out of line (unlike my coworkers that would disappear into the back alley for half their shift and come back high).

    Anyway, I got a really bad sinus infection and had to call in sick. My manager told me I needed to find my own replacement. I spent 4 hours calling everyone who worked in our store, as well as 7 neighboring stores, to try to find one. I couldn’t and called back to let them know. They were snarky but what could I do, I was visibly ill with a 102 degree fever it was not safe for me to handle and serve food. The next day I was still sick and called in again. They once again asked me to find my own replacement and I said that I could barely keep conscious and couldn’t do it. They then said they needed a doctors note. Policy in my state was a doctors note was required after 3 consecutive days of calling out sick. I told them that and they said “get a doctors note or you are fired.” So the next day, still sick with a fever, I walked in, handed them my doctors note, handed them my resignation letter, and walked out.

    I haven’t eaten at that chain since.

    1. Former Big 4 Manager*

      Wow. Something about that chain. My high school job was there. They called me one day and told me I was fired. I had never done anything to warrant being fired. I was performing at a music festival and my mom, on her way to the venue, dropped off my uniforms. The manager looked at her and said, “We never fired her. When can she come in to work?” They meant to fire another employee with my first name but called me instead. My mom, in her infinite wisdom, told the manager that she should do a better job checking names and phone numbers and regardless, I would not be returning because of their incompetence.

  109. EveryDayICheckMyEmailandForWhat*

    I worked at a public library for six months in a pretty rough neighborhood. I came from an academic setting, so the adjustment was a lot but I really enjoyed the awesome work we did for people who really needed it. Giving out diapers, free meals, etc. It was basically social work at minimum wage, but I enjoyed it.
    Until three things happened within two weeks of each other:
    1. My boss has consistently told me that after my six months probation, I would have my pick of a new position. I was stellar, he said, and he had already been approved to promote me up the chain. But six months came and went, and every time I asked, the new position wasn’t ready yet. Okay, annoying, but I’ll wait it out.
    2. One of our regulars, a homeless man, got into an altercation and came to us to help. He was bleeding profusely and I was the only one on staff who had any sort of first aid training, so I did my best to keep him conscious and stop the bleeding until the ambulance arrived. No one asked for my input for an incident report, nor did anyone check in to see if I was okay after watching a man I knew bleed out in my arms.
    3. Another regular had a psychotic break and jumped the circulation table to attack my coworker. Management blamed her for not deescalating and made her take sick leave to go home and process what just happened.
    I was already halfway out the door, but after I saw her sobbing in the parking lot, I ran over to my manager, yanked off my name badge, and put it on a table. I told him good luck and that I quit immediately. He didn’t respond, just kind of stared off in a daze and I walked right out.
    So yeah, I don’t advocate burning bridges, but with that one, I would dance on the ashes.

  110. Hotdog not dog*

    I got to do a classic, “you can’t fire me, I quit!”
    I was a waitress in a casual restaurant (late 80s, I was 19 or 20). Everyone knew not to be alone with the shift manager because he was handsy. One night I was closing at about 1 am and an arm reached around from behind me and pinched my breast. Without thinking about it, I swung around with my hand in a fist and a large ring I was wearing connected squarely with his mouth, chipping his front tooth.
    I realized then that he had sent the dishwasher home and we were the only 2 people in the place, so while he was yelling and looking for a rag for his bloody lip I grabbed my keys and purse and left.
    The next day I got a call from the general manager, wanting to know why I assaulted the shift manager without provocation. He said “Obviously you’re fired and could face charges.”
    My response: “Great. I’m sure he’d welcome the opportunity to explain to authorities how he sent everyone else home and tried to rape me. Also, you can’t fire me, I already quit!”
    I’m ineligible for rehire, which is fine because they’ve been out of business for a couple of decades now.
    My friend who still worked there later told me that instead of firing him, they redid the schedule so that only male waiters were ever scheduled with him. I have no idea what happened after that, but I sincerely hope Karma brought him and anyone involved in not firing him everything they deserve.
    No charges were ever filed from either side. The only physical evidence was his chipped tooth, and he later denied touching me. Given the times, I’d have had to slog through too much “but was she flirting?” BS with little chance of a better result than the one I already got with my fist.

    1. allathian*

      Good for you! Generally I don’t advocate violence, but handsy guys deserve a punch in the face or a knee in the groin, or both.

  111. St.Olaf's #1 Tourist*

    My supervisor tried to put me on a PIP for “missing work.” I was attending a criminal trial to make a victim impact statement and facing my violent stalker of over 15 years, which triggered a severe ptsd episode. And shortly after, I caught covid and had medical complications from existing health conditions, so I was out sick for 2 weeks and worked remotely for 2 days while still dealing with a 103 fever, gastrointestinal issues, chest pain, and shortness of breath, before the office closed for the holidays. When I returned to the office after the holiday break, my supervisor told me to “put my head down and work” now that the trial was over (it’s not). I was still recovering from the medical complications I had from covid too. I gave notice on the spot.

    My supervisor wasn’t the only red flag I was concerned about with this company, but being told to put my head down after going through objectively traumatizing experiences that he knew about was the last straw.

  112. Destra N.*

    Many years ago, I was working two jobs – my full-time day job that didn’t pay enough to live on but also somehow paid too much to qualify for assistance, and a part-time grocery store checker job in the evenings. The shift manager “Jane” was a terrible person who would make snippy offhand comments designed to remind you that she was in charge and that you were nothing and would never amount to anything.

    I was spending my scant free time looking for a better paying job in another state, and another co-worker “Bob” who’d been there for years and who clearly had no ambition to do anything else smugly rolled his eyes told me, “That’s never going to happen but good luck.”

    I had just put in my two weeks at both jobs after finding exactly what I was looking for. I’ll never forget how astonished Bob looked when he heard the news. Jane proceeded to make my entire shift that day absolutely miserable. At that point, I’d had quite enough of EVERYTHING and so when I turned my drawer in at the end of the night I told her I would be quitting effective immediately instead.

    She looked at me with a look of wide-eyed shock (she’d have to scramble to cover my schedule and wasn’t the type to do any actual work in the first place) and said, “You know we’ll never give you a good reference, right?”

    I laughed in her face and reminded her that I had a full-time job, this was just a side gig. With no employment gap to cover and no relevance to my field, why would this job even be on my resume?

  113. Borgney*

    I had worked for someone twice, for a total of about 4 years and I thought we got along well professionally. It was a hotel management job, so shift work was involved.

    I found another job in a different part of our industry and gave a 1 month notice. The new job required a move. On Wednesday of last week of my notice, I was informed the movers were coming Friday instead of the following Monday, so I had to let my current employer know I couldn’t work on Friday, the last day of my month’s notice. The response was “Just like everyone else. Quit with no notice”.

    So I did. I worked my shift out, said my goodbyes, and dropped my keys off on the GMs desk.

    I did not regret it.

  114. JB*

    Company didn’t bother to process my exit paperwork because the partner who was supposed to cover HR was perpetually MIA so I was accidentally overpaid by one pay period via direct deposit. This was right at tax time (moving money around between my spouse and I to cover filing) and I was still owed for my unused vacation time so I didn’t notice the overpayment until my checking account was overdrawn by my former boss using my ACH approval to take money OUT of my account without contacting me.

    I asked them to cover the cost of the overdraft fees out of principle because I was feeling angry and petty after years in a dysfunctional workplace. They ignored my emails for months until I sent them the FAQ from the state DOL clearly saying they legally had to resolve the issue, then finally got an email from my former boss calling me broke and suggesting that I never ask them for a reference in the future. All but two of my former coworkers also left the company shortly after I did.

  115. KatieP*

    Once, in 1995. I had been hired to work as an Admin Assistant, and eventually Bookkeeper, at a local non-profit community org. The ED that hired me was awesome, however, the Board of Directors had been taken over by an ultra-conservative Christian clique who opposed having a Jewish woman in a leadership role.
    So, my awesome ED was shown the door, and they hired a *literal* used car salesman to take her place. We’ll call him UCS for reference.
    Once UCS came on board, he told me that he was reassigning my customer-facing accounting duties to a new guy (who checked all the right boxes for the Board) because he didn’t think the org’s members wanted to talk to a woman about their money. If you’ve seen 9 to 5, the scene where Dabney Coleman tells Lily Tomlin that he denied her promotion because customers don’t want to talk to women about money – he said that line almost verbatim and I know for certain UCS never willingly watched a movie with Jane Fonda in it.
    The final straw was when he summoned me to his office to inform me that if I ever had to be late because my boyfriend (now husband) had to beat me up and I needed to go to the hospital, he would understand. In his words – all young couples go through that phase, he and his wife went through that phase, as well (poor woman – met her once, very mousey person after decades of abuse).
    All I could think was that if my boyfriend did that, I wouldn’t be coming in that day because I’d be going straight from the hospital to the police station. When I told my boyfriend what he said, he got mad that UCS would even suggest such a thing.
    The organization had been planning a huge tradeshow. Members had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for booths, planning had taken 18 months. All the information was in my office, where UCS could find it if he looked. The day of the tradeshow, I slipped into the office through the back door, grabbed my personal belongings (left him everything he’d need, but I doubt he tried to find it), left my letter of resignation on UCS’s desk, and never looked back.
    He left several voicemails on my answering machine (it was 1995), but I never returned his calls, never asked him for a reference, or anything.
    It’s 29 years later, and all kinds of people come to talk to me about their money, all day long – I’m a Business Admin for an academic department at a public university.

  116. GonePecan*

    Yes. It was so dysfunctional and the company was about to go under anyway which I did not know when I was hired but learned about soon after. I was told that I was hired a few days too late to be offered a retention bonus. My first project/spreadsheet was returned to me with red ink and with a letter grade because the last person they hired claimed to know MS Excel but actually did not know how to create a formula. Then I encountered a constant pattern where manager would assign me a project, come to my desk minutes later to learn about my progress, converse on personal issues for 10+ minutes, return to their office for 5 minutes, then come back to my desk to see where I was on the project and ask why I wasn’t finished with it. Manager had a preferred employee who acted as a spy and reported on what others were doing. Manager gave her preferred employee only a raise but left the paperwork out to where others could see it. Manager “rewarded” staff with MLB tickets to a game but waited until the day of to tell us so only Manager and preferred employee had non-business clothes to wear. The rest of the manager’s staff (4 of us) had to attend the game in business attire. Thank goodness our 4 seats were away from their 2. I helped plan a happy hour for a sister team finishing a large project and purchased a few disposable cameras (this was before digital cameras and mobile phones with cameras) and had them developed at my own expense. Got called into the big boss’s office to where I was told it would be preferred that the pictures not be shared due to the Manager’s trashy behavior which was caught on film. Needless to say I was ready to leave that job and never look back! Oddly enough it was the best job interview I have ever had with someone.

  117. MyName*

    Many many years ago, I worked at a badly-run government agency. One of the district managers was spiteful, mean and arbitrary. On a particularly memorable day, she yelled at me for talking loudly so that a hard-of-hearing client could hear me. It was the straw that broke me. I enrolled in a special training course outside of work, and 9 months later when I finished it, had 3 job offers within a week.

    That night, I went to the grocery store, and ordered a giant sheet cake frosted with the message “I quit, signed, MyName.” I picked it up before work, and presented it to Bad Boss at the team meeting. Then I handed her a piece of paper with my real resignation on it for the HR files. All day long, people from across the government agency came by for a piece of cake – even the head of the agency. Bad boss was so mad, she went home with a migraine.

  118. New laptop who dis*

    Long story short — I was a very high performer at the Llama Factory. Then I got cancer and attempted to work through chemo, but eventually had to take a medical leave of absence. While I was gone, a new Head Llama Manager came on board. HLM posted my job and hired someone else to take my role while I was out.

    When I came back, HLM kept me on board juuuuust long enough to make it seem like MAYBE restructuring my job out of existence had nothing to do with me “costing” the Llama Factory a lot of money due to my illness/healthcare costs. I was offered a measly two weeks severance (after over six years of service) and told not to let the door hit me in the ass on the way out.

    Welp. I did not accept that deal. I lawyered up. Settled out of court for a lot of money. Went to work for a competitor. Poached the Llama Factory’s very best Llama Groomer, too.

    Ooooooh was the Head Llama Manager pissed about that last one. Sent me a cease-and-desist notice angrily informing me I’d violated some non-poaching agreement. I asked HLM to send me a copy of whatever agreement I’d signed and I never heard from them again.

    Zero regrets.

  119. SusieQQ*

    Several years ago I worked at a laundromat as a side gig. I didn’t need the money, I was just young and single and bored and decided to make some extra cash. My boss, “Barbara” was good in some ways, bad in others. After about a year I decided that I didn’t want the side gig anymore, so I put two weeks notice into my boss. She asked me if I would stay on another couple months because she had a trip planned to go overseas to visit her son (he was in the military) and she might have to cancel her trip if I quit and she couldn’t find someone else to hire in the meantime. I reluctantly told her that I would.

    A few weeks after that, there was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was wrapping up the afternoon shift when my co-worker “Meredith” showed up. I thought she was there to take the next shift, but she said she was sick and couldn’t work. I was confused why she would come all the way just to tell me that, but I said “All right then, if you can’t work then go home I guess.” Meredith left and I called Barbara to tell her that there was nobody to cover the evening shift. Barbara told me it was my responsibility to find someone else, and she said she couldn’t come cover herself because she was on her way out of town. I called some other employees, but nobody could come in. When I called Barbara back, she let me know she had talked to Meredith, and Meredith told her that she showed up ready to work for her shift but I told her to go home (wtf). Barbara then told me that if I couldn’t find someone to work the evening shift, I would have to stay until the laundromat closed.

    It was not the first time something like that happened. In fact Meredith had been an employee before I was, got fired for a no-show (they found out later that she had been arrested), then when she got out of jail Barbara hired her back on. I was a stellar employee; it seemed like Barbara was taking Meredith’s word over mine and that infuriated me. I was exhausted after my shift and the thought of staying on another 5 hours just about had me in tears. All this for a job that I didn’t even want.

    I finished the evening shift (doing nothing but sitting there watching tv the entire time) but decided to quit that night. One of my co-workers came and locked up for me so I could leave my key on the counter when I left. I left Barbara a note saying that this was the second time she had asked me to pull a double shift at the last minute and I was unwilling to work in those conditions so I was quitting effective immediately, to please mail my last paycheck to my house, and that I hoped she was still able to take her trip to see her son.

  120. TinkerTailorSolderDye*

    Only twice, and both times were do to a severely deranged and destructive boss with no upper management support. The first was also my first quitting, period, and was due to the boss forcing me to work the floor of our fabric store and register completely solo due to her ‘favorite’ employees calling in sick. For ten hours. With no lunch. And during the biggest flannel sale. I was also caring for my dying grandmother at the time as well, and with a job lined up already, I set a torch to that bridge with emails to HR, upper management, and a personalized letter to the boss herself.

    Later sold her a computer with the whole package deal at the usual package price and ignored her little hints at a deeper discount.

    The second was rather recently in a production job; the boss was in the habit of chucking tools at people. I decided I was done.

    Back in retail, but working towards joining a health insurance place close to home, so it’s a hell of a lot better now.

  121. Elle Woods*

    Not mine, but a friend’s. She was the a store manager for a regional convenience store chain. In the seven years she’d been there, her store was routinely won corporate awards for sales, had high customer satisfaction scores, and low employee turnover rates. The job paid reasonably well and afforded her the flexibility she and her husband needed for their family.

    Shortly after her seventh work anniversary, the chain was purchased by a larger national c-store chain and things started going downhill. The final straw for her came while she was out of state attending her father’s funeral. The new district manager (DM) stopped by unannounced for an inspection–which the store passed, by the way–and noted she was not there. The DM then proceeded to call my friend and leave a voicemail message ripping her a new one for being so irresponsible as to not be there for his unannounced visit.

    When my friend returned to work the following Monday, she went about her day opening the store as usual. The DM stopped in about 9am and proceeded to chastise her for being so irresponsible. From my friend’s telling of the story, one of the store’s regular customers tried de-escalating the situation by commenting on how surprised he was to see her back so soon after her father’s unexpected death but that only made the DM angrier. Friend had had enough, said, “I don’t need this BS. I quit,” handed over the keys to the store, grabbed her purse and coat, and walked out.

  122. Uncultured*

    When I was in my early 20’s I briefly worked for a food service place that was known for fresh salads, soups, smoothies and the like. I desperately wanted a full-time job, but this was part-time with the vague promise of a full-time position “soon”.

    I was typically scheduled 11-2 or 3, or 10-2, however, they would often call early in the morning for me to come in for 8 or 9. Or have me stay several hours beyond my scheduled time.

    I was trying to make a good impression so that the elusive full-time job (with regular hours) would come about, but after about three months of this I had enough and started refusing the extra last-minute schedule changes. One day I was again asked to stay late and said no. The manager and owner did a lot of whispering, and just before I was finished for the day the manager pulled me aside and said that I wasn’t being a team player and it appeared that “my heart wasn’t in this job”, and if I couldn’t work the extra hours maybe I shouldn’t be employed there. I looked at her, took off my apron and said “you are right. I quit”.

    I felt so relieved leaving that place! And unknown to them, I had been job hunting and started a full-time job at a financial institution a few weeks later.

