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Liz Ryan Contributor

I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life. full bio →

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for ten million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997, but it took me ages to find my own voice. Now I write for the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. Stop by and join us: http://www.humanworkplace.com

Contact Liz Ryan

The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

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Leadership 207,887 views

Can They Fire Me If I Already Gave Notice?

Dear Liz,

I am in a bad situation at work. It is one of those things you call an Energetic Mismatch. My boss and I don’t cotton to one another, as they say, but I have tried hard for six months to make it work anyway. Right now in our department I have the second-best scores according to all six of our weekly measurements, and boy, do these people like measurements!

My second-place status is not going to help me because my boss, Gloria, is breathing down my neck. The day before yesterday she said “Shannon, I’m sick of your attitude,” although I have been nothing but courteous and helpful to her and to my colleagues.

There are nine of us in the department, and every single one of my eight colleagues has said something along these lines to me during these past six months of misery:

  • “Gloria is a sick person with an inferiority complex.”
  • “I can see why you and Gloria don’t mesh. You have self-esteem, and she doesn’t.”
  • “The CEO keeps Gloria around so he has someone to blame when things go wrong.”
  • “Gloria will find a way to fire you just because you know how to keep your cool and she does not.”

As you can see, it’s not a good situation. I am going to give notice on Monday, even though I don’t have another job. I have kept up a very small (and very discreet!) consulting business so I’ll ”fill in” this six-month period on my resume with my consulting work.

I won’t even mention this painful half year job. My question is, can Gloria still fire me after I give notice? My teammates tell me that she did that before. She fired a guy who had just given notice. How toadlike is that?

If she can fire me, I think she will do it. I can’t imagine her letting me stay during my two week notice period. If I get fired, will any other employers be able to find out about it if this job isn’t listed on my resume?

Thanks so much for everything you do, Liz! All my friends and I are Liz-maniacs!

Thanks,

Shannon

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  • Anne Donovan Anne Donovan 1 week ago

    I’ve seen this done where I work. Seems to be perfectly legal. After all you already stated you were leaving, they’re just making you leave earlier.

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  • Jill Jones Jill Jones 1 week ago

    I’m so sorry that you’re having to go through this.

    I have been awarded unemployment benefits after quitting a job, but I was able to show that I had been asked to do something illegal. The old adage, “The one with the longest paper trail wins” rings true at times like this.

    Gloria has shown that she is out of control and capable of essentially anything. She may have a malignant personality disorder or an out of control chemical addiction. At any rate she’s irrational and spiteful.

    In addition to the possibility that a dirty boss could fire you during the two weeks after you give notice, severely abusive managers have been known to go much further. Some have sabotaged their victims to damage their future careers and maybe even have an excuse to file a malicious complaint against them with the employee’s professional licensing board. A favorite of workplace abusers is to sabotage the employee’s new job, so you’re, at least, lucky that she doesn’t know the name of another company that your going to work for.

    If you choose to give the 2 week notice, at least pay attention to her and trust your instincts about whether she’s getting ready to pull something even more evil than usual.

    As others stated, giving a 2 or 4 week notice is a courtesy that we give to employers who have been fair to us, to give them time to cover the position we’re vacating. There’s no law that says we have to do it ( although abandoning the job in the middle of a shift could, in some professions like healthcare, be illegal.) You don’t need to put yourself in danger just to be nice to an abuser. In that case it becomes about our own protection. Sometimes giving an employer notice that we’re quitting immediately, at the end of the last shift we intend to work there is an important safety measure.

    If you don’t plan to include this job on your resume you might state clearly, “Relevant Professional Experience” on your resume in the future, so you’re not doing anything that could be considered dishonest. You might also check your credit report to see if your current job is listed there.

    Good luck

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Liz Ryan Contributor

I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life. full bio →

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for ten million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997, but it took me ages to find my own voice. Now I write for the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. Stop by and join us: http://www.humanworkplace.com

Contact Liz Ryan

The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

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Leadership 48,039 views

How To Win At Office Politics

When people complain about their jobs, they never say “The work is too hard.” They talk about the human side of work. The human side is almost always the hardest part of any job.

When we love our jobs, it’s because we like the work and the people around us make us feel valued and important. When we hate our jobs, it’s usually because we’re treated badly at work. The work itself might be okay, but the people energy is horrible.

The energy at work is the whole deal! In our company we teach leaders to focus on the energy — the the goals will take care of themselves.

Office politics have ruined many formerly-awesome workplaces. The driver for office politics is fear. Somebody gets fearful and they start some office drama. If it doesn’t get addressed, the political situation gets worse. The knives come out. Nobody knows who to trust.

That’s a horrible situation to be in. You can fix a problem like that, but only by telling the truth about it. You have to name the elephant in the room, and for a lot of people that’s a very scary and threatening idea.

There is a way to survive and even thrive in a workplace where the politics are out of control. It’s a mental technique. You have to get control of your emotions. Can you do that? One of the things that make office politics so difficult is that we can easily get emotionally caught up in the drama around us.

Let’s say that your new VP, Betty, has her sights set on getting rid of her peer, Antonio. Betty was just hired to run Sales, and Antonio is the Marketing VP. Betty is a person with a plan, and her plan includes stabbing Antonio in the back to get him thrown out and then to take over Marketing as well as Sales. Sadly, there are a lot of Bettys in the business world.

You work for Antonio in the Marketing department. You’re the Trade Show Manager. You love your job. You’ve been in the job for three years. Just before Betty was hired, you said to your boyfriend ‘We should take a long vacation.

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  • Great article. Nailed it. I have been blessed to have directors who simply never let that mess get started or if it did, dealt with it immediately. The second best place to use this advice: your kid’s school. Drop them off at the door and pick them up in the car line, and avoid a lot of mama-drama (and daddy-drama).

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  • kodovizon02 kodovizon02 3 weeks ago

    It is far easier to become an entrepreneur than becoming an useless employee.

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  • Cari Weston Cari Weston 3 weeks ago

    This is such a great article! You nail the office politics and the feedback for handling is spot on. Thank you!

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