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By: Dr. John T. Self

Job Quitting Etiquette

Q. I'm an assistant manager in a fairly large restaurant chain. I'm going to quit because I'm totally fed up with my general manager. I have written a 4-page letter of resignation explaining why I'm quitting.

I'm doing this because I would really like to help the other assistant managers who are still working and who are miserable. I thought this letter would help by getting the GM and supervisor to think about why I'm quitting and make some changes. I was about to make an appointment with my GM to quit and give him the letter, but my girlfriend said that I shouldn't give it to him, that I should just quit. So we compromised that I wouldn't quit until we heard from you, Dr. Self

Steamed and waiting,

A. I'm afraid your girlfriend is absolutely right on this one, Steve. Don't do it.

I know what you're thinking. In the back of your mind, you think your General Manager is going to read your letter, smack his forehead and say, "I'll be damned!! I've been a total jerk! I'm going to change starting tomorrow!"

That's not going to happen.

No matter how good your letter is, no matter how logical it is, no matter how many examples you have, it is not going to make one bit of difference. Your GM is going to read the first few paragraphs and immediately say that "ol' Steve was such a jerk." If you haven't been able to effect him until now, one angry letter will not change him.

Let your fellow managers decide for themselves what is best for their own careers. I would recommend that you just type a very brief one or two sentence letter stating that you are resigning effective a certain date, usually two weeks from now. If they press you, just say that you are pursuing other objectives. Why burn your bridges behind you? Obviously the company is behind the GM. The GM must be bringing in the results they want for him to still be in that position. There's little you'll be able to do to counter that. And if the GM is really that bad, he'll do himself in without you risking your reputation.

It's time to get on with your new life, and find a place where you can enjoy your work again. Let this one be history.

About the author:  John T. Self is a lecturer at The Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona). Prior to entering academe, Dr. Self spent fifteen years in the restaurant industry. While in the corporate world, he worked for several chains including overseeing six restaurants with sales of over twenty million dollars. He has also owned three independent restaurants. While at Golden Gate University, he started the partnership with Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China and is continuing in that involvement at Cal Poly.

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