The Absolute Worst Way to Quit Your Job

Talk about a burning bridge

Early on in my career, my co-worker (let's call her Katie) and I were on deadline for a project. We both brainstormed ideas and discussed them with our manager. Katie and I split up tasks and planned to meet the day before our project was due to go over last minute edits. The morning we were set to meet, she never showed up to work. I was worried (who wouldn't be!) and sent her emails, text messages, and even tried calling several times to see if she was okay. No response. Everyone in the office jumped when their phone rang, panicked that it was one of Katie's family members calling with horrific news. It wasn't until almost 4 p.m. that afternoon that her mother called to say that she wasn't going to come back to work because she wanted to go on vacation. Katie's mom had to quit her 24-year old daughter's job.

There's a backstory here: my co-worker was also dating an unmotivated guy who was without a job, lived in his parent's basement, and smoked a lot of…well…you get the idea. He wanted to go on vacation to some tropical island for the week (wouldn't we all). She tried to get the time off two weeks before, but couldn't because of our project. Long story short: she opted for the guy instead of her gig and potentially some nice career advancement.

It also turned out she didn't even start on her half of the project because she knew she wasn't coming back. Basically, I was screwed. We had a huge deadline I was going to be held accountable for missing. I ended up turning in my portion of the project and worked all weekend to get the rest of the project completed. And, a month later I was promoted. Hard work really does pay off.

Fast forward several years. I'm in my current position and needed to hire another person. I'd been recruiting for weeks when a resume came across my email. It was Katie. She wanted the associate editor position I had open on my team. I paused, smiled, and clicked reply. "Katie!!!!!! (yes, with that many exclamation points) How are you? It's been such a long time! What have you been up to? It looks like you're applying for my associate editor position. Do you have references you can provide?"

No reply.

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