More career advice - quit or wait to get fired?

lilathabitAugust 21, 2006

There seems to be a couple of career threads going. Rather than hijack them, I thought I would post my own question.

My DH feels things are going badly at work. He thinks he might be in danger of being set up for a failure so they have something to point to in order to justify firing him.

He wonders if he should quit before giving them a chance to do this, or if he should just hang in there, seeking employment elsewhere, but take a chance on getting fired.

He's been with this company for almost 10 years, 1 year in this current position. THe previous 9 had been successful, but this last year has been awful. He went into it with warnings from other disgruntled co-workers, but he decided to take a chance on it being better than what he was warned about. It's turned out to be worse.

We've got a young family with an almost 2 y/0 and a 1 y/o.

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NEVER quit a job unless you don't need the money at all, and what about benefits and health insurance, etc.? What is going badly for him? Is there something he can change about his situation, like a transfer, etc.?

My advice would be for him to speak confidentially to someone in employee relations in HR...or if he's brave, directly with his boss to get some feedback (positively, very carefully). If he's had 9 good years and one bad one, there is something odd going on...what kind of work does he do?

Meanwhile, it doesn't hurt to start a job search. It is always better to be seeking employment when you are currently employed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 5:23PM
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For this last year, DH has worked as a media editor for a textbook publishing company. Previously, he had more of a technical support kind of a position in another deptartment. He wanted to get away from being perceived as a 'tech geek' and try to break into editorial.

Other disgruntled coworkers who knew the situation he was getting into warned him, almost begged him not to take this position, knowing this dept was 'dysfunctional'. But DH felt it was the one opportunity he was ever offered recently to make that transition from tech to editorial. This doesn't happen readily in publishing, so he took that chance.

Like most of us, we need the money, as well as the benefits. We can only float by for so long before we bust.

He is trying desperately to perhaps find something else within the company to quickly transfer into, but the pickin's are really slim.

He's tried getting in touch with the one HR rep that he's built somewhat of a rapport with, but she is away on vacation until next week. But ultimately, HR works for the company, not for the employee.

He has a couple of connections outside of the company, but really not too very many.

He's scrambling. His fear is that this firing may happen before he is ready to resign. I did wonder if he is being paranoid, but he says no. In his heart, he feels like this could definitely happen. When he first started in this position, another person on his team went through this. They set her up so that they could justify firing her, and he is seeing the signs of that happening to him.

We're just not sure what looks more acceptable - quitting on your own terms, or actually getting axed.

The worst part is that he really doesn't want to do any of this. He would rather write. He's entertained fantasies of quitting so that he could write full time. I even posted here a few months back asking if anyone ever did anything like that - quitting a full time corporate gig in order to pursue personal interests.

There were other members who wisely advised that maybe we can make things eaiser for him to try writing on his off hours, but work has consumed so much of his time that it just never happened.

We decided it wasn't practical for him to quit to write full time, but now he just may get what he wishes for! Ugh!

One other thing is that he is wondering if he should try to start a business on his own. What kind of business, we're not sure about. DH's second love is photography and he is pretty good at it. I don't know how practical that would be, but he's got a skill and I have some skills that could help him out in this area. He feels that even if photography isn't his first passion, it's *one* passion of his, and he would rather be doing that than working for some corporation.

So maybe we should take a chane and jump on this? I mean people have to start somehow, right? Again, ugh.

