should resigning employees be asked to leave immediately, my raise was short, and more

by Ask a Manager on July 9, 2013

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It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Should resigning employees be asked to leave immediately?

If an employee puts in their notice, should you always let them work through the end date they have given? I think it’s fairly common for an employee to be walked out if they are going to a direct competitor. However, what if the concern is that they will be a distraction during their remaining time?

It’s entirely up to you, but it makes sense to base it on what you think the impact will be on the rest of the office during those two weeks. In general, in most industries it’s common to let people work out their notice periods (with some exceptions, such as the one you noted) unless you have reason to think it’s going to be a problem to have them still in the office — such as if the person is likely to be toxic or wasting other people’s time. In those cases, it’s fine to let them go early — but you should pay them for the full notice period anyway, both because (a) it’s fair and (b) other employees will be watching how you handle this, and will assume you’ll treat them accordingly when they resign. If you tell people to leave immediately and don’t pay them for their notice period, you’re setting yourself up to have other people not give notice at all when they leave.

Also, unless you have reason to worry about sabotage or other bad behavior, please don’t “walk people out.” These are professional adults who you trusted to work for you yesterday, so give them the dignity of not being escorted off your premises like a criminal.

2. My raise was short — should I say something?

Recently, after a department discussion involving several ongoing projects, my manager (a C-level officer in our organization) came to my office and stated she was increasing my pay from $22.50/hour to $25/hour, effective July 5. I think this was due to my level of participation during the meeting and compared to the performance other individuals in department over the past year or so.

My pay shows an increase only to $23.50… which is great but not the number she stated. I’m a little apprehensive about bringing it up since it was a spontaneous pay increase outside our annual review period, and because it was given rather that requested. Would you recommend bringing it up or should I just take what was given? I know it might be an uphill battle since it was not in writing.

Well, first, are you sure? If the increase wasn’t effective until July 5, it probably isn’t even showing up in your most recent check — or at least would only apply to part of that pay period.

But once you’ve sorted that out, if it’s still short, yes, you should absolutely say something. She told you that you were getting X, so when you got Y instead, you should assume that there’s been a mistake and you should fix it. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is as a manager to have something like this happen and have the person not even speak up so that the problem can be corrected. (And really, think about what you’re saying about her — that you’re faster to assume she screwed you on the pay increase than that it’s a simple, easily correctable mistake.)

It doesn’t matter that it was outside the normal raise period or that you didn’t ask for it. She told you X, you got Y, so there’s a mistake somewhere and you should raise it to get it fixed.

3. Can I approach a customer for job advice?

I am a recent graduate still working in the restaurant industry and concurrently looking for field-related employment–media/communications. Every once in a while, I notice the CEO for a local news-media company come into the restaurant. He’s a rather prominent local figure, and always has an entourage of fellows joining him for lunch. I find him a very interesting man, and regularly keep up with his and his company’s work. Would it be inappropriate for me to discreetly solicit him, tell him my aspirations and situation, and ask for advice? What about even asking where I should seek an entry-level position?

I’d like to tell you yes, because sometimes this kind of thing does pay off, but be aware that (a) he may be annoyed to have his lunch interrupted and may brush you off and (b) your current employer might not be thrilled about you approaching customers like this. If you’re willing to risk both those things, I say go for it.

4. Explain resume gaps caused by a medical issue that isn’t fully in the past

How do I explain gaps in my resume caused by a medical issue without going into detail or inviting further questions on the subject?

I graduated in 2011 and am still looking for my first entry-level job. I took some time off after college to deal with chronic pain that turned out to be fibromyalgia–something that can be managed, but not cured. After a year of unemployment, I took a job in retail while still working with my doctor on finding a treatment. It turned out to be more physically demanding than my previous retail positions, and after six months I made the difficult decision to quit without having anything else lined up. Luckily I found an unpaid internship a month later that is more suited to what ultimately I want to be doing, but I’m still at a loss for how to explain my brief stint at my last job, not to mention the year-long gap before that.

I’ve been using the vague “medical reasons” to explain both, but then interviewers always seem to want some assurance that it’s all in the past. The most I can honestly say is that I don’t let it affect my performance, but I worry that by disclosing that I have an ongoing medical issue at all, I’m giving off the impression that I’m less capable than a completely healthy candidate. On the other hand, I don’t want to look like I quit my last job on a whim and was just slacking off for a year before that. How can I explain my job history without opening the can of worms that is my medical history?

Say that it was due to “medical issues that have since been resolved.” They’ve been resolved in the sense that they’re no longer affecting your performance, right? That’s what employers want to know, and that’s all they’re entitled to know. “Since been resolved” doesn’t have to mean “I no longer have the illness”; it can mean “it’s not an issue in my work life anymore.”

5. Applying for a job when you don’t have the preferred certification

I was looking at a job posting recently when it said: “X certification preferred.”

If you do not have this certification, should you/how do you approach this preference? In the cover letter, saying what?

Also, most certifications are not cheap. Many cost over $1,000. I want to say that I would be willing to take the certification, but at the same time, I am hesitant to say that I would pay for it myself, etc. What do you recommend?

I wouldn’t even address it — it’s a preferred qualification, not a requirement, and the reality is that you don’t have it. Saying that you’re willing to get it in the future isn’t likely to impact their assessment of your candidacy, and you definitely don’t want to get into “I’d take it if you help cover the cost” caveats in a cover letter. Instead, talk about achievements you do have, particularly if they illustrate the sorts of skills taught by the certification.

6. I didn’t get a bonus when I was out on maternity leave

I’ve worked for a very small startup company for the past three years. The first two, we received end-of-year bonuses even though we weren’t generating significant sales. In 2012, we had a much better year and hit some big milestones. We are only a few people so we all work very hard and I know my contributions to the growth of the company are not disputable.

I had a baby in early December, and I was on (unpaid) maternity leave for a few months. I noticed that I didn’t receive a bonus, and it wasn’t mentioned by our CEO (I report directly to her). I thought that maybe it would be addressed when I returned in the spring, but it never was. I’m worried that the rest of the company did receive bonuses, and our CEO thinks that because I was on leave that I wouldn’t receive one. I think that since I worked 11/12ths of the year, I should receive 11/12ths of the bonus I would have received.

