LostFebruary 9, 2023 at 12:34 am #1118659
How should I approach letting my boss know the real reason I am quitting?
This requires some backstory, so I’m sorry for the wall of text. It’s honestly super screwed up and I should have quit 6 months ago.
I feel like since I am quitting, I should write my boss a note or something saying this toxic & uncontrolled coworker is why I’m leaving. Not just because I’ve been offered a better job on paper. Because I’d say at this job if the coworker was not there.
(I already plan to leave them with notes and gifts that say I really did enjoy working there, no hard feelings and all.)
Here is the long winded version of this:
A year and a half ago I got a job in a field that I love and have wanted for my entire life. The job itself is perfect and something I still thoroughly enjoy. The problem is a coworker. For a full year of me working in this position, I had no issue with anyone, and assumed I was on good terms with the others as well. Occasionally Certain coworkers would do something unwarranted, but we work 40+hrs a week in close quarters with each other, small tiffs happen.
Our office manager (who I’ll just call boss), and the person that controls all of the full time employees works remotely. She’s LITERALLY never in the building and relies on other people to fill her in on what’s going on. This is important.
This past August (6 months ago) my boss pulled me into a room and said “you need to tell me what the hell is going on” I was utterly taken aback by this. I had literally no clue what she was referring to. My boss continued to explain that according to this coworker (I will refer to them as J) and “other sources” (my boss likes to ‘avoid’ calling people out.) I am teaming up the rest of the staff against J. She then compared me to a past toxic employee that preceded me but I hear of often. She also says that I am on my phone all the time (which I own up to because literally all of us were on our phones too much) and that I am rude to everyone never help out/sit around and do nothing.
She noted that J “and others” have texted her these things. (She even had text messages from J pulled up as she spoke to me) And that she asked someone else higher-up that’s actually in the building if any of this is true and my boss said “he said it’s all bullshit”. So why she didn’t drop it there, I don’t know. But I attempt to express my shock with the situation and apologize for the phone use, and for any disruption I maybe have caused accidentally. She says “you don’t have to be friends but you need to talk to each other”
She releases me, talked to J privately, and then made us sit directly across from each other, in front of the boss and the manager, and tells us to “talk things out”.
Where I am still processing this (what feels like) ambush, J takes the initiative and tells me that I am teaming up on them, harassing them, and many other harsh things; which are blatant lies. And if I’m being honest, all applied to the way J has treated me ever since this little ‘talk’. And then announced to us all that I am the reason they have applied for another job and I make their life and work experience miserable etc etc, all with many tears. I apologize for coming across this way to them, explain that I’m not aware of this outcasting behavior happening and ask for a specific example of these situations. They had none. Not a single example.. their reason was “I didn’t come with any prepared, I can’t remember any at the top of my head” again I am dumbfounded and try to gauge my bosses expressions and if they’re really buying this…
I essentially apologize again for these things I never do, but being extremely unconfrontational and unable to defend myself without falling into a full blown panic attack, I don’t defend my own case. Hell, I even tell her and all my other coworkers to tell me to my face if I am coming across as rude or disrespectful because I need that kind of blunt communication sometimes. (Nobody has called me out since)
My goal forward was to just lay low, not interact with this coworker unless needed to avoid upsetting them. I try to be as self aware as possible and walk egg shells for a few months. In the event that I really was doing these things to them I made efforts to avoid anything that resembled those actions. This did not work. J continued to complain to the boss and tell her about things I have not done. I’ve been so bothered by this I started going to therapy to deal with the stress and anxiety just being around J causes.
The main problem is that I am pretty sure my boss knows that my coworker is full of shit. Combined with another higher up literally saying it’s all “bullshit”, my boss also calls J out in meetings without saying their name. Saying things to the whole group like “I’m tired of getting petty complaints about each other over text” or “we need to work as a team and communicate” or “we are trying to keep ALL of you guys here”. J is the only coworker I have that texts the boss. And since the boss doesn’t straight up tell J that the comments and warnings are for them, they don’t think it is for them. It’s like it’s all twisted in their head.
