Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stormy Starts...

Today began with a rather nasty storm. It’s been very hot here for the past couple of weeks and also very humid so a storm was not a surprise. It started thundering in the night, tapered off and then started back up just as I was getting ready for work.

It was the type of storm which makes the sky so dark, it seems like nighttime. The lightning was coming down in every direction- bright gashes that stretched from sky to ground. The rain started to pour. I was rather happy about the rain- my garden sorely needed it and watering with the hose just isn’t the same.

The only probably was that I had two rather jumpy dachshunds who are a little schizophrenic when it comes to storms. Sometimes, when we have a storm and I’m home, they run outside at the first sound of thunder and seem to take delight in capering around under the lightning filled skies. Last time we had a storm, Rory ran out into the pouring rain and gleefully came inside, soaked from head to toes just a few minutes later.

Today, however, both dogs were very skittish. Rory followed me around like, well, a lost puppy and Sookie was not far behind. Then Rory did her strange trick of jumping up with all four feet off the ground in front of my knees. This trick means that she wants me to catch her mid jump, scoop her up and cuddle her. It is a little odd, I admit but it’s rather adorable. When I did catch her, she immediately snuggled up to me, put her little head on my shoulder and just let me hold her. Of course, then I had to do the same with Sookie because otherwise, she’ll slink off and sulk.

Naturally, it made it rather hard to come to work. I’d much rather have stayed home and cuddled a couple of pups, kicked off my shoes and watched the storm rain down. Instead, I drove to work, a little alarmed at the intensity of the lightning and arrived just as it really began to rain. I keep an umbrella in my car but it did nothing against the wind and the stupid thing blew inside out as soon as I stepped out of my car. By the time I made it across the 25 yards between my car and the office building, I resembled a windblown, half-drowned rat.

This is not the best way to start the day. I prefer not to resemble a rat at all.

The storm eventually passed but it’s left a nasty, heavy, humid world behind it. The entire day had that heavy sort of feel, in general. It’s the kind of day where I never felt like I really woke up and where time moved slowly. Things are a little stressful in the office. We haven’t had a good couple of weeks. A lot of our candidates have fallen through or quit or been fired for no reason. It’s just the way it is, unfortunately and that’s the peril of working with humans- they’re unpredictable creatures. No matter how much you try to make a jump to a new job easier on them, how much you hold their hand and assure them it’ll be fine, there are always those that decide that they’re not ready to jump and they decide to stay where they are.

We do a lot of counseling against counteroffers. They’re only a good idea if it’s entirely about the money. Most of the time, it isn’t. There’s always an underlying reason for leaving. It can be lack of appreciation for the work you do, it could be because you’re not doing the job you were hired to do or it can simply be because you’re bored and you don’t like what you’re doing. Money doesn’t make that go away. Besides, if you do take a counteroffer, it tends to work against you because your company knows that you can be ‘bought’ and, also, that you’re not as loyal to them as they’d like. It works against you.

My advantage is that I know what it’s like to work in a job where they don’t react well to your leaving and they sort of made me a counteroffer even though it wasn’t a good one. Part of me wanted that. There is comfort in familiarity and the everyday routine of your life. Some people embrace change but many of us like consistency and change is scary. So, it is tempting to stay in the same job if they offer you a promotion both in duties and salary. You think that maybe, just maybe, that means they recognize your value and can’t stand the thought of you leaving.

The sad fact is that your leaving is a huge pain in the rear for them and while there might be some disappointment that it’s you personally who are leaving, much of their desire to keep you stems from their lack of desire to have to replace you. Replacing employees is a pain and way more expensive than just giving a willing drone a little pay bump. If they really wanted you personally to stay because they like you so much and don’t want to lose you because you’re fabulous and brilliant, chances are they would have told you that earlier, not because you’re threatening to leave. It’s like any relationship: If the person you’re with can’t tell you that you’re valuable to them and there’s a reason they like being with you, you shouldn’t have to give them an ultimatum to get them to admit their feelings.

So, you see why it’s hard when someone decides to stay with their company even when I’ve worked hard to find them a better opportunity. It’s worse when they accept my opportunity and then, at the last minute, back out. When you’ve already got a start date, agreement letter and offer in place with a client company, it’s a little embarrassing to tell them that they don’t have a new employee after all and have to start from scratch.

Still, as I’ve said before, it’s the nature of the business particularly one where humans are your resource. Like with my dogs and thunderstorms, I can never predict what they’re going to do. In my dogs’ case, they sometimes frolic amidst the crashes and flashes of the storm and other times they simply want to be cuddled and hid in my lap.

On the plus side, it makes each day a new adventure. On the downside, not every adventure is a good one. Yet I learn something every time and I suppose that’s something, isn’t it?

Happy Thursday!

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