Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Fourth Stage of Being Dumped: Anger

Apparently, like grief, there are five stages to being dumped. The stages are very similar to that of grief:

1) Denial
2) Bargaining
3) Depression
4) Anger
5) Acceptance

Except for the first and last stages, the middle three can come in any order.

My boss is currently on the anger stage. He's been through denial. This stage was when he didn't want to accept that I'd resigned and tried to talk me out of it. This was handled in two awkward meetings on Monday. The second stage, bargaining, soon followed. This was handled in another two awkward meetings in which he asked what I wanted to stay. It was also followed by an imaginary job description that was supposed to appeal to my desire for more control and responsibility. It was not, however, followed by an offer of a salary increase.

Stage 3, depression, apparently followed on Monday. According to my HR manager who called me in yesterday to justify my reasons for leaving, my boss was 'pretty torn up' about my decision to leave and 'very down.' I did not see this. He didn't not tell me that he was torn up. He just denied it and then bargained for me to stay.

What I saw was him move right to anger. If this were an actual relationship in which he were a boy being dumped by a girlfriend instead of, you know, a vice-president of a company whose employee has professionally resigned, this would be the stage in which the dumped boyfriend acts like a complete jerk and treats his ex-girlfriend like crap. He would be at the stage in which he finds a rebound girl intended to make his ex-girlfriend jealous and regret dumping him.

Sadly, I don't think my boss realizes that he's not actually personally being dumped because he certainly has the anger stage of a breakup down pat. Today, for example, one of his only interactions with me was this morning was in reference to the fact that I finally broke down and cried in his office yesterday because I was so stressed from having to justify, explain and discuss my 'reasons for leaving.' Today, his comment was, "Are you feeling better today?"

It sounds like an innocent question but when it's said with the right amount of sarcasm, snarkiness and bitterness, you know he's really saying, "are you going to have another girly fit of crying today?" Naturally, like any ex-, he feels that he has a right to make me feel bad because he's been mistreated by my dumping him in the first place whereas, silly me, tend to think that as my manager, he probably shouldn't be taking this quite so personally.

He moved towards the rebound stage as soon as he asked my coworker to temporarily learn my job responsibilities. This morning, I had to sit through a painful meeting with him and my coworker in which he went through each of the issues I've been working on to see how much I had left to dump on my coworker. If he'd bothered to get to know me personally or, perhaps more likely, he wasn't being slightly vindictive, he would know that while I might not love my job, I still do it. Thus, even though I told him that everything was done, he still had to go through each of my issues one by one to try to catch me out. He failed. I also had to sit through him praising and sucking up to my coworker.

Then, just as he knew I was going to set up to train my coworker on some of my responsibilities, he casually asked for a minute with her. Rather than close the door as he's done with me during 'our breakup,' he kept the door open because I was in the room next door and every word was audible. I was irritated that he knew that we were supposed to meet and he decided that this was the perfect time to talk to her about her new elevated/increased role and how a salary increase would be in order.

I'm probably taking my analogy a little too far but to me, this certainly screams, "look! I can find someone better than you! You're nothing!"

Except, in this case, it's more like: "Look, ingrate! I'm going to give her the salary increase and promotion I wasn't willing to give you because she's better!"

For the rest of the day, he ignored me and spent a lot of time joking with her.
I know that anger is a tricky stage of being dumped and it can last a while so if it goes on for a couple more days, I'm not going to be shocked.

The nice thing is that I don't care that much. It bothers me that he's acting like a child rather than a professional but on the other hand, it sends home the fact that my inevitable escape to greener pastures is a wise decision. It also, sadly, makes me want to do far less to make my departure easy than it has ever done before at any other job. I'll keep trying to be productive but if this continues, I think my motivation is going to dwindle to the point where I might end up just popping over the road to Target for a while instead of sitting at my desk.

Nevertheless, even though his behaviour is making feel like skipping around the office when I contemplate the freedom from the place that I soon will have, I'm trying to remain professional. One of us has to so it might as well be me.

Still, I can't help that tomorrow he'll move on to acceptance.

Happy Thursday!

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