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LolaRennt
The First USA Noel


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I received a voicemail (on my home number) from my former manager. She would like to have an "off-line" conversation about the reasons why I left my old job. This is her way of saying that it would be an unofficial conversation.

When I resigned I gave her a reason for my resignation (a better opportunity came along). So no further discussion is needed. And even if I had just quit without giving a reason, there would still be no further discussion needed. Since I'm no longer an employee there, I have no vested interest in helping to resolve issues or improving her management skills (if that is what she wants).

This requests strikes me as inappropriate. I have absolutely no intention of returning the call. I am extremely tempted to have a little chat (should I call it an on-line chat) with HR. Am I viewing this the wrong way? Quite frankly, I think she has lost her mind.

LR

Posts: 780 | From: Dallas, TX | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Did you leave on good terms? Were you friendly with her (and I don't mean socializing after work hours friendly, but got along okay as manager/subordinate)? If so, I don't think it is necessarily inappropriate for her to call.

She may have gotten the apparently mistaken impression that you just said something in order to get out of there with a lack of fuss and muss, and just wants to have an off-the-record convo with you to insure that is what it really was.

Or not.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I think I would send her an email saying what you said here, and cc HR.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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If such a thing was requested from any of my former employers I would not view it as terribly out of line, especially if it is meant to be completely unofficial. It's possible that these things are viewed differently in other industries, however, and I do think it's entirely up to your discretion whether you call her back.

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Officially Heartless

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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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Exit interviews like this are not uncommon. However, they're usually done before the employee is finished work and I think most often conducted by HR. To call you at home after you've left and request an off the record chat is strange.

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"You're the opposite of troll. It's a compliment!"

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Buckleupp
Away in a Manager


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While this is not necessarily professional of your manager, I would advise not burning any bridges - you never know what future employer of yours might be her old buddy from another company, or something else. Therefore I recommend calling her back, at least, and being very cordial, non-emotional, non-snippy, etc. Just be brief, tell her there was another opportunity, and you have nothing else to add or suggest. Try to end on a good note. You never know.

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HA! That's so funny I forgot to laugh...excluding that first Ha. -Stewie Griffin

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I think Buckleupp's idea is playing it safest.

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

Posts: 2397 | From: Texarkana, TX | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LolaRennt
The First USA Noel


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I had an exit interview, which is partly why I am so puzzled. And I told HR the same thing I told my manager.

There is probably something else I should have mentioned. A couple of years ago every manager went to some sort of management training. Before they went to this training, their direct reports and mentors (if that applied) filled out a confidential survey. My manager returned from the training and said that she wanted to have a discussion with each of us on the areas she was rated weakest on.

I felt that this pretty much killed the confidential aspect of the survey. Someone must have told her that, because she never got around to asking me anything.

She is a feedback queen. She would probably wilt and wither without feedback.

Yet she knows why I left and she even agreed that I had outgrown the position. Because of the company's rigid structure (HR had a stick up its butt about degrees), I couldn't officially move up. I could do the work of a staff accountant, but they wouldn't have paid me at that level. She and I had the discussion. Several times.

I think that right now I am going to wait until after the holidays before doing anything. She knows that I don't often check my home voicemail (indeed the call had been there almost a week). She also knows that I am bad about returning calls unless there is an emergency. Waiting until after the holidays is in keeping with past habits. And it give me time to think about it.

LR

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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ETA Following up on Snapdragonfly...
I third that. Does it violate some professional etiquette? Is it odd or strange to call you at home after the fact? probably. But if this really would be just a help for her (as I think you correctly assume it would be) then why not just be nice and help her? You never know when that favour might be revisited back to you. and besides, it's just a nice thing to do.

Now that I think about it, I once worked a seasonal management position for 4 months one summer while in college. About 2 or 3 weeks after the job ended and I was back in school I got a voicemail from my old boss wondering if I would be willing to write a quick report detailing my impressions of the summer, what I thought they could improve for next year, etc...
I was no longer on the clock, but I figured, what the heck, might as well do it. I had the same reasoning I just gave you. So I spent an hour and wrote a 4 page report and faxed it back. I received a polite thank you for my trouble and never heard from them again. That was about 10 years ago. Last summer I was in the area and needed a bit of extra work, so I sent him 3 emails asking if I could be of service, and the fat nfbsk didn't bother returning a single one of them. So, there was no future pay off for me, but at least I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that it is him not I who is the total nfbsk.

