iQuit: Handle Sensitive Matters in Person

We’ve all been there. You need to tell your boss you feel angry or overworked, or god forbid you want to quit.  You can’t stomach the thought of going into her office and telling her, so you send an e-mail or text.  It’s the path of least resistance, after all, and you avoid confrontation in the short-term. But what about the long-term?

You’ll Ruin Your Rep

Choosing to handle a sensitive issue via e-mail or text shows cowardice and immaturity, and these are two traits you want to steer clear of in your work life.  You’d be surprised how incidents like this can follow you from one job to the next.  All it takes is a potential new supervisor calling your old boss for a reference, and it’s all over.

Then, there is the matter of respect.  If your company and manager has been good to you, you owe it to him/her to do the right thing.  Taking the easy way out will also anger the higher-ups, as well it should, and even if you’ve done a stellar job up until this point, all anyone is going to remember is the way you handled this.

 

You Don’t Want to Miss Something

And let’s not forget about the nonverbal cues you send and pick up in an in-person conversation that are lost with e-technology.  When you are standing in front of your boss, you can emphasize with your eye contact, posture, and tone how much you’ve appreciated this opportunity and how sad you’ll be to move on, and your manager will be able to see that you’re sincere.  In an e-mail, though, your words may sound hollow.  You will also be able to read your boss’ reaction more accurately, which will give you a better chance of having a productive conversation.

You’ll Get Stronger as a Person

Last, your personal growth is a factor too.  I don’t love confrontation either, but I find that every time I manage one successfully, I feel more empowered and the situation doesn’t seem quite as scary.  So go in there, be assertive about what you want and need, and empathize with the other person’s point of view.  They really can’t ask for or expect anything else.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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  • Cacao47

    What about when you need a “paper trail” for a sensitive HR issue and if you don’t put it into writing, you will be unable to prove your case, should that option be necessary? I don’t necessarily agree with this piece.

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

     Good point.  You can always follow up an in person conversation with an e-mail recap, which can provide the necessary paper trail. 

    [Reply]

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