So for some reason, there is a lot of turnover right around now.  Not layoffs, but turnover.

This week I’ve talked to both a VP of Sales and a #1 ranked AE, each at $200m+ ARR startups, that are planning to move on from pretty darn good jobs where they are paid pretty fairly, if not as much as in the peak of 2021.  I’ve known both a least a little bit for years, so I was surprised.

And I asked them how they were planning to leave, and neither had really thought about it.  Even after years of doing good work at their SaaS companies.  They’d just “had it” and were ready to move on, in both cases, without a clear idea of to where or why.  Fair enough.

So I shared a new simple suggestion I’ve been using:

When You’re Ready to Quit, Before You Do — First Imagine Your Last Day Lunch and Email. 

At first this may sound a bit silly, but I find just doing this with someone (or on your own) quickly changes your state-of-mind:

  • First, it calms folks down and changes their state of mind.  Instead of fuming about bring topped, or having their quota increased, or their territory change, or whatever folks are upset about … they get to calmly think about the time when an imagined peace that will come from moving on.
  • And secondly, it helps highlight to them in a way it’s tough to do directly if they’re doing it … wrong.  If they can’t imagine their boss or org even writing a nice email about them leaving, let alone putting together a lunch for them, it helps them see that maybe it’s better to leave in just a bit more calm and supportive of a fashion.
  • And once in a while, they choose to stay.  Not too often, but once in a while this reminds folks that the reality is, it’s not about them.   They usually leave anyway.  But sometimes, it helps them see it’s not quite as bad as they thought.

I also do this exercise when I talk to people that have already quit.  And I find most of the time, these days, they “fail” this test.  No one threw them a goodbye lunch, or even sent an honest, headfelt “everyone@“ email truly thanking them.  That’s a wasted opportunity.  A wasted chance to leverage those relationships, those learnings, that part of your LinkedIn, down the road.  At least to leverage it the most.

However you leave, at least think about leaving in a way they’d do that — that they’d send a great email or take you out to lunch.  Maybe that means you should give a little more notice.  Or perhaps be a tiny bit more supportive on the way out, even if you think your boss is unfair or a jerk.  I don’t know.  But just try it.  Just imagine how to Quit so you get that Thank You Lunch, or at least, an honest Thank You Email.

Otherwise, you just sort of end as a ghost.

A related post here:

The Biggest Unforced Error is Leaving on Mediocre Terms

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