78. The Great Regret + Firing Isn’t Funny

Episode 78: The Great Regret + Firing Isn’t Funny (Summary)

Are your switchers who switched regretting their switching? Plus, the common joke bosses make that’s doing more harm than good. It’s all ahead now, on Boss Better Now.

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Transcript – Episode 78: The Great Regret + Firing Isn’t Funny

Joe:
Are your switchers who switched regretting their switching? Plus, the common joke bosses make that’s doing more harm than good. It’s all ahead now on Boss Better Now.

Jamie:
You’re listening to Boss Better Now. This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Now, here’s your host, speaker, and author, Joe Mull.

Joe:
Hello, again BossHeroes, and welcome back. It feels like we’re starting Season Three. I mean, even though we don’t really do seasons around here. But, we just came off our summer hiatus. You may recall that… you know, we launched this show back in January of 2021 and we did weekly episodes for a whole bunch of months. And then we took a little summer break and then we came back from that last year in September. And then we went like nine months with weekly shows and then we took another little summer hiatus. And now we’re back. And there are so many things going on. There’s so much that I’m looking forward to talking with you about in the weeks ahead. You heard a little bit before the summer break that I was in the throes of writing my third book. We’ll be telling you about that project. I have some really exciting guests coming up on the show in the months ahead. And so, there’s just a lot of wonderful things happening.

Joe:
The first thing I have to tell you though is that my smart and talented co-host, Alyssa Mullet, will no longer be joining us as co-host. Alyssa is moving on to some new and different adventures and I can tell you sincerely that we are going to miss her greatly around here. Across really almost 60 episodes, Alyssa’s insight and her humor, and her advice, and just the… the charm of her personality are a big part of what made this show work right from the start. And so, it is certainly not going to be the same without her. So, I want to send a heartfelt thank you to Alyssa. We wish you well, and you are going to be missed. And that brings me to the next big announcement.

Joe:
If you’ve been listening to this show right from the beginning, you’ve heard me talk about how this show was conceived. And I, I described how I’ve never wanted to do a solo podcast. I like to talk with people. I, I, I feel a conversation is the most interesting kind of dialogue that could take place on a podcast, especially cuz it can spark extemporaneous ideas and, and different kinds of, of nuggets of wisdom that sometimes tumble out of our mouths that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have a really smart person there to chat with. And I am super excited that I have a new co-host to introduce you to – a super smart person to chat with. Please, welcome to the show, Suzanne Malauski. Yay! Suzanne is here.

Joe:
Suzanne and I kind of go way back. Suzanne is a coach and former organizational development executive across a variety of industries. She’s worked in education. She’s worked in healthcare. I am going to let her tell you a little bit about herself, but first let me just say this – Suzanne welcome. I’m so excited to be doing this with you.

Suzanne:
Thank you so much, Joe. I’m so excited to be here. It’s been a pleasure working with you throughout the years, and this is just an awesome opportunity to keep the dialogue going that we’ve already been having. So, it’s a pleasure to be here, and hi BossHeroes. Nice to meet you all.

Joe:
I told Suzanne before we hit record –  just pretend like there’s nobody here and we’re just having coffee because… Right? Suzanne and I have had some of the most delightful conversations about a lot of different issues that we talk about here on this show. And, and that’s what, what I hope to continue doing. And, and that’s why I invited her to, to fill this role with us. But Suzanne, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your work now and your background coming into this, but let’s start with now. What are you doing out there in the world?

Suzanne:
Sure, Joe, I started a company called WeInspire, and really, I provide talent solutions, everything from an HR advisor. So, I’ve got executive or HR leaders looking for new insights or thought leadership on really creating a purposeful employee experience. And that may include helping bosses be a little bit better, or it may include building out new processes or finding vendors even that help them with those things. But what I’m really excited about, I’m really pivoting my attention toward executive coaching. I’m looking for the motivated senior leader or executive who’s, you know, needs to get ready for next, either the next role they’re going to step into or the next change, which inevitably is going to come. And I help them, you know, find some quick wins, but also build a plan that’s sustainable for their growth as leaders.

