Just a Worker?

Cog in a wheel

“Can we go for a coffee?”

Even though I was up the walls it was clear he wanted to have a chat about something, so off we went.

After some small talk he eventually blurts it out “I’ve accepted a job offer“.

Ah for God’s sake ….you can’t be serious” …..”Why in the name of god would you want to leave?” – after that all the things said just rolled into one and we went back to work.

I can’t help it – I take this stuff personally. I put everything into work and what we are building and I do feel that everyone is part of a Fuzion family, so when this happens I feel cheated, betrayed ..the word “traitor” is the one that comes to mind first. That’s probably a bit harsh but there ya go!

Normally you are battling away together, fighting for business, winning business, dealing with challenges, dealing with disappointments – whatever it is you tackle it with a sense of togetherness. You get to know people, you get close to them, you understand them, the good, the bad and the ugly, a bond forms – you even get to know about their families. It’s your team and you pull together against whatever challenge presents itself.

This team thing is special, it’s the little piece of magic that is fabulous when it clicks into place – you feel when that happens. Everyone together is better than a bunch of separate individuals  – it’s what I work hard at creating and its what I enjoy building and being in the middle of.

For the next few weeks I felt awful working alongside someone who has chosen to be somewhere else – in effect they become just a worker and are no longer part of the team.

The month has passed, we gave him a good send off and we have started a new journey with a great guy who will hopefully be a valuable member of the Fuzion family.

The guys tell me I shouldn’t take the whole thing so personally, maybe they are right?

In truth for me if it wasn’t personal I would become just a worker.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing & PR firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

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23 Responses to “Just a Worker?”

  1. Rudy de Groot Says:

    Hello Greg, I can understand why you take it personal. It is clear that you are very passionate about what you do and that you regard your staff almost like family.
    At the same time, this may also be an opportunity to learn something. Something about your leadership style and how your staff perceive you. I wonder, were you able to figure
    e out why this person left? Did you do an “exit

    interview”. Often, a person.leaving

    • Rudy de Groot Says:

      Often a person leaving may be able to open up and offer an insight into his / her motivation for leaving (other than just more money or better prospects). From reading your blog on a regular basis I think you are a very positive individual and from what I understand if a business proposal went against you, you tried to analyse why the business did not come your way. Perhaps it would be good to indeed follow your staff’s advice not to take it too personal but use it as an opportunity to learn.

      • Greg Canty Says:

        Hi Rudy – thank you so much for reading. You can see clearly that this scenario bothered me and truthfully I never got to the bottom of it. I even worried about my guy leaving because I genuinely feel he was making a big personal mistake. Personal …it always seems to be with me! Cheers

  2. maisyharris1 Says:

    Just Wondering if this person will see this and not take it personally? I’m sure just wishing him well would be better as I’m sure even you have moved on in the employment area for whatever reason 🙂

    • Greg Canty Says:

      thanks for reading Maisy …. I did wish him well of course but this is how I feel and I’m sure some of my employers in the past felt the same way I do. It doesn’t change how I feel ..

  3. maisyharris1 Says:

    I wouldn’t mind working for you then 🙂

  4. Costantino Roselli Says:

    Hi Greg. You take it personal because everything about your job is personal. For me your reaction is normal. However your vision, your passion and your dreams are yours only. So maybe this person has his/her own vision and dreams. We can’t convince everyone to embrace our job with the same passion as we did. We just share moments and exchange experiences, and when the time is right we choose our own path. So let him/her follow his/her own path and makes his/her own mistakes.

  5. Fergal Bell Says:

    I think it’s a normal reaction, Greg, as it’s your business and anyone deciding not to go with you (either client or employee) is bound to feel like a criticism. But clients and employees make decisions based on all sorts of factors. Staff might want to move to a different location or want more money, more/less responsibility, different team mates etc. Sometimes people just want to do something different. The reasons are numerous.

    I’d echo Rudy and say from your blog posts the working environment you create is probably a very positive one, so I can’t imagine you’re a toxic boss or anything like that.