  123. Anonymouse Eats the Cheese*

    Not as glorious as some other commentariat replies, but after quitting a small corporate leadership role that I had held for over a decade, helping to build the business pretty substantially, I eventually went to work for a start-up owned by someone who was not well liked by the owner of the business I had just left. No guilt, and very little disappointment at instantly becoming persona non grata at old company :-)

  124. GoBigOrGoHome*

    Worked in an admin departmemt at a city police department for a few miserable years, and while I liked the job functions, the two (civilian non-police) bosses over our dept were miserable toxic people who apparently hated life & therefore felt like they had to make all their employees hate life too. They treated us like crap. Never one word of recognition for work well done, they took credit for all our work to make themselves look better, barked orders at us but otherwise straight up ignored us (we’d say good morning and they’d just give us dirty looks with no replies), gave us huge projects with no instructions or lead time and impossible deadlines and then insulted us when we couldn’t meet them… After two years I’d had enough and found another job. Gave a standard two weeks notice in my resignation (which they reacted to with hostility and more bullying) and on my last day after I left the office, I took a detour up to the top floor, to drop off a letter to my miserable bosses’ Big Boss: the Chief of Police. Go big or go home, and I did both. The letter outlined exactly how badly we were treated, cited specific examples by my bosses of bullying and hostile treatment, and said if the department ever wanted long term good employees to stay, they needed to find new management. I knew it’d probably mean I’d never work for city government again but I didn’t care. I left the Chief’s office with a big smile, a free heart, and a better new job waiting for me somewhere else.

  125. BongoFury*

    Mine is a Sorry not Sorry situation. Back in 2002 I was laid off and after 6 months I finally got a call back for a receptionist job in Downtown Fort Worth.

    The manager was a very stereotypical mean boss. She constantly made comments about what I was wearing, told me I wasn’t working hard enough, and every week when I asked for my temp agency time card to be signed, she’d say she paid too much for me.

    She was a vegan which wasn’t a popular thing back in the early aughts, but I found a bakery that made vegan cakes and bought one for her myself. During the birthday party, she took the plate with a piece of cake, looked it, snorted and said I’m not eating that trash and threw it away. That kind of mean boss.

    Every year this non-profit had a big, huge fundraising event that was the talk of the town in non-profit circles. We had fancy calligraphed invitations made up for all the attendees, about 300 altogether.

    On Monday she asked if I could take the invitations over to the post office. I said yes and took the box down to the main level of our high rise and walked down the block.

    Downtown Fort Worth is very, very windy, and I was crying because she had just told me I was only fat because I ate lunchmeat sandwiches for lunch (it was all I could afford!).

    I tripped, fell on my knees, the box split open, and ALL the invitations blew away. Into traffic, into a parking garage across the street, some flew three or four blocks before I could even stand up. Most got ran over by cars driving in the street.

    I rode the elevator back to our office, grabbed my stuff, told her “I mailed the invitations, and I quit” and left without saying a word.

    1. Quill*

      Reminds me of the AAM story where the intern set a bunch of (deeds? timeshares?) that their boss should never have accepted on fire rather than try to deal with being told to figure them out for another day.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        The document bonfire! Featured as the 6th story on the “the document bonfire, the dragon video call, and other amazing work moments” post from November 28, 2019 and as Sin 5: Reign of Fire on the “your 7 biggest career sins” post from May 8, 2014. An AAM classic. (Link in reply)

  126. Sweet revenge*

    Not as dramatic as your example, but in another life I briefly worked for a federal contractor who’d had their contract over a decade, as long as that particular office had been open.

    It was horrendous. The boss and her assistant both had micromanaging issues, and regularly bullied anyone that wasn’t part of their cool kids clique. Junior high was less childish.

    The senior person in the department I was in (who wasn’t a manager or supervisor by title, but was gifted the power by the boss) was the bosses’ mini me. She blatantly played favorites, physically threatened me for making the catastrophic error of asking someone besides her a question (we weren’t supposed to talk at all at work, unless we were in her clique).

    I was broke and needed the job, plus it was supposed to be a shortcut to getting hired by the federal agency-which would’ve been worth all we put up with.

    One portion of the job was basically being a receptionist — my favorite assignment by far, because I was alone, and away from all the cliquey stuff. We weren’t allowed to do ANYTHING at that post to pass the time-no books or magazines, and it was before smartphones. I once got screamed at because the boss found a novel in a drawer. It wasn’t mine, but she reamed me out anyway.

    One day I couldn’t take any more. When someone came to relieve me for a bathroom break (we didn’t get actual breaks) I apologized to her, because she was one of the only nice people around, grabbed my stuff, and hit send on the resignation letter I’d already typed. As I raced out the door, I could hear the bosses high heels clattering as she ran down the hall trying to catch me before I left, I assume to give me one last screaming fit. She didn’t catch me.

    As a lovely postscript, I reported the crap they put us through to the owner of the contracting company, as well as to the liaison between the agency and the contractors. I heard later that the company lost their contract. It didn’t affect the rest of the employees, they were just hired by the new contractor. The boss and her assistant were specifically excluded from being kept on.

    Now well over a decade later, I work for a different federal agency, making excellent money for my skills and knowledge. The last I saw of any of the mean girl clique, one of them is still a minimum wage employee. I’d feel bad for her if she hadn’t been a mean girl.

    1. Sweet revenge*

      And all that to say I walked out with no notice, after only about 2 months there, after being unemployed for several months.

      There wasn’t a bridge worth saving.

  127. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

    I used to work in retail sales, for a now-defunct electronics chain whose surname rhymed with “shitty.” This was during that period where consumer cell phones were just starting to really become A Thing and navigating the whole application and activation process was kind of a nightmare… but a nightmare with a big fat commission attached to it. Despite the rewards, nobody wanted to deal with it. There were no dedicated cellular people. There was one guy in car audio and if he was busy, off, or at lunch, we lost cellular customers. So I volunteered.

    I learned the whole process. I learned everything about each of the three whole models of phones available at the time. I reorganized the wall of accessories that had up to that point been thrown on pegs willam and nillam by whoever happened to open that tote. And then I compiled a whole ass training document and started training a couple other sales people who volunteered. Suddenly we had a real, functional cellular department that was doing pretty well! With one exception: a gal that kept just making shit up while explaining the service to customers. Like… telling them they could just bring phones back for a full refund and cancel their contract whenever. Noooo. Back in the day, returning a cell phone and cancelling a contract took acts of both Congress and God and I know this because *I WAS THE ONE THAT GOT FETCHED TO PETITION THEM AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK BECAUSE YOU-KNOW-WHO TOLD ANOTHER CUSTOMER A LITTLE FIB THAT WE NOW HAD TO HONOR.* This is the same coworker who called 10 minutes before she was supposed to come in to let us know she had a flat tire… and also that she was a 4- hour drive away. She was also notorious for sniping other folks’ sales, making shit up about policies and whatnot, and then pawning her angry customers off on the people whose sales she sniped. Anyway, her return rate in Cellular was something like… 50%. The rest of us got a Stern Talking-To over a SINGLE CELLULAR RETURN. Yes, I told the sales manager to please ask her not to cover Cellular anymore but that was all I could do because I didn’t actually have any authority over her. The sales manager was sympathetic but any action he tried to take got shot down by the store manager.

    After a couple months of this, the store manager announced in our morning meeting that he was officially making Cellular its own department, with its own department manager! One of us was about to get a promotion!

    …aaaaaand it was Ms. Fiftypercentreturnrate McLiestocustomers.

    Readers, I tried to plead my case. The sales manager had to defer to the store manager and the store manager wanted 50% McLTC in charge because “her numbers are higher.”

    I *may* have returned fire with “Sure, if you’re talking about her returns.” Then I cleaned out my locker and walked. I regret nothing.

  128. Maisy Daisy*

    I had been unexpectedly laid off at age 61 from a government contractor job in an HR subfield which I had for nearly 7 years. It was a hard job search since there had been massive cutbacks in gov’t contracts (which drives my region’s economy), many companies were off-shoring the kinds of jobs I was trained to do, and I was a mature woman with gray hair (styled well but gray nonetheless). I finally got a contract to perm position with a well-known company engages in for-profit higher education. I was hired to mostly administer FMLA while the department was undergoing an intensive process to move to Workday. It was supposed to become permanent in a couple of months but never did; meanwhile I kept my job search alive. My hourly pay was good but I had no benefits whatsoever for paid holidays, vacation, sick leave. (I kept asking!) I was not considered part of the department and excluded from meetings (always lunches) and was kept unaware of lots of things that were happening. When my mother died and I missed a week of work, nobody noticed except the contracting firm which missed my time card. The decision to fill my role permanently was kept from me and a totally unsuitable internal hire was made. I was told to train her but she kept blowing me off; she had no prior knowledge of FMLA administration and little desire to learn. Finally, I was told that I would be kept on through December to train the replacement and “cover” for everyone’s vacations. The place had a policy that said unused vaction on Jan 1 was forfeited and my colleagues had used little that year. In late November, I got and offer for a permanent job at better pay and benefits. On December 1, a half hour after I accepted the written offer, I walked into the manager’s office and quit effective that day. S*** hit the fan. The replacement was not all trained to take over and there was no one to cover the vacations. The grandboss tried to get me to disclose where I was going and tried to persuade me to stay. Someone at the contracting firm called to tell me they regretted not responding favorble to mey reqquest for paid time off. I prepared to be walked out since I had access to both their HR and accounting systems but when quitting time came, no one approached me to even say goodb-bye. I left my keys and access card on my desk and left.

  129. Retaliated Against*

    This probably mostly counts, I’m definitely not getting a good reference, unless it’s court ordered:

    Working at a very small nonprofit and in charge of all of the finances and HR (a lot of the obscure HR laws I knew because of AAM, so thanks for that!) My boss didn’t get the raise he wanted because we have to go by comparable data, and I was in charge of collecting the data and wasn’t allowed to let him manipulate the data, so when he didn’t get as much of a raise as he wanted he blamed me, even though the board approves it, not me, I just collect data for them. For the next 2 months he went on a jihad against me, demoting me, belittling me, defaming me in front of staff and clients, all of that. When he was trying to do some shady HR stuff and I told him we’d be breaking the law and I would have to let the board know, he fired me. He gave me an NDA to sign (it had fraudulent provisions in it designed to coerce me into signing it) with a very measly severance, and I knew (thanks to Alison) that I didn’t have to sign it then so I said I’d take it with me and look it over, and you could see the pain in his face that I wouldn’t sign it right then. Of course he was pained, because he knew he was illegally terminating me and hiding it and a bunch of other serious stuff from the board, and hoping I’d stay quiet about it, despite the fact that he was completely screwing me over. I knew the firing was coming so I already had the email to the board ready to go, and within 30 minutes of my termination it went out, letting them know not only about these current issues but several various issues of boss outright lying to the board over the last several years, as well as fraud that he and another board member had been committing.

    As you can tell, boss isn’t exactly the brightest. He just fired his finance and HR person, and had not planned for how to do finance and HR going forward. He literally asked one of my colleagues how we got money in, and thought that our funders just sent us money, he had no idea that we had to compile invoices and bill them monthly. On the HR side he knew nothing of the HR laws in our very strict state, so he failed to get me my last paycheck on time, and failed to get me the paperwork to sign up for COBRA, and the penalties for both are HUGE!

    The board had been covering for old boss and trying to get me to go away quietly and of course I refused. Once I let them know that they were now on the hook for over 6 figures in expenses and fines for the missed paycheck and COBRA they were finally willing to come to the table and negotiate. The first settlement offer was agreed to and when they had their attorney draft it and send it back to me it was nothing at all like we had discussed. In the meantime they told the health insurance company that they had rehired me so they could fraudulently put me back on insurance to the day I was fired to try to cover their error of failing to get me my COBRA, so they committed insurance fraud trying to cover their tracks. The second settlement offer was agreed to and again they went to draft it. The deadline for getting it back to me passed and I pushed them for the agreement and they were “working out the final details”, so I kept pushing and they finally admitted they couldn’t go through with it because they didn’t have the money. Turns out he reason the first agreement was so different from what we discussed is because they could only afford it if they fraudulently pretended I was an employee again and charged my time to one of their grants to pay for it.

    At this point I was done with their lies and broke off all negotiations and told them I was pursuing legal action. I applied for unemployment, which my old boss challenged because he was mad at me for going to the board, and he lost the challenge, he appealed it and lost again, but in that appeal he put IN WRITING to the court that he fired me because I wouldn’t let him to access the compensation data for his raise. Until this point there was no real proof that he was retaliating against me for his failed raise, though obviously he was, and now he was dumb enough to put it in writing, to a court, and make my legal case absolutely solid.

    So now, something they could have settled quietly for a really small amount of money last year is now a lawsuit working its way through the legal system, asking for about 40 times that amount plus punitive damages, and all of their dirty laundry has now been aired. The biggest irony is that the nature of the organization is one where they likely won’t be able to recover from the allegations, it would be like an anti-human trafficking organization getting caught trafficking people.

    Oh, and their funders (big Governments) have opened full blown investigations into them committing years of fraud with their donor funds. I wonder who tipped them off about that…

      1. Retaliated Against*

        What can I say, I do have that effect on people ;)

        Oh, I forgot to mention that old boss emailed me the day after he fired me to ask for the passwords for various things. Like I owed him any amount of goodwill? Needless to say I never replied to that email.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Ooooooh, this is the best story! I mean, not the best b/c that org suuuuuucks but the best outcome for a terrible situation. Good for you! And let that be a lesson to all the bad companies out there: don’t fire your HR or finance person for BS reasons and then try to get them to sign any kind of lousy agreement (and especially if they’re the same person!); they’re the ones in your company who know the most about employment agreements. What a shortsighted doofus your old boss is. I hope you win a bazillion dollars.

    2. TeapotNinja*

      I sure hope the lawsuit makes the board and your boss personally liable for the penalties.

  130. j*

    Worked for a horrid, former theater kid boss who could not handle anyone being in the spotlight other than her. She’d speak over you during your presentations, opine longwindedly about topics she knew nothing about, and somehow insert herself into anything through some truly epic micromanaging. She also was a straight out horrible middle school mean girl gossip who’d talk serious trash about anyone (in writing!) and send me the nastiest emails yet be sweet as pie when I’d ask her in person about it. The CEO was oblivious. Needless to say, I documented the )*(* out of everything and when she fired me for trivial matters, I forwarded all that documentation to the CEO, the Board of Directors, the head of volunteers and to media. I heard through the grapevine that when the Board confronted her about it, she had a full-blown temper tantrum meltdown. She was asked to resign a week later. In the words of Taylor Swift, karma is a queen.

  131. Dovasary Balitang*

    I spent a year working for an organisation that had a lot of little sins that added up over time. I got passed over for an internal posting for someone whose lack of attention to detail and communication skills made parts of my job a nightmare; I regularly had to be a source of emotional labour for a close colleague (not personally close, but we were on the same team); due to labour disputes in an adjoining industry, my team was temporarily laid off in a way that honestly left me feeling really gross about upper level management; and two of my four-person teammates were loudly anti-vaxx, which… wasn’t the company’s fault but still irritated me. I had done pretty impressive things with our turnover for [MY RESPONSIBILITY] so the company really wanted to keep me, and asked in my (very candid exit interview) if I would be open to further opportunities in [place I was moving to]. I said yes, with the caveat that their offered salary generally didn’t cover COL of [place I was moving to] and that would need to be addressed.

    And then they took away my last three vacation days and tried to not pay me for my final week of work. My emails to HR regarding the issue were ignored until I threatened to contact the MOL. Suddenly it was rectified within two hours. I ended up telling them that I had no interest in any future employment and to not contact me further after this is sorted.

  132. CzechMate*

    I used to work for a Small Company With No HR And An Absolutely Bananapants Boss™. Like, the type of boss who brags about “getting away with” not paying his contractors; regularly would skim cash out of the till at the end of the workday; would make us come in for a town hall once a month on a weekend so that he could scream at us for not working harder, etc. Whenever anyone questioned him, he would say, “Are the checks bad?!?!” i.e. you’re lucky you’re getting paid.

    I had already given notice, but I was still within my two-week notice period to help train my replacement. We were all at our monthly weekend town hall meeting, and as usual, he’s complaining about how no one is working hard enough, etc. etc. etc. (Very much, “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”) He then said he wanted to go around the room and have everyone say what their greatest weakness was. I don’t know what this was for–I guess trying to humble us because we were always bringing complaints to him? Anyway, for some reason, on that particular day I’d decided that I’d had it, so when it was my turn, I said, “Honestly, boss? My biggest weakness is that I’m not very well-suited to work for you.”

    That night, Boss’ assistant messaged me and said that there was no need for me to come back to finish my notice period, lol.

  133. I'll Be Taking That With Me*

    I was hired as a marketing and social media manager for a small nonprofit. I had been laid off at my previous job, which was much more prestigious in the general field and I was getting paid triple what I was making but I took what I could find at the time.

    The problem was “Shelly” the administrative assistant. Shelly was an okay AA, but she overstepped constantly into the social media and marketing side of things and the agency director was fine with that because “Shelly likes it”. Shelly had been allowed to handle all the social media and marketing previously, but when the board hired me, they were adamant they wanted someone with my credentials in the position to boost donations and reach and fix their social media, which was off-mission and sending the wrong messages. When I had checked it out for the job, their social media accounts were a nightmare, so I understood what they were looking for.

    The director didn’t want to hire me, and that was evident during my onboarding. She made it clear I wasn’t her first choice, so she tried to muddy the waters so that I slowly took over Shelly’s role and she took my job. Shelly refused to give me login credentials for the social media and locked me out of multiple accounts, demanded she be allowed to review anything I wanted to post but she was allowed to write and post basically anything at any time including newsletters, social media posts, blog posts, reformat the website without spelling or grammar checks. Seriously she was posting stuff like “How many likes and shares can this poor puppy dog get?” or she’d start fights with people she knew from around town. Not great. They needed a LOT of reputation management, as other, bigger nonprofits couldn’t stand working with them and donors thought they were a scam (based on a lot of them dealing with Shelly or the director). The other major issue was that Shelly had no computer savvy despite claiming she did.

