Recently I shared some issues in a related question (Is it ever appropriate to tactfully speak your mind regarding your work supervisor without using inappropriate language?).

In lieu of that, I've had a discussion with the account manager who placed me in this role and expressed to him the plethora of issues plaguing this short-term contract position. Expressing my desire to give proper two week notice, I've been repeatedly begged by him to stay in this position for a little while longer while he lines up permanent or contract to hire developer positions for me.

He also advised me to play my hand close in working with this client of their's because giving a two week notice could backfire as they have a right to reject the two week notice and retaliate by firing me; thus implying proper professionalism of informing the temp employer with notice of intent to resign is not wise and I should just walk out on the contract if its really that bad?

It leaves me wondering whats the most respectable thing to do to remain on good terms in a situation where its implied you're doomed if you do and you're doomed if you don't?

  • Country? In the US, two weejs' notice isa courtesy, but yes, they can say "no thank you" and terminate you immediately if they so choose. But so what? If you are quitting, you have to start the process at some time, and role won't be much more than annoyed if you handle it properly -- or if they do take offense, nothing you do will keep them from doing so. If you don't need to be elsewhere and think staying a bit longer will get you better references or make you happier, you can do so; if not, start the countdown
    – keshlam
    Sep 22, 2016 at 2:30
  • @keshlam OP profile says Seattle...
    – mcknz
    Sep 22, 2016 at 2:55
  • 3
    I'm confused as to what the situation is -- are you an employee of a third party and working a short-term contract for a client of that third party? Or are you a contractor working directly for a company?
    – mcknz
    Sep 22, 2016 at 3:05
  • @mcknz, I am an employee of the staffing firm who placed me in this job position with their client, the toxic organization.
    – Alex
    Sep 22, 2016 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


Line up a new gig, make sure you get all your things from the office, and when it's time, walk. Your account manager is full of it. He's not concerned with your well being because from what I can tell he's more interested in getting his "bump" (commission, good reporting status) for having you continue to work. There's no benefit to have you leave the project because a new person has to be sought after, interviewed, selected, and so forth. So there is a clear conflict of interest, NOT in your favor. He is not your ally, but only his own.

As for long term effects: if you walk last-minute OR resign, you can't collect unemployment (at least, in my home state of California). But as for the two week notice concern, I think every recruiter in America has no qualms with being told that the last gig just didn't work out.

ZDNet's study says 68 percent of software projects fail. Some of them fail because of situations just like you're in now! The situation turns ugly, and management is more concerned with schedules than the 'people' element, and quickly lose contractors. As long as you're not shown on TV swinging a bloody axe at the office on the 6 o'clock news, this isn't the end of the world.

In the end, be sure to be in "good standing" with your own sanity, above all!


Sounds like the client development manager is so toxic that even contractors, who are usually highly paid to put up with this kind of dreck, will not stick around and in fact will not even talk to those who do.

Your account manager needs you to hang on by your fingernails for a little while longer while he lines up permanent or contract developer manpower for this client. As soon as you leave, his ongoing business arrangement is over. And since the client will undoubtedly blame him for all her problems, he will have a hard time getting back in the door again.

That's the trouble with the headhunter business: no matter how many good clients you have, you can't afford to discard any of the worst ones.

Tell your account manager that you will stick it out with this client for the full 16 weeks if he will promise that your next contract will be with a sane development manager. If you don't think he can be trusted to keep such a promise then drop both the account manager and the account.

  • I could totally see that and what I'm trying to avoid is the situation getting to the point where they just terminate the contract and I in essence get let go; especially since the staffing firm account manager refuses to manage the client relationship because she's expressed her time is better spent managing relationships with clients who they place teams of developers with, not one developer. The client organization doesn't have contact with the staffing firm and vice versa.
    – Alex
    Sep 22, 2016 at 11:32
  • 1
    I completely agree with your assessment of the situation but completely disagree with your recommendation on several levels. 1st, "I'll stay if you promise ____ " will always be met with "ok". 2nd, one person's "sane" is another one's "wacko". 3rd, recruiter/AM won't start lining anyone up until he has approval from the client because they may not want to replace him. I could go on, but that makes enough points I think.
    – Chris E
    Sep 22, 2016 at 14:08
  • @Christopher Estep: OP has not described the level of trust he has in this A/M -- hence my final sentence. Sep 23, 2016 at 6:00

While I suppose it's possible that you could get fired on the spot, in my experience this is really unlikely. Especially if they have to pay you severance, most companies will avoid it if at all possible. If you're the only dev, they really need you more than you need them. The account manager here is basically asking you for a favor, and may be just trying to hide how unhappy you are because they feel responsible. This means you're in a position of power. In all honesty, if you're really out then you should give notice. It'll force them to get it together and find someone new in the timeline that you've established.

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