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Computer Jobs -- How to Resign Professionally? 1080

Posted by Cliff
from the two-weeks-means-just-that dept.
MikeDawg asks: "I submitted a letter of resignation yesterday, and today I'm at home posting stories to my weblog and Slashdot. I gave my employer two weeks notice, and almost immediately, I had my accounts disabled, and my permissions revoked on all the computers at my work, which makes me unable to do anything in my position of being a 'Systems Analyst/Systems Administrator'. I spoke with the HR rep, and gave her my notice yesterday, then I spoke with her today about what had happened to my access, and they honored my resignation... 2 weeks early. (Luckily, I'm compensated in pay for the next two weeks). What I want to know is, how do you computer and IT professionals out there put in your notice of resignation (if you are with a permanent employer, and not contractual), and not get immediately shutdown, and shunned away from the computers? The CIO immediately thought I was going to do something terrible to the system, and destroy accounts, and any other activity that I have access to, but I was giving him notice that I was leaving. What is the professional thing to do?"
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Computer Jobs -- How to Resign Professionally?

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  • by Sylvestre (45097) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:51PM (#14207251) Homepage
    You're a liability. You got paid. Be happy.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:56PM (#14207304)
      You got paid two weeks without responsibilty to do anything else - take the money and move on, that's being professional...
      • by halowolf (692775) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:18PM (#14207505)
        I am a contractor now, having shunned full time work myself. Why? because it is my experience that companies are in it for themselves regardless of the impact the have for their employees. The parent is right, take the money and move on.

        I suppose its rather sad having such a low opinion of corporations, but I have seen them screw enough people to not be bothered by the mercenary attitude that I have now towards work. I contract so I get paid the hours that I work and to stop work intruding on the rest of my life.

        • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:15AM (#14210436)
          I am a contractor now, having shunned full time work myself. Why? because it is my experience that companies are in it for themselves regardless of the impact the have for their employees.

          That's funny, because as an IT decisionmaker at a company, I have shunned contractors. Why? because it is my experience that contractors are in it for themselves regardless of the impact the have for the company that's giving them money.
          • by Mr_Perl (142164) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:18AM (#14210977) Homepage
            Frankly, contractors are all in it for themselves by the nature of the relationship, as is the company, but only the stupid ones would do anything that negatively impacts the company they are working for.

            In many years of contracting I've always found it better to consider the impact on the company (price expectations, etc) as a factor in every job, and this has been rewarding in that when the company does well, I do well and continue to get to work with people that I enjoy a positive working relationship with.

            I do avoid working for project managers with hostile outlooks though. Some managers are just unreasonable (wishing to exploit you as if you were slave labor) and not worth it. They are very easy to spot at the start for the most part.

            A few of these are justifiably pessimistic, having been taken advantage of previously, these types are usually ok once they see you have the right work ethic, etc.
      • As nice as it is to think that you could work out a notice, it is appropriate for companies to simply shake hands with you and pay you the two weeks you offered.

        If the company has done its job, you don't need to be there. If you were to get hit by a bus, would the company survive? Probably? Then they'll get by without you. If they realize they need you desperately, you can consult.

        Also, you are a liability. Even if you display no ill will toward the company, they can't be sure it's not an act.

        To be professi
      • by mallie_mcg (161403) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:38PM (#14207657) Homepage Journal
        He was lucky.

        I resigned almost two weeks ago and still have two weeks left before my four week notice period is up.

        I will continue to do my job cabably until the very end and won't be doing anything malicious, it is our corporate culture that people (even those in powerful/trusted positions) work to the very end of their contract.

        I'm surprised how well the boss took me writing "I resign" on the whiteboard though.
      • by AndyKron (937105) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @11:08PM (#14207799)
        I've personally never seen anyone being escorted to the door unless it was something they were being fired for. People have always been allowed to finished their two weeks. Hell, we usually need more than those two weeks to pick their brains dry of all their tribal knowledge! I'd hate to have a key person leave the company, leaving us to figure out their job without their input. Ex employees are also usually available for consultation after they leave, too. At least this has been my personal experience, and what I've seen for others that I've worked with.

        -AC
      • by dubiousmike (558126) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @09:08AM (#14209884) Homepage Journal
        Next time, give 4 weeks notice. ;)
    • by Fishstick (150821) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:58PM (#14207324) Journal
      Really - this is SOP in many, if not most places. At my company, anyone with "sensitive" access is immediately revoked upon receipt of written resignation. Period.

      I would be more surprised to hear anything else.
      • by Jackhamr (25067) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:10PM (#14207438) Homepage
        I would try to give a 6 month written notice then.
        • by Anonymous Luddite (808273) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:33AM (#14208196)
          Actually funny/not-funny

          I worked at a company where one of the managers decided to move on. She was near the top, worked hard and was quite professional. Her mistake was in giving three months notice so they could work out a graceful exit.

          She was fired on the spot, asked to leave the property and given the minimum statutory severance.

          In my jurisdiction, once you've given notice you may be let go immediately provided the company pays severance. I knew I was leaving my job with that company for 6 months and didn't give notice till 2 weeks before. I would have loved to give them more time to plan for my replacement, but figured they'd just shaft me.

          They went bankrupt a few years later. Sometimes you get what you deserve. :-]
      • Then what's the point? If everyone at the company knows this is SOP, what does a company gain from immediately terminating someone upon recieving their resignation? It's not like they're terminating you at the moment you learned you were leaving.

        Seems like a silly "security" measure to me.

        • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:38PM (#14207658)
          I'll tell you the point.

