Confirmation of three huge lessons all at once.
A new employee quit unexpectedly recently. Just didn’t show up one morning. Turns out that he was a fragile soul and couldn’t handle the pressure of tricky customer service situations. I understand now in retrospect, but I sure wish that he would have come talk to me. He was a good fit for our company and I could have made adjustments to keep him satisfied in his job.
The position is somewhat critical because part of it is to process all orders that came in overnight and need to ship out immediately via FedEx. Because it is time sensitive and it starts at 7AM, it is important to have the job filled and filled with someone dependable. So, to have an unexpected vacancy and no courtesy of two weeks notice definitely hurts.
In fact, I was really down about it when I got his email later that evening saying that he quit effective immediately. It was stressful, not least because I had just finished hiring for three positions and hoped that I didn’t have to deal with interviewing for a few months. I thought and thought about how to handle it until a light bulb went off. The person who previously did his job had moved and was now in a new city unemployed and with an Internet connection. A ha! I called her up and asked if she wanted to work from home until we can figure out a permanent solution. She was thrilled. So was I, because not only was the work covered but she already knew exactly what to do. No training required.
When I look back, there are three important business lessons that have been confirmed over and over in my young career:
1. It Never Ends. Running a business involves a persistent parade of new problems. It takes years to develop a “just deal with it” attitude rather than get flustered. It never ends. And it never will. The bigger the business gets, the bigger and more frequent the problems become. The ability to overcome ever-growing obstacles is a key to success.
2. There is Always a Way Out. Most often when a problem crops up there is a solution that leads to a better outcome. This happens over and over. No matter how bad the problem seems at first, almost invariably the solution puts you in a better position than you were before the problem started.
3. You Never Know When You Need Someone. So Be Nice. When the previous employee left, it would have been much easier for the employee and/or me to end on a bad note. It is hard work sometimes to keep relationships respectful and friendly when they are ending and the presumption is you’ll never see each other again. It is hard to finish strong. I tried hard to keep it positive when the employee left. So did she. If we had been hostile to each other after she gave notice, I would never have been able to go to her for help. We both treated each other respectfully and fairly. And the result was an outcome that helped both of us. She has some income. I have a critical job covered.
Now I need to go wade through a hundred resumes. Ahhh, it never ends.