extreme pressure to quit my job

by Michelle

I accepted a position with a large non-profit in New York in October 2009. Within two weeks of beginning work, my boss was hostile, demeaning, insulting, complaining about my performance, refusing to answer questions I had about the job and usual policy or procedure, undermining my authority with people I was to supervise, taking away basic responsibilities of the position. I was given no support or even basic guidance. It was quickly apparent that for some reason she did not want me to succeed in this position even though she had hired me.


After about 6 weeks of work she began telling me daily she didn't think I could do the job, that I didn't have the experience to do the job, that I needed to tell her if I "could" do the job.

I was working 14 hour days and trying hard to meet her expectations - although those were very hard to determine as when questioned she would reply that "if I have to tell you then you can't do this job" or "I haven't got time to answer you".

The pressure ratcheted up with continual criticism and overt acts of undermining me - I was given conflicting information about the time of meetings or events I had to attend, I was not included in many meetings with staff I was suppose to be supervising, she continually told me "your staff don't have confidence in you", etc. Every day there were incidents that made no sense but were extremely hostile. At one point I was called into the CEO's office and asked about something that had gone wrong - I explained I hadn't been involved in that and she asked why not, it was my responsibility, and I told her my boss had taken that away from me and told me not to do it. The CEO was very puzzled and said that was strange as when my boss had my job, she had done that.

I continued to be extremely professional and tried to do my best...I did not speak to anyone else at the office about any of this but kept smiling and trying to work hard.

As the probationary period of 3 months approached it was very apparent she was trying to force me to quit. I was determined to hang in there and try to make it work.

Finally at the 3 month review, I was called in to a meeting with my boss and the HR rep and told I was being put on probation for a month and if my performance did not improve radically I would be terminated. My boss verbally said
she would review my performance in 2 weeks and if there had been no improvement she would terminate me then The pressure became more intense. By this time I was sick from the stress and saw a doctor for medication to help me cope - I had lost 20 pounds and couldn't eat or sleep. He advised me to request that they move up the termination as it was apparent they were going to fire me regardless. I didn't do that and tried to hang in there.

At the one month of probation mark, I met again with HR and my boss and they extended the probation for another 2 weeks. After the HR rep left my boss kept me talking for more than another hour telling me she realized I was totally unqualified for the job, etc.,etc.

That evening and following day there were more unpleasant incidents and I finally called the HR rep, requested we meet at which time I said I needed them to go ahead with the termination now. He didn't want to do that, said they had their procedures and he preferred to stick with the timetable outlined - I told him I couldn't take any more of this and ultimately he advised me they had used a procedure in similar cases and I should "work out" the time remaining by calling in to use my earned sick days and also my earned vacation days and that would take me to the termination date. His instructions were somewhat contradictory and he didn't answer my questions fully but I complied, explained I did not want to "quit" my job, that I felt it was only right that I be able to collect unemployment and he said there would be no problem, I just wanted them to stop threatening and follow through with what they said they were going to do.

He did not return calls after the termination date. I filed for unemployment and have just learned they have said I quit my job.

Do I have any recourse in fighting this? I do have an email where he repeated that I had said I was not quitting my job.


Hi Michelle,

If they don't have a resignation letter .. then what are they purporting to be a voluntary quit?

I can't really tell from what you told me what recourse you have to prove it was in fact a termination. I can't really comment on whether the email would be helpful or not .. because that would call for a blind judgment.

Maybe you can can learn something about your situation by visiting the NY Interpretive Indexes

Comments for extreme pressure to quit my job

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Sep 23, 2010
Oh my God!
by: Anonymous

Dear Michelle:

I'm astonished by this case. It's obvious that your former boss is a stupid person as is the company that hired her. This kind of bosses undermine the people potential and should be fired right away.

Sep 23, 2010
You must work for one of the good employers
by: Chris

And I must be jaded by all the stories I've heard .. because this doesn't astonish me .. I know this kind of treatment is commonplace.

Sep 28, 2010
understood...
by: Anonymous

i am going through the same situation where i am currently employed.

my manager makes her own rules daily and changes them to accomodate herself and screw everyone else in the office. she literally forces everyone to quit and if anyone applies for any type of benefits, she fights it tooth and nail.

in my case, our manager is the owner's wife. we have noone to complain to since the owner tells us we have to take it up with her. how fair is it to complain to someone ABOUT that person?

it is a lose lose battle, so we are all forced to stay where we are until we find something else. it is unfortunate because we have alot of good, hardworking, dedicated people (and that is hard to find).

everyone in our company complains to each other about our manager because there is noone else to complain to...

a shame!

Feb 07, 2011
What a shame
by: Jennifer

It's hard to hear that this is common in the work place, but I feel that the more people I've been talking to about working conditions the more I realize it's the norm.
I was recently in a similar situation in a small business where the owner was my boss. She'd do exactly the same things! Everyday it was a different demand, and she acted like I was stupid for focusing on the work she had previously told me to do. I was the office manager, but she would tell me repeatedly that I wasn't handling the job properly and she needed to "get somebody in there". It's tough to really give your all and care about the job/company and in the end be denied what's rightfully due to you and to be made out to look like a schmuck.

Jan 10, 2015
I quit?
by: Anonymous

I worked at a non profit for 7 years. I was my bosses right hand, an memory. They were closing the program, an moving me to a different location at FIRST I did not want the change they offered, but soon realized it would be good for me an less work. My boss had been under pressure, an snapped on myself an a co worker in front of clients. She was nervious that she would be reported. Of course I reassured her she would not be. Smoothed things over with co worker. I got sick an placed in the hospital, my boss had lied to every body saying " i gave notice, oh she quit". I actually did give a 2 week notice. Then my boss kept hounding me, " oh just quit, you might as well quit" As I informed her No, I have 67 hrs PTO, I will need the money. Well out of the hospital, 'you have to talk to H.R. TO COME BACK. tHEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW I was in the hospital. Lied during the whole appeal !

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