Thursday 24 June 2004

The psychology of resignation

Post-resignation horse trading
You will notice in my notice of resignation to my manager, I made a few suggestions on how to handle my notice period. It so happens that my contract of employment stipulates that I give a calendar month’s notice.
The problem with that is the possibility of having to endure up to 8 weeks of not wanting to be where you already decided to leave.
In general, that should give your manager the impetus to arrange for a replace who would take over your duties in order not to precipitate a crisis when you leave.
However, in some cases, the boss busies himself in trying to frustrate your departure considering he possibly was instrumental in frustrating you out of the job in the first place.
The folly of that kind of attitude is the way it has the tendency to sap all available goodwill left to conclude the contract in the best possible terms.
Everyone who knows you are leaving are offered a forum to listen to every kind of unpalatable umbrage spewed out either by the manager or the leaver about each other.
Interestingly, I cannot suddenly have had a radical change in interest, commitment and loyalty which were in core principles on which my performance review was based without some extraordinary event of trail of events that have prompted my looking for greener pastures.
Our HR department can attest to a number of meetings where I expressed concerns about persons exceeding their brief, difficulties with effective communication and an atmosphere of indifference.
To this end, we have had an exchange of emails relating to the aftermath of my resignation without much progress on the part of my manager. They are listed below, however, with some analysis.
Letter 1 - To all parties with whom I am involved
Titled - For your information
Lady and Gentlemen,
I have formally notified the company of my intention to seek other career opportunities, I believe arrangements would be in place for someone or some function to assume my responsibilities at my departure which is by no means immediate [I have a notice period to serve].
Meanwhile, all already scheduled activities regarding Software Control & Deployment would run their due course to completion, the backlog of events would be cleared as much as is possible and practicable, neither would this development impact on the standard of service you are accustomed to.
It is however necessary to ensure any of your staff who liaise with my functions are duly informed, lest there be any information or service they might require before I leave.
Thanks for all the support and fruitful working relationship we have had.
My best regards
Letter 2 - To my manager
You will recall I suggested a possible negotiation of terms towards an agreeable end-date of my tenure with UPC.
I understand that you have to assess the workload and/or necessary handover processes needed to divest my responsibilities to your appointed successors to my function.
I have already informed all partners that use my services to ensure that they interface with me on whatever outstanding issues they might require my input for before I leave.
However, here are my proposals.
+        Fulfilling the 40 hour week over a 4 day week in the next month; making the end of that month my last working day.
+        Finishing at the end of the second working week of next month
I hope you can ponder these options and provide me a response today.
Thanks for your consideration and anticipating your favourable response.
Letter 3 - Manager’s response
Excuse the malapropisms, his English expression is not known for clarity
I will assess the situation asap, but will not complete this before next week. This means current situation is expectation that you have to complete your work accordingly to your contract's terms.
From at least one of our customers I understand you yesterday have communicated directly to them and without a CC to your manager the re-planning situation for SC&D now undergoing.
Only positive effect from this was a longer list of urgent demands for SC&D actions communicated to me, if this was your goal - it was achieved.
Best regards,
This is a typical instance of making rules on the fly, I am not aware of any contractual obligation to copy my manager in on any of my correspondence as long as I am fulfilling my role and there is no particular need to escalate a situation for resolution.
As for the re-planning situation for SC&D, that is the first I have heard of any such plans, I have always suspected that one of the reasons our working relationship failed was because I am not clairvoyant, we cannot all be that talented.
Since this response given almost 2 weeks ago, there has been no movement on this issue since then.
Letter 4 - My invitation to a pilot leaving party
Titled - The long good bye project
Since it appears it is going to be a rather looooong goodbye, I have decided I would first do a Pilot/UAT run before the Goodbye is accepted into Production, in the not too distant future.
This pilot involves putting succulent edibles in nutrition acceptance receptacles, masticating the inputs and ingesting the same after the momentary stimulation of your taste sensors.
Basically, it is cakes at 14:15 onwards today. Please join me in this test run.
Thanks and regards
This was really to make a mockery of the whole racket developing around my notice period. Also, since pilots have always been a luxury in my team before a major deployment.
This was an ample opportunity to introduce pilots as a standard pre-production step in a project.
Letter 5 - My response to my manager
I appreciate your response, even you said you were not surprised by my decision to leave and that my functions can easily be picked up by other personnel when you rebuffed my offer to come in to help in an introductory handover for anyone you might assign to take up my role. I could only assume you had already anticipated and pre-planned for this event.
My 2 years of service to you as affirmed in both my performance reviews should hopefully count for something to allow you consider my proposals more favourably and allowing us to part on usefully amicably terms.
Again, it is within your prerogative to hold me to my contract terms, it would not affect my level of professionalism and standard of service.
I have generally communicated with our customers with whom I have developed a good working relationship over the years and either of us would have had to inform them anyhow; the influx of urgent requests would have come anyway, either front-loaded to this time or back-loaded to my last few days.
What can be achieved would be achieved, the rest would have to be devolved to your appointed successors to my functions, the period of notice is to offer us all and good opportunity to handover effectively, not to suddenly try to perform miracles.
Best regards
My point exactly, we both have a responsibility to inform all users of my services that I would be leaving the company. If he had not made the about my role being easily picked up by others within the organisation, I would have been jumping the gun at informing people of my departure.
As a manager, if you decide to shoot yourself in the foot out of spite and ingratitude, I certainly would not be trying to save your face in order to inconvenience myself.
I want to give this job a clean break and move on, I do not intend for the regime of frustration to becloud me horizons no matter how much he now tries to redeem a failed situation.
Unfortunately, I have received no response to this reply. To fulfil all righteousness, I sent him a copy of the letter I send to our partners with a cover note. Also, by this time, my boss had still not informed HR that I was leaving.
Letter 6 - Cover Note
This is the email I sent to the customers I deal with, it states that the already scheduled SC&D activities would be dealt with and the backlog cleared up as much as can be done.
I would be going off on holiday from Wednesday, I would like to know your decision on my proposals on Tuesday and I would be away till the first working Monday of next month.
Thanks and regards
No response. I do wonder when he would realise that I am not more affected by this immature "political" stalling attitude. In a masterstroke of acrimony, all this can eventually be forwarded to his manager the CIO.
Basically, if you cannot reason in a reasonable manner with someone, then all reasonable means of bringing reason to bear might have to be employed.
For now, I am exercising extreme restraint, after from the fact that I am off on holiday, nothing should mar the pleasures of rest, recuperation and preparation for the future.
Letter 7 - Before I left for a 2-week holiday
I do not know if you have been able to assess the requirements and planning for SC&D in relation to my pending departure.
I am off on holiday from today and returning to work on the first Monday of the next month, you can contact me about your considerations by email and I would also be available on my mobile phone to discuss any new developments pertaining to this.
Thanks and regards
I am yet to receive any response to this after a week of sending this email. This also happens to be 4 working days after the next week referred to in Letter 3.
I suppose we only have to observe how this all plays out eventually.
Mind games numbing reason and killing feeling
I would suppose I have served due process and diligence in this matter, with my notice, my suggestions, my recommendations and patience.
I have offered him the initiative to dealing scrupulously with a situation that can deteriorate into a farce.
I do not intend for my standard of service to be compromised or deteriorate, but the simple decision to leave means I have lost all enthusiasm for that role, a last gasp at megalomania would not in any way improve this situation.
The only option left is compromise, for me, this is a dead duck manager who has run out of aces that could impact my future career.
Watch for a future blog reviewing my past managers.

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