“Why do you choose to leave? Why do you choose to stay?”
In the second episode of All The Things, The Magical Cartographers weigh in on the actual “Exit Interview” questions posed to KJ after she left her full-time position as manager in a corporate mental healthcare setting.
For Continued Consideration:
For full transcript, go here: tinyurl.com/ATTEpisode2
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Show Music: “Mojo” by Noise Cake
Episode 2: Exit Interview - Part 2
Ish: So for me, the exit interview just highlights that the folks that are supposed to be doing their jobs, they're not doing their job.
KJ: So I did wonder that as well. It's so funny. Cause we're talking about these questions on this questionnaire and it is, that's exactly right. Why an exit interview? Why is it necessary? What are you going to do with it? And so I love that we've already gotten into some of the juicy bits and I have a whole bunch of questions now that have come up just from today's conversation about what I'd love to explore with you, ladies.
Ish: KJ, do you want to take us into one of the questions?
KJ: I was trying to figure out how we might pose it, but then I, I think Mel just gave us a beautiful lead-in, which is, yes, this is an exit interview from a job.
This is a question from that sort of scenario, but we invite you to think about this question in the context of really ending or leaving anything and this transformative aspect of if we're ending something, does that perhaps mean that because we're beginning something? What this transition looks like for you all?
So there are 10 questions on this questionnaire on the survey, and we decided we'll probably pose a couple of them as we move through our podcasts. And as we introduce ourselves to you in, in that sort of framework, and I had already mentioned that one of the questions that we were just talking about for the last several minutes, actually isn't on here, which was, why are we doing this now?
Why an exit interview? But I will share with you that there is a question that we all agreed upon before we, before we started recording tonight, that I mean, all of them seem to be charged, you're leading, but there was one question that we wanted to bring up tonight with you all. And it is this it's the seventh question on the questionnaire: is there anything that would have changed your mind about leaving?
And so I invite us ladies to jump in and answer that however, we feel appropriate or how we're feeling led to do. And certainly, if people who are listening have some ideas, we would love to hear from you on how you might answer this question. And again, we're applying it, not just to maybe leaving a job, but perhaps leaving a relationship, perhaps leaving, leaving something that you've been uncomfortable with for some time.
Mel: I mean, how valuable would this question have been long before, right?
And so, is there anything that would have changed your mind about leaving? For me, I think about this in terms of relationships, especially a bad relationship, and how many times it takes for people to decide to leave before they actually do it.
And I don't remember this statistic KJ. Maybe you have it, but let's say, an abusive relationship it’s what, seven times, nine times, fifteen times some large number of times that statistically people try or decide to leave before it actually sticks.
Mel: And as we think about our lives and we think about, deciding, choosing ourselves, which is going to require us ending something. How many of us spend years, decades of our lives, thinking about what I want to change, how I wish things could be different? I, what can I do? But we're thinking about these, like in our head, we're thinking about these by ourself. We're not having a conversation with anyone else. We're not actually asking for help or reaching out for help. These businesses, in the reverse, they're not coming in and asking if we need help, asking how we can support you before this big decision has already taken place.
I know we're starting here kind of from the business end, but, I do, I really think about relationships. I mean, I've been in some, I've been in plenty of shitty relationships and for way too long, and having that 2020 hindsight allows you to think about, is there anything that would have changed your mind about leaving?
Yeah. You doing shit completely different.
Mel: Or in fairness, me choosing me earlier.
KJ: mmm YES!
Mel: And I think across the board, that that would be my answer to this question. Especially for a business, not even giving you the power of saying like, oh, well, you know. This is about me. This is all about me. And I chose me and I wish I had done it before, but here I am.
Jocelyn: Yeah. Because at this point you're already out the door. What difference does it make? Whether it's you not being an asshole or somebody getting more money or at this point it would anything, is there anything would have changed your mind about leaving? How do you even address that proactively?
