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I started my job two months ago. Since then I have learned we are over staffed and I spend the majority of the day with nothing to do. I found a new job that is a better fit and handed in my two weeks notice.

It has been a week and I’ve been getting the cold shoulder from my boss. He will blatantly ignore me and make passive aggressive jabs directed at me.

I don’t have anything to do and will spend seven out of the nine hours I’m here trying to find anything to do, while being mistreated and I don’t want to finish out my two weeks.

Would it be inappropriate to leave at the end of the day? I’m considering leaving a note or email with the HR person, but I’m not sure how to best handle the situation.

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  • 4
    What type of job is it? Some industries are more tolerant of high turnover and people walking out than others.
    – Kat
    Mar 10 at 21:50
  • 3
    and what country? Some countries have laws regarding these things.... Sounds American (two week notice)
    – WernerCD
    Mar 10 at 22:07
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    Is there a reason you want to leave on a good note here? I'd just rake in the easy money and stop giving a crap. Is this a two month gap you could just leave off your resume? TBH, I would have just given a week's notice or until the end of the current week. You're not mission critical and have not been there long enough to require the two weeks. I've been at jobs for 5 and 10 years and left with less than two weeks notice (didn't care about burning the bridge ... I'd never go back). Don't sweat it.
    – David
    Mar 11 at 1:05

11 Answers 11

163

It would be unprofessional to leave and just not come back without any warning or reason or anything. What would not be unprofessional is to go to your boss and say something like: "I feel like I'm being underutilized here over the last week or so. I'd like to move up my end date; this would benefit me by having some free time, and would benefit you for not having to pay a week of my salary. Would you be amenable to this?"

Ask your boss this and see what he says. You're essentially asking for unpaid vacation during a time when the company clearly doesn't need you, so all else being equal it shouldn't be too hard to get.

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    Depending on your contract, the last sentence can be omitted and you can just state that this is the new reality.
    – Hobbamok
    Mar 10 at 20:15
  • Totally agree about going to the boss but I'd try it first without mentioning forfeiting the week's salary. Many places that do not require a handover of work are more than happy to see the back of someone who has already resigned as they feel they are bad for morale and in this case the boss seems like he would like to get OP out of there. Of course not getting paid for that week can be added as an incentive if the boss does not agree.
    – Dragonel
    Mar 11 at 19:47
  • The manager might have reasons outside of their control. Cutting the resignation date short might get the manager wrath from the accounting/payroll wonks.
    – lit
    Mar 11 at 19:52
105

My question is would it be inappropriate to leave at the end of the day?

Yes it would be inappropriate.

You gave two weeks notice, so either tolerate the cold shoulder and work out the two weeks, or talk with your boss and ask if the notice period can be reduced to a single week.

Even if your boss isn't acting professionally, you should. And keep in mind that you only have to endure getting paid for doing nothing for one more week.

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    +1 Joe's right as always. Indeed, it would be inappropriate but it's not going to end your career either. Besides, if they hire people like OP's boss (passive aggressive ****) ... we probably don't want to work there/have them on our employment record or care about their opinion of us.
    – David
    Mar 11 at 1:10
35

It would be unprofessional and immature.

You are leaving for a reason, and in a week, it will be over. Either ignore him or reply to his jabs with something to the effect of "Well, this time next week, neither one of us will have to deal with the other."

Keep busy by asking your coworkers if they need help with anything. Be as kind, helpful, and soft spoken as possible. It will make him look petty and you will look good, and very professional, if you rise above it.

This is important, as you never know who you could be working for or with in the future. There may come a time when you either go back to working for this company, or with people who once did. Your actions, good or ill, will follow you.

Also, on your last day, be sure to thank everyone and tell them what a pleasure it was to work with them. Include your boss's name in the list of people you enjoyed working with. That will not only be the professional route to take, but if he ever says anything bad about you, it will make HIM look unprofessional. The best revenge is to leave with professionalism and class. Being happy your last week will drive your boss crazy.

Enjoy your time, and know that every sincere smile you have on your face will irritate him to no end.

