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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When to Quit

Note: I wrote a brilliant answer to this yesterday and then accidentally deleted it. So, if this answer isn't quite up to brilliant, know that it should have been.

Dear Evil HR Lady,

Love the name, but that's not the reason i'm writing.

The writing is on the wall and it's time to leave my company. I've worked for a small real estate office for almost a year now. When I started out, I was their marketing person and a [great] one at that. I was praised for setting a new standard of the job.

Six months into it I took a new position with the company and started assisting the agents by procuring new sales. This was some what of a difficult transition b/c there was NO training for my new job. When I say no training, i mean no training. I was given a phone and a list of people to call. No one EVER sat down with me and went over how to talk to people and close the deal.

I had my 90 day review and they set goals for me. This was great, but I received little to no direction on how to achieve these new goals. In the review I said it would be helpful to have weekly meetings with the agents and to have one of them sit down with me and make some phone calls so I could get some feedback. This never happened.

A month ago, I had another "review" in which I was flat out yelled at and given even more "goals." These new goals were unrealistic, even according to some of the other agents in the office.

Getting reviewed all the time and being told you suck at your job isn't alot of fun, especially when you've always had good reviews in every job and have never been fired. So, I started looking for a new job and am waiting to hear back from some people.

Today, I was presented with a "final written notice" (I never received a first written notice) saying I have two weeks to produce two appointments for my agent. I asked why I never received any training for this position and why management never stepped in and help set up meetings with my agent. I was told this was my responsibility.

This was all kind of a shock to me, the office manager didn't even know about it. The owner totally went behind her back and contacted ADP total source, our outsourced HR company.

I spoke with the agent I work under and he was very supportive and admitted he hadn't been giving my leads the attention he should have because he has been busy with some big deals. The agent says he'll help me get my two appointments and start sitting down with me more to go over things.

This is all great, but getting a final written notice is pretty serious. I already met my goal for the two weeks so I'm not worried about that. BUT, I don't think this is ever going to stop. I think he's just going to keep adding more and more goals until he can fire me.

I don't have my new job lined up yet and it could take a month or so. I have money saved up so I'm not really worried about that part.

So my questions.... Do I just leave on my own before I have my new job lined up? So that I don't have a termination or have to explain a termination to a prospective employer. When do I leave, do I do it before my 2 week probationary period is up? Do I give a two week notice? Or do I just peace out?

I feel pretty comfortable that they wouldn't can me within my two week notice if I gave one. And it would buy me some time without having to dive into my savings.


Thanks in advance,


Dear Chris,

To answer the question you did ask, there are only rare instances where you should quit a job before you have a new one lined up. They are
  • your current job is causing you such physical, mental or emotional distress that your health is in danger
  • you don't need a job and you are just working for the thrill of staff meetings. (Hey, sometimes you get free donuts)
  • .

    Other than that, you should wait until you have a new job offer before quitting the old one. First of all, it frequently takes longer than you assume it will to find a new job. Hiring processes are slow and painful. It takes time.

    Second, it is easier to find a job when you have a job. Think about it. If you come in to interview with me, I'm going to ask, "Why did you leave your last job without a new one lined up?"

    What are you going to say to that? There's no good answer. "My boss didn't give me the training that I needed"? I'm not hiring you then, because it's your responsibility to follow up to get the training you need. "I wanted to branch out into other areas of real estate"? I suspect this is a lie because you quit without having a new job. I know there were problems at the last job.

    The problem with having problems is that since I don't know you and I don't know your former boss I can't easily identify if your boss truly was the problem or if you were the problem. (This is also why I don't care for references. Unless I know the people I'm talking to, why should I believe them?)

    Now, this does not mean you are not hireable if you've quit without a new job. It just means you are going to have to be much more convincing. Getting a job is difficult enough without additional burdens.

    And now, on to the questions you didn't ask. Getting training should be part of your manager's responsibility. But, it's not. It's yours. Managers are busy working and not developing employees. They hired you because they wanted you to do the job. In your next job, make sure you jump in and ask questions and say, quite clearly, "I do not know how to do this task. Who would you recommend I work with on this?"

    Managers truly do want you to succeed. You are so much easier to deal with if you are productive. But, you have to show that you want to succeed. Note what happened when you went to the salesperson you were supposed to be working with. He jumped in to help you. He was probably so busy he didn't realize you needed the help.

    Your management does sound fairly wimpy when it comes to dealing with employees. Going around the office manager and calling in HR is not my first choice. (Of course, my first choice is that HR should be sent large baskets of pastries and exotic hot chocolates, but I might have a bias there.)

    Good luck on your job search. Stick this job out until you have a new one. Then jump into the new one with both feet, ask questions, get training (but don't be obnoxious about it--there is a fine line here), and do a great job.

    Evil HR Lady


    Lisa said...

    Having been there, I agree with Evil HR Lady when she says to make sure you have a position before you resign. Take the high road and don't burn any bridges.

    Evil HR Lady said...

    And along with not burning any bridges, your current co-worker may become a potential boss 5 years from now. You don't want them to remember you as the person who burned as you left.

    Wally Bock said...

    Think of bridge burning as a form of self-immolation.

    Anonymous said...

    Great answer Evil HR lady, I too lean towards not burning bridges unless it's really necessary. You never know what weird and unexpected connections are going to happen in such a small and networked world :)