          No supervisor, no HR flack and no VP ever got fired for running off an employee that gave notice. OTOH, there's a fair possibility that they could be fired if the employee did something grievious after giving notice.
        • by Large Green Mallard (31462) <lgm@theducks.org> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @11:03PM (#14207774) Homepage
          Security is about managing risks. There's no way to make something perfectly secure, only to manage the risks it presents to your organisation.

          Immediately ceasing access for staff who are leaving, as an example. Most people aren't going to do anything. If they've given you 2 weeks notice and you let them go straight away, you're spending the equivalent of 2 weeks wages to treat the risk they will. Depending on the company, many places are happy to accept that risk treatment cost.The risk is not just that they will trash their computer or your systems. They may also steal or misuse confidential data, like customer lists.

          I know of one person in consulting, who planned to setup his own company, doing what he did for his current company, and had planned to send a goodbye email to all his corporate contacts saying he was now in practise for himself - at 75% the price. He however was similarly unaware, like the original poster, of his company's seperation practises, and was escorted from the building immediately after handing in his letter of resignation. Fortunately his old company never found out about this, so he got a good reference for when he went for a similar job at another company, unable to start his own firm.

          I once saw a post on slashdot about how sad it was that the NSA would destroy entire machines that had never been out of their box, just because they had been designated as spares for their datacentre. Consider it another way.. the machines were 2 years old, purchased tax free in bulk, and depreciated down to a minimal value. The risk posed that they may have ever been used and had operational data meant that it made a lot of sense to destroy perfectly good hardware.

          Anyway, the point is, risks aren't always as obvious as they seem, and risk treatment is an interesting beast. Sometimes you do things which look like waste in order to prevent threats.

          (IANAL, but I am a risk management/it security consultant :P I'd recommend the same thing in the same situation)
          • by flosofl (626809) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:16AM (#14208127) Homepage
            I too am in risk management. I heartily agree with what you have said. It all boils down to each companies tolerance of risk. Some companies are willing to pay the 2 weeks of serverence even though the employee no longer performs the job.

            I work for a multi-national bank, and they do this all the time. They may spend millions over the course of a couple of years doing this, but this is what they are willing to pay to mitigate the possibility of even higher loss. There are some systems (I'm thinking of Fed Reserve and clearing house operations) that could cost that much over the course of a couple *hours* if they were disrupted (fines and/or actual loss). Even though internal controls make it unlikely to happen, the risk is still there and paying for 2 weeks of non-productivity is a small price to pay to reduce it.

            This does not even take into account the *legal* problems a company would face if they allowed an out-going employee access and he/she disrupted operations to the point of major financial loss. It's called Due Care. And it can result in criminal charges being brought against the senior management. "So you knew the possibility existed, but still let this person have access?"

            Don't be insulted. This is just SOP these days for any company with responsibilities to shareholders.
            • by WNight (23683) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @02:13AM (#14208523) Homepage
              Good logic, but you miss the point. An employee is no more likely to hurt you after giving you their resignation than before. They likely knew much sooner, so they've had all the time they needed to do anything. You're making up a risk, claiming it *could* cost USD 3.2 ho-jillions per second, and that having the employee killed is obviously a smart move, fiscally speaking.

              If that employee was George from Seinfeld, controlled the world markets, and had just had a fight with his boss it might even be true. But really that person is moving, or found a better job, or has some totally non-hateful reason for leaving and planned to use the two weeks to wrap up their work, whose worst crime will be extra networking time with co-workers. Or, if they are malicious, they've likely got an IQ over 7 and they'll have already done whatever they were going to do.

              In the end, you create a lot of ill-will within the professions that staff your company. That cog you fired can be replace with a call to HR, but that cog's co-workers and friends now don't see you as a good workplace. There appears to be a flood of tech workers, but some companies just can't seem to find anyone good... The real risk is that an overstuffed security nazi with a fetish for bureaucracy is destroying the assets of good-will, loyalty, industry reputation, and chasing away the R&D core of the business, those who should have the most invested in the company's future.

              I've always given notice on a Friday, conforming for no real reason to the M-F business week, and I've cleaned up a bit. Nobody has been weird and canned me immediately, so no harm either way. But, listening to people like you has made me realize that the best time to give notice is monday at 11am, right after the weekend testers report and the project steering meetings, when I've got what feels like half of the shared files in the project open and checked out, and sixteen things and waiting on my simple yes-no. I figure, that way if you're nice, I keep working and wrap up everything happily, perhaps even trying to delay my new job to finish a project. But, if you aren't nice, I'm spared all the actual hassle of my week at work, still got the coffee and donuts, payed for the whole day, and I get to imagine you justifying the huge expense of everyone twiddling their thumbs because they're waiting on my bugfixes that I hadn't reassigned to anyone else, etc...

              You see, these security nazis... their silly policies interfere with things they couldn't begin to contemplate, their interference can cause tons of PR problems, etc. Incalculable losses. Better to just fire them immediately. No thinking VP or HR manager ever keeps one of these loose cannons on staff. The potential liability is enormous.
          • by Twanfox (185252)
            Be that as it may, what about the situation where the employee knows they're leaving, but the employer knows they're not. SOP for technical employees then becomes "Resign a day or two ahead of when you want to quit. That way, you get to work up til the end, and get a 2 week bonus". It may be 'sensible' to manage risk like that, but it is severely rude to respond to someone's polite and respectable statement of intentions with (the equivilent of) 'Get out now.'
      • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:58PM (#14207753) Homepage Journal

        I think the original poster did the right thing by giving notice.

        Personally I've never had my system access shut off because I gave notice, but I did have it shut off before I was told I was laid off (many years ago.) However, as I've worked in a number of verticals I know there are a few that disable access to live systems, but let developers keep working during their notice period.