    The board backed me up and I was given access to everything and Shelly was locked out. I launched a bunch of highly successful marketing campaigns that my director and Shelly both took credit for, and it being a toxic nonprofit, I slowly lost favor with the board as my director convinced them over time that Shelly was heavily coaching me.

    I still managed to work on their reputation management and, using a lot of my past contacts, created a major digital networking directory including contacts for peer nonprofits, potential partnerships, grant opportunities and more. I was able to make most of these partnerships happen because I knew the social media managers professionally or personally, and if I didn’t, I knew someone who knew someone. The whole directory was just me leveraging my own connections to repair the nonprofit’s reputation. Through this I was able to help our donation coordinator secure a huge branded sponsorship that allowed us to fund three major outreach campaigns and brought in one of the biggest private donations in the history of the agency. When the board got wind of it they sent out an agency-wide email thanking me for all my hard work.

    Shelly and and the director didn’t like that and met with the board. They said I was taking credit for relationships Shelly cultivated before I started. The board rescinded their gratitude publicly despite the donation coordinator and others backing me up. I realized I had enough. I came in on a Monday and locked Shelly out of the directory. Then I handed in my ID and quit.

    A little bird told me that after I left, their incoming digital donations fell by 90%, their mail-in donations basically stopped entirely, and Shelly had managed to majorly offend the private donor with a very off-color social media post. Unsurprisingly, their reputation went back down and none of the sponsorships survived the year. Oops. And the board also wanted to know how, if Shelly built the directory and was so tech-savvy, she wasn’t able to access it or work it. All she had to do was reset the password. Double oops.

  134. Former Retail Lifer*

    I worked for a retail store that was in the middle of an HR investigation. There were lots of complaints about the store manager. He wasn’t a creep or anything, just lazy. I wasn’t among the people that reported him, but we all were asked questions about him by the HR reps. I answered everything honestly. As it turned out, HR reported EVERYTHING we said about him right back to him, and not anonymously. As one might imagine, that didn’t go well for those of us that said negative things. I started getting written up for every little thing that I did and even some things my direct reports did when I wasn’t even in the building that I could not have controlled.

    We were preparing for the annual store inventory, the prep work taking weeks. I was in charge of this process, and I had been through enough of them to have a great system down. I had reports printed in a file folder detailing what was done and what we still needed to do, with notes, maps, etc. I had more details in a notebook, and I had the week’s vital inventory prep tasks on a whiteboard in back. Being the lazy guy he was, he had not participated at all and had zero idea where we were in the process.

    Well, the final write-up came and I got fired one morning. I was pretty shocked and I left a few things behind when I walked out. One of the employees working that day called me to see if I was OK, and I asked her to grab a few things for me: my notebook and the file folder. I also asked her to erase the whiteboard, which she happily did.

    There was now ZERO record of what had been done to prepare.

    Inventory was done overnight and usually took 5-6 hours or so. This one took 10 and left the guy who fired me to work overnight, with no break, and then immediately work another 8 hour shift that morning.

    He eventually got himself fired, and HR wanted to talk me about what had happened to me, with the strong implication it might not have been warranted. Certain I fully torched that bridge, I declined.

  135. kupo*

    Worked as a shift manager at a pizza chain. At shift changes the leaving shift manager is supposed to wait until the arriving manager counts out the till before leaving. I got transferred to a different store and the guy who worked mornings kept leaving before I could count the till. One time he left the change fund (a few hundred dollars in small bills, coins, etc) sitting out in the open (on top of a piece of equipment, so it took me a while to find it). Each time I complained to the GM, tried talking to my trainer (I was pretty new at shift management), etc. but no one treated it like it was serious (basically told to just tell him not to leave like I hadn’t tried that). $20 started to go missing every. single. day. I was blamed every time. I kept pointing out that I’d been bringing up these till counting issues since I started at this restaurant. On top of all that, the GM kept forgetting to put in the orders, so I would get a call from corporate asking for an order, I couldn’t get a hold of the GM, so I’d run reports of what we had sold in recent weeks, what we historically sold that time of year, and order enough for the week plus a buffer. The GM would call in a panic, I would explain what I did, he would tell me I didn’t order enough diet coke, I would list out our inventory and the sales history (we had MONTHS of surplus of diet coke and it was getting close to the expiration date), and he would admit we had enough, then the same thing would happen a couple of weeks later (always diet coke).

    When a friend found a job that was hiring temp workers in an office setting I jumped on it and when I was hired I gave my 2 week notice. Then when I was accused of stealing again with 3 days left of my notice I walked in, handed over my keys, and signed my resignation paperwork that day, leaving the GM having to cover for me. A week later, after I had started at my new job already, the GM called to apologize for accusing me of theft. There had been $20 missing that evening when he took the evening shift after the suspicious manager. Never did admit I did a good job of covering for his missed orders, though.

  136. SeekYou*

    My boss was stealing donations from our non-profit (especially heinous since it was a child and family supporting agency). I reported her, and she was fired. Knowing I was the one who reported her, she tried to retaliate against me unsuccessfully before she was let go. I luckily was able to keep good relationships, and moved on to a different non-profit in that community. A few years later I ran in to her at a conference – I was so shocked she was still around! She acted like everything was peachy and fine between us. I said to her face, “I’m not sure what you think happened, but what I remember is that you stole from children in need and then you tried to get me fired. I am not at all interested in being in touch with you. Please never talk to me again.” The look of shock on her face was priceless. It felt good to get to say the thing I wanted to say so bluntly. No regrets!

  137. kalli*

    I was in a job where I started as a graduate on track towards being a department head “as soon as the one you work for resigns, she isn’t going to last much longer”, with my CPD and licence paid for by the firm, as much flexibility as I needed, and a “surprise! you also work in this other department!” after I signed the contract.

    Management change, 2 months as acting head of the department, and a few rounds of “you’re just a secretary, act like it” and “these are women’s problems, deal with it yourselves” when the department head was flat out gaslighting me, having seemingly forgotten specifically recruiting me because nobody else would work with her and that I did actually know how to do things like open a file, print an email (which unfortunately meant walking to the printer and being screamed at for not being at my desk to answer the phone call about the urgent email which was ‘please print and file this email’ for the fourth time), and who was very much taking out on me her feelings about her closer scrutiny after a partner was trying to reach her on her WFH day and had to have been informed that she didn’t actually work those and her diary said she was at a 3hr hair appt.

    We had a secretarial reshuffle to “balance” the workload and I ended up with the other high-maintenance SME (the role came with 14 pages on instructions on his preferences and he was Angry within a week because I literally did not have time to take care of anything for him and she lost her shit if I tried, and by this time I was under instructions to only work overtime in the mornings and stop doing her work for her, as well as “just do it she clearly won’t/can’t”) as well as marketing. I had to prepare 140 info kits for a conference on Monday and the materials were printed externally. I found out at 3:30pm on Friday that they’d been sitting in accounting for two days and they’d forgotten to tell me, give them to the rounds clerk, or anything.

    My stuff had been magically making its way home and I’d taken advantage of a new leave policy (I hadn’t had any leave approved since I came back from emergency surgery and had to walk to my follow ups over ‘long lunch’ and very generously was told that my existing overtime practice of 3 hrs in the morning and 3 hrs in the evening would eventually make up the time I lost from walking 1hr each way to the hospital and waiting 4hrs for the surgeon every time, and I only had that surgery because I’d been graciously allowed to leave at 5pm to run to a walk-in STI clinic on their ‘we’re opening late once a month’ night and they shipped me straight to hospital with a ‘do not pass go’ letter for the ER) to see an actual GP, so what happened next was a lot simpler than it might have been.

    Everyone else went downstairs at 4:30pm for Friday drinks, which I routinely didn’t attend anyway. I packed up the rest of my desk, rang my mum and asked her to stay on the phone with me so I didn’t lose my nerve, turned off the computer, laid out department head’s files for Monday (her being the only SME who refused to work if they weren’t, despite everyone else’s ability to get their own files and set their own priorities and appointments), locked up, walked out, and went home.

    The next they heard from me was a workers comp claim, which they vigorously defended until she mysteriously resigned, at last, a few months later.

    They did not keep their promise that I would get her job when she did, despite a legal obligation to offer me suitable work if they had it.

    I was not able to get another job because she had influence (effectively because everyone thought my work was hers) poisoned our very small well.

    I did not work again until COVID, at which time I discovered she had had to leave the state in order to find a job and I was magically hireable again, although as a literal admin and not a de facto one.

    But that bridge was one nail away from shattering into tiny floaty pieces, and walking away was the best decision for my health, and it had to be done. Taking that nail with me (essentially, I was no longer doing her work for her and picking up her pieces so suddenly her flaws were on display and the resignation was very much constructive and part of a pattern) broke the bridge, but to stretch the metaphor even further, it was just small flaming bits dying out in an empty canal.

  138. SorryNotSorry*

    Very very low stakes with no long-term consequences, but in my youth I worked at a big box store and made the terrible decision to date a coworker and then subsequently broke up with said coworker. I had been looking to leave that job for a bit and a coworker-turned toxic SO-turned even more toxic ex made it all the worse. Three days before I was planning on putting in my two weeks, I found out that my ex had been cheating with two of our managers (which was a big no-no in terms of conflicts of interest, chain of command yada yada AND they didn’t know they were both seeing my ex). So my next shift, I clocked in, walked in to the highest manager’s office, told him I quit, this was my last day, mail me my paycheck, and oh, by the way, two of your managers are sleeping with a subordinate and here’s proof, BYYYEEEE. Then I clocked out and left.
    My ex texted me a few days later ranting that they and the two managers had been fired. Oops ;)

  139. Ms. Teacher*

    Yes, only once. I am an English as a Second Language teacher and I was working at a charter school with 70% ELL students. Mid-year, I was taken out of my position and made to sub for a 5th grade ELA classroom – leaving my students without any EL support. If I hadn’t been a first year teacher I would have likely pushed back more, but regardless. At the end of the year they asked me if I was going to return, and I said only if they could guarantee I would be teaching ESL. They said they couldn’t do that because they were eliminating EL services the following year – claiming it wasn’t a Title 3 violation because they would “implement strategies in other classrooms.”

    So I advised the parents of a bunch of my students to pull their kids because they would not be receiving their federally mandated services if they stayed.

  140. ex-student*

    This is not a glorious story, but when I was in graduate school, the lab I was working at was a terrible and toxic place. The lab did have a norm of flex hours and work from home (which resulted in people working double the hours they were supposed to on a regular basis and never taking vacations). As I was approaching the end of my degree, one of my advisors asked me if I plan to take a job before graduation date (knowing full well this would allow them to stop paying me my stipend). I said no, mentioning graduation day will be my last day. I then proceeded to take a staycation for a month while working very light hours from home. On graduation day, I came to the lab at a time I knew no one would be there, cleared all of my belongings, and left without speaking to anyone or even leaving a note. I have heard from common acquaintances my advisors were deeply hurt by my disappearance.

    To be fair, this didn’t feel like burning a bridge. The bridge was already burnt. My advisors and most of my colleagues were so horrendous, I would never trust them to be a reference or write me a letter of recommendation. The colleagues I’ve had who were trustworthy and wholesome 100% understood the desire to minimize interactions to as little as possible.

    1. ex-student*

      As for the consequences of this, there were none. Yes, my reputation in the academic department I attended was not great, but to be fair I think this would have happened regardless of my exit strategy. I left academia to use my degree in a field that fitted my values and goals. And here’s the thing, academia thinks what happens in academia really matters, but the truth is, outside of academia no one actually cares. People are just impressed you have a degree and can do research.

  141. Lena*

    When I reported a school I worked at for labor law violations, I burned a bridge to working in all schools in the future (small country, references are everything).
    But that’s fine, I hated working with kids anyway.

  142. Rambler*

    My favorite bridge burning story is from a great uncle who grew up on the hardscrabble side of New York City, literally shining shoes, running errands, and other odd jobs instead of going to school as a kid. He and a friend got a summer job on a farm outside of the city when they were teenagers, and it ended up being awful – the farm manager would berate them, not feed them enough, not pay them the agreed price for their work, and they were isolated with no way to run away or let their families know. So on the last day when they had bus tickets home, the boys got up early and cut the stems of alllll the plants (I think cabbages) in the field just below the soil level. So the farm manager lost the whole crop and the boys couldn’t be blamed because the plants were green and standing when they left on the bus.

  143. Granath*

    Burn a bridge? How about napalm it….twice.

    (1) Relocated for a job, put my house up for sale, moved my family and signed a lease – all on the basis of repeated direct questions to the owner about how I was doing and how the company was doing financially. The answers to both were always very, very positive. Two months later out of the blue I was laid off because the bank threatened to call in the line of credit due to bad financials. When I told my staff my employees literally thought it was a joke because it was on April 1st (April Fools Day). That’s how out of the blue this was.

    Then the owner tried to short me a 5-figure bonus while we were doing the exit interview. I’m kind of a larger guy, so I made my point very clear – either I got that bonus check right then or he was going through a wall. I got the bonus check. On my way out, my last words to him were “you better hope we never meet again”. Years later someone told me he saw me at an industry conference and quietly left the room.

    (2) Worked as a consultant where I had a base salary but my comp really came from my consulting gigs (the greater sum). The owner (sales) sold the gigs, I performed them. The owner kept raising my rates but my comp didn’t go up. When asked, he mumbled something about additional costs and how he unilaterally and retroactively changed my compensation contract. So I asked for-a raise.

    His bright idea was that I could earn more money by both selling and performing the jobs. Now I had JUST gotten an offer from another company so I had a bit of leverage.
    My reply was “if I sell the gigs and then perform them, what the hell do I need you for?”.
    He took a bit of umbrage at that and talked about how I was under a contract.
    “You mean the contract you made null and void by retroactively changing my compensation”?
    Needless to say, he didn’t like that much and things got very loud. So I walked, then proceeded to take more half the client base away doing weekend consulting work for them. After all, I had the relationship. I did tens of thousands of dollars worth of work during the next three months while he threatened to sue, all the while having no leg to stand on. After the three months, I didn’t have any more time to devote to that (new job was taking all my time) and literally gave those clients to a friend of mine who was his competitor. Napalm….BOOM!

    The job offer I had? I’m still here 15 years later so it all worked out.

  144. NotJane*

    In the early 90s, I was the sole admin at a small transportation company. The owner was a terrible business person and every few months some of our paychecks would bounce. This was in the era of paper checks so I would have no idea until the checks I had written for my rent and expenses started bouncing. For a while, I would just rush to the bank on payday and cash my check so I had the money in hand.

    The last straw was one Friday when the boss left town to go on a golf trip. When everyone rushed to the bank to cash their paychecks, no one got paid because there was no money in the payroll account. Surprise, surprise – he had emptied the account to pay for his golf trip and left the mess for the operations manager to deal with. I finished the rest of the day because the operations manager was a decent guy but when I left, I told him I would not be back on Monday and he could tell the owner when he got back.

  145. H.C.*

    It was a college job as part of a subsidized student worker program, where employers in the community hire college students and part of the wages would be reimbursed from the college as long as the employer is on the up & up and allows for scheduling flexibility during midterms/finals period + between quarters. The job duties I had were OK and I get along with my coworkers, but the managers/owners were absolutely horrible – schedules wildly inconsistent between weeks (often outside our listed availabilities and making us responsible for finding coverage), late with paychecks, overtime not paid, etc. As such at the end of my work period I wrote to the student worker program detailing all these practices and they decided to no longer work with that employer as a partner.

    The employers did NOT take that well (since now they have to foot 100% of the wages for their staff, most of whom are students at said college) and tried to start a campaign with my colleagues who still work there to get me to recant my feedback with the college. It only stopped when I threatened to send a copy of said feedback to the state’s labor board so they can investigate the validity of my claims. (The biz shuddered less than a year after the school partnership terminated, and I took some schadenfreude in that.)

  146. Meghan*

    I didn’t burn a bridge, per se, but I was so beyond the point of being over it, everyone knew the day I had an interview with my current company. I already had my resignation typed up because even if I didn’t get the job I have now, I was quitting that day. My boss very snidely told me that I needed to stay at my next job for “more than a year” because my resume was starting to look bad.

    Please note, this company took me away from a job that I was enjoying and had no problems with to come work for them and then within 6 weeks of my arrival it all just exploded. So yeah, you’re part of the reason there are 3 jobs within 1 year on my resume. But I’ve been at this job for more than a year so mission accomplished.

    I did also quit via a note left on the cash register when I worked part time at Rack Room Shoes. I specifically wanted part time, like 20 hours at MOST and the store manager kept going on and on and on about how great I would be in the manager in training program and then he scheduled me for 40 hours on the next schedule and I said no thank you. He tried to hold my last paycheck hostage.

  147. Sword of Damocles*

    I once worked at a place where the Director created a toxic environment. Daily I would sit in my car with tears running down my face and give myself a pep talk to go inside. The told me to not do Process A and I was an idiot for thinking Process A was appropriate and I should do Process B. The following month I followed Process B and was REAMED for my sheer incompetence and that I needed to resolve the issue immediately.

    I called my DH is tears and he said quit if you need to you’ll find another job no job is worth crying everyday.

    So I emailed the Founder, CEO, CFO, CTO and Director from Hell my resignation notice effective immediately explained the situation and the environment handed my keys and laptop to a coworker and walked out.

