36

This is a continuation from my previous post:

I am leaving soon for a new opportunity. Should I mention my co-worker's deficiency to our manager as I leave?

A little background (for those of you who don't want to read the whole story):

  • I have 2 full SDLC projects
  • I have a deficient colleague
  • I am moving abroad for a new job

I have resigned and am going to finish work early January next year. Today my manager approached me to ask about my projects' progress.

The progress is not very good since I need to handle both projects (1 of the project is for 2 different OS) and there is no one to help me (although I work every day including weekends and nights). I am also pessimistic about whether I can finish these projects before my last day.

My manager said that he wants me to help the project although after I will be leaving in January (from abroad?!). Then, he kind of indirectly blames me for leaving during the projects. He said that I knew that I will resign before the projects began (although I didn't know) and if the projects won't finish before my resignation, our company management will hunt me!

Actually I have given 2 months notice instead of 1 month (which is the company's rule)

How do I deal with my boss? I believe my case is a bit unique since I have a colleague that should help me with my work but is not helpful at all in these projects.

Note:

It seems that my manager's point of view is coding is an easy task, maybe because he is from product background (similar to IBM's, Microsoft's products, if you guys know) that need installation and configuration only.

Additional:

My manager also said to think about what he said. though I am not sure what he intends to convey.

Additional per 4th December 2015:

Hope this will be a useful information, I am not sure whether my manager has found my replacement, but he should tell me if he has, and up to today, he hasn't spoken any to me. I also have tried to look for someone to fill my position with no luck. Moreover, in my country, it is quite rare for my position and somehow, it is very hard to find someone. So, maybe this is the reason my manager acted like that.

Amount of hours - off hours (As asked by tripleee):

I can say that on weekday I can work 3-4 hours after office hours and 4-6 hours on weekend.

closed as off-topic by Joel Etherton, Jim G., Dawny33, Lilienthal, JB King Dec 9 '15 at 16:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – Joel Etherton, Jim G., Dawny33, JB King
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 41
    What do you mean by the "company management will hunt me"? It sounds like your boss is trying to scare you into staying, but I doubt he can actually do anything once you're gone. As a side note, don't tell your boss what company you're going to if you haven't already. – David K Dec 3 '15 at 14:53
  • 107
    Stop working weekends and nights. You owe them the workday they are paying you for, no more. After your manager's threats I would not work a minute more than necessary. – kevin cline Dec 4 '15 at 5:28
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    I fully agree with kevin cline, by threatening you in this way this guy has lost any and all right to goodwill from you. Work the hours in your contract and let him do whatever he likes, just be friendly but factual. If he asks you why you've stopped doing the overtime just tell him "I'm working the hours in my contract, I don't think it's fair to expect more than that when I am working my notice period." – Cronax Dec 4 '15 at 8:13
  • 28
    You are being bullied. I agree with all comments above: put yourself first, stop working extra hours, be friendly & professional, but not more than that. Your first obligation now is to yourself, then to your new employer - make sure you arrive there well rested and ready to work, instead of burnt out. – Konerak Dec 4 '15 at 8:52
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    Firstly, you should cease all overtime immedeatly. Work what you need, and no hour more. If the project fails, their management failed. Its not your problem anymore anyways. – Magisch Dec 4 '15 at 9:02

11 Answers 11

144

Personally I think the project issues aren't your problem. The manager is putting pressure on you because he failed to plan for your leaving. Give him a realistic estimate of what you can achieve in your remaining time and offer to help plan for handover before you leave.

Once your notice period is over the direction and success of the project is not your problem and you should focus on being successful for your new employer.

