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#1 e_i_pi  Icon User is offline

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Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 17 August 2016 - 05:37 PM

So, I've been working at a high-profile critically acclaimed university since January this year, and am considering resigning. By considering, I mean I've made my mind up, I'm outta here ASAP, I just have to find a job in Sydney to go to (should take 4 weeks or so). Thankfully, because of the enterprise award, I only have to give 1 weeks notice, but I don't want to dump my supervisor in the deep end because he's actually a really nice guy.

My reason for resignation is because I just can't tolerate my colleague any more. There's a number of reasons, and they've been bubbling to the surface over the past few months, to the point that my supervisor has had a word to me a couple of times about my wording in emails. I haven't been officially cautioned or anything, he just wants me to be more careful, but understands where I'm coming from. This is the first time I've ever received criticism like this. I'm not precious about it, I have admitted that I could do better, and honestly believe that. My concern is that I've never been like this before, and I feel the reason I'm like this now is because of the environment I'm in, my inability to enact positive change, and in particular the fact that I can't work effectively with my colleague. I feel that he is the root of almost all the problems, and as such I am very critical of him and his ways. He's been here for 30 years, and received 3 awards in that time, so for some upstart to come along and say he's doing things wrong looks arrogant and bitchy, regardless of whether it is or not. I'm not looking for validation here, every IT shop has it's problems, it's easy to pick at them, and there's no guarantee that I would present an unbiased picture of what is happening here, so I don't expect anyone to "back me" in this thread and start ragging on him.

I don't want to land a resignation letter on my supervisor's desk without warning, I'd rather tell him now (or very soon at least) that I'm looking for work elsewhere because I don't believe I can continue working here, that way he can prepare for hiring someone else. I want to be honest with him as to why I no longer want to work here, but I don't want it to look like I'm being petulant or narky. I simply can't work with my colleague, our styles are completely different, and we don't get along at all. *I* would describe him as a cowboy, in that he develops straight on production, rarely sets up isolated test environments, doesn't use source control, and deploys in business hours without warning users. He also seems to preference the easy jobs to the hard ones, to the point that our office has diminished from a software development unit to a glorified help desk. I won't go into detail about the rudeness, burping, and farting, but let's just say we have entirely different standards of hygiene and politeness. We virtually never talk - in 8 months, we've shared maybe 100 words. That's it.

This is having a profound impact on my confidence, attitude, and home life. I can feel the tension building in me, and am almost daily apologising to my wife for snapping and being stand-offish. I believe that these reasons are enough of a citation on a resignation letter, but I don't know if/how I should describe the issues with my colleague. I don't want to be silent about them because I'd feel like I was being dishonest, but I don't want to look like I'm just bitching about him because then I look renegade and individualistic.

Any feedback would be appreciated, feel free to criticise me, I know I'm not perfect. I just have no idea how to start describing this non-emotively.

This post has been edited by e_i_pi: 17 August 2016 - 05:39 PM


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Replies To: Resignation letter, input welcome

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 17 August 2016 - 06:04 PM

Meh.. like all resignation letters that are not looking to scorch the earth keep it simple and to the point. Thank the boss for your time there, nice experiences and projects, and that you are looking for an environment change more conducive to where you want to be in your career.

If you get pulled in for an exit review, or an explanation why maybe start explaining how the work environment is too small and would like to operate in a place with more positive and modern practices.

If honestly pressed then explain that in a two man shop the ability to worth together becomes paramount, and the stagnant oaf is frustratingly blocking the department in succeeding and thriving.
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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 17 August 2016 - 06:58 PM

That's rough that the system prohibits you from doing good work. I can empathize with you there. It might be worthwhile to look for a job and hold off on the letter until you find one. If you feel compelled, perhaps mention to your boss informally, though I'd advocate silence until you can jump ship. You don't want to be unemployed unnecessarily.
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#4 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 17 August 2016 - 07:08 PM

I would stay in the boat until another is within reach as well. It is always easier to get another job when you still have one, and without one, going to the next may press you into a position you are worse off taking.


