IT Employment

I QUIT! How to be a professional when you leave a job

CCIE recruiter Eman Conde offers advice about the right way to quit a job and remain professional, even when all you want to say is, "Take this job and shove it!"

Johnny Paycheck had the right idea about leaving his job; he even had a few good reasons to be discontented when he sang; "Take this job and shove it!"

I've been workin' in this factory

From now on fifteen years

All this time I watched my woman

Drowning in a pool of tears

And I've seen a lot of good folk die

Who had a lot of bills to pay

I'd give the shirt right off of my back

If I had the nerve to say

When a CCIE (or any IT pro) finds it is time to make a career move, there is a lot to consider. The reasons for leaving are not normally based upon compensation. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of motivation to earn more, but how a CCIE earns it is as important as what they earn. I hear a lot of CCIEs mention technology challenges and greater access to advancement in an organization with or without management responsibility. A few have even mentioned that moving up in their current company was tied to management responsibilities that they did not want to bear. Believe it; many geeks really don't want to manage staff. Mentoring is attractive, but the responsibility for annual reviews, budgets, morale, etc. ... well, it just takes all of the fun out of pushing bits and bytes around.

Most CCIEs are too professional to air dirty laundry when I am chatting with them. Sometimes it takes following up after a CCIE lands in a new role to get them to talk and tell me why they left a previous role -- that their management was like Johnny's in this song. I advise anyone interviewing or chatting with a recruiter to refrain from getting too negative about their current employer and most IT professionals understand this point. If you are too harsh about a current employer, this is a red flag for me and gives me a reason to be more thorough when doing reference checks.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

My woman done left and took all the reasons

I was working for

You better not try to stand in my way

As I'm a walking out the door.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

Happy or mad, you really do owe your employer notice of your intention to leave for a new position. Try and remain within the contractual obligations unless some egregious or illegal activity has occurred.

Back in the 70s, I once started a new job before resigning from my old one. Boy did that move tick off my old boss!

In the U.S. and Canada, a two week notice is the standard; in the UK or Middle East, ninety days is common. Often a CCIE's responsibilities for a project or critical deliverable may necessitate a longer notice, and when they have the courtesy to note this in their resignation, it is usually appreciated. If your next employer is pushing too hard to get the CCIE to pull the plug, then this warrants some concern. Don't allow anyone to make you burn bridges. We are in a small community in IT, even smaller for CCIEs. Remember that you will cross paths again, so be polite and do the right thing. How do you quit and what do you say?

Well that foreman, he's a regular dog

The line boss, he's a fool

Got a brand new flat-top haircut

Lord, he thinks he's cool

One of these days, I'm gonna blow my top

And that sucker, he's gonna pay

Lord I can't wait to see their faces

When I get up the nerve to say

Never allow yourself to quit in anger or be visibly frustrated; instead, collect your thoughts. Simple resignations should make a statement of appreciation for the responsibilities the CCIE was given, that they have arrived at a decision to make a career move, and the date intended for separation. That word is ugly, SEPARATION - it sounds like a divorce. Some resignations are drawn out into a prolonged passion play that leaves frustration in its wake. Make sure to remain in control of the exit and prevent personal feelings from entering into the ordeal. Yes, I have seen tears, shouting matches, and in one memorable instance, tire slashing in a parking lot. Quitting is hard, especially if the CCIE has been working with the same team for years. Feelings that they are letting the team down by leaving are real.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

My woman done left and took all the reasons

I was working for

You better not try to stand in my way

As I'm a walking out the door.

Take this job and shove it

I ain't working here no more

The short and sweet approach

Tom,

I appreciate the opportunity you have given me over the past few years. I have made a decision to move on and would like to ensure we have an orderly transition of my responsibilities. It is my intention to resign my position effective January 23rd, 2012.

Make sure to deliver your resignation in person and face your boss in a private area. Ask them to give you some time on their schedule to discuss a personal matter. Most managers will be pretty busy and will have to add you to their calendar if they think the discussion is a business matter. So let them know it is important and of a personal nature. Don't dwell on negative discussions and practice what you are going to say to avoid blurting out anything you might regret later. Hand them your letter of resignation and give them a moment to take it in. Let them know it was not an easy decision to arrive at and offer to assist in your transition.

