what to do if your boss asks you to resign

What would you do if your manager asked for your resignation, or gave you the choice between quitting or being fired? Is it better to leave with a resignation instead of a firing in your job history, or is it better to decline and get fired instead? And if your employer wants you gone, why are they giving you a choice in the first place?

While you might be tempted to agree to resign so that you don’t get fired, think carefully before you do. There isn’t a ton of benefit to resigning in a situation like this. Sure, you won’t have to answer “yes” when future employers ask if you’ve ever been fired – but in this economy, interviewers are going to be curious about why you quit without another job lined up and will assume that something happened that led to your separation.

But there’s a reason that your company is asking you to resign rather than firing you outright. Ask yourself, what’s in it for them? Maybe they’re simply being kind and think that this is in your best interests; they might assume that it allows you to save face. But it’s also possible that they don’t want to follow the lengthy disciplinary process that their own internal policies require and they’d rather cut their losses now. Or maybe they’d like to fire you but know it would be legally risky because you have evidence of illegal discrimination or recently filed a wage complaint or reported harassment. While employers have an enormous amount of leeway in who they fire and why, it’s illegal to fire someone in retaliation for any of these things – and so they might hope you’ll just resign and take care of it for them.

Whatever your company’s reason for wanting you to resign, they’re asking you to do something for them, and that means that you have some negotiating power. You can and should use that power to ask for the following:

Severance. While companies don’t typically pay severance to resigning employees, they do frequently pay it to employees who are fired or laid off. And if you’re being pushed to resign, it’s entirely reasonable to ask if they’ll provide a severance payment in exchange. (That said, be aware that severance is usually only offered if you’re willing to sign a “general release,” which releases the employer from any legal claims stemming from your employment. Take some time to look over this agreement and consider running it by a lawyer, since you might be able to negotiate a higher payment in exchange for giving up any claims.)

Eligibility for unemployment benefits. Typically, you’re not eligible for unemployment benefits if you resign, but if you explain to your unemployment agency that you were forced out and the company doesn’t dispute that, you’ll nearly always be able to collect benefits. Ask your employer to agree not to fight your application for unemployment – and get that agreement in writing.

What your company will say to reference-checkers in the future. Simply by asking, you might be able get your employer to describe your separation in neutral terms, or at least to only confirm dates of employment. Make sure to negotiate this with both HR and your manager, not just one or the other. It’s important that the company’s official HR records reflect whatever arrangement is agreed to, but it’s also important that your manager be on board too, because managers’ references can often sound very different from HR’s; managers are generally more equipped – and more willing – to go into detail about your performance.

The official reason for termination in company records. This can be a separate item from what they’ll say to reference-checkers. The content of a reference is often about your performance, work habits, strengths, and weaknesses. That information can be presented in lots of different ways, depending on the speaker and the questions being asked. But your official reason for termination is a simple black-and-white statement of fact – like “terminated for cause,” “terminated for misconduct,” or “resigned.” You want the latter.

Ultimately, remember that the decision is to resign or not is yours. Your employer can’t force you to resign if you don’t want to. (After all, what are they going to do – fire you?)

I originally wrote this article for publication on AOL.com.

{ 106 comments… read them below }

  1. BRR*

    Is there really that much of a difference between being fired and asked to resign? I just can’t imagine it helps that much. I’ve always thought of it as being transparent a lot of them time when a resignation is asked for instead of firing someone.

    +1 to aol for another awesome stock photo.

        1. Audiophile*

          It looks like she’s holding a box too. I guess that’s the remnants of her desk: a plant, a cup, a frame, and what looks like a bowl.

      1. ClaireS*

        Obviously the plant is her office confidant. She was probably asked to resign because her colleagues were uncomfortable with her unconventional human-plant love relationship.

        1. Reader*

          Clearly the plant was too trendy. Oh and her earrings were dangling and had just a hint of a color. Too flashy. “We are not that kind of company”

      2. Eden*

        And what is the large ostrich-egg-like item in that box? I realized that maybe she’s consoling the plant. Or protecting it from the plant-eating picture frame. Sorry, I don’t mean to fixate on this picture, but I’m finding it too amusing.

    1. Eden*

      I can’t tell whether her expression is flat affect as a result of receiving bad news, or if she just has so much foundation on, her face has been immobilized. Yikes, bad stock photo!

