“What are the ramifications of being terminated, as opposed to resigning?”

Question: After 13 years, I am leaving my current employer. I have been promoted three times during my tenure. Six months ago I got a new boss, and our people management philosophies just do not agree. He has held me accountable for things beyond my control and I now face a final 30-day warning.

My health and family life have certainly suffered during this time, and I certainly understand that I cannot go forward working for him; reassignment is not an option, either.

It really is a mutual separation. I have talked to the VP of HR about the separation. Due to my tenure, they are offering a severance package (little, but at least something), but I am not sure whether to resign or allow them to terminate me. The VP of HR recommended that I do NOT resign so as to ensure unemployment, and they have assured me that they will not challenge my unemployment claim if it became an issue.

In today’s climate, do you feel that my success in this company will be enough to overcome a “termination” in my job search? I really need the Unemployment Insurance benefits while looking for other work, but don’t fully understand the ramifications of being “terminated.”

         Denver, Colorado

Answer: Tony, the dilemma I call “Resign or Be Terminated?” is quite common. Let me tell you how I see this dilemma, and how it should be resolved: 

First, we must start off with the fact that each person, and each person’s situation, are unique. Some people have unimpressive job histories on their resume; some, like you, have a strong record of loyalty and promotions. Some people have “Rich Uncle Harry’s” to help them out in times of financial hardship, and most of us don’t. Some people have children to care for; some people don’t. Each person is unique, and each person therefore faces a unique dilemma when they face the choice of “Resign or Be Terminated.” 

Let’s look at you, and your dilemma.  No one can predict with any certainty how your being “terminated” would impact the mind of an interviewer or recruiter. And no one can predict how long it will take you to land a new job. And no one can even be sure that the fact of your being terminated will ever come up in your interview. But, one thing is for sure: you need the funds from Unemployment Insurance to get through the coming period of unemployment.

For this reason, my “vote” is that you permit your employer to “terminate” you, accept your slight severance, and do your best to get in writing that they will not contest your application for Unemployment Insurance benefits. As I often say, “Kids have the bad habit of eating . . . three times a day,” (and I do love kids.)

I recommend that “path” in good measure because you have (a) a 13-year record of loyalty, (b) three promotions, (c) a new boss, which is a tricky situation for anyone, and, frankly, (d) an honest and frank way of expressing yourself, without anger and without a threatening tone. 

I also recommend this “path” for you because almost every company these days has a strict policy of only giving out (a) title, (b) dates of employment, and, (c) if requested by the employee, last salary level. So, interviewers and recruiters have very little chance of knowing your exact “departure reason.” Additionally, you might ask some of your colleagues, or even HR, for a letter of recommendation – that you draft for them – attesting to your many good sides.  

If you are interested in obtaining a Request for Reference Letter with Three Model Reference Letters to present to your colleagues or HR, just [click here].

Just like in friendships, dating and even marriage, sometimes people grow apart. It does not mean it is anyone’s fault. Some people find their truest “love” in their second marriage.

I think you ought to move forward on your life and employment “paths” focused, (1) first, on taking care of yourself and your family – including your health – (2) second, mindful of your finances, and, (3) third, with confidence in the hard-working, open, honest, frank way you live your life, and dealing with life’s problems. 

I am not just an employment attorney, I’m an employer, too. Over the many years, some of my best employees were not a “match” for their former employers, but have been a wonderful “match” for me. I have very good reasons for believing you will find this “path” the best for you.

Hope this helps, I really do.

  My Best to You,
Al Sklover

To obtain a Complete Checklist and Model Letters for Resigning, just [click here].

We offer “50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Last Departure.” To obtain a copy, just [click here.] Delivered Instantly – By Email.

We also offer several helpful Model Letters, Memos and Checklists to help you get a New Job. To review a list of those that are available, just [click here.]

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

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