Professional Dependencies

When I left my previous job to come to New York City, I made sure to clean up as much as possible, leave as much documented as possible, and clear up things with those who would be replacing my normal duties. I not only did this because it's the professional thing to do, I also didn't want to screw over my former bosses, much less my co-workers, since I did want to be able to maintain my friendship with many of them. Many times I saw people leave abruptly, which led to slight disorganization among the ranks for a while.

Since I only had one week to do this before I finished my non-work duties (moving, packing, saying goodbyes, etc.), and let's face it, my mind wasn't at my current job at the time due to the excitement of going to New York, there was bound to be something missing. So I kept the doors open with my former bosses and co-workers, assuring them that if they needed anything that I could help them with, to let me know so I can try to help them any way possible.

While I haven't been called a lot by my former co-workers, I still get calls from time to time from them asking how to do a certain thing, or clearing up something I didn't explain too well before I left. I also received an E-Mail from my former boss, asking if I could do some maintenance programming tasks. I has accepted, but since they didn't answer me back in time if they accepted my terms (or rather, how much I would charge them for my time spent on this), I moved on to other projects and had to decline.

Now, I don't mind helping out my friends as much as I can. But the problem is that a lot of the times I can't help for whatever reason. Maybe it's due to me having much work now like the aforementioned projects getting in the way, or I because I simply don't remember well something in particular. Whenever this happens, I feel like I'm letting others down. Chalk that up to the way I am. Whether it's a blessing or a curse, I'm still not sure yet.

Not to sound evil or anything, but although I want to help, I'm not under any obligation to do so anymore. I also think about it this way: When I arrived there, I had absolutely no help at all from the previous person doing the tasks I did, because that person wasn't there anymore (from what I heard, he left abruptly on bad terms with the company). So I had to do things on my own. There were things I had to ask about, of course. But most of the things I had to learn for myself, like the programming, what type of servers / active scripts running, etc. This wasn't by choice, it's because there was no documentation left behind, and the bosses had no clue what the other person did.

So I question myself, where does the 'professionalism' end? Should it have ended once I collected my final paycheck and walked out the door? Or is it fair to have a short 'grace period'? It puts me in a difficult position a lot of the times. I don't want to let my former co-workers (or at least the good ones) down during their times of need, but I don't want to be a crutch for them for too long. I think it's time for them to start rehab and start walking on their own again soon.

Written by

Dennis Martinez

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