Joe:
And it’s interesting because that is not where you started, but you kept being asked to do it and you kept being quite good at it. Right? This is something that as you worked with clients in the consultant capacity that you just described, they kept asking you, “well, hey, can I work with you in this way?” Do I have that right?

Suzanne:
Yes. You have that. So right. And I remember one of our conversations when I was, you know, working on my logo, what do I want to call my company? Like I don’t want to put coach down. I don’t, I don’t want to be known as a coach yet. You know, the laws of attraction kept steering me that way. And I do so enjoy building relationships and bringing out the best in others. And when I kind of got that okay in my head that “yes, Suzanne, that is actually coaching…that’s what you’re doing”, then I embraced it. So, I’m super excited to keep, keep doing that work.

Joe:
Well, one of the things that I always go to Suzanne for is a lot of work around assessment. So sometimes my company will get called and the client will want to do really a deeper dive than we often do, you know, my company really is around training and development work, but sometimes the company wants someone to go in and take a much bigger snapshot of, you know, what are the root causes of problems and where do we stand in certain, certain areas. And so, Suzanne, I would often come to you. I’ve hired you as a contractor to go out on my behalf and, and do some of this work. And so, it makes sense that the coaching piece would come into play because you can really get in there and do some of that assessment at an individual level.

Suzanne:
Absolutely. Absolutely. It could be 3, 360-degree interviews. So, let’s talk about your followers. Let’s talk to your peers and people that you are serving and see, you know, where can they uncover the strengths that you may not realize they’re counting on you for or the dreaded blind spots or you know, deficiencies that may, you know, we’re all, none of us are perfect. There’s no such thing. We’re not going for that perfect leader. We’re going for the best leader we can possibly be. So, getting that insight and that feedback, and then delivering in a way that they can hear it right and, and embrace it and make some changes around it is, is what’s fulfilling.

Joe:
And you have a wealth of experience working in senior HR roles across organizations. Yes. So, walk us back just briefly through some of your work history. What, what kind of roles have you filled and what kind of industries have you worked in? 

Suzanne:
Sure. I started out in banking. It was a small community bank, so small that I was in charge of HR and marketing. So that was pretty cool. <Laugh> <laugh> but — but my true corporate experience started in higher education with, with the online for-profit poor, poor for profit … easy for me to say… company called EDMC. Then I went into healthcare with stints at Highmark and MedExpress, which is where we worked together for the first time, and then most recently had a two-year engagement with an international apparel manufacturing company. So all of those were on staff leadership roles where I’m driving strategy, building the execution plans, fighting the good fight on behalf of all our great plans and the employee experience that we’re trying to create. And then intermittently, I’ve worked in consulting. So, in and out as someone coming in paid to speak truth to power, right, paid to help them look in the mirror and say, hey, here’s what we’re doing well. Here’s, here’s what we’re not. People like at UPMC,  West Virginia University, Range Resources. So, a variety of industries that I’ve experienced, and they all have their Hmm. Uniqueness mm-hmm <affirmative>, but a lot of the similarities do ring true throughout. I mean, every company is special, and they believe they’re special. And all my, what do I want to say, solutions are tailored to what uniqueness they, they show me when we do the assessments, but in truth, that leadership, you know, the things that you teach, the core, the basics, the heart of it all as, as being a good leader rings true through all industry.

Joe:
I think that’s one of the things I’m most excited about that our listeners, I think, are going to encounter as you spend time with us is you’ve worked in so many different kinds of industries, right?  You haven’t just worked in healthcare. You’ve worked in manufacturing, you’ve worked in education, right? You know, there, there are differences in those workplaces and so I’m, I’m really excited that you’re going to be bringing that perspective to the show.

Suzanne:
Oh, good. I think I have a couple of examples to share with you on today’s topic too. 