As for the letter itself, follow modi's advice. Either the usual BS; or be honest, but tactful in the delivery of why you feel pressed to leave.
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#5 e_i_pi  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 17 August 2016 - 07:27 PM

Thanks for the advice folks, it kind of mirrors what my wife has said. She suggests that I start pushing my CV out to recruiters hard core, and get applications out for contract jobs that interest me (I was once in contracting and want to get back into it). She is worried that it might look like a big "screw you" to simply give notice without warning. That said, I've had several talks with the supervisor about organisational problems here, we've arranged for an independent audit to occur once my colleague gets back from his holidays, and he (my supervisor) is also aware that there are large-scale technical issues here. I don't think he realises the gravity of them though - not only is it laid back here, but he is an accountant. Don't ask me why two programmers are doing server administration and helpdesk and then reporting to an accountant, it's just the way it is :/
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#6 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 17 August 2016 - 07:45 PM

Technical debt is a problem in most companies, some just acknowledge it better than others.

My company has a CIO much like your colleague. Code that is 20 - 30 years out of date, poor data model that gets compoumded, and patches that make the debt pile up. We can't do anything about it, because he is a founder, but it doesn't make our job easier, but there is an understanding that until the bottom line is effected nothing will likely be done.


Good luck. It may be that if you can explain the areas of concern, to what the long term damage will ne, to a title with enough clout, changes may start. But it being a possible tenure issue, you may be better off leaving anyway.
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#7 e_i_pi  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 17 August 2016 - 08:28 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 18 August 2016 - 01:45 PM, said:

But it being a possible tenure issue, you may be better off leaving anyway.

That's kind of what I think it is - he's been there for so long, he's not going to leave, no-one is going to ask him to leave, he won't be performance managed, and he won't change. If this is the environment that's been in place for decades, that's the way it's always going to be, unless there is the full flush and replace, which won't happen. Universities are notorious for allowing dust to pile up then people getting their back up because someone tries to clean up.

I think I'll dismiss the idea of pre-warning my supervisor, and rather just work with him and the central IT unit to identify the problems so that they get some air time higher up the chain, and are maybe one day addressed. In the meantime, I'll apply for work elsewhere and jump ship when the first good opportunity comes up.

This post has been edited by e_i_pi: 17 August 2016 - 08:29 PM

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#8 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 18 August 2016 - 02:39 AM

Quote

I don't want to land a resignation letter on my supervisor's desk without warning, I'd rather tell him now (or very soon at least) that I'm looking for work elsewhere because I don't believe I can continue working here,


Mate, take him to the pub and and talk informally, off the record. Tell him you'd rather stay than leave if something can be worked out, such as you shifting to a different team... different building/lab/campus... Ask your supervisor if he has any inside information about the other guy's retirement plans. If he's already been there 30 years it might be around the corner and you just don't know.

Also keep in mind the next job may have someone just like this guy. If you leave every job because of someone else you'll always be the jr guy and you'll be the guy that can't get along with others. There is always that guy that codes like an intern and swears he should be a senior dev... or that really needs to learn to shower in the morning before work... I once anonymously left a stick of deodorant and can of body spray on a co-workers desk, as a gentle hint.

Quote

I won't go into detail about the rudeness, burping, and farting, but let's just say we have entirely different standards of hygiene and politeness. We virtually never talk - in 8 months, we've shared maybe 100 words. That's it.

So you've never spoken to him about it, in other words. Its you're choice, but I tend to respect people that try to fix a place from within rather than run away. Just say to the guy "Wow, are you a professional here or one of the frat boys at a kegger? That was probably funny one time when you were 18 but it really shouldn't be your lifestyle choice." Maybe after a your coworkers see you standing up to the guy they might ALSO say something. If it/he is as bad as you make it/him out to be then you aren't the only one sick of his ways. Lead by example and earn the respect of those you don't think will back you. They have to see something in you worth backing.

