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Former employer won't let me go!
Old 11-11-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
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Former employer won't let me go!

I hadn't planned for this reaction:

I retired last Friday, and I had given my boss two months notice, though he ignored it until last Thursday when he assigned me a three month long project and told me I had to finish it before I could leave (he wasn't kidding, either... just one of those jerks). Obviously I said no thanks, I leave tomorrow.

So then Friday he said "well, we're going to need you to keep helping us, because you're the only one who knows X Y Z".

I replied "I just spent the last solid year training everybody and documenting everything I know, it's all on the server in folder ABC"

Then he said "but nobody knows [the product] as well as you," and I told him I'm sure they'll get up to speed.

Then he got me in a trap: he said "But you're not doing anything... why can't you just help us if we have a question?"

I said something like "because that's the nature of quitting" and he stared at me like I was a self-centered jerk ("You won't even answer questions if somebody gets stuck on something?")

So I had to say sure, if someone gets stuck on something, email me the question and I'll see if I can answer it. I didn't want to leave being a "self centered jerk."

So today they send me a full legal consulting agreement "they need me to sign and send back today." It has my old job description in the 'statement of work' and says I'm contractually obligated for the next 12 months to work on whatever they task me with, for an hourly rate that equals my old salary, up to 1500 hours!

I told the contracting person they misunderstood, I said I'd just answer a question here and there. They said I can't do that, I have to agree to the non-disclosure and non-compete and carry insurance and agree to be tasked with things and this and that.

So I told them no thanks, bye! But geez now I feel like a jerk for not wanting to "help" my coworkers.

Just venting! But God I'm glad I'm gone from that chaotic mess of a company!



Oh and today I went to the book store and just browsed around for a few hours! I hadn't done that in years! It was great!
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:56 PM   #2
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Wow, what a jerk.

I like the idea of just making a clean break - done, over, bye.

But if you did want to make yourself available to help your old colleagues for a while, offer to return on your own terms as a consultant, and charge him twice your old rate or more. He may say no, but then it's his decision and you don't have to feel guilty about stranding anyone.

I can certainly see why you were glad to leave. Enjoy your retirement.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:03 PM   #3
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Here is the flip side. After I left MegaMotors, I never got a single call or email from anyone, though I'd left the contact information. So either I was useless and should have left or was in an organization that really didn't need any one person (and should have left).

So take it as a complement ,then tell them where to put it.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:08 PM   #4
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That's crazy. It would be one thing if they merely asked you if you'd consider staying there for a while longer, doing contractor/consulting work at the going rate. It's quite another to play this game.

And it sounds like your old boss needs to be reminded that "failure to properly plan on your part does not constitute a crisis on my part."
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kabekew View Post
So today they send me a full legal consulting agreement "they need me to sign and send back today." It has my old job description in the 'statement of work' and says I'm contractually obligated for the next 12 months to work on whatever they task me with, for an hourly rate that equals my old salary, up to 1500 hours!

I told the contracting person they misunderstood, I said I'd just answer a question here and there. They said I can't do that, I have to agree to the non-disclosure and non-compete and carry insurance and agree to be tasked with things and this and that.

So I told them no thanks, bye! But geez now I feel like a jerk for not wanting to "help" my coworkers.
Well, everything is negotiable now. A consulting agreement can be very flexible. If you and your former employer wanted you could modify the contract so that:
- They pay for any insurance
- Make it clear that this is just an agreement regarding the terms (i.e. $$ per hour) and conditions under which any work you do for the company will occur. It does not need to state how much work will occur. You definitely want things to develop so that you are free to say "no" to any work opportunity they call you about.

Hourly rate: Doing work for them as a consultant at the same hourly rate as when you were an employee would be highly unusual. They are giving you no benefits at this point. I'd guess 25% - 40% more than your previous rate would be about right. You DO want to wean them away from you, right? And you DON'T want to be doing mind-numbing admin duties, right? The best way to make those things happen is with an hourly rate that appropriately values your experience.

Nondisclosure and noncompete clauses: That's pretty standard, and shouldn't cause you any heartburn unless you're thinking about doing some contracts for someone else. The noncompete clause should be narrowly written--just saying you won't do work for others in the same field if they compete with your former employer.

I understand you may not be looking to do any more work for your former employer. But if you have any thoughts that you might like to do a little of it in the future (under the right conditions), this is your best opportunity.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:13 PM   #6
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First, congratulations on your retirement! You tried to go more quietly than W2R, but now they have belatedly discovered how much they needed you!

I suggest you just ignore any contact from your former employer for a few weeks. If you have plans to take a vacation, this would be an excellent time to go, recharge your batteries and get this jerk of a boss to stop messing with your head.