Joe:
<Laugh> oh, good. Let’s dive into that. This is something that I kept seeing a little bit over the summer and I thought, okay, that’s the first thing that we’ve got to talk about when we get back together. There is a new turn of phrase that’s getting bandied about a little bit in the business media. There are a couple of them that have shown up. Now, the one I want to talk about today is this idea of “The Great Regret”. And so, what we’re seeing in some places is in response to what was long called “The Great Resignation”, right? These, these last 20, 24 months, this idea that record job switching here in the United States is now being followed by some levels of regret, that workers who decided to leave their employer for a different job are now looking around and saying, you know what? “I’m not happy.”

Joe:
They’re looking around and saying “the grass wasn’t greener where I went”. A little bit of data for you that I encountered online… There was one study that said 72% of people who switched jobs in the past year expressed either surprise, regret, or the belief that their experiences were very different than what they were led to believe it would be. USA Today, even had a survey that said 26% of people who have switched jobs recently are less likely to stay in that job over the course of the next year, right? So, one out of four — one out of four people who switched jobs has already decided that there are not likely to stay in the job that they switched to. So, there’s a lot of this kind of sentiment going on that, that, hey, these people who switched jobs are now regretting it. And one of the things that I think is interesting is that related to their departure, there’s this kind of sentiment from employers who may be worth the departure organization around – “Well, see, we told you now it’s not the grass — isn’t always greener. I told you not to leave. You should see you had it better here than you thought you did.”  So I guess let’s start here, Suzanne. Okay. Are you seeing and encountering that sentiment out there? Is there a “Great Regret”? And if so, what’s it about?

Suzanne:
Yeah. I’m seeing a “Great Regret”. I’m seeing that what we call quick-a-trit. Quick-a-trit is, yeah. I love saying that. It’s when people —  All intents and purposes take the job. You’ve gone through the process. You’ve invested your time. You’ve invested your, you know, emotional, whatever you go through to figure out, to make this big decision. So, your intent is to go live, live it out. But quick-a-trit is when they get there… And for whatever reason, right? The grass is brown. It’s not green. Yes. I, it’s not what I thought it would be. They leave. So, if they leave within 90 days, we look at that as quick-a-trit, and then we try to figure out, is that a good, was that a good hire? Did we do something right or wrong in the interview process? What, what can we go to a root cause on how do we like quit hiring people that aren’t going to stay? Yeah. Or is it about the experience that we gave them here? And, you know, as, as recruiting, marketing gets more savvy, we organizations to a great job of selling people into their organization, but it’s up the bosses and leaders, if there’s, you know, disconnect or they’re not delivering up what recruiting is selling, then people, yeah. People are going to be like, I’m out. This isn’t what, what I thought it was going to be. Yeah. That’s part of it too. That’s what I’m thinking.

Joe:
I’m, I’m a big pink Floyd fan. And I don’t know if you want to listen to Dark Side of the Moon, but there’s a track on Dark Side of the Moon called Us and Them and I keep having now… Yes. Cause you said that I’ve got Us and Them playing in my head, “Is it us? Is it them”, right? Did we make the right hire but then there was an experience issue that pushed them out the door, or maybe they were the wrong hire or maybe it was maybe we were both wrong — wrong hire/ bad experience. Cause if it’s the right hire and the right experience, we typically don’t get regret. Do we?

Suzanne:
No, not really. No, no. You get commitment, right? Yes. You get, you get engagement.

Joe:
Yes. And so, I think that’s a really great insight right out of the gate is if we have people who are leaving organizations, are we looking in the mirror? Are we doing some kind of assessment? Are we evaluating what led people to leave? And I think that we have in some organizations, you know, I think a lot of frontline and mid-level leaders think, well, there’s somebody designated to study that, right? HR is going to check that, or talent acquisition is going to check that. But as frontline and mid-level leaders, we need to check that in ourselves too. Right? We need to look around and say, hmm, what was the whole story of this person’s recruitment and onboarding, you know, their selection they’re onboarding. And then, you know, what, what was the story? Did you know, cuz sometimes people just get an offer they can’t refuse. Right? Sometimes people leave because the old job came back, they backed up a truck full of money to the door and they said, “we need you back. We can’t live without you.” And that may not be about you at all. But are we doing that reflection, especially as leaders to say were there some things that I should have put in place – could have put in place? Is there something about this environment that didn’t work?

