When “It” Is Time, Are You Really Ready?

Not sure how far to wait on definitely – “It”. When you look at the remaining part of the title, “it” could be a number of different things. I can think of a bunch of them; for example, time to leave; your young adults are leaving; when your team loses a team member; or the end of something that has been worked on for a very long time. The context of “it” for this post is – when a very young productive team member has decided to leave the team and the company.

I have been a manager for quite awhile, sometimes longer than the employee’s that work for me – have been on this earth. This particular team member (ex-team member) was a new hire back almost three years ago. She was a recent college graduate that got her first real job with the company I work with. She spent all of her time working for me. I sort of help her grow up in the corporate world. The team and those that sit around her, had adopted her as their daughter, little sister and co-worker. She quickly learned and performed – she was everyone’s favorite to work on their projects. She did very well!

When she came to me to discuss that she had to make a very difficult decision, I knew what that was. She had moved almost all the way across the United States (Boston to Phoenix) and the call of family and friends was just too strong. After the initial shock of knowing that I was going to lose a valuable team member and one of my “greater than myself projects”, I was very happy for her. She had taken what I and those around her had taught her and did something truly great. She acted upon what was important to her.

Many times we would discuss about my career, my likes, dislikes, what I accomplished and what I would do differently if I had a next time. Those discussion were great for me! I had hoped that they were wonderful for her. Did I help her with her making this tough decision. I really don’t know. What I do know is I had told her that if I could do it over again, I think I would have put my family first in my very early years with the company. I stressed that the last time I looked at tombstones – that a person was remembered for where they worked – was no where to be found. I am hoping that those small pieces did help.

When the final day came. I was prepared; I had my checklist filled out. I was ready for our meeting to go over the last couple of items before she was being walked out as an employee. I had done this activity throughout my career plenty. As we sat in a conference room, going over the final stuff – I found myself not really ready for walking her out the building. She had become part of me, part of my team and those others that sat around us. She is going to be missed. It hit me, when we were going over her performance review and looking back on her time with my team and I. For those that don’t know me – I am a big guy, with a rough and tough exterior and I don’t take much personal. Well, I just have to say – I got emotional. She was a very good hire, that learned well, applied that learning and did her work well.

I have no doubt, that she will do well in whatever she wants to do. I just hope that, in some small way, I had helped her.

K – if you are reading this – I wish you well!

  • Kristen Walczewski

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for the send off blog. I learned so much from you and your team during my time with the company. Among all the things I’ve learned, one of the most important things was work life balance. As a manager, you motivated me to work hard but when work is over you always told me to go home (the work will always be there tomorrow). You also taught me that at the end of the day, its the people you’re with and family that matters the most. I feel very fortunate that I got adopted into such a great family at my first company. I can’t thank you enough for such a great experience. I’m still sad to have left but know that I’m happy where I am now and I finally feel at home 🙂 I hope all is well and hope to keep in touch!

  • You were a very good student, fast learner and already had a good foundation on what was and is important.