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EDIT: Thanks so much for all the feedback and suggestions! You're right, I'm not obligated to do any extra work and it's not my problem if things burn after I leave.

For those asking, I work remotely in a different country from where the company is legally recognized. My contract is apparently governed by the law of this other country (not in UK or US) so I wouldn't be able to take legal action even if I wanted to. I was told that I had to put in a month's worth of working days for my notice period, which is why all my leave days were cancelled. They also used this rationale to pressure me to stay on for longer than I want to. I don't know how true/legal this is, and I definitely should have read the contract more closely when I signed.

I was young and naive, trusting that the company would adhere to general best practices. They knew this and took advantage of that. Unfortunately, I don't have the energy to fight them from another country and just want to go peacefully. Another response also mentioned that it's likely that the workplace might unfairly withhold a relieving letter, which is indeed something I'm worried about. I'll just stay professional and grey rock them until they leave me alone lol what are they going to do, fire me?


I currently work for an extremely toxic workplace with supervisors who are very conflict avoidant.

I took this job right out of college and was extremely eager as many fresh graduates are, going above and beyond to contribute to my team. I regularly helped colleagues with their work, and was the only young person on the team that was able to automate various processes that they had been doing manually (e.g. I had to teach them how to use VLOOKUP). For context, all my colleagues are in their late thirties and above.

Over time, I realized that I was doing way too much work, so I asked for a raise. Several events followed as a result of the team leader's incompetence, causing me to hand in my notice. I am now serving my last month's notice.

However, I think that my colleagues have realized that my departure will mean that they have to actually do their jobs. They have started piling on various basic tasks that could easily be Googled, and want me to hold their hand through processes that they should already know as part of their jobs (I am the lowest rank in the company hierarchy).

To add to this, the only colleague on my level has recently left the organisation. I have a bad feeling that her work will be pushed onto me too, and they will try to make me do everything before I leave.

I have been working on a project that has been severely delayed due to my manager's lack of leadership, so my project supervisor and I are now scrambling to pull things off by the end of the year. She has been telling me that unless we get this done, we will not be able to take our year-end annual leaves. Other colleagues who are also responsible for parts of work are dumping their tasks onto us and jumping off this sinking ship as they are aware someone will have to pick up the slack no matter what happens. There is definitely an element of weaponized incompetence, especially for older people in the company who pretend they don't know how to point and click with a mouse.

My project supervisor keeps saying that if we don't help other people with their tasks, we will end up having to do everything ourselves at the deadline. I personally feel like the project should be left to crash and burn because it was neither of our faults, but she is worried that the manager will push her under the bus once the post-mortem comes around, so she is trying to save herself now. Our manager doesn't care about the project at all and will happily let us work through the holidays if it means she can pretend that she has no responsibility. She has just completely ignored all our problems and pretends like she does not see our texts and emails. We have not gotten any support from higher management as there is a lot of favouritism that has kept the manager in our organisation even though these leadership problems have been going on for years.

My question is:

How can I get everyone else to pull their weight, instead of dumping their work on me?

I want to pretend like I don't know anything and not help them, but part of me is genuinely concerned that they will force me to work through the year-end if these tasks don't get done. I need a break from this place, I hate it so much. I also feel like if I say no, then all the work will just go to my project supervisor, who will then guilt trip me again and the cycle continues.

It's not possible to take any time off (beyond the year end annual leave I might be made to work through) as the employment contract is extremely unfair and says that after you hand in your notice, you can't take any leave days.

Everyone knows my leaves have been cancelled, so they know they can push things onto me.

I am just sick of this situation and want to leave the organisation immediately but I've already resigned so I don't know what more I can do. Please help!!

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  • 73
    If you've already resigned, why should you care? You can't do all the work, so let it go undone.
    – Chenmunka
    Dec 8 '21 at 15:08
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    what's your location? maybe check if clauses like "can't take lave days after giving notice" are legal. That wouldn't fly in my country. also, depending on location, you could simply walk out. Like some US at will states, where giving notice is customary but not mandatory. So even after you giving notice, could you shorten that period so it perfectly aligns with your annual leave?
    – Benjamin
    Dec 8 '21 at 15:38
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    In the UK you can go sick for 7 calendar days without a doctor's certificate, also you have to take all unused annual leave before your end date arrives. Dec 8 '21 at 16:15
  • 4
    So this is likely India as you mention « relieving letter »…
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 8 '21 at 19:23
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    @PeterMortensen check other posts on here about India and work practices - I don’t make their rules, just read about them…
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 9 '21 at 5:02
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My question is: how can I get everyone else to pull their weight, instead of dumping their work on me?

You can't, but that doesn't mean that you have to do all of their work for them. Continue to do whatever work you can do during your normal contracted working hours. I would prioritize your own work over whatever your coworkers dump on you, but if in doubt as to what a priority is you should ask your manager. Under no circumstances should you work any overtime at all. If that means that the projects will fail then they fail, don't worry about it.

There is only a finite amount of time left for you to do work for this company so if people dump all of their work on you it will not get done and frankly that is not your problem, it is theirs.

