The thing I'd like to most improve this year is my quality of life.
March 10, 2011 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I have a meeting with my boss to "discuss my goals" for the coming year. My number one goal is to quit my job. How do I handle this?

I know someone posted recently about a similar situation, but that poster was counting on receiving a better offer from another company. I am just straight up quitting because otherwise I am going to lose my mind.  

I'm quitting my job in May to go back to school full-time (and because I hate my job). The problem is I'm supposed to meet with my boss next week about my goals for this year. I don't really know what to do since I don't want to waste her time or my time talking about goals I don't have for a job I won't have in two months. However, I wasn't planning on giving 6 weeks notice. I can, but I don't know if that's a good idea. What is the best plan here?

Extra details that may or may not be relevant:
1. My boss is kind of a passive-aggressive moron.
2. I haven't quit a job since I was 16 (I have also never been fired; I didn't work much in college outside of seasonal employment in the summers and then was an AmeriCorps member for two years) and am terrified of having to actually say I won't be coming in anymore.
3. I've only been at this job since November, but the position was posted online in September, which makes me nervous that they'll be without someone in my position for a couple of months. However...
4. my job is not vitally important to the organization. The only thing I do that other people don't do is answer the phone.
5. I would also be willing to stay on part-time for a little while (through June) or until they find a replacement, whatever happens first. I don't know if it's presumptuous to suggest this though.

Also I see that just today someone posted about something similar, but I'm still wondering what I need to do about this goals meeting on Monday.
posted by vakker to Work & Money (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Also, sorry for any weird formatting or spelling. I'm doing this on my phone.
posted by vakker at 12:55 PM on March 10, 2011

Oh and thanks!
posted by vakker at 12:56 PM on March 10, 2011

Pretend like you love your job, pretend like you're going to be there for the next five years, and do your goals/goals meeting based on that. When you do leave, sound regretful about it and leave professionally.

Don't worry about "wasting their time."
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:57 PM on March 10, 2011 [40 favorites]

You're over-thinking this. You're not ethically obligated to give notice of your intent to leave that far out. Presumably, you can think of some goals that you have for the time between now and May. Talk about those (without making explicit that they apply only up until May).
posted by ewiar at 12:59 PM on March 10, 2011

I was in a similar situation as you a few years ago. I smiled and went along with the goals discussion, not mentioning once that I wouldn't be around for any of the stuff my boss was very excitedly planning for me to work on in the coming months.

You have to look out for yourself. Don't tell them you're planning to leave in a few months because it will just give them a reason to can you sooner. Don't feel guilty because this is the business world-- your boss is looking out for herself and you need to look out for yourself.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:00 PM on March 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

When you're talking about "your" goals in the context of this job, just think of as a discussion about what should be done by whoever has your job. The company will benefit if "you" (meaning, whoever has your job) does x, y and z.

And btw, you should forget about worry#3. Your employer could probably have a replacement by Monday if they really wanted to.
posted by jon1270 at 1:01 PM on March 10, 2011 [6 favorites]

DO NOT say anything about your desire to quit. jon1270's advice is good.
posted by OmieWise at 1:13 PM on March 10, 2011

Echoing the above - answer their questions as though you are staying. Absolutely no need to give them extra early warning. In fact, it would be bad for both you and them if you did.

Here's the thing I would say differently though: make a list of all the things that you hate about your job. All the things that are factors of why you want to quit. Then, spend some time working out a way to phrase your goals so that your goal is essentially to not have to deal with that crap any more. I could give precise examples and suggestions if you explain a little bit about what is making you lose your mind.

Also, I suggest this route not as some sneaky way to be honest without actually being honest, but so that when you do leave, you can point out (or they can figure out for themselves) how the job is clashing with your goals. It will also probably be helpful to them to know what you are unsatisfied with, since there is a good chance that your replacement will also be similarly unsatisfied.
posted by molecicco at 1:16 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Until you are actually giving notice, you don't know for 100% certain that you won't be here to deal with this stuff. They don't give you long amounts of notice when they fire you, so don't feel like you need to give them a long time to consider your quitting either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

They don't give you long amounts of notice when they fire you, so don't feel like you need to give them a long time to consider your quitting either.

Quoted for truth. Subject to any requirements under your employment agreement and the law of your jurisdiction, I think it is every at-will employee's imperative to look out for his or her own interests. Rest assured, The Man is looking out for his. So, make up some cock and bull story about how you want to incentivize increased sales, embiggen profits, and immanentize the Eschaton, and then give your two weeks' notice when the time comes.

