On Dec. 29, 2015 I put in my two weeks notice with a company that employed me for three years. I was close with my work family. When I got offered a job at another company, I was conflicted. As I sat and waited for my interview with the potential employer, I thought, "How could I leave?" After a lot of thinking and soul searching, I decided taking the new job was what was best for me. My reasons for leaving weren't personal towards anyone at my old job, strictly financial and all progressive steps for my career. Surely my current employer would understand?
On the Wednesday before New Years Eve, I broke the news. At the firm where I work, there were only three partners. While one was out to lunch, I sat down with one partner (let's call him Jim) and put in my two weeks notice and outlined my reasons for accepting the new job. Jim was upset to hear of my resignation, but understood completely. After about half an hour of discussing my new position, his final words to me that day were, "You'll always have a job here." I informed Jim that I would be more than willing to work weekends and help train my replacement without pay and that I would always be available by phone if my replacement or the other paralegal needed my help with a case. After stepping out of his office, I took a deep sigh and said to myself, "Well, that couldn't have gone better!"
Later that afternoon, the other partner (let's call him Perry) returned to the office and I told him of my resignation. He said he was sorry to lose me and that was the end of the conversation. While I thought it was odd after three years for that to be the only thing said about me leaving, I brushed it off and left the office to enjoy the holidays.
Upon returning to work this morning, I began my Monday as usual. I started making calls, readings faxes, looking at the calendar for my last week of work. After about an hour, Perry calls me into his office and asks me what's on my agenda for the day. I go down the list of things I'm working on at the moment and he looks back at me and says, "Well, after you finish that up, you can pack your things. You're not needed here this week." Saying that his words knocked the wind out of me would be an understatement. I was floored. I asked several times if he was serious, waiting for this stupid joke to be over, but he was dead serious. I went to my desk, started packing my things, and left.
Not exactly how I planned to start my Monday.
The crying, anger and cursing came later. It got me thinking, what's the purpose of a two weeks notice when someone is just going to fire you anyways? What's the purpose of being loyal to someone who kicks you to the curb when an employee tries to better himself? Why should employees put so much consideration into quitting when employers put so little consideration into firing someone? I've dedicated three years of my life to a company that gave me the boot the moment they found out I had an opportunity to better my career.
This got me thinking... Do employees have any rights when it comes to being fired after a resignation? The answer is pretty much none. Most employees, especially in Georgia, are considered "employed at will." This means that your boss can pretty much fire you whenever he/she wants. Unless you have a contract, that's pretty much how it works. I, obviously, didn't have a contract. Prior to this experience, I never would have advised someone without a two weeks notice. However, after my recent experience, I'm not sure if I still feel the same way. I guess my only advice to those in my shoes are to try and evaluate what kind of boss you have. I never would have expected this to happen, but here we are. I knew that Perry was kind of a douchebag, but I never expected him to behave so stupidly.
While it's unfortunate how my boss decided to end things, my eyes are forward. There's no sense in beating myself up for others' actions. Quitting isn't easy. I ended things the best I could. Now to enjoy my week of vacation before I start my new job!