~Monday, July 07, 2008

Breaking Up: Work Edition

As a writer, I felt like a total hack plagiarizing my letter of resignation from about.com. Granted, I replaced the County Library System with my own place of employment, and I tweaked it so as not to sound as airheaded as Dr. Tammy Powley ("I consider just about everyone I have met here to be friends of mine now," really? Just about? So there are people you don't consider a friend? Is it the person you're handing the letter to? And what's with the superfluous "now"? You have a PhD and you're seriously using that sentence?) Most people I know take a delicious pride in their resignation letters, carefully inserting such phrases as "previously unattainable opportunity" and "aptly rewarding compensation," and then deliver the letter with a broad smile and jazz hands. However, I was scared. I like the people and the commute and I'm safe here. Changing jobs is risky, so I wanted my letter to remain neutral to possibly receive a counter offer.

Instead of a counter offer, I got "You don't have to come talk to me about this," and "if you do stay, I'll know you're looking for another job," and finally, "When you put your two weeks in, that's it. You can't take it back and you'll be gone even if you change your mind." I sat in my boss's office dumbstruck. She didn't give me one word of encouragement whether I should stay or go. She told me to take the weekend to think about it and I walked out of her office with my resignation letter still in my hand.

I walked straight into my co-worker Dan's office and pointed to my boss's direction with tears rolling down my cheeks. I told him how I was threatened . "I'm sorry I'm crying," I said. "I'm just so frustrated. I didn't even quit yet!"

"You were caught off guard," he justified. "It would have tripped anyone up. I certainly didn't see her reacting like that."

I checked the clock. 4:45 p.m. "When are you leaving today?" I sniffed.

"Right now. Let's go." He stood up from his desk and we both walked out of the office 45 minutes early. On my way out, I passive-aggressively shoved my plagiarized resignation letter in the CFO's mailbox. We went to a bar and ordered 24 oz. cans of Miller Lite, the happy hour special. I sat at the table, tears still streaming. I was so hurt and embarrassed that I put in 2-1/2 years at a company that didn't give a damn about me. My stomach was in knots over my quitting, because I felt like I was screwing the company and leaving them without an editor and web guru. I cut my summer vacation short so I could give them more of my two weeks notice, when the July 4th week had been my scheduled vacation for months. And they didn't care. I never felt so small in my entire life.

I was assured that I am winning in the long run. That I'm getting this great new job, writing print advertisements for a major global company. This job will open so many new opportunities for me, not to mention my Big Fat Raise. I found out about my current loyalties sooner rather than later, and it all just proves that I made the right decision.

But I still regret not going in there with jazz hands.


NicoleC said...

You totally should have gone in with jazz hands. And a fan kick right across her face.
But now you know you're totally better off, right?!
Woot woot for new life opportunities!

CC said...

unbelievable response. what an immature and unprofessional way to treat an employee who put in the time that you did. Obviously you made the right choice to leave. Congrats on the new opportunity!

kristin b said...

ah i so know that feeling. work is a love/hate thing. sometimes it varies daily. i'm so excited for you and this new job! you know you'll be so much happier!

J said...

Bah! That was the most unprofessional response ever. I think you have made the right decision. You are so much better than that company!

Lpeg said...

What a bitch. Honestly. You would think employers would have more respect for their employees, but it seems to be happening more and more.

Forget about them. You deserve this new job.


Anonymous said...

I've often heard the phrase of "don't burn your bridges behind you". But your office sounds a bit like mine: when someone departs, they light the bridge on fire for them.

Good luck at the new position!

Jenna said...

Ugh! That is so stupid! Well f#$^ 'em!! It's so annoying how unprofessional bosses seem to be these days. Well at my company anyway. And we're supposed to look up to them? Pffft. But good for you for getting a new better job!

Taken Girl said...

Screw them! Time for jazz hands and a huge smile to really show them that you are way better than they will ever deserve! On to the better company!

Peach said...

bollocks to jazz hands, and well done you for still sticking the letter in the post tray and still leaving. She's playing games with you. And yo u know why, because she knows you will be missed more than you will miss them. Like, if it was a splitting up conversation between lovers, she would be the bitch taking it badly, saying "Sure, well, if you think you can iron your clothes and cook and make love and pay for your own dinner all by youself, then fine, leave, but I bet you'll be back" Silly cow - can't WAIT til you're outta there and we can cyber celebrate with you !!! X

Kate said...

I'm glad that you refused to be cowed by this company. Life is too short to spend at a place like that.

Good luck at your new job!


dont eat the token said...

You got through it, did it and THAT is what counts!

I thought I was so dang important once and then I overheard the GM laughing with other managerial cronies: "Anyone can be replaced."

Sooo ... all the talk about how I ran my department like a well oiled machine and bids from other locations meant ... I'm surprised I didn't flip them off when I quit with a few rude surprises for them! (all legal and moral, really)

Take a few extra post-it notes home with you, for me.

nuttycow said...

But at least it's now done. Phew.

Quitting is always hard but it doesn't help when your boss doesn't fall to her/his knees begging you to stay. The same happened to me in my old job. After 4 years. I nearly cried too.

Don't worry. Move on to bigger and better things.


HomeImprovementNinja said...

A headhunter I knew once told me that you shouldn't take a counteroffer, so it's lucky that they didn't give you one.

Even if they convinced you to stay, they will always question your loyalty and the reasons you weren't happy there (except for the money) will still be the same. Plus, if they are looking to lay off someone, the first people they will look to are the ones that they know were thinking of leaving. Jus' sayin'

Sometimes life gives you a shove in the right direction. Your boss being a b1tch to you removed all doubts about your leaving. Congrats on the new gig.

dawn said...

That reaction is typical of many employers who think of you leaving like a divorce, to the point where if they see you again afterwards, in a store or a restaurant, will totally ignore you. Silly.

You have to look out for #1 (you!) and they can't expect you to stay until your dying breath, even if you find something that suits you better.

I've worked somewhere that even when the employee was leaving the company because they were moving out of the country, they took it personally and that person was dead to them. Bizarre behavior.

I once stayed on somewhere based on a counter-offer. I was very pleased with the offer (new office, more money) but then, a few months later, all the reasons why I'd originally wanted to leave came flooding back. And I resigned. Your gut is always right.

Enjoy the new job. Congratulations.

AmyD said...

UGH! Good riddance to that place! They don't deserve you, and I'm so glad you're moving on. Congrats again! Just do the jazz hands as you walk out of there on your last day...that'll really annoy 'em. ;o)

Anonymous said...

What an odd reaction. Save the jazz hands for your last day in that awful place!

Anonymous said...

Oh man... you went about it all completely the right way and they still didn't appreciate it!?! That sucks. I'm sorry you had to go through that but happy you have something better on the horizon.

M said...

you need to do something to ensure that all your knowledge goes out the front door with you when you leave. Start deleting files asap! Yes okay, it's slightly juvenile but then so is your boss. Sure, you may have missed out on the jazz hands but you can still end with a big finale! ;)

Francesca said...

Your boss obviously has no feelings/compassion. Good thing you're leaving! Best of luck!


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