Rapid Resignation

Hi, Anita. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and many of your tips helped me to land a job about a month ago. I was so thankful to finally get a job, but as it turns out, I’m not really happy there. I’m not fulfilled by what I’m doing and want to get out before I get entrenched. I also want my boss to be able to go back to the other candidates she interviewed before they accept other jobs. Is it okay to email my boss this weekend and let her know I won’t be coming back on Monday?

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Dear, Rapid Resigner,

No! It’s never okay to email your boss your resignation, no matter how good your intentions. Not only is it disrespectful and unprofessional, but you are putting your boss in the really bad position of finding herself an employee down without having any notice to create a transition plan. Finally, it’s hard on the team you leave behind because they will have to pick up the slack you just dumped in their laps.

If you are unhappy in your current position, you have every right to make a change. Just be careful in the way you go about it. First of all, if you feel you can talk to your boss about what is making you unhappy, do so. Make sure you’re clear about specific grievances, and give your boss a chance to understand what you would like to see happen going forward. She doesn’t have to change anything, in which case you are justified in your resignation, and she won’t be surprised. However, you may be surprised yourself! If she respects the work you’ve been doing and wants to keep you on the team, she may be able to adjust some things so you feel better about them.

If you don’t feel like you can talk to your boss about your issues, or if you simply don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to work through them with her, at least give her the courtesy of 1-2 weeks’ notice before your last day. That way, she can transition you out and find a replacement for the position. By not giving proper notice, you are truly burning a bridge that may come back to haunt you later on. After all, it’s a small world; you never know what future employer may know your boss and ask her about you. Read more about professional resignations in my post “Building, Not Burning, Bridges.”

I know things may seem bad at your new job, and you may not think you can take it a second longer. In that case, if you really feel you need to give less than two weeks’ notice, you still need to approach your boss in person and let her know when your last day will be. Most bosses will understand that it’s not a good fit (as a matter of fact, dollars to doughnuts, they had realized the same thing already) and wish you well – so long as you don’t let YOUR door hit THEM in the behind on your way out.

Thanks for being such a loyal reader, Rapid. I hope you’ll take this piece of advice to heart as well.

Anita

Readers – have you ever known of anyone who simply emailed in their resignation and gave their boss no notice? What was the fallout – on both the manager’s and former employee’s sides?

Responding to Reference Check Requests

Hi, Anita:

I received a call from a company requesting a reference for a former employee on my team. What am I allowed to say and what information should I keep confidential?  I want to be as professional as possible while being honest. Thanks.

Dear, Reference Check Responder:

More and more companies are requiring that reference checks be performed before bringing on new employees. It is a great way to get the inside scoop on an employee that you are interested in hiring and serves as a great second opinion that you are making the right or the wrong choice.

Many employees/job seekers are under the impression that it is illegal for their previous employer to disclose anything besides the dates of employment, salary information, and job title. Though it may be your current company’s policy to disclose nothing more than dates, pay, and title, there are no current federal laws in place that prevent additional employment information from being disclosed to potential employers. Each state’s laws are different so it is best to check the Department of Labor for your state to make sure you are within the protections of the law.

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Keep in mind that there are laws against defamation of character (slander and libel) or invasion of privacy that you must be very careful not to break. It is important that you give an accurate description of the employee in question but an exaggerated and personally charged negative reference should be avoided. Not only can it open the door for potential lawsuits, but it may also damage your credibility and professional image to peers outside of your company.

Some simple guidelines that will help you:

  • If you feel a question is too invasive, you can politely say that you are not at liberty to discuss this topic due to your current company’s policy.
  • Give responses only to questions that you feel comfortable answering.
  • If the employee left the company on bad terms, I would refer the call to your Human Resources department. These colleagues are trained to handle these situations properly.
  • Avoid giving detailed information of an employee’s negative performance.
  • Only comment on your direct observations of the current or former employee’s performance. Hearsay should not be relied on or involved in your description.
  • Medical conditions and other personal health information should never be discussed.
  • For your protection, keep a log of all reference inquiries that show the date, name of employee, name of reference requestor, and name of prospective employer company. This document should be placed in the former employee’s folder and be made available upon request.

