Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quitting just to stay

You quit your job because of three reasons, whether singly or in a combination of all three. You have a better option. You feel betrayed. You are bypassed slash it’s the end of the professional road.
If it is any other reason like spontaneous rage, a dare, a desire to do something else and has no foundation beyond that of emotional self-delusion (that could be very real to you) you could end up with the thin wedge of the cake. Heroics don’t count and valiant resignations, like discarded swords tend to rust in their own glory.
Take a scenario that is played out often enough.
You are frustrated and truly feel you deserve more. Everyone does. If a company paid an employee what he or she deserves the company would not make profit. That is financial logic. What would you do if, after months of moaning and groaning and generally carrying on you finally quit your job because you felt you and your worth were not being recognised? Two days after your resignation had been sent in you were summoned to the management and they said they would up your salary or your perks and you should reconsider?

Dilemma time. Is it a question of too little too late.
Then again, after the first high of resigning dissipates and reality leers at you, there is some logic in investigating the offer. It is a hard world out there and no one is desperate to give you a job. Nor does the world owe you a living.
So, the enticement from the management assumes a different texture.
They could mean it.
They could be stalling so they can use you until they find an alternative. And you’d better believe that there is always an alternative.  Now it’s your call. So what are you going to do about it? Unfortunately, most of us would feel flattered that management has sort of sat up and taken notice but before we get too carried away let’s look at it this way- if management was so sensitive to what you deserved why hadn’t it given you the raise in the first place.
You can come to the most obvious conclusion that it did not intend to give you anything more because it did not believe you would have the conviction to quit. The more subtle version of this assessment is that it saw no reason to prematurely give you an incentive so the flaw lay in the fact that you were unconvincing in your approach and your threat to resign.
But now that you have done it, the management is pleased to re-negotiate your contract because it does value you and will take your decision to go seriously.
You’ll be surprised how often this sentiment is valid in the corporate world. It is called damage containment and it works on the simple principle of the bottom line. It is far more costly and far more of a hassle to send you off and find a replacement so the lesser cost factor of giving you a raise and a perk is conceded with suitable discretion so as not to set a precedent. This would depend on how discreet you have been in resigning. If you have been lowkey and no one knows on the work floor the odds increase dramatically of your getting what you have asked for. If you have set it to music, announced it to the world and generally badmouthed the company the odds fall to zero...a company cannot be seen surrendering to you.
Let’s say you have been careful, there is no loss of face on either side and the negotiations are successful and your resignation torn up.
Now what. However much you might like to think the chapter is closed it is not. From the corporate side, that is. So, while you are feeling nice and triumphant the company has a little mark against your name. You will never be seen a 100 per cent team player again. The crack is always there. Actually, the company has won. It has invested a minimum, bought time, will now find an alternative at leisure and be ready for your next attack... which you will lose.
The heat is now on you. When do you quit next, at what level of provocation, for what degree of increment, knowing full well that you can’t resign twice and even if you do, it is not going to cut any ice. Your wolf has done its crying.
So, remember, resignations that are recalled because managements render space are not victories but actually signposts to ultimate defeat.
If  you have written out such a letter then at least credit yourself with some sense, some grace and dignity and some awareness of what you are doing.
Then, before you withdraw ask yourself if all it is worth is a raise or a perk?

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