      1. Kelly O*

        Maybe she got fired because she was taking long lunches every other day to get her Botox freshened up?

    2. Stephanie*

      I’m not sure if there’s a difference from a potential new employer’s perspective. I don’t think there would be.

      Depending on your job, there may be a difference in benefits. I mentioned this downthread: at a previous job, the COBRA payments were significantly lower if you resigned, whether it was forced or voluntary (or maybe it was the other way around?). That was the main thing I remembered, but I think there were differences in eligibility for rehire at a different federal agency. HR “strongly encouraged” people to resign. I’m guessing it got them off the hook for UI. The agency also had a pretty bad reputation in regard to retention, so I’m guessing it was easier to spin “Oh, these people quit just because they didn’t like it” versus hiring issues. GAO even did a report at one point about the retention issues and how it was impacting the agency’s mission.

      From a UI standpoint, it’s different. If you were “constructively discharged” (i.e., asked to resign) in my state, the burden of proof was on the employee to prove the resignation was forced. If you couldn’t adequately improve that, you were denied benefits.

      (Yes, you can get fired from the federal government. Promise I’m not a mouth breather! My agency fired pretty frequently as the job wasn’t a great fit for most (myself included) and they didn’t have the best screening practices.)

  2. Audiophile*

    This is tricky, since I’ve noticed that a lot of applications now ask if you’ve ever been forced to resign rather than be fired, I’m not sure there’s much to be gained from it.

    1. anon*

      If both you and the employer agree it was a resignation and nothing more, then nobody can say otherwise.

      1. Audiophile*

        I understand that, the issue is still you resigned rather than face firing. And the application is asking this specifically. So there’s an added weight to it, in my opinion, and when you get right down to it I’m sure the new potential employer is weighing it differently then a regular resignation.

        I’ve never faced this scenario myself, but I have noticed that question popping up more and more in application systems.

        1. anon*

          Shading the truth on a job app is on the ethical continuum somewhere between doing 80 in a 70 on the freeway and telling your wife her dress doesnt make her look fat.

        2. lola*

          I believe if they call your former employer and ask “are they eligible for rehire” that will clue them in….depending on if your former employer will respond to such questions.

          1. Anx*

            What does this mean?

            At my last job, I was laid off as the store was closing for a vacation. According to my manual, you could appeal to be rehired under certain circumstance, but I don’t remember what they are.

            That said, almost nobody was rehired that was laid off. They typically hire new employees. At the time of the layoff there had been several other mini layoffs, so these we weren’t the weakest links, we just weren’t the best. But they still preferred to hire new so they wouldn’t have to deal with comfortable employees.

            If you’re a good employee, and you leave, would you really be eligible for rehire? Because wouldn’t they be angry you left?

            Or would it be that you’re technically rehireable even if they don’t want to, as long as you don’t break certain violations. For example, missing Labor Day weekend in several of my jobs meant you would not be able to return the next season.

            1. 42*

              It means that if you resign, you did so on good terms. So in theory they would have no qualms about hiring you back.

              I resigned a job once when I was relocating across the country. I loved that job and everyone in it, and it was mutual that we all wished I could stay. My boss told me that she ticked the box “Would hire again.”

              And why would someone be mad over a resignation anyway (assuming it’s done right way)? Good employees leave jobs. Employees are not hostages, nor held against their will, and are free to leave at any time.

              1. 42*

                Whoa…just realized I responded to a 2-year-old thread, thinking I was looking at today’s post. Monday Brain. Sigh.

  3. anon*

    I would just want a few extra weeks to line up the next job to avoid the stigma of looking for one while unemployed.

    1. Gilby*

      The problem with that is in most cases it takes longer than a couple of weeks to get another job.

      1. Levois*

        Here, here. I’ve been trying to quit my job and still haven’t lined up another position. That’s frustrating, but I’d be even more up the creek if I faced this scenario.

        1. Gilby*


          Not having a job can make it harder but still, getting an interview and being ” the one ” for an employer is hard no matter if you are employed or not.

          Luckily for me when I was laid off, HR and mymanager are both 100% supportive of me and will give me a great ref.

      2. GrumpyBoss*

        So true. In the fairly recent past (4-5 years ago), I used to simply 1. Decide I wanted a new job; 2. Put out my resume and interview; and 3. Choose from multiple offers a couple of weeks later. My last job search took 4 months. It still resulted in several offers, but companies are being pickier now, because they can (not to mention the cost of hiring the wrong person is higher than ever).

