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Monday, May 13, 2013

There is a certain etiquette to quitting a job...and Then there's Noelle C.

Good afternoon!

So the news was for real last Thursday when Lumbergh walked to the back office where I was processing payments and minding my own business.  "Noelle C has given notice, " he said, "Do you know anyone who needs a job?"



I know a ton of people who need a job.  And if you need a job, email me a resume to my work email and I will happily pass it on.  It's full time, with benefits, and your task is to make around 100 outgoing sales calls to established leads a day. That's it.  And you'll probably get paid more than I do, because pretty much everyone who had that job does.  If you live in the Milwaukee/Wauwatosa area, it's a good gig.

But let's back up...Noelle C gave her notice?  This was something I thought would Never, ever happen! She's threatened, but sort of in that, "I'm going to quit if you don't eat my candy" and no one takes her seriously.

Now working out your two weeks' notice is a bit of a dance and there is a certain etiquette one and one's co workers should follow.  Inevitably it boils down to a conversation like this:

"Hey, I heard you gave notice.  Bummer.  So, what are you going to be doing once you bust out of here?"

This is a completely acceptable question.  It's lighthearted, it's polite, and it gives the impression to the person leaving that the people at work do care at least a little about what your future holds.

Knowing this, because I have quit a job or two in my time, I called Noelle C when the men folk had cleared the building.  She prefers talking on the phone because she can hear a bit better.

"Yes?"  She says.

"Hey, Noelle C, what that what?"  (Cuz, I like to talk street with her.  Sometimes it makes her laugh.)

"What do you mean?"  (And sometimes she pretends to not understand me.)

"You gave your notice?  What's up with that?"

"I'm not talking about that."  And she hung up.

Now, I could have been insulted.  But I figured she was just in one of her moods because Lumbergh hadn't gotten down on his knees to beg her to stay.  So I let it rest.  And I counted down the hours to the end of the day.

That was Thursday.  Then we don't see each other until Monday.  So today, when she came in, I greeted her, but boy howdy, she was frosty.  But she was frosty to everyone and I figured it was all part of the separation process.

However, when she started to do things that made me think of Elsie W, I had to call her on it.  Literally.  But here's what happened:

I called a new lead in the morning. The woman I talked to said that person I needed to talk to wouldn't be in until 4:30 PM today.  So I made a note in the database for Noelle C to call this woman and set an appointment at 4:30.

And the very first phone call...and phone message...she made was to this very customer. 

This is exactly what Elsie W did every day.  So I called Noelle C, because that's how she prefers to talk to everyone, and I asked if she saw my note.  That's all I said, "Did you see my note about this customer?"

"Yes,"  she said, "But I don't care.  So I left a message in the morning.  Who cares?  I'll call her tomorrow at 4:30.  It doesn't matter.  You're not perfect either, you know."

Ummmmm, believe me, I realize that.  Just read this blog.  Oh wait, don't.  But calling someone multiple times when they gave us a specific time, well, that's not...good.  So I said, "I know I'm not perfect.  I didn't say that.  I just asked if you saw the note."

"I did.  And it doesn't matter.  Not to me anyway."

"That's because you're leaving." 

Sorry, it had to be said.  One of my biggest peeves is someone who is about to leave a job and does a terrible job because they won't have to answer for it later.

"Yes, I am leaving, so you'll have to deal with it because it will become you're job.  Just like everything else is."

Yes, and I'm oh ever so happy at that prospect because I know, I KNOW that while I'm absorbing your job even more than I already do, I'll get paid what you get paid....oh wait, no, that won't happen.

So I let it go, but the frostiness continued, but my Mondays are too busy to be worried about everyone's feelings.  I barely worry about my own on a Monday.


Still, I wanted to be pleasant and make peace. So I waited again until everyone else had gone for the day and she was pausing at my desk.  "So,"  I said in a casual tone because mostly I was just being polite.  She can go work in a cannery or a school or at a big box store, I'm just so happy she won't be tormenting me anymore, but I still want to be polite.  "So what's your new job going to be like?"

She looks at me as if I'd just asked her to sacrifice her firstborn.  "I told you once I'm not talking about it.  I never, ever tell anyone where I'm going or what I'm going to do or how much I'm going to make when I leave a job."

Let's review:  Did I ask any of that?

She storms into her office and continues the conversation, which I continue as well, but at a volume she'll never be able to hear.  Whatever her new job is, I hope it doesn't involve needing to hear people talk.  She then storms out of her office and plunks a cactus plant on the empty desk.  "This will stay here, I'm not taking it with me."

Um, I gave her that as a gift.

"How come?"  I ask, because I'm an idiot.

"I'm moving."

Now, I want to let this go.  I really do.  I don't want to care about where she's going.  But I can't help it.  "You're moving, like moving moving?"

"Yes, and I'm getting rid of all kinds of crap, so that plant has to go.  It can stay there."

I gave that to her...as a gift.  She couldn't stop singing about it for days.

"I'm moving into a smaller place so I can afford food and gas."

Note:  I didn't ask her that.

"Okay, hey, I wasn't trying to pry.  I was just trying to have a conversation like normal people would when someone gives their notice."

"Well, I never tell anyone when I quit a job and I don't appreciate that you're asking me all these questions.  I'm not going to tell you about how much I make or what I'll be doing or where I'm working.  And you just keep trying to pump me for information."

"No,"  I said in the voice I usually reserve for annoying children, "I was just having a conversation like a normal person.  When someone gives notice normal people show they care about that person by expressing an interest in their new jobs.  I don't care what you're going to be making or any of that."

"Well I don't appreciate that everyone knows I'm going. Lumbergh went and spread that all around and I didn't tell him he could.  It's no one's business but mine when I'm quitting."

She's got that crazed look in her eyes, but this time I figure, it's 4:26.  I'm four minutes away from freedom, and I've already shut down my computer.  So I say, "What did you think you were going to do?  Just leave one day and no one would notice?"

"That's exactly what I wanted.  But he had to go and blab it to everyone."

For the record.  The boss came in and told me she was leaving and asked if I knew anyone who needed a job.  That was the end of the conversation.  What he did or did not tell anyone else, I have no idea.

"You know what, "  I say, pretty much at the end of my rope, "I wasn't trying to dig for any information.  I was trying to be polite.  It's what normal people do.  But hey, you've been so snarly to me since you gave notice, and that's really not fair since none of this has anything to do with me."

"I didn't say it did have anything to do with you."

Her imperious tone just made me madder.  "I'm just trying to be friendly.  I don't know you well enough to know that you NEVER tell ANYONE anything about a new job."

"Well I told you on Thursday I didn't want to talk about it, that should have been enough."

"You're right,"  I said.  "It is."  And I left.  She's not going to have to tell me a third time.  Game on, woman!

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