Sometimes… it’s like a Death in the Family…

Bit morbid isn’t it? Sometimes… it’s like a Death in the Family… I mean it’s not really like a Death in the Family, unless there’s actually a Death in the Family… And… in this case… there’s been no actual Death in the Family…

natblog1You’ve probably all heard it – or even said it to your candidates – before.

‘It’s important to like the people you work with, because you spend more time with them than you do your own family or friends…’

Hell, I see the guys at the office more than I see my own kids. And, in the Melbourne office – where I spend most of my time – we have created a really nice culture. Everybody likes each other, everybody respects each other… but it was only recently that I realised just how much…

We had a girl working in our office for a little over a year. She was not just ‘a girl’, She was everything you could have wanted in a consultant. Bright, fun, hard working, intuitive, caring and – just to top it off – successful. She was like a doughnut with extra jam, a takeaway chinese order when they throw in the free bag of prawn crackers, or the resort holiday with the unexpected fruit platter and champagne waiting for you on arrival… I guess what I’m saying is we got what we paid for… and much… much… more.

Then, about 2 months ago at exactly 9.34pm we got the dreaded text…

‘I was hoping we could catch up in the morning. There’s something I want to discuss with you.’

You don’t have to be Dr Stephen Hawking (pre or post his cool robot voice) to work out that she was about to resign…

To cut a long story short – she did.

What? Too short? Ok… She wanted to travel to the UK and live abroad for a couple of years… there’s no real come back for that… is there? Can’t counter offer going overseas and fulfilling a lifelong dream…

What I did notice was that as soon as the decision was made public a little bit of spark, a little bit of fun and a little bit of culture disappeared from our office. She worked out her 2 week’s. We had a party. There were tears… and then… she was gone.

For a few weeks we kidded herself that she would arrive in London – hate the place and be back before I’d nicked her office chair – it’s the only one with both armrests still in tact. But that sadly, didn’t happen.  (On the positive though, I do have a new office chair).

And today, the weight of reality has forced me to accept the sad truth… she changed her Linked In profile to her new role… she ain’t coming back.

I may sound a little self-absorbed, but I don’t care… It’s not that I have invested in a resource that now someone else is benefitting from. It is not that I have lost a revenue producing machine, that’s left a big hole in my budget projections. And it’s not that now I am going to have to rely on Google™ to tell me what YOLO and LMAO and G1 means… It’s that we no longer have the pleasure of spending 8-10 hours a day with a really special person…

We have all lost someone from the work place that has made us sad, and it takes a bit of time to bounce back – as individuals and as a group.

natblog2If you are a business owner, take some time to empathise with your staff and take measures to protect the culture that has been created. If you are an employee, be aware that your boss has lost someone too…

My advice is that you remember what you admired about, learned from and enjoyed about that person. Reflect a little of that person in your own behaviour and your workplace culture will not only survive, but improve…

Oh, and Natalie if you do read this, please come home… I’ll give you your chair back, get you a new notebook and promise not to tell anyone that you secretly wish you were a member of S club 7… Whoops! Did I say that out loud?

Craig Watson


11 thoughts on “Sometimes… it’s like a Death in the Family…

  1. Avatar
    Nigel Mills on Reply

    Nice piece. Enjoyed it. It warmed me up a little on this chilly Sydney morning.
    You do know that you’ve now set a precedent. Every single employee who leaves your team in the future is going to expect a similar piece about them. Especially the “little bit of spark, a little bit of fun and a little bit of culture disappeared from our office”.

  2. Avatar
    Natalie on Reply

    Wow, currently sitting at my desk in London in my new office on my third day of the new role. Looking out at the drizzly dim weather (pretty poor excuse for spring/summer I have to say) but aside from that I am loving London and I have instantly felt like I fitted into the Tate – Westside team. I must admit a tear came to my eye when I read this. I was blessed to fall into recruitment under the best possible mentors I could ever imagine – because of this support I was able to progress into a full end to end recruiter and run a successful/profitable desk.
    You are so right Craig, when you create a respectful culture everything just flows, that is where success happens. I was very lucky to have this at Scott Recruitment.
    Oh and Craig after the S Club 7 stunt you pulled I am inclined to blurt out the endless times you sing and dance around the office singing All Saints, FIVE and Spice Girls (it’s time to let the 90’s English girly bands go I am afraid) hehe
    Miss you all, over and out from the Motherland as Lukey would say.

    1. Avatar
      Craig Watson rec-to-rec on Reply

      Ha Ha… Here she is! Glad you’re loving it over there Nat! I don’t know what you’re taling about… Spicegirls? All Saints? Five? Never heard of them…. PS we all went out without you last night in Sydney and had a great night!! Would have been better if you were there though…. and… funnily enough we ended up in this dodgy pub at 3am and there were 2 young English lads pounding the jukebox… The tunes they were playing were Spicegirls and S Club 7… and that is the truth!! Much Love xxxxxx

  3. Avatar
    Patrick on Reply

    So true and so rare an insight from a clearly outstanding leader. Developing a culture that creates heartfelt, genuine and outwardly expressed consideration for team members is a tough ask. Well done. Makes me want to work there.

  4. Avatar
    Karen Gately (@karen_gately) on Reply

    Craig you are a gem! I love your blogs and this is by far my favourite. “… she was like a doughnut with extra jam, a takeaway chinese order when they throw in the free bag of prawn crackers, or the resort holiday with the unexpected fruit platter and champagne waiting for you on arrival…” that bit made me tear up. The world needs leaders like you – well done! I was very pleased to read Natalie’s response … clearly the feeling is mutual.

  5. Avatar
    Melissa Watts on Reply

    Interesting article – I originally thought you were encouraging child labor. Obviously you have great respect for her, but I struggle with young women being called ‘girls’ in a professional environment. Nice article though.

    1. Avatar
      Craig Watson rec-to-rec on Reply

      Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for the comment, but to focus on a ‘label’ in my blogs is an exercise in futility I’m afraid… All of my blogs are meant to be be pretty light hearted, or tongue-in-cheek. Hopefully understanding that may soften the unintended offence you have taken.

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