Monday, August 18, 2008

Further Notes on Pulling the Plug on your erstwhile gainful period of employ

Often people leave for either or both of two main reasons: dissatisfaction and stress. The two are inextricably linked.

However what you really need to ask yourself before pulling the plug is if it is the company or just the position you are in? Or even just a paticular set of circumstances, a situation or something else which is going to blow over. The point being that you can influence your situation and environment more than you may think. Think of your exit point as being rather the rebirth of your career and personal-job-lifestyle balance. An emergence with new found assertiveness in a hail of positivity rather than just a 'phew, Got TFO of there.

One observation i have is that when people are leaving to do something better ( not being fired as in'¨persue new challenges" ) and are not given the so-called gardening leave or get-out-of-jail-free cards, then their effectiveness increases. Basically they focus on what's important to tie up and finalise, what is worth spending effort delegating on, and those internal and external relationships get a new spin of relaxed positivity. What happens is the shit gets dumped off. All company video conferences are mysteriously forgotten. Continual improvement committees are left a seat empty roudn the table. Small, time consuming 'pet acorn' customers are ignored. Large,low margin customers get the bare service vaneer they actually earn! So the reasons for a the rise in effectivity are clear- but why didn't you put some of these into place before you resigned?

In considering a move it is worth preparing long in advance. Dissatisfaction comes from either having too much work, or the wrong type of work tasks or actually not earning enough because your work tasks and position are not "percieved" to be of high enough value to warrant a bigger salary. So there is a clear first asseriveness tool for the would be resignee. List out what you do want to do, what you don't, and what you know has money or prestige on it: usually this is obvious financially, but for other tasks you need to be cunning.

The key to success in big companies and small is understanding that you have to suck up more than you dump on people UNTIL you are in a position where you need to dump on everyone. Being assertive means not being a little doubting thomas or wet-blanket (like I have been often myself when less than enthusiastically recieving a delegated 'dump'.) A reasonable task to get dumped on you is a reasonable task if you have the time to do it and the person you do it for is able to help you in your current position- Excepting ambushes where a prick/bitch sucks/feltches your own boss or internal customer into getting the task done and sits you in a meeting to force you to do it. (this is an assertiveness rant paragraph) Once you get your head around the feeding chain and where you are EXPECTED to behave on it's links , and that you get paid to do something less tedious than play with the kids all day, you should think a little more positively.

But often there is a frustration between where you are and where you want to be or unfortunetly where you expected to be given either a vague job description, false promises or plain old self-delusion. In your career you have to be very clear on WHERE you want to be next, ( even if that is just continuing on, a bit irrelevant to this? no actually, no) Once you are clear on where you want to be long term so can you begin to chart out the dots to then fill in with your career line.

Being realistic ? Set a goal you can see yourself acheiving in light of your personal life and nothing much more. You want to be a MD? Burn to ride the tour-de france? You are only morally grounded in what you owe your family and loved ones. If 14 hour days are not in your happy daily life with the kids, then forget CEO of a wall street listed company.

So start with Gap analysis- your own little situation and status now, a SWOT, and the goals / measures which define or ar demanded of the future 'dream job'. This is how atheletes achieve, they measure their current performance and have not just blind ambition- they set a long term goal, get coaching and break down tasks into daily routines, then new challenges, preparing for events, competing, working their way up the ladder. The trick is in moving out of the comfort zone and taking the first step. It can be a real leap of faith and that belief is in your self. Often the lever in achieving the very first step is to threaten to leave or at least open discussions on dissatisfactions or better, positive personal development to the betterment of your performance.

Knowing where you are is have the battle if not more, won! Working yourself into a position of indispensibility as a key bargaining position is another approach rather than just plain sacking yourself.

I had a coworker who was a business analyst. Basically a laid back former blue collar guy who was street smart. He kept a low but freindly profile. He was advanced if not expert in excel, but that is more than any boss over the age of 45 is. So he could run rings around them and make a fairly simple task out of complex 'slicing and dicing' and do it quickly. ( slicing and dicing montly reports was high need for bosses BTW) He found new means of doing things quicker and getting IT to deliver cleaner data but only so far that his own little manual operations remained integral and in a black box twixt the geeks and the suits. He had worked his way up to a little niche and reached the dissy heights of BA, better paid than me for half the work load and half the brain power!

