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zol: just say no...really.

I've occasionally had previous managers request ridiculous last minute things, and if I had other things planned and had told them of my plans in advance I never felt it was a problem to say, "I'm sorry I can't do that as I am going to be away then." Firmly, calmly, but with no option of backing down. I would always offer something like - "let me prepare an executive summary for you before I go," or "let me talk to the client about scheduling that meeting a week later," or "let me ask person X from another department to be a temporary contact", etc...

It is their problem. A resourceful manager can ALWAYS find a solution. From hiring a consultant short-term to get it done, to having the hard conversation with the person leaning on him/her, to doing the work themselves...

I'm now self-employed, and often I get little bonanzas of work from managers who had people leave or were unable to do things. If your team has consulting resources they should be able to find another solution.
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