116

I've been offered an amazing new job that I'm 100% set on accepting. The only problem is that my current job is a contract that doesn't end until December 2018, and I also have to give 4 weeks notice to leave here.

The 4-week notice period can be brought up at any time, whereas the length of the contract is the time I have been allocated to finish all my work here. So while I do not have to stay until the end of the contract legally, it is one of those things that makes it more painstaking to leave.

I really want to leave as soon as possible because I'm tired of everything that revolves around my current job (the location, the work itself, the work environment).

I was watching Better Call Saul the other day and I saw how Saul got fired from his law firm by being a total disrespectful slob. I'm sure that would work but I don't think I have to go that far.

UPDATE:

Okay this post has actually helped me realise that for all intents and purposes, you just have to deal with the official notice period. My opinion has come a long way, if you remember what this question looked like at the time of uploading, you can see that it is a lot more civilised now (thanks to about 5 moderators) .

As it turns out, I have unspent holidays (vacation days) that I can take before my notice-end. Or I can work the whole four-weeks and get the unspent holidays as a cash bonus. Not sure what I'll do with that yet but I'm going to tie things up nicely by the time I leave. Cheers to everyone that shared their insight.

  • 186
    Getting fired on purpose is a TERRIBLE idea, give the 4 weeks notice and move on. Doing anything drastic enough to get you fired will almost certainly hurt you in the future. – Mister Positive Mar 1 '17 at 14:18
  • 121
    To the close and down voters: This question is well written and fits the on-topic definition for The Workplace. If you disagree with the premise of the question, it is perfectly acceptable to post an answer which explains that. (See this question on Meta) – David K Mar 1 '17 at 14:25
  • 14
    Anything serious enough to get you fired on the spot will come back to bite you. How do you think your new company will feel about you if/when they hear about what you did at the old company? – brhans Mar 1 '17 at 14:25
  • 13
    @NonExistant I flagged this question for moderator attention. They can disassociate this question with your account if you like. I personally think the downvotes are unwarranted, even if like everyone else I think you are proposing the wrong solution. The question is worth having so people know not to make the mistake in the future. – David K Mar 1 '17 at 14:29
  • 30
    "some inconsiderate HR rep", as distinct from some inconsiderate employee who agreed that they'd work a 4-week notice period but now wants to just disappear without giving their employer time to arrange a replacement. – David Richerby Mar 1 '17 at 15:17

10 Answers 10

215

Anything serious enough to get you immediately fired is serious enough to jeopardize your future career.

Don't do it.

Hand in your notice and either negotiate with your employer to leave before 4 weeks, or just stick it out.

  • 11
    Okay, you know what. I figure I'll take your (and everyone else who answered) advice... I'm gonna try and split the notice period into 2 weeks before I leave and come back for 2 weeks when they hire my replacement so he know's what's going on.... This whole thing seemed more badass on Better Call Saul – user59347 Mar 1 '17 at 15:16
  • 106
    @NonExistant it's always easier to do things when you can ignore reality and the long term impact of your decisions. – enderland Mar 1 '17 at 15:17
  • 43
    @NonExistant I don't think your planB will work, since it'd require your new employer to give you 2 weeks off very shortly after you start to go back to your old one. Just do your 4 sequential weeks if you're not able to negotiate a shorter period. – Dan Neely Mar 1 '17 at 16:15
  • 14
    Anything serious enough to get you fired immediately would be worse for your reputation than just quitting without notice. – stannius Mar 1 '17 at 16:27
  • 32
    Better Call Saul is fiction, where events and outcomes are made by writers. Life isn't an AMC tv show. – Kevin Mar 1 '17 at 17:56
47

The issue is, the only way you are going to get sacked in this sort of way is to do something deemed Gross Misconduct. So it's unlikely to be able to do this in a "safe" way.

