I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t quit yet. I wanted to. I had wanted to for a few months. I was so bored with my work and I had never made so little since graduating high school.
But I worked for the best boss I ever had. I was known and loved and supported at work. My passions and strengths were encouraged, but there was little avenue for them. Time passed and I still didn’t want to quit because I knew it would hurt so much to leave them all. I feared that I may never find a better place or people to work with. In my double-digit job tally, this was a rare one that I really didn’t want to leave. I knew it wasn’t best for me to stay though. I wanted to grow, go back to school and be a great boss someday. It wasn’t the place for me. Still, I cried on my last day. It was never just “business.”
Fast-forward two years and I was trying to decide if I should quit yet another job. I had turned it over and over again in my head. I had so much anxiety about it. I hadn’t really been brought into the office clique. I didn’t love what I did. I didn’t feel cared for. I felt mechanized. It was a more worldly, prestigious title that I would lose. A higher salary. Yet, for the most part, the company wanted to own my life and treat me more like a machine than a human. One morning, I finally allowed myself to listen to what I actually desired for my life instead of every other soul-destroying voice and I called my superior. One of the first things he asked me was how I thought I was going to do better (monetarily) elsewhere. That confirmed it. I had made the right decision. The culture was one of just “business”, largely negating the personal.
The reality of it is that people don’t care about just money. They care about less tangible items just as much, sometimes more. Respect, being known, loved and cared for and generally being treated as a human are highly valued by your employees.
There may be really difficult business decisions you have to make. You may have to lay people off because you don’t have the money to pay them, but even those decisions aren’t just business. They are still personal because you’re all still people. Don’t wall off your heart and say it’s just business. Explain to people the situation. Let them know how it makes you feel that you have to let them go and that the business isn’t doing well. This doesn’t make you weak. It makes you a real person.
"It's not personal, it's business" is a lie that's used to dehumanize cutthroat business actions. It's used as justification for caring about money more than caring about people.
Don’t partner with the lie of “it’s not personal, it’s business”. When you act like everything is just business, not only do you devalue the humanness of those around you, you ultimately devalue your own humanness as well. It will crush your spirit. Creating a healthy business and life requires knowing that if people are involved in some way, then it's personal.
Some other worthwhile reads on the subject:
How I Finally Snagged My Dream Domain by Adina Grigore (Entrepreneur)
Want a Bigger Business? Make it Personal by Alex and Cadey Charfen (The Huffington Post)