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The Other Side Of Accepting Resignations

Now and again, I read a news story that involves a person voluntarily leaving their job. This sort of article typically contains a sentence like this one:

“Bob White submitted his resignation from his position as the company’s treasurer.”

Resignation Letter

Resignation Letter (Photo credit: Graham Ballantyne)

The reason for the exit is typically left to speculation. Maybe he was offered a better job. Perhaps there was a boardroom disagreement and this is Bob’s graceful exit. It could be that Mr. White is leaving to join the circus. Whatever the reason, Bob White aims to be the company’s ex-treasurer.

If It Can Be Accepted, Then…

A sentence that often closely follows the submission of the resignation gives me reason for concern. That sentence usually says something like:

“CEO Ann Parker accepted White’s resignation.”

Now CEO Parker might have comments about Mr. White’s departure, or she might not. It is her “accepting” of the resignation that gives me pause.

By accepting Bob’s resignation, Ann implies that she could also refuse to accept the resignation. If that is true, then it seems to me that she  can keep Bob as her treasurer for as long as she pleases.

Suppose we rewrite the story just a bit:

“Bob White submitted his resignation from his position as the company’s treasurer. CEO Ann Baker refused to accept White’s resignation saying “no way this company stays afloat without that guy tracking the money. I’m not accepting Bobby’s resignation.”

Reached for comment, White said “I guess I’m staying. Damn. I really wanted to be a lion tamer“.

If you aren’t concerned, you should be.

Perhaps We Aren’t As Wonderful As We Think

;Lion tamer Lion tamer in cage with two lions,...

This looks like it isn’t going well (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Civilized nations take pride in having eliminating forced labor. Our pride is misplaced. If employers can crush our lion taming dreams with a simple refusal, society hasn’t evolved to the point we think it has.

Don’t believe it is happening?

Name ten lion tamers.

Time’s up.

The refused resignation scenario touches even those who’ve never been trapped in a job. An average job seeker can not compete with someone who can say “I was so good, they made me work another three years before I could resign”.

The Part Where It Becomes All About Me

Best college job ever. God bless Abe Pollin. (image by waynomo on wikimedia)

My future employment endeavors are handicapped because I’ve never been turned down when I resigned any of the jobs I took while working my way through school – Ziggy’s Pizza, Harmony Hut, church grounds keeper, Capital Centre, Ivey’s. Two weeks notice, a handshake and I was out of there. I managed to latch on to my career and have been there for twenty seven years. No one has ever said I was so good I had to stay. I don’t have a marketable employment record because of that fact.

We must stop this right of refusal. While most managers accept resignations with encouraging grace, the few who entrap their employees make it difficult on us all.

Don’t wait until you’re refused. It is time to act; time to petition our elected leaders to resolve this now.

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11 Comments on “The Other Side Of Accepting Resignations”

  1. But fair is fair. If your boss can reject your resignation, you should be able to reject his firing you!

    On a related note, and triggered by your comment “Perhaps We’re Not As Wonderful As We Think,” we used to have a guy who thought he was some kind of wonderful. In reality he was an insufferable prick and well past his use by date. Anyway, he reported directly to the CEO and there was a period where we went through several CEOs in a few years. He ostentatiously made a point of telling us that each time a new CEO came in he would give him/her his letter of resignation because he was such an institution and the new CEO might feel threatened by him. This happened about three times and the resignations were never accepted. Needless to say, each rejection made this guy’s ego increase exponentially.

    Finally the day of reckoning came when one of us finally became CEO. It was said that everyone knew what had happened when he emerged from the new CEOs office and his face was “redder than a monkey’s butt.”

    Talk about the troops rejoicing.

    • omawarisan says:

      I like that thought. “No, I believe I am meeting your expectations and I will be staying. Now when’s lunch?”

      I’ll bet that guy was shocked! Part of the insufferable personality is being clueless how frustrating you are to those around you.

  2. shoutabyss says:

    Nice post. Chock full of goodness. The reality is, of course, that the company has no choice in the matter. And, just like always, they like to pretend that they have powers that don’t exist. To me that is a quintessential defining trait of so called higher-ups. I realized the other day that I’ve never been fired in my life. Every time I walked out the door it was MY choice. They may hold all the cards and abuse you 24/7 but that’s the one thing they can never take away. That’s my take on “at will” employment. I’ll stick around as long as I’ve got the will. Maybe they should call it “at stomach” employment.

    I resigned once because I wasn’t happy about a few things. (Shocking, I know.) They took a month to think things over and came back with a counteroffer. They would graciously allow me to keep my job at the same rate of pay with nothing else changing at all. They acted like it was a gift from the heavens. I told them to pound sand. And that’s how I ended a 16-year career with a bunch of nitwits.

    Lion tamer would rock. The feline world gets me.

  3. Debbie says:

    Yikes, I never thought about that! Most times, I just assumed they were glad to get rid of the person submitting the resignation. Hmm, now you’ve given me a whole ‘nuther worry.

  4. I once wrote a resignation rebuttal letter for an employee I really, really, really didn’t want to lose. I don’t understand why she would choose her baby over me. It was just unacceptable. So I told her I refused her resignation and then I wrote a letter explaining why I refused and gave them both the HR. True story.

    P.S. As far as I know, it was a human child, not a lion. If it had been a lion, I might have reconsidered.

  5. robincoyle says:

    Along with a writer and blogger, I am a lion tamer on the side.

  6. spencercourt says:

    I’m sure you read that the Sanford police chief offered to resign shortly after the Trayvon Martin case went national but the City Council refused to accept it. So instead he went on leave. After it looked like the case had been handled incorrectly by the police, that leave turned into the City Manager firing the police chief.

    When I announced in 2010 that I was retiring and that instead of staying in deferred retirement for the full 5 years that I’d go out in 2013 since I could get Social Security then, no one believed me. Now, they believe me.


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