Would it be appropriate to ask if bonuses were given out last year? If they were, is my thinking correct about my being entitled to one? I also haven’t had a performance review in 18+ months, so if I am considering asking for a review and, given there aren’t any unforeseen negatives, asking for an increased salary — would that be a good time to ask about the bonus, or should I just let it go in favor of asking for the increased salary?

You can certainly ask. Keep in mind that bonuses are generally a retention strategy, not a reward for past work (even if they’re framed that way), so if a company doesn’t think a bonus will help retain you (which can be the case during maternity leave, rightly or wrongly), they may pass you over. That said, giving a bonus to everyone but the person out on maternity leave is fraught with potential legal issues, so I think you could certainly raise it (without the legal threat — let them figure that concern out on their own).

7. Manager said he’d hire me but hasn’t followed up

I’m more confused then anything. I got my first interview ever. I am a college student, and for those of us with odd schedules it is hard to find jobs. So I went to my interview, and it was awesome. The manager emailed me the same day for a second interview. The second interview came around, and we sat and talked and he said that I for sure had the job and to come back a certain day to fill something out on his desktop. I went there on that day and filled out what I needed to, and he said he’d be in touch in 7-10 days. It never happened. I called recently, a little over two weeks ago, since I’ve been waiting for some type of reply from him, and he said I needed to be patient with him because he was training someone. Now it’s been over a month and I feel toyed with. I mean, if I didn’t get the job, why didn’t he call or email? Smoke signals something? I don’t feel as though I am being impatient. I feel I deserve some type of explanation as to what’s going on.

Yes, you deserve an explanation. But if you count on getting one, you might be setting yourself up for frustration.

He probably did intend to hire you — maybe he still does. But he’s clearly either disorganized or sidetracked by higher priority items, or both. He might have plans to hire you at some vague point in the future, not thinking about the fact that you’re looking for a job now. Or he might no longer plan to hire you at all and is being cowardly about telling you that. Either way, your best bet is to move on and find a job somewhere else. You can still check in with this guy in a few weeks if you want to, but I’d assume that this one has fallen through or is likely to fall through and move on. (And welcome to the job market — this kind of thing isn’t uncommon, unfortunately.)

{ 114 comments… read them below or add one }

EE July 9, 2013 at 12:13 am

“Also, unless you have reason to worry about sabotage or other bad behavior, please don’t “walk people out.” These are professional adults who you trusted to work for you yesterday, so give them the dignity of not being escorted off your premises like a criminal.”

Yes, this is so insulting when it happens! One summer in college I was temping week-to-week in the mortgages section of a bank. It was so slow I had no idea why they were hiring temps at all, so I wasn’t surprised when I was told late one Friday afternoon there was no more work for me. I offered to finish out the day but was told no, we need to escort you out now and take your access card from you at the door.

I realize that banks may have extra security concerns but this was a purely admin role nowhere near any cash. It’s just humiliating.

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Lindsay J July 9, 2013 at 12:17 am

I got walked out when I was fired from my last job. I really didn’t see any point other than to make my firing more obvious and therefore more humiliating. (Not that I was humiliated, but I feel like that’s what they were going for).

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anon July 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I was laid off during a large round and I was escorted out by the receptionist, who had a blatant prescription drug problem but was being kept on, so I know exactly how your feel.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

I’ve done it as part of a firing when I had specific reason to be concerned that the person would otherwise be disruptive in leaving. But doing it as the default when you don’t have any particular concerns about the person is a crappy practice.

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Sally July 9, 2013 at 12:44 am

I was left in a dark cafeteria with no badge to get out of the building until a lower manager came down to let me out. Good times!

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Liz T July 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Whoa, you need a badge to get OUT? Major fire hazard!

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LMW July 9, 2013 at 10:21 am

At every company I’ve worked at, management has to walk a leaving employee out due to the badge system.
At my first company, instead of making the fired employee leave right away, the standard practice was to hold simultaneous meetings, inform the staff and send everyone else home, giving the employee time to pack up in peace. It was kind of odd, and often meant the fired person would wander around and say goodbye to everyone but their own team, but you could see the company was trying to be kind. (When my first boss was fired, it was a really uncomfortable, hostile atmosphere — we’d all been individually interviewed about her confidentially in a storage closet — and I felt bad that I didn’t get to say goodbye, even though it was obvious we needed a change. She did leave her office plant on my desk though….)

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tcookson July 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

we’d all been individually interviewed about her confidentially in a storage closet

Okay, this is kind of funny, imagining the intrigue of various employees being pulled into a storage closet for confidential interviews with management. Reminds me of “The Office ” episode where Jim assigned Ryan “the Temp” to an office in the closet and closed the door on him.

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Elizabeth West July 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Agreed. I got laid off right after lunch, while my coworker left right before I did (both our jobs were eliminated). He was packing up as I was coming back–I thought he was moving desks, until he walked up to me, escorted by a manager, shook my hand, and said “Um..bye.” Then my phone rang. 0_0

My manager stood over me while I packed up. It made me angry, when I wasn’t before–I was very polite and reasonable when they told me, so why stand there like a security guard? And why not wait til the end of the day, so I could leave with some freaking dignity?

What it did NOT do was make me feel like crap. I’m not crap. They are–for handling it that way. I do not own their crap.

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EngineerGirl July 9, 2013 at 1:23 am

When current employees see a former employee treated with such disrespect it can only erode the relationship with those remaining. Because current employee is thinking “so that’s what they think of us!”. I use the term “us” because it is highly likely that current employee still sees former employee as a member of the team. Relationships don’t break down that quickly.

You have the opportunity to transition the former employees work over to others with minimal disruption if you continue to let them work for the full 2 weeks. Otherwise the other employees will have to suddenly shoulder a larger load with no hand-over meetings. They won’t be resenting former employee over that. They’ll be resenting you.