What you could do (and I have done this before) is hand your notice in and request an early departure date. This isn't guaranteed but it does work. If you make sure you prepare everything you can for handover and prove to management that you can achieve this then it may be accepted. (For reference I had a 3 month notice period reduced to 1 month as I provided a plan for handover).

Another option is you could breach your contract. Say you are quitting then no longer attend. Technically (and depending on location etc) they could take legal action against you for breach of contract, so you need to bear this in mind.

Also remember that holiday dates acrued (so Pro-Rata how many days you get a year into 2 full months (assuming a Jan-Dec year) ) you can take to end earlier.

Finally, consider how bad it may look to your new employer if you do something to get yourself fired. It doesn't look very professional (especially if your new employer ask for a reference).

If I were in your shoes, hand your notice in, then in 4 weeks you'll be in your new job. Ask for an earlier departure, but you'll at least know that in 4 weeks you'll be sailing off into the sunset. Don't do anything stupid that could potentially affect that.

  • 10
    @PierreArlaud: There's in general no law against two concurrent employee contracts, and many part-time employees do in fact have two jobs. – MSalters Mar 1 '17 at 16:01
  • 10
    @MSalters That's also country-specific. – Pyritie Mar 1 '17 at 17:07
  • 2
    @Pyritie There's really a law that limits people to only a single gainful employment? That seems exceedingly weird, which one do you have in mind? Certainly not the case in Western Europe or the US, but the world's a bigger place than that - I'd be interested in the reasoning. – Voo Mar 1 '17 at 17:31
  • 1
    I think the idea is that your vacations are for recovery, not for working at a different place. – Paŭlo Ebermann Mar 1 '17 at 18:36
  • 3
    @Voo India does, there are actually a lot of questions on here where people are having problems because of it. – JonK Mar 1 '17 at 20:07
24

Depends on the wording in your contact of course. If there's a fee for breaking your contract within the 4 week notice period, you'll have to suck it up and pay it.

Your current employer might wish to waive that clause. It's worth discussing before you self-sabotage.

  • 13
    Agree, either serve your 4 weeks or pay the penalty. The new employer may offer to pay the penalty for you to get you on board faster. – David K Mar 1 '17 at 14:12
18

Lots of industries are "smaller" than they seem. Anything you do to get fired from a job might get passed around the community and could limit your future hiring potential. So doing this is short-sighted as it is much harder to fix a reputation as an untrustworthy, irresponsible idiot than it is to get one.

Companies, for obvious reasons, prefer not to hire people who are known to have screwed over past employers. People you work with in the current job, may be the hiring officials for a job two years down the road. Those people are the ones who feel the brunt of the pain in fixing the mess when you quit without notice. Even if they liked you before, they will now have a negative impression of you.

So really stop thinking of behaving like a five-year old, grow up and leave on a professional note. Real life is not some TV reality show and you shouldn't take career advice from such things.

What you should do is accept the new job, tell them you are legally required to give 4 weeks notice and give that notice. During the notice period, you need to behave professionally and do everything you can to turn over your work in such a way that whoever gets the assignment won't be floundering from lack of information. No matter how much you hate where you work, this is the only professional way to handle things. No one is happy about working a notice period because they wouldn't be leaving if they were happy. But most of us manage to do just that. Be grateful you didn't have a 3 month notice period.

If you want to leave earlier, you can request that. Your chances of getting that are improved by including a transition plan with your resignation letter. In some countries, you may be asked to pay out money to leave early and that is what you should do if they ask for it and you want to breech your contract. If your new company wants you earlier, you can ask them if they would be willing to pay something up front to get you out sooner. Alos check your personnel handbook, you may or may not be allowed to take vacation time during the notice period, but if you are then you can shorten the time actually in the office by using that time.

If your new company is not willing to wait for a legally required notice period, that is a big red flag that they are a bad employer. Companies that expect you to take illegal action, like breeching a contract, are not too concerned about legalities that might affect you.

16

Talk to both employers, and calmly discuss it.

The outcome might be completely different than what you think.

