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Negotiating an Ending

April 18, 2011

Filed under: Coaching,Management,observations — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:23 pm

Recently a new client posed a different kind of employment question. She’s a hi-tech executive working for a small private company where she is a partner – since she put up some original capital.

After 8 years, she would like to move on and has already been approached by a larger public company. We’re working on what she would like for pay and benefits, but to my surprise, she hadn’t given much thought to her exit strategy.

“My boss knows I’m unhappy, but he doesn’t care,” she says, “That’s why I want to leave.” I asked if she had tried to negotiate her departure, just like she was trying to work out a deal at the new company.

He response was a short, “Why bother,” adding that it would involve options, her original investment and a host of other issues she didn’t want to deal with. “I just want to see the look on his face when I walk in and quit,” she said.

I guess she didn’t really expect me to react, since she had asked me to help with her new job, not the old one. But I was slightly incredulous.

Why wouldn’t a negotiated settlement, with possible severance and recovery of some portion of her original investment be enough incentive to at least approach her current boss.

Her major worry was that she would be fired on the spot, a scenario that, after some evaluation, she concluded was not very likely.

She was so frustrated with her job that she was blinded to what she was leaving ‘on the table’ just for the short-term satisfaction of telling her boss off.

I pointed out that since she was just in her 30’s, leaving with at least a ‘non-negative’ settlement and her reputation intact was probably even more important than the financial aspects. I guess I got her attention and she has agreed to at least think about approaching her boss.

She’s fortunate in that she already has a new offer and not everyone can walk into their boss and demand a severance package, but it’s worth noting that how you leave a job can be just as important as how you start.

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