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jmj11

The Art of Leaving a Job

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I just announced (verbally and in writing) that I was leaving my position of eight years last week. I thought out the method of this departure ad nausem. It was extremely important to me that I leave on good terms with everyone. I always want to keep the friends, which I've made. Plus, from a business point of view, I did not want to burn any bridges. I expressed my deepest sorry. I cast superlatives on everyone, including my SPs. I thanked them for the years we've had together and I hoped for future cooperation.

 

Now I'm in a phase of watching this play out. It started extremely positive, but I think is moving into a more difficult phase. I will see what happens. Humans can be finicky.

 

But it just made me think about this process of resigning, leaving quiting . . . however you want to phase it. What's been your experiences in the past? I've left seven positions in my career. The three easiest was when the whole practices were collapsing around me (usually from physician misbehavior) and we all came out like dust-covered victims from an earthquake.

 

So, what's been your positive negative and other experiences. Is there 50 ways to leave your lover? Please understand, I'm not looking for advice (my leaving is a done deal) I just thought it would be an interesting topic of discussion as it plays a part in all PA careers.

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Darwin said it best..."Evolve or die"

 

If I am understanding things correctly, you have left to begin work on your own clinic that specializes in headaches. If your current/former employer can't understand that, then they are either delusional or jealous.

 

Personally I have only left 2 jobs that were considered career style occupations...the Navy after 10 years and a fire department after 7 years. Each departure was focused on my own development as a person, father, husband, provider. The jobs were good jobs but not going in the same direction as I wanted to explore. The Navy was easy to move on from, everyone in the service moves on. The fire job was a lot more tough but the folks I have stayed in touch with have been very supportive and understanding which is nice. Like you, I tried not to burn any bridges because life does come full circle and someday you may need a favor. I think the art of keeping true friendships is an innate thing and those will carry through. Just be true to yourself, honest with them, and it all works out in the end.

 

Soo.....get the loan you needed for the clinic?

 

steve

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Darwin said it best..."Evolve or die"

 

If I am understanding things correctly, you have left to begin work on your own clinic that specializes in headaches. If your current/former employer can't understand that, then they are either delusional or jealous.

 

Personally I have only left 2 jobs that were considered career style occupations...the Navy after 10 years and a fire department after 7 years. Each departure was focused on my own development as a person, father, husband, provider. The jobs were good jobs but not going in the same direction as I wanted to explore. The Navy was easy to move on from, everyone in the service moves on. The fire job was a lot more tough but the folks I have stayed in touch with have been very supportive and understanding which is nice. Like you, I tried not to burn any bridges because life does come full circle and someday you may need a favor. I think the art of keeping true friendships is an innate thing and those will carry through. Just be true to yourself, honest with them, and it all works out in the end.

 

Soo.....get the loan you needed for the clinic?

 

steve

 

Yeah, got the loan. First bank, almost 3 months, still had doubts. Second bank, assured loan in 4 days. Go figure.

 

The worst PA job exit I have ever witness was my first. I was a brand new PA working my first job (at a federal prison). It was a horrible job, grossly understaffed. The seasoned PA got into an argument with the boss (another PA) at lunch threw a couple of punches at him, threw his stethoscope at the doc (we were all in the lunch room), told us all go to hell . . . and he was never seen again. We kept his nice Littmann Cardio II.

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I've certainly been involved and witnessed a wide variety of job departures over the years. I've noticed a strong correlation between overall practice dysfunction and lack of professionalism when leaving positions. The jobs I have left for my own sanity and self preservation just affirmed my decision during my final days of employment.

 

One of my most dramatic tales of employment departure occurred with a Doc who was abusing Vicodin and became paranoid about staff and financial matters. His drug habit had also resulted in some pretty bizarre behavior changes which reached out to all staff,but especially to me. Once I got another job lined up I handed in my notice and did so with every attempt to be courteous and focus on the positive aspects of my employment. This started a chain of reactions by my employer that were truly childish and totally unprofessional. (And of course,he made sure that I honored my contract with working out all of my terms of departure time so he could prolong the agony)

 

The culmination of this vendetta against my departure came to a most dramatic ending when I arrived at work one morning to find that the locks to the practice had been changed. He watched me through the window as I fumbled to get into the door that I no longer had access to. Apparently,he had gotten the locks changed the night before and forgot that everyone would be locked out of the practice....he manned the door and let in the other staff as they arrived while assuring I was not granted entry.

 

I can remember the overwhelming feeling of relief that I could get in my car,drive away and never have to be part of this dysfunction again.

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Cat, that sounds a little childish (to say the least) on his part. Why didn't he just tell you not to come back?

