Published 12/8/2017 in The Maryland Daily Record
As we approach the last days of 2017, I have heard a number of people say how ready they are to close out this year and bring on a fresh start in 2018. I am also feeling like 2017 was a year that I am ready to log in the record books. It’s not so much that anything terrible happened, because this was a positive year personally and professionally. I think it has more to do with the time and energy that comes with growing pains – something I felt profoundly this year in all areas of my life.
In my business, we had a few key staff roles turnover that created a lot of transition. I understand this to be a healthy growing pain yet a highly disruptive one at best. The effort of attracting and retaining people is nothing short of exhausting, especially given the uncertainty that comes with any new team member until enough time has passed to prove the fit to be a good one.
What struck me most about the people who left was the way they chose to leave. In some cases, it was clearly not a good fit and the person leaving needed to go. In the most shocking cases, we had a few people leave who literally walked in and resigned without so much as a thought to the transition of their responsibilities. It is this action that I don’t understand and probably never will.
To this point, I always stress to our people that if they are conducting themselves with integrity and professionalism and it turns out not to be a good fit to work in our fast-paced environment, I will be the most helpful connector I can be to see that they benefit from my community of contacts to find a new opportunity.
I get it – not everyone wants to or can adapt to the pace and culture of a small, growing business. But to have no thought as to the consequences of leaving a lean team without the benefit of a transition, this is not the type of exit that will garner a glowing reference from me in the future.
Meanwhile, at home
In contrast, our beloved nanny, Lacy, completed her master’s program at the University of Maryland and moved to join her longtime boyfriend in Los Angeles in May. Lacy’s departure exemplifies as graceful an exit as one could imagine. With several months’ notice, Lacy made me aware of her plans to allow for a thoughtful search to replace her. Not that anyone could ever truly replace her, for she became a valued member of our family.
Lacy understood the impact her leaving would have on our daily lives. Beyond the logistics of her support that were immeasurable, Lacy provided another layer of love and comfort in our home to my young son, who simply soaked her up. When the day finally came for Lacy to head West, we celebrated with a huge party that included many of her close friends and family. It was the ultimate act of grace in the way that she arrived and so it was when she moved on.
I felt lucky that I found someone to move in with us soon after Lacy left. This woman came recommended from another family with whom she had lived for four years. I was relieved to have someone experienced and was sure that she had the warmth to fill the void we would feel in Lacy’s absence.
The initial month was easy enough, given that my son was at sleepaway camp for most of the time. So, to learn through Venmo, the online app where people can pay each other electronically and do so with funny emojis and comments about what they are paying for, that she had secured a new apartment was nothing short of shocking. I figured this out while on vacation, when I was going to pay her for the next month. I ended up talking with her from France, and she moved out while I was still on vacation. Hardly an exit that would please anyone. My son returned from camp wondering what happened to the new nanny.
In all cases, the right person ended up in the right role and I couldn’t be more pleased heading into 2018 with the team that I have at home and at &Wealth. I believe that all things come back around. I’ll be looking forward to 2018 to reap the benefits of the goodwill I’ve put out there, which has attracted such a solid group of people around me now.
To 2017, I say a graceful goodbye, knowing that this was truly a year of reflection for me that has caused me to be a better, more thoughtful leader all around.
—Dorie Fain, founder and CEO of &Wealth