“The Family Emergency” Syndrome
According to a study by Psychology Today, 40 % of participants admitted to telling a lie in the last 24 hours. Other studies show the % as even higher.
As someone in the People Business (aka Recruiting), I hear fibs on a daily basis. Along with getting married, buying a home and having a child, changing jobs is one of the biggest decisions an individual can make. It effects one’s happiness, financial position and overall quality of life, and should never be taken lightly.
Our internal statistics over the last 3 years show that 20 % of people who take a job quit within the first 3 months. These are individuals who have typically gone through 3-4 interviews, done extensive research on the company, discussed the job at length with their Recruiter, family, friends, Human Resources as well as the Hiring Managers and undergone a background and reference check.
Out of this 20 %, the majority state their reason for leaving as a flimsy-sounding “Family Emergency” such as a great-uncle on the East Coast who suddenly needs a caregiver or an ill niece. These messages are always delivered via text or email, adding insult to injury to both the employer and the Recruiter who have spent countless hours hiring and training employee.
At the risk of sounding callous, we all have family emergencies, births, deaths and other life events that happen in any given year, and we do not quit our jobs over it. The frequency with which these folks quit with zero notice, stating “Family Emergency” as a get out of jail free card, is perplexing, disappointing and downright unprofessional. I once had a candidate call me in tears over his “dead grandmother,” only to find out later from a friend of his that he made up the story to get out of a job he didn’t like.
If you don’t like the job, or it’s not what you expected: Please Just Tell the Truth. If nothing else, the real reason you are leaving (work environment, job not as expected, got a higher-paying offer, etc.) is helpful feedback for us and the employer, and it’s always possible that we can fix the issue for you before you choose to quit, give up your paycheck and start your search all over. If you are nervous about confrontation, start the conversation by sending an email to your boss or Recruiter to let them know you had some feedback on your new role, and hoped to set aside time to discuss within the week. A good hiring manager will be happy to do this with you, as he or she has invested in you and does not want to see you unhappy or walking out the door.
Those of us who have been in the industry for more than a few years don’t believe you anyway when you send a text quitting due to “Family Emergency”, and not only does lying hurt your credibility it is bad karma. Please tell us the truth, we can handle it.