May 12 2011



This is another gem that I picked up years ago from my boss at MovieFone — the “Great Employment Office In The Sky.”  It’s a simple but powerful concept:

  • the organization is grappling with a difficult employee situation, and
  • the likely path is that the employee needs to leave the organization either immediately or sometime in the future, and
  • it’s impossible for the organization to figure out how to get from A to B for whatever reason, then
  • the employee resigns of his or her own accord, or
  • the employee does something that leaves the organization no choice but to terminate him or her immediately with no gray area

This has come up time and again over the years for us, and it’s an incredible relief every time it happens.  I hate admitting that.  We try to be swift (and fair) in dealing with tough employee situations.  But the reality is that it’s quite difficult.  The easiest termination situation I have ever had as a manager — ironically the first one I ever did almost 15 years ago — was still hard, because (a) we’re all human, (b) difficult conversations are difficult, and (c) even the most clear-cut situations usually have some element of fuzziness or doubt lurking in the background.

I don’t know why the GEOITS happens.  It probably has a lot to do with employees being perceptive and also recognizing that things aren’t going well.  I am not sure I have a settled or consistent view of karma and larger forces at work in the workplace.  But I’m glad there is a GEOITS at work at least once in a while!