It was the last day of a coworker, a fellow expat. We had been hired on the same day almost three years earlier and now he’d decided to go back to England to try his luck. I asked him if he wasn’t worried about the economy. “When it’s time it’s time.” He said. And I knew in my heart that at that moment that it was my time too. But such a big move can be scary and and it can be easy to ignore your heart when a good paycheck and a comfortable life are on the chopping block.
Perhaps to make sure I wasn’t going to back out, about 4 months before my intended departure date I told my manager that I was leaving and asked him how much notice he wanted. He said a month would be ideal but that two weeks would suffice in a pinch. I assured him he’d get it. Then every two weeks or so he’d ask me about it and I would assure him that there was no change of plan. Then, one day, he said he would really like to know so he could plan a little. I said I’d let him know in a week, it depended on my friend taking vacations with me. A week rolls around and I haven’t talked to my friend (he’d been sick) and my manager wants me to give a month’s notice. I let him know about the situation and tell him I’ll let him know Monday (it’s Friday). He explodes.
Manager: You said you’d tell me today.
Me: Yes, and now i’m telling you it’ll be one workday later.
Manager: But I need to know today.
Me: Do you need this information for any particular reason? Are you going to do something today with it?
Manager: I told the owner I’d meet with him about what to do about your position.
Me: Well, it’s a month in advance so I can just get you off the hook and email him telling him that you were under a false impression and I’ll take full responsibility. It won’t be on you.
Manager: It’s not about that. He doesn’t care. But you gave me your word, this is about personal integrity.
Me: You told me you wanted a month’s advance notice and you’re going to get it. It’s more than a month. You don’t need the information today. You asked me for a favor. I said ok. Now I’m telling you that you’ll still get your favor but one day later. And you’re telling me that, though you don’t need it, it’s about personal integrity.
Manager: Well, if you don’t want to pick a day, I’ll just pick a day for you. We’ll say that your last day is July 11.
Me: You’re firing me?
Manager: [looking shocked] No. I’m just telling you when your last day is.
Me: Isn’t that the same as firing someone?
The conversation continued in about the same way for awhile and eventually ended with his taking the high ground and letting me have till monday to decide. My mind cleared of all doubts, it was a joy to tell him.