This one time, I had to fire myself.

John Cloonan Bad HR, Communication, Corporate America, employee experience, Giving Notice, John Cloonan, Offboarding

The time had come. I had been stagnating in my current role. There was no other place for me to go in the organization. I had been filling that professional void with some consulting work on the side. One of my consulting clients decided they wanted me full time, and I had accepted. All that was left to do was give my notice and move on.

Little did I know that quitting this company was going to be the hardest thing I ever did.

I knew there was going to be a little difficulty, since I was a remote employee. While I believe that it’s best to quit in person, I wasn’t going to take on the personal expense to fly down to my employer’s headquarters just to give notice, so I scheduled a video call with my boss, which he accepted.

He didn’t show up. I dropped him a text message. No response. So I rescheduled the meeting for that afternoon, which he accepted.

He didn’t show up for that one, either. Again, no response from him on any channel.

I was determined to quit that day. I wanted to give proper notice. My new employer wanted me for a specific event. So I called my boss’s boss. No answer. I dropped him an email and waited an hour. No answer.

The only place left to go was the CEO. Now, before you decide that I was being cheeky reaching out to the CEO to quit, he and I had frequent interaction, as I was marketing lead for the company. It wasn’t unusual for me to call or email him. I dropped a call into his admin, who told me he wasn’t available.

It’s now approaching close of business, and again, I am determined to quit. I do the thing I’ve been avoiding all day. I write an email resignation and send it to my boss and copy his boss and the CEO. This is Friday afternoon.

I’m thinking that at some point I’d hear from someone about transitioning out. A few days pass, and I have heard no word from anyone. I mean, total radio silence. So I call HR. That’s when the real fun begins. The call goes something like this:

“Hey John, how are you?”

“I’m good. I thought I’d give you a call to find out if there’s any paperwork I need to fill out, and how to return my laptop and equipment to y’all.”

“What do you mean?”

“My last day is like 10 days from now.”

“You quit?”

I can’t make this stuff up. Nobody told HR that I had quit. I called a buddy of mine in IT.

“Hey Keith, I don’t know if you heard, but I quit. My last day is next Friday. How do I get my stuff back to you.”

“Dude, nobody told us! Your boss should have sent us some forms outlining what stuff you have, and we’ll send you UPS labels to send it back. That and HR needs to send us some stuff telling us to take away your access.”

“Just send me the forms, Keith.”

Keith sent me the forms. I filled out all the paperwork needed to revoke all of my access, outline what equipment I had, and turn off my security badge. When I came to the place where the form said “Supervisor Signature,” I signed it. I figured at that point, I was in charge of this whole process. I might as well be my own supervisor, too.

Monday comes around. Friday is my last day. I call up HR again.

“Hey y’all, do you have my resignation all processed? Friday is my last day.”

“No, your boss never sent it to us.”

I sent them my resignation letter directly, and had them send me all the forms – both mine and the forms my boss was supposed to fill out. I filled out all of them, too, and signed my name in the supervisor section. At this point, why not?

At the end of the week, I packed up all my company gear and shipped it back.

That was several years ago.

I still haven’t heard a word from my boss.