Monday, December 29, 2014

Ending a Job the Right Way

Today, we have a post from "Dad" Dan Loughin, discussing how best to end an employer / employee relationship. Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

As with every other one of my posts, here’s another story that comes from personal experience.  While neither of these examples is me, they are people that I have worked with at some point, and have seen firsthand how they handled the situation.

Steve’s wife received a job offer in Oklahoma in May, and it was one she couldn’t turn down.  The following day at work, Steve contacted his manager, as she did not work in the same location, to inform her that while he doesn’t have anything lined up in Oklahoma, he will be leaving the company by the end of the year to be with his wife out of state.  His manager thanked him for informing her.  Steve then spent three months at work setting all of teammates up for success, even though they were all unaware that he would be leaving.  In his free time, he was consistently looking for work in Oklahoma, but was coming up short.  At the end of August, Steve was feeling stressed out that he couldn’t be with his wife, and decided that he would leave early.  The next day at work, he called his manager to inform her that he would be leaving after 2 weeks.  He then informed his team.  He worked his tail off servicing and acquiring customers for the company.  On his last day, his only task was to turn in his keys and sign the proper forms to terminate his position.  Instead, he stayed a few hours to help teammates with questions that they had.

Liz, in December of last year, transferred departments on the promise that she would be promoted to a position once it had been vacated by Richard, as he was returning to school and was unable to fulfill the requirements of his position.  As soon as Richard had vacated his position, it had been eliminated by the company.  Liz felt slighted, and it showed in her work.  She was consistently late, was not working on the sales aspect, and told the occasional customer how the company had screwed her over.  In the beginning of December, she received a job offer from another company to start in February.  She immediately started informing customers and a few coworkers, but did not inform her managers.  For the following two months, she failed to complete even basic tasks, and instead was planning her wedding which was to take place later in the year.  In the meantime, one of the customers approached her manager and asked how the manager would handle the location without the presence of that employee.  When Liz finally did deliver her two weeks notice, the meeting did not go as Liz had planned, and a screaming match erupted.  Furious, Liz walked out that day.

Which individual handled their circumstance correctly?  Obviously, it’s Steve.  But these are extreme examples, and you will probably never have to be involved with either.  However, here is a quick guide on how to quit anything gracefully without burning bridges.  Thanks go to a college life course that I had taken years ago, and to the Art of Manliness for the information.

People Change Jobs Often.  There is a statistic, as of 2003, that the average individual will change his or her job 8 times over the course of their lives (for the record, I’m at 4).  This means that not only you will change your job 8 times, but all of you coworkers will as well.  This also means that if you burn a bridge at your current company by leaving improperly, you may also burn your bridges at several others.  As I work in a building with 5 other people, that’s not only the company I would leave, but potentially 40 other companies that my coworkers may or may not be working.  Be mindful of this as you move forward with a change.

Give Notice.  While you may not have any obligation, per company policy, to notify your employer in a given timeframe that you will be leaving them, it’s still a great personal policy to notify your employer (translated: your manager) as soon as you know you’ll be leaving the company.  Yes, they may escort you out the door.  Yes, they probably won’t provide you the same courtesy if they let you go.  But you want to give notice for one simple reason: your coworkers.  If you don’t let your company know you’re leaving, and just abruptly take off, then you will leave them with the burden of carrying your work.  And if you’re close friends with anyone you work with, then you’ll invariably strain that relationship.

Tell Your Boss First.  This should be simple.  Your boss needs to be the first person to know.  Why’s that?  There are things that you don’t know about that your boss has to complete for you to leave the company.  There may also be disclosures that you may sign for fear of getting sued (yes, that’s a long shot, but still a risk not worth taking).  Discussions always have a way of making it back to your boss.  Ultimately, your boss will be annoyed if they hear about your departure from someone other than you.  This may not look good for your exit interview, and may cause additional headaches with the company.  Moral of the story: talk to your boss about your impending separation before anyone else.

Always Have The Conversation In Person.  As most of you reading this are going to either work for a small company or a retail place of some sort, you need to speak with your boss in person.  No text, no phone call, no e-mail.  In person, face to face.  This is more being brave than anything else.  If you have the confidence to discuss this with your boss, then your confidence in other areas will rise.

Be Prepared For The Conversation.  You need to discuss things after you put your two weeks notice in with your company.  You must be able to deal with these as they are brought up.  Do you have a transition plan?  Basically, what are you working on, and who’s going to be taking them over.  What will you do if you’re given a counter-offer?  This one actually happened to me: I was offered more money to stay in a current position as I was placing my notice, but there were other reasons as to why I was leaving the company.  Point is, I was prepared for them to make a counter-offer, and I knew I was going to decline it (unless they offered me $1 million.  That would be silly to turn down.)  Are you willing to stay longer if they need you to?  Generally, this doesn’t happen, but if they have a need to hold onto you for another week, are you able to?  Are you ready to go home today?  As mentioned earlier, you may be asked to leave immediately.  You need to be able to take care of yourself and pay your bills while waiting to start a new job.

Be Concise And Positive.  You don’t want to chit chat your boss to death before you give your notice.  It’s not respectful of anyone’s time, specifically your bosses.  If you’re quick and to the point, your boss will be much more grateful.  Also, even if you hate your job or your boss, be as positive as possible.  You want to thank them for the opportunity, not take the time to bad mouth the company.
Ask About The Details.  As mentioned before, there may be paperwork that you have to sign.  If you have benefits, you need to take care of those too.  You may also receive compensation of some sort (if someone resigns from the company I work for, they get paid for their unused vacation).

Write A Formal Resignation Letter.  While most companies don’t require a resignation letter, it comes in quite useful if there is a question as to when your official last day is.  The letter will stay with your records.

Don’t Pack It In.  Just because you’re leaving, it doesn’t mean that life slows down at work.  Stay on top of your job, like Steve did, to leave your teammates in great shape.  But don’t, however, start any new projects if you can help it.  You would only leave headaches for those behind you.  Any projects you were working on before giving notice you’ll want to keep the next person as on point with it as possible, to avoid any possible issue that may arise with it.

Stay Off Social Media.  You made it this far.  Congratulations, you’ll be missed.  However, the second you post something negative on Facebook about how horrible your former job or coworkers are is the second you lost all of that good karma you built.  Just stay away from any social media when it has to do with work.

Send A Warm Goodbye.  If you partner with anyone in other departments or companies, let them know that you are leaving the company.  They need to know you’ve left.  A mass e-mail is ok, but you’ll want to let them know individually.  Too many times have I had a partner at work leave the company without telling me, and then I look like a fool when I hand a customer their contact information.

No comments:

Post a Comment