One of the great things about small business is the opportunities they provide for people to cut their teeth in business – the first job or, in our case, the first job in IT. It is an important role companies the size of mine play, providing a place for people to navigate into their career and professional life. Some people move on and others stay. The balance usually occurs naturally. Occasionally it is sad to see someone leave before their time. Only rarely is it the other way, that they overstay.
Last night, past and present members of our team gathered to farewell someone who’s time with the company came to an end two weeks ago. While I could not make the drinks, it is surprising and pleasing to hear of former employees making the journey to ‘our pub’ for the farewell event. It makes you think that the friendships made on the job do count for something. Or, maybe, they come back for these events to see what’s changed.
It was at one of these events a few years back that a former employee pitched their case to re-join us – nothing wrong with that if they have the right skills for the position.
What is difficult in all this is the need to remain somewhat detached as the employer. It’s is a fine line as to how close you get. One the one hand friendship is to be embraced and on the other the ability to retain respect for difficult decisions means you have to pushback on the opportunity. Then there is the demand of work which keeps you away from things you’d like to do.
All of this is on my mind tonight because of a text message I received from the person being farewelled last night. He was angry I didn’t make it to his farewell drinks. While I called, it was not good enough. No excuse was acceptable – a view he is entitled to. His text ended with “Last time I speak to you.” It’s a wound I hope time heals.