Get the best of Elpha delivered to your inbox every Monday.
Join 35,000+ women in building our careers together.

I resigned after my boss ignored me for an entire week.

HannahBaldovino's profile thumbnail
Hi there. Thanks for posting your experience. I'd love to get more context here. What line of work are you in?What were your emails regarding? What was the response from your boss? Is there more going on that happened previously?
I worked at an expert network firm as a client service associate. The email was regarding a bonus that I was expected to get but never received. She never acknowledged the emails. When I finally resigned and had a exit phone call with her + HR, she said that "she doesn't handle compensation and wanted to wait until her superior got back from vacation." I don't think it was that hard to just give a response telling me that.
ElizabethOgabi's profile thumbnail
Sorry to hear about your experience. They may have been waiting to get back to you as they’d need to discuss with others. However, she should have let you know that she was doing that. No response does not mean “no” and in such situations you should first raise a complaint to HR before taking actions that may not benefit you. Are you now looking for a new job or trying to sort this out?
Hi Arlyne,Please don't take this the wrong way but I'm wondering if there is more to this story - I saw your response below, but I'm just confused because frankly from the context you've given, it sounds like a bit of an overreaction. Has everything else been largely okay other than this? It sounds like a frustrating situation, but not one worth resigning over? I guess I'm just confused also.. did you have another job lined up and were asking them to respond to a competing offer or something? Or are you just unemployed now?
Hi, I definitely didn't provide as much context as I should've. This job is primarily a sales type of job so there is a lot pressure and expectations that I have. It's not easy to explain my particular situation but to sum it up, I am a person of color who struggling within the sales realm. A lot of my job is based on luck rather than skill. There isn't a whole lot of room to do anything different than another person who is doing the exact same job. I tried my best to improve my "numbers" but it's been difficult. I felt that my manager was not interested in helping me and was looking for a reason to fire me. If you question anything they see you as a threat. I was scared that I was going to be fired. So I decided that this was the last straw and needed to leave. I have been interviewing at other firms. Waiting to hear back. (Also, another girl from India resigned the next day because she was told that if she didn't improve her numbers she would get fired. It's harder for minorities to navigate this type of job. Most of the firm is white. Less than 5 African Americans work there.)
LiaODonnell's profile thumbnail
Yes, without hearing more context, to not even send a "I'll get back to you on this" to a direct report's email about a bonus for a whole week is an especially careless move for a manager. I myself have had powerful reactions to work conversations about compensation (in particular, broken promises around compensation) so I can understand your frustration.I'm hearing you're focused understanding potential repercussions of your boss's actions, but since you've already resigned answering that question won't have any bearing on your future. Instead, I'm going to focus on your reaction, since in reality that's the only thing you can control in life.Whenever I start to feel a strong reaction brewing inside myself I take it as an opportunity to explore why my reaction is so powerful. Inevitably, it's because there's some part of myself that has felt similar hurt/exclusion/fear in the past and the current situation is triggering that part (and whatever coping mechanism I had developed in the past gets reactivated). And it doesn't mean that there wasn't some very real harm happening in the present moment. It just restores my power to understand why it's so hurtful to me so I can have more agency over my reaction - and secure a better outcome for myself. I've been able to cultivate this ability to reflect (before I react) through mindfulness practice and therapy. I'm sharing this not to say your reaction was too strong or not - I don't know enough about the situation - but it may serve you well to cultivate a practice like this so you can tolerate uncomfortable but necessary communication in the future before taking the step to resign. Ultimately you need to do what makes you feel emotionally safe, but expanding your ability to have those conversations before you make that choice will only benefit you.
Hi, I definitely didn't provide as much context as I should've. This job is primarily a sales type of job so there is a lot pressure and expectations that I have. It's not easy to explain my particular situation but to sum it up, I am a person of color who struggling within the sales realm. A lot of my job is based on luck rather than skill. There isn't a whole lot of room to do anything different than another person who is doing the exact same job. I tried my best to improve my "numbers" but it's been difficult. I felt that my manager was not interested in helping me and was looking for a reason to fire me. If you question anything they see you as a threat. I was scared that I was going to be fired. So I decided that this was the last straw and needed to leave. I have been interviewing at other firms. Waiting to hear back. (Also, another girl from India resigned the next day because she was told that if she didn't improve her numbers she would get fired. It's harder for minorities to navigate this type of job. Most of the firm is white. Less than 5 African Americans work there.)
LeahCampbell's profile thumbnail
Hey Arlyne,The one piece of advice I have always listened to, even when I didn't want to, was that you should not leave dead bodies when you leave a job. I would be as cordial as possible and just work on finding a new job instead of fueling the flames. You never know if or when you will come across one of these people again. It seems that they always find a way of coming back into your life when you least expect it.-Leah
leenab's profile thumbnail
Hi anon, regarding your manager's lack of a response, it's something I have seen very often in multiple good and negative contexts - people don't respond sometimes. I feel not responding is rather harmful and it makes others feel undermined/disrespected (whether it is intentional or not). At the very least, everyone should strive to respond soon and indicate that your message was received and they will get back to you. I understand your pain and where you are coming from.Also, I don't know if this was a common occurrence between your manager and yourself, but many times other people don't realize how they act and how it affects others. Did your manager ignore your emails/chats previously? Did you get a chance to discuss with them that it makes you feel disrespected and that you expect a response? Believe it or not, what is obvious to us, is not obvious to everyone! We all have blind spots, and maybe this was their blind spot (assuming this happened over and over again). One of the lessons I have learned in my life is - if someone treats me badly, why did that happen? Usually, it's because I didn't say anything and suffered in silence. This may not be applicable to you, but it certainly was true for me. That said, I agree with some of the statements here, particularly what @LeahCampbell mentioned - about not burning bridges and you never know whom you will run into later in life. Also, if your manager is has considerable influence, clout and alliances in the organization, they will talk about you after you are gone - perhaps negatively. I also love @LiaODonnell's advice on cultivating practices to allow uncomfortable but necessary conversations; it's something I have in place for several years and it only gets better. One of the books I recommend is "Taking the war out of our words" by Sharon Ellison (https://smile.amazon.com/Taking-War-Out-Our-Words/dp/0998244600/ref=sr_1_1?crid=186078ICZE5RE&dchild=1&keywords=taking+the+war+out+of+our+words&qid=1612889410&sprefix=taking+the+war+o%2Caps%2C184&sr=8-1) and also Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication.