So this is to exmplify that a "must have" information need can actually lead to a higher percieved value of your work and developments. A good IT manager could have put our man Jim out of existance in short order but he did his little magic niche and became indespensible.

The other issue is that in many positions reporting to white collar management you are higher value in leaving than you were at your desk. Just like posthumous record sales, you can be worth more in your mnetaphorical coffin particularily if you have gardening leave as company security policy (your personal items will be returned to you at security!) Why??

I had another coworker by the name of Dr. Klenka, seriously that was his name, and this bouncing Czech as he was known became a grand master of getting ever higher salaries. He managed to more than double his salary and move positions seemlessly as if being promoted magically by outstanding information. He just threatened to leave all the time. What he was able to exaggerat was the loss of a highly qualified person. Whether or not he was wily enough to time this around stress points at management I don't know. But he played on the modern-man-managers weak points: 1) retention of staff targets 2) development of internal staff / internal sourcing. These are both two little figures which lead to sweat on the brow if a departmental manager has had the dick out the trousers on this. That is to say it is no problem what so ever until it is a problem and sticks out. So like hitting a gofer with a hammer he nails two goals with one swoop.

Your strategy in choosing this path has to include a back up plan. In fact you should have a back up plan as soon as you get the deep urge to get up an leave before you take any visible, audible or even psychic action to resign!


okay we have discussed around nice ways of coming out shining by either threatening to leave or asserting what tasks and position is of most mutual benefit to both parties. What if, as in my last blogg, the situation is truly one of intolerable cruelty? Is your treatment really actually outside that which you expect? Agrression and sarcasm, social exclusion, domineering micromanagement ? Talk with your freinds and don't stick out one of these situatons very long. Maybe you are the source of anger, stress and resentment in others. This may be a severe personality flaw or mental illness or actually just that a couple of key colleague relationships are chalk and cheese, cats and dogs. It just is square pegs and round holes, you are just a catalyst for their bad behaviour but the focus can be placed on YOUR behaviour. This tends to happen when very extrovert personalities work with stable, quiet, controlling types or the reverse. Opposites do not often attract in the work place- hence IT are geeks , marketing luvvies and accounts are the way they mostly just are- dull and flocking.

Is there a definable boundary for when a situation is serious enough to just GTFO?

# inability to switch off at home
# disturbed sleep or appetite
# palpitations
# heighten anxiety or even panic attacks
# loss of concentration and ability to perform tasks proficiently as before
# dizzyness, tiredness which is a danger in driving, operating machinery etc
# stomach or chest pains and distrubed bowel movements
# high aggression from you to coworkers and others outside work

If you have two or more of the above and you work in a small concern with no real touchy-feely atmosfere and no personnel division to cosset you then plan to GTFO.


I think it starts with maybe the majority of people being either B mennesker or A people who would rather not conform to any time table. Anyway for most people in the west the daily commute gets the various stress chemicals going. THen the very act of coming in the doors of the orroffice can get the blood pressure up. Like pavlov's dogs we fall victim to subconscious conditioning. In fact we get completely and utterly masochistically addicted to this state of stress. It becomes not only a 'natural' daily reaction to our environment but also the norm, the safe, the to be protected. Moving away from a status which makes us eventually very ill is positively resisted. Like some kind of magnet from our inner deamons we carry on carrying on.

So be aware. That clinging, sinking feeling you get when your conscious left hemispered personna tries to take control and resign (plan first now!) has to be conquered otherwise you will continue in a stressful situation without probably realising anything of your at least nine-to-five potential.

Monday, August 11, 2008

extended notes on cessation of gainful employ

I have quit on more occaisions than I usually care to mention but here goes:

balfours, dales, kennings, wimpey, KM, McCanns, Ivgn, and maybe you could count crumby lil' ol night and day - maybe even an.n.oter I forget. KM was a two way street but I effectively refused new conditions.

On the other side of the coin I have been roundly fired from two positions - Hoffsvei and earlier the cafuffle in Cannonmills. Also MarbleH and you could say KM as per above.

On balance I have done more quitting than dusting my ass off on the doorstep.

