144

I have worked at my current place for just shy of a year now - And in the past 4 months, it has been quite rocky. I have had informal counseling and a disciplinary against me.

For some background, the reason was that a specific responsibility was promised to me after I solely set up the initial requirements of the software. Once the foundation was set, my manager basically took all the credit and stated that no one on her team knows this area and requested that we hired someone new, with the same wage promised to me, to the director. When I voiced about this, I got immediately shut down and was told I am making the working environment hostile and unpleasant.

This lead to me being depressed with my current position, work in general became pointless to me, and ultimately me looking for a new job.

It was pretty obvious that I was looking, as I was taking unpaid leave, specifically half a day, with 3 days or even less notice. All of which being an excuse of either dentist, doctors or family issues. So, after a group meeting my manager asked me to stay behind and straightly asked "How'd the interview go?". Of course, I lied and stated that I was not looking for a job, the things I was leaving the day for were truthful. She then basically interrogated me demanding my loyalty to the company and that she will not waste any time with someone about to "jump ship" and "bite the hand that feeds them".

My issue now is; I have found, secured and been offered another job, and will have to hand my notice in this coming Monday morning. I will have to go to her desk and hand this letter in - where she will no doubt explode and have an argument with me for lying to her face.

How do I handle this? How do I stop her from exploding? How to I handle the fact that she will basically call me a liar in front of everyone in the office?

UPDATE:

Due to my manager always coming in at 9.45 instead of 9, I had to hand it into the HR / receptionist at our work. She was not happy about this. 10am rolled round and then my manager comes round the corner, asking for a meeting; quiet and bluntly.

In the conference room it was us three. Where they basically belittled my presence at the company. Said that I was given more chances than I deserved, that I "get out what I put in". Which made me respond with, "I have put loads into all my projects" - and I got a "but it wasn't your job".

She basically got me to do her work for her and as already stated, take all credit. When asked why are you leaving, I said "to move on to the job I wanted to do here, but was not allowed to." To which she basically said "its not your job though and you are paid to do X. If you do Y as well, then that sis a bonus. But you are only paid to do X, even if you do Y."

The tried belittle everything I have done here. And also forced me to stay a month instead of a week in ransom of a required reference...

Thank you for all the great answers, comments and insights on this. You helped me gain the courage to tackle this as well as I could. Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity.

UPDATE2:

I had a meeting today talking about my contract stating that it is a month notice AFTER a year of work. I handed my notice is on the year of work, not after. Resulting in myself only having to do 1 week.

They did not take kindly to it and become very, very hostile. To which i simply responded with "I will not be here on Monday. I cannot change that." To which they told me to hand it in writing. After doing so the Head of technical asked for a chat, to which I explained everything and she had no idea that this was happening below her.

She however said that we have to terminate the employment today so you are free to go home now. She seemed to understand that my boss was not doing her job correctly.

So, now - Im sitting at home with a cup of coffee smiling that I will start a new job on Monday with better people and better work. Just like how all of you said would happen. Thank you for all the comments and answers once more.

  • 13
    I don't understand why you would agree to stay for an additional month. I don't understand why you would be asked to stay for an additional month. – emory Nov 7 '17 at 12:58
  • 33
    They're walking all over you .. why in God's name would you stay there another month? Walk out right now, and damn the reference. Some places are just too toxic to be worth it. In the future they might screw you over with a poor reference anyway. – AndreiROM Nov 7 '17 at 16:16
  • 8
    Wow it sounds like your manager is clueless (in addition to being abusive). Is she actually saying it's a bonus for you if you get to do Y in addition to X, without getting paid any extra for doing Y? – Doktor J Nov 7 '17 at 17:56
  • 8
    Your penultimate paragraph indicates they may well know how much value you add. If they truly thought you got "more chances than you deserved" then they would be happy to be rid of you ASAP. – user1008090 Nov 7 '17 at 18:42
  • 6
    If you have already secured another position then you don't need this reference. It would very likely be poisoned in some manner anyway. – A. I. Breveleri Nov 7 '17 at 18:45

13 Answers 13

221

How do I handle this?

Professionally and while doing your utmost to remain calm and dispassionate.

How do I stop her from exploding?

You can't. She probably will based on the past interactions you described. Simply hand in your notice and remain professional. Your goal is to hand in your notice, be clear on your final day and nothing else.

How to I handle the fact that she will basically call me a liar in front of everyone in the office?

Well you should be having this discussion in private. This isn't news you should bring up in the main office. Talk to her in a private office or meeting room with the door closed.