LiaODonnell's profile thumbnail
Thanks, @leenab. I'm also a big fan of NVC, looking forward to checking out the Ellison book. OP, you might also like The Four Agreements, which is a quick read. https://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319
leenab's profile thumbnail
Yep, I agree The Four Agreements is a nice book as well.
HannahBaldovino's profile thumbnail
One of my favorite books!
Whoa. Echoing what others have said, without more context this seems like an overreaction to a relatively normal (if frustrating) workplace experience.I don't know what your workplace culture is like, but in mine, it's pretty typical to go more than a week without hearing from my boss if I don't have a time-sensitive ask. And time-sensitive means the business will suffer if she doesn't respond, not that I will be uncomfortable. So if you didn't, say, have an exploding offer elsewhere, it's not unreasonable your boss would have waited more than a week to provide an update.That's not to say they shouldn't have communicated with you along the way. They probably should have! But they're busy, and often busy managers don't respond when they don't have an update yet. That's annoying, but it's not a personal slight. And there are lots of things people should do in business but don't! One example that comes to mind is communicating with candidates during the interviewing process: most companies won't give you an update when they're still in between phases in the hiring process and don't have an update for you. Again, annoying! But not something to be taken personally (unless there's some compelling reason you need to know asap, which you've clearly communicated, and they still haven't responded).Put more bluntly: confronting your boss, asking them to show remorse, and quitting was a response way, way out of proportion with the actual slight. I'd urge you to consider where that frustration came from, because I doubt it was from the situation alone.
Hi, I definitely didn't provide as much context as I should've. This job is primarily a sales type of job so there is a lot pressure and expectations that I have. It's not easy to explain my particular situation but to sum it up, I am a person of color who struggling within the sales realm. A lot of my job is based on luck rather than skill. There isn't a whole lot of room to do anything different than another person who is doing the exact same job. I tried my best to improve my "numbers" but it's been difficult. I felt that my manager was not interested in helping me and was looking for a reason to fire me. If you question anything they see you as a threat. I was scared that I was going to be fired. So I decided that this was the last straw and needed to leave. I have been interviewing at other firms. Waiting to hear back. (Also, another girl from India resigned the next day because she was told that if she didn't improve her numbers she would get fired. It's harder for minorities to navigate this type of job. Most of the firm is white. Less than 5 African Americans work there.)
JuliaSmirnova's profile thumbnail
Arlyne, people covered a lot of good points to consider. But going back to your original question of whether employers are allowed to do this and repercussions... quite frankly not answering an email for a week is itself not an offense. Someone had said, this is not uncommon. It’s unpleasant and you may want to seek other employment with a culture that suits you better, but not all managers are quick to respond and it depends on what the scope of their workload is. If you were told you were going to get a bonus/commission and were not given it- now that’s a different story. Was there a timeline on when you’re supposed to receive it? Was it in writing? If it is a big company, then HR may have been the source to seek out having this conversation. A text or a phone call to your boss as a follow up to your email would have been appropriate as well. I’ve heard of a situation where an employee was told they’d get commission and then faced the same situation of “we’ll get back to you later” followed by just ignoring them altogether. They were fired before it got resolved and now they’re in a lawsuit (along with some other compensation issues) but it’s not pretty and it’s not quick.
Julia, I was told over a video call with my manager and their superior as witness that I would be getting my bonus. When the rest of the eligible associates got their bonus, I was the only one who didn't. I immediately emailed her. It's super hard during this time of remote work to communicate with people. I can't just walk into their office and get a response. So its super easy for people to hide behind their monitors/keyboards. Perhaps I should've brought it up with HR but I was so scared that I was going to be seen as problematic and that I would get fired before things could get straightened out. Besides, when i did bring up to HR in my exit interview, unfortunately, my fears were somewhat true. They didn't seem to care. They just apologized on their behalf (the manager's) and still no bonus.
JuliaSmirnova's profile thumbnail
Yea I guess that was what I was going to say as well, if you leave by choice before getting the bonus, then you’re less likely to receive it altogether. Unfortunately there could have been other ways to secure and CYA before simply resigning. Totally understandable that times are tough and people want to should get paid in a timely manner. But what’s the game plan now? You could write employer reviews on sites like Glassdoor to warn others about the environment. For now, best you can do is have a good takeaway and lesson learned. I like to confirm all calls on email “thanks for the chat today, just to confirm this is what we agreed on” and even if you don’t have an affirmative response from them, you still have it in writing out there which counts for something. Sorry, this really sucks. How can we help now?
Hi Julia, there are some things that I wish i did differently. I'm super young and I didn't know what the best course of action was. I just knew that I was going to the leave the toxic company soon anyways. I've been interviewing at a VC firm, so hopefully all goes well. My dream is to a Venture Capital Investor! A Glassdoor review is definitely on its way. Thanks for your advice and understanding!
JuliaSmirnova's profile thumbnail
Absolutely. We’ve all been there in some form or another. All you can do is take it as a learning experience and be better prepared for next time (hopefully not a same situation, but something is bound to come up that you won’t know how to approach or address at first.) Good luck!!