        It simply isn’t realistic to expect a company that wants you gone to let you hang around while searching in a very finicky job market.

  4. Katie the Fed*

    One thing to know – if you’re ever getting a security clearance, they want to know if you were ever fired OR asked to resign in lieu of being fired. Failure to disclose it can create problems for the prospect of getting a clearance.

    1. Anonylicious*

      +1. And never fail to disclose on your security paperwork. It does not help you in the long run.

      1. Dan*

        I’ve read a lot of the DoD clearance adjudication decisions, and believe it or not, the appeals process for a denied clearance actually comes across as fair. Lots of times, one-off “grey areas” get decided in favor of the applicant.

        But if you get caught lying, forget it. It’s the one thing that gets people every time.

        Many times, those one-off instances can get mitigated as being old or not really related to your character. But lying on the app? That’s current and speaks to your character.

    2. CAA*

      We have the lowest level of clearances (Public Trust), and the forms do ask whether the person is currently employed with us or whether they left our employ voluntarily or involuntarily. Since I’m filling this out under penalty of perjury, I’m going to answer that question honestly, even if we had an agreement to just say you resigned.

      (I should say I’ve never actually had to do this. All the background forms I’ve done for former employees who were moving on to new jobs with clearances were for people who left us voluntarily.)

      1. De Minimis*

        I had to complete a Public Trust investigation and had been fired from my previous job…I was just 100% honest about what had happened and didn’t have any issue getting the clearance.

        What seems to nail people are things like prior arrests [I believe you have to disclose them even if you eventually were cleared] and also people who can’t provide good documentation for previous addresses.
        The investigator I spoke with said the biggest issues are usually with ex-military who moved around a lot and forget to include every place they’ve been. Foreign travel/family connections also can be a problem.

    3. GrumpyBoss*

      Going way off topic here, but I’ve always been curious as I never have held a clearance (but many of my employees do). How far back do they ask for this type of data? If you got fired from, let’s say a part time fast food job in high school, do they still expect you to disclose?

          1. Chinook*

            In the military world, higher than Top Secret (DH did a NATO top secret one but I can’t remember what it was called) they went back until high school and wanted my informatino as well as where my parents were born. We think it took so long to get completed because I lived in Japan for 18 months and my dad was born in Ireland. They also talked to our neighbours and wanted the names of people who actually new him for atleast 10 years (i.e. to prove that he really was who he claimed to be).

            The larger the risk, the more the security types want to know.

          2. Katie the Fed*

            It depends on the questions. Google SF-86 and you can find all the questions and how far back.

        1. De Minimis*

          Public Trust is also 7 years.

          What I found frustrating is if you were unemployed they want some kind of reference for that too, as if it were a job you held.

      1. Stephanie*

        Hell, even the piddly Public Trust “clearance” I had to get wanted seven years.

    4. Stephanie*

      But if you were, you can still get a clearance, yes? As long as you’re upfront about it?

      1. Katie the Fed*

        It really depends on the circumstance. Adjudication is complex and they really do take into account the whole person, so I can’t really say if it would or wouldn’t. But it would be just one data point out of very many, ya know?

        1. Chinook*

          I think part of wanting the whole truth on a security clearance is to know if you are blackmailable (atleast at the higher clerances). DH said his lie detector test include odd questions (Ex: about beastiality). Whether or not the answers themselves were relevant to the job, the fact that the employer already knows about them means no one can use this knowledge to threaten your job.

          Or maybe they do really want to make sure that the gophers are safe when they send you for training in Saskatchewan?

  5. Employment Lawyer*

    Ooooh, I get this one all the time! I think your advice is good but perhaps not stern enough.

    It’s hard to understate the importance of unemployment. If the employer shows a letter to the unemployment saying “I resign” then in most cases there is a “presumption of ineligibility.”

    That is a huge deal! It means that you need to prove eligibility, rather than the employer having the burden to DISprove eligibility. The process can take many months… and even if you win in the end you will be penniless for the entire time. Unless you’re rich, that is a major and often unrecoverable risk.

    Not to mention that you may not even win. After all, you’ll need to convince the examiner you aren’t lying. And if there’s a resignation letter with your name on it, that can be a very, very, hard thing to do.

