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Thread: Leaving current job gracefully

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Leaving current job gracefully

    I have pretty much come to the conclusion that around June I will leave my current job. There are still a couple of promising job leads I have (one I was asked to apply for and a couple I am interviewing for) and I have been doing some minor consulting. But if a new job doesn't work out, I have paid off our debt, have arranged the option of at least four months of a place to stay and an apprenticeship that I have always wanted to do, and will have saved enough to live 4-5 months after that (assuming neither my wife nor I find a new job). As we don't have kids yet, and my wife is flexibly employed, and we are getting into mid-30s, this seems the right time to pursue a "gap year" and also pursue a geographic change that my wife and I have talked about for some years before settling down. I have suffered burnout, and after career exploration realize I achose my last move poorly, am in the wrong type of job for my talents and personality type, and also feel I am compromising my values at my current job, so I need time to take stock of where I'd like to be, and am willing to be more of a risk-taker to get what we want out of life. I have had a couple of offers but wasn't in the state of mind to accept something that was "less bad," and have been a finalist for a couple jobs I wanted.

    The place I work is extremely bureaucratic (and I've worked in bureaucracies) and it can take quite some time to get approval to re-hire a current position. I don't want to leave my co-workers in a bad position (or have them give me a poor referral - so far my performance evals have been good). I have been considering giving exactly four weeks notice - by then I should know if one of the other jobs will work or if it's off to something new. It seems this is enough of a courtesy? Some of the open positions here are now being filled so things should ease up. Would it be dumb to talk to my boss now, let him know it's not working out and that I am looking, but by June I would be taking off? I don't think my boss would be surprised as they often articulate many of the same pressures we all feel here. Or best to wait until 4 weeks out?
    Last edited by docwatson; 09 Mar 2011 at 6:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I would wait, simply because June is quite a ways off still and you never know what life will throw at you between now and then. You may change your mind. Your boss may fire you before then. Someone may get sick. You just never know. Four weeks is more than enough for a courteous resignation.

  3. #3
    My advice: Do not give anyone, no matter how magnanimous you feel toward them, any more information than they absolutely need, or that you need to give to cover your ass.

    So wait until May.
    Give your 3-4 week notice.
    Leave.
    Don't look back.

    It sounds like you have things figured out as well as they're going to be figured out. I wish I was as far a long as you in defining where I need to be and being near there. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post

    ...

    The place I work is extremely bureaucratic (and I've worked in bureaucracies) and it can take quite some time to get approval to re-hire a current position. I don't want to leave my co-workers in a bad position (or have them give me a poor referral - so far my performance evals have been good). I have been considering giving exactly four weeks notice - by then I should know if one of the other jobs will work or if it's off to something new. It seems this is enough of a courtesy? Some of the open positions here are now being filled so things should ease up. Would it be dumb to talk to my boss now, let him know it's not working out and that I am looking, but by June I would be taking off? I don't think my boss would be surprised as they often articulate many of the same pressures we all feel here. Or best to wait until 4 weeks out?
    First of all, I like how you laid out the justifications. Looks like you know yourself and have thought this through. Good for you. Life is too short, and this country will work you to death for peanuts. Go for it. I'm envious.

    Second, four weeks notice is plennnnn-tayyyyy. Plenty generous.

    Now. I wouldn't talk to your boss about anything except 'I'm leaving to pursue other opportunities', followed up by 'and I respect my coworkers and the [ ] so I'm giving a 4 week notice'. And if pressed for some reason, the response is 'it is not you or this place or the work environment.' Who cares if you are lying? That is what you said when you left, and that is what they will tell someone if they call. Practice the spiel and make it convincing.

    You don't owe your boss or that place anything, they would lay you off in a heartbeat if they had to. And I would do this at 4 weeks. Do not do anything otherwise. You have no clue what your boss might do in the interim between the conversation and your resignation letter. Down low. Do not talk to anyone. I've been in private and public sector and military for...hmmm...three decades, my experience has been you have no clue what people will do. Down low.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    chip and I cross-posted. I meant to say something like 'don't look back' as well. Thanks for saying it for me, CC.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    You have received excellent advise, so I won't try to add to it.

    Where are you considering to move?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    You don't owe your boss or that place anything, they would lay you off in a heartbeat if they had to.
    I may be over-thinking this, but this statement has made me think of the bosses I have liked (even loved) who I would like to think wouldn't have laid me off in a heartbeat if they felt they needed to. But I know they would have. Maybe not in a heartbeat, but the decision would have been clear for them, and they would have made it.

    Therefore, why are we--the servants, the workers--why are we more willing to sacrifice ourselves, our very lives, for our employers in a way they wouldn't for us, even when our dependency on them has tipped below the threshold of significance? Is it a sense of honor? If it is, it's only a twisted sort of masochistic honor that forces us to let others take advantage of us, and ultimately, forces them to take advantage of us, since there really is no other choice we expect them to make but to discard us once our usefulness has waned. Or, it's a selfish, indulgent sense of honor that reassures us we are righteous and professional. Always wanting to do the right thing; when in reality, we've fooled ourselves into thinking that 1) there is, in fact, a "right" thing to do, 2) that we know what it is, and 3) someone else out there will recognize our righteous act.

    So if you discard these two invalid (or at least self-important) senses of honor, what do you have left? When all is said and done, no one really cares as much as we do about how we are perceived. No one does more self-examination than we ourselves do.

