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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 GovExec.com 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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The Penguin – Winter Socialite

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 17, 2010 in Job Search

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For professionals seeking employment at any level, the holidays shouldn’t be the time when you put your job search on hold until next year. Waddle down to the local ice flow, put on your winter tux and socialize! Many people have the attitude “I’ll get started after the first of the year” with a resolution to work harder, but the holiday season is a great chance for you to slide in to job openings as those hibernating species create less competition.

Statistics provided by CareerBuilder.com show that job seekers slow down their search in December, but get back into gear in January creating almost 20% more unique searches with only a 5% increase in job posts than in December. Hiring authorities are scheduling interviews and making hiring plans for the New Year right now!

All dressed up and nowhere to go? How about a holiday party?

For those of you out of work, this should be an opportunity to expand your network. People who are currently working are there to blow off steam, relax, and socialize, so you don’t want to be too aggressive, but take advantage of this time to meet new people to tap into for referrals.

Before you go:

When you RSVP, call the host/hostess instead of emailing and ask who else might be attending and if he/she knows where they work. Remember: knowledge is power- look up the other guests on LinkedIn and connect prior to the party. You can say in your LinkedIn invite, “looking forward to seeing you at so-and-so’s party next week. I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network.”

In social situations reaching out to attendees in advance may open a door for a conversation you wouldn’t have otherwise had by gaining familiarity prior to meeting them in person. Being able to strike up a conversation quickly will set you apart from the other guests.

As with any networking, knowing your unique value proposition before you leave the house in your finest business-casual duds is important. Practice in the mirror before you go. Smile and take mints and business contact cards with you as well as pen and paper to write contact info and names.

While you’re there:

Most professionals don’t carry business cards with them in social settings so be prepared to offer yours and make sure you take notes of who to follow up with after the party.

Have fun and fit in. Having a glass of water between wines will keep you hydrated and ensure you’re not consuming too much alcohol to make a good first impression. Remember- the first impression is a lasting one so make sure you appear professional even in a casual, relaxed holiday setting. Eat prior to the party so you aren’t sidling up to a potential employer with a full mouth.

People like to talk about themselves so be prepared with a list of questions you can ask that could lead into work related conversation.

“So, how do you know the so and so’s?” or “How did you meet the so and so’s?”

Many times people are at parties and don’t know the hosts. You can move into
“Oh, well, I know them from XYZ. So, what kind of work do you do?”

Follow up:

People are often more inclined to help during the holiday giving season so there is no reason to wait until after the holidays to reach out and follow up with someone. Remember, if you link with them on LinkedIn, you can see their email addresses so you don’t have to ask for it. Sending your resume with a thoughtful cover letter about why you are interested in their company and asking for referrals is appropriate. If you don’t have the email address, send them a hard copy of your resume and cover letter via USPS Priority Mail.

Also, make sure you send your host/hostess a thank you note by mail or email, whatever you prefer. You can mention your job search after thanking them for hosting such a great event and that you’d appreciate them forwarding your resume onto people as they see fit or to specific individuals you haven’t been able to reach personally.

Other places you can meet professionals during the holidays:

• Soup kitchen/homeless shelter Thanksgiving dinner service
• Canned food drives
• Coat drives
• Church events
Toys for tots

Party hearty this holiday season and learn from the penguins, the coolest socialites around!

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