It’s Not You, It’s Me: How To Deal With an Unexpected Notice
How receiving a notice letter helped me change my mindset around business
Let’s be honest, breakups suck.
Truly, they are NEVER a fun experience, and we all know that. However, there are different types of breakups.
There are the ones we experience with our partners, as well as the ones that happen in the workplace.
No, I am not talking about the kinky ones.
I am talking about trusted people who work for you, who out of the blue give you their notice. Your side-kicks, the trusted ones you thought would never leave your side.
It sounds far-fetched, but the last notice I received was pretty much a breakup.
”It’s not you, it’s me”
“You did so much for me”
They added. Nevertheless, when something totally unexpected comes your way you feel like it must have been you.
There were no signs to warn you, no big flashing lights.
When facing the letter, I had to admit I was experiencing a break up with my most trusted team member — as a small team of three people you turn pretty much into a trusted family.
I can say that, after 6 years in business and almost 8 working for myself, I have seen people coming and going more than once.
I have dealt with a whole host of feelings — as a woman, I tend to project a lot of my own worth into the way people relate with my business.
It’s mindset, and as such, it’s something I have been consciously working on. Especially this notice really left me shaken in a big way.
I took a few days to digest it on an emotional level, before even starting to unveil the professional ramifications.
Deal with the emotional stuff first
“Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” — Patrick Lencioni
If you were close with the employee who worked for you, I’d always recommend first asking yourself, on a personal level
How am I really feeling?
Trust, betrayal and a whole host of feelings may bubble up in the surface, and you gotta deal with them first before you rationally tackle the ramifications of having to change or implement your workflow.
I journaled for a good 30 minutes before I even allowed myself to ask:
What is coming next for us?
Regardless of how hurt you may feel, it’s important to keep things professional. Whichever conversation may follow the icky one about, well, leaving the company, is probably going to be the hardest one to carry on.
Allow yourself to step back into the boss’s shoes and have an honest conversation about the next steps, as well as bring any feeling into the table only if it can provide constructive criticism on the way things were dealt with.
What if you do not know what to do next?
This is what I personally found. At first, I realised that a lot of the plans we had would be majorly disrupted, which filled me with fear and anxiety.
However, soon after I asked myself:
Instead of thinking about what I am losing, can I see what I am gaining from this?
Could this be the chance for you to let go of something that does no longer serves you? Or maybe a way to streamline your efforts and downsize for efficiency?
A lot of time we think about replacing what was there as it’s the only practical solution, but what of it wasn’t?
What if this ending turned up to be a blessing rather than a curse?
Instead of jumping the gun and start looking at new people to hire, I am taking the time to think about how I can make this space we created work for the company as a whole.
Focus on the next steps
Handovers are a big part of job termination, but I recommend you treat them as an opportunity to really assess the role itself, and how those shoes can be filled in the future.
Rather than rushing into making it all work with a short timeframe (most jobs nowadays have a 4 to 8 week notice period). Celebrate the people who are sticking around, and take the time to open a new chapter for what’s coming ahead.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
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