I've had huge work life balance issues with my boss over the past year or so, as noted in previous posts.

For background, it's a small company and I'm the only employee.

Finally, after giving a few points and ultimatums about 6 months ago, nothing has changed, and I don't feel it will meaningfully. I'm intending to interview at other jobs and have started this process. Due to being a small company, I told my boss to give them plenty of time to replace me - I said I'd probably be aiming to leave in a month or two. I said that about a week and a half ago.

While I'm likely to be hired quickly based on the economy and my profession, I've got more than enough savings to live for a year and an extremely high probability of getting new employment eventually, so I'll leave regardless of whether I have an offer in hand within the next couple months. I know this is usually unwise but at this point, I find the situation at my job basically unacceptable.

I checked with them to see how the search for a new candidate was going and they admitted to me that it was slow, and they hadn't really started. Considering the timetable, it makes me feel like my boss thinks I'm not leaving. I am just at a loss how something like this wouldn't be taken seriously - especially when I'd honestly prefer to quit as soon as a replacement can be found and trained. I could give them an exact date but was trying to be flexible as I understand it can take time to hire someone and then train them. How do I convince them to take this seriously?

EDIT: Apparently the consensus is that my telling my boss I am going to leave wasn't concrete enough so I'm going to have a conversation and give a concrete date.

EDIT 2: While I've had a hell of a lot of turmoil over this on Stackexchange, I haven't ever mentioned to my boss before a week and a half ago that I wanted to leave.

EDIT 3: I gave another notice with an actual date on it. Transition happening.

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    It's not your problem. – djsmiley2k Mar 28 '17 at 13:50
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    The consensus was that you should just let it go, you've already done enough to warn them. It seems like your cherry-picking what you think the consensus is to suite your preexisting agenda of trying to make your soon-to-be former company respect you more. Which should be largely irrelevant to you at this point. – Mark Rogers Mar 28 '17 at 14:54
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    ... when you actually quit? – ell Mar 28 '17 at 15:33
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    The fact that you seem to care about what happens when you find another job and move on, and whether the company has filled your position and/or can continue business after your departure, could indicate you really don't want to leave and really want your boss and/or the company to change instead. Common sense tells you that if you are sure you can find another job and are tired of the work/life balance issues, then do it and move on. So I am guessing something inside doesn't want to move on. Moving on is scary, but from what you describe it seems you have to. Just worry about you. – Thomas Carlisle Mar 28 '17 at 17:36
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    In the U.S., it's generally acceptable to give two WEEKS notice. If we're talking two MONTHS, I think you've covered your bases. Don't hint, though - give that notice in writing, either hard-copy or email. – Omegacron Mar 28 '17 at 19:10
up vote 39 down vote accepted

I'd probably be aiming to leave in a month or two

If you are going to be non-deterministic about it so will they. You need to put formal notice in with a date which will be your last day. Anything else is just a threat, which they may happily ignore if they don't (want to) believe you.

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    @BrandonPodgorski what do you mean, punished? Unless your boss is doing something you haven't mentioned elsewhere, it sounds like they're just doing business as usual. That isn't punishment, although it seems (from other comment threads) that you are stressing out about it and punishing yourself. You can't blame your boss for that. – Jeutnarg Mar 27 '17 at 21:16
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    It's a phrase. I'm not claiming I'm getting punished. I'm stating that I was trying to do a good thing and it backfired. That's what the phrase means – David Brandtz Mar 27 '17 at 21:27
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    but it hasn't backfired though. You've not left, they haven't done anything. As folks have been saying, once you give them a hard deadline in writing, things may happen (or not - it's their call) – NKCampbell Mar 27 '17 at 22:17
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    @Jeutnarg: He wants to leave the company as soon as possible. He doesn't, however, want to screw the company over, being the only employee. The good deed is giving the company time to look for a replacement, instead of just giving them two-week notice. The proverbial punishment is that instead of actually using that time to find a replacement, the company is doing nothing about it. The phrase fits perfectly well, despite how you try to twist it. – Aleksi Torhamo Mar 28 '17 at 15:40
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    @NKCampbell: It has backfired, though. He has given them more time than legally necessary before leaving, for the express purpose of giving them time to search for a new candidate, as to not screw them over, even though he'd really want to leave as soon as possible. Instead of using that time to search for a new candidate, they've done nothing. So instead of "I give them time -> they find a new candidate -> I can leave with a peace of mind" it went "I gave them time -> they didn't do anything -> nothing changed; I paid the price, but didn't get the benefit". I'd say it backfired alright. – Aleksi Torhamo Mar 28 '17 at 15:52