The only mitigating factor is that you say you are "willing" to work part time. If you WANT to work part time after your May quit date, you might give some additional advance notice to show what a team player you are, and how you'd never want to leave them in the lurch (but still quote a nice juicy hourly rate).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:30 PM on March 10, 2011

molecicco - the main things bothering me are the fact that I regularly have literally nothing to do (I have asked many times for extra work) and that my boss never praises anyone. I work for a college and my boss also complains about the students all the time, which grates. She's also incredibly nitpicky but then touts herself as "not a micromanager". Honestly it's just a bad fit. I love higher education, I love education policy, and shoot I love students (not in a Mary Kay Letournea way) and everyone else here just kind of fell into the job. I could literally be doing any job given the amount of interaction I have with students. Oh, I also really don't like how limited my interaction with my co-workers is - sometimes I'll go hours without speaking to anyone because they're all busy. Anyway like I said, turns out it's just not a good fit.

My follow-up question i: if I don't give notice on Monday, when do I? Is two weeks pretty standard?
posted by vakker at 2:07 PM on March 10, 2011

Based on that, you could include (along with anything else that is relevant or true) that your goal would be to take on more projects, hopefully including team work. Since really, I think those are both things that you want in your workplace, right? Unfortunately though, it seems like your major problems are personal differences with the manager. Bummer.

As for how much notice to give, check your contract. It should say what time-frame you (and your boss) are obligated to give to each other, if either side wants to end the contract. However, generally speaking, if you want to leave with shorter notice than that contract, they will usually give it to you (since if they force you to stay an extra 2 weeks they will likely get crap work out of you in that time).
posted by molecicco at 2:45 PM on March 10, 2011

I'm going to go against the grain here. And let me preface by saying that I have a lot of corporate job experience, and have left jobs under a variety of circumstances.

Most of the general wisdom given above is absolutely true. You should look out for yourself first, keep in mind that the company would give you no notice, etc. And if you weren't going to leave for, say, six months, then all the advice given so far would be right on the money.

But you're talking about giving six weeks' notice. It's a lot, but it's not so much that it's ridiculous. The "goals" that you discuss could have to do with tying up loose ends, training your replacement, etc. And then at least you have a clean exit.

Yes, there is a chance that they will respond with "If that's the case, get your shit together and get out." And you have to weigh the chances of that happening, and its consequences to you, based on what you know of your work environment, and the circumstances of your life outside the job.

But, supposing that the risk is low, or that you have the luxury of taking it, consider this. "Conversations about goals" can be a cover for all sorts of stuff, from reprimands to feeling you out for a promotion. By playing along, you could end up complicit in creating a mess. And it's easy to say "who cares," but that mess may start to entangle you over the next six weeks. This could become one of those situations where you have to tell lies up on lies in order to maintain the original fiction. And that might suck for you. And then, when you leave, and/if they realize you were just playing along, they may dislike you more than they would have if you had just quit. And that can affect references and other long-term relationship stuff, if you care about that in this case, which you may not.

At my last job, I was in a similar situation, although the notice I gave was 30 days. My boss sat me down for a general check-in meeting, and I kicked it off with "I'm quitting." It was awkward at first, but in the end, my long notice gave me and everyone else so much time to adjust to my eventual absence that when I did leave, it felt like no big deal, for me or for them. And it freed me up to talk honestly about things with my peers, which, as you approach your last day on a job, is something that it gets harder and harder not to do, no matter what your motivations might be for maintaining a facade. So part of it comes down to how good of a liar you are. I'm not saying you should talk shit about the company. But it's nice, for example, to respond to questions about long-term projects with "I won't be here for that," and feel a spark of glee inside as the conversation comes to a sudden end.

You may consider all these elements and decide to play along anyway, which is fine, if that makes sense given your priorities, and your specific situation. But I'm just here to say that the situation actually isn't completely cut and dried.
posted by bingo at 3:22 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm with bingo on this one. If you are headed back into academia, and you have no financial obligations (seemingly) to worry about, give them the positive, happy, "I am transitioning into grad school" answer, that you enjoyed the work, that you can stay on full time until may and part time until june, that you look forward to helping train your replacement, and you appreciate the opportunities your job has afforded you. If you have any reccommendations for replacements, let them know. Be helpful, and preaent this as a great opportunity for everyone.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:35 PM on March 10, 2011

Agree with bingo and Nanukthedog. I gave 6 weeks notice in a previous job. Took all of that time to get everything squared away. Same employer took me back two years later.

Word of warning, however. Working during your notice period can be difficult if you want to remain professional. Its easy to try and flick or delay difficult tasks until after you leave. You managers and co-workers might not be as cool with you leaving and might try to use you as an excuse for why things haven't been done or done right. Just keep doing the best you can everyday and remain focussed (if you care about the reputation that you leave behind).
posted by dantodd at 4:50 PM on March 10, 2011

I wonder if you could discuss your goals as those things you are currently missing and leaving to seek elsewhere. You can do this without even mentioning your plans to leave. For example, you complain about not having enough to do or receiving praise. So a possible goal could be, "I want to find opportunities to expand my responsibilities and to receive feedback for my work." You could even go into some detail.
posted by Danila at 5:59 PM on March 10, 2011

« Older Help me with this quotation...   |   Post-internship troubles. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.