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In March 2012, whilst searching for a new job following the disappointment of ABCD, I was introduced to a company local to me. Research and interviews followed, and my instincts screamed out at me that these guys knew what they were doing, they were technical from the ground up with a business advisor who was generally recognised as an expert in his field.

This post is not about them; it is possible that the above may be the last thing I write about them. This post is about leaving ABCD.

I knew that resigning from ABCD would be a harrowing experience. Not emotionally, no: but because four months into the job I still wasn’t sure who my line manager was and thus who would handle any HR issues. Details like these are normally spelt out in detail within terms of employment documents, but I had yet to receive mine; indeed, the only details of the job I did have in writing (either paper or email) were my salary, holiday entitlement and the hours I was expected to work.

Notice period? No, that’s not there. Under UK statute – and, rest assured, I even telephoned ACAS to confirm – the minimum notice period an employee is required to give is just one week if no other time period is given. I wanted out of the company, I was far from being an essential employee in my eyes, and the sooner I could leave the better. The only project I had outstanding had barely a day’s work left on it, so even on moral grounds there was no reason to worry: I’d be saving the company three weeks of paying a salary to someone who everyone would know didn’t want to be there.

I decided that one certain individual, who had been responsible for my recruitment, was the most likely candidate, and addressed my resignation letter to him giving a final date of a week and a half away, to round it off nicely on a Friday. The letter was signed, left on his desk, and opened at 11am the next morning to much surprise and a little consternation; I was warned that the MD may take the “one weeks notice” element quite badly.

Various conversations happened that day, including one with the MD which went surprisingly well. He countered the offer with a promise of an immediate 5% pay rise, slightly shorter working hours and a chance to move to an architectural role and oversee changes to the whole project management process in order to increase efficiency. Had these suggestions been made several months before they may have been of interest, but they were too late now and, having been given 24 hours to consider, I was called into a chat between him and another member of the management team.

The chat they were having was positive; indeed, I was singled out for praise over the work that I’d been doing that was directly influencing clients into buying into the company. It started going downhill quite quickly though; the following is paraphrased but based on notes made about 10 minutes after the events in question. “OP” is the other person in the meeting, who I don’t wish to identify even obliquely.

Me: “I have decided, and I will be going with the other company”
MD: “Ok, I think you’re making a really bad decision.”
OP: “So do I.”
MD: “I think you’re making a really bad choice and you’ll end up regretting it.”
Me: “Yes, but that’s my decision.”
MD: (sigh) “Ok, that’s your choice, but at least we’ve got you for four weeks.”
Me: “No, I’m on one week’s notice”

A slight pause …

MD: “No, you’re on four weeks notice. That’s standard.”
Me: “I haven’t had anything saying I was on four week’s notice, and statutory is one week.”
MD: “OP, what did the offer letter say?”
OP: “I’m sure it would have said notice period on it.”
Me: “It didn’t. I’ve checked.”

At this point, the MD stopped and simply stared at me. I suspect he was trying to get me to back down, but this was one of those moments where rights needed to be asserted and I would not have put myself in this position had I not been 100% certain of my legal position.

A second or two later, with neither of us giving an inch, he played the only card he had left.

MD: “That is low, and you are the lowest. Get out. Get out now. Go and clear your desk. OP, you will escort him out of the building.”

I sat, slightly shocked for a moment that he could turn so cold, and at such speed, then stood up and walked out. Neither the OP nor I talked whilst I cleared my desk and removed my books, and said a brief goodbye to those left behind. As we walked to my car, he tried to say something and I suggested – nicely, he was himself quite shocked – that we wait until we were out of both sight and sound of the office, to avoid him being seen to do anything to raise the MD’s ire even further.

I was glad to go home, to enjoy a bit of time with my family and to work on my house, knowing that the decision I had made had just been justified even more than I’d even suspected possible. The OP, who I now know to also be job hunting, had to return; resigned to the fact that his life was just that little bit more hellish than before.

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