I'm leaving

Bert Geerts 23-09-2020

I'm sure you're familiar with the "I'm leaving" program. This rating gun has been a well watched hit by the AVROTROS on NPO 1 for years and in which the Dutch are followed during their adventure abroad. This spring there was a new variant of this format on the tube. It was presented as 'Foodtruck Wanted'. If you have totally missed the program and you would like to be amazed at how easy it is for some people to change tack and look to the future in a positive way, then I recommend you to visit Uitzending Gemist again.

Header Image



Where do I want to go with you in this blog? I would like to take a closer look at the ability to be able and/or want to 'change' the average Dutch employee. I would also like to examine the role of the Dutch employer, entrepreneur or manager in this context.

As light-footed and impulsive as the participants act in the aforementioned TV formats. So different, in terms of out-of-the-box thinking, with the average employee.

What does this behaviour mean for you as an employer, entrepreneur or manager? Do your employees really do the work they want? Are their talents being used sufficiently and would they not prefer to leave, or perhaps you would prefer to see them leave yourself? The popularity of the 'I'm leaving' programme and various studies show that many people are not really satisfied with their current life, job or work.

That's kind of weird, actually. Because right now, apart from the corona crisis, we are living in great prosperity. The Netherlands is in almost all the lists in the TOP 5 or TOP 10. In addition, we have a lot more free time than before, the heavy work has been taken over by machines and our reduction in working hours in recent decades has in many cases gone from 48 hours to 32 hours.

Happiness Manager
In addition, the Human Resources department has made way for academically trained full-time HR managers who do their utmost to make things as pleasant as possible for (new) employees by means of development programmes, competence matrices per job and onboarding. Even the position of a so-called Happiness Manager is on the rise. Nevertheless, many employee satisfaction surveys show that employees are not really satisfied and in particular not happy with their manager. The latter can be called remarkable.

"I'm leaving
Of course, the 'I'm leaving' programme is especially popular because we can laugh hard at those so-called 'stupid people' chasing their 'bizarre dreams'. You could call it a 'fatal fantasy'. Apart from the fact that those wild plans often lack a good financial foundation for their plans or knowledge of the language of their new motherland and the people actually don't know what they're getting into or what they're leaving behind. No, they often just want a quieter, less hectic life with more time for each other. Done with their rat race.

What we see on TV is especially good for the ratings. Heavily perspiring people, who find it difficult to sleep because of the many headaches and look for each other's irritation limits.
That it often fails is logical, but when did it actually fail or is something else playing?

Many of the participants, despite their worries and hard work, are often much happier because they feel they have regained more control over their own lives. In the 'Foodtruck Wanted' programme, too, participants are seen taking risks - spending all their savings - and starting to do things, such as cooking themselves, which they hardly did or even had any skill in before that time. Where I recently quoted Pippi Longstocking in an earlier blog: "I've never done it so I think I can do it". Well, that might have been a little light in these situations.

Learning moment
Now, what can we learn from the above? With the experience that employees who do leave often also indicate that their manager is an important reason for their departure.
Of course, for the sake of peace, it is then often said that it is primarily a 'salary issue'. In that case, one stays away from a direct and personal attack on the functioning of that boss or manager. How useful is that?

Suppose we do include the possible and real reasons for leaving in the personal sphere of work, what should have happened sooner? Assuming that the man or woman, who wants to start an ice cream parlour at the North Pole via the AVROTROS, can probably no longer be deterred from those drizzling plans.

In this context, ask each other the following questions.
What are our personal motivations at work? What motivates us, what are we really hot for? What is going well, what can be done better and what needs to be done differently in the organisation?

And does your supervisor know this, too? Does he ever ask you as an entrepreneur or manager about it? Many large fires would have been preventable if there had simply been a cup of water available.

Think of a totally different set-up of performance or career discussions and then talk to each other about the above matters. What are the expectations? What challenge do we take on together? Or are we not talking about it? No message is a good message?
He's just like that! That's the way things are at our company? I only have to work for six more years!
Who's waiting for me? It's just hard to get good staff

Corona crisi
Six months ago, the labour market looked a bit different. Before the corona crisis, there was a considerable demand for labour. There were many vacancies in almost all sectors of the economy and a large number of employees were sensitive to an almost risk-free transfer to another company or even to a totally different branch of sport. In particular, the youngest generation of employees is more sensitive to atmosphere and tertiary working conditions than a golden watch because of 25 years of employment. This should actually be a wake up call.

After all, entrepreneurs and managers are often surprised and feel overwhelmed by the sudden departure of employees. That feeling strikes me as somewhat naive. If, as a 'boss', you had had better contact or experienced better working relations, you might have been able to prevent the departure or at least be better prepared for it. Because not every 'sudden departure' is by definition annoying for both employer and employee.

Faithful employees who are having a good time - that's great - but sometimes it's also good that the team changes its composition and that new fresh blood is added.

Currently, job vacancies are decreasing, unemployment is rising and many employees will
stay in place or position more often because of the uncertainty in a new job and the economic outlook. This gives air, security and offers opportunities to improve the atmosphere, in the broadest sense of the word, on the 'shop floor'. This applies to entrepreneurs, managers and employees. Insight into ourselves gives insight into others.

Employees are very often the company's most important capital asset. We all work together for a very large part of our lives, so we use each other's talents optimally, share knowledge, retain knowledge and work on skills to be able to communicate and want to connect.

It is also important to know how people get motivated and stay motivated, so that they can enjoy their work and be proud of what they can and want to achieve. Whether one wants to leave or stay, and whether it is a manager, entrepreneur or employee. So before you leave or start? First of all, ask for some timely feedback or reflection from professionals who understand these things.

Bert Geerts, coach coach.