Suzanne:
Oh, I think that’s really smart. And you think about where, where are the opportunities for you to control or influence that process? And the one thing I just wish leaders would take more thought about and I’m sure some of your listeners do but is that onboarding. And I don’t mean the HR paperwork part of it. I mean, how are you welcoming someone into your team? Letting them know what the unspoken or spoken rules of engagement are. Like, how do we do things around here? How do we, you know distance, some work where we realize the benefit of, of employees standing next to people who’ve been there a long time. How do you get people that have been there a long time to tell ’em how it really is right?

Joe:
In a way that doesn’t poison the well.

Suzanne:
Exactly. In the right way. Right? Right.

Joe:
Yeah. Not like when the boss walks away and like, “let me tell you why it really works around here.”

Suzanne:
Right? Well, no. Yeah. Crap. Yeah. <laugh> right.

Joe:
Yeah. You got to ask the right person to stand next to the new person. If you ask the wrong person to stand next to the new person and then people are leaving now you knew you picked the wrong person,

Suzanne:
Right. That could be the person that’s the reason everyone was leaving <laugh> that’s right. You weren’t paying attention.

Joe:
Sally was amazing. But everybody Sally talked to quit in three months.

Suzanne:
Right? Why do we keep having Sally train new hires? This is what happens, right? <Laugh> come on Sally. Yeah.

Joe:
You know, but I think there’s another aspect to this. And, and cuz I got asked this question recently at an event where people were talking about boomerang employees, right? People who okay. Left to go to a new job, were not happy with their new circumstances, and then went back to their old employer and said, hey, can I have my old job back? Cuz there’s some of that happening out there.  And one of the under… interesting underlying currents in this conversation to me is that we are still trying to blame employees for crappy employer circumstances. Right? One of the reasons so many people are switching jobs at a record rate is because they have suffered so much such a high level of disproportionate impact of their job on their life. Right? People are looking around and saying, my quality of life is not what it needs to be. I’m working too long, too much. It’s stress. It’s burnout. It’s the commute. It’s a toxic boss. I don’t make enough. My hours are lousy. And so, they leave for what they think are going to be greener pastures. And when they don’t work out, there’s this tendency to point to the employee and say “see, it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was.” When what’s really happening right now around “The Great Regret” is that employers aren’t keeping their promises to employees. Those new hires who are told, “yeah, you’re going to have flexibility. Yeah. We pay at the top of the pay scale. Oh, your new boss is great. You know, the, the person that interviewed me seems so nice and so warm and approachable and supportive and said I was going to get to work on the things that I was really excited about”. And then they get through the door and the promises that were made aren’t kept maybe I don’t get as much flexibility. Maybe my schedule. Isn’t what I thought it was going to be… Or the workload… maybe I don’t feel a sense of belonging with the team. But for one reason or another, the bill of goods that I was sold, didn’t end up coming to, to fruition. And so, I want to push back on the great regret as being the employee’s fault. It’s not, you know, if nothing else, what we’ve seen right now is that people’s tolerance for a bad situation at work is now shorter than it ever has been before.

Suzanne:
Right. Right. And the market is such that you can go look yep. And make some choices. And then the demand that the employers are facing means they’re going to up their game on what they’re telling you, they’re going to do. Right. They’re making our employer value proposition is these seven items and you couldn’t do any better than to come to us. And that’s great if it’s the truth. And honestly, sometimes you go, and you get delightfully surprised that the organization is meeting or exceeding those promises. But those cases where those gaps exist and where employers aren’t paying attention aren’t sincere. 

