July: “When you leave, remember why you came….”

By: Julie Shipman, Career Coach

Have a question or comment? Connect with me at Julie.shipman@jwsgroupllc.com

Does introspection play a role in every transition? More importantly, should it?

There’s a statue on the campus of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN that has a quote which includes the line: “When you leave, remember why you came….” I don’t know who said it or even the rest of the quote but that line stays with me, now many years after leaving campus for the last time.

Several years ago, I moved from Minnesota to Connecticut. It was a move I was making for a promotion with a company I loved working for. I was really excited about the new adventure having never lived in a state other than MN. My friends threw me a going away party which included gifts. My favorite was a note book. It was filled with different friends’ thoughts, suggestions and commentary on what my move meant for me, them or both of us. I loved reading every word! Anyway, one of them referenced that quote. I was moving to a state when I didn’t know anyone for a job with a lot of complexity and pressure and that quote kept me grounded and focused during the almost two years that I lived there.

It got me thinking: when you leave a company, a position or a boss how should you handle the transition mentally? Should you simply leave or does it warrant some introspection?

I recently left a company I enjoyed working for, with a boss I didn’t and this quote kept coming to my mind as I was thinking through my decision to leave. Why did I decide to join in the first place? Was the experience what I had expected it to be? What had I learned about myself over my time there?

People managers, the 2018 blog is written for you: what can you learn from the employees who leave your team? Perhaps more importantly what can you learn about yourself when an employee leaves? Sometimes their departure is good – perhaps it was an involuntary exit or maybe a voluntary one that breathes new life into the team because of the person you hire to replace them. Do you spend time thinking about why you hired the exiting employee in the first place?

Ask yourself:

  • Did I achieve the goals I outlined for this employee when I hired them? If not, why not?
  • Does this departure teach me anything about how I manage?
  • How does this exit impact my current team; positively or negatively?
  • Do I have a clear understanding of my metrics around hiring and retention? If so, how do I use the data?

Bottom line:

Emotional maturity is earned one lesson at a time. Do your best to understand not only the results but also the reason the lesson presented itself in the first place.