    And that’s not the end of it. Employers are people, and people lie. Just because they say that they’ll “write you up” doesn’t mean you can’t collect unemployment if they do. Most people who are fired retain their eligibility for unemployment, with some very rare exceptions.

    Just because the EMPLOYER claims you were “terminated for cause” does not mean that the STATE will apply the same standards. that is because most states recognize that employers act in their own self interest and are not neutral parties.

    Take my own state of Massachusetts: an employer can certainly fire you for breaking a “workplace rule,” but you are still eligible for unemployment unless (among other reasons) the rule was clear and consistently enforced. If you got fired for taking a Sharpie but your cube-mate didn’t get disciplined at all, then you’re still eligible. And so on.

    1. H. Rawr*

      My husband just went through this, when he asked if they would fight the unemployment claim (the company has a policy of fighting every unemployment claim), he was told they would. Based on his termination reason, my guess was that if they got it to an administrative hearing, it would probably be a 50/50 chance of a denial. If that happened, the idea of paying back the unemployment agency on top of everything, or spending his time fighting with them over it for what would likely be months, seemed unreasonable. He took the resignation instead in hopes it would be at least a minor boost in his job hunt. It’s a tough decision on the spot.

      1. Joey*

        If they have a policy they usually won’t fire unless they’re pretty sure they can paint it as misconduct.

      2. Mike C.*

        Wait, you’re basing this all on a guess? What was the termination reason, and what state do you live in?

        1. Mike C.*

          Also, I used to work for an employer that fought every last case of unemployment, even for folks who were clearly laid off.

          So f***ing unethical, christ.

          1. Kelly O*

            Yeah, I know an “HR Lady” who prides herself on fighting every single unemployment claim and comes back all smiling and happy when she stops someone from getting unemployment.

            It made me a little sick to my stomach, if we’re being completely honest about it.

            1. Stephanie*

              If she’s doing that out of gleeful spite, that’s awful. But she may have had some directive from upper management to contest claims to keep the company’s UI rates lower.

        2. Joey*

          I think tons of people make this mistake- wrongly assuming how to qualify for UE. I know lots of people who only believe it applies when you’re laid off.

          But, yeah, I don’t understand potentially thousands of needed dollars at a critical time not being worth the fight.

      3. tesyaa*

        I get not wanting to spend the time fighting, but 50-50 odds aren’t that bad. As for worrying about paying back the unemployment agency, I don’t get that. If you could manage financially without filing for unemployment at all, how hard would it be to place the proceeds in an account and not touch it until after the final determination of eligibility?

      4. Mpls*

        When you talk about “fighting” unemployment, you do me the company responds to the paperwork they are provided in the first round of information gathering, or actively appeals decisions not in the company’s favor?

        Our company answered every request for information received from the unemployment agency, regardless of what we thought of the former employee’s claim. I’m pretty sure our agency even came out with guidance (I’m fuzzy since I don’t do this any more) telling the employers that the paperwork actually needed to be completed, regardless of whether the employer was contesting the employee’s version of the facts.

        1. LQ*

          This is true, that initial basic piece of information before a decision is made is something everyone is supposed to fill out (at least in the state I assume you’re in).

    2. Joey*

      That’s not my understanding of how it works though. In the states I know of you apply for UE and that would be where you state, not that you resigned, but that you were constructively discharged or forced to resign. Then its up to the employer to disprove that. In my experience simply showing the resignation letter doesn’t disprove that. Especially if they prepared the letter for you and/or you write something on the letter in your own words like “I am agreeing to resign in lieu of termination.” Gotta be smarter than them. When all of this is stated up front its their burden to disprove.

      1. Anon for today*

        My issue when I was filing for unemployment was that you could only do it online, and there was a drop down list with a LOT of choices and sub-choices, but “asked to resign” was not one of them. I did sign a “mutual separation agreement”, but it was unclear what I should chose to make sure I was eligible for unemployment. “Mutual decision” was one, but after speaking to an employee at the unemployment office (who couldn’t give me a totally straight answer, only suggestions) it looked like that was putting the burden of proof back on me, not the employer, and I probably wouldn’t get unemployment. In the end, I chose “discharge – unsatisfactory work performance”, which my employer did not fight, and I did get unemployment benefits.
        My state system seems to go out of its way to NOT give benefits though, not sure about it other states.

