Two weeks left at a hellish job, how to deal with it?

Posted on 2009-07-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Back in the late 1990's I went and got an associates degree in computer networking because I loved computers and this was the beginning of the dot com boom. I have worked in IT ever since. I have worked a lot of different jobs and am pretty good at some things and lack competence in others.

For a while now (the last few years) I have been totally miserable in IT. My current job is so bad that it is affecting my health. My wife had our kid and is going back to work in 2 weeks. She loves her job and makes more money than me so we decided that I'd quit and become a house husband!  :-)

So I have 2 weeks left here. The problem is all kinds of old unfinished projects are now being shoved in my face. Stuff tat I cannot do because of lack of time and lack of competence in those areas. I've told my boss this but he doesn't care, he wants them done.

The real problem is that most of these projects are for clients so I am constantly having clients call me upset because tings are not getting done, backups aren't working for them, their VPN is down, etc. Stuff that I can't fix.

So my question is, what would you do in this situation? For now I've marked my last day on my calendar and am just counting the days and trying to deal with things as best I can but in the meantime I have angry clients calling me at all hours it is making my life miserable. So what would you do?
Question by:xy8088
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Expert Comment

ID: 24755412
Go tell your boss to shove it and lay in bed tomorrow and relish in the lack of stress!!

You will float as the weight is lifted from your shoulders!

What have you to lose!!!!

Author Comment

ID: 24755520
>>What have you to lose!!!!

HahHa! I would LOVE to do that! The problem is that I am one of a group of eight field engineers. One engineer was in a serious car accident and won't be back to work for months. One is doing a contract project across the country. One is on vacation, camping, with no cell reception. So the few engineers left here are really struggling. They are actually pretty cool guys who have been good to me so I don't want to screw them over any more by just not showing up tomorrow.

I don't really know what to do other than clench my teeth and grind through the next two weeks.

Expert Comment

ID: 24755552
Take an early lunch, go home and get any company owned stuff you might have at the house. Bring it back and put it on your desk, and don't forget to put your office keys and company cell phone on your desk as well. This next step is crucial... walk out and don't look back.
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

AielloJ earned 80 total points
ID: 24755556

Management by military style orders is never a recipe for success and can make any job hell.  When someone has the honesty to tell their manager that they don't have the skills for a task and are demanded to do it anyway, there's a problem and it's not with the employee.  Maybe the management's lack of style is why you hate your job, not the work itself.  I'm also assuming that since they're calling you at all hours, your manager has given them your home or personal cell phone number.

If you want to do something productive, maybe you can document the skill set your replacement must have.  Another thing to do, is to document the client issues you can't resiolve on a case by case basis, and forward them back to your manager for resolution.  It probably won't do much, but it leaves a paper trail that you asked for help and didn't get it.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 24755582
I didn't get to read your reply to a prior post before submitting mine.  I have four axioms of life I live by.  Pay particular attention tothe first one:

1) Never let someone make their problem your problem without your permission.
2) If you have to go out on a limb, try to get your critics out there with you.
3) Nothing is difficult for the person who doesn't have to do it.
4) "Tomorrow" never comes.  Do it right the first time.

Pay attention to the first one especially.


LVL 18

Assisted Solution

simsjrg earned 80 total points
ID: 24755616
Lay it out and prioritize them. There are only so many hours in the day and if your last day comes around and it's not all complete then there is nothing you can do about it. Do what you can get done throughout the course of the day and when you leave for the day then try not to think to much about it. It may be best to blast through what you DO know and grab another engineer to help you out with what you don't. They may be busy but express to them that you are doing this with their best interest in mind and don't want to leave and dump this all on them later. A few minutes of guidance can get you going and save them from having to do the entire job later on.

As far as your boss goes... there is nothing he can really do if you don't get around to everything. Do what you can throughout these next two weeks.

Assisted Solution

masmus earned 80 total points
ID: 24755844

I'm sure its tempting to throw your hands up in the air and say "forget it" but you don't want to burn any bridges that you don't have to. You may not be searching for another job while you're raising your child, but a future employer may be calling your current employer for a reference and you don't want your boss to remember you as the guy who "quit" two weeks before he quit.

My advice is to grin and bear it for two weeks. Do the best you can with what you've got - your skills, your time at work, your team and your boss. Don't let what you can't do stress you out.  When it gets to you, as it clearly has, just remember that it will all be over in two weeks.

Best of luck! And kudos for embracing the role of a house husband. I imagine that to be rather enjoyable.

Author Comment

ID: 24755846
>>Management by military style orders is never a recipe for success and can make any job hell.

I cannot totally blame him. We all just had a boatload of work thrown at us and he is as overwhelmed as everybody. I don't know that I'd do anything different in his shoes. He has been trying to hire more help.

>>document the client issues you can't resolve on a case by case basis, and forward them back to your manager for resolution.

That is a really good idea.
LVL 27

Assisted Solution

David-Howard earned 80 total points
ID: 24758876
There's some really good advice here. Specifically I like the idea of documenting what you cannot accomplish as well as prioritizing projects. I would just like to add that at no cost do you burn bridges. No one knows what the future holds. And if you somehow manage to leave and looking great it can't hurt you down the road.
Good luck with the house dad thing. I'm envious! Enjoy the time with the little ones. Tomorrow they will be teenagers. :-)

Assisted Solution

Lilinoe earned 80 total points
ID: 24759250
Congratulations for being able to get out of the situation!

It sounds like you have unrealistic expectations from your boss, but a certain amount of loyalty to your team. I completely agree with your desire to not walk out on them.

Sounds like there are several types of problems.
1. Projects you aren't qualified to handle.
2. Too many projects for your time period.
3. Management that is unrealistic and unmanageable.
4. Clients that are unreasonable.

My recommendation: (in a really simple format, just to not get carried away and confusing).

1. Make a list of the projects that you ARE qualified for. And another list of the ones you are NOT qualified for.
2. Determine if you have time to complete all of the projects you ARE qualified for.
3. Write an email to your team, telling them what projects you will have the time and ability to complete. Apologize to them about the projects you will not be able to complete. But be honest, your desire to support your team will not change your ability to support your team.
This also gives them them most heads up about the work you'll be leaving them.
4. Continue to work hard on the projects you can complete. Your team will appreciate your dedication in supporting them to the end.
5. Do NOT work more than 40 hours. There is no reason to pay your dues anymore.
6. When your boss gets demanding and unrealistic. Be polite, make no promises, give vague 'uh huh' responses. Just enough to keep him off your back as much as possible. (i.e. the way you [probably] treated your mother when you were 17.) You don't need to make enemies. But don't take any of what he says to heart. Once he leaves, don't think about him.
7. Deal with customers as politely (and infrequently) as you can. Don't worry about them either. If you are doing your best, screw everyone else. (Just screw them nicely.)

Really REALLY enjoy your time with your child.

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