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The Migration – Two Weeks Notice

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 5, 2011 in Career Path

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When the going gets tough, sometimes the tough get going, but that’s no excuse to not give two weeks’ notice.

Migration is in all major animal groups, including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans. Migration “triggers” may include changes in local climate, local availability of food, the season, or mating reasons. In the workplace, migration could be caused by an offer of better opportunity elsewhere, insufficient pay, noncompetitive benefits, inappropriate pressures, stress, etc.

The sudden recent resignation of Washington Nationals manager, Jim Riggleman, ignited a lot of lunchtime and watercolor conversations about quitting without proper notice and whether he was justified in his decision or just plain unprofessional.

As Dave Sheinin reported in the Washington Post, On the day that the Washington Nationals moved over .500 since 2005 in their latest win, Manager Jim Riggleman abruptly resigned, taking a stand against what he saw as an unfair contract situation.

Riggleman made his dissatisfaction with both his salary and short term nature of his contract known from almost the moment it was decided in 2009. He gave his ultimatum before the game on June 23 in a sudden and brief meeting with General Manager Rizzo: a better deal by the end of the game or he quit. Riggleman didn’t get the terms he wanted and he resigned.

Quitting without proper notice is certainly within your rights but what is the true cost to your reputation? There was nothing wrong with what Riggleman wanted, but how he tried to get it is another discussion. Who would hire someone with this seeming lack of professionalism and consideration? Riggleman walked out on his team in the middle of the season, and may have doomed his career while attempting to improve it.

It’s worthwhile to note that Riggleman was replaced within a week’s time, which is true for pretty much anyone. But why damage your personal reputation and close a door you can never open again by walking out without notice?

There is no law around this, but it is customary and professional to offer at least two weeks’ notice to your employer, where able, even if you are a consultant on a project. Leaving people in a lurch is not the way to create goodwill around your name and reputation, and at the end of the day, no matter how hard you have worked, an ungraceful exit is what people will remember you for.

Executive Coach Scott Eblin who contributes to offers the following points to consider before you do something you might regret in his article Three Things to Consider Before You Quit Your Job in a Huff

Think Long Term: It sounds like Riggleman was really focused on what was eating him in the short term. He wanted a longer term commitment from his employer. It’s easy to get so caught up on what you want in the short term that you lose sight of long term considerations like, ‘What will this do to my reputation, my future employment prospects and how I think of myself down the road?’

Ultimatums Rarely Work: If you’re going to deliver an ultimatum like give me a better deal or I’m out of here, you better have a lot of leverage on your side. Before you go in with guns blazing, step back and ask yourself if you’re really indispensable. Chances are that you’re not. That’s why Charles DeGaulle said, ‘The cemeteries are full of indispensable men.’

Why Quit a Winning Team?: Apart from the fact that he was hired to coach the Nationals through a full season, why would Riggleman or anyone else quit on a team that’s improving and winning? Even if you’re not happy with your deal, you can get stuff done, learn a lot and position yourself for better opportunities down the road by nurturing a winning team.”

Quitting without notice in the middle of a project (or a season) is never going to be considered professional, no matter the situation. Your reputation is one of your best assets so approach your employer professionally to work out an exit strategy that is graceful and keeps the door open. Burning bridges is very often one of the worst career mistakes.

Companies merge, change names, etc. You never know where the future will take you, or those around you, so always conduct yourself in the manner in which you want to be treated by others and you will keep your career on a positive trajectory.

If someone (like a recruiter) encourages you to quit your current assignment without notice so you can start a job for them, THINK TWICE! It is YOUR reputation that will be damaged, not theirs.

These situations are always resolvable so talk to your supervisor about solutions BEFORE you migrate through the door, and it hits your reputation from behind.

More migration facts can be found here

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