Though not related to the NLPA or even procurement, I recently witnessed a crazy employment situation.  It involved a company that provides services in consumers’ homes.

On a certain Friday, an employee of the company didn’t show up on time for one of the consumers.  The consumer unsuccessfully tried to reach the employee directly.  Then, after more time had passed, the consumer called the company’s main office.  They were unaware of the situation, promised to investigate it, and get back to the consumer.

While waiting to hear back from the company, the employee – a female in her early 20’s – replied to the consumer, saying she and the company had a disagreement and she no longer worked for the company.  The following Monday, a representative from the company called the consumer and asked if the employee had showed up that day.  At that point, the consumer informed the company representative that, three days prior, the employee claimed to no longer be working for the company.  Strangely, the company representative was shocked.

It appeared that the employee not only failed to give the customary two-weeks’ notice for terminating one’s employment.  She simply stopped showing up to work without telling her employer!

There is so much wrong with this situation!

While I don’t think anyone calling themselves a procurement professional would do something so classless, I do think it is important to have conversations around the best way to terminate one’s employment.

Today’s millennial generation – including millennials in procurement – is one that questions customary practices.  They want what was taboo to no longer be taboo.  They want things their way, not the previous generation’s way.  This can be a great quality.  Sometimes, certain ways of doing things don’t make sense and they shouldn’t continue to be done simply because that’s the way they were always done.

But the two week notice is something that should never go out of style.

Not just because it hurts the employer, though.

Younger people in the workplace that seek new jobs have a particular challenge:  providing good references to prospective employers.  They don’t have decades worth of prior bosses and coworkers to vouch for them.  Your mom may love you more than anyone else in the whole wide world, but putting her – or a drinking buddy or someone who has never worked with you – as a reference isn’t going to have a great deal of value in a competitive employment environment.

In fact, there are few references that can be more valuable than a former employer.  Some former employers are forbidden to provide information to prospective employers other than a confirmation of dates of employment.  Others didn’t like the fact that an employee left, so the last thing they want to do is to help that employee find a better job.

So, a good reference from a former employer is frickin’ gold.

Simply not showing up for work and leaving it to the employer to figure it out that you are not coming back doesn’t seem like a good way to get the career-advancing value that a good reference can provide.

Even if you plan on having some class and giving two weeks’ notice, you may be tempted to adopt a “take this job and shove it” attitude as you close out your time with an employer.  Resist that temptation!

In fact, make your final impression as an employee a lasting, positive one.  Work for that reference.  Imagine the HR representative from the company that has an open position for your dream job talking with your last manager.  Imagine your manager raving about the great work you did and how s/he wishes you would have stayed, but understands that you were seeking a better fit for your longer-term career aspirations.

You don’t get that by accident.  You get it by consciously working towards it and asking for your employer to be a reference.

Document your work procedures.  Prepare your suppliers for the change.  Advise your manager of critical goods and services delivery dates and the contact information of the applicable suppliers.  Explain to your sourcing team the rationale for any impending decisions.

Exiting one employer gracefully can enable you to enter another employer gloriously.

Unfortunately, the subject of this story didn’t understand that.  But, now, you do.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is the Founder of the Next Level Purchasing Association. Charles is also the Co-Author of "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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