If she explodes or launches into a tirade, simply refuse to engage her. Don't answer additional questions. The only things you should say are that you are resigning and when your final day will be. You aren't required to entertain her questions on "betrayal" or explain why you lied to her. Employers who handle employees in this way have forfeited the right to honest answers to these questions. There's a general consensus that employees have the right to lie to a question like "Are you looking for a new job?", especially when it's clear that an employer wouldn't handle that news professionally. More on that on this question.

If you want to, you could give a one-line answer like "Given our past interactions I wasn't comfortable being honest about my job search.". But you don't even have to do that.

Given the behaviour you've described and how it obviously shook you this could be an emotional conversation for you. Try to remain professional and distant. Refuse to engage and keep in mind that you'll be out of that place soon. That should allow you to get through this with your head held high.

If your employer continues to make your life hell during your notice period, you'll have to have another conversation where you essentially threaten to resign without notice. The odds of getting a good reference from this manager are already low. But if you can stomach it, it's best to just stick this out and resort to mentally rolling your eyes whenever she goes off.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Nov 7 '17 at 4:18
  • Just looking to add - toxic/abuse like emotional outbursts from them are not to be tolerated ever. Give them notice their behavior is unacceptable - if it continues you walk away to a witness & HR - don't sit there and take it. – Mirv - Matt Jan 15 at 20:09
76

Most of the other answers advocate taking the High Road. This is generally good advice. Nevertheless you are likely burning bridges with your soon to be ex-coworkers (and especially your manager) anyway, so you might try a blunt but honest approach:

You promised me enhanced responsibility and increased salary after I delivered the initial requirements of the software. That was a lie. You then took credit for it and lied to others about it. You have destroyed all trust that there was and I cannot work in such an environment. Yes, I lied to you about interviewing; you showed you have no compunction about lying. I do and I don't like to do it. That is why I am leaving. You should consider this when dealing with subordinates and coworkers in the future.

If you choose to do this, deliver these words as calmly and dispassionately as possible. Make them a simple statement of facts, not an accusation.

She will likely explode, but she also might remember enough of it to adjust her behavior. Regardless, you will walk away having been honest.

  • 88
    I think I would leave off the last sentence. Up to that point, it's dispassionate fact. The last sentence is advice, which isn't really needed in the circumstances. – Andrew Leach Nov 4 '17 at 15:01
  • 17
    You can add, "You have also demonstrated repeatedly that you are incapable of interacting with subordinates in a professional manner, and are demonstrating that with this very interaction." (If necessary. Particularly if they insist on involving others in the conversation.) – David Schwartz Nov 4 '17 at 19:27
  • 13
    I don't think a human can say this calmly and dispassionately. I can't even read those words calmly, in my head, let alone say them out loud, and I'm just a random guy not directly involved. I can't imagine OP saying this calmly. OP, if you go for this, please practice before, looking at the mirror or something. Ten times. – Pedro A Nov 5 '17 at 1:15
  • 46
    Don't do this. It is an accusation and will lead directly into a fight, which you don't want. It doesn't matter if they are true. Important is: your manager probably won't consider them true. And that is what is controlling her reaction. – Jens Schauder Nov 5 '17 at 6:34
  • 8
    Id also considder putting this in writing an ccing a senior manager – Neuromancer Nov 5 '17 at 9:59
34

The relation with your company is already pretty low, close to the bottom. You won't get a good reference from them anyway.

Therefore, why worry about her exploding?

You can simply say: "We are not a good fit." This is the truth. Don't mention that you have a new position, even if it is obvious. Don't respond to inquiries. Stick to your story. She manipulated and used you, you do not owe her anything, not where you are going, not whether you actually interviewed (but don't say it!).

Just repeat: "We are not a good fit." - and then, "Thank you. Goodbye." - as politely as you can muster.

Leave politely, and don't look back. She can accuse you of lying, so what? It is you that made the decision to leave, and you have the initiative, she just reaps the results of her behaviour.

