Before you dive into this post, I want you to pause and place your fuzzy, warm thinking cap squarely on top of your melon. Think about the most pathetic breakup line you’ve ever heard? Perhaps it is a line that YOU have used to end an intimate relationship? A line that boggles my mind is the proverbial, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Now think about the most pathetic breakup line you’ve heard in an employee-employer breakup. Please tell me that it is not one of your’s. The most pathetic termination line I’ve heard of – outside of anything discriminatory – is, “we are going in a different direction, and your services are no longer required.”
Photo Courtesy of nuttakit
In either case, the breakup lines say absolutely nothing! We’ve ended relationships with people who have been an important part of our lives/organizations, yet have managed to give them no feedback, reasoning, rationale, or explanation for our decision. In a word, this is “cowardice.” But, what if it is true?
Employer Breakups are Easier to Do
When the decision to end an employment relationship is our’s as employees, we tend to sing a different song. How many disgruntled employees do you know who have written, “it’s not the company, it’s me” in their bitter letters of resignation? When we leave a job, particularly out of anger or frustration, we almost always put the blame squarely on our employers. In fact, we are quite effective at rationalizing why the sour relationship wasn’t our fault. It is clearly ________’s fault.
The Grass Isn’t Any Greener Over There
I have hit the wall a few times in my career. These are times when I become profoundly frustrated by my inability to get things accomplished. While I am as happy as anyone with swimming in abstract ideas, and visioning grand plans to solve employee engagement issues forever, in the end I need results – that’s what I get paid to deliver. I always expect to accomplish that which I set out to do. I take pride in delivering measurable organizational results. And, when I am unable to deliver results, I become frustrated.
Like many, I have been quick to blame others for the barriers and resistance that have prevented me from achieving my goals, and initiatives. I have broken up with employers. The funny thing is that given enough time, the same frustrations inevitably appear in subsequent roles.
Hindsight is Always 20/20
The common theme in my times of frustration is that they occurred during times of change. Conspicuous organizational changes (e.g., mergers, CEO changes, organizational structure redesigns) have always precipitated my periods of frustration. I’ve blamed organizations, leaders and colleagues for creating these unnecessary barriers. I am a master of narrating elaborate stories to justify my vilification of these good people – privately, of course.
What if my frustration had less to do with outside changes, and more to do with my inability, or unwillingness to change my leadership approaches to achieve results in a new environment?
That Question Just Sucks!
What if it really isn’t them, and it is me? Simply asking a different question forces our brains to search for a different answer. If it is done honestly, we sometimes won’t like the alternative answers that we realize. I’ve learned that just because I am an HR leader, experienced in organization change, and knowledgeable about helping others through change, it doesn’t mean that I am personally exempt from the same change experiences. I now understand that many of the times I have blamed organizational dynamics for my woes, it was really about me.
I would love to hear some of your best breakup lines!
Photo Credit: nuttakit at freeddigitalphotos (dot) net