An employee told me he was quitting.
“Here’s my badge,” he said. “I’m quitting.”
“You’re not quitting,” I shot back.
“I have to,” he said. “I have my baby at home and I can’t stand being here. I need to leave.”
“I know,” I said. “That’s exactly why you can’t quit. What else are you going to do? You need this job. Sit back down.”
He did. He got back to work.
Not Quitting – Money
He desperately need the job. He needed the money.
Every day he’d complain about money, and being broke.
So when he announced he was quitting, I didn’t understand the logic.
I talked to him privately after. I told him about failure, and what it means to stick through difficult times. I told him about some of my experiences.
I liked him. I didn’t want him to leave.
And for me, as a manager, I had invested too many hours into him. He was an A-level employee. If he left, I’d need to replace him, and I’d probably get someone less qualified.
He had every reason to stay.
And I needed him just as much.
Not Quitting – Badge
At lunch, I found his security badge in the breakroom.
He left it there. Walked out the door. And quit.
I didn’t understand.
My entire life I had been taught to not quit things. If I sign up for something, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability, and then once I succeed or fail, at the end of the season I’ll reassess and try again, or pursue the next thing.
But quitting? No. There’s no such thing.
Not Quitting – Bye
I realized how hard I made if for him. He didn’t even say goodbye.
He had wanted to, initially. But all I gave him was grief.
He didn’t want to hear my nonsense. So he walked out the door.
I learned a lot from that experience.
There’s seasons for change, and not everything will work how I want to.
And sometimes I will put a lot of energy into people, but it doesn’t mean they can’t more on.
And it doesn’t mean everyone thinks like me, or has the same motivations as me.
After that, any time someone quit, I thanked them politely and wished them the best.
I didn’t give them a hard time anymore. Because lots of people quit lots of things.
And if they’ve already decided in their mind they’ve “quit,” there’s nothing I can do to convince them otherwise.
So I let them go, peacefully, and with a smile on my face, thanking them for the good times we had together and for the effort they put forth.
Because at the end of the day, nothing lasts forever. We’re all pursuing the next thing.
So in the meantime, why can’t we all just get along?