Thanks so much for answering my question yesterday. Your advice and that of the commenters was invaluable. I have a follow up question, though, that I'd be very grateful to get your perspective on.
So, after I said I couldn't extend my notice past two weeks, the situation has now gotten to the point where I would label it abusive. Just this morning, my actions -- which I've done my absolute best to keep courteous and professional -- have been called "unprofessional," "a betrayal," and "an insult." My manager sat me down and berated me and even insulted me personally for 15 minutes, then copied me on a very nasty email to the head of the office and another manager here. I was also copied on the reply from the other manager, who called my actions "odd" and "hostile."
I have done nothing more than give my two weeks notice -- which at this company is seen as a betrayal apparently -- but that is all I have done. I'm now contemplating leaving even earlier though, as the work environment has really gotten hostile.
I am not due to get my final paycheck until the end of the month (we are paid monthly, so if I leave today, I still have 19 days pay owed to me). What is the likelihood that I would receive this paycheck at all if I left today? I'd like to walk out today, especially if it gets worse, but I need that final paycheck to tide me over until my new job starts in September. For those of you with experience in this, do you think they'd withhold that check at this point? I can't really afford a legal battle, so if that's a possibility, I just have to stick this out until I have it in hand...
As I said in the comments yesterday, unless they become outright abusive, you should work out the full two weeks because it's the professional thing to do, even if they themselves aren't professional. Additionally, you don't want them to be able to tell people in the future that you "didn't even give two weeks."
However. The caveat there was "unless they become outright abusive."
You have three options at this point:
#1. Tolerate it. Suck it up and deal with it, knowing that it's only two weeks, and knowing that you're about to escape this forever, so who cares how crazy they become? This option gives you peace of mind about your paycheck. It also ensures, as someone pointed out in the comments yesterday, that the worst they can say about you in a reference check is that you "only gave two weeks notice" (unless they're willing to lie, which of course they might be).
If you take this option, look at their craziness as entertainment and fantastic future stories.
#2. Leave now. Tell your boss, "Your treatment of me since I gave notice is unprofessional and hostile. I'm not willing to be subjected to that, so today will be my last day." Be prepared to leave immediately, as their reaction will probably require it. (This means have your stuff all packed up, personal stuff removed from your computer, etc.)
#3. A middle ground. Sit down with your boss and say, "I'm sorry you're upset with my two weeks notice. Two weeks is a very common professional standard. However, it's clear that you're upset with me. Is it still fine for me to be in the office for the next two weeks, or would it better for everyone if I were to leave now?"
She will probably rant at you about how of course you need to be there for the next two weeks. At that point, say, "I'd like to work the remaining two weeks and I don't want to leave anyone in the lurch. However, I need to be treated professionally during that time. I very much want to use the next two weeks to put my projects in order, write up documentation to leave behind, and so forth, but I do have a bottom line as far as respectful treatment. I'm not willing to continue to be berated for my decision. If we can't work together without the hostility, it would be better for everyone if I left now."
If the hostility continues, then you revert to option #2. (And be prepared for her to explode with hostility and tell you to get out immediately.)
Now, as for your paycheck, the law is very clear that they need to pay you for the days you've worked. But that doesn't mean that they will, of course. I recommend checking out wage laws for your state, because some of them require that a final paycheck be issued within 24 hours or other short periods, and if that's the case in your state, you can follow up with them about your check right away, rather than having to wait and see how they handle payroll at the end of the month. There are also fines for violating those laws, so if they have any sense at all, they'll conclude it's not worth the hassle to them. (Email me and let me know what state you're in, and I'll walk you through how to research this and how to approach them about it.)
In the future, I'd plan to warn reference-checkers that these people imploded when you gave notice. A good reference-checker will understand -- and hopefully by that point you'll have plenty of references from sane people at the new job you're about to start.