I had to let go of someone at work. While she wasn’t a full-time employee, it was still something that I didn’t enjoy doing at all.
Only a week ago, I had shared the big picture of our business with her. And she was excited to be on this journey along with the rest of us.
But a few significant internal changes had happened since then. And we could no longer continue working with her.
At first, I found it difficult to be totally honest with her.
I blamed circumstances. The stuff I couldn’t control. As if it was totally out of my hands.
But truth be told, if I had done a better job of carefully thinking about her engagement with us, I would have been able to foresee that it wasn’t the right time for her to join us.
So why wasn’t I totally honest with her?
Well, if she knew that I hadn’t done a good job or that I hadn’t planned things out well enough, what would she think of me?
I knew that she respected me for my skills and for leading a team that had made significant progress in the last few years.
I wasn’t keen on losing that respect.
What if, after knowing the truth, she chose to never work with us again?
So, I chose to avoid taking full responsibility.
I was feeling uneasy after my initial “it’s not really my fault” email to her.
I heard this voice inside me saying the following:
“She deserves to know the truth. If she chooses not to work with you again, that’s the price you have to pay.”
“If you were in her place, the least you would expect in this situation is total honesty. Right?”
Normally, I would distract myself from these difficult thoughts and move on to something more pleasant.
But this time, I chose to pay attention to that voice. It was my conscience talking. And it never lies.
If there was a price to pay for being truthful, so be it. I had to suck that up.
It took a while for better sense to prevail. But I’m glad it did.
I wrote up a follow-up email to her with the whole truth. It wasn’t easy to hit that “send” button, but when I did, it felt “right”.
What happened next surprised me. Here’s how she responded to me:
“Hi Vaidy, I also felt that something wasn’t right, but I wasn’t sure whether it was just me or that something was truly wrong.
Thank you for being honest. It’s best to put things on hold when there’s doubt.”
Was I successful in the end? Did she still respect me? Would she still consider working with us in the future?
Maybe. Maybe not. But she felt that I respected her.
Everyone deserves that. And I’m glad I did the right thing this time.