128

At my current company, I spent months being bullied and told to quit. I then found a much better position, quit and my last day is on Friday.

I can honestly say I prepared a very solid handover - including meetings and a long written documentation. I've been with the company for some time and no other person who left while I was here prepared even half of what I did. My handover is really super detailed. I also encouraged my coworkers for weeks to approach me with all questions they might have. I spend days explaining things to them.

Due to my contract, I only need to come to work for 2h on Friday. I have the impression my boss expects me to come for the whole day - obviously, the rest of time spent there wouldn't be paid for.

I know this is my last day and I should try to leave a good taste in the mouth, but I hate every second spent there and in the past when I worked unpaid overtime this didn't result in my boss being nicer to me at all. The opposite is true. I felt like an idiot afterward. I don't feel like being abused anymore.

How to react to my boss's negative reaction and pressure that I stay the whole day "to do handover"? I'm sure rational explanation that I've taken everything down and explained everything I could won't help.

EDIT: Of course I've informed myself about the formalities related to offboarding. They take 5 minutes and can be completed any time. My boss expects me to WORK during my last day. 8 h. And then to "do the handover".

  • 206
    Not sure I understand why this is even a question - why would you consider staying more than the 2 hours you're obligated to? What would you hope to gain by doing so? You've already done a great job prepping them for your departure, and you're not going to repair the relationship with your boss or change his mind in a few extra hours. – dwizum Jan 2 at 18:58
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    "I have the impression my boss expects me to come for the whole day ..." - Why do you have that impression? What did they say? Perhaps you're seeing something that isn't there, and you're not required to attend the full day. If your boss is explicit about their expectation, you can be explicit about not being obligated to work more than 2 hours that day. – marcelm Jan 2 at 23:52
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    @rkeet: That's not even a possibility on a properly-configured work computer, and it shouldn't be necessary. If OP made the mistake of logging into personal accounts from it, the login credentials for those accounts just need to be changed. Erasing them now would not help since they may have been backed up or logged. Wiping a machine that's not yours does not protect you from anything and is a great way to expose yourself to unnecessary legal troubles. – R.. Jan 3 at 23:34
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    @R.. Might be a cultural thing then. In The Netherlands a work computer, at "your" desk or mobile (ie laptop) is "your" computer for the duration of your contract. If you decide to wipe it on your last day, that's your own decision as it's taken up in the law that you're allowed to do private stuff (ie check your email and spend some time on social media) as a way of taking a few minutes off of work during the day. Also, a company may not back up personal folders and definitely not personal passwords. As such, using a work computer privately is not a mistake. – rkeet Jan 4 at 7:28
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    "How to react to my boss's negative reaction/pressure" - You don't. At the end of your two hours, you leave, even if he is in the middle of talking to or yelling at you. If your boss threatens or physically obstructs you, call police. – LawrenceC Jan 5 at 16:36

14 Answers 14

513

Work your contractually obligated two hours and leave. You aren’t a slave.

  • 5
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Continue the discussion there, not here, please. – Monica Cellio Jan 3 at 16:07
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    I would suggest changing this to "work your contractually or legally obligated hours [...]" - They might actually be two, as OP assumes, but OP could be wrong and they might be more. Or even less. - Yeah, this complicates the post, but it might convey the message of "know you obligation and act accordingly" a little better. - Anyway: +1 – Alexander Kosubek Jan 7 at 14:25
  • What if the person doing the necessary handover paperwork refuses to do it before 17? – BriseFlots Jan 10 at 9:44
163

We tend to love our jobs more than our jobs love us.

You should not feel bad at all about going in and working just two hours. If you have been mistreated at that job, it will be just deserts when you leave, or stop working (and use your time to socialize on your last day).

When I was in the Army, there was an NCO who tended to pile-on to short-timers, especially on their very last day. For me, it was no different, he wanted me to sweep the entire building before I left. There was no good reason to do this since it was swept every morning. He was obviously disrespecting me by giving me such a low-level task, and considering I had just returned from a combat zone.

So I blew it off, and went to a local beer keller and enjoyed a drink with my co-workers one last time.

