We have a letter from a listener who doesn’t think they reacted properly when a colleague quit. They reacted with a big “Really? Why? I thought you liked it here!?!” and then felt like a bad colleague when the person looked visibly uncomfortable and showed them that they’d overstepped.
For the colleague, we referenced Episode 55 “The Art of Quitting”.
We discussed why the person might have quit that had nothing to do with the workplace or were reasons they didn’t want to share. Things like a personal illness or illness of a family member, or maybe the person is being quietly harassed and wants to get away. Whatever the reason, it’s that person’s to tell and not ours to ask.
So when a colleague quits, your response is, “Wow - I’ve really enjoyed working together, and I will miss having you on the team.” Use the opportunity to share words of appreciation and gratitude for how the person has supported you. Wish them well and offer to help with the transition.
It’s 100% up to the person who is quitting to share why they quit, where they are going, and how they came to the decision.
No questions. No matter how curious you are. Ultimately, it’s none of your business. AND, if it is a work issue that you don’t know about, the knowledge could impact your work experience.
What if it was a breakup, and they’re sad about it and want to get away, but they never let anyone know they were dating a colleague?
Being kind and supportive around your relationship with them is #1. They’ve given notice and made the decision, so it’s not the time to convince them to stay. You want to help them move forward.
Note to the quitters - have your story ready to go because people ARE going to ask, so you want to have an answer in order to minimize the drama.
Our job as colleagues is to help someone exit gracefully and be a supportive colleague, figure out how to maintain the relationship and make it easy.