So flash forward to now, I’m finally fed up with losing sleep, stressing out, and waking egg shells around this one person at this job that I genuinely like. And the boss isn’t even bad, she just has no idea what’s really going on.
So you got a better job and are about to give notice? Great! Just please keep it straightforward and tell your boss you are leaving and talk about dates for your notice period. Do not give gifts or write notes. Don’t download on this co-worker.
If someone from HR wants to do an exit interview with you, you could say some general things about the work environment (which sounds like a middle school to me, tbh), but again, do not dump on specific people.LisforLeslieFebruary 9, 2023 at 6:23 am #1118661
Don’t bother. Resign. Walk away. They know there are problems. If you had a good manager, J would be kneecapped and wouldn’t be a problem. You have a bad manager and that’s really why you’re leaving.
After you leave, J will pick her next target and this will start all over again. Get out clean.
Right, it’s actually management that’s the problem here, not this one co-worker, but don’t ever leave a place and bash all over management. Write a Glassdoor review.
I would also caution you, you are going to run into different types of dysfunction wherever you go. And you might end up repeating the same patterns with different people if you don’t learn from each situation. You’re not going to leave this job and all your problems go away. The next job might be worse in some ways. There is always shit to deal with. You have to work on managing your reactions, and also on recognizing what’s really going on so you can work around it.
Askamanager is a great website if you’re not aware of it. You should start reading it every day.
Absolutely do not go into any details, do not leave gifts (!) or notes or any of that. This is a place of business and these are co-workers not friends; just behave professionally. Give your notice, discuss dates and whatever exit steps you need to take and then leave. Don’t burn any bridges, do not put anything negative in writing that might be used against you at some point. If there’s some kind of exit interview, like Kate, mentioned, you could allude to the office culture not being a fit for you. But be vague, not specific. And I agree with Kate about figuring out a more professional way to behave in a professional setting. Not looking at your phone is just one thing. When you work with lots of people in person, you have to manage lots of personalities. This is easier for some people than others. If you’re someone who struggles a bit with managing other personalities, there are lots of resources – like therapy, which is great that you’re pursuing! – that can help.OP – lostFebruary 9, 2023 at 10:21 am #1118670
Thanks for the feedback! I will definitely just keep my mouth shut and leave quietly. It really isn’t my problem in the end once I’m gone. I didn’t realize it wasn’t really a good idea to leave a parting gift when you leave, I won’t bother with that either.
I’ve also been working on myself professionally. I’m not blind the the possibility that maybe I WAS the issue, even though I don’t feel that way. There’s always a bad apple in the workplace, but this one’s particularly rotten.
When I’ve left jobs in the past, if there were coworkers I wanted to keep in touch with, I’d give them my personal email address and/or phone number and we would connect on LinkedIn. I’ve also had old coworkers add me on social media after they’ve left, but I personally don’t add coworkers on there unless we are legitimately friends outside of work.
About six years ago, I left a job that was a bad fit. A junior employee told our boss I was bullying her because I said something to her after she missed a deadline. He never bothered to ask my perspective. His “solution” was to have me CC a mid-level manager on every email I sent to the junior employee and I had to meet with HR. He was a bad boss, he kept a baseball bat in his office and took practice swings with it and brought it to meetings. I don’t think a lot of people managers receive much if any training in people management. Anyway, like you, I kept my head down and found something else. I will die on the hill that I was not the problem at that company. When I quit, I said something about knowing that the company wouldn’t be a long-term fit for me. We both knew what this really meant. Your boss sounds like a bad boss, but odds are they’re not stupid. Odds are, they’ll know why you’re leaving. In my exit interview, I declined to provide much feedback — this company had a retention problem, there was nothing I’d say that they hadn’t already heard — but did say yes or no when asked specific questions. On my last day, I went to say goodbye to my boss and thank him for the opportunity. He’d left early without a word. Try to leave on the highest note possible.
And yeah, you can try to leave a Glassdoor review if it’ll make you feel better, but “engaged employers” on that website can get the less favorable ones taken down. This happened to me with the company I mentioned, even though I left a balanced three-star review and didn’t get into the specifics of what happened.
Good luck at your next job! I hope it’s a better fit.