Nov 30, 2010

Tales of the Non-Indispensable: A completely true story of someone who just quit her work yesterday night.

This is the kind of story that infuriates me to the point of being insulted. Maybe it's because at some point it sort of happened to me, maybe it is the fact that I wish that when I quit the "agency life" a couple of years ago, that when I quit the story would have been different. But this post is not about me quitting. It's about a friend.

She quit her job yesterday night.

So while I cannot go into detail of what happened exactly so that I don't reveal who she is, I really need to tell this part of the story because it has all happened to us at one point. She just reminded me of this last night as we yapped and celebrated her big moment... and I knew I had to write about this.

Here we go. Completely true story.

So after she tells her boss the bad news and presents that lovely letter we all have written with glee, her boss proceeds to tell her how surprised he is of the fact that she is quitting. Hm. So he didn't notice the many times she was frustrated - and told him so - about how disorganized the agency was, how poorly the resources were used (creatives mainly) and how little time HE gave the team to react and make decent presentations. Ok, we'll give him that. A good CEO is one that is sort of blind to reality, I guess. I can remember the last agency I worked for, the CEO didn't even know the names of the people that worked there. He just referred to you as "Hey" or "You there". Seems that not knowing the details, the people who work there, who works great and who doesn't isn't an important part of making the business grow.

Here comes the award winning - and post deserving - moment of the night: he tells her that he thought of her as a valuable asset to the company and that he had plans of using her as a part of the growing business of the agency. Ok so this loosely translates to: she was considered an important worker. Right? If I try to analyze that phrase I only return to that basic statement, that she was considered as an important key to the agency's success.

So when she continued to talk about quitting, he NEVER offered her (sorry for the repetition) a counter offer. While he did ask if (and I quote) "we can do something" to keep her, he didn't insist or either even tell her that he was going to work on an offer to stay even if she didn't want to stay.

This bugs the SHIT out of me. I mean it!

This part of the post is now strictly directed to all the CEO's or CD's who get to fire/hire/listen to people quit:

Listen. I know it's all about money. I now have a small agency so I know that it's all about making numbers. Sometimes you DO have to let people go to make the bottom line. But you mean to tell me that you are willing to let go someone who makes YOUR agency shine, who delivers and gives 500% to make YOUR agency be the best it can be... and you stand there just watching them go WITHOUT A COUNTEROFFER?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? It doesn't make any sense at all! I understand that no one is indispensable in a company... but there are some instances where good quality people are truly needed and it would be a huge mistake to let them go so easily. Why are you not willing to FIGHT for good people? WHY?

What is wrong with offering something to keep them, if you respect and need them so much? Or is it my theory: are you talking out of your ASS? You know what? BE HONEST. Tell them the fucking truth so they can leave with their head held high.

"I love how you work but it's ok, I can find two less paying workers who can try to imitate your work ethic". Wait, better than that. Just say: "Thank you for coming". By telling your quitting employee that you THOUGHT that they were part of the team but you are NOT WILLING to give them an offer to stay, what you are doing is proving that, in fact, you don't really consider them one of your team. They are just people who work under you. Their dedication is not a key. You just magically make the numbers because some holy person really likes your agency. Nah, it's not about the long hours they put in, how many days they spend working on a campaign, the months that they study and do research... nah.

Well you know what? While some people in your agency really suck at what they do, I can BET MY ASS that inside that building there are two or three really good people that are giving you everything but blood and DNA to make YOU make money. They haven't been with their kids for months. They have missed weddings, anniversaries, kids plays, gotten home extremely late for weeks at a time... Because they really love being there. Because while you don't remember their name, they really love what they do, they get a kick of presenting decent stuff... because they enjoy working at this forsaken business.

And the sad part is, you are not noticing it. You THINK that your agency can do just the same without them.

You are wrong. Those people will just leave for another agency and be their best there... and it will be a total loss to you because you had too much ego to offer them 10k to stay. Someday, when you are in red numbers, the really sad part is that you will blame the economy or bad money management for being in that dire situation... and you won't realize that it's mainly because you have let all your good people go.

What a loss. What a loss.


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