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Chocolate Teapot July 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

Yes, the classic “They just disappeared” approach. Or even worse, the not finding out somebody has left until their email address bounces.

I gave a month’s notice just before the Christmas holidays once and was told that I could finish at the end of that week “and start your Christmas holidays early.” Thankfully, this meant I had a bit of time to sort out the transition, and say goodbye to people, but I once had to parcel up the contents of a departed employee’s desk drawer, which was not fun.

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ChristineSW July 9, 2013 at 10:23 am

The disappearing act is just so….awkward. I can completely understand that an employer doesn’t want to make a big production out of someone resigning or being let go, but I honestly think that, at the very least, immediate team members and those in other departments who may need to be in contact with the person have the right to be informed in a timely manner.

Although…in the first couple of years at one job in a fairly large organization, they would generally send out a mass email saying that so-and-so is no longer with the organization; it never said “fired” or “let go”, but the tone made that pretty clear to me. Sure, it eliminates the disappearing trick, but I would feel really awkward if an entire organization knew that I’d likely been fired.

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Felicia July 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm

We would get such emails about 3 weeks after people just disappeared, when everyone already noticed but was afraid to ask. Though at that company, 5 people were fired or let go in a single month…none on the same day. So they were just there one day, and gone the next.

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Windchime July 9, 2013 at 5:09 pm

We get these kinds of emails, too. “This is to inform you that Wakeen Smith is no longer an employee. We wish him well in his future endeavors.” Or sometimes for higher ranking people, “Jane Jones resigned and yesterday was her last day.”

We’ve never really had the disappearing thing happen here. There was a recent reduction in force in a certain department, and an email went out stating the names of the employees as well as stating that they would be given full severance and the reason for the layoff (reduction in calls). I thought it was a nice communication because the way it was worded made it very clear that it was not the fault of the laid-off employees at all.

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littlemoose July 9, 2013 at 10:45 am

+1. It’s kind of like that adage about cheating romantic partners – if they cheated with you, they’ll cheat on you. If your employer will treat one departing employee that way, they’ll eventually do it to current employees too.

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QualityControlFreak July 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Very true, and it reminds me of when I resigned from a previous position.

We had a brand new Department Head who was positively bent on making his mark, and he had zero respect for employees, or first-level management (or even customers who thought they knew what they wanted, because of course, he knew better).

When I resigned, I was called into DH’s office along with my boss. DH was visibly furious. I had given two weeks notice, and his first statement was that today would be my last day, and we would consider the two weeks severance pay. Until he looked over at my boss’s face (bunny in the headlights) and then fumbled out something about “needing some time for turnover.” (Yes, I had been doing a lot of my boss’s job.)

Really bummed me out; I had worked there a looong time and that would’ve been the only two consecutive weeks of paid vacation I ever took. Sigh.

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LisaLyn July 9, 2013 at 7:26 am

And this person resigned! I mean, I guess in the case of a firing, I can see being worried about retaliation more, but people leave jobs. It should be handled with respect all the way around.

And yes, the person is trying to be professional by giving two weeks notice. This isn’t usually done for the employee’s benefit, but for the employer so that they are not suddenly out a person. I know when I’ve been leaving for another job, the notice period was painful because I was anxious to get started at the new place. So, just another aspect of the tone of the OP towards the employee that’s making me think I have some suspicions as to why the person is leaving …

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Flynn July 9, 2013 at 9:47 am

And if THEY resign, and you’re* worried about them stealing information or something, what’s to stop them doing that before they actually tell you anything? If your employees know that their last day is as soon as they hand their notice in, and *were* actually untrustworthy, then that just changes the timescale a bit.

*generic employer you.

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dejavu2 July 9, 2013 at 11:01 am

Absolutely. I’m not a shady person, but I’ve never given notice at a job without first gathering up files that belong to me or that I’d like to use in the future for writing samples.

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Elizabeth West July 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Or cleaning up my computer.

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Lalaith July 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

EXACTLY. This sort of policy does not do anything to prevent wrongdoing by someone who’s leaving of their own volition. It just makes it harder for the people who want to help the transition happen smoothly to do so. I had a friend who worked at a company like that, and when he left he had to sort of “hint” and speak in hypotheticals about things other people “might” have to take over “if” he left. So annoying.

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Just a Reader July 9, 2013 at 9:59 am

I wasn’t walked out, but after I gave my notice, one employer moved me to the cube furthest away from civilization with no furniture and a dead plant, and instructed the rest of the staff not to speak to me for my final two weeks. This made my last project very very rough.

They then proceeded to badmouth me to all my external contacts. I lost a relationship with a contact at Deloitte after the president was done smearing me to anyone who would listen.

I have been very, very careful about every job I’ve taken since then.

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littlemoose July 9, 2013 at 10:47 am

That is so very crappy. I’m sorry that happened to you.

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Just a Reader July 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thanks…it was a long time ago. And really, I should have seen it coming based on how they treated employees.

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Chinook July 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I agree that walking someone out is insluting of they have been nothing but professional. I remember working in retail where I was the only one in the store and would have to count the money, make the bank deposit and close the store regularly. I gave my 2 week’s notice one mornign and, and hour before closing, the boss’s son (whom I had never met) came in and started counting the cash. Halfway through the till, he look at me in surprise and said “You can go home now.” I asked him what was going on since I said I would still do my next weeks and the boss had not mentioned otherwise, he said that it was policy not to let those who resign to close the till. I just looked at him and said, “If I wanted to steal from you, I had plenty of time to do it before hand and you would have been none the wise. Why would I start now?” I still can’t believe that the boss basically saw me as a thief in waiting.

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Vicki July 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm

I also want to thank you for this.
I’ve been laid off three times (over a 25 year span).

The first time was polite. We had plenty of time to pack and weren’t required to turn in our badges for a week.

The second two times, each person was told to leave, now, by the back door near the meeting room, “and do not come back”. The company would pack our offices and ship our stuff.

The third time I was allowed to come in to pack, under the watchful gaze of my manager (he actually spent the time using his mobile and helped me to carry things out.)

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Vicki July 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm

The second time (not two times).

