Why sabotage when you could just no-show?

  • Thread starter ShawnD
  • Start date
In summary, people are fired immediately then paid for 2 weeks after that (so you don't sabotage stuff). If you quit your job, you don't get squat.
  • #1
ShawnD
Science Advisor
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Some places have laws where your employer needs to pay out a certain amount before they can fire you. The "2 weeks notice" is a myth; in reality people are fired immediately then paid for 2 weeks after that (so you don't sabotage stuff). If you quit your job, you don't get squat. This makes for an interesting situation when people want to jump jobs. While working, you apply for other jobs, then quit your old job once you are hired for the new job. If you're a real go-getter, you try to get fired from your old job once your new job is secure so you still get 2 weeks pay for a job you would be quitting anyway.
Some of you might remember one episode of the Simpsons where Lisa starts ranting on TV rather than discussing some proposition, and the program director keeps her on the air and says "wait, I'm trying to get fired." Seinfeld had a similar situation where George ended up dragging some New York Yankees trophy behind his car while shouting through a megaphone in order to get fired.

So here's the question: why not just call in sick like 20 days in a row? Won't the company still fire you for taking way too much time off work, and don't you still get the 2 weeks pay in that situation?
 
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  • #2
At some point in your life, you will be asked by a potential employer whether you have ever been fired for cause. You will not like their response to your "Yes".
 
  • #3
You could be legitimately sick for 20 days, and your employer would be in deep legal doodoo if they fire you because of an illness. Many states have laws which limit the actions employers can take against employees who are ill, or say they are ill. They would probably just put you on short-term disability and begin demanding medical documentation.

- Warren
 
  • #4
TVP45 said:
At some point in your life, you will be asked by a potential employer whether you have ever been fired for cause. You will not like their response to your "Yes".

People who tell the truth during job interviews are called 'unemployed' around here.

chroot you're probably right. Thanks for the input
 
  • #5
People who tell the truth during job interviews are called 'unemployed' around here.

I know it's passe', but people will generally figure out whether you're honest. That's a coin you only get to spend once in your life; on't squander it on two weeks pay.
 
  • #6
lol oh yeah? tell that to the SUCCESSFUL politicians/lawyers/business men in general.
 
  • #7
If you define success in terms of money and power, you are correct. Think, though, of poor Simon Cameron. He was competent, gifted in several areas, did much to win the Civil War, yet will always be remembered as the man "who wouldn't steal a red hot stove".
 
  • #8
My friend was trapped in a job where, to deal with the high rate of staff leaving after new management took over, they put everyone on a 3month notice period, and banned any time off during this 3month. So you couldn't resign and then start interviewing, you had to already have a new job lined up where they would wait 3months for you to start.
It did lead to a lot of creative methods to get fired.
 
  • #9
mgb_phys said:
My friend was trapped in a job where, to deal with the high rate of staff leaving after new management took over, they put everyone on a 3month notice period, and banned any time off during this 3month. So you couldn't resign and then start interviewing, you had to already have a new job lined up where they would wait 3months for you to start.
It did lead to a lot of creative methods to get fired.

Yikes. Having a 3 month notice period sets off a lot of alarms, and I would probably look for work elsewhere for that reason alone.
 
  • #10
I don't know where you live. In most (perhaps all) US states, employment is "at will" which means you may resign with no notice at all. Generally, most people offer two weeks and some employers will consider you ineligble for rehire if you do not (the equivalent of a bad reference). Employers can also, if they chose, accept your resignation immediately rather than have you around for two weeks.
 
  • #11
ShawnD said:
Some of you might remember one episode of the Simpsons where Lisa starts ranting on TV rather than discussing some proposition, and the program director keeps her on the air and says "wait, I'm trying to get fired."

And you think it's because he wanted 2 weeks pay for free, and not because it was making fun of movies/shows where people let the crazy person (Like Lisa) talk in order to be heard, when in reality if someone let that happen they would get fired?
 
  • #12
ShawnD said:
People who tell the truth during job interviews are called 'unemployed' around here.

You can't be serious...?!? In my lab, if we find someone has lied on a resume or in an interview, they will be shown to the door. Then they will be called "unemployed, due to being fired for cause."
 
  • #13
i would think a lot of employers would want to talk to the last people you worked for to check what kind of employee you were. you could just lie and say you were backpacking through europe the last 5 years but to some employers that's as bad as having a poor reference.

if your comfertable lieing your pants off to get ahead while always having the chance of being cought and losing whatever it was you were lieing to get/maintain, then it might be worth it. for many people it is worth it. for most people it isn't worth the trouble and they find it easyer to put up with BS, doing good work anyway, and giving 2 weeks notice to get a positive reference instead of lieing to prevent having a negative reference.
 
