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I recently left my main employment, for numerous reasons that I felt meant the job wasn't working out (long hours, lack of work/life balance, feeling undervalued, being promised training when there was a lack of it.) During the exit interview with my manager, my manager said the following:

I'm disappointed with your decision to leave

To this I kept quiet and said "ok" at a later stage when my former manager had finished speaking. Would there have been any more appropriate response to this statement? (which to myself seemed quite rude, as I was leaving on my own accord after a relatively short time at the company (just under a month).)

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    The manager's disappointment is irrelevant. You aren't their child and it seems unprofessional of them to express their disappointment of your action. Your leaving is your own responsibility and your response is fine. I may have responded "and I'm disappointed in the company's unfulfilled promises" (just kidding, but really...)
    – GB1553
    Jun 9, 2021 at 19:41
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    How can you even manage to feel undervalued in 1 month only, while at the same time complaining about the lack of training? If you need training so badly, why should they value you more?
    – Laurent S.
    Jun 9, 2021 at 23:11
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    @LaurentS. I suspect OP will not answer, so I'll speculate here: Maybe training was part of the reason OP accepted the job in the first place? If you hire me as a developer in a language I'm not familiar with and I request on the job interview to be trained on the language/framework, that is a broken promise at the start. Plus, I'd wage that OP is not feeling undervalued because he didn't get a raise in his first month, but maybe he was being mistreated. Imagine your boss complaining to other employees that you know nothing about a subject you've asked to be trained (rather than bullied) on.
    – Mefitico
    Jun 10, 2021 at 19:18
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    Also, if I'm not being paid for overtime and I have to work "long hours" damaging my "work-life balance", I'm seriously expecting either a very good starting salary or some non-financial benefits (training?) or lots of pats on my back. All of this can be measured over the course of a month.
    – Mefitico
    Jun 10, 2021 at 19:23
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    @Mefitico You explained the reasoning well
    – Boolean
    Jun 10, 2021 at 21:02

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Maybe "yes, I understand" would have been better.

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  • Why would you agree to someone that disrespect you. Maybe "yes, I understand" would have been better but not in this situation.
    – PowerCat
    Jul 26, 2021 at 13:11
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Standard answer for this type of statement, challenge, rant or insult:

"I'm sorry you feel this way".

It works for a variety of reasons

  1. You don't agree or disagree
  2. You're not talking about any facts, just feelings. Feelings are what they are and there is nothing to argue about
  3. You acknowledge the other person's feelings but you don't engage in any type of argument and you don't say anything about your own opinion on the matter
  4. It's not confrontational or argumentative and typically the quickest way to let the discussion (and the steam) fizzle out.
  5. It feels more respectful than "ok" or "yes" or "if you say so".

Repeat as often as necessary and typically the conversation will start to wind down.

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    "I'm disappointed in your decisions to leave" does not have to be an insult challenge or rant. It could mean only "I'm sad that you are leaving us." Jun 10, 2021 at 19:59
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    @DJClayworth except it's not. One shows disappointment, underlines failure of other party to fulfil explicit or implicit expectations, and the other shows sadness, a feeling of loss, despair or grief.
    – BoboDarph
    Jun 11, 2021 at 8:22
  • Ah, the classic non-apology apology. Entirely appropriate for this situation, but I would be wary of using it in any case where you might actually be at fault (e.g. if someone is claiming that you said something offensive, and you aren't sure why... in that case you should probe for details rather than assuming that it's baseless).
    – Kevin
    Jun 11, 2021 at 19:38
  • @Kevin You anticipated me. It's so much non-apology apology that it's actually managing to be offensive, glib and patronizing at the same time. I would never use it, not even in a case where I think the other side is utterly wrong. Either be direct or non-committal, or indifferent, but I do not recommend being patronizing. Frankly, "It's ok" is indifferent, and not very nice, but I think still better than "I am sorry you feel this way." - which is in a way saying "I pity you for your not fully competent emotion management." Jun 12, 2021 at 22:02
  • @CaptainEmacs: I mostly agree with you, but personally I might use it in response to an unprofessional remark such as what OP describes, especially if I already had one foot out the door anyway. In the situation described, if the manager does choose to make an issue of it, they're the one who's going to look ridiculous.
    – Kevin
    Jun 13, 2021 at 6:40
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"OK" seems like a perfectly acceptable response to me. It's neither negative or positive. It informs the other party that you've heard them and understood what they said. It implies nothing more.

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I think a blunt "OK" with a shrug of the shoulders would be an appropriate response to such a crappy comment from your manager. Clearly trying to guilt trip you into feeling bad for leaving which is very inappropriate. - (maybe it wasn't meant that way, just poor choice of words)

If this happens again in the future, you could respond with something like:

It was a hard decision to make, but I have to do what's best for me.

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Would there have been any more appropriate response to this statement? (which to myself seemed quite rude, as I was leaving on my own accord after a relatively short time at the company (just under a month).)

Your response was ok. Don't overthink it.

With that said, when communicating, always assume the best intentions of people.

Your (former) boss will miss you. He's upset. Take it as a compliment that you were a valued member of his team.

That comment didn't sway your decision, that was the most important part. In life, if you don't have an agenda of your own, you're only going to be following the agendas of others. And following the agendas of others doesn't always end well.

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    The response was hardly "good". But it was "ok" :)
    – Zeus
    Jun 10, 2021 at 2:03
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I think this might be more appropriately asked here, that is, if you think there is any interpersonal dimension to your interaction. In any case, you should approach this as a conversation with any other person.

Did you have a good relationship with your manager throughout your employment? Do you care about his/her feelings? Do you may be want to maintain a connection with that person? If so, your response was obviously inappropriate.

If, on the other hand, your relationship with that person was strictly about things done and you don't anticipate any future interaction with him/her, you could have said anything at all, down to "f*** you".

A good rule to follow, usually before you speak, is to mentally switch positions with the person you're speaking with. If you were a manager whose employee were leaving, and you were "disappointed with [their] decision to leave", what would you like to hear in response? I doubt that many people would take "OK" as a polite answer; at least to me it sounds more like an attempt to weil an insult.

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