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Vicki July 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

In all three situations, there was no information given to the remaining employees. All three were “Their phones done’t answer and they just seem to be gone.”

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Lindsay J July 9, 2013 at 12:14 am

For number 3 is there a way that you can get some contact information from him – mention that you’d like to connect with him on LinkedIn or something?

If you are able to get this information, then you can contact him outside of his lunch hours. This way you aren’t bothering him while he is with his entourage, aren’t taking time out of his lunch hours with questions, and aren’t seen by your managers as somebody who is bothering their customers or soliciting new jobs during lunch time. I think he might be more receptive if you find a way to establish contact with him at another time, and you’re not risking getting in trouble at your current job, either.

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WWWONKA July 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

#4 Should it be addressed on the resume or the cover letter to alleviate the problem of someone disqualifying you because they do not have that information?

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Jessa July 9, 2013 at 12:54 am

Regarding the raise, I’m with Alison, first make absolutely sure the cheque you’ve gotten is supposed to contain the raise if it’s not due til the 5th July. Because really that cheque should only contain a few hours with the raise included not the whole week or two weeks (depending on how you get paid.)

On the other hand if it actually shows your hourly rate wrong, then I’d ask. But if you’re dividing out hours and getting the wrong number, it’s probably because only a few days are at the new rate and the rest are at the old one.

Not to mention unless that particular manager is flakey, I would pretty much presume error rather than malice.

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L July 9, 2013 at 1:26 am

I saw a woman who was laid off after a decade of loyal service walked out with her stuff in a box simply because they were restructuring. Awful!

And per the bonus, I would definitely say something! I was out for 3 months of a year that was used to calculate a bonus for maternity leave and still got the full bonus. Unless you work for a small company on a shoestring budget, I personally think the ill will created by those kinds of little petty issues just isn’t worth the risk to employee morale. Compared to the costs of running a company (I’m in accounting), a little employee happiness is pretty cheap.

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CoffeeLover July 9, 2013 at 1:51 am

#3 You don’t have to go into full solicitation mode. If you have a chance to speak with him one-on-one (before his friends arrive), then just mention you’re a fan of his work and that you’re familiar with it because your trying to break into that industry. Flattery can take you far. :)

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Just a Reader July 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

I like this. Approaching at all seems awkward and icky to me, but if you must, this is a nice way to soft pedal it.

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MovingRightAlong July 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I was thinking the same thing, but then I also find it off putting when strangers walk up to me and want to talk about pretty much anything. Asking for career advice out of the blue would be kind of weird when I’m trying to eat lunch. For that reason, I think I’d employ the less direct approach of 1) expressing admiration for his work/the work of his company; 2) explaining how this connects to your own aspirations (e.g. is this person an inspiration to you?); and finally 3) mentioning that, due to 1 & 2, you’d value any advice he may have to offer someone in your position. That way, he can either accept or decline the solicitation gracefully and you lessen the chance of creating an awkward situation.

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Confused July 9, 2013 at 3:26 am

4.
Alison, What if your medical issue is not entirely in the past? What if you have physical restrictions as a result of a medical issue?

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KellyK July 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

I think it depends on whether the physical restrictions mean you’ll need accommodations for the job you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for a position where it wouldn’t be an issue, you could mention it vaguely. “I had to leave job X because the heavy lifting involved in unloading trucks was aggravating a medical issue,” shouldn’t hurt you too much in a job where no heavy lifting is required.

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Victoria Nonprofit July 9, 2013 at 10:57 am

I’m also curious about this. It seems possible that the OP’s fibromyalgia will continue to be an issue; she might need accommodations (or a workplace that is generally flexible). The same could be true for a number of other conditions: depression, MS, etc.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2013 at 11:07 am

If you can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, it’s illegal for them to discriminate against you — but it happens anyway, so it’s not something you want to disclose until you have a job offer. At that point, you could discuss what accommodations you need, if any.

But I’d still explain the earlier gap as “a health issue that has since been resolved” because it has indeed been resolved to the point that you can now work again.

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GeekChic July 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

While I agree with AAM’s advice (because many places will discriminate) I tended to disclose during the interview and I have also needed to disclose before the interview because I needed accommodations for the interview itself (and my impairment was obvious at the time). I did this largely because I wasn’t interested in educating a workplace on how to be non-discriminatory (and, really, how to be decent human beings).

That said, other than my first job I was always applying while I still had employment – which is a luxury many do not have. And it did make getting that first job after my first bout with cancer very difficult (and very time consuming).

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Another Job Seeker July 9, 2013 at 4:18 am

#3 – I’d be a bit hesitant about doing this for two reasons.

1. If the CEO sees you looking for another job while you are working, might he be concerned that you might do the same thing if he hires you and you decide you want to leave?
2. The CEO might mention (to others) that you contacted him about a position with his firm while you were working at the restaurant. I’m not saying he would do this maliciously; it just might come out in conversations with others who may or may not be discreet.

I like the idea of looking him up on LinkedIn. You also might try Googling him to find out what professional organizations he is part of. You might be able to network with him and others in your field through some of these organizations. Best to you in your job search!

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Anne July 9, 2013 at 5:13 am

I’m not sure those are actually negatives. There’s nothing wrong with working in a restaurant when you’re just out of college, or with looking for jobs actually relevant to your degree while you work there. If you have a Communications degree, I don’t think leaving your waitress job for a Communications job really says anything about how you will approach the longevity of future jobs. It’s accepted.

Similarly, we just hired a software developer who had been working at a clothing store since finishing his degree. He was desperate to get out of there ASAP. He’s been here for a few months and is performing remarkably well. I’m not at all concerned about him leaving anytime soon.

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FiveNine July 9, 2013 at 7:06 am

I’m surprised by the responses because it’s so obvious that speaking to the CEO in person, at the restaurant, in itself is THE network opportunity of a lifetime for the OP.

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Wilton Businessman July 9, 2013 at 7:30 am

I’ve got to agree, you just have to be careful on how you do it. Quite frankly, he may consider your drive to be a very strong positive. You just have to stay on this side of “stalking”….

