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Global context:

I am a young-graduated computer-scientist working for an engineering company. My workplace is at the customer's since I was hired 8 months ago. This job has been a filler job after my Master's degree since I will enrol in a PhD programme in 3 months, and therefore leave the private industry. I resigned recently, and my remaining notice period is a little less than 3 months. My hierarchy was very cordial when I resigned and everything went smoothly.

Issue:

It has been a few weeks I am really sick of my job because it is boring, and I face major setbacks each couple of days, that are mainly due to external causes. Those bad news are piling up with recent disappointments about the uselessness of our team's last semester work.

I have a colleague that is in charge of miscellaneous project monitoring duties. His behaviour is openly bossy, but I ignore this behaviour because he has no hierarchical power on me, and he usually agrees with the solutions I propose.

There has been a heatwave recently, so I wore open shoes (not flip-flops) and I arrived at the office with a bermuda — in order to avoid looking like a rotting swamp — that I changed on arrival. That bossy guy reported to my manager (without advising me that my arrival clothing could be perceived as inappropriate — in a 30°C office building), who ordered me to stop wearing those clothes for corporate reasons (that are not written in my contract). My manager also suggested — in managerial newspeak — that I should do unpaid overtime. I, therefore, had an argument with both my colleague and my manager, and those events add to the bad atmosphere related to my working tasks.

Hopefully, my relationships with all my other colleagues are great.

Question:

Those last days, I started to be physically uncomfortable just by seeing my office building on arrival. This feeling pushes me to ask the following: How can I deal with that permanent and increasing feeling of frustration and discomfort I undergo while I am on notice period?

  • 1
    To add to what @Joe said, did you notice how things started turning south more and more immediately after you resigned? Yes, it's sad but that's what happens in many cases. Think in a positive way and try to ignore for the rest of the work days. – Sourav Ghosh Jul 9 at 10:05
  • 2
    I'm fairly sure that in France, the same working conditions apply as the whole EU - if it's uncomfortably hot, appropriate action needs to be taken. There's no hard upper limit on temperature (there's a 16 C lower limit) but the suggestion is upwards of 24 means something needs to be done and above 30 means you go home. if the company doesn't agree to make the conditions comfortable again (A/C or fans, or allow different clothing) you can basically just go home. (There has been support to introduce hard upper limits and make 30+ C prosecutable, but nothing yet). Also overtime is voluntary – Smock Jul 9 at 10:11
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    @JoeStrazzere "Suck it up" - Yeah, sure. But I would like to know if there are any tricks to help relieve me during for the months to come. Perhaps the question was unclear. – Lyudline Jul 9 at 11:30
  • @SouravGhosh Not realy, in fact it started a couple weeks before my resignation. – Lyudline Jul 9 at 11:32
  • @Smock I am aware of the labour laws in France. Honestly, I was not complaining about the heat (which would be worse at home), but about the intolerance of wearing appropriate clothes and about my colleague don't bothering talk to me before escalating to management. And yes, overtime is voluntary and shall be asked formally by the employer to be imposed. – Lyudline Jul 9 at 11:37
5

Having been in a similar situation, I feel for your self-imposed ordeal.

Letting go of an abusive company is like quitting an abusive girfriend(or boyfriend).

First step is admitting you have a problem. You got emotionally involved with a company and now, when it's time for you to move on, she tries to suck you back in. To make it's problems your problems. Well they are not.

The second you gave your notice, whatever happens to the software in that company is out of your hands. Any manager worth his salt should know not to give you any more new tasks, and have you training your replacement and handing over stuff as fast as humanly possible. Reasons for this kind of behavior are many, but it boils down to the fact that a leaving employee has no stake in the company.

The fact that your manager and colleagues don't do this is a sign of an abusive relationship. They expect you to perform as if you still cared. And apparently you still do care enough to let them try to suck you back into their problems.

Second step is stop digging the hole you're in. Stop interacting with people in the company that give you grief. Your manager wants overtime? Fine, will he pay for it? Is it enough for you to do overtime? If the answer is no, then don't do overtime.