        With live/production data, there are often regulations that would prohibit allowing a sysadmin to continue accessing the system after they've given notice. I realize it probably feels insulting to have your access shut off after acting like a professional and giving notice, but I wouldn't take it personally.

      • by Skynyrd (25155) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @02:42AM (#14208611) Homepage
        Really - this is SOP in many, if not most places. At my company, anyone with "sensitive" access is immediately revoked upon receipt of written resignation. Period.

        A former place of employment was so bad, that when I was leaving on poor terms, I was asked (by the head of HR) for "all the passwords I knew". I had to explain that if I told them to him, I'd still know them and could use them. He was shocked when I informed him that his IS staff would have to figure out how to change a hundred passwords.

        It was a great place to leave.
    • by neostorm (462848) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:01PM (#14207357)
      I think he expected to be treated like a trustworthy, normal human being. No one likes being treated like a criminal; people are not liabilities.

      The real liabilities are our mistreatment of employees, and how the reaction to lack of respect and trust takes form from them. The majority of the time that an employee does something bad to his or her workplace, it's an act of revenge or bitterness because they wronged and feel disrespected. Contrary to popular belief people do not cause mayhem and mischeif to others for no reason.

      What we really need to look at is the behavior of companies towards the people they employ, and the people they consider customers.

      • by everphilski (877346) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:12PM (#14207462) Journal
        He made a professional resignation, they said no thanks but paid him for two weeks anyways. This is standard business practice and was financially beneficial for him. (two weeks free pay?)

        What he's probably dealing with is the feeling of rejection: if they could drop him on a days notice was he really needed? He'll just have to be honest with himself about that but he will just have to get over that himself. Again its a standard business practice in many places and not a reflection of his character.

        -everphilski-
      • Re:Liability (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:19PM (#14207521)
        Unfortunately, they have insurance liability if they don't lock you out and something bad happens.

        Because someone, somewhere gave notice and then got mad during the last 2 weeks and did something nasty.
      • by thekla (86369)
        The real liabilities are our mistreatment of employees, and how the reaction to lack of respect and trust takes form from them. The majority of the time that an employee does something bad to his or her workplace, it's an act of revenge or bitterness because they wronged and feel disrespected. Contrary to popular belief people do not cause mayhem and mischeif to others for no reason.

        Agreed. The plethora of posts about how this is SOP and something to be expected amazes me. I have left my job twice this fa

      • huh? (Score:3, Funny)

        Contrary to popular belief people do not cause mayhem and mischeif to others for no reason.

        What the hell world do you live in? I'd like to emigrate.

      • by draxbear (735156) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @11:46PM (#14207983)
        It's a matter of perspective.

        The employer is doing themselves, but more importantly YOU a favor with this behaviour.

        Why? Well besides the nice paid two weeks off, you are now officially not responsible.

        If they didn't do this you are vulnerable to accusations at a later date if something goes wrong with a server that is traced to a point in time you were on your two weeks to bail.

        Yes it's possible you could have sabotaged something before giving notice, and tough luck if they catch you at it. However you can't be held responsible for anything from the point of resignation onwards if removed as he described.

    • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:13PM (#14207467) Homepage Journal
      I've never worked for anyone who thought like that. In fact, I'm pretty sure I WOULDN'T work for someone who seemed to think like that. It's just unprofessional. When I resign, I give 3-4 weeks notice, and I expect the company to make the most of my time. I usually have an equity stake in the company, and I want them to succeed just as much as they do. If your company is treating you this way it is for one of two reasons: 1) they don't trust you or 2) they feel compelled to behave in a detrimental manner because a manager with either too much or too little authority thinks it's their job.

      Now FIRING SOMEONE... that's different. In that case, I compartmentalize them starting the day before, backing up anything that they can touch. I then shut off their machine after they leave, remove or lock accounts and remove their remote access if they had it.

      This is all as much for their benefit as mine. If they had no means of access after they found out, no one can accuse them of anything.

      I also ALWAYS offer to forward people's mail, though that's gotten harder in the last few years. Companies now feel that there's too much of a chance of mail being sent to their old account with proprietary information in it. Oh well.
      • by kogus (855114) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @11:14PM (#14207839)
        How resignations are handled are really an indicator of the hiring process, not the termination process. If a company goes out of it's way to hire people who are trustworthy, and treats them with respect while they are employees, then it isn't necessary to lock users out. On the other hand, if the hiring process is slack or employees are treated poorly, then these procedures are an absolute necessity.
    • by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:22PM (#14207551) Homepage
      A mature, thoughtful organization would realize a couple of things. First, he is sitting with a whole lot of implicit knowledge about the current assignments. Having him spend the last two weeks document it all and bringing other people up to speed on it is a pretty good idea.

      Second, he is leaving. There is a reason for it. Is it the salary? Personal conflicts? The hours? Too little challenge, or too heavy a workload? Is there a problem with the social climate at the IT department? A good organization will want to know, and conduct exit interviews to see if there are points they should improve. Perhaps even catch a disaster in the making before it explodes in their faces.

      Third, he is now an ex-employee. He will go out in the world and socialize with his peers at other companies - some of whom his previous employer may well want to hire at some point in the future. If his final impresion of the company is that of a bunch of posterior orifices, that's what he'll be telling people when they ask him about his opinion on applying for a position there. If, on the other hand, they do a good job of taking care of him up until the moment his contract ends, showing interest as above and so on, the impression will be vastly better, and they'll effectively be sending out a PR representative that will be giving a much better impression about the company for years to come.

      So yes, there are very good reasons not to just cancel his passcard and give him thirty minutes to pack his personal belongings before having him escorted out by a rent-a-cop.
      • by Tangurena (576827) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:15AM (#14208118)
        At the most recent company I worked for, I also gave 2 weeks notice, but was called on Sunday to "not bother coming in again." I was surprised that my boss also wanted a written explanation of why I was leaving. GOod for me as I got to move my start date at the new company up a week.

