As the economy improves, many workplace experts are predicting a mass exodus of disgruntled employees who’ve been treated unfairly during the economic downturn.
There are early signs of a slight uptick in workers saying “goodbye” to their employers. “The number of quits was 2.1 million in November compared to 1.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent data.
But I’m here to tell everyone to think before you say “f__k you” to the boss.
After so many companies were laying off workers, slashing wages and benefits, it’s not surprising that some employees feel no obligation to be nice when they head out the door, says David Kaplan, management professor for Saint Louis University. “It’s understandable,” he adds, “because they feel the employer has violated the psychological contract with employees, and they don’t feel they owe them anything.”
Whether it’s giving notice, training your replacement or abiding by noncompete agreements you may have signed, these post-employment niceties that were expected once upon a time are not a given in today’s workplace.
Yes, it sucks to be treated badly but you don’t want to burn your bridges when you leave. I know that sounds like an old-fashioned concept. But I suggest you take your anger out on management privately, after you’ve written a formal letter announcing your departure.
That’s what a good friend of mine did many years ago. He set a plastic Godzilla afire in my backyard. Why? Because his boss’ nickname was Godzilla and she tortured my friend incessantly until he finally quit and went on to bigger and better things.
It was a great way to get his anger out without destroying his career in the process. Journalism is a small world, just like many other professions and industries.
Here’s a video of a guy who quit in the classiest way I’ve ever seen:
Seriously, you don’t have to sing to your manager but you have to be careful and not get too angry.
If you divulge company secrets or take all your clients with you when you depart, your employer may come after you. If you figure they don’t have a legal leg to stand on, or the money for a legal fight, you still end up leaving your co workers in a lurch if you just leave, don’t help train a new hire, or take all your institutional knowledge with you without offering to share some of it.
And forget about recommendations from your former managers. That means those coveted recommendations on LinkedIn as well. And there is no law you have to give two-weeks notice, but it’s still expected in most circles and word will get around that you didn’t.
So come on, buy a Godzilla and have a bonfire.