  • 5
    Absolutely agree with you! I believe it is because of my manager never expect me to resign this soon. – Lewis Dec 3 '15 at 14:49
  • 42
    This is correct. And note that if your manager wasn't mad at you before you resigned this is even more of a testament to his poor planning. You should probably address this with his manager or HR if it starts getting out of control. Also make them pay for extra time. You aren't expected to work double because you quit even if you are salary. – blankip Dec 3 '15 at 21:55
  • Also, if you are OK with working nights/weekends for a limited time, one way to bridge the gap would be to offer to work some off-hours to help your current company complete these projects (at a reasonable rate of course). We had a similar situation, although without the bullying, and the guy that left was nice enough to work ~20 hours a week here and there for two months after he left to help us complete the project on time. We paid him at the same rate he was getting when he left. – DrewJordan Dec 4 '15 at 17:44
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    It always makes me laugh when management hire people with no guaranteed work duration, and then whine when you leave "early". Talk about a double standard. Corporations are the first to shout "we're only bound to what's in writing", and then they say there's no obligation to provide more than contractual notice. Oftentimes, you'll even have to insist on being paid your minimum notice period when let go! Corps have no right to expect more than contractual notice from you, and you have no contractual or moral obligation to provide it. It's entirely YOUR CHOICE. – Brad Thomas Dec 4 '15 at 19:40
  • IMHO: You get to spend last month on xmas, then helping your company hand-off the project to someone else instead of working, if you play it well. The off hours are about to pay off, and nothing pushes the project further in this circumstances, in the long run, than leaving some good instructions to (or even tutoring) your replacement. They are going to be glad you helped them keep the project running even without you, and you get a nice parting before picking up your next job. Just be explicit about this. – loa_in_ Dec 6 '15 at 16:52
74

If you leave at the company and the projects that are working on don't get finished, guess whose fault that is?

It's your manager's fault, and his alone. You are leaving, you are not getting paid anymore, you have no reason to do any work whatsoever for them, so whatever isn't finished has nothing to do with you.

Your manager has had plenty of time to hire a replacement. If he isn't doing that and the project doesn't get finished because of it, that's fully his fault. Or he could try to get help from others in the company. His fault completely, none of your business.

Obviously if coding is an easy task, then your manager should have no problems finishing the projects himself.

46

How do I deal with my boss?

You simply do the best you can until your last work date, then put it all behind you.

It no longer matters what your boss thinks. It doesn't matter who he blames, and it doesn't matter if he hints that you should continue working on the project even after you are gone.

It sounds as if your boss is trying to exert some pressure to get you to work harder and finish the project. Be honest with your estimates, even if that's not what he wants to hear. Work as hard as you normally would, but understand that your boss will have no leverage over you once you are gone. Any threats that management will "hunt" you are laughable.

Finish your 2-month notice term as professionally as you can. Say your goodbyes, and don't respond to any additional requests for help.

Then breath a sigh of relief and stop worrying.

  • 45
    And stop working on weekends / nights unless you get paid (at least your normal pay rate). – xxbbcc Dec 3 '15 at 23:15
  • 4
    And be glad you're not working for a boss with this attitude anymore. – jpmc26 Dec 4 '15 at 23:16
25

Some good answers here already, the only addition I have is that it looks like an opportunity to make some money. I would tell him I'll do what I can to help after I leave for a consultants fee of x (x being a very high hourly rate)

This has worked for me a couple of times in the past and made me a few thousand $$ pocket money.

  • 4
    +1 This is basic supply and demand. His managers will probably then be looking very closely at him and he would be then paying the same person considerably more. – Prinsig Dec 4 '15 at 9:37
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    It also has the great effect of forcing the manager to choose. If he thinks he can make you do all the work for free, he will - he no longer has any incentives to the contrary (e.g. the long-term effects of overworking etc. - you bring those to your next employer). If you clearly state that you will be available for e.g. four times your current rate, he will find what he really needs from you, allowing you to make a bit of easy money while allowing your manager to recover from his loss - in the end, everybody wins. You're selling something that only has value to your ex-manager. – Luaan Dec 7 '15 at 12:35
17

The manager is responsible for the projects under his wing. So are the people working on them. Therefore, once you leave, the manager will the only person responsible (except for his manager, and the manager of the manager, and so on).