        Resignation letters should never be more than:

        1. I will be resigning my position at $COMPANY.
        2. My last day of work will be $DATE
        3. (optional) My current mailing address is $ADDRESS
        No more need be stated. As a new person was starting the following Monday, it would have been smarter for me to stay those 2 weeks training the new guy. As it was, they get to do it themselves.

        It is almost impossible to actually explain fully and honestly why you're leaving without sounding bitter or nasty. Gee, Mr BossMan, I'm getting a 50% pay raise, 75% shorter commute, working with new technology, doing interesting (very not-boring) stuff, and the new place uses source code control too!

        At least most places are not as bad as banks: if they overhear you talking about leaving, that will be your last day at work.

    • by shri (17709)
      Well, it is all about HOW you give your notice. People who are important to the company should talk to their managers or the senior most person they have access to and explain to them they are leaving and these are the outstanding projects on hand. Explain that you'd like to hand over to the next person and make sure there is some continuity.

      You'd be surprised how well such a "pre-resignation" would be handled. It also will give you a good chance to figure out how really important you are to the company.

      The
  • by XorNand (517466) * on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:51PM (#14207252)
    Umm... what's the question again? You did resign in a professional manner. Is this the first real IT job that you've had? What you experienced is standard operating procedure for any organization with even a half-assed security policy. They aren't your computers. Why are you taking it so personally, esp. since they've paid you for those two extra weeks? ::rolls eyes::

    What I'd like to know is what didn't make the front page because this got posted instead?
    • Is this the first real IT job that you've had?

      Stating the obvious, but... DING DING DING!

      This happens everywhere, and is normal in IT. It's two extra weeks of paid vacation from somewhere you obviously didn't want to work anyway. What's the fucking problem?

    • by RodgerDodger (575834) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:01PM (#14207363)
      Well, as you say, the OP got paid anyway, but...

      In every job I've had that I've left (five in the last 12 years), I've never had my access cut off until I actually leave. I've always worked until the last day, and I would be surprised if an employer didn't want me to. Mind you, I've never been fired, and in all but one case, I was actually on fairly good terms with my employer. I've never even heard of employers terminating access for people who are leaving of their own accord.

      As a matter of fact, in most of the occasions I've left a job, I needed to keep access to the last minute to assist with a smooth handover of my work.

      In a situation where an employee has notified their employer that they wish to resign, there is no security risk in letting them keep their access (and do their job) until they leave. If they were disgruntled and were going to do anything nasty, they would already have done it prior to tendering notice.

      (It's a very different situation if the employee is let go, of course)
      • Basically, if a disgruntled employee stole client data and said clients sued the company, it would cost several hundred/thousand times more than just paying him not to do the 2 weeks of halfassed work anyway (come on, you can't tell me everyone gives 100% when they know they're out of there.) To a suit writing policy, avoiding that kind of risk exposure is worth paying the guy to play video games.

        It's nothing personal, and it shouldn't be taken as such. It's all about risk management, not your relationship
      • My Experience (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chagatai (524580)
        I've resigned twice in my professional life. In both occasions I gave one day short of two week's notice, and on both occasions I worked until the very last day (where I would leave at about 2:00PM following getting my last paychecks). I intentionally gave that much time so that I could complete the transition, make things smooth, and have a nice turnover to the next guy.

        You know what? In both situations my managers chose to sit on their hands and then gave me someone who was technically incompetent wit

    • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:13PM (#14207468) Journal
      What you experienced is standard operating procedure for any organization with even a half-assed security policy.

      Any organisation that's going to be afraid of what their IT professional is going to do once they've decided to leave, and who is still under an employment contract has real problems. If you can't trust the people you employ when they're obligated to you, why can you trust them to stay when they haven't handed in their resignation?

      Perhaps the culture is a little different in Australia, but I've never been locked out of a computer system just because I resigned. They've gotten every day's work out of me that they could - it was expected that I remain professional.

      Honestly if someone's going to do damage to a company they'd just do it before they send their letter of resignation. If you can't trust your staff under the usual safeguards once they say they're leaving, you don't have a decent security policy to speak of anyway.

      Access should be terminated on the last day of employment.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:52PM (#14207254) Journal

    Up front Disclaimer: I am a disgruntled former employee of a Telco... laid off after 21 years

    You, kind sir, proffered as professional a resignation as necessary. There are no reciprocal gaurantees, and in the IT field it is more typical than not for you to be treated nearly as if you were a criminal.

    Systems you once managed for your employers now are at risk. Former peers are now potential spies. Do not be surprised to be treated like you have some sort of exotic, deadly, contagious disease. Don't expect anything for references other than affirmation you actually did work there.

    This is the fine world of trust we have achieved as a civilised and evolved society. Trust not.

    I will still always give professional courtesy (e.g., sufficient lead time for resignation) but I've left the corporate world with a sour aftertaste.... It sucks, that's just the way it is.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:09PM (#14207425) Homepage
      exactly right.

      Besides you should have disabled all those system account services that were going to detonate and take lots of things with them a year+ 1 month after your accounts were disabled BEFORE you put in your letter of resignation... they are there for sweet revenge in case of downsizing right?

      Ok, all joking aside. When you tendered your letter you should have already had everything in order BEFORE you handed it in. All personal items already removed from your office/cubicle. All your code and porn backed up on a CD already in your possesion, your work computers sanitized and swept clean, your pet projects documented so the next guy can live with them for the 30 days he takes to rip them out and put his ideas in place instead..... etc...