Joe:
Right. And if you think about the, the, the runway for disenchantment at work, it’s gotten shorter right before the pandemic. We still saw rec record levels of job switching increasing year over year, since, as far back as 2010, but the runway was longer, right? That switching jobs was a major life decision and people would, would evaluate it and sort of agonize over it. And I’m talking to people in my support network and then maybe I take the leap, but it’s not something that I do impulsively. It’s not something that I do quickly. Sometimes I’m leaving a job that I’ve been unhappy in for years mm-hmm <affirmative>. And now in a post-COVID world with so much opportunity in the job market, we’re seeing people go three months, six months and looking around and saying, “Nope, not good”. So, their runway for getting to disenchant is way shorter. It just proves… it’s proof of concept for a better employee experience and the need for, for organizations not to just pay lip service to the things that employees are telling us they want, but to actually put them in place. Cuz if you don’t, you’re going to have a bigger turnover problem than you had in years prior.

Suzanne:
Absolutely. Well, think too, Joe of the shame. I don’t know if shame’s the word, but remember when we were building our resumes, you never left a job unless you were there at least, right? Five years and then it got lowered to two and now I’m not, you know, I’m not sure that as employees we’re worried about that. Not so much. I’m going to put that down on my worry list and just go for the job that I feel I can find the satisfaction or safety or whatever your, your thing might be that you want out of the job.

Joe:
Yeah. And if you’re struggling with staffing, you don’t care. Right. You don’t care that they were in another place for three months. You’re desperate. You’re like, Hey, numbers, pulse. And you can put a sentence together and you smile every once in a while, you’re hired. Right. If you’re really stuck for staffing — I’m thinking about restaurants and retail and some of these places where it’s been really difficult to fill positions. And that’s great. You can get them to say yes, but are they going to walk through the door and have experiences that make them very quickly go, “Nope!”

Suzanne:
Mm-hmm <affirmative> absolutely. And labor. So, our manufacturing jobs, it’s the, it’s the same thing. Even trucking. My husband’s company can’t find people to drive a truck and people probably chose to drive a truck, cuz they literally love to drive a truck. So, what are we doing? What are we doing to make it unappealing? Right? <laugh> people have chosen that as a career. Right? it it’s so sad. And then think of the weary people, our Sally example, who’s tired of retraining, the churning… churning cast of characters to come through here that she didn’t take that job to be a trainer, but we’ve asked her to be yeah, right. To, to have to keep the care and feeding of new hires all the time. Yep. So, yep. That, that impacts it too.

Joe:
And she’s picking up a slack cuz they’re not ready on day one. Yeah. Yeah. So, so it’s like, I need to keep picking up the slack for three months while you get your feet under you in this job. And then it’s, it’s demoralizing. They have to do it again. When that person hits the exit door. It’s just a reminder that one of the things that, that I keep saying and people keep looking at me cross side every once in a while, is there is no staffing shortage. There is a great job shortage. You know, people tend to do a great job. People tend to stay and do a great job when they believe they have a great job. And so, if people are leaving, there’s something about the job that they didn’t think was so great. And we have to drill down and understand what that is. And it’s usually right now, something around quality of life, right? I’m not making enough, or I can make more elsewhere. And maybe it’s schedule, maybe it’s workload. Maybe it’s the quality of my relationship with my boss or my team or my commute, but it’s almost always related to how does this job fit into my life? And is there an opportunity for me to find a better fit elsewhere? And so, we have to evaluate those aspects of our own jobs, especially if we’re seeing turn turnover where we work

Suzanne:
Mm-hmm <affirmative> and you have the data now. I mean the technology that we have, our fingertips that you can start to analyze some of those root causes or at least look at the trends. So, some organizations have to go surgically into departments or job roles or areas to, to address those problems because it might not be a one size fits all for the entire organization.