  • 10
    Depending on where OP is, the reference thing may not be an issue. I'm in the UK and there are potential consequences for employers if they give a bad reference, including the possibility of legal action, so most employers tend to limit references to confirming the times when an employee worked for them. – Matthew Daly Nov 4 '17 at 15:36
  • 13
    Imagine you are HR at the hiring company and the reference says "Goralight violated our trust by having job interviews and not telling us about them". You probably wouldn't stop laughing. And call Goralight and say "your old company sent us the most ridiculous reference I've ever seen. You are lucky you joined us". – gnasher729 Nov 4 '17 at 17:05
  • 9
    In the USA, there was a case where someone asked for a reference said "I would never hire that person again". Went to court and the company that was sued sent everyone who every worked with the guy to say that they would never want to work with that person again, and why. The company won its case. Headline of the article was something like "America's first court certified ***hole". – gnasher729 Nov 5 '17 at 15:38
  • 2
    That was an expensive reference and certification. But it makes a good story. – Captain Emacs Nov 5 '17 at 15:58
  • 2
    @emory forget what the Constitution or any other legal document says. Fact is, money wins lawsuits. The very idea of suing an employer for pretty much anything other than an ADA issue or illegal discrimination over a protected class falls flat on its face because money wins lawsuits. The fact that most people work for employers because employers have far more money than the employees, and share said money in the form of paychecks, tells us who is primed to win most lawsuits not over topics I mentioned previously. – user16626 Nov 7 '17 at 3:01
20

This reads like a textbook example of a toxic manager. Managers like this have self-esteem issues which cause them to be overly controlling and micromanaging. This is a serious (perhaps most serious) fault in a manager. People like that never think anything is their fault, and they can turn anything you say (or don't say) against you depending on their whim. There is nothing you can do to change a person like that.

The only effective device is to run from them to a different job. Only by continuously losing once effective employees and getting stuck with 'duds' do such managers (very) gradually realize that the problem just might have to do with them, and not the 'traitors'. But don't count on it. Your first obligation is not to the employer, but to yourself -- to protect your own psychological well-being in the workplace. Do what it takes.

The best course of action is to leave the workplace asap by finding another job. Which is what you did - well done!

Your goal now is to leave as quickly as possible, leaving your manager absolute minimum time to react and make you miserable -- because you do not deserve this and should not have to tolerate this. With employment at will, you are free to leave any time.

Now for how to deliver it. It is your decision, but here are a few options:

  1. You can spare her the pleasure of firing you by quitting without providing 2 week notice. Instead, you can quit on the day you provide the notice. First, pack your cubicle as much as possible so that all you have to do is pick up your stuff and go. Maybe even load it in your car so there is literally nothing holding you at the workplace except delivering the resignation. You can hand-deliver the notice that you are resigning effective immediately -- this way you cannot be fired even if they wanted to. You are free to go. Enjoy your life.

  2. If you must spend additional time in the workplace after informing management of your resignation, things will be harder for you in the days between this moment and your last day at work. If you absolutely must endure this, then it is best to say as little as possible. You do not have any obligation to anyone to provide any details about your personal professional life. Basically, it's completely up to you. Privacy is your right, and there is nothing unprofessional and unethical about it. You can politely decline requests for any information about your future plans and say that you prefer not to discuss this. Alternatively, you can provide a generic answer, e.g. "I am resigning for personal reasons. I have no specific information at this time to share about my future employment plans. Initially I will be taking some time for myself to rest and spend time with family." (this last sentence is optional)

Remember: resigning is not unprofessional - acting unprofessionally about it is. Making a scene, making accusations, or insulting an employee who is resigning is definitely not OK and is definitely never professional and never justified. If you encounter unprofessional behavior, it is your right to escape the situation immediately and put some distance between yourself and the person acting that way.

If you find that the situation is making you uncomfortable, you are entitled to get yourself out of that situation and simply take your stuff and leave, withing offering any additional information to anyone. If you hear criticism as a result, it is a reflection on the poor decision-making and conduct on the part of those who exhibit that behavior -- not on you.

Bottom line is I think you made the best possible choice by finding another position, and you should feel fine about making the day of your resignation your last day of employment, as well as minimizing any unpleasant interaction. Good for you, and good luck!

17

You are putting in your notice. It doesn't matter how they take it. Worst thing, you get fired. If that happens, you can always ask your new company if you can start earlier.

If your manager asked "do you go for an interview", it's the kind of question where some people would say "don't ask me, then I don't have to lie to you". Going for an interview is your private decision. It's none of the company's business, so it's Ok to lie. Do they want to avoid surprises? That's what your notice is there for.

If she calls you a liar about this interview thing in front of everyone, you just ask her what kind of answer she would have expected. Nobody will ever admit to going to an interview for obvious reasons. If (hypothetically) she called your new company and told them that you were lying about interviewing, they would just laugh at her.

PS. Just noticed the UK tag. So if you give notice, they can fire you, but that would be pointless because they would have to give you the same notice.