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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noftessa
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I always thought it was disturbing that when I was employed with a certain company and voiced my concerns, no one listened. When I left that same company because of those same concerns, then they wanted to know what was going on.

Screw 'em. You don't need to be nasty, but I agree with TurquoiseGirl's suggestion.

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Dude, do we want to discuss why I was just hit in the head with a thumb?

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Michael Cole
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by noftessa:
I always thought it was disturbing that when I was employed with a certain company and voiced my concerns, no one listened.

When I was employed with at least two certain companies, when I voiced my concerns, I was given the flick very shortly afterwards. My recommendation, based on previous employment - never voice your concerns, not even if the company asks you to. Not unless you already have another job lined up.

The "open door" policy is just that, a policy. It sounds nice, but it is never put into practice. If you are not paying the company bills, keep your mouth shut.

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Q. What's the difference between a Computer saleman and a Used Car Salesman?
A. The Used Car Salesman knows when he is lying.

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cole:
quote:
Originally posted by noftessa:
I always thought it was disturbing that when I was employed with a certain company and voiced my concerns, no one listened.

When I was employed with at least two certain companies, when I voiced my concerns, I was given the flick very shortly afterwards. My recommendation, based on previous employment - never voice your concerns, not even if the company asks you to. Not unless you already have another job lined up.

The "open door" policy is just that, a policy. It sounds nice, but it is never put into practice. If you are not paying the company bills, keep your mouth shut.

Yup. That's why, when she does return the call (I see nothing wrong with doing it after the holidays either), just to be polite because ya never ever know when what goes around comes around, she will just professionally and politely and undramatically reiterate what the nutter was told in the first place. [Big Grin] And not get dragged into any...drama. (But Lolarennt sounds like she knows how to act already anyway.)

I'm such a forthright person and such a bad...uhm, not liar, but, well, I'm so bad at diplomacy that it's a really good thing I'm not in a job where there are supervisors and reviews and stuff like that. Though I'm getting smarter about it as I get older. Finally.

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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LittleDuck
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I think waiting is the perfect idea. This way, if you decide you will call back, you can always write a basic outline of what you want to say, possibly anticipating questions you think she may ask. This way you would not necessarily be caught unaware.

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"Silly customer, you cannot hurt a Twinkie." -Apu (The Simpsons)

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Phaedra
Jingle Bell Hock


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I'd be inclined to go for a polite and straightforward response via email saying you left for a better opportunity and therefore do not think any further discussion is necessary.

Contacting her HR department or copying them in on your email response may well involve you in further communications from both them and her, especially if they caution her for contacting you. Do you really want to get involved in that sort of shenanigans?

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Just as a counterpoint, she could be feeling you out - now that you absolutely have no ties with the company - to get that one... last... bit... of... feedback.

If the split was as you say, I'd recommend being amiable and honest.

"I would have stayed and been happy, but this other opportunity knocked on my door, and I feel that I would have never had this chance with your company - so I made the very hard decision and left. If I hadn't gotten the chance, I would still be with you. Sorry if I can't give you anything negative, because there really wasn't anything negative about working with you... it was just a 'grass is greener' chance that I jumped at."

Good luck!!

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Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Phaedra:
I'd be inclined to go for a polite and straightforward response via email saying you left for a better opportunity and therefore do not think any further discussion is necessary.

Contacting her HR department or copying them in on your email response may well involve you in further communications from both them and her, especially if they caution her for contacting you. Do you really want to get involved in that sort of shenanigans?

I agree...

I was going to suggest that they might have uncovered a bullying or harrassment issue or similar at your former office, and wanted to see whether you'd been affected by it before you left, to give them a better picture of what was going on. But it would be HR contacting you if that was the case.

It sounds more like your boss is just being insecure and thinks you might have had a problem with her. In which case, just tell her that there were no problems, only a better opportunity.

Another possibility is that she's also thinking of leaving and wants to talk to you about your decision to help her decide whether it's the right thing for her to do, perhaps.

Depending on her motives it doesn't sound all that strange a thing for her to ask, especially as the "off-line" comment presumably means she's asking for personal reasons.

Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LolaRennt
The First USA Noel


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Actually, if some problem had been uncovered, it's entirely possible that HR, in its ignorance, may have asked the manager to contact me. The Dallas HR team was not exactly sharp.

I hadn't thought about simply emailing her. That may be simplest.

Quite frankly, she would not consult me if she were thinking about leaving. She is too caught up in her image. It would not be fitting for her, as a manager, to ask a mere billing adminstrator (ok staff accountant now) for career advice.