Joe:
Absolutely. All right, folks. Well, remember, one of the ways that we keep in touch around here is through our very popular BossBetter Email Newsletter. Twice a month, I send out an email newsletter with articles, news, tips, tricks, and videos. I can tell you that we have one that’s about to go out with I think the most personal and inspiring video I’ve ever shared. I had a, an experience this summer where I got to take the stage with my daughter and I’m going to be sharing that video for the first time with folks who are subscribers. It’s like a V I P subscriber exclusive that we’re going to share. So, you can get that free twice a month. BossBetter Email Newsletter by texting the word BossHero, all one word, to 6, 6, 8, 6, 6. So one more time you take out your cell phone, you open a blank text message. You address it to 6, 6, 8, 6, 6, and then in the body of the text, you type the word BossHero, all one word hit send, and then it’ll ask you to enter your email address. And that’s how you get on that list and how you get all of that cool stuff. So, I hope you get signed up. There’s some really great things coming down the pike on the BossBetter Email Newsletter.

Joe:
And that brings me to really what I think is our most popular segment. Now I know you’re new to this Suzanne, so that’s okay. I know you’ve listened to the show quite a bit though. So, you’ve probably familiar with this catchy little diddy that’s playing in the background. This is the theme music for the Camaraderie Question of the Week. We know that bosses build camaraderie on teams by making it easier for people to find things in common with each other. That’s why here on the show every week we give you a question you can use at meetings to facilitate connection and build comradery. And Suzanne, I appreciate if you’re watching this on YouTube, anybody, you can see that Suzanne was just bopping a little bit to that music, cuz it is a catchy little diddy.

Suzanne:
It is.

Joe:
And so, your first question as a co-host of our show is, tell us about something unique that’s on your bucket list. What say you, my friend?

Suzanne:
Well, my friend, the word unique kind of challenged me a little bit. Cause like bucket lists, you know, unique. So, mine has to do with both business and personal life. Okay. So, one of the items on my list is that I would really, really, really love — And maybe you can help me with me someday — is to work overseas. So maybe a six-month engagement doing what I do best in, I don’t know, London or Paris or someplace really awesome. Oh, that’s on my bucket list.

Joe:
I love that. What appeals to you about that most?

Suzanne:
Other than someone paying for me to travel someplace, I’d like to be I think <laugh>, I think it’s just learning a different perspective being immersed in, you know, not organizational culture. I mean those differences would be better, but I mean country culture, you know, a city’s culture different than, than our own would be such a great learning experience.

Joe:
I have a speaker friend who does occasional work in Moscow. And so, she reached out to me cuz they were looking for another speaker for something, I guess in the healthcare world, they really like American speakers over there. They, they see them as like the most credible, this is what she told me. And my, and she, she said, I, I want to tee you up to do this. You’ll get to fly over. You can bring your wife. It’s beautiful. It’s incredible. It’s, it’s an amazing experience. And my immediate reaction was like, oh, I’m, I’d be a little nervous about that. Now, this was before Ukraine. This was before mm-hmm <affirmative> you know sure, Brittney Griner, the, the basketball player was in prison. So, I think there was a time when it was maybe a little easier to travel there as an American. But I did have that moment where I was like, you know, it would be really cool to experience, you know, a different culture and to see a place like that. Cuz, I don’t do a lot of international work overseas.

Suzanne:
Yeah. To bring the family along. That would be great for everybody. So. Alright Joe, but I want to know what your unique item is on your bucket list.

