What's that you say - you just felt a chill run down your spine at the very thought of giving notice at a stable and not fleeing the exact same day? You are already fearing for Ms. V's life, knowing that I plan to leave her in the hands of the incompetents for another 30 days?
Ha ha, yes. The dreaded THIRTY DAYS NOTICE.
(here is a soundtrack you can play this week if you aren't in the office reading this on company time. I have always liked this song, even though I have absolutely no idea what this guy is mumbling on about, other than the "30 Days" part. Pretend it is about shitty boarding situations).
Now, I know I did touch upon this subject way back somewhere in the blog... but I totally forget where, or what I said, and so please forgive me if I repeat myself. But then, really, it is a topic that begs to be repeated. Because if you have a horse, and you have boarded this horse... there has been a time when you have lived through the 30 days notice. And actually, if you have owned a horse for any length of time, you have probably repeated it yourself too.
There is nothing more awkward than saying to the barn owner, and indirectly, to all of their existing customers once they hear you are jumping ship... "see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya". Which, unless you have a pretty rock solid reason for leaving, is the way the message comes across - regardless of how you try to finesse it.
Now I do want to point out that this is not just a dumpy stable problem. I have left very very nice barns, and the story is the same. The minute word is on the street, other disgruntled boarders (even ones that haven't bothered to talk to you for the last 5 months and you are surprised to find that they even know your name ) come crawling out of the woodwork to commiserate with you about how much THEY wish THEY were leaving as well.
And these stories aren't only told to your face - they are told behind your back too. Before you know it, you are some sort of folk hero who has pushed all of the injustices and crappy stable management in the barn owners fockin' face and has suddenly morphed into a ballsy boarding renegade Wonder Woman, with everything but the cape and boobs to fill the suit, when all you have really done is handed over your last cheque, along with a sniveling lame "it's not you, it's me" type tale and then tried to lay low for the next thirty days.
|I know you don't put his boots on for turnout. Don't make me use the lasso of truth.|
It is tempting to blame this lack of professionalism on the fact that some players in horse industry (yes, barn owners and boarders too) lack professionalism. However, my experience has been that the work world is exactly the same. When you quit a job, the very best thing a company can do is lock you in your office immediately until they can round up your blackberry, laptop and company credit card and pry all three out of your evil claws, then escort you to the door with their foot on your ass, taking the "two weeks notice" hit and paying you out to get the hell out. This puts them in the driver's seat to post an ambiguous "pursuing other opportunities" HR notice that no one is quite sure is related to firing or quitting.
The worst thing possible that a company can do is to keep you around for the next two weeks, (spreading dissent unintentionally as the people who wish they could get their shit together and quit too - but just don't have the skills or balls to do so - throw you luncheon parties and bring you cupcakes, and write cryptic witty Facebook posts to honour your saucy nature). But this is what companies typically choose to do. Bad move.
Really, if your documentation is in such a mess that they can't figure out what the hell you did in a day without you actually being there - what difference will two weeks of "responsibility transfer" make. They should have started with that "keep your records in a state such that, if you won the lottery and never came back, we could soilder on without you" mantra long before you decided to quit. (This used to be the "got hit by a bus and died" mantra, but apparently this is not politically correct). Both offices and boarding stables should give you your money and send you on your way, and end the pain quickly for all parties involved.
But Curmudgeon - why did you bother staying? What was the advantage - why not just pack it in?
Yah, I would usually agree with you totally on this matter. But the thing about MVA wasn't that they were bad people. In fact, I never got this vibe at all. They were just clueless people. Clueless people who wanted to make relatively pain free money, and who probably saw me as a pain. By this time, we all knew that we didn't belong together. I was fully confident that a huge sigh of relief was more likely than any hard feelings, and that no covert sabotage missions would be undertaken. (This would have taken thought and planning, and would have been just too much work to coordinate). Seeing me walk out the door would be like watching the pus spurt from a non-life threatening but totally irritating boil or something. Ahhh....so strangely satisfying.
And in the months I had spent there, I had learned how to work around their cluelessness to the point that it really didn't phase me anymore. I had developed a little network of friends that took off Ms.V's halter (that was constantly left on), sprinkled some shavings when I couldn't make it out (knowing I would return the favour), and filled her bucket at night. She would be fine.
There were two distinct advantages to digging in and staying for the dreaded Thirty Days.
First - the thought of handing over $400 free dollars (or whatever the board was, I don't really remember) to the incompetents and leaving the scene really bugged me. If Ms.V's life was in danger, or the unpleasantness of the situation made matters unbearable - fine. But that wasn't the case, and so - they would at least have to work for their money (using the term loosely here) for the next 30 days.
Secondly - as much as the place drove me insane, Ms.V was quite happy there - horses like routine and sameness. And, since she was now turning 3 and I was ready to start riding her on a regular basis - I figured that some routineness might be a nice compliment to go along with the WTF moments she was likely to experience as we went from longing to riding. Moving to a new barn AND saddling up might actually be more stressful to her, even if it would be nicer for me. And it is all about the horses. Right?
And so, while taking my weekly lessons in the land of Lilliput, I got serious with the business of putting a solid "30 days" on Ms. V at the same time.