Author Topic: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word  (Read 6117 times)

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sarahmacalalad

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Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« on: May 06, 2014, 06:29:47 AM »
Hi all! First time poster here :) I was hoping to get some opinions on something that's been bothering me. I've recently encountered a very big dilemma that had plagued me for weeks. It's resolved now, but I would like to know if my actions about it were justifiable or was I in bad form for the decisions I made.

I've been working for a company since it opened office, more than five years ago. During my tenure, I had several promotions that granted me a status high up in the command chain, and because of these factors, I believe I became a valued member of the staff.

However, eventually I tendered my resignation due to circumstances unimportant to this story. We have a standard 45-day-notice policy which I complied with upon my resignation. However, for about 25 of those days, my resignation had been unattended to because my boss was in and out of the country, tending to a sudden severe illness (we had to wait for him to give a go-signal on whether or not my resignation would be accepted, as I was perfectly willing to stay if they were willing to make an offer to keep me (To be clear, my resignation was NOT a ploy for an income boost--I was willing to stay even if they changed nothing. Resigning was just something I was on the fence about wanting to do)). When he was well enough to return, he decided to accept my resignation, but my last day was coming up MUCH too soon to find and train a replacement, etc. So they asked me to extend for a month more.

The thing about that extension was that it would not only make me work on the busiest month of the year (December, right about Christmastime to be specific), but I would have to train my replacement, too. On top of that, for the past few months, I had been dealing with personal matters that were frankly nothing short of emotionally painful and draining AND I had no prospects yet for a new job (which is frightening for me because I am a mother of two).

To be honest, leaving at the end of my notice would have been better for me (difficult financially, but preferable to allow me to work on my personal issues), but I did love my job and the people I worked with so, as a gesture of good will, I agreed to extend, but with a condition: if they wanted me to extend, they would extend me until the end February or I won't agree to the extension at all. (I did love what I did, but I certainly wasn't going to allow them to use me for THEIR convenience just because they hadn't prepared for my resignation properly. Plus the Jan-Feb extension would allow me ample time to save up, pay off my company loans, and look for a replacement job.)

So they agreed, and things worked out okay for December and January. But with February coming up, I started searching for a replacement job (I expected to be looking for a good month or two with the job market as bad as it is). Long story short, after a while, I stumble upon the perfect replacement (JUST that job, and no other from the good twenty that I applied for).

Now, herein lies the dilemma: the new job wants me to start first week of February. I tell them I can't do that and manage to negotiate to start third week of February. Of course, when I told my current company, they predictably kicked up a huge fuss about it, particularly because it was myself who said I should stay until the end of February (And I get that. I do. But my thought process was: I should prioritize my job security and, consequently, my family's future over giving this company, who no longer values me as an employee anyway, two additional weeks of convenience).

Anyway, it's all been resolved now, but I would like an honest opinion about my actions: should I have honored my word with my old job to the letter (this meant turning down the only job offer I received so far (and it's a REALLY good job)) or were my decisions justifiable?

lkdrymom

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 06:34:07 AM »
You do what works for you best.  That 45 day notice is ridiculous. You needed to work a week less than originally indicated and by this time your replacement should have been well trained.  I hope you took the job and did not look back.

TootsNYC

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 08:36:15 AM »
How is it that you have a 45-day notice period? Is that part of the contract?

Anyway, this is business, and almost no contracts are unbreakable. There may be consequences to breaking them, but it's almost always possible to break a contract if you pay the penalty.

You paid the penalty of making them mad.

And this: If the new company wanted you to start the first week of February, then you got the offer when?

In the U.S., almost every employer expects you to give a two-week notice to your current employer. So you push back and are giving, what, a four-week notice? That's long enough, considering that they'd had enough time to have found a replacement for you by then--you were supposed to be training that person, right?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2014, 09:15:11 AM »
I'll admit to being a little lost on the timing. Did the 45 day period not start till after the 25 days your boss was out?

But basically, some times timing doesn't work and you need to do what is best for you.

Oh Joy

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2014, 09:48:07 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

Yes, you were wrong to make a professional promise and then break it.  It was an understandable personal choice and most people likely would have done the same, but that doesn't change that you violated the agreement.

Your actual mistake was in simultaneously committing to one employer while seeking new employment where start dates are typically sooner.

