FoxxyFox, Good for you for taking a chance!
What your boss wants is called an exit interview, though usually you actually speak with the person and the HR person takes notes on what you say. Having it in writing accomplishes at least 2 things: Makes a record of you leaving for both you and the company, and if he is looking for ammo for or against a person or a process he now has proof that someone left because of said process or person. Am I correct in thinking that this is an entire industry/career change for you?
I would be honest, but careful about what you say. Below are my suggested wordings, I am sure you will receive many other good suggestions from other posters.
Some of it is very simple. The school offers very good insurance for a much cheaper rate, summers off with pay, and the opportunity to be at home with my children when they get out of school, which cuts out day care costs. Also, it gives me a chance to have a 'trial-run' at doing something (teaching) that I've toyed with off an on for years. (I'd have to go back to school for a while, but by taking a parapro job, at least I'll get to see if I WANT to before I invest the time and money).I have come across another opportunity that more closely aligns with my personal and professional goals. While I have enjoyed working for XXX, with this new opportunity I will be able to take advantage of benefits that are not currently offered to me. Furthermore, I am personally considering a career change, and this opportunity affords me the ability to move in that direction at this time. (you can discuss the details of the ‘benefits’ with your boss verbally, but your company really should know what is industry standard and it doesn’t need to be spelled out here.
1) They hired me to do specific things, three different areas in total. A month after I was there, they completely changed my job description, took one of the areas they hired me for and gave it to someone else, and gave me her job to do instead. Neither she nor I were thrilled with this.
2) One of the areas they decided to give to me most definately requires more than one person, yet I am the only person doing it. (Customer service) They hired a young woman to help, but she attends college two days a week. This would be ok, because she'd still be there the other three, but they have also decided to use her when they travel to do fittings, usually twice a week. So she's basically there one day a week and I'm left for the rest of the week to do that, plus the other two areas. As you know, very soon after being hired the duties of my position were significantly altered to include things that were not originally part of the job description, as well other areas were taken away from the position. Despite my best efforts to learn and enjoy this new position, I found myself unhappy with the overall experience and function of this new position. Not only were my skill sets underutilized, but the new position offered fewer challenges and growth opportunities. [Insert other reasons why here – below your skill level, few challenges, little support, attention divided among trivial matters when you could have been more effective elsewhere, etc.] In particular, I strongly feel that the customer service part of this position requires 2 or more people to be effective, and I continuously found myself without the support necessary to fulfill the duties of this additional role. Multiple attempts [with HR/Boss/colleagues] to resolve this conflict did not result in an effective solution.
3)The three people in charge don't seem to communicate well. I ask a question of one, get told one thing, do it that way. Then another comes along and tells me to change it, so I do. Then the third comes along and says do it the way it was to begin with. Confusing and frustrating.I wouldn’t even address this in your exit interview– while it may be frustrating, there are many things you can do while you are at the job to address this situation, and if you haven’t, it will only look bad on you to list it as a reason that you left. If you have addressed it, and you feel you must include it, please clarify what steps were taken to rectify this situation, or if the pace of business was undeniably slowed down throughout the company (not just your job) by this problem, you can incorporate it into the above paragraph somehow. Something to the effect of ‘not enough support for upper management to complete said tasks/frustrated with the lack of communication among upper management left me focusing on current work rather than on ways I could be more effective in this position...
4)In relation to number three, there seems to be no set policies on anything. Something will happen five times and each time it is taken care of in a different manner. This does not lend for learning how to do something competently.See above about not addressing/saying something about inability to focus on ways to expand and support the overall business.
5)One of the bosses seems to have a problem with her temper. She's like a light switch. Most of the time it's off, and she's a very nice considerate person. But then it's on and she turns into a banshee, raving and snapping at people. It's usually unexpected, and quite shocking. I've seen her attack folks in front of everyone, and I live in fear that it will one day be me. (She is the owner's wife, btw)Since you haven’t actually had a conflict with this person, I would be VERY careful addressing it (if at all). It sounds petty to single out one person’s behavior (no matter how terrible it is). If you must, say something about the “sudden-changing office atmosphere” at particularly stressful times was not conducive to your working style. I wouldn’t say anything about anyone’s personality. Your boss should be able to read between the lines well enough, but if you actually mention personality conflicts, it discredits your professionalism and makes it seem like you left because you just didn’t like someone. That’s a bad way to leave a company.
good luck with this, and with your new position!!