        1. Joey*

          Absolutely the correct choice. Being asked to resign is being fired. Always will be. Its a sleight of hand.

      2. Stephanie*

        Depends on the state. Virginia delays initially and holds a hearing to prove that it was really a constructive discharge.

    3. LQ*

      In my state you have to be doing something really horrible to not get unemployment when you are fired. (The person from the short thread #1 likely wouldn’t if they answered correctly, AND the employer fought it. But an old job I had the boss had actually stolen money but the employer didn’t want to go through the frustration of a hearing so he got unemployment.)

      For unemployment you are always better off being fired. (Something like 95% of fired people get paid and only 3-4% of people who quit I believe.)

      1. LQ*

        Oh and never let an employer tell you that you have to waive your right to unemployment, in most states it is illegal for employers to do that.

    4. My 2 Cents*

      In Indiana, and maybe other states, the burden of proof is on the employer, not the employee, which is beneficial to the fired person. My former boss tried to lie about why I was fired and made up performance issues, but to get it to stick he had to provide proof, which of course he didn’t have, so I won.

      So, if you are applying for unemployment, let your former employer try to prove you wrong, don’t give in.

    5. Rachel*

      Employment Lawyer, do people with temporary contracts (such as adjunct instructors) qualify for UE?

      Also, I think that the field you are in makes a difference. Being fired as a teacher, counselor, or social worker raises a lot of eyebrows, even though people in those professions can be fired for pretty innocuous reasons.

      1. Joey*

        Absolutely field and size of company make a difference. For example large bureaucratic organizations usually have a higher burden. For example, firing for something there isn’t a policy for will almost always put you on the losing end of UE in a large org. In a small one not so much. Personally, I also believe its assumed large orgs can “afford” to pay UE easier than small ones although I have nothing to back that up.

        1. De Minimis*

          I got fired from a big compnay and they didn’t even challenge my claim even though I was kind of expecting them to and had spent a great deal of time during my past few months there printing out documents for a battle that never came…

      2. LQ*

        It depends if you are an employee of the company or an independent contractor. If you are an independent contractor (1099-and should be, if you should be an employee, tell your unemployment department and they generally end up doing audits of employers with lots of 1099 people) then you never qualify. If you are a temp staff person you often do qualify. If you are working through a temp service there are generally (depends on your state) special rules to qualify.

        My state’s policy is ALWAYS apply, they’ll decide if you qualify and there is no penalty for filing when you don’t qualify for benefits.

      3. Graciosa*

        I think having a limited term contract can definitely have an impact on your ability to claim unemployment if the contract is not renewed – which certainly seems reasonable when there was an agreement between the company and the individual beforehand.

        I do understand that industry practice and state law undoubtedly play a role in the final decision, but it seems prudent for anyone entering into such a contract to get this sorted out beforehand rather than after the contract term has expired.

  6. ^|^*

    At OldToxicJob when I was hired I gave notice at the time of job acceptance that I had already paid for a vacation seven (yes 7) months later and I gave them the specific dates. I followed up on this as the dates got closer. A few days before my vacation ToxicManager said “if you take the vacation I’ll fire you.” I took it anyway since it was planned, paid for, and approved. Upon my return, ToxicManager said “you’re fired.” I said “You can’t fire me; I quit.”

    I filed for unemployment, OldToxicJob declined and so it went to a hearing. They never showed up at the hearing so by default I got unemployment. Unfortunately the process took 10 months and I had a new job in 2 months. So 8 months after I started my new job I got a lump sum payment. It’s a good thing I didn’t need the unemployment so badly that I had nothing to eat.

    1. KCS*

      Ugh, what a terrible experience that must have been (in addition to whatever other things led to the job being toxic). Sorry to hear you went through that, but glad to hear you prevailed in the end and you’re better off.

  7. Mimmy*

    Oh this is timely – a good friend of mine was just asked to resign from her job after being there just 3 months. From what she’s told me, it sounds like she’s done what she could to make sure all her ducks are in a row. I just feel so bad for her though :(

    1. ClaireS*

      That sucks. The only bright side is that she’s only been there 3 months. She could leave the job off her resume completely and avoid questions altogether. It does lengthen her time out of work but that’s easier to explain than a firing.

      1. Anx*

        I hear this a lot. How can you leave questions off an application, though? They ask for ALL employment history.

