If you are looking to help someone who really needs it, then you might not want to read any further. I am just in an interesting situation, which is hopefully coming to a close, and I wanted to get a few opinions on what happenned. Really, I think its just an interesting story.
So I had been interning at a university for several months and I was asked to apply for a permanent position. I wasnt sure that I wanted the job because it wasnt exactly the type of work I had gotten an MURP to do and the commute was long and expensive, but I didnt have anything else to fall back on and I figured it wouldnt hurt to apply anyway. I applied to other jobs too, and had a few other interviews. My current supervisor (we'll call him Jim) made it sound like the job was mine and that it was just a question of waiting for the hiring process to play out, although he never actually said that and I still had not committed to the position.
Several months dragged by with no news, still an intern getting paid intern money for the same job that I would be doing in the future as a permanent employee. I had a good relationship with my supervisor and I knew that he was not the decision maker, and he kept me up to date whenever something happened so I decided to approach him and let him know that I was applying for other jobs and that I had some interviews scheduled. He was very understanding and told me that the position should be offerred very soon. We had a conversation about the other positions and asked about what their offers might be, and I told him. A few minutes after our conversation, I saw the head supervisor in his office, (lets call her Jane). After she left, Jim called me into his office and told me that I am now a permanent employee and I would be making the amount that I told him I was expecting to be offered in the other positions. It didnt seem to me to be an offer, more like he was telling me that it was official, as if I had already accepted without even knowing the salary. I was quite taken aback with what I perceived as a lack of professionalism on their part, and at the same time I was concerned that if I turned down it would meant I would have to leave sooner that I could afford.
I went along as if I accepted (this might have been a mistake but I wasnt sure what else to do) and even went through the orientation. A few weeks later I get an email from one of the jobs I interviewed for, a lot closer to my home and a line of work in line with what I want to do. They said that I am among a few candidates for the position and that they will check with my references and make a decision soon. I hadnt given my current supervisor as a reference because I thought it would be awkward for him to have to recommend me for a position when he had offerred me one himself (I explained that to them at the time of the interview). After another week or so they called me and offered me the position. The salary offer is better that what I expected, better than my current position, and they were even willing to negotiate a little higher.
After considering it for a few days I knew I had to accept the offer. As concerned as I was about possibly burning bridges, the offer would be too great for my family to pass up. I would be getting rid of about $4000/yr in commuting costs, on top of an already higher salary, and I would eliminate about 3-4 hours per day or commuting time (now 5-10 mins), which is a lot when you have a 3 year old at home.
This past friday, I sat down with Jim and told him what happened and that I had to accept the position but that I was willing to stay until the middle of January to assist in whatever transition occurs, or to at least minimize the time they would be short staffed. As we a working on a rather large project, I figured this would be helpful. He was incredibly understanding an told me I should write a resignation letter to Jane soon, letting her know that I am leaving and to give her the months notice. I did that last night. This morning she called me into her office and with a smile on her face, proceeded to give me a lecture on professionalism and how it was wrong to do what I did through email and that the fact that I was leaving after only a month tells her that I was never serious about the job and that there was no way she could give me a letter of recommendation. She also lets me know that it would make no sense for them to keep me on after the end of the semester, and that my last day would be the firday before Christmas break. (Both jobs have the week of Christmas off as well as New years Even and Day) So I would be forced to leave one job before the break and start the other after the break and be unemployed for the week and a half in between. Lovely.
I said yes maam, yes maam, thank you maam and left her office, laughing it off. After speaking it over with Jim, who is very well aware of how she is, he told me that he would be more than willing to offer me whatever help he could in the future. Of course, I wouldnt have asked her for the recommendation because I rarely see or hear from her.
I have contacted human resources because I know their policy for resignees is 1 month, otherwise they dont get paid for vacation days or something like that, and the process for an actual firing is several steps, so I dont know that I can really be told to leave in under two weeks. I also have the option of contacting my future supervisor and giving him a not so dramatic version of the events and asking to begin sooner. When I negotiated my stat date on Friday he told me I could start as soon as Monday (yesterday), so he might be willing to let me start next week. To be honest, I certainly would have preferred that, but I wanted to show some professional curtesy, especially to Jim and my co-workers. However, I am hesitent to do so because I dont want to start the position with any sort of drama, no matter how benign it might seem to him.
Actually, there is a larger back story that includes all of the standard office politics that I am sure you are familiar with, but I will just say that Jim has been working for the University for close to 30 years and that Jane is more of the flavor of the month, having been around for less than 2 years, but she is given authority because of a high profile project she is working on. She also recently laid off a woman who had been working under my boss as a receptionist for 20 years, (until Jane came in and rearranged the office structure) with some bureaucratic babble as the reasoning and without consulting Jim or letting him know at all in advance.
I realize that leaving after a month is not the best thing to do to win over the support of a supervisor, but I had interned there for six months before hand and I even mentioned duing the intenrship interview that my hope was to find a full time position closer to home. I would also think that in a university setting, things like this would not be taken so personally and that a supervisor would ultimately be happy to see that an employee had found something that would significantly improve his life and his family's lives. Its not like I left to jump to the next best offer, or accepted a job with the competition.
As this has been my first experience with a real job, outside of several internships, I would appreicate some advice as to how you would have handled it differently. And any put downs on Jane would be welcome as well.
I apologize for the length, maybe I could turn this into a lifetime movie.