  • 2
    WRT starting earlier -- It might be wise, if you can, to take the notice period off work. Just... destress, relax, do fun stuff for a little while. Alternatively, if your notice period is long enough (i.e. not the 2 weeks I'm used to, here in the US) you can move the other start date forward some, but still leave a gap. After a workplace as toxic as that last one, it's probably a good idea to take a breather. – Nic Hartley Nov 4 '17 at 19:14
  • Hopefully the OP will get fired, and will then take some time off to dump baggage and decompless. – Tony Ennis Nov 5 '17 at 13:55
  • 1
    "Nobody will ever admit to going to an interview" I disagree. Knowing an employee has options keeps employers on their toes. – Rupert Morrish Nov 7 '17 at 0:20
7

Why would she explode? It seems like she should be happy. For whatever reason, she is not happy with you and wants you to go away. This is a win-win. Everybody gets what they want.

How do I stop her from exploding?

Perhaps I misjudged and she wants you to stay and she explodes anyway.

Walk away. You have been constructively dismissed. This is a win-lose. You win, she loses (but who cares about her). Enjoy the rest of your life.

How to I handle the fact that she will basically call me a liar in front of everyone in the office?

Talk to a lawyer about suing her for slander. However, I would probably wait until after she calls you a liar b/c I am predicting that

  1. she will not explode; and
  2. if she does explode, she will keep it private and not call you a liar in front of others
  • 1
    I wouldn't move for suing unless it has the chances of creating serious repercussions. OP doesn't want to come away as litigative, especially since they have an alternative job, they really don't need it. – Captain Emacs Nov 4 '17 at 12:24
  • @CaptainEmacs I tend to agree. I suspect a good lawyer would say the same thing. Attorney client privilege means OP can vent to the lawyer without any career repercussions. Consulting a lawyer does not obligate OP to sue anyone. – emory Nov 4 '17 at 12:33
  • 13
    @Goralight if she wants you to stay, she has a funny way of showing it. I know my boss wants me to stay when they give me bonuses and raises. – emory Nov 4 '17 at 12:39
  • 3
    There are bosses that think if they treat people badly, these people will work harder to please them. Some do, until they burn out. However, OP is doing the smart thing. OP treats their boss exactly the right way - they leave them. Don't respond to the accusations of lying (although I am sorely tempted to suggest Jack Nicholson's famously quoted response, it's probably better not to respond at all). – Captain Emacs Nov 4 '17 at 12:46
  • 2
    Can you sue someone for slander if the accusations are true? – pipe Nov 4 '17 at 16:10
6

I suspect she'll be glad to see you go. This job didn't work out. It happens. Good luck with the next one. Resist the temptation to make a speech, just hand in your letter of resignation.

You DID choose to lie about whether you were job-hunting. It's a common-enough lie, but if you're called a liar, I guess you'll just have to suck it up!

  • 3
    No need to suck it up. If your boss asks you whether you are looking for a new job, the answer is automatically "no". – gnasher729 Nov 4 '17 at 22:19
  • @gnasher729 I guess the alternatives to suck it up would be sue for slander, slash their tires, laxative in their coffee, etc. I can only think of 2 acceptable responses and one of them is suck it up. – emory Nov 5 '17 at 10:22
  • 10
    Consider that the company would lie to every employee in a heartbeat if layoffs were coming and were asked if they were going to be laid off. – Tony Ennis Nov 5 '17 at 13:57
  • 2
    To be honest, I've never had a company lie to me about being laid off. I've been through many rounds of layoffs that we knew were coming in advance, but none of my bosses would ever have dreamed of telling me whether I was safe or not until the appointed day. That wouldn't be fair on anyone. – calum_b Nov 7 '17 at 11:53
  • I don't consider it a lie at all (But is good you have a conscience OP), It is a response to their unsaid communication which is some kind of powerplay. – cognacc Nov 7 '17 at 18:34
6

Lots of good answers here. I'll add a few more thoughts.

  • It doesn't matter if she gets mad at you or not. This isn't something under your control. The only factor you control is your reaction, which should be calm and professional no matter how she acts.

  • "This too, shall pass" Any unpleasant scene she causes will only last so long, then it's over. When you start getting bored, you can likely redirect it by asking, "Would you like to review my transition plan with me?" Helps if you have one prepared, of course.

  • If you're worried about reactions from your coworkers, don't be. They've seen this piece of work manager in action. If they ask you about what happened between the two of you, indicate that you're not one to gossip, but that "we don't get along well".

  • +1 for "If you're worried about reactions from your coworkers, don't be. They've seen this piece of work manager in action." – stannius Nov 6 '17 at 16:43
4

Your manager lied to you, made promises she didn't deliver on, stole credit for your work, and demanded loyalty. This is pretty common for management.

You're agonizing over having lied and promising to stay for the long term. Why do you think you owe them any better than they have given you?