  8. Michele*

    I have actually been the person that was in the position to mutually separate from my company. I was more than happy to negotiate my way out of a horrible position. It was not a good fit and even worse my job description changed at least 8 times in the span of 1 year. The HR person I worked with was crying on the day I signed all my paperwork. I was the one consoling her and telling her that this the best thing for me. I was proud of the job I did negotiating my departure I was able to get 4 months salary, the remaining 2 weeks of my vacation pay, and undisputed unemployment. I was also able to land a contract position with my old company thanks to running into my old SVP that I loved on the street. Love NYC for that reason a lone! I never looked at it as a bad thing it was truly in my best interest to get the heck out of dodge. To get even more context the company has incredibly high turnover and many talented people leave either on their on or are forced to resign. On a positive note I lost 20 pounds from all the stress of having to be there!

    1. fposte*

      Yes, sometimes departure is a blessing for everybody. And I think it’s really individual as to whether it makes more sense to preserve the best possible UI possibilities or preserve a firing-free record (especially if there’s severance).

      1. Mimmy*

        Yes, sometimes departure is a blessing for everybody.

        I’d say that was the case for my friend, who I mentioned upthread. She was working 17-hour days with no overtime, so she was becoming exhausted (she was exempt, but so was everyone else–this is a large healthcare provider). It ultimately affected her job performance, hence the forced resignation.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      That really is the best thing to do. I was in a toxic situation that I ended up leaving. Boss wanted me gone, I wanted to be gone, but I held on trying to find another job.

      It wasn’t until after I left that I found out you can bring in an attorney to help negotiate a departure. (There were discrimination and other legal issues with my situation.) It would have saved me a legal fight after, if I would have settled everything before leaving. It was what two others had done in my department and they were able to be “laid-off” instead of resigning or fired.

    3. azvlr*

      I love your attitude about your situation and if I was in a position to hire, you’re the type of person I’d want on my team.

  9. Stephanie*

    I was in this situation once. This was probably just this job, but your COBRA payouts were different if you “resigned” vs. getting fired. OldCompany would pay more toward COBRA if you agreed to resign. There were other things as well, but that was the big thing that I remember. They gave a strong incentive to resign vs. being fired.

  10. Diane*

    Curious – has anyone ever checked the ‘yes I’ve been fired’ box on an application and been declined for a job? How about hiring managers – is this an automatic disqualifier?
    For those who have been fired, what do you say in interviews to explain the firing?

    1. Anonymous*

      I once said: “My work was overhead and the company was no longer willing to pay for it”.

      That employer had such a bad reputation in the industry that the hiring manager just assumed it was a layoff even though I was fired in retaliation for catching their shady dealing with 401(k) contribution plus for taking my full vacation time.

    2. Been there done that*

      I’ve done it and think it was a cause for rejection. I know it would send up red flags where I work now even though I have been through a new, horrible boss who visited every sin of who she replaced on me.

      Resign or be fired is a big, big decision. I know that the unemployment helped my family stay afloat through the six months it took to find another job. I do think I would have been out of work less time if I didn’t have had to check the “fired” box.

      1. De Minimis*

        At this point it’s far enough in the past where I wouldn’t have a problem checking the “fired’ box, although I have always painted it as a mutual decision to leave, which in a way it was.

        My firing was during the worst of the recession and I think that was part of why I didn’t do well there—had there been more work available, I might have had a better chance. But I was just the wrong fit for the place, and that was generally how I would say it…”I just wasn’t a fit.”

  11. Scott M*

    My first job out of college, I was still learning how to work in a professional capacity. I procrastinated too much and missed some deadlines. So I was put on a PIP, but I was too far behind to realistically catch up.

    So at the next missed deadline was offered the opportunity to resign instead of being fired. I took the resignation. Because really, it was my fault.

    I learned my lesson (mostly) and my next job was the same place I’ve been working for the past 20+ years.

  12. Joey*

    I’m a little confused why you’re shutting down comments. I get not nitpicking word stuff, but are you expecting us not to point out a negative outcomes for the ops?

    1. Joey*

      I’m kind of disappointed really. I’m giving likely employer analysis’ and outcomes and that’s a bad thing?

    2. Stephanie*

      I’m confused–you’re talking about this post, the parking one that blew up (I’m still amazed that that one had 400+ comments), or in general?

