My face is an open book

So, last week I told my two bosses that I am quitting my job and after that I e-mailed my resignation in writing to upper management, them and HR. In that e-mail I told them, as diplomatically but clearly as possible (thank you Mr Esther for helping edit the text!), why I am quitting my job. The bosses were clearly not amused by the text and micro-manager asked to speak to me. Mr Esther coached me to not be goaded into a fight, but to sit back and allow silences to fall where they may. The talk went something like this:

MM (Micro-Manager): A plan needs to be made for transferring your tasks to someone else.

Esther: Naturally (silence)

MM: Of course, we don’t know yet who will be taking over your tasks, we’ll have to get the team together to see who can do what, also in light of P who will be leaving as well (P just gave notice as well today! πŸ™‚ ). We also need to look at the tasks left vacant by D who left last week. You need to make manuals, so others can know what to do.

Esther: NaturallyΒ (silence).

MM: I want this to end on a positive note.

Esther: Naturally. I don’t want to burden my colleagues with unfinished business if I can help it (silence).

MM: Also, I wanted to get back to the e-mail you sent to the top manager and HR.

Esther:Β  Silence

MM: I didn’t appreciate it that you sent it to HR like that, writing out your reasons for leaving. People start talking from that. The impression has been created that you leaving is all my fault.

Esther: Silence

My face, in the meantime, was doing stuff like this:

MM: (backtracking a bit): Of course, you have every right to state your reasons for leaving… And it’s up to you who you send the e-mail to.

Esther: Silence

MM: I just want you to know I have the best intentions.

Esther: I don’t doubt your intentions.

MM: Maybe I didn’t handle everything right but the fact is only 3 of you from the 12 had problems with this…

Esther: Silence

MM: … and it is your choice to leave.

Esther: It is.

MM: There was no policy to get anyone to leave. I didn’t come here with the intention of thinning out the team.

Esther: Silence

MM: It’s a pity this happened this way, I came in with the best intention and just wanted to change things for the better.

Esther: I am sure you did. But if you find something is wrong, it would have been a courtesy to discuss the problem with the team instead of coming up with unilateral rules out of the blue that make no sense. Within the team we are all grown professionals and like to be heard and solve any perceived problem as a team.

MM: They were more like guidelines instead of rules.

Esther: Silence

MM: When I started here, you and the other two never gave me a chance. I just wanted what was best for the team. Everyone agreed it was necessary to have a team leader and no one else has a problem with me.

Esther:Β  Silence

MM: You said a while back that you found my management style oppressive. I am sorry you felt that way, it was never meant to be that, I want to have a good relationship with my team.

Esther: I thought our initial meetings were alright, even if we didn’t see eye to eye on everything. Then you wrote up a report of our meeting for the personnel files and instead of it being a two-way representation of what we spoke about, as you promised, it was a top-down authoritarian report. Then, when I commented on it, it came back even more authoritarian. So no, that style did not fit me. After that you started hounding D and her contract was suspended due to faux ‘policy’ reasons and I didn’t feel comfortable here anymore.

MM: D was pregnant and tearful, so it was difficult to speak to her and explain to her why it was always clear that her contract would not be extended..

Esther: Sceptical, no-such-thing-was-ever-clear-look

MM: … and we had to keep on postponing our meetings with her because she couldn’t handle it. Maybe we should have shared with the team more openly why her contract wasn’t being extended.

Esther: D aside, the problem here is that no one knew of any of these policies or where these policies came from and suddenly someone is let go over them. Again, top-down management without consideration for the team. I suggest, for future reference, you let the team know these policy ideas even exist before using them as an excuse to let people go. Grown up professionals like to be consulted.

MM: I am only doing what’s best for the team.

Esther: Silence

MM: Maybe we could have been a little more open about things.


MM: Maybe we should just look forward now and make sure we end your time here on reasonable terms.

Esther: That may be best.

Letting someone who is angry just ventilate without saying much in return and allowing silences and facial expressions to speak for themselves works wonders. A meeting that had every potential of becoming an angry argument never became that and was over in just 15 minutes or so. I have heard before that my face is an open book and this talk confirmed that for me once again. There were many more things I could have said regarding that oppressive leadership style but there was no point. Condescension and passive aggressiveness worked just fine for me. So, we agree to disagree and move on.Β  Just 8 more weeks to go now…

35 thoughts on “My face is an open book

  1. Servetus

    Oh, the famous “she was irrational” argument about your colleague. That is ridiculous and enraging. You are seriously better shut of this guy — and if his leadership style is that great, I’m sure things will go forward smoothly (sarcasm). Good for you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you.
      The whole “I’m such a victim, you never gave me a chance” attitude and yes, the “she was irrational” bull – I have no tolerance for that! I didn’t even mention how he has avoided even looking at me for two and a half months and that for some reason he seems to have distrusted me from the start. I just didn’t want to go into ‘poor me’ victim mode. I was very happy with my ‘bite me’ attitude. πŸ™‚
      Also, I know for a fact that not everyone adores him in the team as he thinks they do. They may not be very vocal about it yet but if our last team meeting was anything to go by, there are some interesting times ahead regarding new policies. So glad I won’t be around for that bull anymore.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. sparkhouse1

