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Come in like a Lady-Leave like a Lady (or Gentleman)



I was reminded by the Mouse just this week of one of my favorite Sharon-isms. Yes, I am remembering something I have said for years in the third person… Oh my!


But, when I leave a job, I leave every shoelace tied. I leave every drawer emptied and every spreadsheet with phone numbers. This includes when I am leaving annoyed, disgruntled, and even the one time I got fired in my radio days.


Some ask—Sharon, what is wrong with you?


Since that would be the kind of blog that would belong on a very different kind of website—let me share the business reasons why this should be best practices for ALL. And why TKM makes these standard operating procedures even when our contracts end with clients.


First, where did this phrase come from—I have no idea, but it sounds very outdated, maybe even somewhat sexist—for which I apologize to myself and others—sort of like something said by a lady who regularly wears a long dress, sips tea, and owns multiple corsets. And, GEES, everyone knows I drink coffee and enjoy yoga pants.


How I made this into my own theory—


When I was just 23, I left my first real job. I had received an offer in sunny Florida that was double what I was making in not-so-sunny Buffalo, New York. Now, consider this was the late 1980s and I was making $23,000 which even then was not enough to eat regularly—BUT, I loved the owner of the radio station, and he treated me like family. I waited to quit until the last minute as I wanted to collect a pending commission check. When I quit, he asked me to stay another 2-4 weeks. This was unheard of in sales as they usually tossed you out the door before you could steal leads. But, heck, I was like family and was leaving town.


I was due to start in Florida the next Monday. I did something bad—really bad. I wrote out a list of my clients, their contact info, and status. Put it in an envelope with my keys and left town. I felt like garbage. From what I heard, he shared my bad behavior with many people in town—I deserved it all. Just a few months later, I flew to Buffalo in the dead of winter to visit some friends (partially) and to deal with my guilt (mostly). I drove to the station, walked past the receptionist (she was yelling at me to stop), and walked into the owner's office. 


Chet (the owner): what are YOU doing here 

Sharon: I came to apologize 

Chet: I hated being mad at you little one (his terrible nickname for me) 

He then came out from behind his desk and hugged me.


From then on, I came like a lady and left like a lady and have coached all those around me to do the same.


What does this mean when you leave a job:


No matter how disappointed, mad, or whatever you are, give notice. You are in a business where people know each other and they talk. Let their last memory of you be that you left with class not sass. Leave your work history documented in the CRM. If you don't like your boss, don’t take it out on the mission or your donors. Once you're gone, be gone—stay out of future gossip. NO social badmouthing—what does it do for you except tell future bosses not to hire you.


One more point I want to make—Just in case your exit is not your choice, I want to share a story from my husband’s office. Just recently, he let an employee go. When he said it was not working out, the employee said he thought this was coming but just not this soon. He said he was not really getting the tasks that needed to be done and so on. 


Then he asked, what do you think I could have done better?" My husband's answer was so great I had to include it in this blog.


“We could have taught you the skills; what was missing was your initiative to learn them”


If you are fired, ask why and learn what you can do better and different for your next position. If you feel it was a bad boss, the wrong work culture for you, or a toxic workplace, learn the right questions to ask to avoid landing in the same position again.


As for TKM, if you hire us for a particular contract period or project—Please know we will leave you with the knowledge, tools, contact lists, and assets in the form you need to be ready to continue what you started with us.


We want nothing more than you to take the seeds we planted with you to grow into trees for your future success—BUT, with one caveat—YOU HAVE TO LET US KNOW HOW GREAT YOU DO (SEE OUR BLOG ABOUT THIS)


Contact Team Kat & Mouse for some advice on how to make your next job the best job ever—reach out today.


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