Let me just add that when all is said and done, few of us will want to have the following epitaph on their gravestone:

"I should have worked more."

Your mileage may vary.

:)

  • I'm curious, wouldn't this kind of a "last day" have more serious ramifications in the military than in the private employment sector? I'm not a military man, but I can't imagine that blow-off of your final job would go over well (especially if you ever get pulled back into active duty again). – Abion47 Jan 4 at 20:24
  • Learned a new word today: keller. – chux Jan 6 at 16:42
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    @Jackspace The phrase is "for all intents and purposes." – Brian McCutchon Jan 7 at 1:29
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    @Abion47 indeed if I was just transferring to another duty station, I would have just sucked it up and not dare piss anyone off. But I was getting out of the military in the story described above. I was actually flying back to the US the next day. There wasn't much anyone would or could do for such a small 'offense.' More likely that anyone downstream of such a complaint would have the sense to question why on earth a senior NCO is harassing someone who for all intents and purposes, was done with unit business for over a week by that point. :) – Jackspace Jan 7 at 6:23
74

Your boss is part of the problem

I'm a huge advocate of being nice to people, but even if I act meanly and assume you're only being half-truthful with your handover efforts, you're already above and beyond what I've experienced or what I would expect. You're attendance on Friday at all is considerate. Your willingness to jump through HR's hoops is considerate. Contractual it may be, but if brought to a court (given the circumstances described) no court would judge against you. And I can't imagine a company that would waste its resources seeking a judgment — even if you simply skipped your last day and gave them all the proverbial finger.

And now your boss is expecting a full day's labor. A boss that wouldn't address the bullying and poor work environment. A boss that, based on your description, hasn't supported you yet. This is par for the course — more abuse.

To quote my favorite Batman movie, "criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding." Paraphrased for your situation, "your boss thrives on the indulgence of your loyalty."

As of this moment, you've done your job. Say goodbye to the friends you have and the connections you want to keep, fulfill the letter of your contract, and leave. Do not submit to the abuse of your boss anymore.

  • 3
    People don't quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses. Your comment is right on. – Bill Leeper Jan 7 at 18:50
37

Most places I have worked have assumed the last day nothing will be accomplished. If you are leaving on great terms there will be farewell event. If you are leaving on less than great terms there might not be anything.

But the driver of the schedule for the last day is the off-boarding process they need to follow. Between the visits to HR, the turning in of equipment, and the exit interview most employees are gone from the work area by mid-morning. In a few situations where HR/security was at another site, the employees were not seen at all on their last day.

So contact the company to see what needs to be done on the last day and next-to-last day to complete their off-boarding. With the desire to only spend two hours on the last day, you may actually have to complete a few steps on the previous day.

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    I would tend to recommend you avoid answering any questions in an “exit interview”. – Ian MacDonald Jan 2 at 23:20
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    If you are leaving on less than great terms, there might still be a farewell event; you just won't be invited to it. – Bradley Uffner Jan 3 at 0:08
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    @IanMacDonald - on the other hand, if the exit interview is with HR, that may well be a good time to express what's been going on in the department. Of course, if the issues haven't been communicated to HR prior to that, that's another situation... – FreeMan Jan 3 at 14:58
  • Just tell at the exit interview that you're leaving because the workplace is not rewarding, not enjoyable and that it's your bosses fault. Though if the HR cared they would have had that interview right after announcing leaving the company. – Lassi Kinnunen Jan 7 at 4:55
  • @BradleyUffner Well, when I left my previous job we were definitely not on bad terms, I did what I had to for the job and there was no party. Actually, on my last day I even had to say goodbye to a few people that didn't even know I was leaving because there was no official communication (I had been a permanent contract employee for 3 years). I left and I'm pretty sure the next day they looked at my desk thinking something like:"Hey, wasn't someone using this desk? ...Oh well, I'll take it." – ChatterOne Jan 9 at 13:09
34

If you are not being paid, you don't work, if you do work, you should be paid.

Go in on your last day, do the handoff and time everything to be finished on your very last minute, do not allow any distractions. If the boss tries to pull you away to other things, tell him that it needs to wait until after the handoff.

