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After 13 years I just quit ! Now how to explain it?

by Janet

I worked for an electrical contractor for over 13 years as a bookkeeper. At times beside the owner there were as many as three in the office but for the past year I have been pretty much alone.

Since the day I started I knew the owner was extremely moody and tempermental but I was able to let it roll off my back, Mostly because it was a good job and I loved it. The owner reminded me of that old nursery tale - When he was good, he was very good and when he was bad, he was Horrid!

Recently he went through a nasty divorce and then last December his son was killed in a car accident. The good days came less and the bad days were the norm. He became constantly rude, arrogant and condescending to me. Recently he asked me to falsify payroll records so that his nephew who was working on a temp basis could be paid rate wages when he was not entitled to them. I asked him not to do it but he demanded I do it. He knew I was unhappy doing it but declared that "blood was thicker than water" and what was the worst that could happen if the labor board found out?

After that incident things went downhill fast. He spent most of his time out in the field and only coming into the office when he knew I wasn't there. Throughout the day there are many times when his input is needed and he began to avoid my instant messages, emails and phone calls. At times because I could not reach him I was forced to make on the spot decisions, which no matter what were always wrong, after the fact.

Earlier this week he came into the office in a rage over my sending out an invoice that he had approved. His anger was way out of proportion to what had happened. I was very upset over how furious he was. Later that evening I called him to find out what I could have done to make him so mad at me.

His answer floored me. He said he has been unhappy with me for a long time and that he cannot stand to be around me. He said he on purpose avoids any contact with me. I again asked what exactly I did wrong. He said that he was angry that I did not come in
on my own time to help clean out the files, that he wasn't happy with the way I cleaned the office and that I did not stay to help him and his girlfriend spread mulch. I was shocked - that mulch was spread in the Spring of 2010!
Since when do I have to do landscaping? He also said I was lazy. I am the only person in that office and all the work was always done. No deadline was ever missed. I have never been written up in 13 years.

I told him I was sorry he felt this way and if he felt I was that bad of an employee that he should just get rid of me. He said - No- You have it do it yourself!

I found myself in total shock and decided the next day that I could never return to that job. I sent him a letter of resignation and returned my office keys.

My question is how do I explain this to unemployment and stand a chance of collecting?

Hi Janet,

Well, I'd shorten my story up to the most recent problems.

1. What exactly made his rage that one day way out of proportion .. be specific.

2. What did your resignation letter say?

3. Explanations should be factual, but focused on the final incident.

No kidding .. it'll be tough to get benefits, but mostly, because your ex-boss is never going to repeat to the unemployment department .. what he told you that night on the phone.

And one final word of caution about focusing on the "event".

When you tell the UI department you've known for 13 years your boss is an asshole .. it seems like you accepted that as a condition of the employment. You never complained .. never filed an EEOC or anything to show that you weren't tolerant of it ..

What I'm telling you is that although spelling it all out for me helps me understand where you're coming from .. I know without a doubt if you tell the UI dept. the same story .. in the same way .. you will likely disqualify yourself right out of the gate.

Scroll down to the "other resources" section CT Unemployment Resources including an interpretive resource for CT unemployment law can be found. And Janet .. CT unemployment is one of those states I think is it's own little microcosm when it comes to UI Laws.

Comments for After 13 years I just quit ! Now how to explain it?

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Jul 21, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thank you very much for the fast response!

His rage on the last day was over a customer questioning a charge on an invoice that he approved. He reviewed every invoice that I did prior to it being mailed. If he wanted that customer to have a discount he would have written it on it and not stamped it ok. The fact that this customer called him on it maybe embaressed him thus provoking the rage.

My resignation letter was short -
Dear XXXX,
After much consideration I now realize that you have given me no alternative but to resign from my position as bookkeeper effective immediately. I trust my two remaining paychecks will be mailed to my home in a timely fashion.

I will stick to what happened within the last few months only when I apply and will try hard to leave all emotion out of it.

Ahhhh. Well maybe he shouldn't have been trying so hard to avoid you .. since he detested you so much for not working for free doing other things beside bookkeeping ..

I would have preferred that your letter had detailed the venom he spewed at you during your last conversation .. but I guess you gotta make due with what you have .. and if I'm not mistaken, CT will send you a questionnaire when you can be more precise with the most recent and specifically the "final" event that forced you into what I call .. a reasonable decision.

The question is whether CT unemployment will think it was a reasonable choice or if they think you should have stuck around and taken more verbal abuse.

Aug 22, 2011
It's Over!
by: Janet Levesque

I just had my phone hearing with the Unemployment office. My former employer chose to respond by fax and not participate in the hearing.

Bottom line is ...I WON!

Thank you very much for your support!
Justice was served. While I realize in the long run I still in a sense lost, at least now I can have some help financially while I pursue my search for a new job.

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