So what are they key steps? Roughly you can divide it into the hard and fast shut down, the

preparation for this and other preparatory steps to make your exit safer, more productive,

painless, and generally more fun.

well here are the actual orderly methods :

1) Do a lot of organisation before you go. Prioritise. Look professional.

2) read and re-read your contract and any law in your area or rules at your company then read

again. You may have lapsed into or unwittingly signed a 3 month notice, work-every-god-dammed

-day period. Read ten times any new contract of employment you have. Agree ten times and in

some dtail the actual working tasks you will have in a new job.Know the minimum legal notice

and payments(usually a two way street i.e. the same for both sides)

3) when the big day comes, do it in writing and to multiple contacts- personnel, your boss,

and their line manager / director. Don't do it to the MD / CEO or owner-director if you can

avoid it. Let them hear second hand if it is a clean break. The reason for this is that you

may get quite a lot of BS blackmail and payrises to stay so that they save face, later

highlighting you for the chop in any cut back round and generally making you uncomfortable.

This avoids little incidents and bosses hiding. If your boss is losing staff because he/she is

a dickbitch then they should be the last to know. Some bosses will try really nasty tactics if

you are a performer or just if they will miss their retention targets.

4) if you are leaving just because of pay and conditions then get another job and then go to

personnel. You can go whine before or threaten to just leave, but the security of another job

is a much better bargaining tool. In the forkant of enough discontent to draw up your pitch,

then sound out possibilities with personnel and your bosses.

5) Presume that you may well be asked to emtpy your desk and leave that day- get organised.

All those gonks and mugs should be gathered up, one by one over a period of 'cleaning out'.

5) organise your references- use some smoke and mirrors or just get them confirmed before you

go. It can be an embarrising or surprising let down if you don't get them agreed as or before

you leave. A reference for a sports club for example is a good way to open them.

And the tactics:

1) know when you get paid- in clear monies, and resign after this! With two months pay

outstanding you are at a disadvantage- they have a lever over you in that they don't need to

pay cessation payments maybe until you leave.

2) In advance organise any expenses and other outstanding benefits in kind get to you. Ask for

advances on any commision and make sure you are getting paid. Perhaps hold back on holidays

in the expectation of a 'double bonus' ie.e gardening leave, untaxed cessation AND holiday


3) steal all the stationery you need and put together a CD rom of all your work or anything

else you wanna take- remember e-mail addresses - do this several weeks b4 your post-payday D-


4) give everyone your personal phone and e-mail details without any particular reason- just

for future reference.

5) work longer hours so you can do all the above when no on is in the office!

6) make passes at anyone you find flirty or interested or just with a pulse. You may as well

get a lay out of the old place.

9) your Boss should be the last to know, given the average relationship and management style

I've encountered. If you are in sales, you should start suggesting to your customers that you

are thinking of a move to something more interesting and would they see you under that guise?

In purchasing make it even clearer to your best and cheapes bttom dollar sellers.

10) write an org'chart and find out a little more on who BUYS what in your company and who

decided on HIRING. These are both worth money to you in future.

There is then how you handle the post trauma scenario of 'what shall we get them to do now

they have resigned?'. This is indeed a time to be a fiddle player and not the fiddle. In

essence the bosses can decide to

1) cast you out the door
2) make you politely tie up all loose ends
3) give you shit to do for three months

The latter are usually reference dependent. Be clear over your period of notice as mentioned.

Then organise your work around priorities to make you look good and organise around dump,

dump, dumping. First of all dump all the assholes who are no longer important. Swap yourself

out of any dumb or vague project committees and let someone else get in. Use delaying tactics

for anything non important. Write opening instuctions or SOP style documents- print them out

so that they loose an element of tracebility down the line. These should look detailed,

inclusive and exhaustive by virtue of a professional front page and masses of detail for about

2 minutes reading thereafter. Multi-delegate. Pitch out tasks to diverse people, exploit the

weak and emphasise the risk if it isn't done to the strong. With outside parties you are

dumping off, you can choose to either 'ostritch' them or pass them on by being all 'don't give

a shit' and suggesting who may be taking over from you. Hold onto your golden globes though-

something to be remembered by and some things to lighen up your confidence.

Walk tall and proud out the office. If you hated them, don't do any leaving lunch. In fact

tell the assholes you leave monday and don't turn up at all, enjoy some drinks with pals on

the friday!

