This week we asked readers to look back over their career – and to characterize their departures.
It is perhaps not too surprising that nearly three-quarters ( 73.3% ) of this week’s respondents said that their departures were “as civilized and cordial” as they could make them, albeit for a variety of reasons. Good old-fashioned professional courtesy seemed sufficient reason for most, but a large number in this category simply hadn’t had much opportunity to be “tested.” “All civilized and cordial,” noted one, who went on to say, “But then, I’ve only left 2 employers in my 29 year employment history.” Another said that they had to qualify their “all civilized” response by noting that, “â€¦With the exception of a couple of little part time jobs as a teenager I have only had two jobs – the first one for 20 years and this one for 13 years.” And yes, a number, had even less changes than that. Another significant grouping of responses were along these lines: “All civilized and cordial, as they say, “don’t burn your bridges.” You never know when you may meet again,” noted another. And, more than one reader could tell stories about just that happening down the road. One reader noted, “I left a job one time over burn out and dissatisfaction only to be called back a year or so later asking if I would come back. No matter how much I dislike a job or want to leave without warning, I su.ck it up and give fair (2 weeks) notice.”
“I have always followed the advice of “never burn your bridges” when it comes to leaving a company,”noted another. “Human Resources can be a very small community. I always want a good reference. What may not have been a good fit for me at a company may be perfect for someone else.”
Not that it is always easy to do so. “While I haven’t been much of a job changer, it does amaze me sometimes thinking about some of the people I have worked for – and that I was able to give notice at all, without being immediately kicked out the door! I only hope I’ve been a better employer – at least we try.”
Another said, “My last job, I absolutely wanted to let my boss know that I was leaving because she was a totally ineffective dysfunctional untrustworthy manager. But I knew I would need her recommendation should I ever leave my next job. So I left on great terms (she actually hugged me). Yikes.”
“I still believe in civilized relations and “The Golden Rule” no matter what the situation,”noted another. “However, give me a few years in the business bureaucracy, and that belief may die.”
Roughly 13% said that their departures were “as civilized as they could make them”, while just 2% said they were as cordial as their former employer(s) “deserved.” More than 11% said that “there was this one timeâ€¦” In that category was the reader who noted, “My job had changed several times over my four years at one company, and the last change was not the direction I wanted to see my career, or the department, go. I had numerous conversations about this with my manager over the next few months and at one point, he stated, “sometimes you have to accept that situations may cause you not to be able to perform at the level of your expectations”. I responded “or change your situation”. He agreed, but seemed shocked when I turned in my resignation at the end of that day. I regret the impact my quick decision had on my coworkers and the individuals who reported to me, but not the ultimate decision.”
“For the umpty-millionth time, my “assistant” accused me of doing something she did on a regular basis: using the Inter.net for personal use. I can only assume she got my login and password, because, while I was working, she was often reading websites that weren’t exactly work-related. My boss came by to advise that my Internet access had been turned off. I sat there for a moment stewing. I then typed an email to my boss that said, “I resign effective immediately,” packed all my stuff, and then hit “send”,”noted one respondent.
“My first “real” job I left because I had finally had enough of my boss yelling and screaming at me in front of the rest of the office. During a meeting that she was yelling at me again that I was worthless (but not worthless enough to review her college papers since I already had a degree, not worthless enough to take her company car to do her client meeting and trainings, and not worthless enough to train our new employees for her) I very politely told her I quit. When she continued to yell to me about what I needed to do, I cordially reminded her that, “No, I quit.”
Sometimes – perhaps most times – all’s well that ends well. Consider these responses:
“I would say that almost all of the companies I have worked at would have me back if I wanted to goâ€¦however, like old boyfriends I intend to never go back, there was a good reason I left !!!”
Recalling a first job (job #1), one noted; “It was the policy of job #1 to let an employee who was making a job change to my current employer (owned by an ex-supervisor at job #1) go immediately (with pay for the notice time given). I gave my two weeks notice and was looking forward to a paid two week “vacation”. However, what I received was merely a comment that I was sure going to have a lot of training to get done in the next two weeks and they hoped I wouldn’t mind working some extra hours to get everything done! I guess you would call that cordial but, at the time, I would have preferred the paid vacation! ”
But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted: “Five years ago my employer left a voice mail on my cell phone while I was on vacation, telling me that my job was eliminated and I need not return to work. (Cordial?) Now I work for them as a contractor, making double my previous income as an employee. (Civilized?)” Please withhold my name, I wouldn’t want to spoil a good thing.”
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!
