ask to resign or accept my layoff? How to spin it in interviews?
June 24, 2016 7:13 PM   Subscribe

I took a job at a preschool and was just let go a few days before the 90 day probationary period ended. Before this, I was temping as an administrative assistant. My plan is to go back to the temp agency. Will it look better to prospective employers if I resign, or does it even matter since I'm going into a very different field of work? I'm mostly worried about prospective employers calling the preschool to confirm employment ; asking if I'm eligible for rehire, and hearing "no".

Last year I worked as a high school teacher and was also laid off at the end of the year for unsatisfactory performance (guess any kind of teaching really isn't for me!).

So with two lay offs/firings(not sure of the difference?), should I see if they can let me resign instead? I had that option when my teaching job ended but chose not to because I wanted unemployment.

I guess what I'm really wondering is, will the temp agency care if I was let go from this job? How much will prospective employers care if I'm going into a totally different field when they call and find I was let go for poor performance as a preschool teacher assistant? Should I take the layoff to Get unemployment? Am I even eligible for unemployment?

I'm torn between really needing that unemployment money vs wanting to patch up my so so resume. I suppose I could move in with my parents if I resign and lose my unemployment benefits but that means also living with my brother and his 2 young kids and two cats as well, and a big fat 1.5 hour commute into the city for any work i find.

It's possible I can find a temp job soon and not need unemployment but there is no way of knowing, and I have bills to pay. Plus I feel like sometimes part time temp jobs lead to better opportunities because you're less of a risk to take on, and with the unemployment cushion, I can take those jobs.

Just rambling on a bit because I am in a bit of a panic over my future financial situation and job prospects!!
posted by Leaves22 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh yeah and I'm guessing the preschool management won't be a bro and tell anyone who calls about me that I quit even if i take the layoff so I can get unemployment? I worked with management briefly while they were still teachers and not management yet, maybe they would help me out. But i imagine they wouldn't want to give me unemployment benefits if I ask them to tell potential employers that I quit rather than was "let go" or "terminated".
posted by Leaves22 at 7:17 PM on June 24, 2016

If you quit, I think companies can still ask if you're eligible for rehire, so I wouldn't have that be the reason to not collect unemployment.

You can call this a lay-off if they're calling it a lay-off. Firing with cause is different. I would not sacrifice my unemployment benefits, and I don't think you getting laid-off versus resigning is going to read any differently to potential employers.
posted by superlibby at 7:49 PM on June 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

If you got laid off, that means the company/school no longer employs you for a reason that is NOT YOUR FAULT, like they can no longer afford to pay you. If you get laid off, you are almost always eligible for unemployment.
If you got fired "with cause", that means the company/school no longer employs you for a reason that IS YOUR FAULT (or at least, the company/school says so). If you get fired this way, you are most often not eligible for unemployment. (Some states also recognize an "at will" employment status, eg. a company can fire you without an explanation. In that case, you do qualify for unemployment.)

If you resign, you cannot collect unemployment.

In most states, the only thing that a past employer should be verifying is your dates of employment and whether or not you are eligible for rehire. In my experience, companies without an employment status department will often disclose if you left the company voluntarily, were fired, or laid off.

So what should you do? My advice would be to ask nicely for the opportunity to resign. Yes, living with family is terrible. But sitting at a job interview in any field and trying to explain getting fired twice is going to be worse. It may be time to think a little longer term.

PS. I'm a bad teacher myself. I have piles of evaluations to prove it. Wanna be in a club? =-)
posted by Kalatraz at 10:07 PM on June 24, 2016

Also think about how you're going to frame this more broadly to potential employers if they ask about it. Something along the lines of "I am really interested in THING YOU'RE INTERVIEWING FOR WITH TWO PIECES OF EVIDENCE. So while I thought teaching was my calling but after first working at the high school level and seeing that it wasn't for me, I pivoted to early education and while I enjoyed aspects of it, I'm now certain that teaching young people isn't my path in life."
posted by k8t at 10:09 PM on June 24, 2016

Please don't let unsatisfactory evaluations be the measure of your worth as a human being or a teacher. EVERYONE sucks their first few years. And a lot of us are lucky enough to work somewhere that understands that and mentors us through it.

There is somewhere that will do that with you, if you're open to it. Some of the best teachers I know have been released from schools.

I would always choose to resign over being fired, for what that's worth.

Email me (same as my username at gmail) if you want to talk more.

Don't catastrophise this. Take it one day at a time.
posted by guster4lovers at 12:28 AM on June 25, 2016

Never resign in lieu of being fired if you have any desire to collect unemployment. Many states will consider any form of resignation to be your own choice and therefore declare you ineligible to collect unemployment. On the other hand, being fired because you're just bad at the job is generally not the same thing as being fired for cause (that means you stole or were chronically late or the like).

Make them fire you / lay you off / decline to hire you after your probationary period. It will help you, and as you say, they're not likely to sugarcoat your departure just because you made it a little easier on them.
posted by Etrigan at 4:13 AM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you get fired this way, you are most often not eligible for unemployment.

That's not true. Being fired for GROSS NEGLIGENCE like breaking the law, stealing, etc. would bar you from UI but being fired for performance or culture fit (both being "cause") don't bar you from UI. If you are leaving employment not by your choice (ie resigning) you are most likely eligible for UI, the bar is pretty high for denying it.

Will some companies ask if you are eligible for rehire? Some, sure. Will your company tell them no? Maybe, definitely not guaranteed. Will the new company care care if the answer is "no"? Maybe, some. But the vast majority just verify dates and title. IF they do ask AND your company tells them no, they are going to ask you about it at which point you can give them some sort of answer that doesn't make you look terrible. If they are just taking that no and not discussing it with you and rescinding their offer based on that, trust me, you don't want to work there.

And a temp agency? A temp agency DGAF. They just want to test your skills and assign you places.

There are lots of stupid reasons why someone wouldn't be eligible for rehire at a previous company. HR people know that and so we've pretty much stopped asking the question. I, for one, can never work at Macy's again because I only gave 12 days notice instead of 14.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:37 AM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm glad to see magnetsphere mention the concept of being a bad fit. Sounds like those jobs were a bad fit for you, and you might as well be upfront about that. I've put in a lot of time as a teacher and shudder to think about a things that happened in the first year at some places. It was me; it was them; it was the subject; whatever. It took you more than one job to conclude that teaching isn't for you, as opposed to a problem with a particular job. So figure out what you want to do next and how to get there from here. In your shoes, I would take the money and run, i.e. don't resign. Take a step back if you need to, but with your eye on the prize.
posted by BibiRose at 8:39 AM on June 25, 2016

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