Forty lashes with a wet noodle, and move on.

Best wishes!

Winterlight

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2014, 10:01:10 AM »
Considering they put off dealing with your resignation for nearly a month because of extenuating circumstances, I think that you choosing to leave early because of extenuating circumstances is reasonable.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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wolfie

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2014, 10:03:22 AM »
Wether we think it is reasonable or not isn't really important. If you ever need a reference from this company I wouldn't expect to get it. And if you didn't already have a job then it could be a big red flag. You ask for a concession, get it, and then walk out before fulfilling the terms you asked for. Since you already have a job this might not matter, but that also depends on your industry, how word travels and wether people there would care about that.

Zizi-K

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2014, 10:20:20 AM »
I think what you did was fine. It sounds like you still gave them a lot of notice prior to February, and the difference was only a week. They may have been kicking up a fuss in order to get back at you for slights real or perceived. But in this case, the safety and security of your family trumps this extension, when you already had a replacement trained anyway.

Goosey

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2014, 11:27:45 AM »
Just curious - did you not expect to have to train your replacement?

Sophia

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2014, 11:37:02 AM »
I think after you turned in you turned in your notice, they accepted it, and 45 days were past, you were fine to leave after any reasonable (few days) notice. 

Lynn2000

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2014, 12:55:35 PM »
Tricky situation. I see it mostly as a business matter and at some point you have to do what makes the most business sense for yourself. As TootsNYC said, there are contracts in place (I'm assuming) and if the company didn't have the foresight to put in a steep penalty for leaving before the end of February, that's on them. It doesn't sound to me like you did anything illegal or unethical in a business sense, especially since you negotiated with your new employer for a couple extra weeks before starting there, so you could more fully complete your commitment to your old employer.

I'm assuming that at that point, you told your old employer about this, thus giving them a couple weeks' notice that you would truly be leaving. And, I'm assuming that you didn't have a new 45-day notice stipulation that you broke (though again, if they didn't really have a penalty for breaking that, that's a business decision on their part).

What with the delay in approving your resignation, and your generous offer to stay for three more months to train your replacement, I would think that emotionally they could cut you some slack for not staying one more week, especially if you gave them plenty of forewarning. But, I do agree that the emotional part could potentially impact your career, if you ever sought a reference from them or if it's a small industry where word spreads. It would be easy for them to say, "She broke her agreement!" and hard for you to explain the whole complicated situation.  :-\
~Lynn2000

TootsNYC

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2014, 02:24:58 PM »
An aside:

regarding this
Quote
To be clear, my resignation was NOT a ploy for an income boost

It is perfectly acceptable and honorable for a resignation to *be* a ploy for an income boost. Of course, you may not win that gamble, and you may end up simply leaving. But there is nothing the least bit wrong with saying, "I'm resigning, though if you make it worth my while, I would stay."

wolfie

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2014, 02:36:22 PM »
An aside:

regarding this
Quote
To be clear, my resignation was NOT a ploy for an income boost

It is perfectly acceptable and honorable for a resignation to *be* a ploy for an income boost. Of course, you may not win that gamble, and you may end up simply leaving. But there is nothing the least bit wrong with saying, "I'm resigning, though if you make it worth my while, I would stay."

If you got to askamanager she suggests that is a bad move. Because that is going to be remembered and could leave a bad taste in people's mouths and that could have repercussions later on.

TootsNYC

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2014, 02:40:14 PM »
Well, but I think that's a discussion of "the effectiveness of the tactic," and not a determination that this is a dishonorable move.

Lynn2000

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Re: Family Welfare vs. Honoring One's Word
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2014, 04:27:27 PM »
Yes, just as a side note, I think it's fine if you are genuine about it. "I feel underappreciated here, so much so that I want to leave. This is your last chance to change my mind." If your manager is clueless or something, it may take something drastic like that for them to realize that you're serious.

But you have to be prepared to actually, in fact, leave if they don't step up. And, one hopes there would have been conversations before this point, rather than going straight for the resignation. And I think you can really only do it once (threaten to resign, then stay for more money). Otherwise it becomes crying wolf, or drama queen.

And of course, it may still rub other people the wrong way, as things sometimes do in life.
~Lynn2000