Joe:
Yeah. Cause I don’t really have a bucket list. I feel like, so I’m 45. I feel like I don’t don’t need that yet, but maybe I should start thinking about it. I don’t know. I don’t have like this long list of things I want to do before I “kick the bucket”, but I think most people probably have some things that they say to themselves, you know, someday I’d like to do that and that’s really, what’s okay at the heart of this question. So, BossHeroes, if you use this question, you could take the whole bucket list thing off of there. If you want, if that feels morbid, you know, if you’re like, what’s your “boy, I’d like to do that someday” unique thing. For me most of the folks listening to this have heard me talk about my theater background. My bachelor’s degree is in music and voice. Some I would like to play Jean Valjean in Les Mis now Les Mis is very special to me. It’s really the first show I ever saw a full-scale production of. I think the music is magnificent. I have a lot of favorite shows, but Les Mis is my favorite, favorite, favorite show. I had a life-changing experience the first time I saw it and I would like to play the part someday. I think I’d be a pretty good Valjean. Now, this can be a really small, crappy community theater experience. I don’t care. I kind of would just like to play the part. Are you familiar with the show

Suzanne:
A little bit? I couldn’t, I couldn’t list any character, so I’m sorry.

Joe:
That’s okay. Well now,

Suzanne:
But I’m sure you’d be amazing. 

Joe:
Well, listen to that. 

Suzanne:
Every confidence cause your heart is into it, right?

Joe:
I would love to play Jean Valjean with all the hardship, he goes through. Okay. Yes.

Suzanne:
Okay. I’ll look it up and, but here’s what I would ask you. Okay. On top of that, Joe, what are you doing to realize this? Like just looking for, to show up for a call, or are you doing anything to bring that to fruition for yourself?

Joe:
You would ask a good coaching question… a really good coaching question right there in that moment. Wouldn’t you? Right now, nothing. Okay. Probably nothing. I’m…

Suzanne:
Memorizing the lines just in case.

Joe:
Oh, well they’re all memorized. I have listened to that soundtrack a good jillain times. <Laugh> and I perform at at least once a month in the car okay. I, I’m not going to lie. All right. With, with kids or really epic levels of performance, but I don’t know. I mean, I I’ve started building a relationship with a local community theater. I don’t know that they’re ever going to do Les Mis, but it does feel to me like one of those things that I look at and I say, well, once I, I don’t have to travel so much for work, and I have a little bit more availability and I could commit to that sort of a thing. And it doesn’t feel like I have space in my life for it right now. So that’s why I’m not actively working on it. It feels like a maybe later thing.

Suzanne:
That

Joe:
Also, could be a cop out.

Suzanne:
Well, I, I, wasn’t going to say that. I was thinking, oh, well gosh, you’ve planted a seed. You’ve put it out there in the universe is what you do with a good goal. So, I’m sure people will maybe find opportunities or think of you now because it helps you out.

Joe:
Maybe we could blend these together. You could get hired overseas. You could see a casting call for a local production of, of Les Mis. You could call me and say Joe out here in Paris…. Yes. It’d be really hard to do Les Mis in Paris though. Cause you’re doing it in the original French. Right? They’re doing the whole thing. <Laugh> never mind.

Suzanne:
They’re doing the English version for tourists.

Joe:
Yes, I’ll do it at like community theater. Let’s go

Suzanne:
<Laugh> okay. All right. You could do it.

Joe:
And that’s the Camaraderie Question of the Week.

Joe:
All right, folks. Well, listen here at the show, we want you to know that we always have a couple of segments that we do on each and every episode. One of my favorite segments is something around here that we call “Stop It.”And Suzanne, I am here to ask our BossHeroes to stop making jokes about firing people. They aren’t funny. Okay. In the moment they, they probably feel funny to you. They may even sound funny. The person across from you may actually laugh. But let me be clear if they are laughing, it really might not be real. Now, you know, the jokes that I am talking about, somebody comes in and says, Hey, I’m sorry. I’m late for the meeting. The copier was jammed. I was just trying to print these out for everybody, and you go, well, you’re fired. I’m going to need your badge, please. Ha ha ha pause, wink, chuckle. Or sometimes, you know, this is the joke that we make when someone apologizes for something really small that you don’t even think they should apologize for. And you’re actually making the joke to break the tension and to minimize their worry. But it doesn’t work that way. Right. That person comes in and says, Hey, I’m really sorry. I, I, I didn’t get to that email this morning by 7:00 AM. I got stuck in traffic. I, I did get the reply out at 7:15 and you’re like, turn in your keys. Hahaha. You know, at a psychological level, this isn’t good-natured humor. When, when we make a joke like this, it’s a flex it’s, it’s playing with the power that you have as a leader in a way that doesn’t necessarily treat it with the reverence it deserves. We have to remember as leaders that we hold, people’s livelihoods in our hands, their ability to feed their kids, to pay for medicine, to stay in housing. Do we really want to make that fodder for humor? What do you think Suzanne? Is this, is this something that I’m overreacting to? Have you encountered this in the workplace? Is this a “Stop It”?