      (Open to anyone to respond.)

      1. Stephanie*

        Oooooh. I wasn’t following the comments on that post, so I thought I had missed a standalone post or something.

  13. Katie the Fed*

    I’m just reading what she wrote, but she sounds frustrated because she’s tried to build a nice place here and there has been a trend of dogpiling and nitpicking. I think there’s a difference between “hey, your own actions might be contributing to this, so maybe you can try X” vs the tone of many of the comments. I screw it up sometimes too. It’s the difference between “oh, you can strengthen this project in this place and this place” vs “wow, you really screwed this project up.”

    This is supposed to be a helpful place, not a place of criticism/judgement, and I think the commenter community is losing that helpfulness sometimes. And it’s something a lot of us need to be more careful of.

    I think AAM is just at a crossroads on this.

      1. Andrea*

        Agreed. I used to comment a lot more, and honestly, I stopped partly because there has been a lot of “blame the OP” kind of comments. I think it’s okay to ask for more details from the OP or to say that you’re not clear on this or that, in general. I’m more disturbed by commenters who aggressively to “play devil’s advocate” or “present the other side” all the time to the point where they’re arguing completely ridiculous things and being unreasonable and argumentative, just for funsies, I guess. That’s really only a few commenters, though. I’ll keep reading AAM, but will likely skip comments.

        1. Joey*

          See and I think plenty of people think its helpful to see how it will be viewed by managers, good and bad. It’s really difficult to give good advice without having context. And frequently ops don’t provide it so it leads people to speculate based on their experiences. For example, a manager firing you because you came in 30 minutes late on Monday because of traffic sounds unreasonable. But add context and it can change everything dramatically.

        2. R.F.*

          Right, I have no issue with commenters raising open questions – there are usually things the OP doesn’t make clear, details omitted, etc. But it bothers me when commenters assume that any omission on the part of the OP must be intentional – people forget details all the time, plus I think some people edit themselves for brevity, so things will get left out. The OPs are human. Also, when there is an open question, I’m seeing commenters assuming the very worst of the OP without any evidence.

    1. Joey*

      Crossroads indeed. If everything needs to be softened or handled with kid gloves I don’t think a lot of folks will take the time to manipulate their words. I think a lot of folks are just speaking what they’re thinking.

  14. LadyTL*

    I got given this option once at a food service job. A customer complained about how my arms looked (scars) and at first the manager and I talked it over and I would start wearing long sleeved shirts under my uniform shirt. Then suddenly while I was on my off days two days later, I got an email saying I had to get a letter from a doctor saying I was healthy (no specifications on what I had to get tested for) or be fired in two weeks. Since no doctor will ever just give a letter saying there is nothing wrong with someone because of liability issues, I quit instead rather then be fired.

  15. Ed*

    Speaking as someone whose employer “let them resign” in lieu of being fired, absolutely no hiring managers believed I spontaneously resigned in the middle of the worst recession in my lifetime. There was the fact that my employer wouldn’t say I was fired but I don’t think they disclose that stuff anyway. If it happened again I would say “fire me” every day of the week.

    1. Stephanie*


      This. Given The Economy, it seems like it’d be harder to come up with a convincing-sounding reason for a “resignation” and that it’d almost be easier to admit fault (succinctly), what you learned, and how you’ll move forward. Of course, that may not be feasible since some employers will ding candidates who’ve been fired.

      1. Ed*

        Also, I guess it depends on why you were fired. For the record, I didn’t get along with my boss but was a good employee. We came head-to-head and he won (as he should as the manager). If it was for cause like theft (and they had you dead to rights), they might actually be doing you a favor by letting you resign. It would hard to explain away being a thief. I would be fine with not having an answer but knowing my previous company wouldn’t disclose the theft.

  16. Vicki*

    I worked for a company that decided to “eliminate my position” and let me go without warning (1 other person that day; two more the following week; then 11, then 40…).

    The paperwork I received and was asked to sign had the “voluntary Quit” box checked. Ohm, no no no.

    In my county we have a program where you can pay $25 to have 1 hour with a lawyer. The lawyer recommended I send the company a letter requesting that they change the form and check the “involuntary termination” box… and also confirm, in writing, that they would not argue against an Unemployment Insurance claim.

    (It’s most interesting what happens when you send a letter beginning “My lawyer has recommended that I ask you to…”)

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