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Joey July 9, 2013 at 9:34 am

Its a crapshoot and definitely depends on your technique. If it comes off as a pitch or too forced you risk it going bad. I know Id be slightly perturbed if a waiter tried to pitch me for a job when I’m mid bite or having a conversation with my table. But if it feels natural it probably won’t offend him and you can easily tell your boss you’re doing it to keep him coming back to the restaurant.

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bmulder July 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

OP here– I’d like to add that my waiting job is completely expendable to me.

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FiveNine July 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Been there, OP. I’m sure you’ve noticed the more social of your wait staff chatting up a storm with customers about all sorts of things — personal to the customer and otherwise. (I honestly cannot remember any wait staff being fired for anything like this, or management even having an issue with it.) I know you know it can be done correctly (you’re worried only because you care so much, whereas if you didn’t care as much you might already have said something light in passing to the CEO, or not. I know, it depends.) Good luck whatever you choose!

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dejavu2 July 9, 2013 at 11:06 am

+1 to all of these. OP has to do it right, which will require gauging the situation in ways that none of us can do from afar, but done correctly this could be a home run. I think the LinkedIn stalking idea is actually a little creepy.

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fposte July 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

It’s a lot likelier to be helpful if the CEO doesn’t have a big public persona and isn’t approached all the time. (I don’t think it would get you very far with Ted Turner, for instance.) Regional prominence is grey enough that I think it’s worth a careful try, but be alert to the response and to backing off if it’s not welcomed.

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Anne July 9, 2013 at 5:07 am

#3 – From the mention of “keeping up” with him, I’m making the assumption that you sometimes have casual chat with him while he’s having lunch. In which case, I’d definitely ask, casually, during a conversation like that. If he doesn’t want to have his lunch interrupted by it he will brush you off, which is completely fair, but he might give you an encouraging word at least. (But Alison does make a good point that your current employer might not like it, so… YMMV.)

When I had just finished college, I was working in a call centre giving market research surveys over the phone. It was pretty terrible work. But one day I called up a university for a very in-depth survey – they valued the research we were doing, so they were quite co-operative, but it still took more than an hour. The woman talking to me said she was a bit surprised that I was taking so much trouble to make sure the data was accurate, and asked a little about me. She was really encouraging about my degree (philosophy!) and said to just stick it out, keep looking, better things would happen. Even that little bit of encouragement can make a big difference, you know? :)

It was such a contrast to my other calls that I actually remembered her name, and when I got my current job, I googled her and wrote a quick thank-you email. Completely against practice, but she was very gracious and said she remembered me. A lot of people really don’t mind being approached.

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Anonymous July 9, 2013 at 7:39 am

I read “keeping up with him” differently, as in his work. OP, can you clarify?

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bmulder July 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm

OP here– Yes, as in his work. Years ago he left his position as Editor-In-Chief at Texas Monthly to lead a smaller (and now, highly regarded) online media project. I keep up with his outlet’s podcasts–especially when he is featured–and with his show on the local public television station. Also, while I was in school I held an internship at the local Public Radio station where I took direction from some of that staff that also happen to work for him. I feel like the window of opportunity for this conversation would be limited, so would have to strategically float that association… all while sounding, natural. A feat.

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NutellaNutterson July 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Work on your “elevator pitch” and prepared to have it be just a sentence or two as you’re seating or welcoming him. PLEASE don’t ask him for advice on where to get an entry-level job. That’s getting into JFGI territory, where what you want is to give an impression as a potential future colleague.

It might be enough to say something like (forgive my googling, but he’s pretty easy to find) “Mr Smith, while I was in the media program at UT Austin, I had the opportunity to intern with Joe, Sue, and Mary over at the PBS station, and they all had wonderful things to say about you. Waiting tables is paying my bills for now. My passion is Texas politics, and I hope one day soon I’ll have the opportunity to work at the Tribune, too.”

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Malissa July 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm

There’s your perfect opening. Mention that you liked an idea of his or something from his latest pod cast. It’s reasonable that you would run across that while surfing the web. It’s even reasonable that you might say something to him about it, especially something complimentary. You could even mention that you would love to talk to him about his work at another time if possible.

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Another Job Seeker July 9, 2013 at 5:16 am

#1

I have a question about this. It seems from the answers here that the assumption is that employees who resign tell the company that they are leaving where their new job is. (Otherwise, their company would not know whether they are planning to go to a competitor). Is it considered rude not to share where you are planning to work with your current co-workers once you get a new job?

I am looking for another job. When I find one, I do not plan to tell my current co-workers where I am going. If I am asked, I will be vague (“I have some opportunities to investigate”, “Sleeping for 2 weeks sounds good”, “I’ll probably think about it while I’m on vacation”, etc). Once I find my new position, I’m thinking of taking a vacation – so that last statement is true (LOL). I don’t want my co-workers to know where I am going because I don’t want them to call my new employer and make negative comments about me. “Oh, Jane is so dedicated to X. If I were you, though, I wouldn’t let her touch Y”. Or, “You’re so fortunate to have Jane working for you now! I’m so jealous…we’re scrambling to replace her so that Project X that she was working on doesn’t fall behind schedule”. (I work in a very dysfunctional, gossipy environment).

This is not an issue of performance. Every evaluation I have received has been the equivalent of a 1 or a 2 (1-5 scale; 1 is the highest). I’m also grateful to have a job – I know that there are plenty of people who would love to trade places with me. I’m just tired of dealing with nonsense.

I appreciate your thoughts. I am not bitter, and I don’t want to burn bridges. However, I also do not want my new employer to be influenced by negative comments my current co-workers might make.

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FiveNine July 9, 2013 at 7:10 am

Every boss I’ve ever known immediately asks upfront where the employee is going. Presumably largely to congratulate the person. Maybe also to know immediately if it’s a competitor and there needs to be a different exit protocol, I don’t know.

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Wilton Businessman July 9, 2013 at 7:28 am

Really, they forget you the day you’re out the door. They’re not going to call your next employer and tell them not to let Jane touch Y.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to burn that bridge. You might need them in the future for a reference or to verify employment and you don’t want a cloud hanging over your name.