    We are all narcissists.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    And I thought people would try and tell me I'm crazy to move on in this economy! I suppose the obstacles we see are sometimes the ones we create for ourselves. I wish I felt like I had it figured out.

    Thanks for the advice, all - I see now I was trying to be overly accommodating - out of a sense of instilled guilt? an over-inflated sense of my importance to the organization? - 4 weeks is plenty of notice and consideration and time to wrap up.

    Cardinal, I am currently in process of applying for or interviewing for a couple of main street jobs here in Colorado, but as I've always been in love with the Pacific Northwest, am considering volunteering on an organic farm this summer and seeing if we want to settle in the northwest permanently - to be honest, moving was our plan before the economy tanked. My interest in farming or market gardening has been growing as I've been marginally involved in healthy eating/active living planning and working weekends at farmers' markets the past couple of years. Ten years in the land of the sun has made us a bit complacent, so I think it would be good for us to see if we could still adjust to a new climate. I hear the northwest is similar to Colorado, but with the ratio of sunny to cloudy days reversed!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Two weeks is plenty

    In my private sector experience, if a supervisor discovers that an underling has been looking, that person is soon afforded the opportunity to make that a full-time endeavor.

    I've been brought in as a freelancer and found myself in the middle of a muddle. The project manager who needed the help gave notice, and there was a flurry of "here's your box" and his supervisor following him around for a couple of hours before being escorted from the building. And I had to pick up the slack after being there -- as a temp -- for four days.

    Can't think of any reason to give an employer more than two weeks notice. And when I've done that, it's been at COB on a Friday (usually a few minutes past 5 pm) so they get the news Monday morning.

    HTH

  10. #10
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Good for you, man. I hope it all works out.

    One thing that it took me a long time to realize that in a subordinate-superior relationship, sentiment has no place. My boss and I may be friend-ly at times but in no way are we friends, nor could we ever be, because the roles we must play don't allow for that kind of relationship. I'm here because my employer sees the particular skills and experience that I bring to the table as being valuable, not because of my intrinsic worth or for being a good person. It's sort of like when you're hanging out with friends of a significant other - they're only 'virtual friends' because you know that if you and your partner were to ever split up, you'd never see them again. I actually see folks on here more as colleagues than I do those here in meat-space. You probably know what I mean.

    Every day is a grain of sand in the hourglass, never forget. When the time comes to take off, I say give two weeks and sayonara.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    What everyone else said - two weeks is fine, four is more than enough.




    Slightly off-topic - I gave the last firm I left one week of notice (and they were lucky I was that generous). This particular company tended to ask folks to leave as soon as they turned in their notice, which I fully expected (and had cleaned out my office over the weekend in anticipation of)...for whatever reason it didn't happen to me. I handed off my projects and spent the week in an empty office surfing the 'net.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Well, in way of update my coworker and boss figured me out, when I had to take a sudden trip out of state (plus I had applied for a position in-state and word got out.) Well, far from firing me, I found out a co-worker is also looking for a job (not as seriously as me) and the boss already knows, and he just asked that I give sufficient notice if I can. It sounds like most places are not so understanding, however ... So it's a nice position to be in, in one sense, since I don't have to hide things, and since all of our projects for the foreseeable future are putting out fires, I don't think I need to worry too much about not being given projects. I interviewed (second interview) with a non-profit in the Pac NW but have not heard back nor to my knowledge have had references checked, so I am guessing I am not the top candidate ...

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    Well, in way of update my coworker and boss figured me out, when I had to take a sudden trip out of state (plus I had applied for a position in-state and word got out.) Well, far from firing me, I found out a co-worker is also looking for a job (not as seriously as me) and the boss already knows, and he just asked that I give sufficient notice if I can. It sounds like most places are not so understanding, however ... So it's a nice position to be in, in one sense, since I don't have to hide things, and since all of our projects for the foreseeable future are putting out fires, I don't think I need to worry too much about not being given projects. I interviewed (second interview) with a non-profit in the Pac NW but have not heard back nor to my knowledge have had references checked, so I am guessing I am not the top candidate ...
    And that is the way it should be in a polite society.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    And that is the way it should be in a polite society.
    Maybe after Peak Oil and our societal reorganization, we'll be that way across the board instead of in a couple places.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Two to Four weeks is sufficient depending on your current work load and ability to wind down what you are working on to hand off. Best of luck to you man, I know what it's like to be in a gig that eats your soul.

    I tried to leave my last job gracefully but they had none of that and withheld my last paycheck for nearly two weeks. I had to hire a lawyer to extract it out of them.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks ... well, it is a public sector job so I don't think I had a lot of worries for my security, and as I said since there are no choice projects on the horizon for the forseeable future, I'm not too worried about not getting "good" assignments!

  17. #17
    Cyburbian developmentguru's avatar
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    Doc - thank you for your post. It takes a lot of courage to do that sort of self-examination and purposeful "planning" (ha!) to get you prepared for such a change. Most people will long for it but never do it. Best of luck to you and your wife.

    It reminds me of some of the conversations I had at the conference in Boston, where I learned that there really are so many people who understand where my head's at right now because they've been there too (or still are). I'm in the process of hiring three entry-level planners right now and have such enthusiastic candidates. I'm grateful for this, and excited for some new blood as well, though I also feel a nagging anxiousness for watching them go through getting those ideals and hopes drowned in reality.

    Geez, that was depressing. Kudos to you!

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