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So a few hours after I resigned (only required to give 2 weeks notice, and it's to take a better paying job), my manager called me in to chat 1 on 1 and they asked me: please re-consider your decision to resign; sleep on it and tomorrow let me know if you still want to leave.

This request was a bit baffling to me as I had already vacillated on whether I should resign, but ultimately decided this other job was much better and then decided to hand in my resignation. I told them I would sleep on it, as they seemed sincerely sad knowing I was wanting to leave and felt guilty at that point in time telling them a firm, unambiguous no.

So I sleep on it, and the next day I have another 1-1 chat and told my manager I still want to leave. At this point, they assumed a very argumentative tone. First they tried convincing me to stay by telling me of all the supposed benefits of staying (guaranteed increase of salary in line with inflation, other organisation specific benefits etc.) and each time they enumerate each supposed benefit I respond with either a simple 'no' or a rebuttal that my other job is better paying and a better fit for me in other ways.

The discussion escalates further, as they start to ask me about my long term ambitions, and despite sensing hostility in their tone, I indulge their questions and mention I have a long-term interest in someday working in another completely different field. At this point they start berating me, telling me I would have to go back to school, nobody would hire me unless I get a whole new qualification, then immediately question my ability to even complete any future study by referring to supposed 'performance problems' I've had in the past.

Those 'performance problems' were completely made up by the way - never mentioned at all to me before that point, like in performance reviews or other 1-1 meetings. At this point I've realised I let this conversation proceed for too long, and very abruptly tell them I'm leaving and nothing you say can say will convince me otherwise. I then walked away hurriedly.

A couple days have past and now I hear that my manager is gossiping about me and trying really hard to paint the picture that I'm the one who blew up the discussion and that I've constantly misbehaved as an employee (which is utterly false). Apparently they've gone so far as to cancel my exit interview with HR, telling them none is necessary and that one was already conducted in a 1-1 meeting shortly my resigning (which doesn't make much sense because I would think that does not qualify as a proper exit interview, but apparently that is enough to convince HR to cancel it).

Should I somehow respond to this? Should I lodge a complaint to HR myself? Or should I just quietly wait it out and leave. My manager has started acting like the discussion never happened when they interact with me personally which is even more baffling.

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    Note, a good HR department would refuse to cancel an exit meeting on request of a manager. In fact, a good HR department would REALLY want to have a discussion that a manager wants to avoid. Oct 5, 2022 at 5:32
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    Should I somehow respond to this? What do you want to happen? Are you trying to get the manager to stop gossiping, are you trying to get them punished for this behavior, or something else?
    – BSMP
    Oct 5, 2022 at 7:09
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    Although I do wholeheartedly agree with the general opinion that you should just "serve your time" and then move on - do remember that unless you're contractually obligated to serve a notice period you do always have the option of deciding that enough is enough and just pack your stuff and walk out if the situation becomes unbearable. It's not a decision to be taken lightly, but it's something I once did and don't regret doing. You already have a new job, and you don't need this jerk as a reference ...
    – brhans
    Oct 6, 2022 at 12:03
  • That behavior would make me leave even sooner. Two weeks is almost always a courtesy (which they've now forfeited) not a requirement, unless you're union or have some form of written contract. Perhaps burn the rest of your vacation. I wouldn't set foot in the place again except to clear my personal property. File a written complaint with HR and the mgr's boss, or higher.
    – RC_23
    Oct 13, 2022 at 22:50
  • @RC_23 Note that in some jurisdictions, notice period is a statutory requirement. Oct 16, 2022 at 10:12

4 Answers 4

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I think your manager, and you have both misstepped.

In the future, you should try to avoid justifying your personal decision, once the decision is made.

The exit interview is going to be the place where you may choose to diplomatically state certain things if you feel so inclined (and it's up for debate if you should do this in any case).

The only thing you should really do here is probably get in touch with HR and indicate that you are, of course, still willing to have an exit interview. At this stage, you can't really trust what has been conveyed to HR regarding this matter, so it's important you ensure they know you are willing to follow company procedure up until the very end.

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    +1 on the exit interview. You very much still want that. Oct 5, 2022 at 15:18
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    +1 on the exit interview. Your boss just made up a bunch of performance problems during your conversations. Even if you don't do a full interview, you should tell HR that he can't be repeating calumny about you especially outside the company. Oct 5, 2022 at 16:42
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    "In the future, you should try to avoid justifying your personal decision, once the decision is made." Yes I realise now this was my mistake; my manager asked me to 'sleep on it', which didn't seem risky or raise any red flags with me at the time, but it was a convenient method for them to try to convince me to stay, and simultaneously get me to justify leaving.
    – mamift
    Oct 6, 2022 at 0:46
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    OK, so I'm writing this comment two weeks later, and getting in touch with HR was a good move it seems. In turns out, they were highly suspicious of whatever my manager said to them, was able to conduct an exit interview unknown to my manager, and had a very frank discussion with HR.
    – mamift
    Oct 13, 2022 at 22:51
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Should I somehow respond to this?

Stay on your track. Leave at the end of the 2 week notice.

Don't try to engage in unpleasant discussions about whether you should quit or not with your manager or your coworkers. Simply tell them you have already thought about it carefully, and going to the new company is the best option for your long term career. No more discussion is necessary with anyone at the company.

Don't say or do anything that could burn the bridge with other good coworkers or with the company in general.

After two weeks, you will no longer work for them. You won't have to interact with them any more. Also, it's unlikely that they will even remember you.

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    Good answer, but I would not say "best option for my long term career" but instead just "best option for me". You don't want to invite a discussion about the merits of one career path over another. And sometimes people take a sideways or even backwards step for non-career reasons. Oct 5, 2022 at 5:33
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Your boss is upset because he's just lost a worker. His job may have become a bit harder because you won't be available, he may have taken it as a personal slight that you don't appear to want to work for him any longer. He's not open to rational discussion, he's tried to emotionally blackmail you into staying and when that didn't work he's taking out his frustrations on you. There's nothing you can do to change that, the best thing is to ignore the drama and entreaties as much as possible, do your job, serve out your notice and leave.

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There's a lot going on, some of which is appropriate (trying to get you change your mind) and some of which is inappropriate (acting in an unprofessional manner).

Assuming you've been a good employee to date, you are a valuable resource and your departure will cause some amount of trouble. In a tight job market (I assume the job market in Australia is as tight as it is in the US), replacing you will be hard. So far your manager has done nothing wrong. They'd be doing your employer a disservice by not trying to get you to reconsider.

From there everything goes completely off the rails. There are some conversations which can helpful, such as asking you about your future goals and trying to sell you on having a meaningful career path is valid, but attacking you personally isn't going to change your mind.

A lot of the rest of the exit process is more about the company learning what it might have done wrong, and the fact the manager has acted inappropriate is likely why they are now trying to get that cancelled. HR is very unlikely to just take the manager's say-so that the exit interview should be cancelled precisely because they will want to know things like your relationship with the manager.

On the matter of HR, I would hold off any contact with HR until you are down to your 2nd or 3rd to last day. If it is obvious there will be no exit interview, I would draft a very professional letter and explain what you've explained here, including the bit about the manager's gossiping. I would stick with the "a better opportunity position has arisen". That is your best way of not burning bridges. Since you do expect to leave the industry, thank your employer for whatever learning and professional opportunities you've had, then send that off. This is not the place to complain, just to state the facts as presented. Be gracious and thankful for what you've learned.

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