If, after your two hours, your boss wants you to work, inform him that he can pay you at your new rate, which happens to be $200 per hour. When he scoffs say

Okay, we are done then. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY.

Then leave. You don't reward the person who bullied you out the door, or allowed it to happen.

Normally, I urge more caution, but since you've got a new job, and this company is behaving in an outrageous manner, if word ever gets around you just say on an interview.

Yeah, they wanted me to work almost an entire day for free, so I walked out.

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    I found that I mind overtime a lot less when the meter is still running, even if not at time and a half. If the company was going to pay me $1200 for an additional six hours of work, I'd likely be fine with it. – David Thornley Jan 2 at 22:28
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    Still worth being a little careful. If you think your current employer will be upset, you might need to talk to your new employer about it in advance and explain that they're trying to make you work outside your contract, that you'll refuse and that they might not take it well. I had a colleague once who left, but did something inadvisable on his last day, which resulted in the company we worked for contacting his new employer and nixing his new job (not kidding… he ended up working in a DIY shed's call centre for months because of this). – alastair Jan 3 at 18:10
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    @alastair: Without clarifying what that "inadvisible" thing was, I don't think your comment has a lot of relevance here; it's more on the order of FUD. Unless it was something really unprofessional (and probably a lot worse), lawyers would have a field day with a case like that. – R.. Jan 3 at 23:39
  • @Steve cheers mate. Care to post an answer of your own. mine is busy. – Retired Codger Jan 7 at 21:41
  • @RichardU Nah bruh, I downvoted a while ago. Just didn't have the time to articulate why until now. The most upvoted answer is generally my opinion anyway. Just trying to give you some useful feedback. – user53651 Jan 7 at 21:59
20

The top answer here is perfect, and the comment under the answer supplies the missing piece of the puzzle here:

"A very brief email confirming that you [will be leaving] promptly ..."

... is the secret sauce in this case.

So here's precisely what to do:

The day before, copy and paste this email:

To Boss, all HR, all management, all subordinates:

"Dear Boss. Thanks again for the great two years. A reminder that Friday 20th is my final day. I am contractually obligated to work 120 minutes on Fridays. I will be there bright and early at 9:00 as usual. So that's 9:00 through 11:00 on Friday. Naturally I understand any leaving paperwork may take another ten or twenty minutes beyond 11:00. Thanks again!

Leave in the two bold phrases!

Enjoy!


Also, reference the contract in question (just add ... "as per our contract dated dd/mm/yy").

  • 8
    That seems a little on the nose, especially saying it twice – Richard Jan 2 at 22:30
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    I think you're right, and well phrased :) I believe OP should rub it in, a little. :) – Fattie Jan 2 at 22:33
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    Leave out the last sentence, you shouldn't encourage them to think that keeping you past the leaving time, even 10mn, is OK – George M Jan 2 at 23:12
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    But @Fattie 1) here it's not really a negotiation, as the boss doesn't have a leg to stand on 2) it's best to wait for the counter-proposal before conceding something :-) – George M Jan 3 at 18:30
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    Why not just walk out after two hours? What can the boss do? HR will clock the paperwork according to what is required. – Underverse Jan 3 at 23:07
13

Bring some cakes for your colleagues. You could append such a 'sweet tail' to 120 minutes of the formally due and actual work, using a lunch/tea break perhaps. This will make all of you feel the departure less abrupt, provide a sociable moment, and shake hands. You will have made sure that there are no pending questions on your handover deliverables, thus adding a personal touch to your goodbye. If and only if asked, leave your new contact details for future cross-company collaboration, but don't take up new tasks for the rest of the day. Leave early enough.

  • 2
    A great idea to "draw a line under it" ! – Fattie Jan 3 at 11:33
13

All the answers telling you to come at 9am and leave at 11 are fine, but truth be told, there's always the risk for you to be bullied into staying more once you're there, especially since there's an history of bullying in this workplace.