    A massive weight was lifted and I found a new job within a week for better money !!

    No Regrets :-)

  148. All Psychos*

    Not me but a lady who was interning for me and had extremely bad judgment re: boundaries (talking about a lot of sexual things in the office, mostly) and also refused to do the work that was assigned to her. She one day decided to park in the middle of the parking lot, blocking the right-of-way for other cars in the lot. I nicely asked her to move her car and then I went to the bathroom. I came back and she was gone. I went to ask the security guard at the front desk what happened and he said “she stormed out, muttering that she’s done with this shit and that you’re all psychos.”

    Later that night I got an email (to my personal email address!!! That I had never given her!!) with the subject “Hope you had a great day :)” and then the comment was “[my former supervisor] was right, you’re all psychos.”

    6 months later I got a new job and she sent me another email (on that same personal email address) congratulating me. Insert shrug emoji here.

  149. Generic Name*

    I don’t know if this qualifies as “burning a bridge” because colleagues who still work at my old company says that no one says anything bad about me. But it was incredibly satisfying nonetheless. I had worked for a small company for over a decade. I was considered a “lifer” there. I had been becoming more and more dissatisfied with working there, and there was a “last straw” incident that made me start job hunting. I was so angry during my whole job search, and since I am my family’s primary breadwinner, I was not going to quit unless I found another job unless something truly egregious happened. I had about 4 separate roles, and in order to protect my mental health, I decided to start stepping down from as many extra duties as I possibly could. After a couple of months, I still hadn’t found another job, so I decided to step down from a recent promotion. A meeting was scheduled with my boss and HR to discuss the transition. I suspected that they would decide to cut my pay and tell me at that meeting. In the weeks leading up to this meeting, I was in the final stages of interviewing at a large, prestigious employer. As luck would have it, I recieved (and accepted!) a written offer at this company for a $30,000 raise about a half hour before my big transition meeting. It was so, so satisfying to sit down and say that we didn’t need to talk about my stepping down from my promoted role because I had accepted an offer elsewhere and was putting in my notice. They were shocked. The HR person almost wailed, “I thought you’d stay here forever”. None of the roles I occupied have since been filled, and almost a year later, more people are quitting and business is down. I didn’t need to burn a bridge, because the other side was already on fire.

  150. lol idgaf*

    Upon leaving my last fundraising role at a well known local non-profit, I wrote a multi-page letter to the board of directors that itemized all the specific examples of why the incredibly toxic CEO was running the place into the ground. Too much to list here, but suffice it to say – the turnover among senior leadership was HIGH. Anyone new they hired for director level roles pretty much took one look around, and six months later they were gone. I had great relationships with literally everyone at the organization except for the CEO and their select group of yes-men, so I didn’t care overmuch about burning the bridge with them. Thrilled to report that a few months later, the toxic CEO unexpectedly “resigned,” effective immediately.

  151. Bunny Girl*

    Maybe I’ve told this here? Maybe not.

    I worked at a law firm where assistants routinely rage quit. I was an assistant to a small team of lawyers and their paralegal. The woman who was supposed to train me was awful. She never had time to train me but had time to come over and yell when I did something wrong. I only lasted a few weeks, maybe a month. It was insanely toxic. I talked to H.R. who told me they were aware that manager had an attitude problem but what were they gonna do? So I made up my mind to leave at the end of the week when all the lawyers were at a conference. I took home my things one item at a time so it wasn’t obvious I was leaving. On the last day I worked it was approved for us to get pizza and I stole a bunch of that since I didn’t think I’d have income for a while. Just put the slices in my purse. Left a note on H.R.’s desk and walked out that Friday, in what I thought was a blaze of glory.

    Totally forgot that the H.R. person was at the conference too. So Monday I got a text from my manager asking where I was and if I was going to come in. I was an hour into a heavily mimosa-ed brunch and just didn’t answer.

  152. AmberFox*

    Not me, but someone that used to work for my employer. Apparently he was fired and viewed it as wrongful, so he took the time to write and send an email with six HEFTY paragraphs before he lost access about how the company was Doing Wrong By Him, how they’d abused his goodwill, how everyone knew him and should raise a fuss with HR, etc. This was the politest, quietest member of our office facilities team; I’m not sure he ever said more than about 3 words to most people. IT quickly came in and deleted that email from everyone’s inbox.

    24 hours later, the guy managed to email the all-office distribution list from his personal email with a second AND THIRD lengthy screed about how terrible they were to him, how he’d been sick, how dare they fire him, here’s his contact info in case anyone wanted to go work with him when he found a new job…

    Pretty sure that bridge was burning merrily. And hey, IT discovered a gap where outside addresses could email our all-office distro system because of him…

  153. Mower*

    In college I worked for my local township’s Parks Department, mowing lawns. They usually sent summer workers out in teams of 4, but when they realized I got my work done and didn’t break the mowers or trucks, they started sending me out alone, but with the same length punchlist as the 4-man crews. I complained, but none of the bosses cared because the work was getting done. It was annoying, but the overtime money was good so I stuck around.

    After I graduated college I worked one last summer before starting my “real” job several states away. From the start of that summer I repeatedly told my boss that if he kept sending me out alone to do the work of a full crew I was going to mow my name into the big park next to city hall downtown on my last day. He thought I was joking. I had absolutely nothing to lose and I was not joking.

    On my last day I dropped the deck on my mower so the blades were almost low enough to scrape the dirt and signed my name in 20-ft tall letters in the field next to city hall. It was a dry summer, so it took almost two months to grow out.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      This is the lawn equivalent of writing your resignation in cod, well played!

  154. Jules*

    This wasn’t me, but I had a front row seat to someone setting a bridge up in flames. I was working at a company who was doing a major rollout of new software. People were working long hours, but there was one woman in particular that seemed to always be there, shut in a room, typing away at a computer. I legitimately would not have been surprised if she had been sleeping in that room. I was stationed across from the CTO in the main central area when said women walks up to him, pushes her laptop to him, and dramatically states, “I can’t do this anymore.” She walks to the door turns around full after-school movie special style and says “Have a nice life.” This was years ago but I still think about her and hope she is living her best life after that stellar performance.

  155. Me*

    I accepted a new job offer early on a Friday morning, and had to give notice to my current job. It was a job where I was out at various clients’ houses all day, so I texted my boss that morning that I had to speak to her today about something important. I tried to call her between each client, but no answer, no message, no text. I was driving back into the office at 4:00pm, and she waved at me on her way out.

    She had left a note on my desk that she knew I was trying to get ahold of her, but she was out next week, and we could have a phone conversation the following Monday.

    I emailed my resignation, copied HR, left for the weekend, and didn’t answer any of the 19 calls or texts until Monday morning.

  156. ink4coffee*

    When I was in college I worked for a summer at a gas station pizzeria (super exciting job /s). Toward the end of the summer, in early August, I had plans for my birthday and so I had requested that day off (the only day off I requested in the several months I worked there, requested with plenty of notice, etc. etc.). Long story short, they scheduled me to work that day anyway, and called asking why I hadn’t arrived for my afternoon shift while I was on my birthday excursion. I knew that job wasn’t going to matter much in the long run, so when I returned to the gas station for the next scheduled shift I told them I would be done working at the end of that pay period, and that was all the notice they’d be getting. And I stood my ground on it, and to this day I don’t even remember the names of anyone I worked with, and do not feel in the slightest bad for enjoying my birthday instead of panicking and going in to work on the ONE day I had asked off.

  157. CzechMate*

    Remembered another. I used to work for an English Language School. The owner was extremely ruthless–which might have been fine in any other industry, but obviously caused problems when you’re running, you know, a school. Still, she was convinced that she was a business genius. One of her “innovations” was inventing a character named “Mariana” to answer student emails. (The thinking was that if Mariana didn’t really exist, then students couldn’t call her/come in and complain to her.) The Mariana emails were in fact written by the owner, and occasionally, other staff members. It was an extremely bizarre idea, and one that honestly gaslighted the students.

    I left the job after a spectacular fight with the owner and immediately found a much better, higher-paying, position at a university. A few months in, a student from the ESL school sent me an email saying that there had been serious issues with her immigration status and student account, and it was affecting her ability to start her undergraduate degree. She showed me screenshots of several emails sent by “Mariana.” She, understandably, questioned Mariana’s credentials and whether she was even qualified to advise on these types of student matters.

    I told her that I was no longer her student advisor and couldn’t give any official advice, but as a friend, I said the best thing she could do would be to schedule an in-person meeting or Zoom call with BOTH the owner and Mariana together to discuss how the situation could be remedied. I never heard how it turned out, but I always get a great sense of satisfaction from thinking of the absolute panic that request must have put the owner in.

  158. SinginCactus*

    I worked for a small law/financial firm that had 3 very young lawyers and one finance guy. I was the receptionist/admin. The head of this small firm was a lawyer, and one of the biggest a-holes I’ve ever met. He was arrogant, smarmy and had a terrible temper.

    One time, we were trying to confirm his new company credit card, which he had applied for himself, but the zipcode wasn’t going through. I suggested it may be under the zipcode of his new house. He insisted it wasn’t. This went on until he physically grabbed the phone out of my hand, yelled the zip of his new house at the person on the other line, it went through, and then he threw the phone against the wall behind me and stormed off.

    I would have left, but I was saving up for a big move and already intending to leave at the end of the year no matter what.

    I put my job search in high gear that fall because the firm decided to merge with another law firm with its own office admin. A-hole assured me I was going to move with the rest of them, but I knew he was lying in my gut. They planned to move in January the following year. In October, I took a trip to the state I was planning to move to and did some job interviews that went well. I used my earned PTO for this trip.

    O week before Christmas, I got an official job offer from one of those companies. That same day, as I made my way into work, I noticed that my work email wasn’t working. When I arrived, only the finance guy was there and he very apologetically fired me. The reason? The other firm had an admin team and they no longer needed me. I had done a very good job though, and they would miss me. This was clearly the plan all along.

    I took it well because I had a job offer and a plane ticket to the west coast. I went home and posted on Facebook that they fired me days before Christmas, with no severance, after 3 years of work and months assuring me that I wouldn’t lose my job due to the merge. But it was okay, because I had a feeling this was coming and that they weren’t being honest with me, and I had used some vacation time to fly to another state, interviewed with a few firms and had landed a new job.

    One of the other lawyers – with whom I was friends on Facebook – saw it and told a-hole.

    I got a barrage of texts demanding I take the post down or they’ll come after me legally for lying about using PTO for finding a new job. I texted back, “LOL, sure bitch, good luck with that. This is my Facebook page and I can say whatever I want. I never used your names or the company name, I made no disparaging remarks and I told the fucking truth.” He responded by saying that he didn’t want this to end on bad terms – what I ever needed to use him as a reference? I said, “I will never use you as a fucking reference.” And then I blocked him.

    And that was the last I ever heard from any of them.

  159. Jack of Spades*

    I still can’t believe this happened even a decade later. I worked for a residential program that required 6 staff be at the residence at all times. If one of us had to leave, we had to call someone in. We typically had at least 8-9 people on shift most days anyway to limit call-ins. I was an admin so I wasn’t legally allowed to provide services like medication, therapy, or transportation to our clients, but I could still be counted as part of the 6 mandatory staff. My boss called me on a Friday that I had taken PTO for begging me to come in and just cover the switch board so they’d have 6 staff. It was a holiday weekend and the schedule was super screwed up and people were calling out/not showing up. I came in against my gut feeling and my boss met me at the door with medication orders and transportation slips saying I needed to cover programing for the day. Legally I couldn’t do that and she knew it, which didn’t stop her from trying to get me to cover provider-based shifts. I was annoyed and already feeling like this was the last straw, I reminded her that I couldn’t do those things and started to leave. My boss, the residential director who made triple my salary, THREW the meds and keys at me and BOLTED to her car, running flat out. She peeled out of the parking lot and down the street. She left her purse and her phone she was in such a hurry. I found out later there wasn’t an emergency, she just wanted to go to her lake house and got stuck with the weekend shift and complained about it to everyone. There was nobody on-site who could legally meet any of the vital care measures the residents needed. It was just me, activities, dietary, some volunteers, and a chaplain.

    I’ve never been so calm in my life, which felt spooky. I picked up the keys and meds, went into my office and called the health department as our state governing body and reported my boss. Reports in this industry are a big deal and being a whistleblower at this level is beyond burning bridges, it’s blowing up the bridge while you’re on it. By law, my boss technically committed abandonment since the highest licensed staff member is legally acting in loco parentis for our residents when they’re on site. The board president called me within ten minutes, freaking out, livid I didn’t call him first. I gave zero craps and told him so. The residents were having a great day regardless (or maybe despite) my boss’s absence and I joined in with some of their activities while we waited for a licensed staffer. By then my desk was fully cleaned out and I handed my badge and keys over to the night staff when they got there.

    A few of my coworkers tried to talk me out of quitting/reporting my boss but all I could see was an adult woman RUNNING to her car to avoid doing her job. Also, she threw a really heavy keyring at me. Not cool. I feel like she lit the match, I just made sure I was on the other side of the river first.

    1. Janeway, Her Coffee In Hand*

      Being a whistleblower can definitely be bridge burning! I’m in the midst of that myself, though fortunately/unfortunately they fired me before I could quit. I say fortunately because it’s made my retaliation claim much stronger. Why can’t bosses stop being jerks long enough to realize that illegal activity will cost them more?

    2. TeapotNinja*

      Well done! The cherry on top would’ve been if you “misplaced” her keys and purse.

  160. LostCommenter*

    I burned a bridge once. I was at the company seven years. So many things went wrong there I wouldn’t be able to mention them all. I walked into a new position with no procedures, and only a vague list of problems I was expected to fix. This is actually my niche and I left the company having created not only templates for documentation, but also several files full of documentation and a spot on the server for SOPs for anything I’ve ever encountered while I was there. As well as programs to automate several procedures.

    At a point I was running two departments and doing the work of one department myself because they wouldn’t hire someone. When they finally hired someone to run the one department for me I found out the hard way (by them emailing me his salary slip) that he was getting paid almost twice what I was getting. When I brought it up, HR told me that I agreed to do the job for the amount they offered years previously, and if I wasn’t happy I should find another job.

    Close to the end they got a consultant in and asked us all to be frank and tell her about all the problems we saw. Most of my colleagues were reluctant to talk to her. She was told by senior management that I was a rabble rouser and she should ignore me. She told me this directly over a cigarette during a break.

    One of the issues I highlighted was how our fire extinguishers weren’t serviced, didn’t function or were hidden behind office furniture. We also had poor housekeeping with boxes of archived documents standing in front of the fire hoses. The warmest the company has ever made me feel was the morning I was instructed to keep the consultant away from our building as it had caught fire during the early morning hours. A compressor housed in a wooden enclosure overheated, and the wooden cupboard next to the compressor housed all our flammable liquids in drums of 20l. The best part was that the fire extinguisher was on top of that cupboard that exploded. The fire caused a lot of damage, and it was something I’ve been warning them about for years.

    I was shouted at by the CEO for not completing an anonymous survey. He was a bit nonplussed when I told him it wasn’t very anonymous if he knew I didn’t complete it, which is exactly why I abstained. My direct manager had me make up presentations which he then presented to senior management as his own work.

    He was so behind in his own admin that my last paycheck was 2/3rd short because he hasn’t been approving my leave in the system for the last 6 months, which meant it was processed as unpaid. Finance informed him after hearing of my resignation, and he simply forgot to actually do his job or mention to me before debit orders started going through that my paycheck would be (a bit) short. So almost a week before my last day I suddenly had to scramble and since my boss lost my sick notes, I luckily kept copies for my own records that I could submit to get that money paid.

    I resigned same day as a co-worker. I finally decided to resign as I was running my health into the ground and I was being advised by medical specialists that I would need to resign if I wanted to continue living. I only gave the minimum of one calendar month. My resignation letter also included a project plan with Gantt chart on how I expected to finish the projects I was busy with, and warned my manager that I will refuse any additional tasks as it would mean several high cost projects missing deadlines. He left me alone and made the other co-worker’s life hell, just squeezing her for every last drop she could give until her last day.

    My co-workers were told that they were not allowed to hold a farewell party for me on my last day, so they illegally did it 2 days before during lunch. I got nothing officially from the company to say thank you for my 7 years there.

    I had initially agreed to stay on as a consultant at my old rate as a favour when my boss took half my notice period to start advertising my job, and then insisted I had to write up my job description and interview my own replacement, which I simply didn’t have time to do, whoops. And because of the specialisation of my job, they couldn’t find a replacement for 6 months after I left, especially not for what they paid me.

    But after screwing with my money, I took my last few days and cleaned out. I had been forced for years to hold onto cupboards full of irreparable equipment simply because my boss didn’t want to damage it out or get replacements. I organised a company to pick up all the electronic waste and damaged equipment and damaged it out as per the company procedures, knowing my boss would only see the forms in his email long after I was gone. I left that office in the best ever condition for my replacement.

    I stayed late on my last day, with my boss in his office waiting for me to come greet him when I left. I then quietly snuck out a side door, deposited all my access badges and keys with Office Management and left. I blocked all work numbers and set up a delete filter with a very polite auto reply to any emails from the company’s subdomain. I never again heard from them in an official capacity, although I am still friends with a lot of my co-workers even today.

    I wondered at the time whether I would regret it down the line, and 5 years later I am still content with the way I handled it. I stayed there much too long because I loved the kind of work I was doing and my co-workers were great people, but if only for financial reasons I should have left earlier.

