I Quit … At Least for Now
By Lyle R. Hill
It was late and I was tired, but the allure of a ringing phone is sometimes just too hard for me to resist.
“Thanks for answering, Lyle, I know it’s late and I wasn’t sure if I would catch you or not. My name is Nick Ferranti. We met at the show in San Antonio … “Sure Nick, not a problem,” I re-plied while trying to remember our conversation and place the name with a face. “How can I help?”
“Thanks, Lyle. Here’s my story. Three months ago my right hand guy, Jay Pinkos, quit and went to work for a competitor.”
“Is that his real name?”
“No, Lyle. His real name is Barry Atkins but I thought you might make an article out of this so I didn’t think I should use his real name. I know he reads AGRR.
“We’re not a big operation. There are seven of us all together and he was kind of the number two guy. We had worked together for about 14 years and while we didn’t always agree on everything, we always worked it out. His leaving hurt and it is virtually impossible to replace a top notch person right now.”
“Right now, Nick, it’s almost impossible to replace or find anyone of talent, top notch or otherwise. Did this Barry guy tell you why he was leaving you after 14 years?”
“The guy he went to promised him a new truck, more money and a credit card for all vehicle expenses … business or personal.”
“Did you offer to match that or was that out of your price range?”
No, I didn’t try to match the offer. I was pretty upset about the whole thing. Over his 14 years I had paid him for time he took off for person-al matters and he never missed a full paycheck even when we were slow or the weather kept us from doing any work. At times I carried him but apparently it meant nothing to him. I wasn’t about to beg the guy to stay!”
“Nick, I’m hoping maybe you had someone who could move into Barry’s spot … at least temporarily.”
“And was this guy able to handle Barry’s job?”
“Pretty well but then I needed to replace him in his spot so it’s still a hurt on the business. And as soon as Trostle realized he was more valuable to the company than he had been before Barry left, he want-ed more money or he said he might start looking around too.”
“Nick, if it’s any consolation to you, and I’m guessing it’s not, this kind of thing has been happening forever and right now it’s probably worse than ever because of the lack of qualified people and the incredible amount of work available.”
“But what happened to loyalty, Lyle? I’ve been good to these guys.”
“I think loyalty still exists but maybe not to the degree it once did. You need to remember that a person’s first loyalty is not, and should not be, to their employer. In his biography, legendary Green Bay Packer Coach Vince Lombardi, used to tell his teams the following: ‘Think of only three things: your God, your family, and the Green Bay Packers–in that order.’ He recognized that there were things more important to his players than the Packers and nobody demanded loyalty and effort from his people more than Lombardi.”
“I understand that, Lyle, and I don’t expect to outrank God or an employee’s family, but don’t they owe me something too?”
“Nick, I don’t know enough of the details to comment too much but I have gone through what you are going through and I know it.”
“Well Lyle, let me give you the rest of the story. Now, after three months, Barry called me and says he wants to come back. Seems the grass on the other side of the fence was not as green. Of course he wants more money and I’ve already given a raise to the other guy.”
“I understand, Nick. And now you have to make a decision or two. You’ll have to evaluate the costs and benefits of Barry’s possible return and what impact allowing him to come back has on the rest of your team and especially this Trostle guy who you promoted into Barry’s old spot. Maybe he’s the first person you need to talk to. Try to put yourself in their shoes if you can. I am pretty sure that you’ll come to the right conclusion and I’d appreciate a call when you have resolved all of this. Then when the dust settles, you’ll have to think about how you can better avoid this type of thing in the future.”
“OK Lyle, thanks for listening and I will let you know what happens. One more thing—could you let me borrow that Vince Lombardi book?”
LYLE HILL has more than 42 years of experience in and around the auto glass industry. At one time he operated 71 auto glass retail shops and a wholesale auto glass distribution business. He is currently the managing director of Keytech North America, a consulting firm, and is the co-founder of Glass.com.
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