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My friend Louie just quit his job in accounting. He’s a short timer for the first time in his professional life, and like the actions of many people who quit a job, his behavior during these final two weeks at his office makes it evident he’s on the rapid path to conclusion. For remaining employees, it is a little difficult to deal with a coworker wrecking the status quo. But for the short timer himself, it’s a pretty carefree time – it’s not like they are going to be fired. For example, the day after Louie broke the news to the boss, he took off half a day. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t set an out-of-office message on his email, he just left – and brought home a pony keg, no less. But that two week time frame between quitting and actually leaving a job is an interesting period. It’s a delicate balance between responsibility, loyalty and self-progression. I’d love to hear your interesting stories about quitting – please add them to the comments.

Short-Timer Syndrome Can be the Funniest of All Ailments at Work

My friend Louie just quit his job in accounting. He’s a short timer for the first time in his professional life, and like the actions of many people who quit a job, his behavior during these final two weeks at his office makes it evident he’s on the rapid path to conclusion.

Louie quit last week – he was offered a different kind of accounting position, something he would prefer, at a different Boise company, a place he would prefer, so he didn’t want to play hardball and coyly suggest his old company pay him more to keep him around; he just wanted out.

For remaining employees, it is a little difficult to deal with a coworker wrecking the status quo. But for the short timer himself, it’s a pretty carefree time – it’s not like they are going to be fired.

For example, the day after Louie broke the news to the boss, he took off half a day. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t set an out-of-office message on his email, he just left – and brought home a pony keg, no less.

Over the weekend he started growing out his preferred facial hair style, a full beard, which isn’t allowed according to his company policy. And he didn’t shave Monday morning.

Louie mentioned today that he’s thinking about going to work in flip flops beneath his slacks and button-down, because, why not? He can do it without fear of being reprimanded.

The whole short-timer syndrome made me think about my previous experiences with leaving jobs and those of some of my friends.

Once, I left a too-straight-laced company that had peculiar and generally conservative employees (which was the reason I left) that wouldn’t allow employees to wear perfume or use fabric softener. But the handbook stated that everyone must wear deodorant. It all seemed arbitrary.

On my last day I doused myself in patchouli oil, a favorite scent of hippies, and the whole office whispered about the funny smell that they couldn’t identify.

I also spent most of my time those last two weeks documenting the interactions I had with the peculiar people in the gopher farm around me. It was fascinating and therapeutic, and enough time has passed so rereading that journal is now hilarious.

My friend Julia was frustrated with and quit a giant advertising firm one day when she just didn’t feel like she could take it anymore. She spent each day of her last two weeks at the office late into the night – she was using the work computer to look for a new job, draft cover letters and write fake letters of reference using her boss’s electronic signature.

My friend Dustin once left a job at a mattress factory. It was a summer job while in college. When hired, he had to promise that he’d stay through the school year, but when the school year began, he was nowhere to be found – that’s because he was in college in another city.

He worked until the day before he left for school, but then was nowhere to be found. Until, that is, the next summer when he needed another summer job. He was rehired and had to promise to stay again. Of course, the summer ended and he fled once more.

Dustin did the same thing a third summer. It’s funny but you can’t help but feel bad for the mattress company.
Leaving without notice isn’t that unusual though – I’ve worked with several people who never came back to work one day, and I’ve worked with others that gave two weeks notice but left immediately.

But that two week time frame between quitting and actually leaving a job is an interesting period. It’s a delicate balance between responsibility, loyalty and self-progression. I’d love to hear your interesting stories about quitting – please add them to the comments.

My friend Louie has funny ideas of what he will do in the remaining week he has left at his office – like paging himself over the intercom or wearing his pajamas to work – he likes to joke about his ideas, but he probably won’t do them; he’s leaving a company and people that he really likes and respects. Plus, he’s still going to be an accountant. (Just kidding, accountants.)

About J. Gelband

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5 comments

  1. I worked at an environmental consulting firm for almost 4 years and I just wasn’t happy there. It seemed like no one was. We were hardly making any money. In fact promotions and cost of living increases had been passed up that year, and bonuses were not given to most of the company. As far as bosses go, my boss, who had been described as a ‘witch’ to me by one of our clients, sucked. So I looked at my friends across the street that worked for the government. They loved their work, but they had long given up any notion of ‘getting ahead’ They wore birkenstocks and shorts to work. They didn’t shave. So i decided since I wasn’t going anywhere at the company, than I wasn’t gonna dress or act like I was. I started wearing sneakers to work. I didn’t tuck in my shirt if I didn’t feel like it. If it snowed, I didn’t even bother asking for the morning off, hell, I didn’t even call in to tell them I was taking the morning off, I just did. and I shaved when I felt like it. When I asked around, and there was no work to be done and when I surfed the internet, I didn’t feel guilty. Overall, I’m not sure my job performance really slacked. But I sure felt better.
    I’ve taken a bit of that with me to my new job. That’s where I’m writing you from right now.

  2. read your story – so its “Louie” we were eating with this evening –and I thought his name was Luke– enjoyed meeting your parents and spending a few minutes with your Dad – and Grma was interesting – would like to have heard more of her story about her early years – job wise, looking back I perhaps should have moved around more during my career but with 5 children, we were children with our children, worked with only 4 employers during my career for the security of income and consistancy, I guess what is now old school thinking — regards JimC

  3. Hello,
    My job blows. We are down sizing and i was down sized from 120 square feet to 98. I dream of being able to do what was told in the story myself. I work for the fed’s and we are not allowed to wear flips or shorts either. It would be great to get another job so i can wear flip flops to work. I want to hear more please!!!!

  4. i once hid a hard-boiled egg in an office my second to last day. i took it to work with all the intentions of eating it however, some evil force took over and i found myself planting the egg in a pretty good hiding spot.

    i sometimes feel kind of bad about it, but then i remember how they treated me and suddenly i feel better. i’m not sure if it ever started stinking, but i like to think it did.

  5. This is who I am, and just my opinion on how I conduct my life. When I left my position the first time (to go to work in our family business), I gave my boss a seven month notice due to the hardship it would cause to try and find someone in that industry in a short period of time. Although the right person still was not acquired, I ended up returning in 16 months (with a raise) when my former boss called and asked me to return. While I waited for my last day of work, I still performed my job with percision. So, I guess it depends on how you feel about the position, the company, your supervisor and your employee’s, and how you feel about your clients, and most important your morales. Everyone deserves your best no matter what and they are still paying your salary. Again, that’s my take on integrity. When I left the second time due to family troubles(divorce), I couldn’t give that much of a notice, but I still was able to move the business into its new site, get it all set up and licensed, and then I had to leave again. Now I am back for the third time re-hired (with a larger raise; I told you earlier the hardship of finding the right person once I left), and now I am planning to leave in about 5 months to move out of state. I plan to give enough notice again and hopefully they will be able to find someone to run the business successfully. I do admit, it took much self-control and prayer not to let the “Short-Timers” Syndrome to take control of my mind, but it can be accomplished!