A smart HS teacher once gave his classroom some sage advice:

Boys, when you quit a job, never burn your bridges behind you. Leave on good terms; smile, thank him, and shake his hand no matter how bad the boss is. You'll regret telling him what you really think!".

Once you give your notice, those four weeks will seem like some few days.

And as HLGEM stated:

If your new company is not willing to wait for a legally required notice period, that is a big red flag that they are a bad employer. Companies that expect you to take illegal action, like breeching a contract, are not too concerned about legalities that might affect you.

Well said, indeed! There will be other jobs.

You've received some superb advice from others in this thread. Think very carefully before you act, friend.

  • 1
    And discuss this with your prospective employer FIRST. :-) – Mike Waters Mar 1 '17 at 20:29
  • 3
    This! As a matter of fact, any well-organized employer should ask candidates during the hiring process when they will be able to start, and take that into account when hiring. – sleske Mar 2 '17 at 15:45
12

Personal Experience: I was trying to get a very generous severance package from a large telecom in the US that was being offered to those who were to be laid off, as I already had another job lined up.

I tried the routine you suggest: I was insubordinate, condescending, arrogant, the whole bit. I was SURE I was going to be the one laid off.

They PROMOTED me! (I took the other job, anyway.)

Your actions are not always interpreted how you wish them to be.

Get your prospective employer to give you the 4 weeks. If they're serious, they'll make it happen. Put in your 4 weeks. Tell your boss you'd like an early out if possible. Hope for the best.

  • 3
    My goodness, you were the inspiration for the movie "Office Space", weren't you? – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Mar 2 '17 at 18:44
  • 1
    @RichardU - That was discussed in the cleaned-up comments. I wasn't even close to being the most "hilarious" story of that acquisition. – Wesley Long Mar 3 '17 at 0:30
  • 1
    LOL, I was once given a small token of appreciation because nobody complained about my work on a project. I was not assigned to that project. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Mar 3 '17 at 13:26
2

As others have already stated, getting yourself fired on purpose is a bad idea. Most of us work in a fairly specific job and people "in the industry" know each other.

There are ways you could potentially get around the 4 weeks:

-Have you accrued vacation time? Book 4 weeks off and show up on the first day of your holiday to give your 4 weeks' notice.

-Does your prospective new employer know you have a 4 week notice period? It really depends on what the job is, how bad they want you and how hard it is to find someone who's almost as good as you, as well as how high up in the company is the person hiring you. For example, I've been hired directly by the CEO of a very rich, but very small (in terms of employees) company. I've also been hired by the #14 highest up in the HR department of a shitty, but massive conglomerate. Depending on the situation vis a vis, who wants you at the new company and how badly they want you, you may be able to ask them to help you negotiate an early release. Failing that, if you're honest about needing time to get started, is it out of the question that they wait a little bit for you?

-Have you informed your current employer that you're unhappy? Have you informed them you're accepting another position? They may be sympathetic. Then again, you stated that you're unhappy with the work, and with the workplace. Is management part of what you're unhappy with? If so, would they be petty enough to torpedo you if you just spoke with them honestly about your concerns or about your plans? There are a myriad of possibilities that could come from speaking honestly with your boss, and a lot of information we don't have to help you predict what outcomes are most likely. Could or would they intentionally screw you over if they found out you were leaving? Could your current job become the job you want it to be? Is it possible that they'd fire you automatically upon receiving your notice? I once had a really bad day in a management position due to an incompetent sub-manager misplacing (on paper) almost $100k, adding a couple hours to my shift while my gf waited in the parking lot and I wrote my resignation letter right then and there. Turns out it was the unspoken policy of the company to pay out full severance to and fire on the spot any person at my level who put in their notice. I didn't know this beforehand, because they didn't want people taking advantage, but they also didn't want high-level people who weren't going to stay with the company to be on the premises.