Leave on a good note, and never say, "Take this job and shove it!"

About

Emmanuel Conde has the distinction of being the only CCIE recruiter promoted by World Wide Channels of Cisco Systems.

46 comments
Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

In fact in most cases, I've tried to negotiate with my employer to remove the reasons I want to leave, and I can't remember an occasion when that has been just money. If negotiations break down, they breakdown, there's no real right and wrong to this, it's just that you don't have common enough goals to make a continued relationship a sensible option for either side. Your boss might have shafted you, there may have been a breakdown of trust, maybe there is just nowhere for you to move on to to develop yourself. So be it, time to call it a day, it is what it is. Exit the building in a calm orderly manner, your integrity and professionalism intact. Otherwise all you do i justify the reasons they gave (often not the real ones), why they chose not to try and keep you. What's the point of that?

AlChirico
AlChirico

Only one company in my 30 years of IT experience actually gave me 2 weeks notice (Hughes Aircraft). I've been through many layoffs and in every other instance, it was "you're layed off, leave now". Generally without any severance. Yet, to a one, they expected the courtsey of 2 week notice so that they could either find or have me train a replacement. They're concerned about the continunity of their business operation. Yet, what about the continunity of my life? Showing me the door abruptly without severance disrupts my life, adversly affects my payables, etc. As a professional, I'm expected to act professional but businesses are not? While I have always given 2 weeks notice, I find it disingenious when I rarely get it in return.

reisen55
reisen55

EVERY so often a job is soooo bad that you are happy to leave it. I had one of those in 2006. But in 2005 I was outsourced out by a company that lied and then lied again and again during the process. First thing - get written reference letters, as many as you can. Second, establish an inside network with your friends inside the firm. The outsourcing firm is another company altogether. Be careful there. When our IT group was through being lied to and lied to, I finally told one fellow of the outsourcing firm OFF in no uncertain terms. I did not curse but was thoroughly disgusted with them. I Revenge: Some of my first clients were executives at this firm who needed GOOD IT support. Secondly, in 2 years this outsource firm, BancTec, was also fired from the account. They were and are total scum. And to this very day, outsourced support at my parent firm is STILL ROTTEN and they MISS good It support.

Ed.Pilling
Ed.Pilling

How I do it is I Bob Smith on June 1, 2011 hereby give my two week notice whereas June 14 will be my last day of work for Widget Company. Short and sweet. If they ask why I just say a new opportunity came along and I am taking it and leave it at that. I don???t tell them that the guy next to me refuses to believe he has ADD and ask me a stupid question every couple of minutes and reminds me of a dog humping my leg or the senior people make rules for everyone to follow except them. Management should know the problems and not relay on me. Also for the most part I do not have anything personal in my cube. I have pictures but they are print outs from the color printer. Where I am now they wait for you to leave the building and call you at home and tell you that your presence is no longer required.

Jessie
Jessie

99.9% of the jobs I've ever quit, I've been very professional about giving a proper two weeks (at least) notice. However, one job that had run me over the coals with their scheduling tactics I very happily went in one day and spoke with the manager, telling him, "I came in to give my notice. You'll notice I won't be here anymore." I then turned around and walked out. It was THE MOST fun I've ever had quitting a job.

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

I left gracefully and graciously from the most stressful job ever with liars in management who break the law with their conflict of interest -- two managers married to each other in the same governmental department. It's just wrong. After five months, I am just barely beginning to recover. People tell me I'm looking better. I'm busy with a couple of really interesting website projects, learning all sorts of new technology in Visual Studio 2010 C# and .asp .net, so I haven't had a chance YET to respond to my erstwhile employers. I have a comfortable income and good situation. I will never work again... ever -- at least not as a Systems Programmer on z/OS on an IBM Mainframe. Even though I haven't gotten around to it yet... as long as my fairly good health lasts, eventually there will come a day... but be assured it will be done tastefully with all the most advanced technology yet with the greatest sophistication, because I am preparing for the day....

