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Quit First. Ask Questions Later.

Bob Goldman on

Of course, there are certain situations that can justify an early exit. Chicago career coach Jody Miller cites a bait-and-switch situation as a reason for justifiable career homicide. "If you're told you're reporting to the CEO, but in actuality there's someone positioned between you and the CEO, that's a problem."

For most of us, it's the opposite. You are told that you will never ever see the CEO due to multiple levels of bureaucratic infrastructure, and suddenly, you find yourself trapped in an elevator with a fire-breathing dragon of an alpha exec, someone who gave up family, friends and foosball to claw their way to the top, and doesn't understand why you have not done so, as well.

Your odds of surviving a chance meeting like this are minimal, at best. The only strategy possible is to plead insanity. "Excuse me," you say. "Is this where I go to get my shingles vaccination?"

Another acceptable reason to prematurely quit a new job on Day One is learning that your salary will be cut in half on Day Two. This happened to a client of the international executive-search firm AutoKineto. To me, this sounds like a fairly petty move on the part of the employee, and somewhat impetuous, too. What if the employer is testing the newbie's commitment to the firm's vision statement by cutting their pay to show they're not in it for the money?

Still, it could explain why your raises have been so flimsy and infrequent. Management doesn't hate you; they're testing you. I say -- give it another 10 or 30 years. If the moolah machine doesn't start gushing, it could be time to quit.

Though it's too late for you to quit on Day One, you definitely can take a lesson from those who had the opportunity.

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While you have learned to respond to managerial abuse in the mature way, by hiding in the supply closet, a Wall Street intern whose boss seemed "unduly brusque" on Day One pushed back. "Are you having a bad day, or are you always like this?" the tyro inquired. The result -- the workplace rookie "not only survived the exchange but earned better treatment from the boss."

If this strikes you as the stuff of fairy tales, I agree. I would believe this story more if Mr. Brusque Boss, upon being challenged, turned into a handsome prince, and awarded the newbie with a solid gold Tesla.

But it could happen, and though it has been eons since your Day One, I suggest that you try pushing back. Do it as soon as you come out of the supply closet. It will never again be your first day on the job, but it could be your last.

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Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com. To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

 

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