Tag Archives: Leadership

The tale of a man who tried to quit his job

So you want to leave your job. Searching for greener pastures? A boss who listens? More money? That’s cool–but it’s a tough row to hoe right now, given that there are few jobs available and scores of qualified and over-qualified candidates spamming their resumes all over the Internet. Here’s what happened to an acquaintance of mine a few months ago when he tried to quit.

This is posted with permission, because we both think it’s a good lesson and an even better story, though I’ve changed all the names and taken some liberty with the dialog to clarify the story (and because nobody recorded anything).

The Man Who Tried to Quit His Job

For 6 months or more, Eric was unhappy with his job. His responsibilities remained the same as they were when he started, 2 1/2 years prior. As a good employee who received average to high marks on his employee reviews, he felt he deserved a raise, a promotion, or both. He even asked the boss for different responsibilities to break the monotony of his day-to-day.

I met with Eric a couple of times during this period of unrest, and each time he expressed dismay at the unchanging state of his job and career. I let him vent for a while before we moved on to other topics, like fantasy football or the books we were reading. We didn’t dive deep into his work trouble–just typical responses to “How’s work?”

The last time I saw him, though, he had a different answer.

Charlie: “How’s work? Any better?” Eric: “Actually, it’s funny you ask. It is getting better.”
“What changed?”
“I quit.”
“I went in to my boss’s office one Monday morning last month and told him I quit.”

(This is where it gets interesting.)

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You gonna eat, or you gonna be ate?

Fight or flight.  Kill or be killed.  Eat or be eaten.  If only every decision was so binary.  The same holds true in the workplace, though I’d add a third category: wait and see.  I could also break  it up into leaders, followers, and situational somewhere-in-the-middlers (trademark pending).  Moving forward, moving backward, or paralyzed.  (I could go on, but you get the idea.)

As an exercise, look around the room at your next meeting and try to categorize everyone into three groups: Leaders, Followers, and Waiters.  Then look at each person’s career (what you know of it) to see if there’s any correlation between those groups and upward mobility.  I bet there is. Continue reading

Great Interview Questions #1 – Management vs. Leadership

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First time manager? 3 pitfalls to avoid

As the economy painstakingly grows and jobs are returned, I suspect we’ll see those companies who formerly hired and developed recent grads return to their old ways.  Over the past 5 – 10 years, college recruiting and new hire training has been significantly underfunded, curtailed, and in many cases ignored.  So while we have a generation of workers that some quote as large as 70 million–over 3 times as large as Generation X–ready to get to work, it’s been a long while since Corporate America was focused integrating a new group of young people.

Because of that, many employees will become managers earlier than they would have in the 80s or 90s because there’s a shortage of people with 5 – 10 years of meaningful experience right now.  So to help as they transition into their role, I thought I’d hit on a few common pitfalls that I see with new managers.

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