I'm leaving. Do I complain before I go?
January 5, 2012 4:50 PM   Subscribe

Should I complain about the financial treatment of my department in an organization I'm leaving?

I work in a department the entire company depends on, and this department has been ignored financially since I started. The department desperately needs at least a minimal level of funding to continue serving the company, and that funding has been repeatedly delayed, ignored and pushed aside. Meanwhile, the company has spent many times the money my department needs on cosmetic things like art, furniture, new (not replacement) kitchen appliances and cosmetic outdoor improvements. This is not a design, modeling or other organization whose well being depends on its appearance, though I imagine management would argue that point.

I have a very good track record with this organization, but I will almost certainly be leaving the company in the next few months to move to another city. I have thoughts of expressing frustration to my department head about the company's financial priorities. I have little hope that my complaints will amount to anything in the near or long term. I am concerned that any complaining could influence references I might get from the company in the future. I understand that a company giving a bad reference is often not legal, but I believe this is largely ignored and unenforced. Basically, I've set myself up for getting an excellent reference after I leave, and I don't want to screw it up by complaining now.

Do I complain to the head of the department about the financial priorities of the organization, or do I keep my mouth shut, move on and be sure that I'll get good references after I leave?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Keep your mouth shut.
posted by HuronBob at 4:52 PM on January 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

Don't complain; complaining gets you nowhere. If you really believe in it, build a proper business case for why it's important to your organization.

Of course, if you're planning on leaving soon thereafter, people may feel you pulled a bait and switch on them, but if you're in a position not to go if you get the funding you want, then it's worth a try.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:59 PM on January 5, 2012

If they didn't support your department when you worked there why would they care about your opinion on the way out? Dysfunctional companies gonna dysfunction.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:09 PM on January 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

If this is something that you feel passionately about, then it's important that you communicate your concerns in a thoughtful, professional way. Voicing your opinion isn't about you staying or leaving, it's about your inherent concerns with the way the company is being run and the way it impacts your department.

Whatever you decide to address/say should be in the context of you staying in your position. Nobody likes a flameout speech. Rather: nobody likes a flameout speech that they're expected to take seriously.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 5:28 PM on January 5, 2012

Ask yourself why you want to benefit the owners/shareholders of this company at your own expense? Why do you want to potentially put a few more dollars in their pocket at the possible cost of a future job for yourself? Will they find you and pay your rent/mortgage for you? Will they give a shit about your credit card bills?

Misplaced loyalty. Move on.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:55 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

What's the end-goal here? What do you gain by complaining?

Put me down as #umpteen for not saying anything.
posted by Blue_Villain at 7:35 AM on January 6, 2012

Complaining was a poor choice of words. You should definitely though, after you've secured a new job and told everyone you are leaving, schedule an exit interview with whoever can actually influence the department's funding and tell them the effect that the detrimental situation is having on the company as a whole. If you can prove, or at least make a case for, the lack of funding for your department hurting the WHOLE company (not just your department which may just be catching the ugly stick right now for the good of the whole) then you not only can, but SHOULD go and make this case.

Complaining doesn't change things, but pointing out dangers to the health of the company in a brave way to the people in charge is an important task every employee should be encouraged to do.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:04 AM on January 6, 2012

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