-How are your finances, how big is the company you want to go work for and how unique is this position? If for some reason you just can't get out of the job without trickery, the new job won't help you and won't wait for you either, how often does this job come up? Are we talking about going from McDonalds to KFC? Dishwasher to Fry cook? Mailroom to CEO? Is this a once in a lifetime opportunity to get your DREAM JOB or is it something that you could get hired on to next month, next year? If none of the other parties can work around you, can you afford to just quit, do your notice period and take your chances? Will you be effed if you leave this job and the new job falls through or can you afford to wait - unemployed - until you get what you want?

To sum it up (honestly, I'm bad at summarizing, this might be just as long as the above)

First, consider your situation. You know a lot that we don't, so our advice is worth less than you want it to be.

Second, be honest about your situation, but decide who you should be honest with first. The new employer or the old. Who is more likely to help you? If it isn't the new job, I'm not sure why you're switching.

Third, if you're committed, just do it. Be professional, but just go. Just say "I'm out, here's my notice." If they say "ok, see you for the next 20 work days," well that's just how it is. But maybe they'll say "you don't want to be here? K, FU den, gtfo, here yo money is, baibai!" Or some other unprofessional thing, and then you'll know you made the right decision.

Fourth, (chronologically, but actually most important) believe in yourself. You got an offer for this job you want. If they won't wait for you, well screw 'em. Their competitors will hire you.

Fifth and (FINALLY!) finally, grow the fuck up, man: Work sucks. I hate it. All the other people who have given you advice hate it, too. Even if it's your dream job. Even if it's your own business. Even if it's easy AF, it isn't doing what I want to do when I want to do it because I want to do it. We all get to a point in our lives when we realize what we don't like about our jobs isn't about the job but about ourselves. Ask yourself, is this a life lesson that you've learned yet? I mean really think about that. Do you hate your job because it's a bad job or do you hate your job because you haven't yet resigned yourself to the fact that people pay you for catering to their priorities and don't give the slightest fraction of a percentage of a shite what you think or how you feel? Cos that's how life works. I have 26 employees, and remembering having genuinely shitty bosses, I try and make things as good for them as I can, but at the end of the day, they do the job they agreed to do on contract-signing day or they worry about how to pay the bills, and I don't give a half a percent of a crap about which one they choose, because the wage I pay is way way more than fair for the work.

No matter what you choose to do, in the end, be a grown-up about it and let us know how it went.

2

If you have say four weeks notice period, that means your employer can force you to work for another four weeks and has to pay you. It doesn't mean they must do that.

So the simplest way with a decent chance of success is to go to your boss, tell them that you want to leave, tell them you have four weeks notice but would like to leave earlier, and they either accept an earlier date or not. It often doesn't make sense for the company to keep employing and paying someone who doesn't actually want to be there.

Remember there are places where you give notice and they tell you to pack your bags right now and leave the building. They are unlikely to insist on four weeks notice, because that means they have to pay you.

0

With 22 months to go on your current contract, you probably need competent legal advice. Several respondents have questioned the 4 week notice issue. Under some contracts that might only be available to you after Dec'18. Another interpretation might be that you just need to give 4 weeks notice. Your current employer might want you leave on the spot and pay you out. Others might want you to work out your notice.

Did you discuss the terms of your current contract with your prospective employer? If they really want you they will help you get out of your current contract quickly and painlessly.

If the job is with a competitor, then there could be other considerations, e.g. non-compete clauses.

If you want to be respected for being a professional, then you need to conduct yourself impeccably in all circumstances. A bad rep is very hard to shake. I have seen many co-workers and managers do dubious things and they all ended up paying a far greater price than their short-term gain.

0

Don't try to get fired or so. Close or transfer pending work and negotiate with CEO only on grounds of loosing career, package and future growth and ask for quick settlement and waiver of notice period maybe by surrendering salary for the notice period. Before that try to finish and offload most of work.

protected by Chris E Mar 2 '17 at 16:59

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?