Your colleague is offended by your wardrobe because it breaks some internal regulation he made up? So what, what is he going to do about it? Do you really care if he's offended? Why?

You have arguments with these people, so you show them you still care about their opinions, enough to try to sway them. Why? Would it not be better to just let them have whatever opininons they want and ignore them for the duration of your contract?

Just let it slide, my friend. You have a couple more months of this, so take it easy, make it fun, talk to the people you like and ignore the a-holes that try to suck you into their problems. Those are not your problems anymore, they are the company's problem and you already gave them your notice. Just let go of your ego, do your hours and get out there and search for a better match.

  • Thank you for your answer. You understood well my situation, and after a few reflexions I also believe that developing a "blind spot" on what bothers me at work is the right thing to do. – Lyudline Jul 10 at 20:55
  • It's a problem for you that you get bothered by stuff at work. Especially when you're not at work. I know it's hard not to take it personal, especially when the people around you try to make work a personal affair. IMO it's not, and you shouldn't let them. I'm used to working as a contractor, so I have no allegiance or stake in the company I contract for. They have problems I can solve? I do. They have personal issues with employees and power plays? I don't care. Not my problem. My problem is making sure I get payed at the end of the month for the work I do. – BoboDarph Jul 11 at 11:32
  • I experienced the behavior you described multiple times when I was an employee. I used to scream in empty rooms at the frustration that no matter how good my work was, people still found ways to harrass me for inane reasons. I didn't understand the stupid games bored people play in companies. Now I do. It doesn't make it right, but at least now I get it. And I don't let them affect me as much. This book helped a lot in figuring out that some stuff just isnt worth the hassle. – BoboDarph Jul 11 at 11:35
21

Sadly, you have no other choice than to grit your teeth and continue to do your work. Follow any work related instructions, do your tasks and continue to be the same reliable and thorough employee that you have been before your resignation (but of course only up to a certain level of "caring about"; above that, see point 3) in the paragraph below).

Also, if there is a company policy regarding proper clothing in the office, then you still have to follow this policy.

What you don't have to do though, is overtime. Employees "on their way out" cannot be expected to "go above and beyond" any longer. So if your boss asks you to do overtime, politely but firmly decline.

On the subject of how to deal with feelings of discomfort and frustration:

Some things you can do to endure the remaining months with your sanity intact:

1) Count down the days you have left in your current company

2) Whenever you feel like you've had enough, repeat to yourself "In the great picture, this is irrelevant for me; I'll be out of here soon."

3) Detach yourself emotionally from your work; if something doesn't work as expected in your project, so what? The long-term success of your soon-to-be former employer and their projects is no longer of any concern to you

4) Think of your current employer as a sinking ship and think of yourself as one of the view passengers who managed to get a spot reserved on the last life boat available

5) Whenever you feel frustrated or anxious about your current work, concentrate on thinking about what you'll do after you're out of your current predicament: Your new life is about to begin and you can soon do whatever you want and be done with this cursed place!

6) Whenever you feel sad, concentrate on thinking about your family

I was in a similar situation several years ago, where I would even throw up every morning at the thought of going back to that job. I was stuck there for half a year, with a psychopath as boss, before a way better job offer in an other company became available. The above mentioned techniques helped me survive this, and helped me come out on top financially (since that year I more than doubled my salary and have now an awesome boss and awesome new colleagues).

