Monday, August 02, 2010

They Always Leave

As I started writing this it was a dead heat between family revelations and work shit so I started with work shit only to have family revelations win the poll by a narrow margin. Luckily for my reading public this one was practically finished already so I’m putting in the hopper to post on Monday. Wow. Two posts within one week’s time. Totally radical, dude.

One day last week just as soon as I came into work, before I even had a chance to get coffee, the newest coworker (been here just since spring) in my department shared with me that she has given notice and will be leaving to return to a former employer. I was sorry to hear of that because she’s a good worker, catches on quickly, and is pleasant to be around. She is also vastly over-qualified for the position she has here and even though I genuinely believe she did not intend to do so she parlayed this situation into a much better job at the old employer. So I congratulated her, and sighed knowing that we may not be so lucky to get someone as good as she is when they hire her replacement. Oh well, life goes on.

Then, not a half hour later D asks me to go on a break with her. It isn’t at all unusual for us to go on breaks together. However, usually we do so in the afternoon rather than the morning. She clearly had something on her mind that she wanted to discuss with me. We went to one of our quiet places near work and sat down. Then she dropped the bombshell. On top of our new coworker leaving, D is also going to be leaving and moving one state away for personal reasons. The only difference is that D is uncertain of her timing. She has no new job to go to yet although she is actively looking. Once she finds something she will be out of here with no regrets about leaving.

D shared with me why she is moving to another state. I won’t share it here as that is her story not mine. I will share here that I think it is a lame reason that she is moving, a reason that makes little sense to me yet it isn’t my business so I said nothing critical to her about the move. Certainly she shouldn’t stay here just because I finally have a friend near by, something that has been few and far between in my life.

I’ve known for a long time, practically since she started last fall, that D is unhappy at work. The job is not a good fit for her, and she has as much or more difficulty getting along with Boss and Betty (a new name for the sidebar, given due to her annoying Betty Rubble laugh; this is a coworker who thinks she is God and has convinced many of the superiors around here of this which makes life more difficult for the rest of us mere mortals who can never live up to her perfection in every way) than I do. While I’m the live and let live type who tries to do just roll with the flow, D is the type who wants things the way she wants things and fights for it. She has bumped heads with Boss many times. Betty intimidates D (as she does me also) so that D is incredibly uncomfortable with Betty. D won’t fight Betty, and it drives D crazy because she doesn’t handle being the underdog well. I can’t fight Betty, and I just ignore Betty as much as possible and do my own thing as I’m used to being the underdog in most situations. All of this to say that as unhappy as D is here in this job it would be ridiculous for me to try to persuade her to stay.

So I’m screwed. No, I don’t think I’ll lose my job anytime soon particularly since I’m sure I’ll have extra duties at least for a while, but life at work is going to get a whole lot less pleasant unless at least one of my new coworkers just happens to click with me like D did.

Word to the wise: if your department has a lot of turnover, like a revolving door kind of turnover, you may want to look at the cause. You may want to see if there is something you or others in your department are doing to make newcomers feel unwelcome. I’ve worked in two places like this now in the last few years, and in both cases I can identify significant flaws in how the department is managed that contribute significantly to the high turnover rate.

And, well, life goes on. . .

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