      It's not only IT, any professional job they hit you in the arse with the door the moment you resign. most companies have way too much sensitive or percieved sensitive information they they becom instantly paranoid about the second you announce you are becoming an "OUTSIDER".

      I do strongly suggest anyone even thinking of resigning or outright quitting in a blaze of glory sanitize their workspace and machines, anything you leave behind will come back to haunt you later if it is something you are not proud to leave behind.

      In a side note, any awards you may have won, It's not a bad idea to leave them behind at that empty desk. At your new workplace they will only serve to piss off your new coworkers and make your integration that much more difficult.
      • "your pet projects documented so the next guy can live with them for the 30 days he takes to rip them out and put his ideas in place instead"

        You know.....speaking of projects in progress and documentation...If they're going to cut you off from systems as soon as you give your letter, you might as well leave it undocumented. Particularly if you don't like the company and want to get back at them.

        You see, they might need critical documentation from you...and if you're no longer an employee there, well...I'm

      • by yason (249474) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @02:48AM (#14208631) Journal
        It's not only IT, any professional job they hit you in the arse with the door the moment you resign. most companies have way too much sensitive or percieved sensitive information they they becom instantly paranoid about the second you announce you are becoming an "OUTSIDER".

        This is flawed thinking by the companies. The formal letter of resignation changes nothing since the employee is the one who will decide when to resign. The employee has already retired in his mind days or weeks before that.

        If he is evil, the timebombs are already set up on the servers, the company data is already harvested, copied and distributed out of the building and the letter of resignation comes last. If he's not and his accounts and access rights are removed, he won't -- probably contrary to his expectations -- be able to properly finish off his work, document everything for the successor and clean up any irrelevant stuff like temporary and personal files. The next employee will step into a mess, and this is all bad for the company.

  • by hedronist (233240) * on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:52PM (#14207259)
    Based on how you described it, you probably did nothing wrong, and they probably did the right thing.

    Companies are rightfully paranoid that a departing employee -- particulalrly one with root access -- may decide to do something nasty on the way out the door. This doesn't mean that *you* would do this, just that they can't take a chance. Of course, if you had intended to do something nasty, you could easily have set it up before tendering your resignation. The best thing to do is act like a professional and understand that what is in your best interest and in the company's best interest are no longer related.
    • ...both sides did the right thing. For a traditional IT infrastructure, with root accounts, etc. This is one reason I don't like traditional IT infrastructures - root accounts can be abused by admins (as well as system crackers, viruses, etc) and are simply too damn vulnerable and too damn powerful.

      Part of the problem with the popular alternative (role-based computing, where a designated operation is associated with one or more designated roles, and - ideally - no superuser exists at all) is that nobody has

  • by NevDull (170554) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:53PM (#14207271) Homepage Journal
    If you got an extra two weeks of vacation, enjoy it.

    When I quit HP, they paid me to stay at home for two weeks, and my unused vacation. 6 weeks of pay for 2 weeks at home. Time to recover and prepare for my new job, buy new clothes, and figure out the bus schedule.

    The professional way to handle it is to stop whining and enjoy.
  • by sH4RD (749216) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:53PM (#14207273) Homepage
    Don't complain about it to Slashdot.
  • by Highlordexecutioner (203297) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:54PM (#14207275) Homepage
    Although it is not very professional.

    Of course mine was just my review, but it sort of acted like a resignation letter.

    Strengths: Over the last six months I have had the opportunity to learn how to smile when given projects that offer no challenge at all. Furthermore I can now hide my disdain for co-workers that have more in common with parasitic worms than with human beings. I've also grown to recognize the importance of recognition via comparison. For instance, I recognize that our environment here at (insert company name here) is really wonderful compared to other companies - the same way Syphilis is a great improvement over A.I.D.S.. Then there is the multitude of tasks that I can do with my eyes closed. It's truly a wonder how many mundane tasks I can accomplish with no effort at all. And lastly there is my recent discovery of how to divide by zero.

    Weaknesses: Sometimes, I have trouble accepting that I actually am flawless.
  • by Big Sean O (317186) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:55PM (#14207294)
    It seems like IT professionals are getting like investment brokers: when you give them two weeks notice they give you the money and ask you to leave.

    I don't think it's anything personal. It's just the way some businesses nowadays prefer to operate. I think it's a mistaken attempt at managing risk. Think about it: would a guy who wants to screw you over give two weeks notice? No, they'd do you dirt and take off with no notice.
  • by adamgreenfield (245052) * on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:55PM (#14207295) Homepage
    .. but I can also understand your employers position.

    While as a ethical professional you wouldn't do anything malicious with your access, that doesn't mean everyone in your position wouldn't. Granted, people who plan to act maliciously generally don't do so after putting in notice, from their point of view, it is better safe than sorry.

    You get your pay (which is pretty nice of them), you did the right thing. I wouldn't take their actions personally.
  • Random Thoughts... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PocketPick (798123) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:56PM (#14207299)
    From what it sounds like, you did everything right. Two weeks is an excellent time period to offer notice. You aren't dropping out of the company like a light, but you also aren't creating an awkward, 'lame-duck' position where the company has to keep the thought in the back of thier head that you're leaving in say, 6 months.

    Also, unless you're leaving for competition, the CIO probably didn't think you were going to 'do something malicious'. It's probably just company protocol, and in fact, I would consider the quick removal of accounts to be 'lite'. I've worked at companies where as the minute strikes your time of non-employment, 2 security guards immedietally escort you out of the building.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      A friend of mine (an IT consultant) gave his employer almost 2 months notice. Worthy to mention, he was on a newly acquired H1-B visa, but he decided he wanted to go back to his country of origin to work there. Not only he wasn't escorted out by security staff, but his boss gave him advice on how to negotiate with his new company. All in turn for a good feedback on the exit sheet. I'm not kidding at all.

