A conversation series between Lindsay Boccardo and Lauren Moffatt, HR expert.
Lindsay: This happens to us all the time. Somebody comes to us and they're trying to figure out if they should change jobs. What kind of questions do you ask them to consider before they put their two weeks notice or start to torch bridges? What's like the first thing on the top of your mind when somebody says, "I think I want to leave".
Lauren: I would ask, what are you looking for that you don't have now? A lot of times it's so much about miscommunication; something small has happened that is gaining some serious traction because we all don't like conflict. So a small miscommunication has become this big thing, and they can't even see reality at that point. So I'm getting through to what's emotional in making the decision and what's really practical. I'm weeding that out for that person. What would you do if someone told you they want to leave?
Lindsay: I do think that we're most unhappy when we're more in conflict and there's somebody that makes us tense in the office. And it's so much easier to just be like, "Bye, I'm out." But then you just trade one stress for another because then you gotta find another job. You've got to find income. All of that is just as stressful as actually just going and talking to the person causing conflict.
Then, I see this question all the time when I'm helping people process a conflict resolution or what we really call a clarifying conversation. "How can I do that with someone and not cry or get so emotional that I'm not able to manage myself?" I think a lot of that is: let's process through your emotion. This is why you feel this way.
Now, after the conversation, what do you want to see change? How realistic is it to even ask for that?
Lauren: Oh yeah. So that's the other part of it too. Sometimes outside of miscommunication,
it's also self-advocacy. Having the hard conversation with your manager and saying, "This is what I want. Is this something that we could talk through or what could this plan look like?" It's really these crucial conversations we don't have or we avoid.
Lindsay: And we see this make the difference in people's career path. People that are like, "I'm going to stay put and have the hard conversations instead of leaving." I see oftentimes that they either get what they want, or they get clarity that they really can't stay and it's much cleaner than leaving it with anger.
Lauren: It's like therapy for a relationship. Try therapy first before you ditch the whole thing.
Lindsay: Don't just dump all your coworkers like you're in a relationship with eight people. I dump you, I dump you, I dump you! [laughs] But taking time to really get to the bottom of what's going on and seeing if it's possible to change it. And then, don't you think that if somebody is willing to have those conversations and we come to the conclusion that they can't get what they want, it's going to be easier to send them off and be a future recommendation. Instead of just torching it. Or leaving.
Here's the thing that I see all the time. People leave, they don't give a two weeks notice. Maybe there isn't even an exit interview, so they don't say why they left. So even if you're leaving because you weren't treated well, people can't change what they don't know about. For the sake of everybody else that stays, speak up if you are going to go! You have the opportunity to preserve a relationship and have them in your future, too. Because when you go to the next job, everybody's going to ask for recommendations, right? Where have you worked before? If I can't talk to any of your former employers, that's a red flag.
Lauren: Yeah. One of the things I always ask is, how do you want to "leave well"? When someone gets really clear about how I want to leave: I want to give a four week notice. I want to have this conversation. Those things haunt people when they don't do them and then they go to the next job. So that really is such a good thing for the company, for everyone that stays, and for yourself.
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