I wouldn't mind going back to work, but I would never make anywhere the money he is currently making.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 3:46AM
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***This is totally IMHO-YMMV****************
Do not have him quit without having another job. If he thinks a firing is in the near future, he *really* needs to ramp his job hunt into overdrive. There is nothing more terrifying for a sole bread winner than having a wife/hubby and young children with no job and no insurance. Chances are, he'll jump into the first job he's offered, rather than a job he loves. So, a year from now, you'll be in the exact same situation. How serious is he with his job hunt outside his company? How many resumes has he sent out? How up to date and well done is his resume? Chances are, with only one year in editorial, he'll end up with a tech job again.
DH was in a similiar position this summer. He'd been with his employer for nearly 10 yrs in a few different positions inclduing this one which he'd had for about a yr. He wasn't miserable, but he was tired of the industry and could tell he'd hit the ceiling with this employer. He'd been casually job hunting for months. Then, out of nowhere, his company announced they were looking to trim 1/4 of the entire workforce. They offered voluntary seperation packages with a good severance package to anyone who volunteered. DH took that as an opportunity to kick his career hunt into overdrive. He sent over about 50 resumes, got several interviews, and eventually got 2 good offers. He was fortunate that one of the offers was exactly the type of position he'd wanted. He gave his official notice and three weeks later started the new job.
He was one of two out of his department to announce plans to leave. Everyone else chose to take their chances and let the deadline pass them by. They were caught off guard a few days later when the company began massive layoffs. They were completely unprepared to enter the job search. So, now it's the slow season in hiring and the severance package will run out 10 days before Xmas. They're scrambling to update resumes, hone interviewing skills (most of them haven't interviewed outside the company for a decade), network, even simply evaluate the job market.
I know the idea of realizing a dream is a tempting one, but reality is that this may not be the right time. DH ran a small consulting business on the side for a little while and still does contracting on the side, so we'd talked about doing it fulltime. I'd have to work for insurance, assuming I could get a job with benefits, and occasionally put the kids in daycare. There would be start up costs, as well, legal questions to be answered. Also, in order to qualify for small business loans, he'd need a really good business plan done. It was going to take months to set this up and get started. Not to mention getting clients into the pipeline to earn a steady income. See where I'm going with this? Can you survive without a real income for at least a year?

I'm not trying to discourage you or your DH. Just take a calm rational look at your situation. Get some health insurance quotes and look at your monthly budget. First and foremost, update DH's resume and get really well aquainted with job search sites!
Good luck and remeber my mantra "What will be, is as it should be".

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:25AM
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I'm in HR-- have been for a long time.

Look for another job, Then quit.

It's that simple in my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 5:10PM
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Hi bella,

I think we've come to the conclusion that this would be the logical thing to do. At least for the moment.

I just hope he beats the clock!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 7:14PM
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Hi Lila,

Good luck. Things will work out the way they are supposed to!


    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 5:48PM
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Hi bella,

DH sent in a resume to a company that seems terrific to work for. They sent a letter back to him on their good stationary that they received his resume and will consider it for review.

Do some companies do this for all applicants, or is this a significant gesture? I've never seen anyone do this, but I wondered if you as someone in HR might offer an opinion.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 9:53PM
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Hi there...sorry, I don't come here but a few times a week!

It's hard to say. Was his resume sent in answer to a ad or was it just a random company he thought he'd like to work for? I would have your husband follow-up with a phone call in a week or so...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 2:11PM
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A few years ago, the reply letter was standard and basically meant "Thanks, but no thanks". When DH was job hunting in 98, he got one for every resume he mailed out. Now, since so few companies bother responding at all, it may mean something else. He didn't recieive even one actual letter this time. Heck, he didn't even get an email auto reply 99% of the time. Did DH mail in his resume or send it electronically?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 10:04AM
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He sent the resume in electronically. The ad was listed on this company's website, but we haven't seen it advertised elsewhere.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 1:27PM
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I got one of those letters once. There weren't any openings at the time, but I sent in my resume and cover letter anyway because I knew that's where I wanted to work and that I was qualified for the job. Two months later, they called me for an interview and I got the job. Loved that place!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 12:25PM
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sweeby, thanks for that ray of sunshine. This seems like a great company to work for. I suspect many members here know their products well.

Well, I think DH should follow up with a phone call. Perhaps they'll be in a good mood after a long weekend.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 3:21PM
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