What kind of douchebag starts a new blog feature on a national holiday when no one (including her) is home? This kind of douchebag, apparently. Getting this in juuuuust under the wire.
THANK YOU so much to all of you who sent in questions! Keep ’em comin’! I will answer questions on any topic. Brilliance will abound, motherfarkers!
Just to make sure I’m above board here, I’ll tell you that I got this question a few days ago and since it was time sensitive, I already replied to the asker via email. I’ll also admit that my reply below isn’t entirely word-for-word because, as it turns out, I turned into even more of a genius in the last few days. That happens sometimes.
Let’s dig in!
So, Ask Trish, here is my dilemma…
I’m a professional. Even with my worst of positions (ahem!) I’ve always given the courtesy of two-week’s notice when I left. However, I was just offered an A-mazing opportunity for a fabulous company, but they need me to start right away. Like, Monday. THIS Monday. That’s a grand total of two working days away. The person who currently holds the position is leaving, and there is precious little time for training. In my current position, there are a lot of people in my role. Many, many of us, actually. And I don’t see that it would be too difficult of a loss for them (how’s that for expendable??) but the professional in me is cringing.
So, all that to get to my question: Are there times when NOT giving a two week notice to your current employer is acceptable? (Make me feel better about this… PLEASE!!!)
TRISH’S IFW (that stands for Infinite Fucking Wisdom):
Congrats to you! How exciting!
I’m a lifetime member of the No Regrets Club. You have to jump at the good things while someone is waggling them in front of you or you’ll die a bitter old bitch.
But there are a few other things to think about here.
In my mind, the notice thing isn’t the real question. Sure, not giving two weeks’ will be uncomfortable and people might be annoyed at you, but weird shit goes down in corporate America all the time. I’m sure you’ll be super professional and apologetic, of course, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll sink without you. (However, I don’t know if they could withhold accrued paid time off or anything like that if you don’t give two weeks notice. You might want to check your contract.)
My concern here lies not with the old job, but rather the new job.
Let’s pretend the new job is a new boyfriend. Why do I say that? Because jobs are intimate things. If we work in offices, we eat there, we poop there, we sometimes cry there. Your life is going to get smeared all over this job and this job is going to get smeared all over your life. It will be a primary relationship for you.
My question is this: If the new employer wants you to jump through hoops to start that soon, what does that say about them? Is it the kind of place that puts unreasonable demands on their people? Do you know why the other person is leaving and there’s a gap all of a sudden?
The boyfriend equivalent of that would be the dashing new guy wanting to whisk you off to Vegas to elope, but insisting that you dump an ice cream sundae in your old boyfriend’s lap before you go. Would you really want to date a guy who would ask you to do that? Can’t he let you break it off in a kinder way first? What other unpleasant things is he going to expect you to do to?
Maybe my analogy is a bit of a stretch but I think the real issue is that how you come in the door is going to set the tone for your employment. Sure, you want to show that you’re a team player and that you’re willing to jump in and do your share, but you don’t want to give the impression that you’re a doormat. Yes, this job looks great now — most do in the beginning. But then six months or a year from now the shine will wear off and you may find yourself bitching it up at the water cooler because the big bosses decided to cut costs and stopped stocking decent coffee in the breakroom. (Hate to say that, but that sort of thing is inevitable in any job.)
This job may look like your Prince Charming right now, but in a year it’s going to be your doofy husband who doesn’t put his dirty underwear in the hamper because he knows you’ll pick up after him.
We train people how to treat us. Start early. Make it known from the beginning that you are, above all, a professional and that you demand to be treated with professional courtesy. Politely explain that you want the job but that you simply can’t leave without reasonable notice to your current employer.
Then, be willing to meet them halfway. Propose to give at least one week’s notice at your current job. If this new place really wants you, they’ll give you two more days.
Keep in mind that companies often have more wriggle room than they’d like to let on. I used to be on recruiting team for a former employer and it was a real eye opener. There was a lot of game playing and strategy involved when they hired people. They were very, very aware that they were setting the tone for the person’s employment during the hiring process. Also? They sometimes had pretty candid conversations behind the scenes about how they were manipulating people.
GOOD LUCK, whatever you decide. Obviously, keep me posted.
Update: This reader accepted the new job at what is an undeniably cool place. (You’ve probably heard of it, in fact.) When she last emailed me, she explained the reason for the fast start had to do with time-sensitive business cycles and the opportunity for her to train with the person she was replacing. She was attempting to work out a modified schedule that would allow her to train for two days and then return to her former job to finish out her two weeks.
I’ll answer a new reader question every Thursday. Lay ’em on me! Send your perplexing thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask Trish.”