Old Timer 8080
Old Timer 8080

How about facing REALITY? In my long electronics career, both as an Engineer and a manager, I can count on the fingers of one hand the companies who actually DID NOT IMMEDIATELY SHOW YOU THE DOOR when you did the proper thing and try to discuss this privately. For the most part, most of the big name companies did a PERP WALK to their " separated " employees.. Very showy and a total lack of concern on how the HR people treat the ex-employee. The HR & Legal people have control of this setup and take pains to keep it that way. This has happened for over 20 years now. The NEW company standard is clear: PERP WALK OUT THE DOOR. It strikes FEAR into the remaining employees and guards the company secrets at the same time... A WIN-WIN from a company standpoint...who cares about an ex-employee? There are plenty of PLUG-IN TYPES to choose from.....

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

One question I had was that if you telework (and live in another state), should you still give notice in person? And when is the standard two-week notice not enough?

Too Old For IT
Too Old For IT

Throw a little party , and have the kick off with "Take This Job and Shove It". Some places and mangers simply deserve the very best!

ljenning
ljenning

Question about giving notice in writing. Is this usual today? Is it even necessary? On "advance notice" comments above... I'm in tech in the financial sector. If I were to take a job in another finance company, I'd be shown the door the minute I let by boss know. It's the policy but I find it ridiculous - I could have messed/stolen whatever before I gave notice. On the other hand, a few years ago I did give notice to my current employer. I was truly sick and tired of the scene - been here too long. They offered me options, one of which was to work from home 3 out of 5 days. I took it and have been on a rotating contract ever since. My advice - stay on good terms and don't burn your bridges... might work out better than you think.

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

I believe in most all of the topic. However I am not sure about notice, really depends, most companies to day do not honor any notice, some may have a valid reason. I feel in some circumstances a two week notice is not necessary or deserved, but that goes to not burning any bridges so may still want to consider it. regardless best to be very careful how one leaves and and discussion with anyone on why. The law is not on your side always, only when can be proved someone broke the law. I am referring to information gathered during a hiring/interview process. Many companies I have worked for will prod and ask questions to everyone they can with the previous employer(s) even though not supposed to. and sometimes, when a current employee knows a buddy at the interviewee's former/current employer, boss has current employee call his buddy at the other company to find out all the dirt they can. Happens more than people think. So best not to leave with burning bridges with anyone. Also be careful what you say in an exit interview, does not stay private. Only raise major concerns if affecting more than you leaving the company at the same time. No one needs to know the real reason. Also, refusing to provide an exit interview may look bad.

CCIE Agent
CCIE Agent

I like the creative approach myself but a new job is a little different than winning a 10mil lottery! Still with today's social media you can do almost anything but remember that stuff on the ether can follow you around for a long time. So buck the new media, walk in sit down and in a personal and politically correct way say, "Take this job and shove it!" No matter how you say it the message will sound like you just quoted Johnny Paycheck anyway but be gentle.

CCIE Agent
CCIE Agent

Since Johnny Paycheck did not mention this point I did not go there either. You are right though the Exit Interview is where a "Neutral" party tries to get the scoop on why you are going. This could be a person you see at lunch with your manager or socializing so unless you really feel like your comments could save lives or careers of others, watch yourself.

John_LI_IT_Guy
John_LI_IT_Guy

Food for thought... I have always given notice when moving on to a new company. I just think it's ironic that when you get laid-off you are given 20 minutes to gather your belongings. My last position I was notified on phone call. The manager didn't even have the decency to do it face to face. Is this the new corporate standard?

IMHAL9000
IMHAL9000

I expect an employer to provide notice or severance pay. If they feel no obligation to provide notice then they should expect none either.

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

...I was much more creative. :)

jck
jck

He who has the gold makes the rules. ;) And, people here in the USA complain about organizing labor...yet, that's who would ensure you get that kind of reciprocal professional courtesy. Abuses like that by employers are glad why I'm in a unionized job now. Less to worry about and more time to focus on your job...rather than if you're gonna be in the next round of "workplace reduction".

