I've always had a very turbulent relationship with my director and things have greatly escalated in the recent past. Due to a recent event (it's a loooong story) I was suspended this week. In case you're wondering, YES, it is absolutely humiliating to be suspended from your job. I've never even been verbally warned about anything my entire career until this point. At the time of my suspension the HR manager told me "if you have another job in the works, I'm sure I could get you some money to ease the transition." Since we're pretty friendly (dated her best friend for 6 months) I wasn't as alarmed by the offer as I should have been. Well, today the president asked me to stop by after office hours and he made me the same offer, only much more direct. Not resigning is obviously an option but he pretty much told me the director already has a plan in place to ensure I don't last long after I return next week.

The president and I talked for about 30 minutes or so and here's the best deal I could work out on the spot:
- I can take off next week (paid) while I consider my options.
- On the books, I will remain an active employee for the next 3 months. This will give me additional months of financial cushion and allow me to interview while I technically still have a job.
- The company will pay for my BlackBerry service for the next 3 months and then I can transfer the number to a private plan or my new company. This is my only phone (no home phone) so it's sort of a big deal to keep the number. I didn't ask but I'm sure they would give me the phone as well since we're notorious for not recycling anything.
- I will receive positive written recommendations from the president and my director.

I work in an education-related field so there's not a lot I can ask for outside of salary and benefits. We've had plenty of staffing "issues" since the presidents arrival and the board has made it publicly known they don't want anymore. This is the primary reason they want me to leave voluntarily.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

As for the question on everyone's mind: I did indeed learn an extremely valuable lesson from this situation.

I apologize if this post isn't completely coherent but this just went down a few hours ago so I'm still trying to refocus my thoughts from dealing with my boss upon my return to being unemployed.

pmoriarty's picture
Training Badge


I'm sorry to hear about your current situation. Assuming you are an at-will employee, it sounds to me like staying isn't an option (and even if you aren't, they don't want you there), so listen to the cast on How To Resign, do what you need to in order to wrap things up, and take the money and run.

If you haven't already purchased it, I highly recommend the Interviewing series of casts.

Keep us posted and remember that you have folks here that have been through what you are going through. Keep us posted and let us know how we can help.

tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

If you haven't already purchased it, I highly recommend the Interviewing series of casts.

I'm with Paul, get the Interview Series. Also consider,

If you need to take a day or an afternoon to get it out of your system, do so. Your new full time job is getting interviews and a new job. Do not hesitate contacting peers in other organizations letting them know that you are seeking new opportunities.

Get organized, work at it, and you'll likely have a better position that what you are leaving.

We're here to help.

lindagc's picture

Hi bda,

The Interview Series is a must and so is the finances cast. And once you start the job search, you will need the "how to receive feedback" casts so that you actively use all the feedback that looking for a job will give you!

Finding a new job is your current full time project. The interviewing series is great because it works though pretty much all you need to know in a systematic and practical manner. It is very grounding, and trust me you will need that at the moment. You need to get your head into the right space as quickly as possible so that when you are talking to people and preparing yourself, you send the right signals.

Above all, use the forums.

The kindness of strangers when faced with a huge upheaval cannot be undervalued. When I was retrenched a couple of months back, I posted a note and was overwhelmed that someone in another continent would take the time to read my story and then make a personal response. It was absolutely what I needed at the time. And the advice is terrific!

MT really is a community. It is full of very smart people who have a genuine interest in being constructive. There are lots of threads around layoffs and becoming job ready. Simply going through the Careers forums helped me, and following the posts by yahtzee as he went from being layed off to MT success story gave me a lot of encouragement.

During my job search, I kept a note of anything that could be construed as affirming or adjusting feedback. "How can I do it differently in the future" was my mantra. Although it didn't register with me initially, I was unconsciously using the points in the "How to receive feedback" casts and making them work for me. And just because you are a project and management team of one, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't benefit from your MT skills in feedback, coaching, delegation, networking and O3...

Keep us posted on what happens next. You are among friends.

All the best,

AManagerTool's picture

For what its worth, it sounds like you work for a good organization. You are being let go very nicely. I am sure it still sucks but it could have gone much worse. Good luck in your job search.

jhack's picture

Unfortunately, you don't control the timing.

Presenting a transition plan when you resign (based on the activities outlined in the resignation podcasts referenced above) might garner you additional time on the payroll while you wrap up things neatly and conduct a search.