The manager tries to solve his problems by making them yours. He has no leverage to do so, so he tries to threaten you. In common sense terms, that makes the manager a bully.

You are most likely not required to work infinite amounts of unpaid overtime by your contract, and you are definitely not required to work for a company after your employment ended. People who work without pay do so for their own reasons, which are usually either because they like the people they work for and have a strong sense of duty, or because they are afraid of losing their job. Given your circumstances, you're probably not afraid of losing your job.

If you work unpaid overtime and continue working for free for the sole benefit of your manager because the manager is a bully, you're doing it wrong.

What your manager did is highly unethical. The blunt and highly effective response is as follows:

First, stop doing any unpaid work, effective immediately. Second, write an email to your "company management". State your situation in no more than 3 sentences, and stick to the facts, avoid anything that can be seen as accusation: You started project X at dd/mm/yy, started looking for another job at dd/mm/yy, got a good offer from company A in country C, which you accepted. Out of loyalty you decided to give 2 months notice instead of 1. At the current rate of progress, and with the currently available resources, it seems unlikely that project X will be finished before you leave - but you're giving it your best, and are more than willing to train someone else to continue the project if need be.

Then put the cherry on top: "My manager XY seems to be under the incorrect impression that by resigning I sabotaged the project on purpose, and informed me that you - the company management - will "hunt me" if I won't finish the projects in my spare time after leaving the company. As the company management, can you please clarify what exactly you meant by this?"

This way you tell company management that you were officially threatened in their name, and by not calling it what it is you give them an easy way out. An easy HR response is to state there was a "misunderstanding", dress down your manager in private, and make sure you get a good reference.

Do not worry about burning bridges. Your manager already strongly dislikes you and seems to have low ethic standards, so the bridge is already on fire. You're in a situation where you get a bad reference and can't be fired. The worst possible outcome is that you still get a bad reference and still can't be fired. The most likely outcome is that you get a good reference and your boss will be told to back off.

  • 4
    In general, don't be afraid of burning bridges if you never, ever want to cross them again. – gnasher729 Dec 4 '15 at 13:28
  • 4
    Meh, not worth burning bridges. You never know when you will run back into the same people on future projects or even in public settings like conferences or social events. Let other people be petty and move on with your life. – Matthew Whited Dec 4 '15 at 17:16
  • Don't put in writing that people are threatening you. I don't see how that can be helpful to anyone. – reinierpost Dec 6 '15 at 23:20
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    @Matthew Whited The point is that you will never work with that manager again. Of course you see the same people coming round again. If you find they're at a place you're interviewing for, you don't work there because you don't ever want to work for them again. And if they apply at a place where you work, you can easily tell people how bad they are so they don't get in. This isn't petty in the slightest - there's nothing petty about wanting your working life to be productive. – Graham Dec 7 '15 at 13:34
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    @reinerpost If you want to protect yourself from bogus allegations in future, if you want to follow your company's formal procedures about workplace bullying, if you want the good managers in your company to have a chance to axe ineffective bullies and make your company a happy and productive place, if you want to have absolute protection in law in case the company doesn't back you, then put it in writing. If you want to keep being a victim, if you want to help the bully and don't want to help yourself or your company, then by all means don't put in in writing. – Graham Dec 7 '15 at 13:39
7

You don't say where this is happening, but I think your manager threatening you gives you good cause to leave immediately, rather than waiting one or two months. Two months may be the company rule, but I'm sure there is also a rule against threatening employees and trying to induce them to work for free.

If I were in your situation, I would pack up my stuff and leave. Your relationship with your manager is already terrible, and it is only going to get worse. Life is too short to put up with people like this.