      On the other hand, I was laid off a bit over one year ago. I was told about it on a Friday (I'm gues
    • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @11:06PM (#14207786)
      It's probably just company protocol
      In other words the sign of a HR section that is both out of touch and has too much power. There are very few technical jobs where you can treat people like lego blocks - there is almost always a serious advantage that can be gained by a changeover period where the new person gets to know the site specific details instead of spending days trying to work out - even with very good docs it can take a long time to find the right ones. I've started off in the situation where there was a room of over a dozen NT4 servers and the function of only one was known by the remaining staff - sometimes you don't have time to go through the docs before you have to solve problems (and in that case it was a few days before the docs were even found). Two hours with a former employee may well have saved a couple of hundred hours.
  • Lucky Bastard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DeadBugs (546475) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:56PM (#14207303) Homepage
    When I resigned in a professional manner, they made me stay the whole 2 weeks. Sometimes they escort people out of the building that day for security reasons and still pay them for the remaining 2 weeks. However, I had to stay and fill out paperwork and go to BS meetings and suffer. What they did to you is pretty standard and has nothing to do with you or how you resigned.
  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:57PM (#14207308) Journal
    I wrote out a nice letter saying that while I enjoyed working there, I had been offered a better position that I could not refuse and that I would be resigning in two weeks. I kept all my access, and I had physical access to the equipment and back up tapes. I parted on good terms and could go back to my job at any time.

    Without knowing your relationship with you company and what your letter said, I can only suggest your boss is a jerk.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:57PM (#14207314) Homepage Journal
    In lieu of keeping you there during your resignation period. Why risk liability over a couple of weeks of sysadmin pay?
  • by schematix (533634) * on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:57PM (#14207317) Homepage
    IMHO both parties in this case did exactly what they were supposed to do. You gave them the courtesty of a 2 week notice and they accepted that and decided it was time to move on. In work environments today that rely heavily on computers and networking, it is not worth it to them that you might be leaving because of a grudge you may have. They have no way of knowing if you are leaving on amicable terms or not. If you have a bridge to burn with them you could easily cost them thousands of dollars (and likely much, much more) in damages due to lost data and productivity.

    If it were me I would approach my boss and let them know that if they won't give access, there is no need to be around, but you'll be happy to answer any questions that they might have. However tell them that you'd be more than happy to twiddle your thumbs (in a more polite way) for a couple weeks until you've given them their time. I'd guess that they'd be willing to let you go with pay. If not, Worst case you can try to improve your solitaire skills for a couple weeks and get paid to do it.

    In any case, both sides have fulfilled their obligations to each other in a completely professional way.

  • At will (Score:3, Informative)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother AT optonline DOT net> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @09:58PM (#14207326) Journal

    The phrase "at will" is standard in most contracts nowadays, especially in IT. It basically means that they can let you go at any time and you can decide to leave at any time. It's always best to give the standard two weeks notice and tidy everything up before you go, but these days companies really don't care much. They'll let you go, hand you a severance check, and by the end of the day, they've locked you out of their systems.

    This just goes to the whole shift in corporate culture, where employees are no longer people, but FTEs, to be tallied, shifted around like pieces on a Risk board, and disposed of when their usefulness is up. I was raised to believe in the old school company, the kind that valued employees and celebrated longevity, but the only way you get to stay past 5 years anymore is to move up the corporate ladder or refuse your yearly pay raise. And even then, with the advent of outsourcing, job security is a fasing concept.

    You did the right thing; your company did not.

  • by mpn14tech (716482) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:02PM (#14207368)
    The places I have worked at and turned in a two week notice, it is usually a 2 week scramble to document everything I did and get some poor unqualified individual up to speed. On the last day I make sure that the new person in charge either disables all accounts I had access to or make sure that they changed the passwords.
    You want to eliminate any possibility of doubt if something goes wrong after you leave.
    So while their actions may be seem extreme, it really is for your protection as much as it is for theirs. I would not take it so personally.

  • by jedi_gras (234700) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:02PM (#14207373) Homepage
    I submitted my two weeks notice and gave them transition plan outline. About two days later I was called into a room with three HR reps, my manager, a lawyer, and the chief of security. Supposedly, I was working on sensitive information and the lawyer said that it would be prudent if I left immediately. Five minutes later, I was packing up my stuff under supervision of the chief of security and then promptly escorted to my car. They took my parking pass and id and bid me farewell. Of course I was paid for the rest of the two weeks.

    No hard feelings, but with concerns over security nowadays, I don't blame employers for going through this extra step. I mean, IF I had done something malicious, what would their course of action be? Besides a lawsuit in which most cases side with the employee not the employer, they couldn't fire me because I had already quit.
  • by ellem (147712) * <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:03PM (#14207377) Homepage Journal
    This is EXACTLY how is should be handled. Do NOT let a leaving Sys Admin on you system. You did nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong. Enjoy your end of the year festivities.
  • by jafo (11982) * on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:07PM (#14207409) Homepage
    What you should have done is to have copied all of your mp3s and ornpay off the system *BEFORE* you gave your notice. ;-)

    Sean
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:09PM (#14207431) Homepage
    As everybody has said, this is quite common, and there's not much you can do about it beyond picking jobs where they actually trust you (which usually happens in the smaller outfits.)

    The next time you resign from an IT job, there are things you should do before you resign if you want them to be done --

    -- take your personal computer hardware, books, papers, etc. home. Before you resign. If you wait to do it after, you may not even get the chance (as they show you the door), and you'll have to argue with them about it. And if you do get the chance, they may be watching you like a hawk and you'll have to justify it.