  161. PNut Gallery*

    I’ve told this one before but here’s a shorter version – bridge#1

    I was hired as a receptionist. My first day I went in, was shown to a desk that was basically an empty desk with a computer on it, a phone, and a bunch of papers. The desk was in the grey concrete lobby right off the main door so it was cold and drafty, and no one’s offices were around. I wasn’t shown where a bathroom was, where a lunch room was, or anything. My training was how to turn on and off the computer – a computer that was not to be be used, though. I was never told what it was for or shown anything on it. I was shown very quickly kind of how to transfer a call. And I was warned that the owner’s son wasn’t technically an employee but kept an office there and was very mean. Then I was left alone.

    Around lunch everyone starts leaving and giving me messages – ‘if so-and-so calls I’m out’ or ‘I’ll be back in half an hour’. Now I had NO IDEA who these people were. Then boss’s son comes by and says he’s expecting a call so if the person calls he’ll be in a particular office so transfer it there. The call never came, but right after lunch boss’s son comes back and stats screaming at me how I’m an incompetent bitch, that’s I’m useless, etc…

    I said ‘F this, I don’t need to be spoken to like that’ grabbed my stuff and walked out.

    A company was hiring for 2 new roles – basically data entry at first and going forward order entry for the US and Canadian teams. It had been hyped and advertised as much more, but I was willing to put up with it for a bit. Except they mixed up me and the other girl hired for the roles and put her – who mostly spoke French – on the US team, and me, English, on the Canadian (and mostly French) team. Then they refused to change us back. They gave us this new computer system that was so broken there was no way to enter the information but berated us for not doing it right, told me I wasn’t allowed any breaks and had to eat at my desk, forced me to have to ask for the bathroom key from the receptionist to make sure I wasn’t taking a break, made me report to someone else when I had to go to any other part of the office, forbade me from speaking with certain people who were critical to me doing my job, and froze me out of basically everything because I didn’t write French well enough. Left after 3 months with no notice.

  162. Dancing in the Flames*

    I’m currently burning my bridge.

    I am a library director in a small rural town. About 6 months ago, an employee that grew up in town (beloved by all, it appears) decided that my change in directives was an affront, and she instigated a confrontation with me. I handled it badly, and the issue escalated to the Library Board.

    The Board committee chair asked to meet with me after meeting with the employee. I was forbidden to speak in my own behalf, not even to take responsibility for my actions, and assigned an apology letter. (Because my previous apology letter wasn’t sufficient for some reason – perhaps because it wasn’t forced.)

    That evening, I began my job search. I found another position, and the Board is now trying to figure out how to appoint an interim director … when the last time, the “interim” appointment lasted 18 months, and highlighted which supervisors just could not be counted on to step up. The staff that did it last time (6 years ago) still have memories to avoid that fiasco. We’re in the middle of financial reporting to the city and county, there’s many irons in the fire – and I’m leaving them there.

    The bridge? I just had the Board president in my office asking how to manage this leadership void. Who do I recommend? I shrugged. My last day is tomorrow.

  163. Lindsay*

    I worked for a company for 6 years. After about a year in the job, I was put on the #1 customer account for the department where I remained the rest of my tenure. I did a complicated certification they encouraged me to complete. When I realized there was not going to be a promotion or pay raise for said complicated certification, I looked for a new job that was going to pay me $10K more. Several people had left the department recently and they were in damage control mode. It was an open floor plan and about 70 employees. I was told in an email that when the rest of the staff went to a meeting elsewhere, I could pack up and leave without saying goodbye or “making a scene”.

    I had several managers come up to me to personally say goodbye and that they were horrified by the way I was being treated. Unfortunately for them, they gave me about 2 hours of time to stew on this before the meeting was happening. I spent that 2 hours deleting alllll of the SOPs and such that I had created to make life easier because they clearly didn’t think I needed to train someone in and they would just use my work to figure it out after I was gone. Then I deleted the deleted stuff so it was GONE GONE.

    I left quietly as instructed and apparently a woman who had managed me, and we weren’t even very amicable, made a scene after their meeting and loudly chastised management in the middle of the department floor for dismissing a 6-year employee that way.

    The following Monday, a coworker texted me to let me know they had gone to the computer to pull up all my info and utilize it, she watched them panic and run around looking for the computer because it clearly had been replaced by a clean unit for the next person and mine must have been moved. Then they went up to my coworker, who knew full well what I had done, and asked her where my computer was. She looked at them in a confused way, said that was my computer and watched them run off to call IT and try to retrieve the info. She was laughing and sending me updates which made it all the more satisfying.

  164. bruh*

    I have only one –

    When I was a youth, early 20’s, I dropped out of school and worked at a dispensary in a medical-only state. The dispensary was new, and I rapidly worked my way up from a trimmer to the store manager. In retrospect, this should have been my first red flag. It did not occur to me that quick promotions are a smokescreen for managers who quit rapidly.

    The problem at this place was the owners – two trust fund 40-something white guys with very little management experience and zero discipline. I routinely worked 60-70 hour weeks for a little over minimum wage – especially in those days, everything had to be done by the book in dispensaries because of our inventory, payroll, and other systems were actively monitored by a state agency. I was the only person working on both the store management (hiring, payroll, A/P, A/R, etc), along with endless compliance work.

    There was a period where one of the owners was convinced we had an employee theft problem – as soon as he came in, we would go into the stock room and weigh all of our products to see if there was some missing. When there was, he would go berserk and threaten to fire every one – red-faced, incandescent, totally out of pocket. Imagine my surprise when he later admitted that he and his wife would come to the dispensary drunk and raid the inventory – he just wanted it recorded as theft in case we ever had a physical audit (which we did).

    Also – his wife would drive there drunk at 10 am with two kids in the car and then berate the customers. Real classy people.

    Dispensaries are (or were) a tight knit community and getting black-listed would mean you are leaving the profession, not just the job. After the above offense, along with numerous others (firing someone for being sexually harassed, firing someone for wanting time off after an armed robbery, etc) I knew my time was up, and that I would be going back to school. I also knew that leaving would get me blacklisted – so if the bridge was burning anyway, why not fan the flames?

    One of the many illegal things going on there is that we used Square to process credit card payments – at that time, there was really no legal way to take credit cards without going through $$$ specialty banking services. We (to my great shame) had set up an array of dummy Square accounts listed as mundane retailers, and were bringing in ~$5-10k per day via these accounts (60%+of revenue). I stayed late one evening, carefully documented all of the Square accounts, left a sticky note on the owner’s desk saying “I quit – I am going back to school”, packed my car, and left. When I got home, I sent a long, detailed anonymous email to Square letting them know that these specific accounts were being used by a cannabis retailer – I also provided the physical and IP addresses.

    I got increasingly panicked voicemails over the next few days, which I did not answer.

    I went back to school, got a bachelors and master’s, and now make many times as much as I did then. The dispensary closed 2 months later – according to the local news, it was due to a severe audit failing.

  165. Kate*

    I used to work for Watch Weighters as a side gig. The meeting where I originally joined as a member was in a fairly rural area where I live. The leader had been running that meeting for decades. She was pushing 80 and very beloved. I worked as receptionist and would be her sub when she couldn’t lead. She asked me if I would take over leading in the winter, because the drive was too much for her. Our district manager gave the OK and the plan was she would take over again in the spring. Except in January, our district manager said that she wanted me to take over the meeting permanently and not to tell the other leader. I agreed, but come spring I gave my two weeks’ notice and left the company. No one else wanted to make the drive so the other leader got her meeting back.

  166. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

    I have 2 stories
    First one was a cashir full time job barely above minimum wage. Way back in the early 90’s. Started out full time with a promise of a raise at 6 months. A few people quit and I ended up working about 65 hours a week with 1 day off every couple of weeks. I should mention I did not get overtime. Legally at the time you could agree to just accept straight pay and I was like barely 20. (if no one called out) Hit the 1 year mark with no pay raise and asked the owner and pointed out how i had took on a part time schedule in addition to my part time schedule and helped the stockers and the pharmacists in addition to the little post office and my normal cashier duties. He “couldn’t afford to give me any raise as Walgreens had opened a story nearby” Like not a 5 cent raise. Nothing. Ok Well I’ll have to look at new positions else where. Got a call back on a weekend asking me to start the next day at a new retail place that was getting ready to open. I called and left Old Place a message on their voicemail at 6:30 on a Monday morning. I was supposed to work at 7 that morning. They were already so short handed that I was working 2 positions (a full and a part time) The result was a train wreck for the poor employees left.
    Second story I had a full time office job but took a 2nd job in the evenings at a local grocery store. Cashier work and I was one of the few employees who would work self scan so I was usually there. None of the shift leads liked to cover the self scan for breaks. I usually worked 4 -6 hour shifts so I was entitled per policy for a 15 minute break and I had worked 8 hours before arriving at this job. I was also nice and told them if there was a legit reason they couldn’t give me a break, just give me a heads up. (like short staffed or something) Instead I would watch the shift leads give all the cashiers their breaks, then disapear until the end of their shifts and them walking out would be how I’d find out I wasn’t getting a break. Repeatedly spoke to them about this and night leads said “We aren’t legally required to give you a break” “If i am working 6 hours yes you are and I’m not legally required to work 2 jobs or give you a 2 week notice so if you can’t give me a break at least have the curtesy to let me know ahead of time” Day management would say “yes they have to give you your breaks” But over and over it would happen. Not just 1 shift lead but several. So right before a major holiday weekend that none wanted to work anyway on a Thursday night I watched the shift lead pull the same little routine and then after clocking out and shopping for a while she came thru the check out the below verbatim is our conversation Me ” So I assume I’m not getting a break tonight” Shift Lead “oh did I forget you” Me “no you didn’t forget, you gossiped with Cash Cage for 20 minutes then clocked out” Shift Lead “Well what time do you leave” Me checking my watch “in 10 minutes and I won’t be back. You all have been warn repeatedly” And why yes I was scheduled to work over the holiday weekend that everyone else had already asked off for. They actually tried to call me at my full time job that Friday, but gosh darn full time job had a policy about non business phone calls and I never set up my voicemail.

  167. Scarlett*

    I was pregnant. My nonprofit employer had seven full-time employees and no leave policies. My communte was 90 minutes, each way. Our board had just finished conducting a benefits analysis and every member of the org shared that we needed a family leave policy. So I told my boss at 8 weeks I was pregnant and needed to start talking about what a leave policy would look like.

    This seemed like a no-brainer – we should create a policy, right? WRONG. Our board chair, upon discovering that I was pregnant, claimed she couldn’t “waive a magic wand and create a maternity leave policy!” She refused the flexible arrangement I proposed (6 weeks off, then part-time & remote until my child could go to daycare), and a few weeks later replaced my boss with someone who’d start 10 days before my due date. And as it became increasingly clear that I would, in fact, give birth (and therefore be out of the office, with or without ‘permission’), it was equally clear that no one was willing to tell me what leave I’d be provided.

    Fast-forward to Friday afternoon, exactly one month before my due date, the week before Christmas. I get an email from my new boss – who I haven’t met and *won’t return my calls* – laying out what my leave will be 4 weeks, unpaid. I can’t work remotely at all, so I’m expected to commute (this job could be done from literally anywhere – I was a department of 1!). And after 4 weeks I’m to be back in the office (…with my baby? idk what they expected, b/c I told them my daycare started at 12 weeks).

    I weighed my options. I was young – these were powerful board members. They had sway in the community. But also, I’m tired. I’m 8 months pregnant. I literally have zero f**** to give at this point. So I decided to burn it all down. I forwarded the email from my ‘new boss’ to the entire board and laid it out for them – that the team had asked for a leave policy, that I spent 6 months offering to negotiate this including with [Board President], and that I was going to pack up my things Monday morning.

    Our biggest funder – who’s on the board – immediately responded, “Can someone explain why we are refusing to provide a leave policy?” and then I logged off.

    1. Lenora Rose*

      This kind of simultaneous whistleblowing and bridge burning is especially satisfying. I can only imagine how much trouble the people trying to abuse a lack of policy got into right then.

  168. Chris*

    I worked for a grocery store for 21 years. I was doing 3 jobs for 2 years and getting unlimited overtime. I worked once for 33 days straight with no days off. I paid off two debts with the money I was making, but was developing physical problems due to my working so many hours. I had my feet X-rayed because they hurt so much (go figure) and I was having dizzy spells. A couple of times I literally didn’t see daylight because I was working so much. My abusive boss called me into his office one day to chew me out for, “not working hard enough.” I asked for some help. Then I asked for more training. He didn’t answer with words when I made these requests. He *snorted* at me. Both times. Literally blew air through his nose at my reasonable requests as if I didn’t deserve words. I texted my family in tears, and their universal response was, “just quit.” I tossed my name tag at that idiot and walked out. I blocked his phone and the assistant managers’ phones before I was out of the door. Over two decades at that place and all I deserved was to be *snorted* at? They can go themselves.

  169. Linda C*

    Early in his career my husband worked for the IRS and was up for promotion to the next class of Gov’t worker. He was passed over twice – the third time would have been an automatic promotion. His boss closed the rec instead of giving him the job and he started looking in the private sector. Once he got a new position and started climbing the corporate ranks, he sent his former boss a thank-you card when his salary hit 2x what he’d been making at the IRS, and sent flowers when it hit 3x.

    He understands from former co-workers that the flowers went right in the trash.

  170. TransmascJourno*

    In grad school, I worked in the gift shop of a a relatively well known venue on 42nd Street in Times Square. (Yes, working on 42nd Street in the middle of Times Square is as much of a Dantean hellscape as you’d imagine, but with more camera flashes and camp out lines to very terrible Broadway shows.)

    The summer I worked there coincided with a major-scale hurricane — which, as you might assume, is a pretty rare weather event for NYC. A state of emergency was declared. The subways were shut down. Bridges from Manhattan to the other boroughs were closed. The livery cab drivers who worked that day (and whom, I imagine, did so out of pretty desperate circumstances) could only drive with designated zones. I taped up the windows of my fourth floor walk up, bought some cans of sterno, some non-perishables, a few gallons of water, and moved my mattress into the safest area of the living room. Two friends who lived in neighborhoods that were determined to be (and ultimately were) major flood zones each brought a couple bottles of wine and stayed with me for the duration. I was scheduled to come into work mere hours before public transportation would shutdown throughout the metro area. Naturally, I said I would not be there for my shift.

    Hours later, I received a call from my coworker (who, it turned out, conned me and other employees into thinking she was our manager when she wasn’t—but that’s a story for another time). She screamed at me for missing my shift, even though I had rightly pointed out that I was not legally required to come to work during a declared state of emergency and had said as much when I called out. She threatened to fire me on the spot. (For the record: she was not at work, either. She had left the city due to the hurricane.)

    “Oh,” I said, “that’s interesting. I guess I’ll let my labor lawyer know.” (I did not know a labor lawyer.)

    She clammed up immediately and told me she’d see me my next shift. The next time I was scheduled, I picked up my paycheck and never returned.

    1. pope suburban*

      Oh I had one of these! I worked at a toy store in college, doing stocking and gift wrapping for the holidays. I brought my class schedule and finals schedule to my interview, and left them with the manager when I was hired on the spot. Imagine my surprise when they scheduled me for a shift during the final for my capstone seminar. I reminded them I couldn’t do that and that I’d let them know before I was hired, and since there was no one available to cover (We didn’t have enough people on staff) I assumed a manager would have to do it. Except there was a blizzard that day that shut down the state and triggered a state of emergency. My phone was buzzing like mad during the exam, as campus closed down about 15 minutes before we finished. I check my phone after and it’s not a family emergency, it’s work. I had a stack of progressively more unhinged messages telling me to come in, threatening my job, and finally passive-aggressively telling me “not to bother” coming in if I wasn’t going to take it seriously. So I didn’t. Never went back. Because I did, in fact, not take a four-hour shift wrapping gifts during a blizzard when people were only leaving the house to buy supplies/fetch vulnerable loved ones seriously, not compared to graduating college and getting home in one piece. The store was locally notorious for being unreasonable and I’m honestly not even sure if they still exist, between one thing and another.

  171. OnAndOnAnon*

    I quit in a way that should have burned a bridge, which I didn’t care about at all, but turned out it didn’t.

    I was a Director at a private company that was owned by an equity firm (so they bought the company, were slashing costs to make it “profitable” and wanted to re-sell it).

    The CEO both fired one of my reports without telling me, spent an entire meeting accusing me of “sandbagging” how long a project would take, and told me I was “overcomplicating” things and being “hysterical”.

    I just walked out of the meeting, walked back to my desk, packed everything up, and told the VP I reported to that I was done and leaving.

    He was aghast and asked me to wait while he talked to the CEO. I was like “Nah.” And I left.

    And I didn’t care if I burned that bridge. But it turns out I didn’t, because less than 3 years later, I was invited to join a company created and staffed by a number of people I had worked with at BadPlace, and I’ve been here for 4 years with no issues.

    As a side note – the project I was “sandbagging” and “overcomplicating” ended up being a huge money sink, completely failed, and the CEO was removed about 6 months after I left.

    I don’t know that I’d ever do it again, but I don’t regret doing it.

  172. Spicymoment*

    My last job was a small non-profit. The executive director was definition narcissist, micro manager, abrasive, you name it.

    ED felt threatened by my grand boss so they fired her out of the blue. Things quickly went sour after that.

    We were supposed to go to a conference highlighting our work but ED canceled last minute citing “funding reasons” (which wasn’t true as we had already purchased flights and conference tixs). The real reason was that grand boss was actually getting a reward for their hardwork.