  • 4
    Totally agree. Bullying and intimidation are right out of bounds. – GreenAsJade Dec 4 '15 at 6:34
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    This would result in at least a stop of pay, of course, which might be a problem in itself; and if the manager is as antagonistic as it appears, possibly an action for breach of contract as well. While there has been a threat, it's baseless and probably not a breach of contract per se; leaving early without the contractual notice is definitely a breach. [But I suppose the threat might trigger a depression so bad that you can't go into work and have to take sick leave.] – Andrew Leach Dec 4 '15 at 9:12
  • 4
    Lewis mentioned that he has already worked over the 1 month notice that was contractually required - so I would suggest if he wanted to leave at once, write a formal resignation to HR stating that he was feeling threatened and requesting for all contact details to be secured so only HR held them also that he did not want to be contacted by anyone other than the HR department in future. Send it by registered mail and request a confirmation in writing to an email address. Personally I would keep my head down, work out the time left with no overtime and go home asap! – Magpie13 Dec 4 '15 at 13:46
3

I'm not sure it's blaming. It's trying to find a solution.

If the solution is not realistic(i.e. you don't intend to work after January for them), then your role, as a professional, is to prepare your current employer to accept the facts. While still doign a good job. After all, as long as you get paid, you are entitled to do the job. Once finished, enjoy your new life.

You risk having pressure on your shoulders the next two months. Enjoy. It's a training for the next steps of your career. Train to stay professional, do your job, and no more than that.

  • You could always offer to help with selecting your replacement – RedSonja Dec 4 '15 at 11:34
3

I wanted to address your voluntary overtime. Before I proceed with that, I agree with what others have already stated -- your manager is entitled to your capacity to the extent that he is compensating you for it, and responsible for arranging adequate resourcing for finishing a project he has taken on. This is his responsibility, not yours. You should not allow him to intimidate or bully you.

I know that expectances regarding overtime and weekend work differ between cultures, but where I am from, a project which cannot be completed without overtime is a problem which should be escalated. If your manager is using your unpaid time knowingly, that's another issue with him that you should bring up to his superiors. But the impression we get from your story is that you have unreported overtime, which is entirely your own responsibility.

Regardless, what you should do is (1) stop working uncompensated overtime; and (2) consider whether you want to suggest undertaking compensated overtime to finish at least some of your commitments.

If your immediate manager does not know how overworked you are, it is reasonable and responsible for him to assume your current capacity is sufficient for completing the projects you are working on. When this is not true, it is your responsibility to inform him of the problem.

Now, it's a bit late in the game to play this by the rules, but I think you should do what you can to act responsibly.

Your higher management needs to understand the nature of this problem. The project was understaffed to begin with, and it's really too late to bring somebody new on board.

You seem to be working in the software business, where it is very common to see extreme variation in employee productivity. (I think this was reported by Brooks? The fastest typist is like 50% faster than the average typist, but the fastest programmer is vastly more productive than the average programmer. See also https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/179616/a-good-programmer-can-be-as-10x-times-more-productive-than-a-mediocre-one) Perhaps this is one reason it is hard for your manager to see what sort of work load you are under?

Unfortunately, you seem to be in a kind of priority inversion. You are prioritizing your manager's happiness, but he is not in a position (nor, at least any longer, probably in the mood) to reciprocate. You should be prioritizing, first, your own, and secondly, your employer's happiness, which currently seems to be at odds with appeasing your immediate manager.

A responsible leadership will want predictability and sustainability as well as profitability and commercial success. If you can't repeat this quarter's successes next quarter, you are a bad manager. Driving employees to the brink of exhaustion might be excusable under extreme circumstances, but cannot be the normal order of the day.

Can you document how much work you have actually put in? This should help clarify the situation, even though I don't think you have much of a standing for receiving any compensation. Even a rough ballpark figure would help here (are we talking 3, 30, or 300 hours per month? Any number you can somehow defend is better than "a lot" or "a little").