    -- same goes for your personal files and stuff you want to save. Save it off the network and computers BEFORE you resign. Some companys are cool about this sort of thing, some aren't. Don't take the risk. This is also a good thing to do if you get wind of layoffs coming up that you might be involved in.

    -- If there are any projects you want to see completed before you leave, complete them before you resign.

  • lucky they paid you (Score:3, Informative)

    by EvilStein (414640) <spam@NOsPam.pbp.net> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:12PM (#14207460) Homepage
    I've run into that situation before. They decided to say "Ok, you can go now." and I *didn't* get paid for the remaining two weeks that I had expected to get paid for.

    The fun of working in an 'at-will' state.

    Generally they think you'll get 'short timers syndrome' and not do anything anyway. It's no wonder people just up & quit these days. The acts of courtesy that an employee extends to a company are very rarely returned.
  • by otisg (92803) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:30PM (#14207612) Homepage Journal
    1) Before resigning, no matter how professionally, ensure you have all your data with you. No, not their data, just yours, if you used their resources for your own stuff. Then, regardless of how they react, you will have nothing to worry about.

    2) Choose your employer wisely. If you see any signs of them acting inhumane with other employees, leave, and do it as described under 1).
  • by neo (4625) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:38PM (#14207660)
    Reverse Firing

    In the corporate world you often get reviewed for your performance. The meetings are uncomfortable affairs where your manager goes down a checklist of things that 'could use improvement'. On Quit Your Job Day, you'll be calling a review meeting of your own. Create a list of things the company needs improvement in. Watch your manager squirm as you point out bad health benefits, impenetrable paperwork, inhuman working environments and other OSHA related problems. At the end of your review look your manager straight in the eye and ask 'What would you do if you were me?', pause and then announce 'I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go.'

    More ways to quit at:
    http://www.quityourjobday.com/ [quityourjobday.com]
    • by El Camino SS (264212) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:35AM (#14208209)

          I told them that I was walking off of the job, RIGHT NOW, and that was all there was to it.

          One of the bosses got upset with me and said that it was discourteous to do something like that. You should give two weeks notice that it would get back to you later and you might not be able to get a job for a stunt like that.

          I then told them that my employment was a contract where you paid me for services, and if you fired me, you would walk me out of the building immediately.

          "So, I'm firing you. You're all incompetent, and the system is failing due to that. Consider my vacant position as a sign of things to come."

          When I walked it stirred people. That next week they lost three. Two more quit the next week. I was an underground leader of the staff, and when I went, the whole place saw my lead and thought it wasn't worth it.

          All in all, it was the most worthy thing I've done in years.
  • by jdehnert (84375) * <jdehnert AT dehnert DOT com> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @10:55PM (#14207741) Homepage
    The best way to deal with this is calmly and professionally. If they want you out right now just say thanks and go.

    If they expect you to remain for those last 2 weeks with no access to the systems, break out a pad and pen and start writing down all of the things you know you have access too, and work with your co-workers to ensure you no longer have access to anything.

    On top of that, spend some time to pass along info on those systems you are the only one that knows anything about.

    Beyond that it's not bad to sit around and make it known your available to answer questions before your time is up.

    Face it, the more professional you are, the better your former employer and co workers will feel about you later. That never hurts when looking for references.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @11:23PM (#14207885)
    I usually just crash a truck into the lobby, unload about 3 tons of high grade manure, shout incoherently in Farsi and give the receptionist an indian burn.
  • by trims (10010) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @11:40PM (#14207961) Homepage

    As it has been said before, it sounds like the OP did the ethical and professional thing in his resignation, and the company opted for the (now fairly standard) rude and unprofessional immediate termination. That said, everyone should know what your state's employment laws are. They vary widely, and give the employee a variety of options and rights, and also can help you set expectations.

    I'm going to speak about California, since that's where I work now. IANAL, but I've talked to one about this, and you should too. It's cheap ($100 or so for 30 minutes or so), and will give you information that is very much worthwhile, both at the start phase (negotiating your employment) and exit phase (termination/resignation) of your job.

    CA is an "at will" state. For those employees (not contractors) not covered by a union contract, there are really three different ways to end employment:

    1. Termination for Cause - your employer decides to fire you, and cites one of a limited number of state-specified reasons for doing so. Generally, "for cause" is limited to (documented) bad behavior on the employee's part. Usually not criminal behavior (criminal behavior at the company falls within "for cause", however), but for things like repeated violations of confidentiality, perpetual tardiness, etc. This is quite narrow, and the employee generally has to have a documented trail of bad behavior, and been formally warned about it by the company. Termination for Cause can be done at any time, is effective immediately with no notice, and the ex-employee DOES NOT have the right to State Unemployment Benefits.
    2. Termination without Cause - the company decides they don't want you for a reason other than one that falls under "for cause". It can be simply that your job isn't needed anymore, you pissed off the CEO, you don't seem to have the skills for the job, they don't like the color of your shirt, etc. Within the first 3 months of your employment with the company, they can fire you at any time, with no notice, and your employment ends when they notify you. After 3 months of employment, 2 weeks notice of termination of employment is required. In either case, you qualify for State Unemployment Benefits after leaving.
    3. Resignation - the employee decides to quit. This can be done at any time, for any reason. The employee is REQUIRED to give 2 weeks notice as to the date they will cease being an employee. Failure to do so can be considered "work abandonment", and can be reasons to be fired under "for cause". Of course, since you're quitting anyway, it's seldom an issue. Employees quitting are not eligible for State Unemployment Benefits.