    It’s very useful to understand why people want to leave but in all honesty, the person leaving is unlikely to tell you, especially if you’re the boss. If you left on good terms it might be worth meeting up for a coffee in a few months and having a friendly chat. Many professional services firms (like PwC and EY) keep in touch with their alumni for the purpose of networking or even rehiring previous staff. If possible it could be worth doing the same in this case (if you are still reasonably friendly).

    By the way, creating a positive working environment is definitely the right way to go. Sometimes people will make decisions to go their own way and there’s nothing you can do, but in many cases it will be the difference between keeping or losing the staff you value.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      thanks as always Fergal – I know everything you are saying is spot on and logical and in my own career I have been that soldier handing in their notice. It just feels really awful when it happens – we have a really nice tight team. I know not caring isn’t good so I guess I need to find myself a middle ground !

  6. Fergal Bell Says:

    It’s bound to hurt – I’m sure I’d feel exactly the same way. An old boss of mine used to say that if someone left he felt that he’d failed somewhere down the line.

    I think that’s too strong though. Isn’t it the nature of work that people move on from time to time, either at your instigation or theirs. Although we can try to make the company like a family (particularly smaller companies) it is a different relationship. This isn’t to say that it shouldn’t be a friendly and enjoyable place to be though.

    Don’t dwell on it too much though. Maybe just wish them well in your mind and crack on.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Fergal – like your boss I feel like I failed with this one, which is back to that taking it personal thing.

      We will all crack on and I must stop dwelling !

  7. John Leahy Says:

    You can view your reaction to your colleague leaving as an investment and choose whether it will be an asset or a liability. The wheel always turns and someday you may require his services or him yours.

    Having a really nice tight team is no guarantee that people will appreciate it or see it in those terms or just want to grow or be challenged in other ways – at least he had the class and courage to tell you in the way that he did, face to face.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      John – great points. Thankfully we have a good relationship with any of our crew who go to pastures new and this is really important to us.

      I guess if I didn’t care I wouldn’t be saying anything!

      • John Leahy Says:

        Reminds me of a team I worked in (must be something in the water at 51) that became known by other departments as ‘the land of milk and honey’. So I know from experience that it hurts when one of the bees stings you! Break out the iodine Greg and keep the faith.

      • Greg Canty Says:

        Thanks John …. without faith we are nowhere!

  8. Deirdre Waldron (@DeeDubFuzion) Says:

    Can you believe it – this is the first time I have ever commented on one of Greg’s blog.

    What Greg is brilliant at doing through his writing is challenging all of us, taking us out of our comfort zone, which this blog post most definitely does – but at all times communicating with integrity, honesty and openness. (He wouldn’t know any other way!)

    Nearly everyone has to fly the coup eventually – only one poor Greg is stuck with is me!!! Some return, most stay in our lives in other ways – and it’s so great to stay connected and celebrate their successes and to be able to give or receive a helping hand whenever it’s needed. But in all instances I believe they are all the better for having spent some time on our team.

    I wouldn’t have published this post – but I’m not Greg. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Deirdre – thanks for the post and the honesty.

      The blog has received some negative feedback and even a few of my own crew have said they felt it was inappropriate and could even be hurtful.

      The post wasn’t meant to hurtful to anyone but as always it is an honest account of how I feel about something that happened during the course of my work as a business person in 2013 …pressures ‘n’ all!

      I’m not bullet proof and when a core member of my team leaves me it does bother me.

  9. writerlyderv Says:

    Of course you took it personally. You care about your work. And it’s hard not to feel angry when people let us down. We just have to remind ourselves that they don’t mean it.

    In this case, I guess the guy just wanted to move on. His discomfort at your coffee meeting, blurting out the answer, shows that it wasn’t easy for him to tell you and therefore, he had high regard for you.

  10. Hugh Says:

    Greg,
    Great post – as always. I am in the same boat at the moment as one of mhy best people is leaving. It’s impossible not to take things personally. You invest yuor time into growing and developing someone and then they leave you. It’s important to know the motivation for leaving. My current “leaver” is going because of family reasons – they must move location. When this happens it is easier to take as the person clearer likes their job & team. I recommend you get to the bottom of why the person leaves. It may soothe the pain – of course it may also hurt! You have to take that chance

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