Should I Train Others Before My Contract Expires?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about training: Training people was not in my job description. What should I do? Should I train them? Is this even right or legal? Should I quit?

I am a contract worker who has led many initiatives the company. in the beginning I was somewhat promised a job, but with new management this has changed. Now my boss wants me to train old employees for things that I have learnt through my $30,000 education. After that he wants to let me go. Training people was not in my job description. I am a recent grad in a field that is forever changing and my coworkers do not have the knowledge that I do. They last went to school over a decade ago. I have five weeks left in my contract. What should I do? Should I train them? Is this even right or legal? Should I quit?

Signed, Hostage

Dear Hostage:

Your contract may be legally binding or not, and for that you would need to seek the advice of someone with knowledge about the whole issue. Most contracts have “other tasks as assigned” in them, so you probably can be asked to do training. HR may be able to help you with that aspect of it as well.If you truly refuse to train, that’s something you have to decide. But I’ll bet whether you train or not, you aren’t going to be kept as a contract worker. So, you won’t be saving your job, you’ll just be ending it with bad feelings.

Here is my thought: You only have five weeks left. That’s 20 days. Why not go out feeling positive and helping others as much as you can? You will be more likely to get a positive reference and you will have another thing to add to your resume. If you were talking five months, that would be different, but five weeks is a mere blink of an eye in work life. The last week will be wrap-up anyway, so you really only have four weeks–16 days. Think of the impact you could have personally and professionally on many people in that time.You mention your expertise and their lack of it.

Think how worried they are about learning and how much they may resent or be embarrassed about a contractual employee teaching them something they feel they should probably know, but realize they don’t. They may dread training. If you could make them feel that you respect their work history, understand their frustrations and simply want to help, think how they would feel about you? You’d be their hero in these next five weeks.If, up until now, you haven’t had a great relationship with them or even have found you don’t like them, you’ll notice a difference when you’re training them.

You will have a chance then to have a leadership role. Just asking, quite often, “How do you feel about this so far?” “Am I helping?” “Do you realize how well you’re doing?”, can help them link with you in a different way than ever before.My advice about the next five weeks is, don’t just do the time, use the time. I realize from your perspective it isn’t fair. It may be unpleasant. It will undoubtedly take extra work. But, you can do it and in the process you can go out in style instead of just having your contract expire. I hope you will do that. I wouldn’t advise it if you had a long time left and your contract was being violated in a horrendous way, but it doesn’t sound as if it is. You’re just being asked to train your replacement–a request that is made of many people in every job.

Think about this situation in some new ways and see if you can view it as a great opportunity, even though that might have not been the intention of your manager. We’d love to hear back from you about what happens over time. Best wishes in your efforts to leave with dignity and grace, gain positive reviews from many, and play a significant role in the lives of those who need your expertise.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.