In any situation, personal or professional, always use your best judgment. Never feel like you have to divulge more information than you feel comfortable giving. Each company is different and may have a standard procedure for handling reference requests. Always consult your supervisor or Human Resources department for additional information.

Good luck!

Anita

Readers:  What are the most difficult questions that you have been asked by a reference requestor? Have you ever had a former employee ask for a reference that you felt you should not offer?

TextSpeak Tip-Off

Hi Anita!!!!

I wanna ask u for advice cuz i’m not getting any job intvws after 4 mo. of sending my resume to lots of biz and I don’t know Y. Lemme know what 2 do. Ur the best!!!

Dear, Texter Extraordinaire,

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Your cover letter could be the difference between getting a phone call for the interview and your résumé going in the “no” pile. While abbreviated answers work well on your cell phone, as a job seeker, you’ll want to be sure to use proper sentences in business correspondence. Below are a few important items to include in your cover letter, whether you attach it as a Word document or include it in the body of an email.

  • Include the job title you are applying for and where you saw the position advertised.
  • Outline how your qualifications make you a good fit for the job, briefly but not in shorthand.
  • Reiterate your contact information, even though it appears on your résumé or job application.

Re-read all correspondence before sending. Incorrect spelling, faulty grammar, and improper punctuation may raise a red flag with your potential new boss. Don’t trust your Smartphone’s auto-correct or the telltale red lines under misspelled words in Microsoft Word. Your computer’s grammar check can help with homophones such as “their,” “there,” or “they’re,” but there is no substitute for proofreading your work.

txting_cartoon

I’d like to offer one final admonition about overusing exclamation points. Here’s my rule of thumb: use one exclamation mark per sentence and one exclamatory sentence per paragraph. There are better ways to add excitement to your writing than exclamation point overindulgence. As we told my grandson when he was younger, “Use your words.”

Bottom line – you may not be getting any interviews because you’re not making a great first impression with your communications skills. Clean up your presentation of your résumé and cover letter, and I bet you’ll “clean up” on the number of interviews you get invited to as well.

Best of luck!

Anita

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Tips for Time Management

Hi, Anita:

My business has seen a huge jump in orders and we are firing on all cylinders. I definitely welcome the increase in pace and couldn’t be happier with the pick-up in the economy. But I am worried that before long I will find myself with too many things to do and not enough time to do it. What tips do you have for time management?

Dear, Crunched for Time:

Time management is a great tool for everyone to master. When time begins to vanish right before your eyes, it is good to have a set plan in mind on how to keep your life in order. One thing that always fascinates me about time… when all we have is time, it creeps by, and when we don’t have enough, it seems to fly out the window.

Time_Mgmt

Here a few tips to keep that wily and unruly time of ours under control.

  • Take the first 30 minutes of your day planning out your day.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Separate them into those that must be completed today, those due tomorrow, those due next week, and so on. This will give you a good checklist to work from.
  • Record your daily activities and analyze the time you spend doing each type of task. When you look back after two weeks, you will be able to better understand where you can save 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there.
  • Don’t be afraid to set aside “Do Not Disturb” time for yourself. Get the most important tasks completed and out of the way during these hours.
  • Budget time in your day for unanticipated interruptions. Trust me, they come out of nowhere when you least expect them.
  • Remind yourself that you are only human, and it is impossible to get everything done in a day.
  • Schedule time about every half hour to respond to emails in your inbox. If something is urgent and needs your immediate attention, instruct your staff to either call or visit you in your office.
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. It will help you have more energy and the fuel to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

A good video to watch is below from Dr. Darryl Cross. It is a bit longer than my usual visual entertainment but worth every minute:

Readers, what do you think is the biggest time-waster during your day? Do you have a secret tip you would like to share with the Clew-munity?

Best wishes,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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