    After finding a new job, I decided to send my last email to all staff. Professionally written “good bye everyone”, oh but I added one more thing: a link citing old grand boss’s award.

    But no, the burning bridge doesn’t stop there: At new job (another non profit), I find out new job funded ex toxic job. So I met with new grand boss and explained why new job shouldn’t fund old job (there were legit ethical reasons which was why I left quicker).

    They pulled the funding :) The ED at old job is apparently known to not be well liked, so it didn’t take much convincing.

  173. Ex-prof*

    My first year teaching public school, my principal fired me two months in. But I was still under contract till the end of the year. Older, more experienced teachers told me that she’d done it because she didn’t like people of my ethnicity, and that she would undoubtedly unfire me by the end of the school year.

    I don’t know about the first part, but the second part was true. One week before summer vacation she rehired me.

    This didn’t surprise me, because I was teaching a high-need subject area. Which made it very easy to get another job. Which I did, 5,000 miles away. I took the other job and, two weeks before the end of summer vacation, I sent a letter of resignation… snail mail.

    1. Ex-prof*

      Oh, point of clarification: I had worked the whole school year. She fired me two months in, but effective the end of the school year.

  174. Candace*

    Yup. Was told to stop demanding that someone deal with my grand-boss (a tenured university vice president) who was embezzling grant funds. I didn’t. He got fired. But that was the end of me getting promotions. Left shortly thereafter. Another place I left after 1 shift when it was obvious everything they said in the interview was a lie.

  175. Petty Betty*

    Yep. I left a non-profit board with three others. We all resigned within 15 minutes of each other. And to salt the earth after we left 18 months ago, we are STILL quietly telling people *why* we left because when we originally left, the person we left to protect was still a minor (not any longer).
    So, the board president and his wife ab*se their foster children. They do it in such a way that the kids are too scared to say anything (because they don’t want to be sent to another home that might not be queer-friendly) and they currently have standing in the community. On top of that, the board president is racist, misogynistic, and has issues with successful gay men. Previous attempts at trying to correct the board president’s behaviors were met with denials of the behaviors and no changes. Board members it affected previously, and volunteers it affected had left already.
    So, four of us (including the only gay man and only two board members of color) left within 15 minutes of each other.
    The organization didn’t tell anyone we left for a year until they were able to quietly replace us, and even now, they swear that we are engaging in a “campaign of sabotage”, but they are doing it specifically to cover up money that’s gone missing in our absence.

    1. marly*

      Genuine question – why do you write “ab*se” and not “abuse”? It’s not like it’s a curse word

      1. AGD*

        Not the OP, but this looks like an attempt at being a bit more discreet in case that would help readers who have a history of being badly mistreated.

        1. GenuinelyCurious*

          I am all for content warnings about sensitive subjects. I think they’re brilliant, have and will continue using them.

          I understand that censorship on some platforms means that people have to use euphemisms for certain things (unalive instead of dead/death/murder and so on). I think that’s bullshit but I understand that if people want their content to reach others they might have to comply.

          I’m also aware that sometimes one might have to employ certain substitutions to get around overly restrictive auto-modding tools, similar to the Scunthorpe test.

          What I do not understand is how adding an asterisk to the word abuse would be at all helpful, since people are going to parse ab*se as abuse anyway, the same way you assume that f*ck is fuck. If just reading the word abuse is a problem for someone, is ab*se really going to be any better?

      2. JSPA*

        Many sites auto-flag certain terms and hold the posts for review, and many video sites will take down or demonetize or not promote stuff containing certain terms and phrases, if written in full. Thus the verb phrase “to un-alive oneself” and many other partly-elided terms. It signals “this is something we should not speak of lightly,” which–fair enough! (Though grammar and word use really can’t be expected to do the heavy lifting of somehow removing the pain of a traumatic concept.)

  176. AC*

    At 5pm on payday, I clocked out.

    Did I send a resignation letter, effective immediately? I did.

    In my letter, did I detail the multiple building violations, positive asbestos tests, and financial fraud? I did.

    Did I CC the entire board? I did.

  177. cold_call_catastrophe*

    I was hired for what seemed like a cool job with a small company. When we did all my hiring paperwork, they were missing the W4. The owner said not to worry, she’d get the form for me tomorrow.

    Every day I asked about it. I waited until I got my first paycheck deposited and cleared before telling her I was quitting, and I needed my W4 now. Her husband came by and gave me one, which I filled out.

    My W2 came with a note that I was a dental hygienist at her husband’s business. Color me surprised, I had been doing floral arrangements.

    1. cold_call_catastrophe*

      Sorry, to add: while I was filling out the W4, the owner was furiously lecturing me on quitting without notice, especially when she was so gracious to offer me a job.

  178. Shiara*

    I don’t think I burned the bridge per se, but it was pretty charred at the end.

    Through a mutual acquaintance, I got a more senior role within the same organization. I’d been at my position for 12 years, despite spending the last 8 years trying to move and getting nowhere. To this day, I am convinced that my old boss deliberately held me back because she wanted to keep me doing what I was doing. A pay level promotion earlier in April that year where the phrase, “Will you stop looking for other jobs if we give you the pay level bump?” convinces me of that (my response was, “I’d look less”).

    For a month and a half post-departure date, various people in my old team would contact me for assistance through IMs, emails, follow-up IMs, and follow-up emails. In addition, I was told I had to finish a training document as a condition of leaving the area (total BS), getting OT (the only consolation).

    By this point, I was DONE with this area and wanted nothing more than to focus on my new job. However, they continued to IM and email, with one IM asking, “Are you really in a meeting or just ignoring me?”.

    My new boss’s suggestion was to ignore their emails, so I did. I muted all of their IMs as well. This did nothing: foll0w-up emails on the follow-up emails continued.

    Not seeing any end in sight and counting a combined total of 30 emails and IMs in 1.5 months, I knew I had to cut the cord. I crafted a strongly-worded email, and sent it to the Department Head, 2 levels above my old boss. Sending to management below that was useless: my old manager was one of the ones following up, and her boss was her good friend, so unlikely to stop the requests. I believe the key phrase I used was, “I am sure you will agree that emailing/IMing every couple of days is not ‘once in a while’, and I stated that after X date, I would no longer respond to any form of communication.

    Well! The fire that this brought on was incredible. Meetings between my new boss and old were made, and the condition to contact was to cc my boss with any email request. Which they did do about every 4 months or so for the next 3 years about most things that they could easily resolve without me.

    Each time they reached out, they got an email at the end of my workday, if not the day after they sent it, with polite frostiness. As my old boss had said to me that she ‘knew my job and what I did’, I didn’t feel that I really needed to provide the information… after all, didn’t she know my job and what I did?

    To this day, I don’t care that I charred the bridge. The department had a clique I wasn’t a part of, and I couldn’t see me getting out despite actively searching for 8 years. I’ve been in my current role for 4 years with no contact from them: it’s glorious.

  179. Twill*

    This isn’t particularly exciting but it was personally satisfying. I have always worked in the health insurance industry. During that time I have done customer service, claims, been a team lead, etc. And in my city there are multiple insurance companies (like the BUCA’s) and smaller TPA’s. The point being you are ALWAYS running into someone you worked with or for at jobs. So you try really hard not to burn bridges.
    I was working at the dental claims office vendor for a big medical ins Co. I took the job because I was in a situation where I needed to take the job because-life. It was customer service and I had never done dental insurance before and I thought I had left my customer service days behind me. Starting training. Sure enough, trainer was someone I had worked with at another company. Ran into a few more people that I knew personally are recognized. Training goes ok but as everyone knows, there’s training and then there’s reality. I get out on the floor and it’s a sea of cubicles. They didn’t assign me a ‘buddy’. .I had no idea where my supervisor sat. I couldn’t ask questions of my co-workers because they were all on the phone. It was just a crappy work environment. But I was hanging in there, holding my own.
    One day on about my 3rd week, I stood up just to stretch my back, still had my headset on. One of the supervisors, a young guy, was walking by and said “Hey! You need to sit down”.
    So I did sit back down. Took off my headset. Did not bother shutting my computer off. Grabbed my purse. And walked out. It was probably around 10 am. I drove home and told my husband I quit my job but I would find another. And I did, at a company right across the street. A great company with a great boss – who I worked for before.
    It is not something I would normally do. I can’t explain other than being told to ‘Sit’ just hit me the wrong way. No regrets.

  180. Mefois*

    Not my story, but my mom’s. Several years back, she was working as an assistant at a vets office. The owner was terrible, super petty and overbearing. One day he was yelling at her over some minor perceived infraction and my mom finally decided that she’d had enough. She said a few choice words to the owner, flung the full bowl of dog food she was holding onto the floor, and walked out.

  181. I Have RBF*

    So, after I became disabled, I was unemployed. I couldn’t do my previous job, so they had no work for me and I was let go. I was trying to break into a new field, but was having no luck.

    So I went to this “employment for the disabled” quasi-government agency. They found me a “job”. It was actually a nightmare.

    It was contract, not even temp to perm. It paid half of what I had been making in my professional capacity, plus was only 6 hours a day. I cried after I went to fill out the paperwork, it was so demeaning. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

    Folks, it was doing phone surveys in a crowded bank of cubbies with just enough room for a computer, a keyboard, a phone, and the “sample”. If you rolled your chair backward you would hit someone. You could easily touch the person next to you.

    No one had any sick leave, because they were “temporary”. So 95% came in sick. This was before Covid, so no one even thought about face masks to reduce the disease soup that was the workplace.

    I was still recovering from my stroke, so I caught every goddamn thing going around that cesspit! I’d end up out three or four days at a time, because my immune system never had a chance to recover. That and I wasn’t willing to call people I’d already called who had told me not to call them again. Ethics are such a hindrance to that type of work.

    Finally, the agency called me when I was yet again out sick to chew me out for “bad attendance”. I told them I quit, that I could make more money “signing” (spanging) on a street corner and have less illness, and I meant it. The other end of the phone was silent.

    I had a better job with a real temp agency, at 40 hours a week and half again the hourly pay, within a week. Sure, it was still phones, but it was an inbound call center and the people who called were mostly company reps and very nice. When I wasn’t on the phone I was studying a programming language. I had one other outbound phone job where they wanted me to work in the same room as someone who came in sick, and we parted ways promptly, to the point I leave it off my resume it was so short. To this day I will not even consider outbound phone work.

    After all that, I finally broke in to my new career, and have been at it for 25 years.

    TL; DR: A “supported” outbound call center job kept making me sick, so I quit, no notice.

  182. By the lake*

    I was working for a junior mining company and they were running out of money. Our paychecks were either late or not for the full amount. I was getting very fed up with this so one Friday I packed up the (company owned) laptop and said I will be at home if you need me, you know how to contact me and left. I never went back. New people eventually took over and injected some much needed funds. They had quite a mess to clean up as people kept coming out of the woodwork, myself included, asking to be paid what was owed. I got my money, gave them a run down of what my roll had been and tried to be as helpful as possible. They did not ask me back. I never mentioned the laptop.

  183. Hot Flash Gordon*

    I had a second job at a large blue electronics chain after I graduated college. I only wanted to work weekends, but because I was not in high school, I was scheduled weekday evenings (6 – close). We closed at 10, but no one could leave until the entire store was closed up so I was often there until midnight. I didn’t mind too much but my shift supervisors were 18-year old Chads and loved being worshipped by kids. When it was clear that I was not interested and was just there to work, they started micromanaging. Someone passed a stolen check through my register (for which I had to take time off of my full time job to look at a photo line up) and I was written up even though I had followed all processes. I felt terrible for the victim of the theft but asked what more I could have done (I checked the ID, which matched all the info on the check). I was told next time to pay closer attention to the person’s picture (the offender looked a lot like the id pic, so lol wut).

    The final straw was getting another write up because the register drawer was 5 cents short. When I protested the write up because I took over the drawer from another employee (they didn’t count out drawers between shifts), I was told, tough, you’re the one turning in the drawer at the end of the night. I called the next day (a Saturday) and told them I was quitting and to not put me on the next week’s schedule. They snottily reminded me that I wouldn’t be eligible for rehire if I didn’t give 2 weeks notice and I just told them that, while I understood, I would not be personally devastated to be on their black list.

  184. Joey Jo Jo*

    A lifetime ago I was a copy editor at an international science journal that took itself VERY seriously.

    Despite this self-seriousness, the work atmosphere was a hot mess (lots of employees dating each other with regular office breakups and drama, many inappropriate comments said openly, some real problem employees tolerated for eons), mostly due to the intensely hands-off attitude of the department manager.

    If I had been paid in peanuts it would have been a raise, and I had the worst benefits allowable by law at the time. But they promised to train me and prepare me for a shiny, exciting future!

    Well, after a few months it was made crystal clear that the training I was promised was not to occur, and then several of us overheard our great-grandboss declare there were “just way too many employees” in our division. I correctly deduced, as the most recent hire, that my time was probably coming to an end.

    So on my last day I took a bunch of scientific articles (“The Precise Tensile Coefficient of Llama Fur: An Exhaustive Report”) and did a find/replace on key words so as to turn them into instant parodies (“The Precise Time-Traveling Mysteries of Llamas: An Exciting Exposé”) and sent them out as proofs in progress to the scientist authors moments before handing in my badge and going home.

    I was told later by someone who stayed slightly longer that it caused a collective massive eyebrow raise from various science orgs, some very long talks about what was going on with the editors, and while a few authors found the “edits” terrifically funny, the rest were simply confused.

    Although I was told via email I was never to be hired again, the organization ended up firing the whole department for budget reasons and outsourcing cheaper editors in another country, so… oh well.

  185. Esme_Weatherwax*

    I was working a split position, with half my time supposedly going to one set of duties in one department and a completely separate set in another. In reality both positions were near full time, but I was on salary so I was just told to get things done, 30-35 hours per week on both “halves.” I was productive and met all my objectives, but after 2 years my boss on one side decided to eliminate my position. She said, though, that I was welcome to keep working the position for free while I went back to my other “half” job full time to earn my salary. I laughed and said no. She was legitimately shocked. Like she realistically thought this was an offer I would entertain. She asked me if I wanted to reconsider. I said no. She told me it was shameful that “some people” have no loyalty to the organization or its clients. I said, “yeah, that’s a shame.” She railed about my poor character until I got up and left the room, with her shouting after me that I “can’t deny her feelings” (???) Then I took vacation for the rest of my contract period (I had a month’s worth coming) and was therefore unavailable to answer any questions about my position or responsibilities…you know, the ones she thought she didn’t need.

    She was fired a few months later because of the two of us, I was the only one actually producing work for that department. She had spent quite a bit of the department budget redecorating her office but didn’t actually produce any deliverables. I’m still at the organization 13 years later. She now works as a life coach. I do not regret burning that bridge.

  186. Clown agency survivor*

    Imagine one of those circus scenes where 10 clowns pile out of a car and run around, banging into each other and repeatedly falling over in a very slapstick way. That describes the management at my previous job of three months. I could go on forever, but when I was told by a former peer that the company was trying to bring him in to be my manager, at a 50% higher salary than me, because “men are better management material” I knew I had to bail. I lined up a new job and gave a generous 4-week notice. Upon giving my notice, the male clowns in upper management froze me out completely. At first I thought I was accidentally left off emails, but when upper management started pretending I wasn’t there in meetings – like actually pretending I didn’t exist – “did you hear something? I didn’t” kind of thing – I decided to fight unprofessionalism with unprofessionalism and partake in some good, old-fashioned Tuesday day-drinking. At about 3pm, maybe a week and a half into my notice period, I sent a scathing drunk email stating that their behaviour toward me was completely unacceptable and that today would be my last day. And then I just stopped working and enjoyed my significant buzz in the sunshine. Reading my email back the next day, it was surprisingly well-written for someone 5 G&Ts deep. I received a reply two whole days later saying they were “surprised and disappointed” and I resisted the urge to point out how stupid they must be to not have seen this coming – I suppose they felt a woman should be docile and meek enough to take such rubbish? My former peer took the job and lasted 2 months, quitting in a very similar manner (I think he probably chose scotch). Neither of us were affected in the slightest career-wise, we are now trauma bonded and both have some wild stories to tell at industry events.

    1. Happily Retired*

      This is an epic example of drunk-posting! Congrats for getting out of the cesspool. Or the wading pool filled with three-year-olds, not sure which is the better metaphor.

  187. Barnes and Noble Bridge Burner*

    I get heat stroke very easily. This will become relevant.

    I was hired at a college affiliate of Barnes and Noble for an indoor job. On the first day of work, I was told I would be temporarily reassigned to work outdoors. During the first few weeks of school when demand at that bookstore was highest, they had workers who took people’s back packs and checked them outdoors in a cubby system as the bookstore didn’t allow people’s bags. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have accepted that job, however I was already there so I gave it a try for the 1st three days. On the 3rd day, on the edge of heat stroke because I live in southeast Texas, I quit. I was told, “If you quit without notice like this, you’ll NEVER be able to work at a Barnes and Noble again. You’ll be blackballed forever.”

    At first this shook me. Who knew what would happen in the future, if I’d want that. But heat stroke and my general orneriness won out, when I told that manager to go ahead and add my name to their list of quitters.

    Several years later, I applied for a job at B&N just to see if there was any truth to that weird threat. They called me for an interview so I guess not!

  188. Sally Forth*

    I had a boss in a 2 person library who was really difficult to work with. She was condescending, once referred to me as her personal assistant, gave confusing directions, and spoke so rudely to medical residents that she was reported to HR. One day she did something so egregious that I gave notice. The next day she came in crying and said I was going to ruin her career. Then she turned mean and said she had clout in our local med library consortium and would ruin mine. She also advised that she would be doing an exit interview where she would discuss in detail how I had failed. Then she took a day off.