 

I think one of the biggest challenges of leaving a decent job for decent reasons is to avoid the blame game. When you leave a job, it is natural for the leaved (meaning the old employer) to take it as a personal rejection. Therefore, the temptation is for them to demonize the leaver. "Why didn't you talk to me months ago if you weren't happy here."

 

The hardest leaving I ever did was when I left Mayo Clinic. My SP was truly a 10/10. I only wanted to leave because I hated living in Rochester, MN and had a personal dream of living in the mountains and with the sea. I told him I was leaving and why. He took it on the chin. He only let one emotion slip, when he said, "Living in the mountains is something you do when you retire." Then, from that point forward . . . during my 90 day notice . . . he treated me like a king and his best friend. He seemed very secure emotionally. I hated leaving him. It tore me apart inside and I felt like a jerk. But I've never regretted a day of living here and am glad I did it.

 

I've know two PAs who simply disappeared. They just didn't show up for work one day. One office contacted the police, who then contacted a relative, who told them that she had taken a job in another state.

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I have left two jobs. The first one involved trying to be proactive when our hospital owned clinic went bankrupt. It was in early 2001 and at that time, the hospital owned clinics were big in KY. Well, they were not managed very well and they folded. The docs in the practice had the choice of buying back their practice or closing their doors. We had inklings that this was going to happen, and had heard through the grapevine that all the midlevels were going to go - so I found a new position. To my surprise, the docs decided to buy their practice back, and offered the midlevels their same positions. By that time, I had accepted this new position, so my decision was made. They took it well, they understood - and I dont THINK there were any hard feelings. I even continued to share call with them for 2 years after leaving. However, I saw a few of my SP's at a meeting a few years later, and they all ignored me. Oh well.

 

The second position that I left - was one that I wanted to leave after the first day on the job. This was the job I took when I learned our clinic might be closing. This was working in a Cardiology position - and the docs were a bunch of egotistical, abusive, and overall miserable bunch to work with. Every Monday, I would come to work and see which one of the staff would show up - yes, there were that many people that just didnt return to work because of the docs attitudes. This came to be a running joke among some of us - who is going to return on Monday??? The day I was able to turn in my resignation was such a relief and I never regretted it for a minute. The funny thing is - when I run into those docs at meetings - they treat me with respect that they never showed me at the office.

 

My current position - I really do like. I love my patients and for the most part, I get along with the SP's. There is a lot of laughter and joking around in the office. The pay is low -but this is primary care in rural KY. Some days I think of my PA/NP friends doing specialty work in the city and hear about their salary and wonder why I am doing this. But, I know that who you work with can make all the difference in the world about how happy you are in your job. I certainly learned that from the Cardiology docs - whose main goal was to point out how incompetent you are.

 

JM - good luck with your clinic. Good for you!

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This is a tough one. I think it's especially sticky to be in the position of wanting to leave, but at the same time needing a reference.... but then, if you need a reference, then your SP or employer obviously knows you're looking elsewhere...

 

I've had to leave 2 positions so far, and both were bad situations. I was working part time, and maybe that makes it some easier, I'm not sure. The first was my very first job out of school. I negotiated the job before I was even finished, so thought I had everything all set up. SP was an arrogant hand and plastic surgeon who wanted help but really didn't have a game plan for how to use a PA in the office, and it just didn't work. Truth was, I should have spoken up MUCH sooner about what could and should have been done differently. But I had plans to move out of state, and was just going to let it come to a natural end. He called me at home on a Saturday morning and said "things just aren't working out." I told him I was moving anyway, so it made it easier. He never did pay me the 2 weeks he said he would, and I let it go. I asked if I could use him a reference and he agreed, but then once I was out of state and applying for other positions, I thought better of asking for a reference.

 

The next situation was again another part time gig, and a real mess. I posted about it a couple of times on this forum because I couldn't believe I managed to get myself into such a mess. SP was weird from the get go, and the little voice in my head told me there was something very "off" about the practice, but I rationalized it by telling myself that it was just 2 days per week, close enough to home that I could take my kid to school, etc, but again, it just didn't work. The worst was the day I showed up and there were 3 investigators from the Board of Medical Examiners there to "investigate." They assured me that my practice was not restricted and that I was not under investigation, but I could only handle it for a few weeks and then gave my notice, saying that my other part time job was going full time (which it did actually.) Turns out my SP in that situation had done some inappropriate things with female patients, and had a hard drive full of porn and pictures of all his female patients' feet - pics that he had apparently taken with his cell phone in the exam rooms.