  • #14
Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing
- Hub
 
  • #15
Past employer references may be over rated nowadays.

In an ethics class I once took, one of my classmates worked in an HR office. The only thing she was allowed to say about past employees to prospective employers was to verify the dates the employee worked there. Companies are afraid to get dragged into a lawsuit by trashing a past employee's performance even if they can back up their appraisal - it gains them nothing and is just a pain to have to fight about.

Moments later, she was adamant about the dangers of lying on an application because one of her duties was to call an applicant's past employers to find out about the applicant's past performance.

Somehow, she was the only one in the class that missed the irony.
 
  • #16
I'd venture that 90% of employers will say nothing except the dates of employment.

- Warren
 
  • #17
devil-fire said:
i would think a lot of employers would want to talk to the last people you worked for to check what kind of employee you were.
I'll go as far as saying 99% of 'references' are actually just friends rather than the person's last boss. Can you imagine 1 scenario where you, as an employer, would give someone a positive reference?
Case 1 - You fire them. You will not be their reference.
Case 2 - They quit with 2 weeks notice, leaving your department short staffed, which makes you look bad when productivity slumps until the new guy is trained properly (could take months). You will not be their reference. At my last job, the boss was searching for a PhD chemist to replace the one who quit... 3 months ago. Do you think the old PhD chemist will get a good reference when his quitting basically killed the entire research department for 3 months, costing the company literally thousands of dollars? You might as well smash the GC with a baseball bat and do all the damage at one time instead; it's the same thing.

Feel free to give 1 scenario where you can get a positive reference from your boss.
 
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  • #18
ShawnD said:
Feel free to give 1 scenario where you can get a positive reference from your boss.

I quit a job to be a stay-home mom. When I went back into the workforce, that company wasn't hiring (in fact, they were laying off people). So I had to look elsewhere for a job. I used several references from that company; all gave glowing recommendations.

I ended up working in an R&D lab. The job and I weren't a good fit (it was a very repetitive job in a department that was underfunded). I told my boss, he understood how I felt, and why. He was an ethical guy. I used him as a reference for my current job - and got a great recommendation.

I have a great job now. Maybe I've just been lucky that my bosses have been good guys.
 
  • #19
lisab said:
Maybe I've just been lucky that my bosses have been good guys.

That's basically it.

I once quit a job at Wendy's and the manager stated that my quitting makes his turnover statistics look bad, and it would cost him a bonus worth several hundred dollars. He would not give a good reference because I personally cost him money.

I also had jobs at 2 small drug companies. Both bosses (company owners) were very angry when I quit because they take it as some kind of personal insult that I don't want to work at that company anymore.

All of my current references are coworkers I really liked.
 
  • #20
I don't know the laws in Canada, but in the US where it is common to have "employment at will", if an employee is fired, they get paid for nothing but actual days already worked. There is no severance pay for being fired.
 
  • #21
ShawnD said:
I'll go as far as saying 99% of 'references' are actually just friends rather than the person's last boss. Can you imagine 1 scenario where you, as an employer, would give someone a positive reference?
Case 1 - You fire them. You will not be their reference.
Case 2 - They quit with 2 weeks notice, leaving your department short staffed, which makes you look bad when productivity slumps until the new guy is trained properly (could take months). You will not be their reference. At my last job, the boss was searching for a PhD chemist to replace the one who quit... 3 months ago. Do you think the old PhD chemist will get a good reference when his quitting basically killed the entire research department for 3 months, costing the company literally thousands of dollars? You might as well smash the GC with a baseball bat and do all the damage at one time instead; it's the same thing.

Feel free to give 1 scenario where you can get a positive reference from your boss.

1) Laid off due to budget cuts; 2) Moving up for a higher position when such positions aren't available within your company; 3) Any academic appointment (3 references required, and if one of them isn't your current employer, i.e., Dept. Chair, it immediately raises alarm bells that there is something going on that you haven't notified them you're planning to leave, including the possibility you're not actually planning to leave but just shopping for better offers to negotiate a raise).

I've never NOT had a reference from a previous employer. Whether it was my first job in high school or those I've held in academia, I've never left under circumstances where there was any problem getting a good reference from a previous employer. Part of it is keeping your employer informed well enough in advance of your goals, and if they mean moving on to other employment, if you let them know you're looking for new jobs before you've actually found one, they have plenty of time to hire someone to replace you without leaving them in the lurch.

