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She quit, but the boss said she couldn’t leave

Q. I got a new job, and I’m planning on starting in two weeks. I resigned and my boss said I can’t leave! Is this legal? She told me I need to stay at least six weeks to train my colleague and create a user manual for my TBD replacement. Can I still leave? And wouldn’t it be awkward if I go back to my new job and postpone the start date? I’m ready to start literally today.

A. Wow, this vaguely reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where George breaks up with his girlfriend and she won’t leave. You basically gave your boss two weeks’ notice, which is standard.

Involve HR and plan your exit for the end of those two weeks. In the meantime, do what you can to train your colleague and create a user manual. The keywords are: “Do what you can.” Do your best as you’re tying up loose ends to leave things on a positive note. You don’t owe your boss more time, especially since you already committed to a new employer.

Yes, you can still leave.

If the situation were reversed and your boss fired you and you really wanted to stay, would your employer let you stay for four or six additional weeks? My point exactly. Be professional, light and polite … and at the end of the two weeks, your time is done there.

Q. I’m interviewing for a seasonal retail gig. The only thing is that the hours overlap. I need the money, but I work remotely in sales. Would anyone know I’m gone? The last two hours of the day I would be commuting to the part-time gig (which is set to end after the holidays).

A. Take my answer as information, not advice, and you can do with it as you wish, but I don’t recommend overlapping jobs. When you’re paid by your full-time job, you should be present regardless of where it’s located. You’re committed, focused and engaged 100% on that job, no distractions, no other gigs. The converse is true, too: When you’re on your retail job, you should be completely focused and engaged in that role, too.

But, no they definitely shouldn’t overlap even if you don’t think you’ll get caught, even if they’re two completely different types of jobs. Keeping them separate is simply the right thing to do.

Talk to your new supervisor in retail and explain the hours and that you have a full-time commitment up to a specific time daily. Your new boss will hopefully appreciate your commitment, honesty and transparency in that job, which, in turn, shows you’ll be responsible and transparent in this new role.

If you’re concerned about losing the gig because of these hours, rely on my latest favorite mantra: “What’s meant for you will not pass you by.” If this gig is meant to be, it will happen and if it’s not meant to be, it simply won’t happen because you’re cutting corners at your main job.

Perhaps you can make up hours at the end of the day or on weekends, but be aware of not burning your candle at both ends. Even though this retail gig is seasonal, sometimes they extend beyond the season, which sounds like the incoming paychecks will be welcome. But just be sure to frequently monitor your professional gas tank so you’re not constantly depleted (and this is in addition to typical holiday frenzy).

Tribune News Service

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