Have you ever read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"? Quit crying wolf. Stop worrying about what happens after your exit -- that's not your problem. Get focused on the exit.

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    Your boss has created this condition by having only you on staff, with no other staff to take up any slack. You might be working for a cheapo, but whatever the reason, IT'S NOT YOUR COMPANY TO FIX. If you got hit by a bus today, the outcome would be the same! – Xavier J Mar 27 '17 at 19:14
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    Given your responses here, I would strongly recommend you evaluate how much that overtime and no time off is driven by your employer and how much by you. Sounds like you have a much higher expectation than your employer does, which means you may be burning yourself out when he'd just as rather you take it easy. I've had too many people work for me who do this to not see the warning signs. – mxyzplk Mar 27 '17 at 19:38
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    @BrandonPodgorski your approach is classic people-pleasing, codependent behavior. Many times, work-life balance issues are undermined by a chronic refusal to set limits and say NO. Try this out: psychcentral.com/lib/21-tips-to-stop-being-a-people-pleaser Love yourself first! – Xavier J Mar 27 '17 at 20:20
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    @BrandonPodgorski You have done more than your duty by giving them such advanced notice in the first place. Whether they take it seriously is now their decision. Find your job, give your notice, and move on knowing you went well above and beyond to allow them to prepare. – jpmc26 Mar 28 '17 at 0:54
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    Grampa: Have you ever read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"? Bart: I glanced at it. Boy cries wolf, has a few laughs I forget how it ends. – WorkerWithoutACause Mar 28 '17 at 12:55

Find another job and give them two weeks notice. NOTHING ELSE will get their attention. A similar situation happened with an employer of mine. This fellow warned them two years prior to giving notice that he was not happy and wanted a change.

THEN when he did give his notice, they took him seriously.

This is a common situation and literally nothing will get them to move until you give your notice. Even then, they may not take it seriously.

You cannot change how they react, only what you do. You've given them more than fair warning and it is not your fault at this point.

I would say that you should do everything possible to get a job BEFORE you leave. You may be a hot number now, but every day you are unemployed, you cool down.

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    The problem is that I'm absolutely exhausted and need rest. I have my own LLC and would do freelance work to avoid major gaps. Launching a small product while doin freelance on your own looks fine to potential future employers I think. – David Brandtz Mar 27 '17 at 18:34
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    @BrandonPodgorski yes, just so long as you can account for your time, you'll be fine. Leave before it damages your health. I didn't follow that advice and I had a stroke at age 40. N) job is worth your health – Richard U Mar 27 '17 at 18:36
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    @BrandonPodgorski As my answer states, you have three ways to leave. Pick one sir and stop stressing yourself out. – Mister Positive Mar 27 '17 at 18:39
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    @BrandonPodgorski: So you are exhausted. Your employer doesn't care. You threatened to leave. You are still there. So of course your employer doesn't care. I read you need to leave ASAP. Have you started looking for a new job? – gnasher729 Mar 27 '17 at 22:43
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    Same, I had a teamate who was always saying he will leaves, when I start saying that I really wasn't happy, they thought I would be the same..., until they got my notice. – Walfrat Mar 28 '17 at 7:28

I am just at a loss how something like this wouldn't be taken seriously - especially when I'd honestly prefer to quit as soon as a replacement can be found and trained.

I don't know how you have decided that your boss isn't taking this seriously.

But you appear to think that your boss should come back to you and beg you to stay in spite of your ultimatums. Perhaps you think this "one-employee company" will change drastically to meet your work/life balance issues.

