Avoid Bad Goodbye’s

Thought this job would be different.”
What did I get myself into and how do I get out?”
The company culture’s not what I thought it would be.”

DSC_0143Truth is: Great career matches don’t always happen.

The interview went well. The company appeared to be consistent with career goals. The culture felt comfortable…

. and then the honeymoon stage suddenly crashes to a screeching end as testified by new tossing, turning, and teeth grinding that not-so subtly replaced peaceful slumber.

Maybe this job and company isn’t the match I thought it would be.”

Coming to the realization that your job is not what you thought it would be, there are options when it’s time to part ways. As a career coach, I’ve heard and seen them all (well, almost all).

Let’s examine a few farewell options and potential consequence(s):

  • Remain silent: Don’t bother showing up the next day; becoming invisible by hiding your phone and not responding to any form of communication. Simply stated, this is not a positive way to say (or not say) goodbye.

    I know it can appear to be the path of least resistance but there are potential consequences you should be aware of. For example, as you move from company to company, so do others and, as a result, paths may cross once again. Imagine going to a final interview and the decision-maker happens to be the same lady you walked out on. Need I say more?

  • Saunter the alleyway of dishonesty: Placing the burden of departure on a third party or out of control circumstance may seem appealing but can also be lined with rusty edges. With social networking and transparency, deceit has a way of catching up with the most noblest of causes. In many industries, clubs, associations, and networking events more often than not bring out the truth.

    Take for example what happened to me not too long ago… after two months of working remotely, one of my employees kept delaying projects, blaming a destroyed hard drive, a broken engagement, a medical condition, and Internet issues as the reason(s) for not delivering material. Needless to say, I later found out this employee accepted a job from another publishing company and has been on the clock for both companies during a four-month period. Knowing the manager at the other publishing company, we engaged in a chat… the young lady who had two jobs at once suddenly had no job at all.

  • Broken promises: Trying to mitigate the situation by promising to continue  on a project or return equipment without actually delivering is not in your best interest. Employers recognize matches don’t always happen and are well-prepared to such break ups. With this said, a deceitful separation can be the most damaging of all.

    Over the past few months I had to let go one of my employees. During the exit interview, he stated he would complete a committed project and would return borrowed equipment. Great, I thought, only the weeks passed and nothing thus far.

  • Honesty: The best policy is to respectfully discuss the parting; calmly and professionally explain to your immediate supervisor the cause(s) of dissatisfaction. For the vast majority this may be the most difficult as emotions have a tendency to get in the way of rational thought; after all, you just want to get out and never look back… right?

    Truth be told, employers admire employees expressing confidence and the guts to come forward. Though difficult for some, benefits far outweigh a few anxious moments leading up to the discussion. Even if you’ve been working for a short period, character and doing the right thing is a lifting trait. Over the past ten years I’ve had numerous employees (some under the probationary period while many with over five years of experience working for me) openly and respectfully discuss their parting intent and the reasons behind their desire.

    The benefit of up-front honesty allowed me the opportunity to fix the issue(s) and retain a possibly great employee… making it right for all. Another reason (and perhaps the most compelling for the departing employee) is the potential reference and networking opportunity. Within the past few years I’ve sent several past employees job leads and made numerous professional introductions…

    . when it comes to character, nothing could be more valuable for most positions.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with you, to learn more about your company, and gain valuable insight. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the challenges and opportunities are something I can take advantage of right now…”

Saying goodbye can be a tricky proposition, filled with emotion, stress, anxiety, fear, and ultimate relief. Recognizing you are not the only party in the relationship, being open, respectful, and honest may be the best career move of your life. Hard to believe… but it’s true.

Career tip: Don’t have a bad goodbye. Do the right thing for all by controlling fear before fear controls your career.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a disadvantage, take control of your career by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

One thought on “Avoid Bad Goodbye’s”

  1. Hi Danny:

    This is great insight and the best way to deal with things. I truly believe these are great points. With that said, why are companies not accountable for the same policies? They have the right as we all know, to “fire at will”. As in an old case of getting let go for me, it was not accepting an offer of candy my Manager was giving away. I didn’t like licorice and was told I was giving her an attitude because I didn’t want to eat it. The Manager didn’t last in her position, but it didn’t help me for the situation.

    Can we be honest as well? I think being in a managerial position requires constant training, as rules, policies, time, laws and people’s outlook change. There are managers out there that don’t have a clue on how to treat people. They are simply put into the position because they are good workers. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good decision, but I think some people should be evaluated for that position.

    With all this spewed, how can someone clear their name if they are let go for reasons that are not proven because they didn’t do anything. They need job references and they now are in a position where they cannot depend on their ex-employer for a good recommendation.

    Thank you!

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