  • 6
    Also, as a leaving employee, you need to start winding down/up. Tie stuff off, don't start anything new etc. – Smock Jul 9 at 12:21
  • Thanks for your answer. Yes, I understand that I am still an employee and I therefore must do what you stated. However, by asking "how to deal with...", I was wondering about how personally bear the bad working environment. – Lyudline Jul 10 at 20:48
  • @Smock I totally agree with you. I guess my employer does not share that point of view... – Lyudline Jul 10 at 20:49
  • @Lyudline I added a paragraph on that subject, based on things that helped me a few years ago in a similar situation. :-) – Niko1978 Jul 11 at 5:32
  • For me, once I'd had my new contract and handed in my notice, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Once I realised that my work in the current company was no longer a priority for me. – Smock Jul 11 at 7:49
5

There are a lot good answers to your problem and but as a freelancer who has witnessed a LOT of very toxic workplaces this is what I think. Firstly, you are under no obligation to suck it up. That statement is utterly unhelpful, un-constructive nonsense. You came to this forum because you are quite rightly, not prepared to 'suck anything up' in the final weeks at your working establishment. Why should you!

Random Manager

His behaviour is openly bossy, but I ignore this behaviour because he has no hierarchical power on me, and he usually agrees with the solutions I propose.

that is the KEY statement. He has no power over you, but yet you are letting him have power over you by letting him berating you on the choice of clothing YOU CHOOSE TO WEAR to the office. What you wear on you journey to work is not his concern.

I am curious if he speaks to other people like this...Maybe but more likely may be not.

But letting him berate you about your 'pre work clothing' is nothing more than a stupid and idiotic power play because he see's a young graduate and 'fair game'. His behaviour is nothing more than bullying and harassment - well out of the bounds of appropriate professional behaviour.

Unpaid Overtime

My manager also suggested — in managerial newspeak — that I should do unpaid overtime. I, therefore, had an argument with both my colleague and my manager, and those events add to the bad atmosphere related to my working tasks.

You are under no obligation to work over time during your notice period paid or otherwise (double check your contract just to be sure). You are, as a departing employee, well within your right's tell your manager NO.

You can say something like:

*Boss: I need you to work over time. I know it's short notice. It's urgent

You: I appreciate you that would like me to work overtime. After a great deal of consideration. I am not prepared to do this during my notice period.

Boss: That's the wrong answer. You need to work over time...

You: I understand that you need me to work overtime. With no disrespect, I cannot work overtime, I know that is not the answer you want to hear. Still, the answer is no*

(no matter how many ways she/he asks to work over time, keep it classy and just keep professionally saying NO. The no will sink in eventually).

Answer

If the sight of the building is causing distress, you should look into your rights as an Employee with a worker rights association.

I'm based in the UK so we have a service called ACAS which is a free organisation who you can call and you can discuss a work situation with a trained professional who will outline what legal laws your company are legally obligated to follow. Make a note of every encounter, email, make a note of date and times in your discussion with your worker rights organisation.

There is no such thing as the truth only what you can prove.

Also don't waste your time taking your issues to HR. HR exists to protect the company. Thy don't care about you the employee

You should check if there is something similar in your part of the world.

Secondly, I would consider if possible the option of gardening leave. Click here for the definition. If you do have an employee rights organisation helping you, you can discuss this as an option.

One more thing. Keep doing your job to your usual high standards. Be friendly to your colleagues and professional with the people you don't like. Find a way to make you remaining time there as productive as possible.

Either way, don't suck it up or put up with this rubbish.

  • +1 - you shouldn't have to 'suck up' something that is putting your mental health at risk – Dave Gremlin Jul 10 at 13:38
  • I totally agree with your first paragraph! Concerning the bossy colleague, he actually does speak to most of us like that, and we all ignore that specific trait of his personality (by ignoring, I mean we do not care the orders he would give). Concerning the overtime, I firmly declined the suggestion of my manager. A fun fact is that he told me overtime would be appreciated during my career at the company, while I am on notice period... And thanks for the legal advice, but I am aware of my rights. – Lyudline Jul 10 at 21:05
  • About the Trade Union part, I do not wish to involve them for various reasons. And I won't go to the HR, for the reasons you stated. Finally, your idea about gardening leave is great! I am going to investigate this solution further. However, I don't think it exists in France, since there is no Wikipedia translation to French of the article you linked. – Lyudline Jul 10 at 21:09
  • @Lyudline Glad I could help in my small way. All the best buddy with the new course and the future. – fypnlp Jul 14 at 15:05

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