A) All Cordial. As a matter of fact, the last employer I left said he would pay me beyond my last day at work for another 6 weeks, since my early departure would not benefit the agency. Go figure. Oh, I complied and gratefully accepted the extra pay.
A) all civilized and cordial - both of them. In 39 years, I've only changed jobs 3 times.
Answer to survey: (d) There was this one time ...
Actually I didn't do anything really horrible, I don't think. For the umpty-millionth time, my "assistant" accused me of doing something she did on a regular basis: using the Internet for personal use. I can only assume she got my login and password, because, while I was working, she was often reading websites that weren't exactly work-related. My boss came by to advise that my Internet access had been turned off. I sat there for a moment stewing. I then typed an email to my boss that said, "I resign effective immediately," packed all my stuff, and then hit "send". She later told me that I had behaved extremely unprofessionally, but that she hadn't expected any better of me. That was the only time in my life that I left a job without having another one lined up; I got a new job the next day. Best thing I ever did, in retrospect.
b) as civil and cordial as I could make it:
While I haven't been much of a job changer, it does amaze me sometimes thinking about some of the people I have worked for - and that I was able to give notice at all, without being immediately kicked out the door! I only hope I've been a better employer - at least we try.
All civilized and cordial, as they say, "don't burn your bridges." You never know when you may meet again.
I would characterize my departures as (a) all civilized and cordial. The retirement plan administration field in the Twin Cities is relatively small and it is best not to burn any bridges when you leave one company to work for another because you never know who will work for in the future or who will work for you.
In my professional career which spans 25 years, all were (a). Before that, however, I learned some hard lessons during high school and college, , which makes that brief time period an (e).
(a). Even though I would have liked to let loose once, I have always kept in mind that I will need a reference one day, besides the ER is still paying me until my last day. We had an employee who wrote a brutally honest e-mail and sent it to the entire place. Even though most of what she said was true, management would not acknowledge the truth and basically it just looked bad for her. I guess you wonder if your outrage, whether true or not, is worth your time or effort.
a) All civilized and cordial. I was taught to never burn a bridge and it has proven to be true. I left a job one time over burn out and dissatisfaction only to be called back a year or so later asking if I would come back. No matter how much I dislike a job or want to leave without warning, I suck it up and give fair (2 weeks) notice.
Most were a), but I did have one d). I think it was a question of the inability to listen. My job had changed several times over my four years at one company, and the last change was not the direction I wanted to see my career, or the department, go. I had numerous conversations about this with my manager over the next few months and at one point, he stated, "sometimes you have to accept that situations may cause you not to be able to perform at the level of your expectations". I responded "or change your situation".
He agreed, but seemed shocked when I turned in my resignation at the end of that day. I regret the impact my quick decision had on my coworkers and the individuals who reported to me, but not the ultimate decision.
(a) All civilized and cordial - And - of note, being laid off by my last employer (who had been acquiring companies rapidly and then experience some indigestion and needed to downsize) actually turned out to be to my advantage as shortly after I started at a new company and rolled over my 401(k) plan (which had been overweighted in employer stock) their stock took a WorldCom like drop!
A great experience at the company, I continue to maintain numerous mutually beneficial contacts there, but my manager was clearly offended by my choice to leave.
(a) All civilized and cordial
I have always followed the advice of "never burn your bridges" when it comes to leaving a company. Human Resources can be a very small community. I always want a good reference. What may not have been a good fit for me at a company may be perfect for someone else.
(A) All civilized and cordial. But then, I've only left 2 employers in my 29 year employment history.
I have given notice 3 times, been excessed twice in a 25 year career. Even in one position where there was no need for notice, I gave the two weeks notice when asked. The two situations were I was excessed, even though they were difficult, both the company and most of the management as well as myself were very professional.
I would say that almost all of the companies I have worked at would have me back if I wanted to goâ€¦however, like old boyfriends I intend to never go back, there was a good reason I left !!!
As civilized as I could make them - I stayed within the same company, so burning bridges would be stupid, but my old boss never spoke about the transition with me or my new boss - I ended up arranging the transition date, etc. myself and just copied her on the emails. My new boss agreed to a six week notice and then let me provide support for another 1-2 month period. Very generous by any standards.
(b) As civilized and cordial as I could make them.
3 of the 4 times my exit was very cordial, with me making extra effort to give adequate notice, finish up as much work as possible, and create documentation to help my replacement. One of the times, despite my best efforts, there was no way to avoid the venomous wrath of the senior manager in my group. Despite publicly espousing a program that helps employees get into other parts of the company to advance their careers, in reality, she viewed valued employees leaving her domain as treason.
This was true even if the employee was transferring to another position in the company with significantly more responsibility, as I was doing.