 

I don't know how I manage to get myself into these messes, but as a new grad it wasn't hard. I hope that when I decide to change things the next time that I'll be smarter . I have also managed to line up some outside references, which should help the next time....

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Cat, that sounds a little childish (to say the least) on his part. Why didn't he just tell you not to come back?

I think his choice to react this way was due to the Vicodin use...and probably other narcotics also. Nothing like a little addiction problem to bring out the worst in people! Of course, this added a completely separate layer of professional ethics for me as a clinician as I felt some responsibility to protect patients from a provider who was disabled due to drug use.

 

I think one of the biggest challenges of leaving a decent job for decent reasons is to avoid the blame game. When you leave a job, it is natural for the leaved (meaning the old employer) to take it as a personal rejection. Therefore, the temptation is for them to demonize the leaver. "Why didn't you talk to me months ago if you weren't happy here."

 

Absolutely! I'm a great believer in frequent litmus test with an employer to see if all expectations are being met and to work through problems. However,we all know that in dysfunctional practices this doesn't happen and once things get to the point of resignation that nothing can salvage the relationship.

 

In those instances where there is an amicable separation ,one just hopes that employers can shed the ego and be supportive and respectful of an employees personal choices for departure. I've had such departures from employers and it can be done.

 

Hope you departure is a good one with a happy ending! Best wishes in your new business!

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Gee Cat I hope he got the help he so desperately needed, I'm sure your PA life improved dramatically after that. Did you ever find out what happened to him? He still can't be eating those Vicodin....

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Gee Cat I hope he got the help he so desperately needed, I'm sure your PA life improved dramatically after that. Did you ever find out what happened to him? He still can't be eating those Vicodin....

 

Marilyn:

He did indeed get help for his addiction. Ran into him many years later....he was gracious and friendly.

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Marilyn:

He did indeed get help for his addiction. Ran into him many years later....he was gracious and friendly.

Hmmm, must have switched to benzos :>)

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I have created a bit of my own 'residency' having moved through 4 jobs in 9 years.

 

I have learned the most important time of your employement is the last month or two (after you give notice)

 

This is likely the time the bosses will be watching you the closest and forming their lasting opinion about you. I have always made it a point to work harder and longer in these times and make sure I impress them with my professionalism - I have no control over what actions they take but I certainly have control over my own. It has paid off in spades as I have had offers to come back to work for them in 2/4 jobs and talk with most my past SP's somewhat frequently......

 

CONGRATS on the loan!!!!!!!!!!!! I am still working on the business plan........ slow but steady.....

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The problem with leaving a job is... if it was a really good job with mature and professional folks, you're less likely to want to leave. The jobs that bear leaving usually do so in large part because of the work environment: if I have a great boss, a ridiculous job or task gets that much more bearable.

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I've noticed my SPs going through a version of the "Four Stages of Grief". At first notice, they were very kind and supportive. Then one of them went through a rage stage and then yesterday they cornered me and wanted to negotiate what it would take to get me to stay. I just wish we could move on.

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My first job was with a nephrology clinic. I was seeing 60 dialysis patients a day, going back in forth between clinics. I went on bed rest for maternity and it was never the same since. They were all major hot heads, one doc even kicked his cart full of charts b/c he was so mad! I came back and they said, "While you were gone we were seeing 120 dialysis pts a day, so now you will too". I did this for a year and calculated how much money I was bringing in for them, it was over 6 figures a MONTH! I negotiated a salary of $65K a year to $86K and they laughed in my face, so I gave them my notice. I told them I would stay until March (it was Nov), that way they could train a new PA, etc. On Dec 23rd, they sat me down and said "Your last day will be Dec 31st, it will just be "cleaner" that way for our payroll books". I was so angry! My new job didn't start til March, so I called my new employer and begged to start in Feb. It turns out they didn't want to pay me my 4 weeks of vacation at my old job in January to go on a medical mission to Ecuador, so they just let me go early.

 

My second job was easy, my husband got a job in another city. They gave me a nice plaque for service of 2 1/2 years at the community health center. I was sad to leave. I did get my $86K at the community health center that I had asked for at my specialty private clinic- who would of thought a community clinic would go for it but a private practice wouldn't? crazy....

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Hmmm, must have switched to benzos :>)

 

Possible ;>)....OR..he could be one of those who displays the Jekyl/Hyde syndrome that I have observed with quite a few folks over the years. Anyone else know this syndrome: In social settings they are affable,normal and downright nice....but once they step foot in the workplace a darkness takes over characterized by egomanical, inconsiderate, tyrannical behaviors.

I've always found this split personality rather disturbing and have made it a point to always ask staff and ex employees about the temperament of any potential employer.

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