How should my friend handle pressure to give more than 2 weeks notice?
April 17, 2013 7:21 AM Subscribe
A friend of mine who is moving to a new city is under heavy pressure from her direct supervisor to give more than two weeks' notice to their shared boss. How can she get her supervisor to back off, or did that ship sail when she told her supervisor that she was leaving?
posted by DeusExMegana to Work & Money (33 answers total)
I'm posting this on behalf of a non-MeFite who's dealing with a tricky situation at work. My friend (let's call her Martha) is moving to a new city at the end of this summer for her husband's work, and she told one of her coworkers (let's call her Stacy) that this would be happening, mainly because she needed a reference from work while applying for jobs in her new city, and she didn't want anyone else to know she was leaving just yet. Also note that though Stacy and Martha are functionally co-workers, Stacy is Martha's direct supervisor. This never comes into play in their day-to-day work, and they both report to a shared boss, who we can call Hank.
A few weeks ago, Martha mentioned to me that Stacy was starting to act really strangely about the situation. She was fretting about Martha leaving and saying that Martha should tell Hank immediately, even though Martha isn't leaving until late May. Martha explained that she was just planning on giving a standard 2 weeks notice (which to me seems more than reasonable, considering Martha is a seasonal employee with summers off, i.e., she's essentially giving Hank 3 months to make arrangements after she leaves.) But Stacy said that Martha had to tell Hank right away. Her reasons seem to me to be a little tenuous and contradictory; she said Hank would figure out something was going on anyway, and she also said it wasn't fair to make him scramble to replace her last minute (again, since her last day of work is lining up with her last working day of the year, by giving 2 weeks, she's essentially giving 3 months.) Stacy insisted that Hank would "catch on" anyway if he wasn't told and kept needling Martha to tell him ASAP, saying it wasn't fair to not give him more time.
Martha really doesn't want to give more than 2 weeks because she's afraid of being let go early, which has happened before with others at her organization; once employees tender their resignation, the organization can accept it at any time and kick out the employee early without having to pay out unemployment. That's bad enough for people who have to leave 2 weeks earlier than planned, but giving her notice 2 months in advance and then being let go would be much worse, and she really can't afford to lose a couple of paychecks before the move.
This week, Stacy has upped the ante. She pulled rank and told Martha point-blank, "I am your supervisor, and sometime this week you MUST tell Hank you're leaving." Stacy said she was feeling "antsy" about Hank not knowing and said Hank would figure out what was going on anyway when Martha took a couple of days off in early May to take an exam that would license her in her new city. I'm not sure why Stacy seems so convinced that two days off would be a dead giveaway, and in fact that makes me think she may have already told Hank herself; Martha does not buy into my theory, incidentally, and I've never met Stacy, so Martha would know better than I would.
If I may rant for a bit here, as far as I'm concerned, Martha doesn't owe her employer anything beyond the very standard 2 weeks. They pay her roughly half of what everyone else in her department is paid, which is so little that she qualifies for food stamps (though she has never applied for assistance). She has to freelance in all of her spare time just to pay bills and any time she's ever requested a raise, she's been completely brick-walled. As someone who's seen how much of a hardship her work conditions have been for her, I've been strongly encouraging her to stand her ground with her supervisor and insist she will tender her 2 weeks notice at the appropriate time. Martha is concerned that if she does this, she may lose a reference.
So what should she do and how should she handle the situation? She's really anxious and frustrated right now, and though she recognizes that, in retrospect, telling Stacy at all was a bad idea, that can't be undone now. She and Stacy had always had a really good working relationship prior to this, and Martha had no idea that this would balloon into an issue.
This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request -- cortex