CCIE Agent
CCIE Agent

Once upon a time I worked for XXXgard in Philadelphia. There was an ogre there that somehow made management. She was a fire breathing monster of a person. As soon as she set foot in the IT department she began hurling her brand of management which included talking down to subordinates and insulting the technical decisions made in our network based upon some article she read in the dentist???s office, for her teeth were of the finest flesh tearing pearly whites money could buy. After one week under her domination two of my team resigned giving two weeks??? notice. Her pleasure in causing pain was so great she did keep them the full two weeks and tried to manage them directly, going around me to make sure bleeding was not staunched as these poor hapless engineers endured. Having enough of this I walked into her office and placed a neatly printed resignation consisting of only one sentence. It stated to this ogre that I resigned effective immediately. I was there only four months my valiant team had been there for years and she the ogre had been there for one week. After I left she was fired and I was asked to return and the other refugees similarly asked to remain. Since I had landed in a great new role managing one of the largest teams of CCIE in the country I was pleased to move on. The remaining team saw good health and prosperity and lived happily ever after. My shortest job and my shortest notice sent me down the CCIE Agent path and it started with an ogre!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

No, I don't think so. It does set off a lot of "Note to self: incorporate more logic bombs" reminders in the people who don't have trouble identifying with the [i]one that got away[/i].

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

I left the employ of a large corporation under good terms, announcing my intention to resign with 4 weeks notice, double of what I agreed to on my employment forms. I was immediately given the "perp walk" which irked me, but given the nature of what we did I understood. Following company procedure, they killed my logins and TSOs (yes, mainframes). All was well until they removed my personal directory. At first they thought I had planted a logic bomb, but when they realized what happened, they had no one to blame but themselves. First, I was an admin, not a programmer. When I asked for space to place code on production or test machines, I was always turned down. It didn't matter that much of the code was incorporated into main loops and became mission critical... I was not a programmer and the production and test machines were programmer turf. When they killed my directories the mainframe's main production loop became inoperative. It was one of those situations where the company is loosing money by the second. They started off playing hardball, which pissed me off. I probably would have handed them my backups (which I wasn't supposed to have, but we all did), but when threatened with FBI involvement and legal action, I told them to take their best shot and hung up. I was about to put the zip drive media in the toaster oven when my old boss called begging. I literally had the disks on the cookie sheet and the oven plugged into my patio outlet, ready to go. Long story short, (too late) I came in as a consultant and saved the day at 8 times my normal salary. I had more access than I ever did as an admin, but it still took 2 weeks to fix the issues they caused and another week to clear the backlog. They were the first client of what became my current business. They asked me to stay on for another 2 months, then kept me on call with a generous retainer for 6 months. The moral of the story is twofold. This advice goes for the newly departed form a business, the business, and current employees. First, think before you act, even if it is company policy. Second, don't burn a bridge... it's the fastest way to find out that the world is round.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Some have left management with no other sensible choice, one twit had a machine full of porn, that's just evolution in action. I've also seen it done to people, for what amounts to a complete and unjustifiable lack of trust. The message your remaining employees get, may not be the one you want. Especially if your next address to the workforce is going to be our people are our greatest asset, even the most naive's BS filters are going to overload...

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

It just happened to a guy I play music with: he (with 2 other IT managers) were summoned to the director's office while working through their lunches, and there were 3 local city cops there....No one knew what the 'meeting' was for, they were made to wait 20min until a director showed up, fired without reason (but with implicit innuendo!), and cop-walked to the parking lot. My friend wasn't allowed to pick up his half-eaten lunch on the way past his desk, but won a brief debate on whether his desk photo of his son was 'personal property'. This turned out to be the doing of an ''office politics'-immersed colleague with a grudge; NOT 'work performance'....I'm sooooo glad I'm self-employed!!!

bfpower
bfpower

I think you can apply what he said - use the method most often used for sensitive conversations. I had a job once where I primarily conversed with management via voicemail. This was the standard method throughout the district. So when I gave my notice, I took it one step up from there and called the manager personally. It would have been highly impractical to travel to another state to give my notice in person. Use your best judgment.

mindilator
mindilator

that is exactly the way to do it.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Companies are aware of mistreating their employees (low-impact, at the least) enough to expect retaliation the second the threat of loss of livelihood is no longer in force (because that loss has become a reality). Companies that respect their employees also know to expect better than that. So they can and do give notice. That would be an interesting question to pop when going to a work interview : "When you let someone go, what are you standard procedures?" Let the grillers be the grillees for a while ]:)

W.E.
W.E.