For jobs where there's a lot of turnover, 2 weeks notice is considered a courtesy, not required. My friend who works in a law firm tells me there's no such thing there. The day someone says they have a new job offer is their last day on the job...that's to prevent them from having time to steal clients to take with them. In a lot of academic jobs, one may end up giving as much as 6 months notice because job searches are prolonged processes, and even once an offer is made, it takes time to prepare for your arrival, such as renovation of laboratory space for your needs, and people usually finish up an academic year at one place, move over the summer, and have their feet firmly on the ground by the time classes start in the Fall. This is also done because sometimes searches fall through and have to be done again (i.e., the top candidate takes a different offer).
 
  • #22
ShawnD said:
Feel free to give 1 scenario where you can get a positive reference from your boss.

Bill_Clinton_Biography_2.jpg
 
  • #23
In my industry, because clients are involved and stealing clients is one of the reasons you are attractive to a competitor, current employment is never verified. They are stealing you away and don't want to raise any red flags. They may ask to see a paystub and proof of ranking, to verify you are what you claim, but that's it.

Also, it's as your friend said, in certain industries, you cannot give advanced notice. I know people that gave notice and were escorted out of the building immediately after packing their things by security. Of course anyone with a brain will have already taken anything they felt of intellectual value. When I left my last job 2 years ago, I was asked to stay a month in order to transition my clients and teach others what I knew. I had never been asked to sign a "non-compete" or "intellectual property" document, so I could have left them high and dry. I did have to go through an "exit interview", however. This is a type of "debriefing".
 
  • #24
Evo said:
Also, it's as your friend said, in certain industries, you cannot give advanced notice. I know people that gave notice and were escorted out of the building immediately after packing their things by security. Of course anyone with a brain will have already taken anything they felt of intellectual value.

Yeah, I asked him why people don't just copy down all the contact info for their clients when they're starting to look for jobs before they notify the partners. It doesn't seem it would be all that hard to find ways around those issues if you prepare for a job move before you actually get an offer. I don't think I ever got an answer.
 
  • #25
Rather different here, employees are 'protected' by general labor agreements (CAO) and individual labor contracts. Firing is a complex business with legal consequences, It includes, at any rate, a few months notice.

But sabotage appears also not to be a factor as indeed a neat, clean CV / resume is very important for applying for a next job.
 
  • #26
Evo said:
In my industry, because clients are involved and stealing clients is one of the reasons you are attractive to a competitor, current employment is never verified. They are stealing you away and don't want to raise any red flags. They may ask to see a paystub and proof of ranking, to verify you are what you claim, but that's it.

Also, it's as your friend said, in certain industries, you cannot give advanced notice. I know people that gave notice and were escorted out of the building immediately after packing their things by security. Of course anyone with a brain will have already taken anything they felt of intellectual value. When I left my last job 2 years ago, I was asked to stay a month in order to transition my clients and teach others what I knew. I had never been asked to sign a "non-compete" or "intellectual property" document, so I could have left them high and dry. I did have to go through an "exit interview", however. This is a type of "debriefing".

That idea of getting a departing employee out of the building as quickly as possible for the reasons you noted is one of the lamest things I've seen companies do. You see some companies do this for layoffs, as well. The layoffs are held in secrecy until the day the employees are laid off. Their laid off with no notice and escorted out of the building as soon as possible.

If the lay offs are cyclic or you're likely to have deal with past empolyees again, what are the odds those past employees will totally despise that company?

In a one company town or a really large market, a company can probably get away with that to a certain extent, but surely the remaining employees start to feel very paranoid about how the company deals with its employees. It seems to me the company is just encouraging the remaining employees to take a "protect myself at all costs" outlook where they do start hording anything they feel of intellectual value.
 
  • #27
BobG said:
That idea of getting a departing employee out of the building as quickly as possible for the reasons you noted is one of the lamest things I've seen companies do. You see some companies do this for layoffs, as well. The layoffs are held in secrecy until the day the employees are laid off. Their laid off with no notice and escorted out of the building as soon as possible.
It's done to prevent sabotage. Most people are not thrilled to be fired, especially when it could mean going bankrupt if they're already in financial trouble. It's not hard to see why destroying as much of the company as possible would bring at least some comfort when they're basically doing the same thing to you by firing you. Intent may be different, but the results are the same.

In a one company town or a really large market, a company can probably get away with that to a certain extent, but surely the remaining employees start to feel very paranoid about how the company deals with its employees. It seems to me the company is just encouraging the remaining employees to take a "protect myself at all costs" outlook where they do start hording anything they feel of intellectual value.
That's how Gilead (drug company) runs. My city doesn't have a shortage of jobs, but it has a huge surplus of chemists, so companies like Gilead get to pick and choose the ones they want, and the turnover rate is incredibly high. When I was working there, the amount of backstabbing was insane. People would spy on each other and report everything to the boss just to make themselves look better at the expense of others. People would even sabotage tests being performed by others just so they could be assigned the task of running the test again but getting the correct answer.