I think you are kidding yourself.

You launched your "ultimatums" six months ago, and nothing has changed. More likely your boss already has decided that either your role isn't needed at all, or that they already know how to replace you.

Forget about worrying about your ultimatums "being taken seriously". Find a new job first, give your notice, then leave (in that order). You are only hurting yourself if you do otherwise.

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    I don't want them to beg me to stay! I want them to prepare! – David Brandtz Mar 27 '17 at 18:54
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    @BrandonPodgorski a) that's their problem not yours, b) you've apparently given a whole set of ultimatums already, why would they take you seriously now when you give another one? Just move on. – mxyzplk Mar 27 '17 at 19:35
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    @BrandonPodgorski I was in a similar jam then you before my current position. I didn't threaten 70 times but made it clear that if nothing changed they would need to replace me. 6 months later nothing changed. I quickly told them I'd start looking. They said ok. They didn't even START looking until I gave them my 2 weeks. Then they scrambled like crazy and requested extra time from me to train the guy.... not my problem. they HAD the time, didn't take it. I won't break my health (more) for an employer who doesn't care to help me help them... – Patrice Mar 28 '17 at 18:09
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    @BrandonPodgorski Not your problem. If s/he's not ready, oh well. You can always be hired on as a consultant for double the rate after you leave. – Chris Schneider Mar 28 '17 at 18:25
  • @Patrice well, consultation rates are consultation rates! – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Mar 30 '17 at 13:18

Write up how to do your job.

Seriously. Write it up. In detail. In separate documents covering the different aspects of your job.

Note that this is about your job, not necessarily about the baseline technical skills that someone must have to be remotely suitable for the role. For example, to write up the job of "graphic designer" for a big marketing company, you do not need to include a full training course in InDesign or PhotoShop. But you do need to include such details as, how communication with the client is conducted (email? phone? Google Docs?),

Whether or not there is any time to train your replacement, if you write up your job, you have done your part.

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    Why should he have to do this? – Steve Smith Mar 30 '17 at 13:08
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    @SteveSmith, read the various comments of the OP. He explicitly said he does not want to screw the company over, but that he is the only one who can do his job right now, and there is no replacement around that he can train. This is just the responsible thing to do. I never said he "has to." – Wildcard Mar 30 '17 at 18:33
  • It seems to me that that would be overly-responsible. It's the boss's job to do that kind of context setup. – MMacD Apr 1 '17 at 13:37
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    @MMacD, overly responsible? What a bizarre idea. I don't believe there is any such thing in the world. – Wildcard Apr 1 '17 at 19:06
  • @Wildcard * I don't believe there is any such thing in the world*. There is, saddeningly; you can check the literature yourself if you prefer not to believe me. – MMacD Apr 2 '17 at 10:44

At this point you have three choices (in order of preference):

  1. Start your job search, get an offer, then turn in your two weeks notice. (Ideal situation.)
  2. If you don't need the cash, just turn in your two weeks notice. (A compromise.)
  3. And finally, you could just quit and walk out. (Most drastic, could damage your career.)

I bet at that point ( when you give them notice or just quit ) if they value your services you'll be taken seriously.

They may tell you they're looking to hire another full-time employee, but what they may not be telling you, is as a contingency, they have a consulting firm waiting to put someone in your seat the day after you leave. They may go out of business after you leave.

Whatever is going on, is not your problem. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Start looking for a new job right now. In your situation there doesn't seem to be any need to be tight-lipped about it. If you need time to go to a job interview, you tell your boss "Hey boss, I need to take tomorrow off for a job interview". If he says "you can't go, we need you here"? Then you say "sorry, but I can't move that interview, you'll have to do without me".

Someone had to make a comment "why should an employee get time off for an interview". (I suppose combined with a down vote). Because that way they can find another job. It's a job, not slavery. And look at this thread. What's the worst thing that can happen? He can get fired. Whoop-de-doo. He should have left ages ago.

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    Why should employees get time off for an interview? – Steve Smith Mar 30 '17 at 13:09

protected by Jane S Mar 28 '17 at 4:29

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