The recruiter lends weight to the reality. We should give the utmost respect to our employers in light of the fact that we are shown the door for reasons undisclosed, or for tendering our resignation. IMMEDIATELY! Most companies will not allow you to remain in light of your leaving them when you have access to sensitive info and systems. Methinks this "recruiter" lacks some field experience. They "owe" us nothing, and we owe them nothing.

TBone2k
TBone2k

Depending on where you live, the employer may be required to give severance pay and back vacation pay for full time positions. What notice the employer requires is more likely to be written into your contract. More to the article, the exit interview is another place where you can burn bridges, so be careful there.

AlChirico
AlChirico

The premise of organizing labor, particularly in the beginning, was clearly necessary. Unfortunately, the reality is that unions and union bosses have become a refuge for mafia-like thugs and criminals who force unionization upon those who don't want to join, often by force. Today, workers have to choose between being abused by their employers or being abused by union thugs. Some choice.

AlChirico
AlChirico

I worked for a company that provided a medical procedure and I was one of two claims analysts. When the staffing reductions started, they apparently decided that they could get by with just one analyst (we were both overloaded with work!). I got called into my bosses office early in the morning. When I opened the door and saw the HR person sitting with my boss, I knew immediately that it was going to be me. Long story short, my boss trusted me enough to allow me to leave at Noon instead of the "perp walk', which I greatly appreciated. Not only did it allow me the time to transfer over what I was working on to the other analyst, but it also allowed me to gather my stuff, backup my personal stuff from the computer and also to say goodby to my co-workers and friends. Probably the best company that I ever worked for. Bad senior management got them into that position, but the core people were great. I've been through other staffing reductions and the experience was much different, much like others have described.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

The perp walk (and the associated practices of what lies beneath it) is actually their burning the bridge from the other end. Why has it become canonized? Would make sense to have a choice, at least. Benign detachment > Debrief (Isolate and debrief at worst) Malign detachment > Escort to the door, check for damage.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

The greatest assets need to be put in their place, eh? Keeps them from thinking they're actually worth something.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

misapplied. Though in their favour unless it's being sacked for gross misconduct, it would what we call garden leave in the UK, you still get paid for the period of your notice, at it was their choice not to make you serve it. The thing that interest me is, if that's the practice how do they cope with the immediate loss. Are all the passwords you need as admin in a safe somewhere, is your work backed up in a source safe, do they have proceses so they know where you are in a task. If not, you are about to work for a bunch idiots.... Never a good idea that.

CCIE Agent
CCIE Agent

The companies I have worked for in a management capacity have tried many ways when down-sizing. I have seen them make the decision that calling the employee/RIFee at home while in the company of their family was a good idea. After sitting in the room with my ???nay??? vote recorded and watching the results I was vindicated for not agreeing. I have been the one giving the message to twelve direct reports in one conference room as they waited for their turn to be let-go. The fact that all the conference rooms were booked as slaughter houses similar to the one I was in did not seem to keep the sensitivity high only fuel the rumor and hate mill. One creative organization even decided to try meetings on client sites where consultants were billing. What a mess that was the clients this happened with hired many of the folks but the planning did not include them so the use of their premises was no appreciated. Yes it does not strike a proper balance or ever really feel good unless you get a notice period that allows you to work things out. Very few companies do that but more should. No sensible IT person is going to go into work and burn down the building. Instead they will have like company with which to commiserate as they prepare for the next phase. That I think is the better way of letting anyone with a good history go. In the European Union the experience is different than in the USA. It is common to have to carry the salary of the ex-employee for 90 days (if I remember) while they look for a new job. Resignation periods are called ???Gardening??? and the 90 days are spent idly between jobs. Quitting your job is hard if you have been there for any length of time. Respect for a good manager and a good team requires you to say good bye on friendly terms if possible. Quitting a jog after working for a bad boss is different???.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I mean they favoured you by reading your resume, then let you get tested, interrogated, credit checked, then even more did you the favour of GIVING you a job and then in an act of immense charity actually gave you some of their hard earned money to buy a coffee and a burger so you didn't die of malnutrition at your monitor. Some people just don't know how lucky they are... :D

