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I work in a small company, central Europe and I've been working here for 5 years.
Recently we started losing customers, money and frankly I just don't enjoy working here anymore.

So I found another job and gave my boss my 4 week resignation notice. This was just a few days ago.
He was understanding, acknowledged the company isn't doing great and he asked me if I would consider a counter offer, to stay. I declined that. He did not try to convince me otherwise, wished me luck and the whole thing was very brief and civil.

Lo and behold, today a coworker of mine (who I fully trust) told me that in the meeting with the boss, he mentioned we need to make sure my knowledge transfer will be handled properly. To which the boss's response was: "What knowledge? He has no knowledge." and some other things along the lines of me being basically useless.

My gut feeling tells me this shouldn't hurt me, but it does sting. On the other hand I want to be honest with myself and work on myself if these statements have any real basis.
Would he even ask me if I would consider a counter offer if he wasn't willing to make it? Or if he honestly thought I was useless in the company?
Is this some type of damage control? Making it look like my skills won't be missed to calm down my coworkers?

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    Sounds like a case of sour grapes. He would have liked to keep you, but since you decided to decline his offer, he decided that the company isn't losing anyone important. Unprofessional, but since you're already leaving, it shouldn't concern you. – Llewellyn Sep 30 at 19:38
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    You should just take this is proof that you made the right decision. – Old_Lamplighter Sep 30 at 20:12
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    You should resign. Oh. Wait. – Joel Etherton Sep 30 at 21:08
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    Do you have some course of action you'd like take or a decision you need to make, or are you just complaining? – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Oct 1 at 2:10
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    He's upset, psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief your buddy just saw him in stage 2 – Jack Oct 1 at 8:55
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Or if he honestly thought I was useless in the company?

Don't lose sleep over this. You get disgruntled employees, likewise bosses, or he could be having a bad day.

Personally I'd be wondering what agenda the person who passed me this info has. It's obvious troublemaking of some sort. Possibly frivolous, but shows little loyalty to either side.

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    Yes, an honest enemy is better than a false friend any day – Old_Lamplighter Sep 30 at 21:07
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    "Personally I'd be wondering what agenda the person who passed me this info has...shows little loyalty to either side." - it could simply be a straightforward case of the coworker being loyal to the OP's side, and being scrupulously honest with him. After all, the manager in this case has basically called the coworker an idiot for suggesting that the OP had any knowledge to transfer, and it sets a broader tone about what management are prone to think of the workforce (that they're in fact all idiots), so why would any worker consider themselves allies with management in such a firm? – Steve Oct 1 at 6:15
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    Related to @Steve's point, the former co-worker could be passing on that info so you'd be cautious about using this former boss as a reference. – Peter Cordes Oct 1 at 7:04
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    @Kilisi, what is there to stand up for? The OP is leaving of his own accord. The boss is having a paddy. The firm is moribund. I'm not quite clear why talking frankly with your departing colleague about the behaviour of the bosses behind closed doors would be considered disloyal to the departing colleague, or what the coworker should have done instead. How else are workers to find out what bosses say about them behind their backs, if not by coworkers telling them? – Steve Oct 1 at 7:37
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    @Kilisi You're assuming the coworker didn't correct the boss then and there, which you don't know. You're assuming the story is embellished, which you don't know. And you're ignoring the fact that there's a very good reason to pass on this information -- the OP needs to know he can't use this former boss as a reference. – David Schwartz Oct 1 at 7:56
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My gut feeling tells me this shouldn't hurt me, but it does sting.

That's normal. It's ok to feel hurt. Your boss is hurt and lashing out in anger. If he really thought you were useless he would have told you not to come back to work the day you turned in your notice.

Sit back and try to enjoy the fireworks.

You've got a friend on the inside to gossip with. Looks like you left for a good reason. I'm guessing your stress level is much lower now that you have a new job - enjoy it while you can.

Also, kudos for turning down the counteroffer.

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    Agreed. Leave with the social and professional connections in the best possible state. OP is likely to run across some former-coworker in another role in the future - IT's not that big a space. – Criggie Oct 1 at 10:09
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Would he even ask me if I would consider a counter offer if he wasn't willing to make it? Or if he honestly thought I was useless in the company? Is this some type of damage control? Making it look like my skills won't be missed to calm down my coworkers?

There are four questions here let me answer as best I can with the limited info and my own experience.

Would he even ask me if I would consider a counter offer if he wasn't willing to make it?

It's often just a probing question. If you say yes they might still not give you one but they want to see if you'd be interested. It's about bringing back power.

Once you've handed in your notice your boss has suddenly lost any power they have over you. The power to get you to work overtime without pay, the power to treat you like crap, the power to set unreasonable deadlines. Once you've handed you notice in there is nothing they can threaten you with to make you do your job. If you put yourself in their shoes you can see what I mean. They want to get some of that power back though so asking you if you would accept an offer brings some of the power back to them. Do X and I'll get you a good counter offer.

It's best in most cases to just say no even if they come up with a counter offer.

Or if he honestly thought I was useless in the company?

That remains to be seen. They never offered you anything, just asked if you would be interested. I've found that if you are really really important to a company you would receive a counter offer regardless if you said yes or no. In that case the reason to ask you would actually be to determine the amount of the counter offer. If you said yes they might well just keep upping the money until you accept. The next question would likely have been "how much more do you want?". If you said no and they still wanted to keep you you'd find they would come back with some amount themselves.

This doesn't mean you are useless just that you're not vital.

Is this some type of damage control?

I wouldn't think so. It could just be that your boss thinks that a new recruit will be able to pickup your job without a detailed handover. For example if I have a dev team of 10 and I lose one and that dev is just a general everyday intermediate dev I'd expect that a new dev will be able to pickup from where they left without much problems (say 3 months). If it was the lead dev or an architect who had very detailed knowledge then I would need some kind of a handover written for whomever was replacing them.

I've worked with devs that have very little detailed knowledge of how the system works and just do the tasks assigned to them. They often need the implementation in excruciating detail. That's normal but someone like that is very replaceable.

Making it look like my skills won't be missed to calm down my coworkers?

Again re-iterating my point above you'd have to be pretty dumb to fall for that and most devs are well educated and clever. If the boss truly thinks he can allay the fears of his co-workers with that kind of an attitude then he's not worked in the industry very long. To me it's an emotional response, he's annoyed you left and was venting but in the long run probably thinks you can be replaced. Remember actions speak louder than words and you didn't get any counter offer.

With all this said you've done the correct thing rejecting the counter offer and the most important thing now is to look to your new job. Think about what you'll be doing there and how much better off you'll be. The old bosses opinion doesn't matter anymore it's your new boss you want to impress.

Look forward to the future and forget about this old company with this odd boss.

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