Personally I'd make it my mission to improve my environment and out-last the wanker, than to let the likes of him run me off a job I like.
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#9 e_i_pi  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 18 August 2016 - 04:57 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 18 August 2016 - 08:39 PM, said:

Mate, take him to the pub and and talk informally, off the record. Tell him you'd rather stay than leave if something can be worked out, such as you shifting to a different team... different building/lab/campus...

Done that, I asked that we be stationed in the large office with the rest of the team - apparently there's not enough room. I asked for an office to myself - manager wants us to be stationed together. I've told him that we don't communicate at all, and that I've tried to get him on side with issue tracking software and source control, and that he doesn't care about it - manager says keep trying. I've told my manager that the last guy tried to get him to use source control as well with no luck - manager just says "keep trying". You ever seen the 60s/70s show The Odd Couple? Here's a before and after I arrived of the office, if this says anything about fundamental differences (p.s. the code is worse):

Spoiler


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Ask your supervisor if he has any inside information about the other guy's retirement plans. If he's already been there 30 years it might be around the corner and you just don't know.

That's what I thought, that I could just stick it out. He's retiring in 10 years time. Also, he's at the same grade as me, he's not the senior so to speak. So sticking around gains me very little, as there's no career progression. The best I get is not working with him any more. I can get that elsewhere sooner.

Quote

Also keep in mind the next job may have someone just like this guy. If you leave every job because of someone else you'll always be the jr guy and you'll be the guy that can't get along with others.

Yep, I understand that, but it's unlikely - the story of how this guy came to be here and stay here without being pulled into line ever is a perfect storm, and he's now burrowed in like a tick and got everyone thinking that he's indispensable. The other day I spoke to a colleague who used to use a certain application every week. She has been told by him that he made some changes to accommodate new features, and now only he can use it, and she has to call him if she wants something done in it. I looked at the code/file history - he's never worked on it, there's no changes, and this user can still log in fine and do everything. It's just that she's been told to depend on him, by him. I have dozens of stories like this, and there are a heap of people who don't trust him or don't have confidence in him, but there's no-one willing to pull him into line. Is it really up to me to do that? Years of the manager and exec doing nothing, and it's up to someone 2 months out of probation to performance manage him?

This is the first job ever that I've considered leaving within the year. I'm 42, and been in the workforce about 20 years, and I no longer go for junior jobs, only reason I took this job is that it's 10mins drive from home, I have the opportunity to develop end-to-end (which I already have experience in), and it has pretty good benefits. A month after starting here, I turned down a job I was headhunted for that was more than twice the pay, because I wanted to stick it out here and do some good for the place. I regret that decision now.

Thanks for the feedback, I know you're trying to help, but I honestly don't see any reasonable way to fix the situation. It's no longer a rescue mission, it's an evacuation :)/>
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#10 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Resignation letter, input welcome

Posted 19 August 2016 - 01:35 AM

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I honestly don't see any reasonable way to fix the situation. It's no longer a rescue mission, it's an evacuation

Seems like it. It sounds like you've really done all you could. Leaving probably is your only choice. Other than...

This is a big bold move... But you've got nothing to loose, right?
Go a couple levels over your supervisor's head. You've clearly documented everything. Your supervisory keeps saying "keep trying" which is an indication that he knows there is a problem with the other guy and wants you to fix it instead of showing some balls back-bone and ordering the guy which is well within his power as the boss.

Get all that documentation (email, photos, reports, notes from last guy wanting the same as you etc.) together into a clear, concise record of what is going on there and your plan to fix it. Now take that to your bosses boss. Let him know you either get promoted to a position over these people where you have the authority to make policy changes, such as "we will use source control or you're out of here" - or you're going to leave. Do it with a plan of action to show you really are "the man with the plan" that can turn that department around. What have you got to loose? You're already comfortable with leaving anyway.

Worst case... You leave. You were going to do that anyway. Now you do it with a binder in your hand ready to fix up the next company you go to work for. Maybe you bring it with on the next job interview for a position well above where you are now pushing you 2-3 rungs up the ladder in one job change.
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