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

says one or the other has a bigger balance of legistalive power. Any sane country would remove that inequality by whatever means necessary. I heard an engineer at a union meeting at one place whinge about having a three month notice period, in that he couldn't just leave on the spot. He wanted us lesser lifeforms to go to bat for him. Lesser perhaps, total imbeciles no... Notice period is an indication of value. If you use a union to increase your value unfairly, than you are as bad as the hypocrites who want to sack you in the next minute but expect two weeks notice if you resign. Uinions now, just a another set of bosses wth unfair and often unrealistic expectations.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

How do all these perpwalkers cover the costs of sifting through the sacked person's unfinished stuff? It can easily be a couple of days worth of detective work... But maybe they all just reassign everything and let others do it from scratch, costly that, too.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

leads to hatred. That way lies the stupid side.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

the impersonal existence of capablility, ie the fact that you do have the power to damage is too great a risk to take, is the examples they cite for people who did. Near everyone of them being a complete failure to distrust, and they all got caught, ie they were f'ing idiots. Breaking something is easy, getting away with it si very different matter, especially when you are going to be the prime and quite probably only suspect anyway. I fail to see why you would trust an idiot up until you sacked them...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It's a nice hard number, easy to quantify and attack. What's your or my contribution to profit, that isn't simply reducing cost though. Soft fuzzy guess isn't it. This is why you see myopic twits replace competent pros, with cheap numpties. Not evaluating the real cost, just the easy one.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

They all seem to forget about synergy. x+y=10x+2y : if the x is the cost of an employee, and the y is the cost of the machinery... the trick is that the employee can put the machinery to use, which generates z - aka "product". Their dumbgebra always falters; if you subtract all x'es, will it work?

CCIE Agent
CCIE Agent

In some organizations the IT staff is an expense in others they are an investment. So the process of justifying the staff for an IT manager can be a protracted. I have managed both kinds of teams, internal IT and consultants. In the 1st scenario the Corp managers in a company looking to slim up their expenses will look at the IT manager and ask, What have you done for me lately? The IT manager then has to explain the value of each member o the team and what they do daily to ensure the company runs well with the lubricant IT solutions apply to the corporate engine. In the 2nd scenario the manager has to show less time on the bench and many happy client faces. The salary paid to an IT person in the 1st example comes from a company, in most cases, that does not sell IT but another widget. In the 2nd the company sells the grey matter and panache of the IT person. This IT person has more control over their destiny in most cases. A good consultant can draw more business and increase profits and can impact the client relationship more than the sales team can. That consultant can ask for a raise easier because he can quantify his argument with billable hours as a factor. Who is asking for the raise? Who is on the chopping block? We are in a fickle world here in the US IT field and I wager for or against none! The value of people gets lost in the P+L statement, bottom line.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

This one costs ten bucks an hour.... :( Bottom line in business is profit, if you cost X, they want value X+, if that isn't true, they and then you, or just you are gone. It's that's simple, everything else is a attempt to cushion this harsh reality so you don't ask for 11 bucks an hour, or to turn X+ into X++ without an increase in X

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

chooses not to have you work your notice period, even thouygh they still have to pay you it. 30 days is standard in the UK, but 60 and 90 are not unheard of for higher value positions. Other countries in the EU, make us us look like a bunch of right wing crypto-facists.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I have a spare sense of humour chip available at a reasonable price.