"Off-line" conversations make me nervous since they can always come back to haunt you, no matter what assurances are given. I also believe that by the last day of employment, the employee and employer should have either fulfilled all obligations or made arrangements to do so. Since I did the exit interview, I have no further obligations.

LR

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I would take that chance immediately. It's off the record, which probably means that she knows something about the company and is curious about if you know something more about it. Perhaps she is about to leave herself for some reason, and want to check your take on things.

I would go there and give vague answers implying that I knew things I don't really know in order to get as much inside gossip as I can. I'd bet there is some good information in there somewhere.

Great fun!

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/Troberg

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LolaRennt
The First USA Noel


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Inside gossip indeed...

That place was truly a soap opera - illicit affairs and all.

I got a call today from a former co-worker (let's call him C). C had been fired in March as part of a "restructure" but somehow C keeps getting fairly accurate inside gossip. C called me to gloat about the fact that our former manager is possibly on her way out.

A third person has resigned from her department. The director of the office, who does not like my former manager at all, has decided to use the resignations against her and has started questioning her ability to run the department. It's a pretty small department so three resignations in one year is pretty significant. Add to that the fact that the credit specialist has finally been revealed as the empty headed useless ditz that she is and my former manager looks really bad. He's started making her life miserable.

One of the things that this company does that I never liked, is that management starts making life difficult for an employee if management does not like that employee. They would deliberately set that person up for failure. For example, if your weakness is meeting month end deadlines, then they'd write you up for it. After they have that weakness documented, the manager of the department would start coming up with special projects above and beyond what is needed at month end. And those projects would be assigned to the person on Day 1 of the month end close. The deadline would be so tight that the employee either had to work all night or risk missing a deadline (and be fired). And mistakes made out of tiredness (should the all night option be chosen) are grounds for getting chewed out and possibly being written up for making mistakes. It's a no win scenario for the employee.

I had heard that HR thought of this plan because HR wants to be able to challenge unemployment claims and win. So HR felt that handling things this way would create a situation in which the company had "justifiable cause" to terminate the employee. "See we warned her in writing and she missed a deadline anyway"

It's disgusting.

I can't help but feel somewhat satisfied that my former manager is getting a taste of this treatment since she engaged in it. She never did this to me but that doesn't change how I feel about this type of crap.

I'll email after the holidays. That way she can have something from me in writing so she can forward it to the director should she choose to do so.

I am absolutely not going to intervene on her behalf, though. It wouldn't make a difference - the director has been looking for an excuse to get rid of her for some time. Besides, she does deserve to learn what it's like to be treated the way she has treated others. As a preacher's wife she should certainly appreciate the irony of having to learn the lesson of "do unto others" at this point in her life. She "did unto others" and now it's coming back to bite her.

She's a smart lady so she probably knows what is coming. I am sure she will resign before long.

LR

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Hero_Mike
Happy Holly Days


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I had an "official" exit interview at one job that I quit, which was pretty much me saying "a better opportunity has come along". My boss and his supervisor scheduled a special meeting with me, because I was the second person leaving in only 3 months. They offered to match my "better opportunity", but I declined because I had already made a commitment.

The "unofficial" exit interview I had with a trusted, senior co-worker, went more like this : "I'm leaving to double my salary, reduce my commuting time by two-thirds, and get away from that cheapskate assistant of my boss, who lied to me about the travel per diem being $35, rather than $40." I'm sure that eventually, word of this got back to the management, because it was important. Just that I didn't want to be rude when I left.

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"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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Barbara
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by LolaRennt:
She's a smart lady so she probably knows what is coming. I am sure she will resign before long.

My first thought upon reading your first post was that your former boss' wanting to have an "offline" conversation about why you left so long after the fact was strange. Then I realized it made perfect sense if she was sounding you out about potentially coming back to the company and/or working for her.

If she's about to go out on her own, she might well be looking for a good employee. Which, of course, would be you ... provided you really had left because something better came along as opposed you hated her guts.

I think her query is not contained to the "Why did you leave?" question, but that it is instead an opening gambit.

Worth looking at in that light, anyway.

Barbara "smart people see the inevitable coming and plan for its arrival" Mikkelson

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LolaRennt
The First USA Noel


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That is a different point of view. I don't hate her guts but I'm not leaving a new job to work for her again either. I have to question the ethics of someone who would set others up for failure. And it would be extremely poor form to quit a new job after only a few months.

LR

Posts: 780 | From: Dallas, TX | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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