  • Hi triplee, I have stated rough number of hours that I work off hours. – Lewis Dec 4 '15 at 19:54
  • Thanks. Document this as well as you can, for your own sake, for whoever needs to plan the rest of the project, whoever will do the remainder of the work, for your manager's superiors, and finally a two-edged sword -- document your immediate manager's planning failure, but hopefully also help him (or his successor) make better plans. – tripleee Dec 4 '15 at 20:01
2

It's too late now, but giving 2 months notice was ill-advised. You know, if they fire you, they escort you out the door by security guards that same day, right? You owe them NOTHING.

Sticking around for two months just gives a lot of time for bad blood to build up.

Do not get emotionally invested in your projects at this point, just put in your hours and focus on documentation and transferring knowledge since that is all you can do.

If I were you, I would create a summary of what you will be doing to finish up in terms of a list of documents and so forth you will be leaving.

As far as "finishing" your projects, you can forget about that. It's somebody else's problem now.

1

In the USA, there's a common way to deal with this: HR departments limit their commentary to "he/she worked here from StartDate to EndDate."

You might say to your boss, "pity you didn't plan appropriately. What shall I say to YOUR boss, who asked me about this? I will be happy to convey my opinion to YOUR boss, or perhaps not. What, excuse me, I'm sorry, did I understand what you said correctly?"

  • 6
    That seems very confrontational and is likely to foster a miserable work experience until January. – dpw Dec 4 '15 at 22:12
  • @dpw He's leaving, its not like they can really do anything to make the OP miserable. What would they do, fire him? – Andy Dec 5 '15 at 15:32
  • @dpw, the point is that the manager is making a veiled threat, that he intends to do something retaliatory. This is unacceptable no matter what the jurisdiction. That's the scenario where I suggest the OP should give the manager a little bit of push-back. I fully agree with you that taking the higher ground and maintaining a cordial workplace is far more desirable. – dwoz Dec 6 '15 at 17:54
  • @dpw He's already in a miserable work experience. If the manager is making threats, future employees will also have a miserable work experience. This is bad for the company. Any competent organisation will deal with it, because no organisation can afford high staff turnover. – Graham Dec 7 '15 at 13:43
1

There are a lot of great answers here, and great advice. I read all of them (I think). However, they all seem to miss an important aspect of your situation.

Your manager's job is to manage. He did not fail to "plan for your departure" and he's in a position that requires that he make demands (even unrealistic at times) of staff. If the job gets done then he's successfully managed the situation.

To be clear, he is acting like a bully, it's demeaning to you and it is short-sighted. However, your question is:

How do I deal with my boss?

Bullies do not respond well to aggression. You also know that your boss has a problem and he's upset at the circumstances. You also know that he knows where you are going and he is friends with people at the other company. Now you are concerned about your new job as well.

So, remember that your manager is not expected to "do your job." After you leave, if the project falls behind, he has a great response right now. He can say, "I'm having trouble finding a good person for this job. And the guy that left even gave 2 months notice instead of 1. And he tried to help me find someone. And he even worked overtime before he left to try to finish the project. And he's offered to help while being on the new job - and my friends over there are OK with that." Most likely his job is not at risk, he is just trying to get the projects done.

If he asks you if you thought about his "comments" (threats), you can respond with, "yes, I have given 2 months notice. I am trying to help you find a replacement. I will do what I can until my last day." Just as other answers have suggested.

I hope you get the point - you don't have to work overtime. You don't have to help him with finding your replacement. If a replacement comes onboard while you can help, you are being paid to help so you should help with the transition. But you also don't want him to make true comments to his friends about you being "uncooperative" or hurting him or the project. But you are not really at risk of that.

His tactics are horrible. He is not a model manager. If the directors at your new job know him, they probably know this about him. They are probably happy to have you - because if you can work for a jerk like that, you will do very well with better managers.

At this point, he's trying to distract you from focusing on your successful transition to your new job. And possibly in some twisted way he's hoping that will mean that you return to him - because he obviously needs you. Don't take the threats too seriously, because they are empty. Just focus on the future.

You just have to decide how much you will allow your manager's bullying to bother you, because for him, it's too late to keep you.

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