If you hand in your notice and she complains that you lied, just take the attitude that yes I did without apologizing. Don't get all moral about it -- in a situation like this, you did what is normal in the business world.

Can you imagine what would have happened if you had said, yes, I am looking for a new job. You would have been fired -- and would have had to look for work as an unemployed person (harder). You were in a situation where lying was unavoidable.

You're not even obliged to explain; although if pressed, you can give your reasons if you want.

  • "if you had said, yes, I am looking for a new job. You would have been fired" Really? I can't imagine a place that would do that would have many good employees. A couple of times in my career I've only had to say I've been interviewing to get a preemptive counter-offer, and I've never felt negative repercussions. – Rupert Morrish Nov 7 '17 at 0:25
2

Legally, I didn't lie.*

*Implying that there are some questions which can and will be answered untruthfully without being considered a lie, such as "are you pregnant?", "do you plan to have kids?", "who did you vote for?", "are you looking for another job?".

I appreciate the opportunities I had at this company and thank you for teaching me well.

But of course: silence is golden. Thinking about clever answers may yield some slight satisfaction, but at the end of the day neither arguing nor a veiled insult will really benefit you in any way. If she really does explode, you simply walk out of her office. Make sure to follow up by email (or other forms of documented communication) to confirm administrative concerns such as the last day, vacations, etc - make sure you have these in writing no matter if she does or doesn't explode.

0

Turn on the audio recording on your cell phone, just in case. Tell her you decided to leave after your last meeting with her. It's all her fault. Ask her if the issue can be referred up the chain of command. Have fun. Please let us know what happens.

  • 5
    Be careful about recording the conversation without telling her; it can be illegal in some places. – Clonkex Nov 7 '17 at 0:19
  • I said "just in case." Everyone knows it's illegal in most places. In a noir film I saw (don't remember which one) someone said something was illegal, and someone else said, "So's spitting on the sidewalk." – John Connell Dec 1 '17 at 1:26
  • My point is that even if you don't intend to use the recording for anything, the simple act of recording it in the first place can be illegal. "Just in case" doesn't come into it. Either you record her (and possibly break the law), or you don't. There's no "I'll just record her now and decide if I want to break the law later". And besides that, you might know that it can be illegal, but you neglected to put that in your answer and others might not know it. – Clonkex Dec 1 '17 at 1:57
0

This one is easy: she forced your hand.

She then basically interrogated me demanding my loyalty to the company and that she will not waste any time with someone about to "jump ship" and "bite the hand that feeds them".

Since you are receiving a salary while you work there, you deserve to be treated like a worker while you work there. She has made clear that she will, completely unprofessionally, refuse to do so in case you are looking elsewhere.

So your judgment for not telling her the truth upon cross-examination (to which she, by the way, is not entitled to law anyway) was sound and corroborated by her.

This will still be unpleasant, and you can expect more unprofessionalism from this manager. By leaving you still minimized the further unpleasantness to be expected. If your parting reference is not in line with your performance, you definitely should consider lawyering up in order to have it fixed to reflect the truth.

If there is an exit interview, bringing up her credit misappropriation and the overall conduct and situation might be called for. If she is present during that interview (and not in charge of it), it is vitally important to remain calm, don't interrupt her when she interrupts you, stick to facts rather than interpretations (and if the facts are verifiable, so much the better) and emotive material.

Remember: that's your final day in this company, and she'll have all the time in the world to present a different interpretation/picture. Only verifiable facts can hope to survive that.

Non-verifiable facts can still make a difference a) if she does not plausibly deny them on the spot b) if this ends up being a repeat situation in exit interviews or similar

Congrats on finding somewhere else to move.

0

It's over now, and so you cannot undo what you did. The goal is how to behave in the future and for others facing the same issue.

You wrote extensively about why you left, in what feels like a justification for your leaving. There is no need for that, you could look for and find a new job because you want to. There is very little loyalty in today's workplace, and this clearly is not one of the exceptions.

You said you lied about looking for a new job, and you did lie, but such statements are not illegal. Instead don't really respond. "Why would you ask me something like that?", "I just had some last minute things to do.", or "Why would I leave?" something like that. You did not really said anything and allowing the manager to talk themselves out of it.

In the meeting you argued, don't do that you cannot truly win. When she said you were terrible, you could have responded with: "Well I guess you are glad that I will no longer be working here". That will end the argument and about as much of a win one can muster in such a situation.

This is not a reflection on you, while it is easier said then done, there is no need to let it get to the point of depression next time. Good for you for finding a new job and hopefully that works out much better for you!

protected by Jane S Nov 6 '17 at 23:15

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.