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Colette July 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

Agreed. There’d be no benefit to them to call up your new employer – and unless you’re moving to a 2-person company, the odds are they would have to go through a lot of trouble to reach someone who even knows who you are before you start. If they pulled something like this, they’d come off as strange and out of touch.

If, on the other hand, you treat your new employer as a state secret, it makes you look like you don’t have any perspective (and also means you can’t do things like use Linked In).

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Cat July 9, 2013 at 8:51 am

Yeah, most jobs, where you work isn’t a secret, even from people you don’t like or are not close to, and it’s weird to treat it like one. (Especially these days when a lot of employers have websites and the like that list most of their employees.)

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J.B. July 9, 2013 at 8:45 am

I would definitely tell my boss where I’m going. For coworkers, I wouldn’t necessarily specify unless they ask. I’m not really sure why a coworker would call a future boss, if its a really toxic environment I guess (???) they could say something to worker bees they know, but why that would influence anyone???

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Joey July 9, 2013 at 8:57 am

Some may consider it rude, but they have no right to. All you really have to tell them is that you’re resigning. You can always just say for personal reasons if they ask or push.

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Mimi July 9, 2013 at 9:03 am

I struggled with this same issue when I resigned from my last job. My former boss was great, but her boss was very vindictive, and we didn’t care for each other much. I was concerned that he would find out where I’d been hired and somehow sabotage my job offer.

I ended up sharing my concerns with my former boss, who assured me that her boss wouldn’t do that. She pointed out it would take extra effort for him to go to that trouble (which I didn’t think would be a problem for him!), and that it would ultimately just make him look bad to my new employer. And in retrospect, with all of my co-workers asking about my new job, it would have looked really, really strange if I had refused to tell them where I was going.

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Yup July 9, 2013 at 9:47 am

I always tell my boss where I’m headed just because it’s difficult to keep it a secret. People always find out. So I prefer to deliver the info on my terms. I usually give my notice like this:

“I’m sad to say that I’m resigning my position here with Teapots Inc. I’ve accepted a position as a Senior Glazer with Teacups Co. I’ll be very sorry to leave everyone here at Teapots Inc. It’s been a tremendous experience and I thank you for all the great opportunities I’ve had here.”

I’ve never had a former employer trash talk me to a new employer after a resignation. I just can’t conceive of why they’d do this. I’m sure it’s happened at some point in the universe, but all it does is make the trash talker look unprofessional and petty.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2013 at 9:51 am
Flynn July 9, 2013 at 9:54 am

I think it would fall under stuff like answering generic personal questions. Technically nobody else’s business, entirely your right to keep private (and some people have especial need to do so), but in general, you’re going to be looked at oddly for making a fuss about it and it’s not going to be worth the hassle of keeping it secret.

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CH July 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Living in the DC area, I know a couple of people who work for the CIA, but they never really talk about it and are very vague with acquaintances. I smiled as I imagined the scene when they left their old jobs and were asked where they were going: “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you.”

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Operativenope July 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I considered applying with the CIA earlier in my career. I had the qualifications and thought it might be an interesting job. The application process is insane and even before you start applying, they tell you not to disclose the fact that you are applying with the CIA to anyone.

My ex-husband applied for a job with the FBI. We’d been divorced about two years when he did that. I was interviewed by an agent about our dating life, where we had gone on dates, things we said, etc. It was a very odd experience. We were on good terms so there was no hatred or animosity there, but it was strange to have to think back to our dating days when we’d been divorced already. He didn’t ultimately end up getting a job with the FBI, but the processes for interviewing and hiring with those agencies are something else!

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LMW July 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

I had a coworker who left my old company for a new position. I ran into her in the hall a day or two after the announcement (which didn’t say where) and said “Hey, congratulations on the new gig. Where are you going?” She stiffly said “I’m not disclosing that at this time,” and walked away. I thought it was weird, but who really cares? A few coworkers got almost the same reaction, and it actually went a long way towards spoiling the general good will people had towards her — not because she didn’t tell people, but because she was snotty about it. Everyone in the department was happy for her initially — she had a reputation as a hard worker, and it was a good point for her to move onward and upward (no place for her to go there). People were happy for her new opportunity. Within two weeks she managed to turn that around, so people were glad she was gone and instead of thinking of all her years there positively, focused exclusively on the negatives.

Of course, I’ve run into her at the agency where she now works -the company I work at now is a big client of theirs.

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Forrest July 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm

People are way too sensitive if someone’s years of hard work can be undone in their minds simply because they don’t want to disclose where they’re going.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2013 at 1:02 pm

The problem is that it’s such bizarre and outside-the-norm behavior that it makes the person look really odd.

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Forrest July 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I totally understand that. But to say people’s opinion of someone who had put in years of hard work and had an excellent reputation at a company is gone simply because they won’t say where they’re going? Its a little ridiculous.

I get its odd that Jane won’t say where she’s going and she’s a little cold about it but I would just think “well, maybe she can’t” or whatever. I wouldn’t be all “Jane was wonderful and did a lot for me/this company but she wouldn’t answer my question in the ideal tone. Forget her!”

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LMW July 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I think that’s why it’s important to not be rude or snotty or lazy or bad mouth an organization as you leave — you can undo years of good work and all people remember is how you acted at the end.

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Mimi July 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm

That’s exactly how I didn’t want to come across…..I figured my paranoia about my boss’s boss wasn’t worth ruining the goodwill my co-workers and I had for one another.

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Tanja July 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

7- boss says “he is training someone”…. sounds like a not-so-gentle hint he hired someone else.

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ChristineSW July 9, 2013 at 10:10 am

That’s what I was thinking too.

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KellyK July 9, 2013 at 8:28 am

For #1, I would add that if you have people leave immediately but do pay them, their coworkers have no way to know that, and it may look just as bad as asking them to leave immediately and not paying their notice. If you have a security, competition, or other pressing reason to have people leave immediately, I would make sure employees know that if they don’t get to work out their notice, they will still be paid for it.