Okay but wait a god darn minute here muskie...why are you leaving?

I suppose you can break these down into categories. Conflict, motivation and performance:

First much loved of the divorce attorney, 'intolerable cruely'. My manchie jobnumber one was

under the lash of a little pitbull. The agency was running out of customers based on being

over priced and under-creative. Darren hadn't given a shit for about a year and I got really

shit creative from wasshis face witht the tasty, tasty girlfriend. My own creativity was

better and in fact there was a point at hand! more on that later. Ok, now back to you- if it

is a littel wee shitty company then do all you can to get another job and just leave. if

things are really bad then you just have to go. With bigger companies you can either move jobs

internally or play a higher risk game in discrediting your boss - just being another nail in

their coffin. The same is true with cow-orkers if they are harrassing you. But like me, maybe

you are quite a frustrating person to work with in this type of job?

P is for Performance. It's also for Penis and if you are trying to squeeze yourself into a job

you are not right for then you are a dick. Maybe the job is too demanding, too detail

oriented, too touchy-feely, too busy, in fact why am I able to get a paycheck out of anywhere?

If you are underperforming it is due to skills, application of those skills, knowledge and

confidence in the job and most of all motivation (to which we return). In a small company you

may be multitasking and have some ability to say steer from sales into more project management

and customer services. In a larger company you need to have a little trumpet to play when

thinking of moving-say sales into marketing, accounting into personnel or the like. Also there

is the last ditch for a company big enough to absorb you and that is from a pressure job to

something you can handle- and considering part time work to ween yourself out of the situace.

Motivate Me! motivation is the big deal. In most western labour markets the non-nigger jobs

in between there and the high flyer fast trackers can be filled by just about anyone with

motivation to shuvvel metaphoric shit around and be happy with their own "yess" as they slam

the phone down on a supplier. Motivation is the key to performance and usually the discouple

means a slide in results. In times of recession negative motivation turned a dollar-and-a-cent

but in these days of the educated empowered work force companies should be little board room

cheer leaders for you. There are some skew angles here as well- you may be very, very

motivated and dedicated to your own job but not at all to the individuals you work with. This

is a big fault of mine- I get nicely task oriented around one or two internal customers and

show little interest in coworkers. In fact in marketing and other areas being motivated to be

"with the in gang " is far more important than any actual performance. The marketing matrons

will keep you in their head count if they like you. If they can hide a performer they don't

like / have control over then despite effectiveness, at head count 'right sizing' they are

out! All that useless team rubbing and sniffing of arses and wagging of tails I just can't do.

This type of team work is the social disease of marketing and renders departments costly and

underproductive. In a stroke I say it- marketing and personnel for that matter are too

"female"- too groupy, touchy feely and not task oriented enough.

I also suffer from motivational problemos that I see in others. Motivation yo-yo. It's much

better to have an even motivation in a job than be up and down. Now as an older man though my

motivation up lasts just about long enough to get 'permanence' for you yanks, read benefits

and three month's notice!

Getting a new job takes higher motivation and deception levels than I usually can muster but

on two key occiasions in 1998 and 99 I did just that and had some continuation on paper at

least. For the breasted of the species it is easier- one you can suck your way, two you have

someone kissing your pussy and three people accept women into temp-office roles way over men.

Men are labelled over qualified- read under beavered, over ego-ed.

Be Brave!

Deciding to quit a stressful or otherwise unrewarding job is about "searching for the hero in

side yourself, before you find the key to your life". You need to start by untangling some of

the financial ties you have- what I am doing right now - downsizing perhaps or moving to a

better job market. The other ties like geography are just chains to be broken. The real battle

is the sub conscious fight against homo sapien as a habitual creature. Changing a habit of

even a few months duration - commuting, logging on, being with the creeps at work - provides a

pyschic entropy which the core of us resists. So long as we are fed and warm humans will

resist changing environment at a very deep level. Extra stress will manifest itself in

nervousness, distrubed sleep and appetite. It is much better to leave but in a planned way. In

fact the very process of planning - tidying up your loose ends, prioritising any small success

stories for your CV, tellign the boss his wandering hands are unacceptable can change your

actual situation in the work place to a level where by you won't want to pull the trigger!

Organising to leave a job is the type of assertiveness and objectivity boost which can catlyse