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I'm in a situation where I must resign from a team that is in over their heads with a huge project. They're even currently looking to hire a couple of people to help distribute the work. What they don't know is that 2 of us are resigning soon.

The problem comes in with the fact that we work on a client site, and the client's policy does not allow 2 weeks notice. Once someone decides to resign, you are escorted immediately off the property.

I basically have 2 choices.

  1. Go to my manager's office, and let her know that I will be resigning and possibly putting a multimillion $ project in jeopardy and take the beating/the manager's tears and then be escorted off the property by security

  2. Write a resignation letter for the company and a more personal letter to the manager thanking everyone for the opportunity, and wait for everyone to go home, and put the letters on her desk, with the company laptop, ID and other things, and never come back

I'm not sure which would be the best choice. Would the 2nd option be considered disrespectful, since I wouldn't do it face to face? I know for a fact that no matter what choice I make, I will be hated by the whole team and I will never be expecting a recommendation from the manager any time soon. (The last person to resign was liked by everyone, and once they resigned, they became the scapegoat for all our problems and the team all just spit and cursed his name daily for almost a year...no, it's not a friendly work environment at all, some of the most terrible people I've ever come into contact with in my life)

My other co-worker who's resigning is leaving about 2 months after me and said he'll decide his method of resigning depending on how they react with the way I resign.

So how should I handle this situation? Is there another option I am not considering?


To clarify a few things. I want them to continue to like me for professional purposes (possible recommendations, in case our paths meet again, etc.)

I work on the client site. The client does not allow people to stay after they've declared that they are resigning, that is not my company's policy, but the kicker is that the client is a government agency where I have access to very confidential info. They are very strict, which is why it applies to contractors especially.

I'm in the US. It is considered professional and courteous to give your "2 weeks notice" which is letting your employer know you are resigning 2 weeks prior to your last day on the job. It gives them time to prepare for your departure, find a replacement, etc.

The client would know I've told my employer that I am leaving because I'm not the only one on site, I work for a software company, and my team of a few people work on-site at the client, including my manager (not the client's manager).

I've seen 2 people resign before me, and both times, my manager had them escorted out of the building immediately. Although it's the client's policy, my manager follows the rules, since she also works on-site.

163

I would write the letters of resignation, but do not leave them on the desk. It is unprofessional and cowardly. This is a business relationship and should be treated as such by both sides. However I would have my desk prepared for immediate departure.

I would present your letters to the manager while acknowledging that you are aware that the normal practice of the company is to terminate the business relationship immediately, offer to work out a 2 week notice if that is their desire. If you present it this way then there should be no hard feelings on anyone's side. This should leave the door open for your return in the future should that be your desire.

You will find that sometime in your career if you do much consulting that your path will cross with one or more of the people whom you have worked with there. Keeping the relationship professional and leaving on good terms are important to keeping future relationships starting out on the right foot.

  • 9
    Certainly agree with @Chad. Just don't run away, your name would be in their mouth for another year in your absence. – Thalaivar Mar 18 '14 at 20:47
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    I agree that this is the correct answer. Tell the manager that you are resigning and are willing to give them the customary several weeks to work out transfer of responsibilities and knowledge. You owe your immediate manager a chance to make suitable arrangments, which might include "OK, the client is being stupid so we can't do it officially, but could you quit two weeks from now and spend those two weeks getting your work into transferrable state and training Fred so he can pick it up?" If they decline the offer (which is a courtesy for their benefit, not yours!) that's their choice. – keshlam Mar 18 '14 at 21:10
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    And yes, quitting always means making your boss less than happy. Let them whimper at you if they must; they need to be able to tell their managers they tried, and they're entitled to a chance to ask "what would it take to convince you to stay a bit longer". Quitting happens. It's unavoidably a bit embarrassing for all concerned. – keshlam Mar 18 '14 at 21:14
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    Agree with this. @user1687580 Just behave in a professional manner. If you know they're going to 'spit and curse your name' no matter what, would you prefer to be able to hold your head up high and know they're wrong, or would you rather know that (however badly they choose to express it) they have a point? – Rob Moir Mar 18 '14 at 21:27
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    +1 for offering to work for the next two weeks, even though it's not in the company policy. This is what outstanding employees are made of. – asteri Mar 19 '14 at 13:24
70

What I would do is option 3. I would prepare for being escorted out that day and prepare a written transition document of where everything stands. I would make sure all code was checked in to a branch at least. (This doesn't apply to any non-programmers reading this.)

I would clean up anything I wanted on my computer (such as if I had personal pictures I mean, not stealing work related information which you should not do.) I would pack up my personal stuff. I would gather any current necessary emails or documents in a file and make sure that the the location of the file was accessible to my supervisor and include it in my transition document.

I would be prepared financially to not get that two weeks pay (even if you have a good legal case to get paid (local laws vary), you might have to use legal means to get it and thus not get it immediately.)

Then I would write a formal letter resigning as of a date two weeks from now.

I would take that resignation letter and my transition document to my boss and resign like a professional. You do this no matter how badly you think they will treat you and no matter how eager you are to leave. If they choose to put the project at risk by not letting you do a transition, then that is their problem, by checking in your code and preparing a transition document, you have done all you can in that case.

