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.)