You did not indicate why you were asked to resign (and I'm not asking you to do so). It does matter, nonetheless. It could have been a performance issue (you're just not up to the job), poor execution (spearheading a program that failed miserably), or even inappropriate behavior. Your options for staying on and managing the transition will vary accordingly.

You will need to dig deep to find out three things:
1. How did you not see this coming, even with HR offering you money?
2. How will you describe your leaving to interviewers, without misrepresentation or regret?
3. What really happened - why did you not succeed... That leads to: what can you do differently?

Good luck. Keep us posted.


PS: Yes, being asked to leave is a real downer. There are many, many active members on the forums who've been there. And the advice is thereby informed by experience...

HMac's picture

bda - You'll find lots and lots of support of these forums, especially if you become an active poster.

Everybody's right about the interviewing series and the other podcasts. At the risk of piling on, let me add one other podcast suggestion, and that's the how to network one...

Here's the one piece of insight I'll add (and it's why I went right to the networking cast):

[b]Your first assignment is to do the tasks necessary to [u]getting[/u] interviews[/b]; THEN you have to prepare for them. Yeah, do some of the interview prep right away - but there's an assumption in there - that you're going to have the interviews to prepare for!

I found M/M's recommendation to use John Lucht's book "Rites of Passage" absolutely invaluable - because it gives great and detailed advice about all those activities that come before the interview (networking, contacting and direct mail to target employers, dealing with recruiters, online job boards, etc.).

Good luck. Yesterday really sucked for you. Today won't suck quite so much. And tomorrow will suck a little less. And so on.

Get busy.


tcomeau's picture
Training Badge

Ouch. Okay, you've been fired, but they're being very nice about it. You're in good company, and it sounds like you're getting very lucky.

I'll echo what others have said: Your new job is to find a better position, and you should apply yourself to that job will all the energy and optimism you can muster.

Practice receiving feedback, and think about what you want to do differently. People who participate in the forums will be happy to help by providing feedback, and often other resources.

The only immediate suggestion I have is that you look into number portability for that Blackberry today, tomorrow at the latest. The company is in a good mood now, so get that number transferred to your control as soon as possible. Transfer it to a "dumb" phone if necessary (e.g. financially), but get it done this week.


WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I like what everyone is saying above. You don't really pose a specific question in your initial post. Is there anything on your mind after everything above?

That advice above will keep you plenty busy. Depending on the state of your resume that might need a lot of work. The preparation M&M lay out in the interview series will consume a LOT of your time. Plus you have to go get interviews and such.

So there's plenty to do. Get focused on it. All that work will help keep you distracted from the giant bummer you just went through. Just work the tools. They're good.

If you browse the forums you definitely see you're not the only one to ever have to do this. Nobody likes it. You're normal. Keep your head up. Let us know if there's anything else we can do here.

bda1972's picture

Thank you so much everyone for your advice and good wishes. I decided to allow myself some sulking time last night (that unintentionally extended through to this morning) but now I'm ready to move onward and upward. Luckily, since I knew things weren't going well for a while, my resume and reference list is completely up-to-date. I've been contacting colleagues this morning via email with news that I'm leaving and a current copy of my resume. I will follow up by phone later this week.

I have been giving serious consideration to the Interview Series that some posters suggested. However, before spending any money I need to carefully assess my finances. I'm actually in pretty good financial shape but am in the process of putting it all on paper before spending a dime. I'm fairly confident I can land a job in a month or so but you never know until you try. I want to plan for the worst case scenario financially. I'm single, no children, have low debt and live beneath my means so I could take a significant pay cut and pay my bills\not starve.

Thanks again. I'll post any updates as they occur.

jhack's picture


The interviewing series is brilliant. Really. It will return value many times over.

I'm a hiring manager, and have been for decades. I've conducted hundreds and hundreds of interviews, and hired several dozens of people. I assure you that the skills and techniques described in the series will genuinely impress interviewers, without any deception or trickery.

That's an unsolicited testimonial. You can't spend money any more wisely right now.


asteriskrntt1's picture


Ask HR if they will purchase the interviewing series for you (and some other outplacement services while you are at it). Can't hurt.


california's picture

I'll echo what everyone said here about there being others on the board in the situation because I just recently got into the same situation. After 5 years at a company where I stellar reviews and was considered in the succession planning discussions, I was let go after a heated discussion with my boss. Ironically it was over working too many hours, which she agreed I did.

Honestly, I can say it was stupid. On my part and on her part. I also got a great package (6 months, got paid for vacation and float, got a percentage of the bonus). If I would have known a little better I would have asked them to pay for career counseling.

