Resigning An Account

One of my friends who runs a well-respected Denver public relations firm has had to "fire" some of his clients. He told me he never tells a problem-client it's their fault. Instead, he says, "I find another reason for parting company—that they need another perspective, for example. It's never their fault." I agree with his advice. I try not to blame clients we can no longer serve effectively.

In this case, though, it was important to let a job candidate know the rationale for our decision to stop working with him. Before mailing this letter, we explained the circumstances to our corporate client, the company that had hired us on Peter's behalf. They agreed fully with our decision to withdraw. This letter was sent certified mail with return receipt.

Dear Peter,  

The purpose of this letter is to end our relationship as outplacement consultants to you.  As of today, your work with us is completed.

We first met at the IBM facility in Boulder on May 8th at the time of your job severance and have been meeting weekly since then.  As your outplacement consultant, my objectives for you throughout this time has been to provide you with help and support as you begin to focus your energies on finding another employment opportunity.

To that end, on May 11th we mutually agreed that you would start the process by completing standard career assessment instruments that might give us both an insight into the kinds of positions and companies that we might expect could lead to future job satisfaction.  Those instruments took you three weeks to complete.  At the same time we started a process of reviewing and updating your resume, developing mailing lists of companies and acquaintances and formulating cover letters, so that we could contact as many people as possible as we started your job search.

Throughout this process, our association has become increasingly stressful for both of us.  You have chosen to challenge my professionalism, competence, personal integrity and motives by finding fault in everything that I have said or items that I have delivered.  Your criticisms have resulted in rewriting your resume several times because you would not accept the concept of developing a rough draft, agreeing to necessary changes and completing a final document.  In your words, "everything you do should be a final product." All of this led to spending far more time than necessary in just helping you get ready to conduct a job search.

On at least two occasions, you have verbally abused Kathryn, our Office Manager, during telephone conversations by making it clear that you felt that we were both incompetent and you could not trust anything that we were doing in an attempt to assist you.

Peter, the latest series of incidents that prompted me to take this action was your response to envelopes.  You identified ten companies that we could now send a letter and resume to and you appeared to be satisfied with not only their content but form as well.  During our scheduled meeting on June 18th, I gave you completed letters, resumes, addressed envelopes and postage stamps so that you might sign them and mail them to these  selected companies.  After you thought about it over night, you called to tell us that we did not know what we were doing and you could not complete your mailing because the envelopes were the wrong size and refused to fold your resume to complete the task.

That afternoon Kathryn mailed you large document size envelopes with additional postage only to be informed by you that the labels were place on the envelope improperly and you again refused to complete the task. Furthermore, for some reason, you have chosen to start calling me "Pro" which I find offensive. You will find included with this letter the third set of envelopes with unattached mailing labels to affix the way you think best.

Because of your actions set forth above, we at CareerLab are unable to work with you any further, and we hereby resign as your outplacement consulting firm with this letter.  I have explained the situation to Jess Brown, the Vice President of Human Resources with your former employer, and he fully supports this decision.


William S. Frank
William S. Frank

CC: Jess Brown

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