  • 1
    @user1687580 In addition to writing a transition document, as suggested here, well in advance of your leaving you should go through your code, particularly for your current project, and make sure it is adequately documented, whether by comments or separate high-level descriptions or both. This should also be done for any earlier projects that are still active that you are maintaining – tcrosley Mar 21 '14 at 19:54
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    I don't really follow the need for this transition work. There's work you're expected to do in the time which (unknown to your employer) you're about to resign. Are you doing your transition work instead of that, or are you doing unrequested and unpaid overtime for a terrible employer who's going to hate you no matter what? If they want you to spend your notice writing transition documents (off-site per the client's policy) then fine. If they don't, also fine, it's their decision. I guess if you're in the habit of leaving days of work un-checked-in, then a check-in is in order. – Steve Jessop Mar 23 '14 at 23:50
  • I agree with @Steve. You, user1687580, don't decide to leave at once. You give two weeks notice. You don't have to take in advance on your shoulders the burden of the client's stupid decisions. – Nicolas Barbulesco Mar 31 '14 at 9:04
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    The need is so your coworkers don't hate you for leaving them a mess to clean up. You might work with some of them again someday or need them for a reference in the future. Leaving unprofessionally can make them change thier minds about you. Since you know you are likely to be sent home that day based on past events with other people, it is irresponsible not to prepare beforehand. – HLGEM May 7 '14 at 18:44
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    "... not stealing, which you shouldn't do" - I didn't laugh, but I did breath slightly heavier through my nose for half a moment. =) – corsiKa Jul 7 '14 at 22:03
32
  1. Speak to the actual people YOU work for, who placed you at the client site. find out what they wish you to do.
  2. Prepare your documents, your computer files, etc.
  3. Write that letter, with a 2 week notice included.
  4. Prepare yourself for suddenly being walked off premises but let THE CLIENT be the one to march you out or let you stay 2 weeks.

Your assumptions may be invalid in this case, and you seem to be eager to jump the gun on this matter.

Under no circumstances should you just write a letter and leave. That's cheap. If the client are jerks, then they are jerks, and you can hold your head up high.

What YOU need to take care of is your relationship with the actual people YOU work for, and THAT'S NOT the client.

  • 8
    +1 for discuss what to do with the company who's paying you before saying anything to the client where you're working. It's quite likely that they have a preferred method/procedure to deal with departing from a difficult client already. – Dan Neely Mar 19 '14 at 19:53
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    Your obligation is to your company. The company has a responsibility to deliver the product to the client. Speak to whoever your manager at your company is, the person who assigned you to the job. S/he is the one who will be impacted. Deliver your letter, copy to HR. Decide in advance what your preferences are for the notice period. Do you want to be out immediately, or available (and paid) for 2 weeks. You won't always get what you want, but it is easier if you know what it is. – Ross Millikan Mar 20 '14 at 18:21
  • Your obligation is to yourself. Your company has no reason to expect you to be any more loyal to them than they are to you. They would fire you on the spot if it suited them to, so don't feel guilty about leaving on your own terms. – Byron Jones Jul 28 '16 at 21:21
13

From your description, you are working for company A, who is selling you to the company B. The company B has not 2-week notice for its employers, but your company (A) does.

You should contact your company (A) before saying company B about that case. They are certainly in better position to handle that case. Because you're external, it is possible, you could work there for a few days even if you have decided to leave company A.

It's even possible, that company A would say, they want to move you out of the project from company B in 2 weeks, without being oblidget to give an explanation if you leave or you are sent to other customer. 2 companies have much more flexibility determining their terms of contract than you agaists a company.

In each case, you should consult with your mother company first. You might learn, you are not the first person in such situation and they've already established a good procedure for handling such cases.

  • As I understood, there is no company B, the client is the government of the USA. – Nicolas Barbulesco Mar 31 '14 at 9:09
  • 2
    Selling people is forbidden now. – Nicolas Barbulesco Mar 31 '14 at 9:10
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    That would be most curious. If you work for a contractor to the US Gov, the gov doesn't care about notice to your employer. You can give your employer notice, and your employer can keep on sending you in up to your last day. – user13659 Jan 6 '15 at 1:13
-4

Normally I'd say person to person is the best policy. It's simply the polite thing to do.

But any organization that would 'escort' you off the premises like a tresspasser is not concerned with how such humiliating treatment impacts your image. So I don't see why you should be particularly concerned for them. If thats not what you want to go through, leave a very gracious letter after you've cleared out all your personal belongings. After all, they are they ones who chose the game rules. If you are on good terms with the manager on a personal level, call them the next day to thank them and wish them well.

  • 6
    Most organisations would escort you off the premises to ensure that all regulations (ID card, documents etc) were dealt with, and more particularly to stop any theft or other sabotage in the case of acrimonious departure. Even those companies that do not "escort" usually have a "report to security desk" or similar procedure, You cannot say that simply being escorted is a humiliation unless they are physically dragging you out by the left nostril. – Steven Wood Mar 19 '14 at 10:34
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    I agree with @Steven. I've worked in at a government contractor with similar rules before, although the policy at the time was that employees resigning did the usual transition, while employees who lost their positions (and often enough this was due to budget reasons, or project cancellation for political reasons, so it didn't carry a stigma) did have all access revoked immediately, in case they responded vengefully. They still were on payroll for two weeks, but couldn't either show up or work. – Ben Voigt Mar 19 '14 at 14:10
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    @StevenWood to stop any theft or other sabotage. Yes, because no one would steal and/or start the logic bomb first and then resign. – BryanH Mar 19 '14 at 18:24
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    Escorting someone off the premises IS humiliating. Just because it might be common does not make it right. I am saddened by how pervasive fear seems to be in other countries, workplace.stackexchange.com/a/6905/513. – hlovdal Mar 20 '14 at 9:19
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    @StevenWood - you're absolutely correct. The only humane way to escort is to drag by the right nostril. – user13655 Mar 21 '14 at 3:36

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