    “They were more like guidelines instead of rules.” Channeling Captain Barbosa here – MM may have seen Pirates of the Caribbean one too many times! You and Mr. Esther are a team.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We certainly are. πŸ™‚
      I can refute the guidelines comments in his own words in writing, if need be. He ordered me to do stuff, there was no ‘guideline’ about it in his report that he sent me and especially not in the subsequent comments in that report. Idiot.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Mr Esther is very good at keeping me sane in situations like these. πŸ™‚
      Seriously, as I sat there in the little meeting room, the image of Claude Becker being interrogated did flash through my mind. It totally helped me with the ‘bite me’ attitude. πŸ™‚


    1. Thanks.
      It’s quite normal here to have a 1-3 months notice period, especially when you have a fixed contract like I did. It’s all good. I don’t give a damn about the managers, I just don’t want to leave my colleagues hanging. This gives me time to round if all off properly.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done! I hope that the remaining 8 weeks won’t be too hard. “they were more like guidelines instead of rules”. MM definetely has seen Pirates of the Caribbean too often. 😩 Here’s to you and Mr. Esther’s team effort. 🍸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad too! I’m now coming in to work feeling far more relaxed.
      Mr Esther’s tip was to sit on my hands. Instead, I crossed my arms. πŸ™‚ You know, I’ve voiced my problems several times, so there was no real point in rehashing yet again. He barely spoke to me for 2,5 months so I didn’t begrudge him his say. My opinion was clear.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate

    Oh my goodness, Esther, you are a legend! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»
    I loved all your photos and your #ClaudeShrug. I would never have been able to keep it together like that. Well done both you and Mr. Esther.
    And what an absolute douche that guy is. β€œShe was pregnant and cryingβ€œ aka poor rational male having to deal with a hysterical woman. Woe is me.
    Kudos to you for finishing out your work so your colleagues will have an easier time with it, but he deserves nothing but contempt. My prediction: You three wonβ€˜t be the last team members to reconsider their place working for someone like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The photos are all courtesy of my daughter. I told the family about this, then decided to blog about it as well. I thought I’d take one bored expression selfie but mini me took my phone and did a photo shoot of facial expressions instead.
      OMG, the comments he made to D directly abouit crying were unforgiveable! And the “give me a fair chance” schtick is unbelievable. HE came in distrusting everyone! I am always very open, communicative and sharing to anyone new unless they prove they don’t deserve it. Within 6 weeks this conflict emerged and just escalated quite quickly. Ugh.
      I also already know that some team members have voiced concern about working with him, although not straight to his face yet, I don’t think. A few feel like they have no choice but to stay and some others are admittedly less bothered by the ‘guidelines’ and attiude. This whole “I know what’s best for the team” without even asking the team about it is serious male chauvinist arrogance I can not live with. I’m soooo happy to get out of there. And speaking of my face being an open book, a few colleagues have already been commenting to me out of the blue about how much happier I am looking of late. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

  5. rachel

    What wonderful facial expressions! I utilised a few of this the other day at my one boss who closed my afternoon clinic next Wednesday without my input (I’m self employed ). It resulted eventually in him apologising πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. rachel

        oh yes, he closed my book so i just wen tin a said ‘ I see you’ve closed my book next Wednesday afternoon’ and then i just looked at him and let him waffle on for a few minutes whilst i just gave him ‘the look’! lol TBH i do this with patients quite a lot too!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great strategy! I’d never used it before because I was always too scared of being seen as rude or something but, ohhhh my gosh, I am now so using this strategy again should the need arise! πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Revenge is a dish best served cold. And this wasn’t even revenge. It was just letting him talk into a void. Bravo – I loved reading this. And the illustrations were so spot-on.
    Wishing you all the best for the future. Eye on the prize, Esther (my favourite expression at the moment) – 8 weeks and you’re outta there, to bigger and better places.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      And yes, it can be very hard to remain silent but somehow I didn’t feel like there was anything left to be said, it’s all too late anyhow. So, this time around, although at points I felt very tempted, it was good to just be silent and not waste my energy on arguments.


  7. squirrel.0072

    πŸ™‚ I like this revue. An example to follow on both sides!
    Thanks it prevents me from having nightmares and stress. Our count-down has started, one of our employees will leave in a month. She will come back to work on Friday, after three weeks of sick leave (and 5 weeks last october) following treatment of varicose veins. We were her MM. I have told my husband to read, what you wrote. With your example in mind, we should try those volumes spoken by silence … until the end of Marsh. (I do not know how we will manage in April, the two removals of the two distant apartments and the departures by plane, of our 2 students. This is nor her problem. Non-compliance with the non-competition clause is neither her problem too…We need professional advisors).


  8. Pingback: The Anne feels | The Book of Esther

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