    Now, what happens often these days is that the company notifies you that you are terminated, and then tells you (e.g. locks you out, etc) that you are not to come to work for the next 2 weeks. The same applies to people resigning when they give notice (as the OP found out). HOWEVER, you are STILL CONSIDERED EMPLOYED by the company until the 2 week period is up. This is often important for Stock vesting, etc. And don't let them fool you that the "2 weeks pay" thing is a "severance package". It isn't. They are REQUIRED to pay you as long as you are an employee.

    Don't Ever Sign Any End-Of-Employment Contract To Get a 2-Week Severance. You're an idiot if you do - they owe you the money in any case. The only time you should sign one of the agreements is to get money beyond what would be coming to you AFTER YOUR RESIGNATION/TERMINATION DATE (not the date you gave/received notice).

    As a side note, this idiotic "walk-them-out-when-they-resign" policy seems to have originated in Silicon Valley in the 90s, as a consequence of the Dot-Com boom. Too many companies with no proper HR department not having any sort of a clue as to how to professionally hire/fire people. Unfortunately, it seems to have become a trend (it's the norm here in Silicon Valley for everyone, including the huge companies), which is telling as to the lowered quality of management (and HR) of companies these days.

    -Erik

  • by OldCrasher (254629) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:14AM (#14208110) Homepage
    I have seen those 2 weeks you longed for turn into a living hell. You are a lame duck in those 2 weeks. No wants to speak to you, except to talk about the weather, or how some dimwit in purchasing just ordered a ton of toilet paper. No one gives you any constructive work to do, just 'write down everything you know about anything this company does, and that you had a hand in programming, over say, the last 99 years...' You were saved from someones timetabled exit startegy that would have had you doing 35 debriefings, none of which would have been attended, and seven planning for the future meetings, none of which you could care a hoot about.

    That 2 week notice, and its subsequent conversion into personal TV time, saved you from a whole lot of really boring nothing. Now, go home, get in the car, switch off the GPS and head in which ever direction you see a hawk flying, and don't stop for anything other than gas for 500 miles.

    Live a little; the new job is just as likely to suck the life out of you as the old one did.

  • Better ways... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alomex (148003) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:21AM (#14208147) Homepage
    I informed my boss that I would be quitting as soon as we completed our current project, and that I would not leave any time earlier than that, as I would never leave my team stranded halfway a project. I also asked him not to tell my team so as not to demoralize them. In the end this was in the order of six weeks notice which was sufficient for him to plan a replacement strategy.

    Once we had finished everything to satisfaction, I told my boss that I would be gone at the end of the week. He gave me two extra weeks of salary and told me that I would retain priviliged access to all accounts for another two months, in case my help was needed. He's a class guy and not long after that he was promoted.

    Chalk one down for the good guys for once.

  • by hendersj (720767) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:38AM (#14208226)
    Just remember that you have no control over how other people react to your decisions.

    When I left my last job, I gave my notice and then talked to the director of data security and asked him how he wanted to handle transitioning my authority around. I told him straight up that my reputation is too important to me to leave privileged accounts behind, and that I would appreciate having the opportunity to disable my own access so I would be sure it was done properly. I didn't want something to happen and then for the company to think it was me because I'd recently left and had all sorts of authority on the systems.

    My boss had already known of my feelings about that sort of thing, because we had talked about it in the past when others had left. He was fully aware of the conversation I had with the director of data security, and he was cool with it. He knew me well enough to know that I took my responsibilities seriously and wasn't going to do something that would bite me in the ass down the road.

    I've seen that sort of thing happen; when I was in college, we had a guy who said he wanted to learn, so we gave him administrative access on the systems. He never showed up, and as inexperienced as we were, we didn't revoke his access. He went in and changed all of the passwords and locked out all of the administrative accounts after deleting his own account. He left a trail so blindingly clear that when the US Air Force called to do a security background check on him, they were informed about it (though not by me - but I was in the room when the call came in). The last I heard (and this was many years ago, so his circumstances may have changed), he was finishing up a 6 year ROTC tour of duty but unable to get a security clearance. Do you know how many jobs there are in the US Air Force involving computer science degrees that don't require a security clearance? Not many....

    My boss understood that having seen someone screw their career over (former boss was ex-Navy, and had a top secret clearance) because they decided to act stupid with their authority meant that I wasn't about to do the same. I've always assumed that when it comes to IT systems, someone's watching me and I may not know how they're watching me, so I just don't screw around with the authority.

    Being a systems administrator means that you have to be trustworthy - and trusted by your management. I've always said that if management doesn't trust a systems administrator (and if they don't for a good reason), then the systems administrator shouldn't be administering their systems. The fact that there is a lot of very sensitive corporate data accessible to someone with those types of rights means that you have to trust that they're not going to abuse their authority. That doesn't mean that you don't put auditing systems in place to audit access to sensitive data, but in most companies, the ones putting those systems in place are the system administrators, so they know the ins and outs of those systems - including how and where to disable them.
  • Not so in Europe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @07:05AM (#14209338)
    Most certain not in Holland.

    Around here, leaving usually means a 1 month notice period, and in all the places i worked in, people always work until the last day except if having have some vacation days left and wanting to take them (non-used vacation days are redeemed for money when one leaves).

    Even more important, in the vast majority of places i've worked in the company will do a goodbye party for you.

    In my last position, even though i now work as a freelancer, after i decided i wasn't going to accept anymore extensions to my contract and on my last day in, they still did a goodbye party for me and gave me a bottle of Cognac as a goodbye present.

    I've seen it happen for others, so i ain't been getting goodbye parties 'cause they're happy that I am leaving ;)

    Reading above that what happened to the OI is a "usual" behaviour and part of the POF just makes me want to ask - "What the fuck kind of sick employer-employee relation do you guys have there?"

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