After that, if he still wants you, and you are interested, write a proposal as an independent consultant, citing an hourly rate that is at least twice what you formerly earned. Put in your own conditions. Above all, remain independent. Remember, YOU have the power here.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:24 PM   #7
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Congrats also on your retirement. I agree totally with the posts that precede me. I wonder if while you worked at Mega Corp they let you know how important you were to the operations... virtually irreplaceable it sounds like with the machinations now afoot.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:28 PM   #8
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I agree. If you go back on an hourly rate double your old salary it could be worthwhile to you, and will definitely give them incentive to find other ways to get the work done. I did something like that in the first year after ER. It actually turned out to be a nice way to ease out the door. I wasn't working full time, but still had a chance to visit with hte old cow erkers.

Of course, if you don't want to go back, then to hell with them. You don't owe them a thing. If you have a few friends there you could let them know privately that you would answer a question or two (I'd charge at least one beer/question), but not on an ongoing basis, and definitely not to let the old boss know.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:47 PM   #9
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Congratulations on your retirement . When I finally retired nobody could believe it since I had retired before and returned . I ended up telling everyone I needed a break and I was not sure how long that break would be . At first they would email or call every few months with a job until finally they realized this break is permanent . So Congratulations on being needed !
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabekew View Post
Oh and today I went to the book store and just browsed around for a few hours! I hadn't done that in years! It was great!
And it will get even better.

Wow! Are you ever fortunate to be rid of that mess.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:04 PM   #11
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UNBELIEVABLE.

What they are asking you to do is not as unbelievable as your boss's upper-hand attitude. He needs you; not the other way around, but I guess you can't cure stupid.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:12 PM   #12
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What they are asking you to do is not as unbelievable as your boss's upper-hand attitude. He needs you; not the other way around, but I guess you can't cure stupid.
"If you want to know how stupid people really are, just think how stupid the average person is and realize that half of them are stupider."
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:18 PM   #13
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Sounds like your boss is quite a jerk, not you.

Even though I have said clearly to management all along that my agency doesn't have enough money to hire me as a consultant, my boss sort of "felt me out" about that once again on the day I retired. I was talking about sleeping in and growing roses, and she laughed and very cleverly said something like, "or shopping, or doing a little consulting now and then" in an open-ended way and I didn't say never. No sense in slamming doors shut.

I would say that you do NOT need to feel like a jerk. You gave them notice, you transferred all of your institutional knowledge, and if your boss did not prepare adequately for your departure that is his deficiency, not yours.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:22 PM   #14
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Wow, yeah, congratulations on getting rid of such a jerk for a boss. If you're conscientious enough to feel guilty I'm sure you did a great job getting your co-workers trained and they'll be fine.

If you did enjoy the work or wanted to go back, I like the consulting for 2x your previous "hourly" rate idea.

Or if you were especially friendly with your co-workers you could make sure that one or two have your contact info in case a legitimate and very quick/easy question comes up. But really - you've been training them for the last year and there's lots of documentation in folder ABC? They'll be fine.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:24 PM   #15
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So I told them no thanks, bye!
Good, you did the right thing. With their attitude I'd want to have nothing to do with them. You're not a jerk at all.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:27 PM   #16
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Here is the flip side. After I left MegaMotors, I never got a single call or email from anyone, though I'd left the contact information.
Boy that's a scene right out of the movie "About Scmidt"

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Old 11-11-2009, 04:38 PM   #17
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...
"well, we're going to need you to keep helping us, because you're the only one who knows X Y Z". ...
Then he said "but nobody knows [the product] as well as you," ...
If these things are true you worked for some poor management, but you've presented other evidence that the management was poor.

If you let them bully you into signing a contract against your will, imagine how you will be treated after the contract is signed.

Just say NO.

Congratulations for having made it! It's time to enjoy yourself.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:53 PM   #18
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Congratulations on retirement!
They had plenty of warning and plenty of preperation (by you) to get things settled.
If they didn't prepare, that is your managers fault, not yours.
I wouldn't have anything to do with them, their method seems downright dishonest.
IF you really want to, I would offer a consulting fee 3 times what you were earning.
As a consultant you are considered self employed with all the joys that come with it.
You will be paying the full amount of SS taxes instead of half, your own benifits, your own insurance and the hassle of keeping track of all of it for the taxes if you want to try to deduct some things (which can be a positive).
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:58 PM   #19
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You should write to Scott Adams (Dilbert). I would think he had heard it all but your experience has to go beyond even that.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:01 PM   #20
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Going back as a consultant would defeat the purpose of retiring, especially since I don't need their money and I hated it there! I just thought it was kind of funny and annoying how they assumed I'd want to keep working for them after I specifically quit, since I wasn't "doing anything else anyway."
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