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Had to let go an employee today - what a day!

BB13

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Jul 12, 2019
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One of our very hard working and trusted people had to be let go today because our client no longer has work for her. It was such a difficult day for me and I would be lying if I said that I am not affected/dont care/only business etc. Rubbish. I feel responsible, I know her life situation and that she needed this job. I dont know if anyone has been in this situation before? How did you handle it?

Clearly, being an employer isnt fun either(!)

I appreciate that "not everyone" is cut out to be self-reliant, independent, or fast lane, however you want to call it. Just imagine if we all had this capacity - there would be no end to competition. It was a privilege to be able to help someone even for a short period of time but cant help feeling rubbish as I could not retain her. This worker was really worth the job, and more, very punctual reliable, hard working and trustworthy. Did not deserve the redundancy at all, but that is how things play out sometimes.

I will recover from it tomorrow, but today it is only human to feel some compassion. There is a sense of injustice and I probably feel as though I failed because I could not retain her even on a contractor basis - due to not having a back-up client in the same industry. Probably need to spend more time strategising and taking useful action than posting on this forum (!).

Life is difficult!
 

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Yzn

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Is this your first experience letting go an employee?

It definitely feels sad because you're a human, but you shouldn't worry about it. You didn't do any injustice to her. There was simply no work for her so who will you be kidding?

You should look at the brighter side too, maybe she found a better job somewhere else now, or decided to start a fastlane business to have full control lol.

After you do it a couple of times it becomes easier. Sad but true.
 

Jon L

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Letting people go, sucks. Even when they 'deserve' it. It takes a bit to recover from sometimes, as a boss. That's normal.

One thing that helps me is to think about the times I've been let go...Either by a client or by a previous employer. There wasn't a single time where I didn't see it coming. I'm sure your former employee saw this coming, too, even if she didn't let on that she did. If she were smart, she would have put her resume out there prior to being let go. Even if she didn't, she found this job working for you. She'll find another.
 

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If she is that good she will bounce back quickly and hopefully into a better position. Change is usually beneficial. And, at least it is not in the midst of the holidays.
 

Kung Fu Steve

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Being an employer seems to be equal parts "this is my family so I'll do anything for them" and "these are car parts and sometimes they need replacing"

Easier said than done.

As the saying goes it's not the people that you hire that ruin your business, it's the people you don't fire.

Good work and I'm glad you're grateful for the opportunities you were able to provide -- hopefully she eventually feels the same!
 

richardd

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Yeah I've had to do it too. I was consulting on the side at the time, and I decided to take the day off to meet with the employees. We had to lay off multiple people on the same day. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I felt responsible too. But it had to be done.
 

Monkeycom

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One of our very hard working and trusted people had to be let go today because our client no longer has work for her. It was such a difficult day for me and I would be lying if I said that I am not affected/dont care/only business etc. Rubbish. I feel responsible, I know her life situation and that she needed this job. I dont know if anyone has been in this situation before? How did you handle it?

Clearly, being an employer isnt fun either(!)

I appreciate that "not everyone" is cut out to be self-reliant, independent, or fast lane, however you want to call it. Just imagine if we all had this capacity - there would be no end to competition. It was a privilege to be able to help someone even for a short period of time but cant help feeling rubbish as I could not retain her. This worker was really worth the job, and more, very punctual reliable, hard working and trustworthy. Did not deserve the redundancy at all, but that is how things play out sometimes.

I will recover from it tomorrow, but today it is only human to feel some compassion. There is a sense of injustice and I probably feel as though I failed because I could not retain her even on a contractor basis - due to not having a back-up client in the same industry. Probably need to spend more time strategising and taking useful action than posting on this forum (!).

Life is difficult!
Letting go employees by lack of business is probably the most difficult thing I've done in my entire life.
Do your best to keep the others, and be proud to have offered her a job during those years!
 

Entre Eyes

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I can imagine being in an interview and being totally honest....."my last boss loved me but had to let me go".

But the fact is she sounds like a true asset for a company and I hope she just puts herself out there into the market and maybe a great reference from you would be an extra kick.
 

