I put in my two weeks notice. Actually, it was a 3-months notice. I had been planning to quit for some time, so I felt it was the least I could do. I felt responsible to my team and didn’t want to step on any toes or burn any bridges or smash any pumpkins.
The clock ticked. I had two months to go at the company. Laziness and impatience was starting to take hold. I took unnecessarily long lunches by myself and spent too much time on Quora writing about whatever — anything but doing my actual job.
Then we had a big client call in. They’re a big entertainment company that starts with the letter D. They wanted us to pitch them on a project; it was potentially very lucrative and cash flow we could use during our dry spell.
I hadn’t told them I was leaving the company yet. I was going to tell all my clients in 3–4 weeks from now and do a proper handover. My boss wanted me to go in for the pitch because he knew I could get the deal done; I had a great track record with them and they liked me.
The problem is that I would also be responsible for running the project…nobody else could really do it. We had too many new starters and nobody else on my team would be trusted to do it (at least from the clients eyes).
Here was the dilemma: I could likely win the pitch, but there’s no way I could finish the project. I was going to be leaving in less than two months. If I told them I was leaving, that would be fine, but there was almost a 100% chance that we would lose the project unless I committed to working on it.
My boss told me to do the pitch; we needed the money. And I could tell them I was quitting after we had the deal. If they got pissed, I could ask for forgiveness later…
I felt this was ethically wrong. I would be prioritizing profit at the expense of our client relationship and the truth. I knew we needed the money, but I couldn’t justify it. I flat out told my boss, no I can’t do it. I’m telling them the truth.
I did the pitch with another manager who would be responsible for the project. On the call I told the client the truth… I was quitting and thus could not commit; they were disappointed I was leaving, but appreciated my honesty.
They grilled the other manager. He was new. It went OK, he handled it well. But we didn’t get the deal. No surprise. But we kept our honesty and integrity as a firm. My boss was a bit annoyed, but he got over it and respected my decision in the end. And I felt good.
I stood my ground.
I didn’t lie or piss off the president of a global company; I made one less enemy.
I followed my own instincts and took my own advice.