I didn't think I'd be inputting any advice about jobs until I began talking about internship searches.
I just quite my full-time position very recently though and it wasn't the easy process I thought it would be, so I thought I'd give some advice. Basically, I had some questions about insurance and reimbursement for my unused vacation-leave.
Originally I asked our Human Resources department's secretary, hoping she'd direct me to one of the HR-professionals at my organization. My request was that I be able to be considered an employee until my Vacation-Time ran out- and thus continue to receive a pay-check every couple of weeks and also be insured until that time. Instead of directing me to an employee in her department, she told me to just ask my boss. So I did and my boss said this would be just fine.
The last day of my employment, it did not turn out this way. The HR Professional told me my insurance would end at 11:59 P.M. on my final day of employment, and I would have to take a big lump sum of my vacation leave-- this having to pay higher taxes. (I know I'll get that back, but why should the Government get my money (and interest) for the next 5 months?)
My big concern though was the insurance, I had made arrangements to be insured beginning Sep 1; what was going to protect me for the next 2 weeks?
Anger quickly engulfed me, but I did manage to keep control thanks to the principle that "people get defensive when you accuse, and don't help you" that I've recently reviewed in How to Win Friends and Influence People. Getting to Yes also discusses how instead of just attacking in a negotiation (I believed was was entering one) you need to seek to understand the other party.
This individual began to tell me some of my options and I asked a lot of questions and feel like I found a satisfactory solution. My anger quickly subsided and I'm glad that my Wife and I will be protected by insurance until our other insurance kicks in, but this wasn't what I was planning originally and it has the potential to cost me a lot more money, but it doesn't have to so we should be alright. At least we've got options if anything goes wrong-- but it is more expensive.
Story Over: The advice is down here!
So this is a long story, and the real moral of it is-- Secretaries and Managers, not matter how long they've been at the institution are not Authorities on how your HR System of your Institution works. So when you have questions about what happens when you terminate your employment, make sure you talk to someone who's job it is to know:
This isn't your boss, its someone who works in the HR Department.