Champion

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Thanks for sharing the experience.

As some of the others have said, you already provided value to her by employing her for that certain period in time.

Besides, you have no idea whats best for her. For all you know, she could find a job that pays twice as much tommorow and being let go could have been the best thing to happen to her.

Best
Champion
 

ZCP

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Help her network. Make sure she lands well. And sell more work to bring her back.
 

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Vanderbilt

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One of our very hard working and trusted people had to be let go today because our client no longer has work for her. It was such a difficult day for me and I would be lying if I said that I am not affected/dont care/only business etc. Rubbish. I feel responsible, I know her life situation and that she needed this job. I dont know if anyone has been in this situation before? How did you handle it?

Clearly, being an employer isnt fun either(!)

I appreciate that "not everyone" is cut out to be self-reliant, independent, or fast lane, however you want to call it. Just imagine if we all had this capacity - there would be no end to competition. It was a privilege to be able to help someone even for a short period of time but cant help feeling rubbish as I could not retain her. This worker was really worth the job, and more, very punctual reliable, hard working and trustworthy. Did not deserve the redundancy at all, but that is how things play out sometimes.

I will recover from it tomorrow, but today it is only human to feel some compassion. There is a sense of injustice and I probably feel as though I failed because I could not retain her even on a contractor basis - due to not having a back-up client in the same industry. Probably need to spend more time strategising and taking useful action than posting on this forum (!).

Life is difficult!
can you explain what kind of business you are running? Are you running something like a Freelancing company/business?

Dont be mad, if she is like you saying, she will get fast a new job!
 
OP
OP
BB13

BB13

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An overwhelming number of supportive and compassionate responses. Thank you all.

I have quite a lot on at the moment but will make sure that I respond on an individual basis as soon as things calm down.

Just wanted to drop a quick note to say how much appreciated your comments (!).

Apologies and thanks again.
 

Walterbl

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Letting people go is one of the hard parts of running a staffed business. Nobody likes to do it, but it must get done. Hopefully she will find something.
 

RazorCut

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I've run businesses long past their sell by date just to keep employees in a job because they were like extended family. For many it was their first job and I still hear through the grape vine that for many it was the best job they ever had. Not for the pay, or the unsocial hours but for the enjoyment they got from it.

One in particular who had been with me the longest I kept working in one business until I had built another business up to a point that I could sensible re-employ him. We closed the first business down on a Sunday and he started his new job the very next day.

That said I have had to fire people for stealing and let people go as they just weren't up to the task.

If I had someone I hated letting go of, and thought would be a long term asset, I'd work my butt off to get several more clients under my belt that would provide that steady workflow. And that is not a selfless act. Great employees are hard to find and well worth the effort in keeping.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
BB13

BB13

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I am finally back !

I have been very busy giving birth :jawdrop:(no joke!) and am now mother to a lovely baby girl. I hardly wanted to think about the business in this period - and it's how it should be - now back to reality a little. Although after what I just achieved "grown and created a human being" everything else seems unimportant......including this post.

But I am still grateful to everyone who reached out.

The employee mentioned above has moved on to pastures new and is much happier now, and good for her. But yes it was not pleasant to deal with, I will know better next time.
 

Rabby

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Always a rough experience. Sleep on it and you'll feel better.

Maybe write the employee a letter of recommendation to help them find a new job, since it was no fault of theirs that the job didn't work out.

Keep in mind, you gave the employee an opportunity. It didn't work out, and that's too bad, but ultimately you added opportunity to their life. You did a good thing by adding possibilities for positive outcomes to the world.
 

minivanman

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Girls that used to work for me still stay in contact with me. One who I was VERY close to had her boyfriend die last month so the 1st person she turned to was me. Some of their kids even stay in contact with me.

It does seem odd to me that you would need to 'let someone go' because of not enough work. I'm lost on that one......
 

MJ DeMarco

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I have been very busy giving birth :jawdrop:(no joke!) and am now mother to a lovely baby girl.
Congrats!
 

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