    I went to HR and they said that was crazy and given the circumstances I didn’t even need to work out my last couple of days notice with her. Then I had a proper exit interview with our division director and the VP of Legal.

    I had note paper from a set of George Eliot stationery. I left a note that said “HR said I don’t need to work with you again. I did an exit interview with X and Y.” The quote at the top of the page said “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

  189. We walked*

    Scheduled a meeting with the company president to discuss an upcoming office move for the company we consult for. We didn’t want to move, and wanted to negotiate for better positions as we were the largest contract our company still had (at a whopping 5 developers). We asked about pay increases, and he gave the “we conduct surveys” line he’d always given. I told him about the data I collected through Glassdoor and other sites, and mentioned that we were about 20-30% below market. He didn’t budge.

    Before the meeting, we’d shared salary. I’d been hired with no experience in the technology, and two other developers had been there for about the same amount of time I had. Unsurprisingly, we noticed some discrepancies: the only woman there made substantially less than the other developer, who was making less after 3 years than I was when I was brought on without the experience.

    I said in that meeting: “She’s making $X, He’s making $Y. We can talk about the fact that you’re definitely underpaying her, but you can not honestly tell me that he’s worth less after three years than I was when I was brought on. Your options are paying us more, not having us move, or losing your development team.”

    And I’m happy to report that all of us found better jobs a month or two after that.

    Addendum: we talked with some of the people he’d hired to replace us and *strangely* they found the budget for higher pay. Weird how that works.

  190. and ye shall know me*

    I (young female) went for an interview at a small company. I was interviewed by the boss (male) and the HR director (female). The interview was going fine though the boss tended to talk a lot. We got to the point where they asked for questions. I wasked something about the company. THE FLOODGATES OPENED.

    I sat there, silent, for easy the next fifteen minutes at least while this guy told me how he’d founded the company, why, the cool people he’d met since, his last holiday, his thoughts on yachts and wanting to buy one, stuff about ?an award ceremony he’d attended, thoughts on how his past teachers might react to his success…something about suits?…and on and on. It was one of the longest unbroken monologues I’ve ever heard outside a theatre. It wasn’t relevant to the job. It was just his personal Greatest Hits album, played at me. The HR manager sat there stony faced, with the eyes of a woman who had Heard. It. Before.

    And he finally wound down. And he said, “Does that answer your question?”

    So I said, “Sorry, I’ve forgotten what it was.”

    It did at least bring a spark of life back to the HR woman’s eyes, plus it got me out of there faster than any polite termination would have done.

    1. Abundant Shrimp*

      Honest confession, the last time I had an interview at a place I didn’t know anyone that resulted in a job offer, that was how the interview went. No technical questions, no tests, no nothing, just my boss-to-be talking at me for 90 minutes straight and me nodding and smiling while gazing into his eyes with rapt attention. He asked a few questions about my resume, but not a lot. At one point I’m embarrassed to say I said “I like what I’m hearing and would love to work here, if you’d be okay with it” and I BATTED MY EYES at him (omg cringing as I type.) Walked out of there and drove to the nearby McDonalds to change (because my job had casual dress code and would’ve had a lot of questions if I’d walked into the office in a suit and heels), got a call from the recruiter while at the McDonalds, where he told me I was now the top candidate. Got the job, worked there six years, was poached by the manager of the guy who’d hired me, still working at this other place and just had my 11th anniversary there. In other words, I can credit most of my career to a guy who loved the sound of his voice.

      PS. He was a bit rough to work for, but meant well and after initial friction, we came to a good working relationship and also he hired his friend and the friend became my manager less than a year after I was hired.

      PPS. I was really desperate to get out of my then-job. I’d been doing 24/7 on-call support for six years and was TIRED! and willing to take any job that didn’t need me on call on nights and weekends.

      PPPS. Last fall I adopted a cat and named him after this manager. As a token of my appreciation, of course. The cat is also very talkative.

  191. Feelings sticker chart victim*

    A few years back I wrote in about my bizarre dysfunctional office where we had a sticker chart where we had to indicate how we were feeling that day. We were treated very badly in that work place but there was one woman who received some uniquely horrific treatment that I still struggle to comprehend. My favourite thing I’ve ever seen in a workplace was when she handed in her resignation she strode right up to the sticker chart and slapped her sticker into the feeling fantastic box.

  192. Put the Human Back in HR*

    I rage-retired this week. I work at a university. I have to give 3 months notice to retire. Rage-retiring is exactly what it sounds like – like trying to stomp your feet in fuzzy pink slippers and slam a door made of yellow Peeps.

    I’ve been a star performer for decades. Then I got the new boss from hell (NBFH). My entire career I have voiced my ideas, opinions, thoughts, feedback as a member of the management team. ZZZZIIITTT! Wrong answer! NBFH only wants to hear yes and that every word NBFH says is golden and irrefutable. NBFH wants mouths open in wonder and ohhhss and ahhhhss when NBFH is speaking. People who have been marginal performers but who seem to see cotton candy coming out of NBFH’s — mouth — are suddenly the golden children.

    I grew a giant target, not only on myself but my whole department. I couldn’t do anything right. According to NBFH, my outstanding team is deeply flawed. NBFH scoffed at the idea that they are human, people made a mistake here and there as, you know, humans do, but statistically infinitesimally small in the context of all the great things they do and accomplish. They make far fewer mistakes and are more respected by our customers than people in the golden children’s departments but that doesn’t matter. NBFH instituted awful rules for just my employees, no other employees in the area. I resisted, I debated, I tried logic but I was wasting my breath. I had to implement them. I tried to stay professional, support NBFH, but I struggled to explain to my stellar group why we were the only ones to fall under the arbitrary new rules.

    The wonderful team I’d built and developed over the course of years suddenly left in droves. Others outside the area saw that NBFH was bullying me but I didn’t bad mouth NBFH. I tried with everything I have to turn it around not just for me but for my employees who are still here. I was so depressed. I’ve had suicidal thoughts. I take the maximum dosage of an anti-depressent and can’t sleep. I have panic attacks. But I didn’t want to give up.

    The last straw hit my last damn nerve on Tuesday, I realized I can’t fix it for me and my team no matter what I do, and I snapped. Wednesday I talked to my husband about it, we went over our budget, decided we can live on his salary by being strictly frugal, and Thursday I told NBFH, I’m retiring. Of course, this is what NBFH wanted all along. In the face of NBFH’s satisfied smirk, I kept cool and professional even though I had the song “Take This Job and Shove It” running through my head. I talked calmly about finishing projects. I’ve seen people check out during their three months (or more) before retirement but that’s not me. I’ll leave everything in order. I felt the suffocating weight lift, my spirits soared, and in three months, it’s no longer my problem.

    1. Happily Retired*

      – I should have written “drunk-emailing.” lol

      I apologize for any confusion.

      1. Happily Retired*

        Gah, nesting fail!

        Good for you! Your university is losing a gem and will realize it soon, if they don’t already.

        And I treasure your description of “rage-retiring.”

    2. Tess McGill*

      I’m laughing at your description of this tool.

      “NBFH only wants to hear yes and that every word NBFH says is golden and irrefutable. NBFH wants mouths open in wonder and ohhhss and ahhhhss when NBFH is speaking. People who have been marginal performers but who seem to see cotton candy coming out of NBFH’s — mouth — are suddenly the golden children.”

      I wish this was a unique situation. You have my sympathies, and it’s too bad you had to end your career on a downer.

  193. Betty*

    Not me, but years ago in a not-public school where I used to work, a teacher announced that she would not be returning the following school year about 6 weeks before the end of the current school year. This gave plenty of time for the school to look for someone new. Later on, she let it be known that even though her contract (like all of ours) detailing pay, benefits, etc. ran thru the end of August, the school cancelled her health insurance at the end of June even though she was on the payroll thru August. To this day, nobody lets admin know if they will not be returning the next school year until very late into the summer…

  194. ElTrotsky*

    I worked as a receptionist/PA at a hair salon for a tyrant. Besides the gross stuff (having to see her husband’s calls come in on her phone as “Sweet Daddy,” hearing all about her mommy makeover in detail, etc.), she made my life a living hell. No excuse was good enough to not be perfect all the time. I was rear-ended just before I got to work one day, so badly that they thought my one-year-old car was totaled. I came in crying and with stains on my dress from pulling my rear bumper off to put in the back seat. I knew we had a family of rich clients coming in, but I still maybe expected a few words of comfort. Instead I was told that there wasn’t much to do about the dress, but my car was nothing to cry over and I needed to get my makeup fixed before they came in. She nearly fired me after one stylist (one of the only ones who didn’t bully me, more on that in a second) told me to tell her cheating BIL that she was fully booked if he tried to make an appointment. I tried to set him up with someone who had “more availability,” but instead he complained to my boss that I didn’t try hard enough to fit him in. The last straw was her acceptance of the stylists openly bullying me and trying to sabotage my job. I won’t detail every incident for brevity and because it was twelve years ago and I’ve moved on, but like the kind of bullying I didn’t think actually happened amongst adults. That real “crying at home every night” type ish. And she told me it was my responsibility to just deal with it.
    So when the family I’d nannied for were moving to the PNW and offered two days before they left to have me come along and watch the kids on the drive/fly me back, I jumped at it. I was 22, with no real responsibilities and a few grand in the bank, and I love a road trip. It’s like the last time in your life you can weigh “road trip with the potential for lifelong memories” vs. “going to a job you hate every day until you’re inevitably fired for drinking water at your desk or something (it was brought up)” and choose the former. So I went in the next day, told the two people I trusted and liked that it was my last day, and left my keys in my desk drawer before I left. I got home, emailed my boss telling her the news, and didn’t check my email for the week I was gone so that I didn’t have to deal with anymore BS from her in the form of a response. I still do not regret doing it.

    1. KitKat*

      My best friend from high school did that when we were in our early twenties. We worked together at a beer joint but she had the opportunity to go to Europe with a guy she had been casually dating. I was like FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO TO EUROPE and off she went. The restaurant was pretty upset at both of us since I referred her but she absolutely made the correct choice.

  195. Rex Libris*

    My first job in high school was in the kitchen of a large, well known burger chain. The manager thought he was Master of the Universe, presumably because he got to wear a tie while flipping burgers, since nothing in his actual performance warranted it. He was a complete *ss, and ridiculously self important (also only two or three years older than the high school kids he supervised.) Anyway, they were perennially short staffed, so on the day of my high school graduation, I let him pressure me into working a morning shift on the condition that I could leave by 1:00pm. I get there, and I’m on the schedule until 5:00pm, and was told that he couldn’t get anyone else, so I’d just have to stay and cover.

    Promptly at 1:00pm, I shut down all the grills in the kitchen and walked out. In the middle of the lunch rush. Because the manager had a habit of disappearing for long stretches in the middle of the day I was already home getting ready for graduation by the time he called. I didn’t answer, but the message on the answering machine was very creative, as I remember.

  196. KitKat*

    My new job once told me my payroll information didn’t go through and they did not have a paycheck for me for my first two weeks of work. I found it later that day in the office but they insisted I couldn’t cash it because my I-9 stuff wasn’t validated. I immediately began plotting my escape- found a new (better paying) job a few weeks later and just never went back.

  197. Abundant Shrimp*

    Ooh I just remembered another thing I once did after already giving notice – apologies to the regulars here, because I’ve written about this one in the comments a few times over the years. In the middle of a mass exodus, I also found a new job and put in my two weeks. My airhead of a boss invited me into his office one day when I had about a week left, wanting to talk about how my leaving was a wakeup call for the management, how they decided to finally start hiring instead of dumping the work on whoever was left like they’d been doing for years, and said “we were in my office last night making lists of open positions and compensation” and without looking he pointed at a whiteboard behind his back. On the board was a list of newly open positions (including mine) with base pay (the one for my replacement was 30% higher than mine). Every year at review time, we’d been told and given printouts of charts explaining how our pay was “at market reference point” and to see written proof that the company was in fact underpaying us by tens of thousands of dollars the whole time, didn’t feel great. I said something to that effect, he looked at the whiteboard, went pale, and begged me not to tell anyone. He was supposed to erase it the night before and forgot.

    So I only told two of my work friends.

    Separately, 1:1 with each.

    And swore each of them to secrecy.

    Then I left.

    Two weeks later, the company was flying the corporate CEO in from the HQ and scheduling a townhall, because, exactly as I’d counted on happening, my two friends had told EVERYONE and there was quite a bit of unrest in the office. Sadly, instead of reviewing and readjusting everyone’s pay like I hoped would happen (and did happen at my next job once – without any help from me this time), the CEO gave people a load of corporate BS about how they really were not underpaid, and that was it. Oh well. I tried!!

    1. Abundant Shrimp*

      Let me tell you about the airhead boss, btw. He was my sixth direct manager at that place in six years, and I’d only had him for a few months I think? Anyway he didn’t last because he kept goofing up, and less than a year after I left that job, they let him go. Five years later, I was newly divorced and dating online and a guy messaged me saying things like I was out of his league and probably wouldn’t write back to someone like him, etc etc… I thought he looked familiar and wrote back saying “hey Fergus, didn’t I report to you once at Llama Shearing Corp?” It was indeed him. We met to catch up. He’d spent a few years after he lost his job doing day trading. His wife walked out. The man still couldn’t help messing up every step of the way. I felt kind of bad for the well-meaning dork, even though his management had been the last straw that broke my back and made me step it up with my job search and eventually leave. I lost track of him for good then because I did not feel like dating Fergus. I’d already dated someone from that job after I left, and used that as an excuse (“you told me during our lunch that you were now close friends with Wakeen, well I dated Wakeen for a few months last year so dating you after that would be awkward for all three of us” and he agreed.)

  198. Retail Dragon*

    I only burned one employment bridge, and I apologize for how long this got. Back when I was the office admin for the church to which my family belonged, the church council launched a campaign to remove the pastor – my direct boss, with whom I had a wonderful relationship. They decided that if they could get rid of me, it would make getting rid of him that much easier. (Gotta love small-town church politics. I didn’t know what was happening at the time, I only learned the truth after the fact.)

    Cue a few years of gaslighting, active sabotage, backstabbing, and the most damning gossip anyone has ever spread about me. It got so bad that I stopped attending Sunday services. Meanwhile, they kept moving the goalposts for my job, then writing me up for not meeting them. I finally had to walk when they decided that, in addition to everything else on my plate, I should also be the security guard for the in-house day care center. I was already chronically ill, and the whole thing was worsening my conditions plus destroying my mental health.

    I gave them five days’ notice, and only did that much for the pastor’s sake. On my way out I changed all the passwords for the church’s social media accounts – so that I would forget them. I did leave a list of the new passwords written down for whoever took over, but it apparently mysteriously vanished. They also failed to realize until it was too late that, with me gone, someone else would need to not only handle office admin tasks, but run the church’s craft fair, coordinate floral deliveries, organize funerals, schedule fire inspections, and maintain our online presence. They went through at least two admins after I left, neither of whom lasted six months in the role I had held for five years. Occasionally I heard through the grapevine that they were still trying to blame me for things which happened after I left. Meanwhile, my dear pastor got out and was invited to another church, where he still preaches and to which a large portion of the congregation followed him.

    The whole story has a very weird postscript. A few years after Pastor and I both escaped, the church which had tried to destroy us both had to close – because the treasurer stole almost $100k and left them on the verge of bankruptcy.

    1. JSPA*

      … which might well be why they wanted the competent people gone?

      (Never underestimate the power of one or two grifters to undermine–by any means possible–anyone competent enough to notice and interfere. And to do it by weaponizing others, who believe they’re acting of their own accord, for pure & unimpeachable reasons.)

  199. Nat20*

    Not me but my husband. He worked as a technician in a field that doesn’t always require but highly values techs having official industry certification, which you get by passing a series of written and practical exams. This company in particular wanted all their techs to get certified within the first year or two of being hired, and were willing to be flexible about time off for you to take the exams. (You had to travel to a certain city at certain times to take them.)

    He passed the first round and was gearing up to take the second. However, at the same time, my husband was also experiencing some major burnout. This was barely a year into this job in an industry he formerly loved, but the work-till-you-drop culture & pay structure, the slimy customer service practices that he was expected to use, and terrible management at this company were all causing some real disillusionment for him.

    He signed up for the second exam round (thinking that even if he quits soon he’ll still have that certification for the future) and went to the bosses to talk about booking the flights and hotel. He was then told that he would need to put it on his personal credit card and they’d reimburse him “eventually”. Mind you, this is not what happened for the first round, this was not a travel-heavy job that had systems for reimbursements like this, and we were in our mid-20s at the time and couldn’t afford that. Not to mention that they never told him this would be the case; they always made it seem like they valued certification so highly they’d pay for everything so you could get it done. This came out of the blue and they were SUPER shady about his reimbursement questions. Husband even confirmed with another manager that this would be the expectation, so it wasn’t just one person suddenly changing their mind. He voiced his concerns (mainly that he literally couldn’t afford it) and asked if there was any way around it, and was brushed off.

    That was the tipping point. He cordially quit two days later, planning to give two weeks notice. But after talking to the boss and sending his resignation email, the very first thing they did was immediately – like, within minutes – cancel his exam registration. He knew he obviously wouldn’t be taking it now, but still, lol. They also immediately hamstrung his access to company systems and badmouthed him to other departments while he was still working (his own department was cheering for him, as was I). So, screw them – despite the company’s policy that giving less than 2 weeks notice would get you blacklisted from ever being rehired, he ended up giving 4 days before saying “never mind, today’s my last day” and just walking out. It’s been 6 years and he has no regrets.

