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“Dear Boss: I’m firing you and this company…”

A letter of resignation we might see many of in 2011.

Dear Boss:

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This is my two week notice. You’re fired and so is this company I work for. I’m checking out; moving on. I’m joining another company that seems to offer a lot more than what I’ve found here.

No, boss, it’s not about the money or the benefits, although I’ll be making about 10% more than what I’m making now. It’s about the opportunity to grow and develop. It’s about going to a place where management creates the conditions for people to want to come to work, where people feel they can make a difference. I read a blog on the Internet recently which referred to something called workplace “engagement” and that seems to be what I–and many other co-workers–find lacking here.

I know that the recession was hard on this company and that that business has been lousy for a couple of years and is just now recovering. Yes, and most of us expected the layoffs that came, although I think they were handled poorly. Communication about the state of the business and the layoff decisions was almost non-existent. Those of us who survived the downsizing were simply given more work and while nobody in management said it explicitly, it was as if we should be grateful we had a job.

For a long period of time, you just stopped having our team meetings. At one point, you told a co-worker to “stop whining” about how tough things were here at work. I don’t like whiners either but we just wanted to vent a little and get some straight answers about the department’s future and talk about how to get the work done while at the same time continuing to develop ourselves, perhaps by cross-training or participating on margin improvement teams.

I know you’ve also been nervous about your own job situation, but you or your bosses never seemed to care about our needs. Loyalty is something that is earned and frankly, boss, this letter is a sign that you and this company didn’t earn mine. Our company’s website declares that “People are our most important resource.” That is so preposterous–no wonder there is so much cynicism here.

The recruiter at the company where I’m going actually asked me about my career plans and described some rather interesting things they are doing to attract and retain talented people. I can’t recall the last time someone here had a conversation like that with me.

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There was a story that came out just before the holidays in which one of the big employment companies–Manpower–reported that 84% of employees in their most recent survey indicated they would be looking for a new job in 2011. That’s up from 60% last year. So it seems that there are many others out in the workforce who feel as I do and I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a few more “I’m outta’ here!” letters as the economy improves.

Boss, I’m no starry-eyed dreamer who thinks the grass is always going to be greener somewhere else. But I do value things in the workplace like trust, camaraderie and even a little fun and I know there are companies where those things exist at a much higher level than they do here. In fact, I think I’ve been hired by one of those companies and I’m looking forward to being in a place that values my commitment, not just my compliance. My belief is that “work” does not have to be a four-letter word.

Over the next two weeks I’ll do whatever I can to train whoever will be taking my place. You’ll have my best efforts until the time I walk out the door for the last time. And if HR wants me to do an exit interview, I will and I’ll be candid but I don’t think it’s going to make a difference. I’m sure management here has heard all of this before. Please understand–this isn’t just about you. You’re basically a good person but you are not a very good leader. And I feel the same about others in senior management.

I will say that I’ve learned some things here and have gained some valuable experience, so I choose to end this letter on that positive note.

Mike Hoban is a senior consultant for a global talent management consulting firm and can be contacted at business-at-large@sbcglobal.net.

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