“When resigning, must I work one day extra if requested by my employer?”

Question: I work part-time, three days a week. I do not work on weekends or Fridays. By the terms of my job, I am obligated to give at least four weeks notice when resigning.

On Monday, December 17, I have my four weeks notice of resigning, which stated that my last day of work would be Thursday, January 13th, since I don’t work Fridays.

My employer told me that this was not acceptable, that I needed to work Monday, January 17, to fulfill my obligations. Is this correct?  

            Lynne
         Delhi, New York

Answer: Dear Lynn, Though your question seems quite simple, it illustrates two important points regarding “workplace navigation.”

First, it depends on what you and your employer mean by “week.” My review of the calendar, and calculation of four weeks suggests to me that you are correct, IF “week” means “work week,” that is “Monday through Sunday.” On the other hand, IF “week” means “seven days in a row,” then your employer may be right. As you can see, either of you may be correct. In a “perfect world,” you and your employer would have agreed, when you started your job, what the two of you meant by “week.” However, that would not be expected, as such a fine distinction is rarely discussed by employees and employers. Still, it illustrates how two minds can have two views – both reasonable – about one little word.

Second, when resigning, why “burn a bridge,” unless you have to? I suggest that, unless it causes a significant hardship to you, why don’t you show grace, understanding, maturity and “working wisdom” and work that extra day, in order not to “burn bridges” with your former employer? You never know if and when you will want to return to work for them, or you will need a favor, or you will want a reference, etc. Whenever possible, keep a relation on its best footing, because it may be valuable to you in the future. Of course, if you can’t possibly work that extra day, then perhaps you could offer a compromise by agreeing to work the day before that, or the day after. In any event, try to be positive, for it will probably pay off one day in the future.

Hope this provides you with the answer you needed. I am confident it is the “best answer” to your question.

Due to requests of many blog visitors, in this New Year of 2011 we will be offering telephone coaching and mentoring for situations like yours, where people feel rushed, and feel they cannot wait for the posting of answers to their questions. Look for details to be posted soon.

          Best, Al Sklover   

© 2011 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.