How Do I Tell An Abusive Boss I Quit?

Question:

I have worked for a verbally abusive boss for the past 7 years.

Aside from being a control freak, she is extremely demanding regarding work performance and hours. Long story short, after an especially abusive incident last month (which actually took place over a transcontinental phone call if you can believe it!), I decided enough was enough! No matter what I did it was never good enough, and the atmosphere in the office was like a dictatorship. She would go through our emails at night and on weekends and always find something “wrong” with them. A single typo was grounds for a screaming reprimand. It’s gotten to the point I’m terrified to send an email! The stress was ruining my life and my health, and I was thrilled to be offered a great new job at a new company. I have found another job but have not told anyone in our company I am quitting. It’s a small office and the gossip would speed like wildfire. I would like to give a proper two weeks notice but am afraid, or rather, expect my boss to explode when I tell her I am leaving. I have been a loyal, reliable and diligent worker and, not to toot my own her, but she will be at a loss without me and will no doubt be shocked, as I have always been a “team player.” Knowing her personality she will feel betrayed and will surely lash out. I’ve been having horrible anxiety about how to tell her I’m quitting.

I would appreciate any advice you could pass along for a succinct and professional way to tell her I QUIT. Thanks.

Signed,

Moving on to Greener and Saner Pastures


Answer:

Dear Moving on to Greener and Saner Pastures:

Life is too short to work scared that you will step on some eggs and break them or on some glass that will cut your feet. Often those feel rejected who learn that one of their subordinates is taking a job elsewhere, and sometimes they behave vindictively rather than congratulate them as they should.

Good bosses are interested in helping those in their charge to find their way on the career path. Employees in Fortune 100’s Best Places to Work For overwhelmingly say their company is interested in them as persons and not just as employees. J.M. Smucker’s, the company this year topping that list, had over 90% of their employees agreed with that statement. Hopefully, you will find this new job in such a workplace.

Abusive bully bosses make work a dirty four-letter word. Rather work and love that most wonderful of all four-letter words should be linked. Not only musicians and artists should love their work. Ordinary folks like you and me, also, should love our work or do everything possible to make our work the kind that we can love.

So throw your shoulders back and hold your head high. Type that letter of resignation. Don’t say how glad you are to be leaving. Rather, briefly thank your boss for all you have learned and wish her and the company well. Present it forthrightly. I think it is best to meet with your boss and face to face tell her you are resigning. You don’t have to say what will be your new place of work unless you want to. You can say, “Once I’m settled in to a new job, you will learn where.” Then simply place the letter of resignation on her desk. Try not to have too big a bounce in your step as you leave. Be prepared for that hot tempered boss to explode, but pretend rather than that, your boss, who has been a pain, will not be her usual self. However, if she is abusive, coolly say something like, “I hoped you would have the grace to wish me well. I’ll continue to do my best for this company until I leave.”

So you are on the way to the kind of workplace where hopefully WEGO will be more important than ego. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOs.

William Gorden