A thing hiring people tend to forget is that not only are they interviewing you, you’re interviewing them.
I worked very briefly for a company the last month of 2011, where the company failed the interview (from my point of view) but being unemployed, and against my better judgement, I took the job, hoping it wouldn’t be that bad. The company was complete chaos. Executive management berated employees, and whipped them to work longer hours, and weekends. They blamed employees for their own failings. I started getting drawn up into the dysfunctional vortex after a few weeks, and facing the threat of unexpectedly losing a weekend for which I had made plans which cost me money already, I drew up and turned in my resignation, and walked out. Surprised I wouldn’t give notice, I pointed out we were still in the “probationary period” of the employment relationship, and I did not feel notice would be mutually beneficial. The “probationary agreement” I signed recognized I would not get full full benefits for 90 days, and could be terminated at any point without notice. Surely they didn’t think that probationary period only worked one way?
I saved my weekend, got to take the trip I paid for. I had been talking to a friend whose company I had invested in years ago, who had suddenly developed a need for my skills. He had agreed to bring me on the day before, whenever I wanted. I never got so much as a call from an HR person at the company I left, telling me this was not an uncommon occurrence. I never thought I’d just walk out on a job, but having spend the better part of 5 of the 10 years at my last job putting up with abuse from a sadistic CEO, I wasn’t about to go through that again.
There’s a lot of etiquette out there that suggests you don’t do this or that, but I think that depends on a mutual respect, which is often absent among many employers. One bit of advice I give young people starting out in their careers, especially if they are particularly skilled or talented, is don’t take shit from employers, and don’t pretend courtesy is a one way street, where you have to be courteous to them, but they can abuse the hell out of you.
Fortunately, that part of my life is behind me. One of the reasons I invested in the I work for now company was because of the philosophy on how to treat employees, and how to build a company without selling your soul. I’ve known the CEO here for a long time, and if he gets uppity, I think I’m still like the 3rd largest shareholder of the company :) But we’re a small outfit, with ambitions to grow bigger. Speaking of which, I’m currently shopping for commercial real-estate, particularly a kind of industrial or warehouse space. If anyone knows about that process and can offer advice, I’d be grateful. Especially gotchas, or things to watch out for.