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    "Hi Manager, X asks me to do task1, Y asks for task2 and Z want task3. They should be able to do it themself and I have to do my own task0 also. I can do two of them, could you email me which you want?"
    – Martijn
    Dec 9 '21 at 15:54
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    I agree fully, however the OP has stated that his manager isn't managing, so sending this email to his boss will simply get a response of silence. Simply doing tasks assigned & helping the "project supervisor" as best as possible seems to be the way to go. If other work "assigned" by coworkers doesn't get done, well, they'll have to pick it back up after the OP is gone.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 9 '21 at 16:33
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    @FreeMan in that case phrase the email as "I can do two of them. Unless I hear otherwise from you I am going to do task0 and task1. Let me know if you want me to do something different."
    – Vicky
    Dec 9 '21 at 19:08
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You're under contract, and you're working out your notice. Just work out your notice period exactly as if it were a proper job. Put in your appropriate time. Do the work you can do in the time allotted to do it. If it's not enough, frankly, that's not your problem. I wouldn't put in a single minute of overtime. If things are left unfinished on your final day, I wouldn't lose one single minute of sleep over it.

Respond to guilt trips with "That's a shame.", and then shrug it off. You've made your decision and your future is decided at this point. Guilt is their problem not yours. Don't take that nonsense onto yourself. Just continue to behave professionally and ethically.

For locales that require things such as relieving letters, make sure you're following your employment contract to the letter. This is a situation where a company may attempt to withhold a relieving letter unfairly, and you want to make sure you don't give the company any argumentation to do so.

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    that's not your problem +1 unless you let them 'guilt trip you again' - then that's your fault.
    – Mazura
    Dec 9 '21 at 7:41
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To be honest, as you already handed your resignation, you should probably take a step back from your situation.

If it were me, I'd simply do my hours, nothing less, nothing more, and absolutely no overtime. Then if they want you to spend time explaining basic excel functionalities to people that should already master this, it's their call.

There is absolutely nothing they can do about it : if you are still behaving professionally, and even if they are not happy with the way things go, by the end of the month you won't be hearing about them anymore.

So, again, as long as you keep doing what is written in your contract, you're good. Even if you are proactive and make suggestions, you won't stay long enough to see the results.

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While the other answers pointed out you do not need to care anymore, which is true, you still need a bit to handle the situation. And always no matter if you terminated the contract or you did not, if you have too many things to do, you write an email to your (direct) boss:

Hi boss, I got a lot of items on my desk (you can list them), which ones have the highest priority? Currently I am working on ...

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As everybody has been saying, work your hours, without overtime. Accept that the leave is lost. (Which sucks, but it seems unavoidable)

Don't feel any guilt. This place was broken beyond repair before you arrived. It will be broken beyond repair after you leave. Not your fault.

I would like to add an important point:

Use your project supervisor as a shield. Whenever somebody tries to give you a task, say "Talk to [Supervisor]. [Supervisor] decides what I should do."

Go through the list of tasks already assigned to you. Was this task assigned to you by your supervisor? If not, go back to the task giver and say: "I am going to be very busy, so I can't do this." If they protest, return to "Talk to [Supervisor] about it."

Now, your supervisor is going to come to you with most of these tasks. Tell them that you don't have enough time for all the tasks and ask for which you should do first. Make sure that the list of tasks is an actual written-down list, not just spoken. Make clear that the lower priorities are probably not getting done at all.

There is a chance your manager will interfere. You can't just dismiss them, so explain that you have too many tasks and too little time. Follow any direct orders your manager gives you. Ignore any vague statements like "You have to work harder".

If your manager orders you to do some task, inform your supervisor: "By orders of [Manager] I am to do task X first. All other tasks are pushed down the list."

If there is one person you can feel sorry about, it is your supervisor. They are caught in the middle and are likely to get catch some fire when you leave with tasks undone. Do NOT let this guilt force you to do something unhealthy.

Look at it this way: If this makes your supervisor quit and look for other work, you have have helped them escape.

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    Actually there's a good chance that by routing everything through a manager a good amount of these will not come back to the OP. Like all of the tasks where other people would have to admit that they don't know how to do their job and want OP to train them. Dec 9 '21 at 13:52
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As you've tagged this question with "relieving-letter", I'm assuming this is in India. The thing I would be most worried about here is not receiving that relieving letter, that the company would withhold it from you if you don't bend to their whims.

So, my first advice would be to do whatever you can to understand under what claims or circumstances the company could or would withhold your relieving letter and get that resolved first. This may include seeking legal counsel from a lawyer who could tell you about this. For example, one question I would want to know is, if a company refuses to relieve you, are they still legally required to pay you? If so, then that puts you in the driver's seat; simply work out the term of your contract until the end of your notice period and then simply do nothing all day and continue to collect your paycheque until they fire you (for lack of a better term, since you've already quit).

Once you understand under what conditions the company is legally allowed to withhold your relieving letter, stay within those guidelines and don't do anything to break those rules. However, stay only within those guidelines and nothing else. You're out of this company in a month anyway, so if the work doesn't get done, that's someone else's problem. If the project isn't finished and nobody gets to take their vacation, well you still get to take yours because you quit (and, pending lawyer approval, you should still take your holidays even if the company says you can't, just tell them to take their "can't" and shove it up their asses because you already quit; what are they going to do, fire you?).

The fact is, you already quit, so none of this is your problem. The only thing you should concern yourself with is, "what is the minimum amount of work I have to do to get my relieving letter and get the heck out of this company?". Talk to a lawyer, find that out, then do that, and get the heck out of there. Everything else is not your problem.

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  • I would also reply to those emails asking for help with a notice that only your manager assigns you tasks. Tell them that only with your manager's explicit approval will you work on any tasks. Dec 10 '21 at 19:57

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