Ever Had a Boss Who Quit?

My boss submitted her two-week notice Tuesday of this week. Word on the street is that she was asked to do so.

On her last day of work, I have a few things I’d like to say to her. They are all things that I’m going to wait until after 5:00 to tell her, so she won’t be my boss when I say them to her. Nothing dramatic or sensational. I want to tell her that, 1) Acting like you and three of the four people who work for you (I am one of the three) are the only competent professionals in the company, and everyone else there is an incompetent boob, is not away to endear yourself to your employees and/or collegues; and 2) That I feel like I am owned an apology, not just professionally but also personally, over some things she’s said to me in our brief (I’ve only been working for her for about three months) working relationship.

Anyway, I’m curious if any other Dopers have been in a situation where a boss quit, and furthermore, how the process went if there was antagonism between the two of you.


Edited to add: Is my boss essentially a lame duck at this point. She and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of issues, but the difference between her and me is that, two weeks from now, I’ll be working there and she won’t. Is it advisable for me to ignore her input on my projects and ask her to take her disapproval to her superior, especially in light of the fact that her superior wants her gone? Or should I still mind my P’s & Q’s?

Sure, if by “quit” you mean to include “was essentially about to be fired but left in a fit of rage”.

He actually rather liked me, and I didn’t really have a problem with him either. But he had a habit of being quite rude to customers, and had been known to get into literal shouting matches with them on more than one occasion. Eventually of course, his own bosses got sick of dealing with the complaints on him. No surprise there.

But he was an interesting one, and at times a rare gem of a manager, as he was not afraid to back up his employees when there were customer disputes. What he had in guts he lacked in tact, unfortunately.

We had a director who quit. (My bosses bosses boss) I believe it was more of an ‘resign now or be fired’ situation. The email we got announcing it said they had mutually decided it was best for him to resign his position effective immediately. There was of course much speculation over what happened. He had always been a really nice guy that we all got along with. The corporate world being what it is though, we’ll never find out what happened.

You should let her walk quietly without saying anything. If “deciding to pursue other opportunities” isn’t sufficient notice to her that her behavior has been inappropriate, nothing you can say will change that. Two weeks is nothing to just ignore her. And yes, I’d ignore her input. Postpone what you can, just ignore what you can’t, if that doesn’t work tell her you want guidance from some who will be around…this is the perfect opportunity for passive-aggressive behavior. You don’t need to be the instigator for her losing it.

I’ve had bosses quit, get fired, get laid off, get reorganized away from me. The worst was when I was working for a really nice guy who got laid off in what turned out later to be an age discrimination class action lawsuit. He’d been with the company for years.

I was around when the former boss who sexually harrassed me was walked out the door. No chance for antagonism there, he wasn’t even allowed to clean out his own desk - but I did stay with my mother for a few days.

Why would you want to tell her 1) and 2) above? Would it really matter to her? Would she care what you said? Would you really care what she said to you? If it is a burning issue with you, tell her before her last day. If she was, in fact, requested to resign, no reason to kick her in the stomach on her (literal) way out the door.

As to a boss who quit, I had a supervisor quit/was asked to go one day. We didn’t notice he wasn’t around for a couple of days. I think that lent support to the “he was asked to go” rumor.

I’m a firm believer that burning bridges you don’t have to is extremely short-sighted. On a personal level, I would not appreciate being sandbagged after 5 p.m. on my last day – literally on my way out the door – by a disgruntled worker who no longer even works for me. It would seem pointless and meanspirited. I think if you have issues that you feel it is important you discuss with her before she leaves, you should make an appointment to talk to her and do so. On a professional level, from your POV, if you are ever going to need a reference or a favor from the woman, or if she’s going to continue to work in your field in your geographic area, you may someday have reason to regret letting her have it as the very last thing, when there’s nothign she can do about it anyway. And what’s the positive pay-off, other than to make her feel bad and make you feel better? She’s leaving anyway; you don’t have to work with her anymore. Let it go.

Yeah, I’ve had bosses quit, both genuinely quit and “quit or they’ll fire ya.” I have always been careful to stay out of it since it’s really none of my business. If I don’t have a great relationship with the boss, I may gloat a bit secretly but I will probably try to avoid him/her until he/she leaves, and be perfectly professional but not the least bit personal if avoidance is not possible. The boss was still my superior, I wasn’t sure what the boss’s emotional state was or the political dynamics, so I’ve always found it an excellent time to keep my head down and out of the line of fire.

You should definitely still mind your Ps and Qs. She’s still your boss. Her supervisor may loathe her with the heat of a thousand suns; that doesn’t mean the supe will necessarily approve of your actions as a subordinate if you just start blowing the woman off. If you think she’s giving you direction for a project that is probably or even possibly going to be rescinded by your new boss, I would suggest discreetly – discreetly – put off doing that work until after she leaves, just so you don’t end up doing it now and having to re-do it later. But if she’s directing you to do work that will have to be done anyway, just do your job. That’s my advice: Keep your head down, do your job, and forget about pissing on the woman on her way out.

You need to remember the old saying about “be careful which toes you step on today, for they may be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.” She will eventually get another job, possibly in a supervisory or higher position. She may not be completely out of your reality forever, so don’t ask for future trouble.

I do understand the temptation, however. :smiley:


The org chart doesn’t show it yet, but for all practical purposes, you no longer work for her; you have a different boss. You need to demonstrate your cool head and your professionalism to your new superior.

Unless you don’t give a shit about the job any more, that is.