Suzanne:
Oh, definitely a “Stop It” Joe, for sure. Okay. so, a couple of things come to mind. The first is it is it’s embarrassing. So, you’re right. That that humor could be just because I think that’s what I need to do in this moment. I don’t know what else to do. Yeah. But it feels like a veiled threat in some way. So not only does that make that person that it’s spoken to or about uncomfortable that everyone else is around the room is going, oh my gosh. You know, is that what’s going to happen to me? I better never be late, or you know, miss a deadline. Yeah. So, it doesn’t create that safe workspace that you want. And, and I always think, when I first read this, I was thinking about the jokes you made about them when they’re not in the room, that’s not okay either. Right. Right. So just remember if someone’s talking about somebody else while you’re in the room, they’re going to talk about you when you’re not in the room. Right. So don’t, don’t play that. And that leader is leaving, creating a shadow that isn’t okay. Other people are going to then think that kind of humor is okay and it’s not right. Right?

Joe:
And I know that there are folks listening where the, the joke is made as a well-intentioned, you know, remark as a way to diffuse the situation or even as a way to make people feel better. Like it’s a way to say, hey, this thing that you’re apologizing for is absurd. You don’t need to apologize, sir. So, I’m going to match your absurdity with an absurdity. And it doesn’t really work that way. You know, a lot of therapists will tell you there’s no such thing as just joking, right? When you say, oh, I’m just joking. That are you really? You know, sometimes there’s a reason, those things get said out loud. And if you make this joke to somebody who’s insecure, it’s downright anxiety-producing in ways that they may not even be comfortable. It probably isn’t comfortable showcasing so that we do that thing that we’re all conditioned to do sometimes. And we try to laugh it off, you know, in an external way, we can try to show people that we’re just going to, oh ha ha ha. That’s funny. But it stays with us, and it gnaws at us and it, it creates a problem. And so go ahead.

Suzanne:
Well, I was going to say, you’re not saying humor. Isn’t good. I mean that leaders should, you’re not saying they should not use humor. Right, right. It’s just appropriately.

Joe:
Who are you dialing the humor onto? So, if you, you can, you can cut the tension with a joke. Absolutely. Okay. We need to bring humor into the workplace but make it about yourself and not about them. Right? When that person apologizes for a minor thing and you want to cut the tension, you know, they say, I’m sorry, I’m late for the meeting. You say, well, listen, I’m not even mentally in the room yet myself. So don’t worry about it. You know you make the joke about yourself to cut the tension — not about them.

Suzanne:
Right? Yeah. I like that.

Joe:
All right — Jokes about firing people. “Stop It”. All right, folks. That’s our show this week. I want to take a minute and give Suzanne a huge round of applause. You got through the first show. How do you feel?

Suzanne:
I feel wonderful. Thank you, Jill. Thanks for including me in making it easy.

Joe:
Well, we’re excited that you’re here and I’m looking forward to all of our future conversations. Listeners, if you want to make sure you get to hear those conversations, make sure you subscribe to our show on whatever platform you’re listening on. You just scroll down and hit that little subscribe button and then you will get a little notification every time. A new episode of Boss Better Now is available to you in the meantime. Thank you for listening and thank you for all that you do to take care of so many.

Jamie:
This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Commitment comes from better bosses, visit joemull.com today.

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