So I would look at it from the other side: check what is the latest available slot to do the handover with the relevant person and send an email the day before your last day which would be like this:

Dear boss,

Since I only have 2 hours left on my contract, I'll be coming tomorrow from 3pm to 5pm (assuming the person is available from 4 to 5), so that [relevant person] can do the handover at the end of their workday without affecting their productivity.

Sincerely,

Your name

Send this email just before leaving, or if you send it earlier, neither read nor acknowledge your boss's response. You're not asking, you're not negotiating, you're just informing.

Sure you might be a bit yelled at when you come at 3pm instead of 9am, but at least you're sure they won't get any free time out of you.

  • 3
    This is perfect. A sneakier way is to just send a meeting invite at the latest free slot the person you need to hand over to has, and to leave it at that. When the boss calls where OP is in the morning, you can remind him of the 2 hours and the booked meeting and hang up saying you are busy. – LVDV Jan 3 at 11:59
  • If you have a good relation with the person you are handing over to, it would be nice to actually confirm his availability beforehand and plan an hour or so. Saying "based on my colleagues availabilty I have scheduled my final 2 hours from 3 to 5" is preferable over "I will be there for 2 unusual hours, good luck". Also make sure there is somewhere you absolutely HAVE to be at 17:30 (or whatever time you go) so there is no room for pressure on the day itself. – Dennis Jaheruddin Jan 7 at 12:08
  • That's a valid point, I'll edit it in my answer. Made me understood better what LVDV was saying. – BriseFlots Jan 7 at 13:19
  • @DennisJaheruddin Also, and just to clarify, picking these hours is made to ensure people won't make you overstay, not to be practical. But I guess that allowing a bit of flexibility and showing some goodwill can go a long way. – BriseFlots Jan 7 at 13:27
12

Get it writing, and ask for a Purchase Order. If you work over time on your last day you may not be insured, when your two hours is up you are no longer an employee, it is not unheard of for HR to have to escort people off. At 11am your pass and logons should be revoked in any case ?

That day needs to be planned. Separation is a formal process. If they need you, they will pay. $200 per hour is not unreasonable for ad hoc casual specialist work.

Don't be a sucker.

  • 2
    A Purchase Order for overtime isn't going to work unless you're already set up as a company and they have you in their system as one, which doesn't sound like it's the case here. – jpatokal Jan 3 at 3:57
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    Not true, just about any professional can bill as a Sole Trader. Incorporation is not necessary for an invoice to be valid. You may need to be a supplier, yes, but unless approval is required at executive level it's not a problem. – mckenzm Jan 3 at 4:47
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    You still need to deal with all the resulting complications for taxes, not to mentioning chasing that invoice for payment. Given that the OP "hates every second there", it's much easier for them to say "no" than to try to convince their ornery boss to pay them to do more of it. – jpatokal Jan 3 at 5:15
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    Nevertheless, it's GREAT language to use. The boss or some joker says "well you will now stay another 6 hours" .. reply .. "I'll need a p/o for that" :) Awesome. Happy new year! – Fattie Jan 3 at 11:33
  • "That day needs to be planned." I disagree. Yes, separation is a formal process, but it's their formal process. You don't need it or necessarily even care about it. – Auspex Jan 4 at 12:06
7

The top answer sums this up perfectly - work your two hours and no more.

I would only add that if you fear some sort of reprisal from your boss, consider that once you've worked those two hours he is no longer your boss - your contract has then ended and you no longer work for him/the company.

  • he is no longer your boss -> Awesome comment – Manuelarte Jan 7 at 9:54
4

I used to have same attitude to the job. Like working over-hours with no extra payment just because I love my job. I totally get this and it's okay to do so but it has boundaries. If you don't get something valuable (not necessarily money) from that just don't do it. It doesn't make any sense.

You should not be a slave and work 8 hours when you are supposed to work just 2 hours in hell.

Think of the detailed handover as the extra job you did for free (or not, because you did get some experience in writing documentation) you have already done for the boss more than he deserves.

I know it's hard to admit it but the job that is not paid is just not worth it. Not mentioning the risks mentioned in other answers that if you would accidentally get hurt it would be just your problem and the insurance could do nothing about it. If you would end up accidentally even one more hour, name your hour rate and make it count because time is money and you probably should have been somewhere else doing something else at that time. You have 100% right to do that. Maybe to feel more reasonable go attend some event like theatre or date after the working hours so you will have more motivation to leave and not be held by the company.