That being said, I'm now in the process of finding a new job. Can I tell prospective employers that I was "Laid off"? I was not fired, I resigned. I was told very specifically that my old company would not talk about the situation in any way. I don't want to lie...and if pushed will tell about the situation. Honestly, I'd rather avoid it if at all possible.

I have to say I never looked favorably on those I was interviewing who said they left a position because of a personality issue with their boss. Who says they wouldn't then have that same issue with me?

tcomeau's picture
Training Badge

[quote="california"]I... Can I tell prospective employers that I was "Laid off"? I was not fired, I resigned. [/quote]

Tell the truth: You resigned after a disagreement with your boss. You should practice giving the answer, because you [i]will[/i] be asked about it. You weren't laid off or RIFfed, and (lucky for you,) you weren't fired.

You should have a consistent, reasonable story about the disagreement that led to your resignation. If it was about unreasonable hours, and your need to balance work with family, that's a perfectly good reason. It just needs a good explanation. If your can practice your answer with your old HR buddy, and make sure she thinks it sounds consistent, so much the better.

Tell the truth, at least some version of the truth. If only because it's the easiest thing to remember.


bda1972's picture

Well, as promised, here's an update on my situation:

I was only able to negotiate continued salary and benefits until about the middle of August, basically 3 months plus vacation. I asked for six months but it wasn't even seriously considered. I'll keep my BlackBerry and remain on their service plan during that time period or until I switch to another plan, whichever comes first. I'll receive letters of recommendation from the president and my director. Any mention of my suspension, or the events leading up to it, have been removed from my file.

They also put in writing they won't contest unemployment. That's nice to know in case I haven't found anything when my salary runs out. I checked on my state's payout and its just enough to meet my monthly debts and COBRA payment. So, at least financially, I'm good through next winter (although I'll be in panic mode if I don't have a job in a few months). My HR manager friend told me on the side how to fill out the paperwork to start collecting unemployment now while I receive my salary continuation. However, that doesn't feel ethical to me so I'll wait until I need it. She also offered to be one of my references and to coach me while interviewing. It's ironic that the HR manager is the only one still being genuinely friendly towards me! :roll:

I decided to take everyone's advice and give the Interview Series a shot. The only negative thing I can say is I wish I'd bought it a few months ago because there's such a large amount of detailed information. I already found some mistakes I made on the cover letters I just sent out.

HMac's picture

OK bda - so now you're good to go. Even though they didn't consider six months, it appears they've done pretty well by you. Keep your focus on the future and not the past. Set some activity goals (like finishing and re-listening to the interviewing series, communicating with your network, etc. - it's [i]the activities you have to do [/i]in order to get the interviews :) ).

Best wishes - and keep posting on the forums!


CalKen's picture

As with everyone here, I sympathize with you. From my limited experience dealing with these sorts of things I can only wish you luck and hope that this may be an opportunity for you to find something that you like more than your previous job.

You are going through typical emotions for the ordeal that you went through. In a few days your emotions will even out and things will begin to settle. I know that this is pretty much obvious but I hope that my words lend comfort to your situation.

Ditto to everyone else, catch up on your finances and look at the other podcasts that were mentioned. I have heard the interviewing series and all of the others mentioned that they are priceless. Good luck, and if I can ever help you out you have but to ask and I will do what I can to assist you. Good luck in your future.

AManagerTool's picture

[quote]My HR manager friend told me on the side how to fill out the paperwork to start collecting unemployment now while I receive my salary continuation. However, that doesn't feel ethical to me so I'll wait until I need it.[/quote]

I don't think it's unethical to collect and draw unemployment. I think it depends on your state's laws. Some states look the other way, some don't. Unemployment is INSURANCE. You paid the premiums all your professional life. The max sum that you can collect is usually a joke but it's something and might help with those COBRA premiums. Colect it! It's YOUR money!

This is from the NJ Dept of labor's FAQ:
[quote]Q. Should I wait until my severance pay ends to file a claim?

A. No, because some severance/separation payments do not extend employment. You should file your claim after you stop working full-time. Payments that do not extend employment include severance payments based on years of service with an employer. However, salary continuation through termination and payments in Lieu of Notice, do extend employment. When you file your claim by telephone, the agent will review all separation payments with you before the claim filing process is completed. If you file your claim via the Internet, and it appears that your payment for periods after your last date of work may affect your unemployment benefits, you will be scheduled for an interview with a claims examiner.