Employment Clash: You Resigned But Now Have Had a Change of Heart? Bye, Bye Baby!

Dawn Burke Dawn Hrdlica, Employee Relations, Giving Notice

If I go there will be trouble…If I stay there will be double.

OK hear me loud and hear me clear. Employees of the USA you live in the greatest workworld in the history of mankind. You are afforded rights not given to most people generations back. Most importantly you work in “at will” states. You are not under contract and you can leave whenever you want without notice.

You are free… you are free… you are free. That you should be happy for. The option to work when you want or the option to leave when you want.

But in our job-sharing, flex-hour atmospheres, so many don’t know when to hold on to a good thing. I’ve seen a handful of counterparts resign from their jobs, I mean formally- letter and all- to all but have a complete 180 degree “WTH have I done?” turnaround as quickly as one day later. ONE day later. What is going on with this flippant disregard for your work? Geez. Has it really come to this?

So enter the Manager who gets sucked into the “to resign or not to resign” rollercoaster. Next enter the lost-but-now-found employee. Enter stage-right common sense. Enter stage-left human emotion. Enter upstage-center lost trust. The mix is quite a drama. Dramatic like a cheating husband who really was quite good to you. Really. He left but he is back now. Really. He told you so. When he sorted it all out, he realized it really wasn’t so bad with you. He was misnformed about what makes him happy and committed. So you’ll just pick up where you left off and… and… act like this didn’t happen. (Operative word “act”)

Sounds good if all players involved were robots. Your ex may be… but leaders are not robots and should manage very real expectations including consequences to employees who become at best mis-informed and at worst so disengaged as to pen and turn in a resignation. It may be painful, but by not kicking these employees to the curb now, you are likely prolonging the inevitable. More important you are letting any one else on your team know that lack of commitment can lead to rewards. boo.

There are always exceptions:

  • The really exceptional, long-term employee with proven deliverables and stellar track record.
  • The employee who had to resign for personal reasons like moving out of state for a spouse, but has had a change of plans.
  • If your business need is so great…that keeping the employee despite the break in trust is still better for your bottom line (temporarily). I mean, business is business.

As a manager if you decide to let the rollercoaster continue, if they stay there will be double (trouble)… just know you’ve got your work cut out for you. Heck though… no-risk; no-reward. Good luck!