Be gracious. Telling her off may feel good now, but you may very well regret it.

A former supervisor who’s still on good terms with you is a valuable resource. You can get a reference without current coworkers learning that you’re looking. They can give you the inside scoop on positions at other companies. They’re great sources of advice since they know most of the people and processes you deal with, but they’re no longer directly involved (so you don’t have to worry about them having self interest in the situation).

Plus, sometimes they come back.

As Jodi mentioned, mind your p’s and q’s while she’s still there. It’s only two weeks. Your new supervisor may not think much of her, but you don’t want his/her first impression of you to be that you’re prone to insubordination.

Another vote for just let her go and say nothing. I agree with the above posters whose advice boils down to not burning bridges. You also don’t want the higher-ups at your workplace to see what they may consider to be a display of unprofessionalism from you.

And I’ll add that if, by some chance, she comes up to you on her way out the door, offers her hand and says something like, “Bye, Homie, it was nice working with you,” then you smile, shake her hand, and wish her well.

I’ve had a couple of bosses whom I did not like on both a professional and personal basis quit while I was working at a place. I always avoided the temptation to tell them what I thought as they were leaving, and I’m glad I did. I did encounter at least one later in my career, and while relations were a little strained when we re-met, they would have been much worse if I had said anything at the time of his leaving. You just never know.

I agree with the don’t say anything. That would be a stupid and rather immature thing to do. If you don’t like her, just do like everyone else and take comfort in the fact that she is leaving. There is no point in screwing with someone who is probably already sad and stressed about leaving the company anyway. Basic human decency plus a half ounce of common sense would dictate that you just move on and hope the new boss is a better one.

I had a boss quit. I hated it. The owner of the company I worked for was the only person over her, and was a druggie. She would change rules on a whim, such as uniforms (as in, “yeah wear jeans to work if you guys want” to a week later threatening to fire people over disrespect from them dressing in jeans and work shirts) and would often fire people if they disagreed with her over non-work related things. My boss was the one taking all the heat from the horrible owner, and I knew it. When she quit, she personally came in at 3 am (I worked 3rd shift) and apologized for leaving me there because she knew it would be hard on me when she was gone. She also told me she knew I was a good worker and as soon as she had been at her new work for a few months, she would have me apply and get me hired. I figured I was set up for a new job, so I finished up working at the old one, then decided to take the quarter off from work to focus on the rough quarter coming up at college.

I miss that boss. Always will…

I would just go without saying something to the boss at all. Simply smile because you know you’ll be there next month, but she won’t…


One. He was the only boss I ever liked too. Only boss I ever had that worked at least as hard as his employees. Always had praise when people were doing things right, criticism was always constructive when you weren’t.

Boss #2: Company took new ownership, he knew he was on his way out. “Take a demotion or quit” situation.
Boss #3: Resigned over sexual harassment allegations.
Boss #4: Used company money without owner’s authorization.
Boss #5: Other employee pulled rank and basically took his job from him. (He was more or less a puppet anyway.
Boss #6: Pulled rank on #5 then proceeded to run the place into the ground. Another “Demotion or quit” situation.

Oddly, I’ve never had a boss who quit, although I have been the boss who quit a fair few times - and always stayed on good terms.

@HeyHomie, don’t do it, it won’t make you feel any better, it won’t make her feel any better - it may do you damage at work, and it might come back to bite you in the future.

It will also give you a bad conscience.

I agree with most of the folks here - don’t say anything other than “good luck” as they leave. You never know - you could walk into a new job someday and discover this person behind the boss’ desk. You might have been the only person to say something nice to them in a really dark period in their life. Could be completely different then.

Besides, what does it really get you anyway? You can do a happy dance after they leave when no one is looking & get the same satisfaction.

The best revenge is living well.

Don’t say anything to her on her last day except goodbye.

I’ve been both a subordinate and a supervisor over the years, and have occasionally ended up being a subordinate to someone I once supervised. My advice would be to just let it go. Nothing good ever comes of “telling off” someone else, no matter how egregious their sins. Consider that if, in fact, your supervisor has been asked to leave, she’s already gotten an earful of what she’s done wrong – getting it all again from you won’t be productive. Putting myself in her place, I think my reaction to your unloading would include the words “where the sun doesn’t shine.”

On the other hand, if you actually have information that you believe will make her rehabilitation better, wait until after she’s gone for a few days, then contact her and offer your advice. One of the best things a subordinate ever did for me after I was fired from an executive position was to revisit some of the decisions I had made and give me his perspective on those times. It was painful, of course, but he was gentle and diplomatic and let me come to my own conclusions. It was more instructive than anything I would have done on my own.

Yep - I agree with this and what most other folks have said about just letting it go. Be professional. It will look much better on you.

I had a boss quit before he could get fired. His last review didn’t go well and he tried to blame his failed projects on me, his assistant, which was just desperate and stupid, and everyone knew that.

There was not a single thing I could have gained by saying anything to him about it.

Why would you be so mean to someone who just lost their job? Jesus, why not make fun of orphans, too?

You may not get along with this person but you’re proposing to go out of your way to personally hurt someone who has feelings and emotions, just like you, and who will be at an extremely stressful point in their lives. I wouldn’t want to work with or employ someone who would do that.

I’d bring in doughnuts for everyone in the office the day after she’s gone. If anyone asks why, just say “No reason. I just woke up very Very happy…!”

(Its the next best thing to scheduling the sheet-cake for her good-bye party for the day after she leaves.)