After three weeks of discussion on how to get a job, I thought I would conclude with a post about the other side of the job relationship: the break-up. A young engineer I am mentoring, who recently quit his job, wrote: I felt that like any break up it doesn’t pay to tell the person you don’t want to see them any more and then list their faults you dislike. I figured leave it at “I tried this and realized it wasn’t for me” and move on. It is a small, interconnected world, so it is extremely important to be professional when leaving a job. However, as a manager, I also recognize the importance of providing constructive feedback.
At this point, the more cynical of us are thinking, Why bother? Nothing will change anyway. While that may be true in many companies, I still think it is important to give some sort of feedback if there is something you think the company needs to know and may be able to address. At the very least Managers and HR departments may notice a trend in why people are leaving, which is still useful feedback. Plus, you never know what will spark a real change in a company.
After you resign is not the time to go over a complete list of grievances. Any attempts to resolve most issues should have been made long before starting to look for another job. Instead, focus on one or two key points that confirmed your decision to leave. When I was Director of Technology, I had a policy of talking with anyone who left the company “because of technology”. If the technology or the team was causing people to leave, I wanted to know why so we could fix it. Each time, I shared my notes with the Producer(s) so they would also have visibility. I don’t know if he knows it, but one young Sound Designer’s feedback actually did prompt some real change. As he and I talked about what he liked and disliked about his experience with our technology, he revealed that he felt he spent too much time integrating the sounds into the game. He expected his job to be nearly 100% sound design and integrating his work into the game should be done by someone more technical. That was his issue with our technology. From the tech side, we made some changes to make integration easier and eventually we replaced the pipeline with better tech. On the organizational side, the production team hired a Sound Integrator. Even though that position has evolved back to being a Sound Designer, we still ensure the strong technical skills of an Integrator are part of the team. If we hadn’t received that feedback, we certainly would not have made those specific changes at the time.
In the case of the young engineer I am mentoring, there was some feedback that the company needed to hear. However, it was his first professional break-up, so his decision on how to handle it was right. Breaking up is never an easy thing to do.