If you have solid prove you have to work 2 hours then you are totally safe to leave in 2 hours and there is nothing they can do about it. Feel free to enjoy the last day, it's Friday after all.

Just take a deep breath and tell yourself in the morning - Just 2 hours and everything will be over. Then you can go out and do whatever you love. Staying for more time than you are supposed to would just play very good for the boss to bully you.

Happy new year and good luck in new job :)

1

There are many great answers, most of which state that you should hold your employer to the two hours which are you are contractually obligated to work.

What has been ignored in the answers is that in the US, at least, 'unpaid work' may well be illegal and create a liability on your employer. For that reason alone, you shouldn't do 'unpaid work'. My guess is that Friday has come and gone, but for anyone else facing this situation, a gentle reminder that 'unpaid work' is a potential violation of labor laws is in order.

That said, it isn't unusual to offer to answer "simple" questions by email after you have left. I recently changed jobs and I've done that twice now, without pay. I can't think of too many jobs over my last 30 years of working that I didn't make the same offer. Before 30 years ago email was far less common, and we didn't have cell phones, so this really does seem to be one of those things that technology has created as an option.

Answers which have said words to the effect that your boss did you no favors, so you aren't doing your boss any favors, ignores your co-workers. My co-workers have been some of my best references over the years and those co-workers hopefully valued the professionalism I showed when I left. I'm guessing that you are early in your career and I want to stress the importance of having, and maintaining, good relationships as you move forward.

-1

I dont think you need to worry about that. The HR may have things for you to follow for your departure.

If your boss ask you to stay, do what @Brian said. Take some time off and rest

  • 1
    This is not a hypothetical question. He told me he expected me to "work normally" on Friday, meaning 8h. – user323134 Jan 2 at 18:56
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    so I think you need to have a conversation with him. If he insists, just go away when your 2 hours finish. – LMaker Jan 2 at 18:59
  • @user323134 - just as you say, Boss already "told you" to work 8 hours. Simply send the email in my answer, on the previous day or the second-previous day. Enjoy! – Fattie Jan 2 at 22:34
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    @user323134 Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. – Underverse Jan 3 at 23:09
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    @user323134 What is the boss going to do if you leave early? It's not like they can fire you or anything. – Dan Delany Jan 4 at 16:58
-6

Blending some of the answers:-

Work the 2 hours and nothing more or less.

Send an email the day before

To Boss, all HR, all management, all subordinates:

"Dear Boss. Thanks again for the great two years. A reminder that Friday 20th is my final day. I am contractually obligated to work 120 minutes on Fridays. I will be there bright and early at 9:00 as usual. So that's 9:00 through 11:00 on Friday, therefore any required tasks / leaving paperwork must start in time to be completed before 11:00. I have other commitments after 11:00 so therefore any required work after that will be charged at a rate of $200 per hour (minimum 2 hours).
Thanks again!"

  • 8
    Simply copy/pasting content from someone else's answer doesn't add anything to the question. Please consider editing your answer to make it unique. – Snow Jan 4 at 8:03
  • 1
    It's slightly flippant and I don't really expect the OP to get paid, but it's setting up a marker about your time. I'm not sure what jurisdiction you are in but certainly in the UK you don't need a company to charge for your services, the vast majority of sole traders do so on their own behalf not through a company. – Alan Dev Jan 4 at 16:02
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    @UKMonkey You do not need a company. – Jon Bentley Jan 6 at 16:53
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    Not sure what the purpose of this answer is. It seems to me that all the information in it is already on this page. – Dawood ibn Kareem Jan 6 at 18:32
  • 1
    @DawoodibnKareem It improves on an earlier answer (by saying that handover will have to finish by 11, rather than allowing it to drag on afterwards). It is worse in that it suggests a contracting rate - I think that's a really bad idea. – Martin Bonner Jan 7 at 17:30

protected by Snow Jan 3 at 16:50

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