A firm believer in not burning bridges no matter what, I took the tongue lashing calmly, thanked her for her support of me while I was there, and finally stated it was just too good of an opportunity for me to pass up.
Pointing out her hypocrisy, getting upset, or yelling back would have done made a bad situation worse. Ultimately, I did very well in my new position, and she left the company a few months later!
Survey response: a - All civilized & cordial. You never know when you'll need that bridge is my thought.
Thought you might enjoy the following anecdote which I would characterize as falling into the "there was this one time..." category.
Several years ago, I worked for a religiously-affiliated hospital that was undergoing a consolidation with another hospital (sponsored by the same religious order) and which were located approximately five miles apart. It was readily apparent to everyone that the consolidation would primarily impact those of us in the upper management ranks.
As the holidays approached, I was invited to the (new) CEO's office in early December who personally stated that a decision regarding who would be chosen to lead the combined HR function would not occur until the end of the first quarter. While I was somewhat relieved by the CEO's comments, less than two weeks later (actually on Christmas Eve), I was summoned to the EVP/COO's office who informed me a decision had been reached regarding the leadership of the HR function and that my employment was being terminated. When I inquired when my separation would take effect (e.g., after the holidays), I was advised my employment was being terminated immediately and a security guard was waiting to assist me in removing my personal belongings from my office.
In early January, I was offered and accepted my current position which I have now held for the past 19 years. However when the (surviving) HR Officer learned I had landed a new position so quickly, to add insult to injury, he withheld a portion of my severance and I was forced to retain an attorney to receive my full benefits.
My answer is "a" but I will have to qualify that the "all" in "All civilized and cordial" was actually only one. With the exception of a couple of little part time jobs as a teenager I have only had two jobs - the first one for 20 years and this one for 13 years. I am still not sure what happened with job #1. It was the policy of job #1 to let an employee who was making a job change to my current employer (owned by an ex-supervisor at job #1) go immediately (with pay for the notice time given). I gave my two weeks notice and was looking forward to a paid two week "vacation". However, what I received was merely a comment that I was sure going to have a lot of training to get done in the next two weeks and they hoped I wouldn't mind working some extra hours to get everything done! I guess you would call that cordial but, at the time, I would have preferred the paid vacation! Please note that the company I worked for formerly (8,000 employees) is no longer and our little (100 employees) firm is still plugging along! Turned out to be the right decision!
I would have to list c and f as a response. After 9 years with one firm I told an employee, who later was my boss, that he was unethical and a crook. Of course, when he took over the position I was hoping to have, my days were numbered. Two years after leaving the firm that man was fired for stealing funds from the company. Made my statements true, but cost me a sales position I enjoyed, was good at, and lost my vesting in a Defined Benefit plan. In two other career positions, I left trying to be cordial as possible to my former employer. Each decision in leaving was mentally positive to me as each choice was a life experience that led to more satisfying adventures.
A) Departures were all civilized and cordial (I avoid conflict!!!)
Definitely (A) - however I've only had two in the past 35 years. My first departure occurred after 26 years with the same employer when my line of business was sold off. I was fortunate enough to receive a very attractive early retirement package even though I was still in my 40's. Certainly no hard feelings on either side.
The second occurred when I left my next employer after two years for more money; however, I let my boss know I was looking well in advance and he supported my decision.
I can't believe I'm actually responding to this but hey, there's a first time for everything, right?
My answer is "a". I have always worked hard for my employers and they've been sad to see me leave because of that loyalty and hardworking attitude that I brought to the table.
My first "corporate departure" occurred roughly six weeks ago, and without going into details, I would have to say both (b) As civilized and cordial as I could make them, and (c) As civilized and cordial as my former employer(s) "deserved."
A. I still believe in civilized relations and "The Golden Rule" no matter what the situation. However, give me a few years in the business bureaucracy, and that belief may die.
My departures, with one exception very early in my career, fall under (a) all civilized and cordial. Even when I was being screwed over, I gave at least 2 weeks notice and worked my butt off to make the transition as smooth as possible. One employer in particular gave me a horrible annual review (after 4 years) bringing up items that either were totally irrelevant or that should have been brought to my attention months before when the errors occurred. They put me on a 90 day probationary period with no salary increase.
I was totally shocked and speechless. Fortunately, I had been looking for a new job already so on the 90th day I turned in my notice (2.5 weeks) and informed the CFO that my direct supervisor (the Corp. Controller) was extremely volatile and very difficult to work with which was the main reason I was leaving. He then offered me more money to which I responded, "if I was not worth a raise 90 days ago, why am I worth one now?" I worked 60 hours/week those last 2.5 weeks and during my going away party, the CFO applauded my dedication especially during the prior 2.5 weeks. Victory is indeed sweet!