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Anne July 9, 2013 at 8:38 am

Might be a good thing to make clear in the employee handbook.

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KellyK July 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Definitely!

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evilintraining July 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

#1: My brother-in-law was asked not to work his two-week notice when he left Pepsi for Coca-Cola. Perfectly understandable. BUT they 1) did not do a “walk of shame” and 2) paid him for his two-week notice period.

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VintageLydia July 9, 2013 at 9:42 am

2. I understand why someone would assume malice in this situation (how many times have people been told that they need to be grateful to even have jobs, let alone getting a raise!) but you need to let your knowledge about your boss supersede that. If she’s generally a pretty honest and fair person, it was either a mistake, or your hourly rate on your stub was an average between your old and new wages.

3. My best friend works at a restaurant while finishing her degree and has a lot of regulars who work in industries that she’s considering going into. They’ve all been pretty helpful giving advice and many even say that want her resume as soon as she graduates. So I don’t think it’s totally inappropriate to network on the job so long as you’re not interrupting their lunch too much and keep it pretty short and let him take the lead in the conversation and respect any hints that he rather be left alone.

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JR July 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

#6 My company will pro-rate the bonus based on the months are off on leave (this seems to be the case for the last few companies I’ve worked for).

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John July 9, 2013 at 9:50 am

About the smaller raise than expected – put me in the camp that would absolutely say something. I remember an employee I gave a raise to when he moved to a new city for me, only HR didn’t put it through properly and he was getting quite a bit less than he was supposed to.

He kept his mouth shut because he didn’t want to make waves. Fast forward 6 months and he put in his notice – he got a job at another company. When I asked why, he told me that he didn’t get the raise he was promised and this company was going to pay him the same amount I promised him.

I lost a good employee because he wouldn’t speak up on this issue.

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Wilton Businessman July 9, 2013 at 9:57 am

But, isn’t this also partly your responsibility to verify that payroll did what you requested?

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John July 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

Absolutely it was, though I don’t think it is completely my fault. I looked back and the paperwork was done correctly; we had a lot going on at the time and I just didn’t have the time to do it.

The point I was really trying to get across is that maybe the boss doesn’t know the full raise didn’t go through (if that is the case and it isn’t just because some days weren’t at the new rate as suggested in the article) and that the employee should speak up.

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the gold digger July 9, 2013 at 10:13 am

Shouldn’t you be able to trust that people will do what they are supposed to do?

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Wilton Businessman July 9, 2013 at 11:17 am

trust but verify.

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ChristineSW July 9, 2013 at 10:16 am

#1 – The only time “walking someone out” might be appropriate is if he/she were fired for willful misconduct or, as Alison suggested, there is a legitimate safety or security concern. Otherwise, the worker deserves to leave with his/her dignity intact.

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Just a Reader July 9, 2013 at 10:25 am

I worked in the creative agency world and walking out was common if someone was going to a competitor. And valid–the only thing an agency has is its intellectual property and it’s very easy to steal, and desirable to take with you.

My company let it be known that this was the policy only if you were going to a competitor, and it didn’t create any ill will.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2013 at 10:27 am

I’ve always been curious about these policies. Wouldn’t anyone planning to steal intellectual property just do so before resigning?

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Marie July 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

This is exactly what I was thinking. They would do the stealing before resigning.

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Just a Reader July 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

Sure, and I think that’s what usually happened. But you still don’t give them the keys to the kingdom when they’re going to your direct competition.

It’s also for client protection, not just of IP, but of knowledge that could be used to help competitors of clients directly or indirectly. In this type of agency, people are privy to a lot of sensitive knowledge, and it doesn’t make any sense to continue to give them access when they’re moving on. There were NDAs in place but breaking them is hard to prove.

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EngineerGirl July 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

You already gave them the keys to the kingdom. I always hear “we’re in a competitive industry” but that doesn’t fly with me. Many industries are super competitive and with the global economy many are now backed at the national level (we’re talking nationally backed spies). Hire honest people and back your NDAs. But treating someone like a pariah once they’ve given notice shows a lack of critical thinking. They decided to leave months before. Call walking someone out for what it really is – retaliation for having the “disloyalty” for looking elsewhere.

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EngineerGirl July 9, 2013 at 11:21 am

And BTW , a true thief wouldn’t resign. They usually just disappear.

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Just a Reader July 9, 2013 at 11:33 am

Sorry, but that’s just not true. Clients are uncomfortable with people who’ve resigned due to the need to protect their own businesses, and again, NDAs are rarely enforceable because you can’t trace leaks back to the source.

Given that your screen name includes “engineer,” I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you don’t understand the industry or its sensitivities. This is a common, industry-wide practice, and anyone who leaves for a competitor knows what they’re signing up for.

FTR, I left to go in-house at a company that was competitive to one of my current clients and was given nothing but courtesy and respect while I worked through my entire notice period. The walking-out rule has nothing to do with retaliation.

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Tax Nerd July 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm

The Big Four accounting firms walk people out when they resign to go to direct competitors in town. I went through it back in the day. There were no hard feelings, because it was understood that that’s they way it is. (And I had already surreptitiously cleaned out my desk.)

Yes, anyone wanting to take a client list or other sensitive document will have already made a copy, but why give them extra time to try to take clients or other employees with them?

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rw July 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Walking resigning employees out to protect sensitive information still doesn’t make any logical sense. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in because every company in every industry has its proprietary information. If the employee were going to steal or leak any sensitive information, then they would have done so long before they gave notice.

And if the walking-out rule is due to client pressure because they feel uncomfortable with a resigning employee working with them (i.e. loyalty concerns), then yes, that is a form of retaliation.

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Pamela July 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

#1.

I am actually going to give my resignation before my shift today…hope I don’t get walked out..lol. They didn’t with the last person who resigned, but still, I worry.

(I’m having some anxiety because of having to give resignation…I didn’t need to read this article today..lol.)

I got a new job a few blocks down from my current employer that is full-time, pays insanely well, and is an ideal job for me. And they would like me to start as soon as possible – with an understanding that I do need to give my current position notice.