The lack of job security made people insane. Where else do you find chemists sabotaging each other and spreading rumors? Where else do people write a 'personal' email and BCC a copy to the boss (BCC is when the recipient does not know somebody else was getting a copy).

if you let them know you're looking for new jobs before you've actually found one, they have plenty of time to hire someone to replace you without leaving them in the lurch.
Never do this. Every person I know who has tried this has been fired. Some people are not replaceable, and that's what you're talking about, but the majority of people are replaceable. Filing clerks are very replaceable, chemists without some kind of specialization can be replaced within 1 day, physicists are a dime a dozen, engineers can be a bit hard to replace but even then it might only take a week to find one then a few weeks more to train him. If you can't land a job within maybe 3-4 weeks of telling your boss that you are looking, you can expect to be fired.

Moonbear is probably right about getting a good reference after layoffs, but I disagree with getting a good reference when you quit to move up. It's still seen as quitting and leaving them with the task of replacing you.
 
  • #28
ShawnD said:
Do you think the old PhD chemist will get a good reference when his quitting basically killed the entire research department for 3 months, costing the company literally thousands of dollars? You might as well smash the GC with a baseball bat and do all the damage at one time instead; it's the same thing.
I got told this once when I quit, how I was irreplaceable, it would destroy the company, etc.
I asked why, in the case, had I been getting 1% 'below cost of leaving' raises - apparently that was company policy.
 
  • #29
mgb_phys said:
I got told this once when I quit, how I was irreplaceable, it would destroy the company, etc.
I asked why, in the case, had I been getting 1% 'below cost of leaving' raises - apparently that was company policy.

This seems common among garbage companies. Gilead's maximum yearly raise was 5% when I worked there, but the inflation rate in Alberta at the time was just over 5%. I raised this issue at the monthly department meeting, and the boss was shocked that somebody would be upset about everyone in the department getting yearly pay cuts. How dare they ask for at least the same pay as last year even though they are more qualified than they were last year?
 
  • #30
Andre said:
Rather different here, employees are 'protected' by general labor agreements (CAO) and individual labor contracts. Firing is a complex business with legal consequences, It includes, at any rate, a few months notice.
That must make it rather terrifying to actually start a business and hire anyone there.
 
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  • #31
I have to say, this discussion is very anti-employer... do THAT many people have such horrible work environments?! Previous employer information on your resume is just for verification of your dates of hiring and termination (and perhaps where it was involuntary or voluntary). It's doubtful that if some random person calls HR they will give out specific information about your employment there.

If you're not liking your job and want to go looking, that is your right. If you did well at your job, you will (or at least should) have some professional references (boss or co-workers) that you can provide on your resume if the company interviewing you have questions about your work-ethic, or job-related skills and knowledge. It is of course a good idea to have references if they are field-specific and/or industry recognized. Providing contact info on your boss that didn't like you is of course a bad idea, but so is "not telling the truth" on your resume.

I don't for one minute believe the "people who tell the truth are called unemployed" mantra; nor do I believe the idea that NO boss will ever give you a positive review if you quit to go work somewhere else. Today's work force is very dynamic, and young professionals' largest leaps these days are usually achieved by applying at a different company. The days of working for the same company for 40 years and then retiring are all but gone.
 
  • #32
mheslep said:
That must make it rather terrifying to actually start a business and hire anyone there.

Doesn't seem so. Probably just cultural differences.
 

Related to Why sabotage when you could just no-show?

1. Why would someone sabotage instead of just not showing up?

There could be a variety of reasons why someone would choose to sabotage rather than simply not showing up. It could be a deliberate attempt to cause harm or damage, a desire for revenge, a lack of communication skills, or a way to assert power or control over a situation.

2. Is sabotage a common occurrence in the scientific community?

While it is not a common occurrence, sabotage can happen in any field, including the scientific community. However, most scientists are committed to ethical and professional conduct, and cases of sabotage are rare.

3. Can sabotage have serious consequences in the scientific world?

Yes, sabotage can have serious consequences in the scientific world. It can damage research equipment, delay or compromise experiments, and affect the validity of research results. In some cases, it can also lead to legal and ethical issues.

4. How can scientists prevent or address sabotage in their work?

To prevent sabotage, scientists can establish clear communication and expectations with their colleagues, maintain a professional and respectful work environment, and have protocols in place for handling conflicts or disputes. If sabotage does occur, it is important to address it promptly and take appropriate actions to prevent it from happening again.

5. What are the potential consequences for someone who is caught sabotaging in a scientific setting?

The consequences for someone caught sabotaging in a scientific setting can vary depending on the severity of the sabotage and the policies of the institution. It could result in disciplinary action, termination of employment, or legal consequences. In addition, their reputation and credibility within the scientific community may be negatively impacted.

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