So, in my years in the programming business, I’ve seen a few people just stop showing up for work, or cuss out the boss and walk out the door. They are burning bridges, and in the long run they are hurting themselves a lot more than they are hurting the company that they are lashing out at. Whether you give a company a two week notice or not, you are hurting the company about the same amount…they still have to find a replacement, and two weeks is not all that much time to find a new hire and train them. So, really, the only person you are hurting when you don’t follow quitting-etiquette is yourself.
When you storm out of a job without following quitting-etiquette, 2 things happen. First, you go onto the D.N.R. (Do Not Rehire) list. Then, when your next potential job’s HR staff calls up your previous employers, they aren’t allowed to ask all that many questions but one they can ask, “Is [so and so] rehire-able?”. If your previous employer says, “no”, you may not make it past HR to be able to show the company what a good programmer you are. If they have 10 great candidates and you’re the only one that’s not rehire-able, and they can only do 5 interviews, you’re out of luck.
Since my very first job, at McDonald’s, I have never been fired from a job. I have always given a two week (or longer) notice. And 3 of the jobs that I’ve quit, I later went back to. When I went back to those jobs I not only got my job back, but in all 3 cases I got a raise, and in 2 cases I got a promotion. So, following quitting-etiquette can literally pay.
All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. (Yoda)
There is something more to it than just quitting-etiquette, however. There’s a mentality that you have to have if you want to be the guy that companies want to hire back. It’s an extremely simple thing in my opinion: own your work, right now! I’ve seen quite a few developers who just did their work to get their paycheck until “the next job” comes along. This makes them unhappy and lowers the quality of their work. In the long run, these developers are less valuable. They lose learning opportunities to improve themselves because they aren’t focused on doing their best work right now.
Being happy at your job is 10% your company and 90% you. Trust me on this. I worked for McDonald’s for THREE years and I liked it (yes, the jokes are rolling through my head right now too). In fact, I’d work for McDonald’s flipping burgers in a heart beat if it paid enough to support my family. I enjoyed it because I took ownership of my work. I took pride in the work that I did and in trying to be the best at what I did. My work is a reflection of me. It’s my name that goes in the @author tag, it’s my face that the customer sees…not my employer’s. I am constantly seeking to improve my skills as a programmer, not because my company needs me to, but because I need to for me.
When you take ownership of your work and take pride in always trying to do your best, the whole “grass is greener” mentality slips away. You are focused on the “now” doing your best in the present. In 3 years you’ll look back at your glaring programming mistakes and ask yourself how you ever wrote such crappy code. However, for the “now” it’s gotta be your best. There is something absolutely magical about doing your best work, finishing it, and knowing that you did the best work you’ve ever done and that tomorrow, you’ll do better.
Kevin Nelson September 28th, 2012
Posted In: Career
Tags: Take Ownership