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LisaLyn July 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

I’m sure it will be fine! And congrats on your new job!

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Pamela July 9, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks! :)

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Anne July 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

Congratulations!

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Elizabeth West July 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Yay new awesome job! Congratulations!

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Judy July 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

For #6. At a F100 company, I was on maternity leave when the annual raises were given out which is the same day each year. I asked about it in my first discussion with my boss when I returned, he gave me my end of year review from the previous year at that time, as my son was born mid December. He said that since I wasn’t on active status on the day the raises were loaded into the system, I wasn’t eligible for a raise that year, if I had any questions, to talk to HR about them. I headed down to HR later in the day, and the HR manager said “What?!?” I got a phone call 10 minutes later from my manager and his 2nd level boss saying my manager was mistaken. The “automatic-by-big-spreadsheet” raise couldn’t be given in the normal way they entered it because I wasn’t active, but my manager was supposed to enter a separate HR request for my first day back.

I’d just raise it in a “So, just curious?” way. It could have slipped your manager’s mind. Or your manager could be as big of a dufus as mine was.

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Judy July 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

I did get my year end bonus that year, no problem. While not “contractual”, our bonus formula is listed in the employee handbook, and is given as long as you are not “separated from employment” on December 31. It’s based on company performance, personal performance and a % of salary based on your job title.

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Ruffingit July 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm

So glad you asked HR about that. Your boss is a jerk.

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JFQ July 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

The situation posed in letter #1 and the responses here in the comments raise an important question: Why give notice at all?

The whole situation seems to boil down to understanding the competing interests of the situation and doing what’s best for one’s self.

Any employer who wants people to give notice needs to provide a good reason to do so. Simply paying out the notice period is a start, but if, for example, someone gives notice of more than two weeks but is guaranteed only two weeks’ pay when he or she is let go early, there’s a clear disincentive. Being shut out of a project that one wants to finish is a clear disincentive, as is, as mentioned above, being treated like a pariah. Refusing to pay for unused PTO is another disincentive.

Anyone thinking about leaving should consider all the relevant factors, and the same goes for an employer who’s designing a policy, and any compromise of self-interest on the employee’s part seems silly to me.

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Jenn July 9, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Thanks for answering my question! (Q5.) Good suggestion.
Great blog!

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MJC July 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thank you for answering my question (#6) and for the feedback from the other commenters! It sounds like receiving your bonus after returning from leave isn’t uncommon, so I will ask. Interesting that bonuses are a retention tactic more than a reward, because not receiving it (among other things) have me looking for another job.

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OP #4 July 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Thanks for answering my question! I’ve actually phrased it like that in the past and still had interviewers asking whether I was sure it wouldn’t affect my performance, which is frustrating because I feel like they’ve already decided that it will.

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Windchime July 9, 2013 at 5:03 pm

For #7….something similar happened to an acquaintance recently. She was told she was a top 3 candidate, was invited back for the 3rd and (supposedly) final interview, which took over 3 hours and involved touring the facility, meeting with all the staff, etc. This was a Tuesday; she was told that the final decision would be made that week and everyone notified on Friday, win or lose.

That was over 2 weeks ago. She has called twice to touch base; she is told that they will call her back. Crickets chirping. It’s so upsetting to people who are counting on a job or at least notification; why do employers insist on being so rude? I just can’t figure it out.

I told her that job-seekers need to start looking at it as being similar to dating; just because a guy asks for your number and says he’s going to call, doesn’t mean he is going to. Even though he seems really sincere when he says it. Same thing with employers. It’s a sad but harsh truth. It’s really hard to see her so disappointed, and still hanging on to that shred of hope that she might still be in the running.

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Ruffingit July 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I can’t figure out why they insist on being so rude either, but it is what it is. Sorry for your friend, it’s rough when you’ve gotten through the interview and you hear nothing. Move on mentally as AAM always says has helped me out a lot in the job search. It would be good if your friend could embrace that too.

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Margaret July 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm

#7, I went through something similar after graduating from college, looking for full-time employment but willing to consider part time retail to pay my bills. I interviewed with a chain clothing store, got really good feedback, was told the timeline for hiring was within a week, followed up twice and heard nothing. So I kept looking, found something else, and was hired. I had been working there about 3 weeks, when the first manager finally called me and said they’d like to move forward with my application (nearly three months after the interview!!). I simply repsonded, “Oh, when the timeline passed and I hadn’t heard back, I assumed I didn’t get the position and moved on. I’ve found something else now, thanks!” She seemed really surprised that I wasn’t biting my nails waiting for her call.

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Girasol July 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm

#5 When looking for work I found a great job in my line of work at a good company, but I didn’t apply because they wanted six technical certifications, none of which did I have. I landed another job outside of my field, same company, and later met the lead in that organization. “Six certs?? Is that what the job req said? You should have applied. We don’t need certs. None of us has any.” So go for it! You might get the great job I missed.

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Rick March 6, 2014 at 8:04 am

You’d think after years of service, hard work and sacrifice a company would know better than just to kick you out of the building when a team is relying on your skills to complete a project. I should have known better given the business’s culture of “disposable assets”.

My exit interview consisted of sitting in HR while someone tried to raid my office for any personal effects (which I had already cleaned out the day prior). No questions about why I was leaving after 7+ years, but they sure were interested in knowing who I was going to work for. When it turned into badgering, I just stared out the window and waited for it to be over with.

It is truly insulting when you’re escorted from the building like you’ve committed a crime. What message does that send? “Thanks for all the work, but you’ve smacked us in the face for trying to better your situation, so get out!”

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sim May 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

hi
i am quieting my job and give employer one month notice but they said you leave today they do not need notice from me but i give then written notice .after then i apply for job in the competitor of my old employee but the product is different so i call some of my know customers to buy that stuff but he will call me and said he will sue me if i will call there customers and shearing there information i quit my job again from there but he send me notice so we will send the notice back to there law farm without opening the notice. now i join somewhere else which is non competition company but now he also interfering on my work so please advise me what to do now and he send me notice again through court please advise he call at my both owner and said that he fire me because i am not working good at work.

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