(d) There was this one time, prior to anyone realizing that se.xual harassment existed (except for the victims), I lost a summer job. The next year that supervisor was gone & I was hired back. So I guess it wasn't my job performance that was off. I love Neil Sedaka's song but I thought the words were "Waking up is hard to do . . ."
A but I was lying. (I am 29 so I don't have a lot of experience with this). My last job, I absolutely wanted to let my boss know that I was leaving because she was a totally ineffective dysfunctional untrustworthy manager. But I knew I would need her recommendation should I ever leave my next job. So I left on great terms (she actually hugged me). Yikes.
I only changed jobs once in my post-college career and is was (a) all civilized and cordial - although I was going from a consulting company to one of its large clients so it had to go well because how often are consultants not cordial to the ones that decide whether or not to give them business?
B) All my departures have been as civilized as I could make them. I have been able to make all of my departures civil up to this point even if some of the co-workers involved try to make it personal. I always voice my opinion and usually get right to the point, but am professional about it. Too much emotion distracts from the issue at hand. I have left 2 employers who have demanded I do things that I found unethical or immoral. I have never given less than 3 weeks notice. Not that some of these things do not effect me emotionally, I just work very hard to take the emotion out of the business decisions, because they are just that. Right or Wrong and it is my choice whether or not to participate in them.
I've had three major moves in my career and I've had the privilege to have worked for three bosses who each mentored me onto the next step and not only supported the decision to move but encouraged it as well. I am proud to say that I have been able to return the favor by mentoring a valued employee onto his next level.
I was "lucky" enough to work for a bailed out S&L and the new buyer, the small town local bank, came waltzing in on Monday morning ready to get down to business. When the former S&L President and I, the controller, questioned our terms of employment with our new employer before we would assist in the transition, we were threatened and later in the day fired. Everyone was in shock and it ended with us being escorted out of the building. Not cool.
Boring but true, all my departures have been civilized & cordial. They have generally been a matter of leaving one very small company with no opportunity for advancement (and/or lack of benefits) to another similar situation. (Tenure at current position is 17 years, so I guess I've found my niche.)
All of my departures have been a. I try to remember the things my Dad taught me - do NOT burn your bridges, you never know when you may have to eat crow and ask for a job from that employer again, or that former employer may be the only one called for a reference.
A. All in all, pretty cordial.
My favorite story: My birthday was on a Thursday, and I'd been working hard in the construction industry for a long time, so I "called in sick" & took the day off. When I got to work on Friday, miraculously recovered, there was hardly anyone there. Turns out, they'd all been laid off! Well, I was laid off too, of course, and my boss was very apologetic about it - but I thought it was a great birthday present, and practically hugged him. This was during a deep recession in the mid 1970s, and I stayed "out of work" for several months, a period I fondly look back on as a little "early retirement."
F - other. I've actually worked for the same employer for almost 20 years--hard to believe! I've had several different positions, and worked in four different cities, but ultimately the same employer for all.
My assorted movements from one job to the next within the OCC were pretty much A. Can't be burning bridges within the same organizationâ€¦
I'd have to say my answer is "a", with some qualification. I was laid off by one company after its acquisition and things were probably not as friendly as they could have been. However, 12 years down the road, I went to work for the newest version of the same company, hired back by the same president who laid me off in the beginning. I guess staying friendly and behaving myself the first time helped me out down the road. It just proves that this field is so small you should never antagonize anyone since you may end up interviewing for a job with them again some day.
Definitely, (a) All civilized and cordial but (d) There was this one time... My first "real" job I left because I had finally had enough of my boss yelling and screaming at me in front of the rest of the office. During a meeting that she was yelling at me again that I was worthless (but not worthless enough to review her college papers since I already had a degree, not worthless enough to take her company car to do her client meeting and trainings, and not worthless enough to train our new employees for her) I very politely told her I quit. When she continued to yell to me about what I needed to do, I cordially reminded her that, "No, I quit." While I was civilized and cordial, she certainly was not.
I left a job after 18 years to start my own business. It was very cordial until a few months after I left. At that time my old company decided not to come through on some promises they had made. In essence they didn't pay me about $12,000 I felt they owed me. Of course there are always 2 sides to every story. This however is a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish. My new business has the potential to use my old company's services. As you can imagine I have a problem doing business with a company that would go back on their promises. As a result my old company has missed out on about $25,000,000 in businessâ€¦so far!
Instead of having an advocate in the industry they gained an outspoken detractor and lost much more than $12,000 in business. Oh Well!