The time I was asked to resign

In the Spring of 2007, I wanted to move across the USA for personal reasons. My employer at the time asked me to come up with a 12-month plan for them so that they could continue operations in the event it took a while to find a replacement. We also set a last date of employment at which point I would be laid-off from the company and given a severance package.

As a normal part of my approach to IT I had already:

  • Documented all of our infrastructure, applications, and processes (whether manual or automated)
  • Automated a lot of our processes
  • Managed all of our vendor agreements
  • Tagged and catalogued all of our physical and logical assets
  • Created an emergency response plan in case of my sudden illness, absence, or death and sent a digital copy and hardcopy to our primary services vendor

So I spent a week building an index for all of that information and re-negotiating some services agreements. I also negotiated a couple of vendor proposals for monthly services contracts for IT maintenance and outsourced technical support. I bundled everything together into a digital archive and printed a hard copy organized in a 4″ D-ring binder.

There was a problem. OK, two problems. #1, I really loved this place and the people, and #2 frankly I wasn’t closing in on a new job yet. I made a new exit strategy.

On the last day my boss called me in to formalize the layoff. I said I have a better idea – instead of a layoff that involves paperwork, severance pay, unemployment and so on, how about I resign and I contract with you on a monthly retainer to perform a set of services and provide X deliverables on Y schedule? This was a win-win: I get to move across the country, I keep making income, and they still get my expertise and experience until they find a replacement. We spent the afternoon and went into the early evening working out the deliverables and schedule, the financials, the contract and getting it signed by legal, and otherwise finalizing everything.

Finally my boss says with a smile, “So it’s almost 7:00pm. I’m beat. Are you going to resign or what?”

I handed my boss an envelope and said, “Yup, here you go, I’m officially resigning.”

“Good, have a safe trip and call me Tuesday morning once you’re settled in and back to work.”

“You got it, boss.”

“I’m not your boss now, I’m your customer!”

“Not until Tuesday, you aren’t!”

The end.

Note #1

For those wondering, the envelope contained two letters. One was a short, signed statement of resignation. The other was a personal “thank you” for being a great boss and mentor.

Note #2

Also for those wondering, I wound up staying on retainer for nearly a full year. When we finally found a replacement for me, my boss joked “I can’t believe it took so long to get rid of you!” I flew back for a day to officially say goodbye to everyone, and then closed out that chapter of my life to move on to the next one.


Original answer at  Why do IT companies ask you to resign during a lay-off instead of terminating you?

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