I have been under a lot of pressure in the past few weeks, I understand that I am being pushed to resign. We can say that I didn't match my manager's management style, I am overqualified for the job and I failed at it.

I also do not want to continue in a toxic environment where the manager clearly expressed that he will make it hell for me, like he started sending me some work with no briefings and no training at all. I imagine it will be easier to make mistakes if he plans to make me do a mistake.

Knowing that I am in the probation period, I just joined 3 months ago.

If I am to leave, what are things that I should do before resigning? This is my first time working with the Canadian government and I don't know a lot about that.

It would be nice to hear from someone who was already there.

Can I negotiate my termination? Or offer to take an unpaid leave? instead of leaving at once, so that I can return or transfer to some other department?

Please help by sharing your ideas/experiences. I will appreciate. Thank you

  • 3
    can you please explain why did you downvote this? I can correct it if there are any issues
    – metaUser
    Feb 20 at 17:10
  • 2
    I didn't downvote but I'm guessing it might be because you're asking lots of questions ("can I negotiate my termination?" "can I offer to take unpaid leave?") and asking some of which we can't answer ("what's the best course of action?"). I would explain simply what you want the outcome to be (leave now with minimal financial impact? leave now with the option to return to government? stay?) and ask only what action you should take to achieve that. Also - you haven't explained why any of this has happened? Maybe a short background would help Feb 20 at 17:29
  • I'm in Ireland so it might be different but what you describe pretty much fits the description of workplace bullying: i.e. intentionally giving you overly difficult work or making it difficult for you to do do that work.
    – komodosp
    Feb 23 at 9:47
  • If you're in your probation period, they can just let you go anyway. From that perspective, the premise of this question doesn't make much sense. Also, this sounds like constructive dismissal to me (which is weird to do in a probation period, as you can get rid of someone easily), you may want to talk to an employment lawyer. Mar 4 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


Step 1: If you are in a union or professional association talk to them.

Then do whatever they say, even if it is different from the rest of this answer.

Step 2: Don't resign.

If it's just your boss saying this, that probably means he wants you to go, but he can't actually justify firing you. For example your work may be actually adequate, but he just doesn't like you. You may be better qualified than him and make him feel insecure. In any case, the fact that he's pressuring you to resign means he's not confident he can fire you. If he could fire you he would, and that's a pretty low bar in a probation period.

Step 3: Make sure your side of the case is heard.

Get your boss and HR to give you clear statements, in writing, of what the problems are with your performance. Tell your side of the story to them, especially HR. Ask if your performance is comparable to other people on the team. "I don't match my manager's management style" is not a reason for being fired. Maybe your manager should adjust his style. Maybe there is some change you can make to make things better. You should at least be given a chance to change your performance to be satisfactory. The normal approach here is to be given a Performance Improvement Plan, where if you perform satisfactorily you will be allowed to keep your job. At the absolute least you should be given a clear written statement of what is the matter with your performance and what you should do in order to make it satisfactory. HR are the people to do this, not your boss. Get them to tell you what the next steps are and what you can expect. If you are given such statements make sure that what is said about you is reasonable, and that the things you are asked to do are also reasonable. Make sure HR is involved at all points.

If your boss really said "If you stay here I will make things hell for you" then that's a workplace violation for him. Absolutely tell HR that he said that, giving them details. If he was stupid enough to do it in writing or by email then send it to them. The same is true of your boss pressuring you to resign. Tell HR that he said that. It's absolutely not something a boss should be doing. At the very least HR should investigate.

In all future interactions with your boss you should ask for anything he says to be in writing. If he absolutely refuses to do this, every time he says anything to you follow up with an email repeating back to him what you understood him to say and asking him to tell you if it isn't correct, copying HR on the email. It's reasonable to ask that HR be present for all future meetings with your boss. Get HR involved at every step in the future, and make sure they know absolutely everything your boss says to you.

Step 4: Ask if there is another place in the organization for you.

If you are not getting on with your boss, maybe there is a way you can work for a different boss. Governments are usually big organizations and have many teams. Maybe you could transfer to a different one. Talk to HR about this, not your boss.

Step 5: Negotiate

If it turns out that not just your boss but the organization also wants you gone, it's likely they will just terminate your probation. You may be able to negotiate something better than being let go, for example that you get to keep working until the end of your probation period and then you leave "by mutual consent". You don't want to resign because that will make you ineligible for unemployment benefit if you need it.

Don't worry about threats to give you a bad reference if you don't resign. For a job you are only in for a few months you don't really need them as a reference, and government HR will make darn sure that your reference doesn't contain anything except the bare facts of your employment, and certainly nothing really bad about you.

And start looking for another job.

This may work out for you, or it may not. In a probation period the odds are unfortunately against you. It's a good idea to be prepared. If you find another job you like better than this one, then you can resign.

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