Last Lie

30 Mar , 2015  

In my new workstation this year, I have an advantage of having a thorough view of the floor. This accessibility has provided me with some very insightful interactions. On their last working day when colleagues come to bid their farewell, I tend to ask them “so where are you heading to next?” To which I receive many different responses. I think it’s a normal question to ask which leads to interesting conversations of trust and beliefs.

“I have 2 offers on hand which I will decide next week”; or “still thinking which one is better,” or the classic, “I might take a short break before deciding on my next move”! Sounds familiar? Yes, these are clichés. I have heard those more times that I care to keep track hence depending on my mood, I’ll merely smile or cockily say, “Oh Common!”

Why do you think some people refuse to reveal where they’re heading to next in their career with a few going to the extent of putting their new role on LinkedIn as “Confidential”. It’s as though they’ve joined the CBI! I can understand people concealing their new employer when they resign so that there is no backlash during notice periods and that there are dignified exits. However, shouldn’t an exception be made on the last working day?

Having said that, there are instances when an employee CAN choose NOT to reveal his/her next work exchange if the following applies:

  1. …the truth can jeopardize the next employment prospects;
  2. …the truth will not go down well with current superiors and colleagues (or even family and friends);
  3. …personal belief system and upbringing which makes them uncomfortable being “openly” truthful;
  4. …personal perception on the culture of exiting an organization;

As much as we might work in organizations which does not indulge in witch-hunting when you disclose information about your next employer, individual baggage also play a huge role in whether we choose to tell the truth or otherwise when we’re on our way out.

My direct reports (DRs) have given me numerous experiences in the last 2 decades when they resigned. There were a few whom I thought I had a good work relationship with and who concealed their next career move and made me feel untrustworthy. Funnily, I thought trust was built but they proved otherwise! Nevertheless, I have learnt to let go so today whenever someone tells me a “Last Lie”, I try to move on!

Then there have been some unique experiences in particular an incident during which one of my DRs whom I had asked to leave told me on his last working day that he was joining competition. I admired his bold honesty so when he called me for a reference for his subsequent career change, I didn’t hesitate!

What about you? Like many things you’re entitled to do, what would you choose to say when you are asked, “so where are you heading to next?” Remember, what goes around comes around…

"Whenever someone tells me, “I will let you know once I've joined the new company,” I chuckle"!

“Whenever someone tells me, “I will let you know once I’ve joined the new company,” I chuckle”!

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