  200. solipsistnation*

    I worked for a very dumb big tech company (that went out of business entirely the next year and is now just a bunch of product names owned by other companies). Among other things, they had let our group work without a manager for over a year, and when they did hire a manager it was a guy who had been laid off at another company in such a way that it was clear that he had been stealth fired. Like, they laid off 200 people in one division and this one guy from another division. But he was a friend of a friend of the CEO, so he became our manager. He was one of the least qualified people I’ve ever had the misfortune to work with, and had an utter inability to read the room (took four techies with very different tastes and interests, none of which included sports or bars, to a sports bar as a team-building exercise, for example). He told me once that when he read books, he’d read the first chapter and the last ten pages, and that’s how he managed to read a dozen or so books a year.

    He also didn’t pay attention to time off that had been booked and approved (by a higher-up since we didn’t have a direct manager) in the system. I found a new job and gave 2 weeks’ notice right before going on a lengthy vacation. I came in on Monday, caught a plane Tuesday, came back the next Thursday and turned in my laptop on Friday. He had no idea the vacation had been planned at all since he hadn’t bothered looking at anyone’s schedule. My coworkers knew, but since this guy had disrupted our processes to much it was going to be a mess even if I had been there and they were as good as they were going to be whether I was in the office or not.

    My last day, I came in sick with a 100+ degree fever and what turned out to be pneumonia, hoping I could just turn in my gear and go, but this terrible manager insisted on taking the intern(!) out for a farewell lunch, leaving me nobody to actually acknowledge and sign off on returning the equipment for a couple of miserable hours.

    Leaving that company was a relief and when they tanked, I laughed.

  201. Anon of the anon*

    I was working at a very dysfunctional company where the CEO’s brand of chaos and tyranny was most of the problem. When people would resign (frequently) he would insist that no one could be notified, but would still often make them work their notice period. So people would just suddenly disappear with no announcement – before or after, there was no transition documentation or delegation of tasks or roles, people would just suddenly be gone (like unpersoned). Their email would bounce and no one would know anything about it. Even managers would be out of the loop on who was supposed to do their work or where their deliverables were, etc.

    So when I resigned I told my manager (with whom I had a good relationship and who was also on his way out) that I was giving notice and telling everyone. He just said, “OK.”

    I toured the whole company, announcing to everyone, en masse, loudly, that I was giving two weeks notice and if they needed anything or had any questions, to come to me. Then, last and least, I popped by the CEOs office.

    He looked up and said “I’m have a call, what do you need?” and I responded “I’m giving two weeks notice and I just told everyone in the whole office, so I wanted to tell you quickly as well.”

    I was critical path on so much stuff that he couldn’t risk pushing me out early. During our exit interview, he said “This is a very stressful environment and not everyone can handle it.”

    “Well,” I said, “it’s your company, so if it’s stressful and people don’t want to work here, it’s because you want it that way.”

    I realize that this was all terrifically rude and not at all professional… I regret nothing! My manager was an excellent reference for years and I don’t think it harmed me professionally at all.

  202. Tess McGill*

    When I graduated university, I couldn’t find a job in my field so I worked multiple low-paying part time jobs, one of which was at a jewelry store in the mall. My boss was a 25 year old dude who loved the authority but not the responsibility. He wouldn’t put up the shift schedule until the day before the week started and always put his personal life ahead of his job. I was super sick with a head cold and was sneezing and my nose was running all over the place and tried to call in sick, but he wouldn’t let me unless I found someone to cover my shift. The store was small, so I called the other 5 people who could cover for me and they couldn’t so I told him that. He told me I had to come in then. I asked if he could cover my shift and he said he was going to his mom’s for dinner. So I went in super sick and almost passed out.

    Fast forward a few weeks where I had a family wedding to go to out of town. I had let him know months in advance that I needed that weekend off and he had agreed to not put me in the schedule but lo and behold, my name shows up on that weekend when he posted the schedule a few days before. I tell him that I can’t come in, I have made my travel plans as per our discussion and he says “That’s too bad. Find someone to cover your shift if you can’t make it.” Again, I called everyone and nope, no luck. So again, I asked if he could cover it and he DIDN’T WANT TO so I quit on the spot. He tells me (smugly) that I have a legal obligation to give two weeks’ notice to quit and I reply (smugly) that he’s got a legal obligation to post schedules more than 24 hours in advance and I walked out the door. I wish I had quit sooner.

  203. vindictive firee*

    While in grad school, I was let go from a position in a DEI-related office with no warning. It worked out for the best in the end but in the meantime my funding was jeopardized. A couple years later, I was a leader in an organization with a similar mission to that of my old office. The supervisor who let go me contacted me and asked if she could join the organization’s meetings. I said no and never spoke to her again.

    In an unrelated set of circumstances, she was out of that job a few months later. I am still close with the other staff who worked for her and replaced her.

  204. The Rural Juror*

    I’ve had a boss burn a bridge with me when I tried to give 2 weeks notice. They told me to get out right then. They figured I was going to work for a competitor, but I was actually hired by a client of that company… so they lost a big account when I left!

  205. Rando-o-o-o*

    I tried recently. I was written up for nonsense garbage for the second time in a short window, and told that because of the character failings demonstrated by the things I didn’t do that I was being written up for, I would lose some of my approved ADA accommodations that were not up for review for several months. I’d been down the fired-for-my-disability road before, had some savings, and wasn’t in the mood, so I deleted the project I was working on and quit on the spot. I was a hybrid employee and working from home that day, so I figured I’d never see the trinkets on my desk again, but I had a point to make, and I was mad.

    A manager reached out shortly to demand my plan to retrieve my roughly $50 worth of desk trinkets I didn’t care about that much and return my badge and master key to a bunch of offices. The tone here was very strange to me; they had trinkets I’d already determined I could live without. I had the ability to make them spend probably over $2k on a locksmith, plus a badge that, even deactivated, would make people trust me in sensitive areas. A sweet coworker had already offered to box up my desk and drop everything at my home, so I told them that was my plan. They told her she’d be written up if she did that instead of communicating with me directly, then another manager contacted me with the same demand. I told them I’d had lifting restrictions since my first day and couldn’t carry the box of trinkets, so they could either mail everything at their expense or wait for me to arrange help in a month or so. A third manager reached out on a third email chain offering to have HR box up my desk and hold my things until I could have someone help me pick them up, and I could turn in my badge and keys at this time. I said that was fine. This entire exchange felt extraordinarily silly; it was like they hadn’t learned from years of working with me that I respond to what the email says more than who is sending it. (They probably didn’t.)

    Anyway, I recently did the exchange with HR. I wasn’t being petty; the issue really was that I had lifting restrictions and wasn’t going to do them a big favor and not even get my trinkets. HR said I left in excellent standing, and they would be delighted to welcome me back any time. HR also asked if they could reach out to me directly about listings related to my experience, because they frequently need people like me at this organization.

    What do you have to do to burn a bridge these days?

    1. JSPA*

      I’d suspect the bridge is burnt, but HR is projecting a hologram bridge, having heard and choked on the legal liability created by, “because of the character failings […] that I was being written up for, I would lose some of my approved ADA accommodations.”

      So now they’re putting on a big show of wanting you and wanting to accommodate you*.

      But if I’m reading your words and their motivation all wrong, and it’s one or two bad managers? Then letting HR know that your manager treats “agreed ADA accommodations” as if they were a perq for high performers could be the stick HR needs, to give him the hard poke that he needs.

      I’m sorry too many people are tools about the ADA, regardless.

      * In fact it sounds like they all but said, “you people” (which is the flashing LED light version of red-flaggery, no?).

  206. Alianne*

    I’ve told this story before, probably. After two months at a retail job, the first two keyholders had quit, and I was promised by my (toxic) manager that as the next most senior employee, he’d walk me through opening and closing duties as preparation for being a keyholder. I got to work an hour early for the opening run-through…and had to wait over two hours and open the store late because he was hungover and overslept. He promised he’d walk me through closing duties the next day. That following evening, it was me and a new hire. Manager called and said he was out with friends, but he was sure I could manage without him. I protested, having never once done so, but he told me I needed to “toughen up and figure it out”. The new hire had some retail experience and helped as best he could, but I made a hash of closing out the register. In a fit of rage (and also in having worked twelve days in a row at this point), I pinned my name tag and the key to the schedule board on top of a note that said “Figure this out!”, went home, and slept for 13 hours. Blocked his number on my phone, went back to the store once for my final paycheck (which was three weeks late) and never again.

  207. Hapax Legomenon*

    I reverse ghosted a company: I told them exactly where I was going when I knew I wasn’t coming back, but they were certain I never left. I abruptly quit my job while on vacation because I decided I wanted to stay in Germany instead of returning to my hometown. The bridge would probably have still been structurally sound because the work was mostly call center and order fulfillment, except for one big problem: management and my coworkers thought I made up a story about moving to another country. See, unbeknownst to me, a coworker I’d dated for a few months(who had been fired before I left but was still friends with people who worked there) was stalking me. He would get drunk outside my home and then call his friend, my coworker, to pick him up from outside my house. This ex was the first person to tell anyone from work I was thinking about moving to Germany, and everyone thought when I emailed my resignation that I was trying to hide from him and had moved back in with family instead of to another continent. To be fair to my coworkers, I didn’t have the kind of money/job skills/family connections that are normally required to move to another country–I just had a buddy working on a US military base who helped me get an entry level cashier job at the same base. Years later, management referenced me faking the move when my name came up, according to a friend who still worked there. I’ve now been in Germany for close to a decade and there are probably still people at that job who believe I never left my hometown.

    1. OMG, Bees!*

      Lol, “Of course Hapax still works here! They are probably in some back office and why we never see them. Didn’t we open another office? Maybe they work there…”

  208. Spiritbrand*

    I was working at a small office business as my first job out of college. There were two partners and one of the partner’s wife was the administrative manager. I was hired on to transcribe tapes. This manager would berate the office manager every day until she cried, and didn’t treat the rest of us much better (although when she yelled at me I informed her that she could speak to me in a normal tone of voice or find my replacement).

    First the office manager left (sooprise sooprise), and the admin manager took over. Then the receptionist left and I got their job added to mine. Then the IT guy left and I got their job added to mine (of course no change in title or pay). Then the guy who put together the reports left and I got their job added to mine. This doesn’t even get into the other people I supported there like the guy who would angrily throw his computer and accessories against the wall and I would then be asked to go see what was wrong (I declined).

    I finally found another job and gave them my two weeks notice. The day before I was supposed to leave, I was informed that I would need to provide documentation of everything I did and how I did it. Then one of the partners came up to me and verified that the next day would be my last and told me “You’ll be sorry. You don’t know how good you have it here.”

    I called in sick the next day. I was not then, nor at any point in the future, sorry.

  209. OMG, Bees!*

    I got fired from a client after a week long IT issue but my response was “Good riddance! Feeling was mutual!”

    So, I worked for a Managed Service Provider (MSP), which is 3rd party IT, usually for smaller companies who don’t have their own IT person or department. One of our smaller clients, maybe 6 employees (at least in local office) was in finance, but despite bragging about how much they earned, were very, very cheap.

    A continual issue was hiring interns, but requiring them to bring in their personal computer for work instead of just having a spare laptop. Client always had us join the computer to the company domain, which required upgrading the intern’s version of Windows (and cost Client money every time and some grumbles). Normally, this only took a few hours, billable, even with upgrades.

    All was grumbles as usual until the intern came with a laptop in Korean. This was a new one for me, she wanted the upgrade to be in English, like the rest of the company, and this was how I (eventually) learned that at the time, Windows 7 sold in other languages cheaper than in English to combat piracy, but no amount of getting language packs could completely get it in English. We eventually got there, after many, long calls with Microsoft support, buying an expensive version of Windows, and many days of billable hours. In the end, getting all the software back on, we found the intern’s copy of MS Office was her college’s license, and no longer valid on her laptop, so that was *yet another* purchase the Client would need to make.

    This is when they pulled out a spare laptop from the back and angrily asked why I didn’t use this laptop this whole time. Well, that’s because it was a former employee who had quit 2 days prior, while this issue with the Korean laptop had been going on for a week (and one I learned to never take calls after hours).

    As a result, Client told my boss never to send me there, and I never had to work with that particular client again (aside from 1 other mess up years later)

  210. Numbat feeling feisty today*

    Burning bridges is only a problem if you intend to go backwards. Sometimes it’s the best and most therapeutic course of action.

  211. Pickwick*

    My bridge didn’t collapse into the river, but it had some scorch marks. I would have handled the situation differently, later in life!

    My first job was at a very large and busy supermarket that served both college students and townies. I was lacking direction in life, so I latched onto the various tasks I was given and dedicated myself to learning everything about the store’s inventory. Over the next few years, I moved upward a few times to positions of more responsibility (though not more pay,) ending up as the inventory controller for the grocery side of the store. Over a hundred thousand unique items, some of which were ordered and stocked by outside vendors, and several million dollars worth of inventory on the backroom shelves. Big job for someone making $9.25 an hour, but I mistakenly thought it was the ticket upward!

    Well, I was good at keeping track of that–the full inventory count at the end of my time there was less than $5,000 off from my numbers, including theft and undetected mis-shipments–but I did not yet know how to navigate people. Retail makes its profits partly by understaffing every store, so I had one “boss” but a phone that would ring randomly with urgent assignments from eleven different managers across all three shifts in addition to the regular staff calling with inventory questions, and I had never learned to protect my time, explain what I was doing and why it was important, or stand my ground when I was working on something that was more important than what I was being asked to do. So I ran myself ragged for a full year.

    Just before the results of the full inventory came in and showed how well I’d done, I basically gave up and sent an email to all the managers I’d worked for. I wasn’t rude, exactly, and I didn’t personally attack anyone… but I definitely went on at length, oh, gods, at LENGTH, about how frustrating it was to be in charge of so much and yet find myself constantly redirected by any member of a large group of people with varied priorities who didn’t talk to each other, sometimes wouldn’t answer each other’s emails, and generally didn’t know what I was trying to accomplish. (Some people on that email thread did not deserve any of that criticism, and I hoped they’d know that.)

    And I cc’d when I should have bcc’d, including two people outside of leadership who’d taught me how the company’s inventory systems worked and how to navigate the ancient but sturdy technology involved–and who’d warned me in advance that I’d be pulled in a lot of directions.

    They didn’t fire me–I really wouldn’t have blamed them for it; it was an embarrassing outburst that I could have avoided if I had been able to communicate better at any point during that year–and in fact, I became more or less a free agent after that. A peer who’d spent the last six months backbiting and criticizing me, while doing very little work herself, was given my role, which she did NOT enjoy (in fact, I don’t believe she ever spoke to me again!), and I went back to school. I came in when I wanted to, looked for problems to solve, and threw myself at them bodily for about eight hours, then I went home. Nobody at that store had ever had such freedom, and I really enjoyed the work, but they were hiring new employees in for more than I was making, so the moment I got far enough along in school to land an internship that I expected to lead to a better job, I dropped to “seasonal employee” status.

    And the internship worked out, so I handed in a much calmer letter of resignation. Two of the managers on that email thread broke company policy to give me recommendations, which I won’t soon forget! (Managers at the first company were not allowed to give recommendations, which was that company’s main method for discouraging employee turnover. Turnover was still about 50% per year at my store for the several years I worked there.) I’ve carved out a unique, still-inventory-focused role at my current organization, but here I have decent pay, great benefits, and a team that seems to get better every year.

    But I’m still mortified every time I think of that fire-breathing email, and all the gentler, wiser emails that I could have sent instead at any point during that stressful year.

  212. Numbat feeling feisty today*

    They didn’t pay my superannuation for the year I worked there (and were many other brands of horrible) so I reported them to the tax authorities, got my super, and they went out of business.

  213. WootWoot*

    Yes, but it didn’t work.

    My first job out of college I assistant-managed a corporate record store. This was a mall store that went out of business. It was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, and folded just two years later. My particular store, as it turned out, was in especially bad shape. My boss was in the middle of a divorce and would spend most of his time at work crying in the storeroom. Worse, the store was failing and so to keep payroll down, he routinely scheduled me alone for illegal amounts of time. He also never actually gave me the wage I was promised — he kept coming up with excuses about why the transition from probationary to permanent, with a wage increase, was delayed. A few months in, I started being noncompliant about this — I asked roughly weekly what we needed to do for me to be paid as I was promised, and I started asking about lots of illegal activities. I also discovered that the mall didn’t have any managerial contact info but mine. I also lost my key temporarily — long enough that I had to report it. So one day I was chatting with one of the other employees and she said something about my manager firing me. Surely he wouldn’t, I said. I work like 50 hours and no one else in management is even close. Well, she said. He IS going to fire you, and he’s going to do it Sunday, after making you work by yourself all day. Illegally. Again.

    So, I came in early that Sunday. I cleared out my locker, logged into the registers, wrote a nice resignation note and then locked up and left, throwing my key through the grate. I then went out for margaritas with a friend, and every time the mall called we did a shot. It was awesome. I actually was called by corporate a few weeks later, who wanted to know if I’d like to interview to replace my manager since he had been fired due to, among other things, skimming prooduct and failing to open, and I was in ok standing. I declined. I’m sure that bridge was burnt.

  214. Well Known Coffee Chain employee*

    Not me, but when I was a teenager, some of my overworked, underpaid coworkers quit at a certain well-known coffee chain by writing “GOODBYE” on the counter in whipped cream.

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