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You Gotta Go…

I always find it a funny coincidence to have almost identical conversations with different business owners on a topic of concern that is exactly the same. The current topic du jour: Losing a long-term employee.

In the case of one business owner, a 10+ year employee decided to leave. The business owner felt personally hurt, left behind, scared, and also – dare I say – excited!

Let’s be real. It took us a while to get to the excited part. But she got there once we discussed a few key things (and no it had nothing to do with saving money on that salary). Instead, here’s why she got super excited.

I reminded her that the first feeling most business owners have when a key or long standing employee decides to leave is a feeling of abandonment, followed quickly by a feeling of “it’s not fair … I don’t get to quit.” Sometimes we can get stuck there if we don’t turn things around quickly and look at things differently.

For starters, replacing someone does take time, but it is never as painful or difficult as one assumes. Once you get started, it can actually be fun, especially if you have a few highly qualified candidates to choose from.

And frankly, sometimes, it’s time for the employee to go. One of the business owners I was talking to had decided to let the employee go a month earlier than planned, with full pay. Why? Because sometimes, once the employee decides to go, they add less value and can even hurt the general mood or culture. The negative comments and bad attitudes come out – you get the picture.

But the most important thing to remember is this. Letting someone go can be the most rewarding thing that’s happened to you in a long time. A new person brings a new perspective, new attitude, and a new level of enthusiasm that may have been long gone with the previous employee. And that’s exciting. Really exciting!


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