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    @Mari-LouA: the Old_Lamplighter didn’t say fake a smile at the boss, the advice was to be happy and smile. Smiling at other people, smiling at helping, smile while enjoying a ham and cheese sandwich. Be happy, smile.
    – jmoreno
    Mar 10 at 13:07
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    @Mari-LouA I'm not telling OP to kill the Batman, I'm telling him to be warm, kind and sincere and to be happy, and that a SINCERE smile will be more annoying to the boss than any act of malice. There's no CYA involved, he's gone in a week regardless. He can be miserable, or he can be happy. Evil, petty people cannot stand SINCERE warmth, kindness, happiness, and smiles. I'm just telling him to be his best, AUTHENTIC self. Mar 10 at 14:05
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    Telling someone to act (or be) sincere is the antithesis of sincerity IMO.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 10 at 15:53
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    @Mari-LouA I cannot understand how you are coming to conclusions that are 180 degrees away from what I said Mar 10 at 16:38
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    I disagree that replying with "Well, this time next week, neither one of us will have to deal with the other" is at all professional. It just escalates the situation and would reflect badly on OP. Either don't respond, or respond neutrally. Other than that, this is good advice. Mar 11 at 20:16
17

It would be unprofessional.

Yes, your boss is being a jackass, but that doesn’t mean you should be as well. Unless there’s an actual safety issue or something, the professional thing is to ride it out. It’s not about your boss - it’s about the impression you leave on HR, your co-workers, and yourself about your professionalism that will pay off long term.

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    Excellent point about the impression on co-workers. I've been around a while and can attest to the fact that paths likely will cross later. You just don't know who or when.
    – donjuedo
    Mar 10 at 3:49
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A lot of answers here asking if just leaving is unprofessional, but none state this fact you state bluntly at the opening of your question here:

“I started my job 2 months ago…”

Okay, so it is indeed unprofessional to leave 1 week into a 2 week notice period. That said, here is the question that I will ask you:

Does a job you have barely been at 2 months actually matter in the long run?

Do you plan on using this place as a reference? Do you forfeit pay or something else that is tangible by just leaving? If the answer to these questions are “No…” my advice is you should just leave and clearly state why:

  • Boss is Acting Unprofessional: You tried to be nice about leaving, but your boss is making your life in the office miserable.
  • Nothing to Do: You literally have nothing to do but be physically present and don’t feel that is right.

In my humble opinion, if you were there for — let’s say — three months or longer, perhaps you should stick it out for the full 2 weeks.

But if you have only been there 2 months and you don’t plan on using the employer as a reference or have another professional reason for staying, just leave.

The note you should leave with HR should not be nasty or vindictive. It should be honest and and productive towards the company. Something like:

“Look, I have only been here 2 months, gave 2 weeks notice, but my boss has been making the last week miserable. Since I have only been here for 2 months, I don’t feel obligated to endure another week of this treatment.”

You are not burning a bridge by just ditching a job you had so little roots in; you are simply stating: “This is not working out…”

And for perspective, 20-ish years ago many employers would only consider a “new employee” truly a part of the team after a full 3 months. After 3 months many places would then offer you things like health insurance and such because many employers know people don’t really know how they would fit into a workplace after those first 3 months.

My advice? Move on. Make it easier for all sides.

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    Even if you don't use them as a reference, not only can you not be sure that you'll never have contact with this company again (say, as a vendor or consultant) but you also don't know if you might elsewhere meet someone who was working there when you left and was aware that you walked off the job (and perhaps not aware of the problems you were experiencing). The worst case could be that you are applyiing for a job a few years down the road where the manager was at your previous company at the time and heard all your previous boss' complaints about you.
    – cjs
    Mar 10 at 9:57
  • I like the basic approach, but one shouldn't leave unilaterally but negotiate an agreement and follow that. Tolerate another week of abuse just isn't worth risking leaving a bad impression on some observer (unless personal triggers are involved, but that's something for professional help).
    – toolforger
    Mar 10 at 10:49
  • Two months may be a mere "blip" in a 30 year career, but when it's a 2-month career, it's a lifetime. The point everyone else is making is that it's about more than just this one job - it's about creating the habit of doing your best, of rising above other's petty immaturity, and recognizing that OP may encounter his current coworkers at a place of future employment. Burning bridges today may well jeopordize his relationships down the road. Even after only a "blip" on the resume.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 10 at 19:40
4

I'm posting this answer as a frame challenge to your question. The core issue you're facing is an overabundance of time where you aren't doing anything valuable, and no one seems to care. Walking out early would be one option, but while it might be unlikely for you to face consequences, it would be unprofessional.

I would encourage you to instead re-envision this time as a rare and valuable opportunity for paid personal professional development. Pick something in your field that you're interested in, but never had the time to pursue, and use your excess time to study it --maybe even create a proof-of-concept project.

In my field, IT, there are always periods of downtime, and there are always new things to learn. My ability to use downtime productively has been a key part of my success and continued advancement in my field. Moments when you are not expected to do defined tasks don't have to be an enforced waste of time.

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  • To go along with this, there are plenty of online resources to help learn and polish your skills. If you happen to be a developer, I have a few suggestions here: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/156575/… . Mar 11 at 0:33
  • "Pick something in your field that you're interested in" - yes. Even better, something you're interested in and will help you get ready for the next job. Mar 11 at 18:33
1

I'm guessing you won't use this place for references or you already have your certificate of employment, so improving the relationship with your boss won't likely be of real concern.

However, blatantly violating your work contract by staying away and putting that in writing really is your worst option. Understandably, the company will, at the very least, withhold one week of your salary. You'll get more trouble than one week of absence is worth.

Sickness

What's the sick policy in your jurisdiction and/or company?

In many places, you only have to visit a doctor in case you're sick longer than three days. That would open, let's say, an opportunity.

In general

Instead of sitting at your desk (I assume you have a desk job), you could chat up coworkers, drink coffee, stroll around the buildings, take extended breaks, come in late, leave early, etc.

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  • This is very unprofessional. You don't know if the OP's manager personally knows someone at the new place and can torpedo the new job or not, after acting like this at the current job. The current manager may not like the OP leaving, but can't say anything bad because they haven't done anything bad, unless they follow this advice. Taking sick days is pretty obvious what's happening, unless you actually have a note from a doctor. And even then, a manager could believe you are unnecessarily extending the time off. Mar 11 at 0:26
  • If OP directly or indirectly relies on his bosses opinion about him, he's screwed either way, given his bosses reaction so far. We all know what 'professional' behaviour is – do whatever the company expects and wants from you (within legal boundaries). But I don't think giving that advice is particularely helpful in this case, and firing the company is not an option, since he has done that already. Mar 11 at 12:22
1

There are a few good reasons to leave before your notice period is complete but not many:

  1. Family emergency,
  2. Immediate to protect yourself from abusive treatment, or
  3. Mutual agreement between you and your employer. I think that's the end of the list.

I'm assuming (1) is not in play, and for (2) a "cold shoulder", while unpleasant, does not rise to the level of abuse, nor does it create an immediate need for self-protection.

You MIGHT be able to talk it over with your boss. "Do you really need me to come in any more?". However, depending on how bureaucratic your employer is, and how distant your HR department is, changing your departure date might create an administrative hassle that your boss wants to avoid.

In that case, it's better just to stick around and wait it out. Chill and bill.

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My first impression was that you don't just walk out of a job unless they've done something really bad, but then I realized that's for cases where they need you the next day, and/or need time to hire and train someone else. But you're in a situation where they don't need you for the extra week. This Forbes article hits that really well:

Quit without giving notice if there is nothing for you to train anyone else on[...] Quit your job without a notice period if you've only had the job for a month or two and there really isn't anything for you to do for two more weeks.

You're not hurting them in any way if they don't need you for anything during the next week.

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    Except that the OP has already given 2 weeks notice and served out 1 week of it.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 10 at 19:41
  • @Freeman Yes, but I don't see how unilaterally moving it up by a week hurts the company. Were they planning a party at the 2-week mark? Will they need to redo lots of lots of exit paperwork? Mar 10 at 20:54
  • It will actually benefit the company by spending less money. It is ALSO unprofessional to get paid for nothing.
    – eckes
    Mar 11 at 1:26
  • My point is that it's too late for the OP to quit without notice.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 11 at 12:01
  • @FreeMan Ah, so it's a language issue. You'd prefer something like "quit before serving out the notice period". That aside it's the same -- do you have an ethical commitment to stay a full 2 weeks? Mar 11 at 16:43
-2

You said "two weeks." Of course your boss doesn't have to like it. And, your boss can tell you to go ahead and leave sooner. But ... you said "two" weeks.

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  • Okay? And? Employment is at-will. OP can leave whenever he wants, just like the company could fire him right now. Two weeks' notice is BS.
    – user428517
    Mar 11 at 2:23
  • @user428517 I don't see this tagged with US... there are couple other countries too with their own laws... Mar 11 at 7:51
  • @AlexeiLevenkov OP said it's US.
    – user428517
    Mar 11 at 14:45
-3

If you're being treated badly, my suggestion is, something I’ve always wanted to do:

Start singing, take this job and shove it, and walk out the door. Don’t look back. If the boss is being a jerk he won’t give you a good reference. You might feel better. I'm old and speak from experience.

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    What about losing pay or other obligations OP might have?
    – Lehue
    Mar 10 at 10:40
  • Lili rocks. You can't fire me! i quit!!!!!!! lolololol
    – HappyGuy
    Mar 10 at 16:10
  • So long as you will never need to apply for another job again, I'm 100% behind this. Of course, most work "communities" are small and word will spread...
    – FreeMan
    Mar 11 at 11:38

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