Jocelyn: And so that's just one of those questions. That's just sort of this throw-away. You can say, I mean, if it's a relationship, you know, you not screaming at me. If it's a job, it's more money or you know more recognition, but you're out the door. This isn't a quasi exit interview or one foot in and one foot out the interview.
KJ: It's not preventative.
KJ: And in fact, this question is number seven (KJ laughing)
KJ: On the list of 10. It's not even in the beginning. It's not the first, it's not the first question
KJ: or the lead question
Mel: And I'll get, I'll give a little spoiler. Then the next question is about a recommendation. Like how (KJ laughing), how dare you ask me if there's something else that could have happened that would've changed your mind? And the very next question is, oh, would you recommend being here? I'm leaving. (KJ laughing)
Jocelyn: Yeah. Yeah. And it's not, what COULD WE have done to you know change your mind? It's what would have changed YOUR mind?
Mel: Yeah. Super nebulous. Is there anything that the universe could have created differently?
Jocelyn: (laughing) Yeah. Mercury in retrograde would have changed my mind about leaving.
Ish: Ha! Can you make that happen today?
KJ: My goodness.
Ish: I see this question, I think about the perspective I'm going to flip it a little bit. And I guess people are going to learn over the course of the podcast that I'm a feminist. I used to hate that, but I'll own it now. But I'm looking at it from this question from the perspective of as a mom, there's always been what would have changed my mind about staying at home versus working?
I think as moms, we get this a lot, like, it's so pervasive. Are you gonna stay at home? Are you gonna go to work? If you're gonna stay at home, how long you gonna stay at home for?
Ish: You know, if you're working, like, aren't you worried about, like, you're not the one that's raising your kids? I HAVE ALWAYS been the one who’s raised my children, by the way. I have control over that. It's a trigger for me by the way. But you know, and I, and I look at it from, you know, now I have a 13-year-old and an 18-year-old. I can't believe that. I just feel like they were just born, but I look back and, you know, I struggled with this. Like, should I stay at home? Should I go to work? Should I stay at home? Should I go to work? And here's the thing I would not have stayed at home. I should never have even worried about it because I am not just a mom, I'm so many other things. And, and those other things I did, I did choose that. So I, I think about it Mel it was popping into my mind as you were talking, when you said, choosing me.
So as a mom, I didn't choose being a mom. I chose being me, which made me hopefully an okay mom. I don't know. My kids are the only ones that can really judge if I'm was good or not, but also, a good employee or a good physician or, whatever, whatever all of that is, because really I did choose myself. And the amount of whether it's from society, our own personal ways we feel about things, family pressure, whatnot has such a struggle for women to choose themselves as Mel was talking about. But I look at this question just from that perspective, just add a little bit of a, of a different perspective outside of a relationship with a significant other or, or a job relationship. And Mel, one of the things that you and Jocelyn and even KJ have brought up with a lot of these questions. And this question in itself is like, who has the power? Is there anything that you could have done to change my mind? No. The power is with me. Not with you. Right. And then, you know, there's also patriarchy and colonialism built into that. We'll get into that at some point.
Mel: We'll get it. We'll get deep into it all that.
KJ: But we will go there. Again this is going to get so juicy. It already has been. I, I've already like I said, I'm jotting things down going, oh, I want to talk about that too.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I thank you for bringing all of this up.
Choosing, choosing, and prioritizing self that is a standalone. That is actually what I've made my entire first podcast about was how to, how to integrate self care and self compassion.
Mel: And I mean, almost all of my coaching work is on
Mel: And recognizing that you get to make a choice and then make another choice.
You don't have to be stuck in that choice. You don't have to pressure yourself and say, I'm choosing to leave this job. Oh my God! What does that mean for the rest of my life? It means all kinds of things. It doesn't mean that you can never come back or do something similar or anything of that nature.
You get to make a choice and then make another choice and another after that, but you have to start doing it for you.
KJ: Mmmhmmm. Exactly.
Jocelyn: And the first choice here is exiting
KJ: mmhmm right. (laughter)Exactly. Okay. Like we said, there are so many questions here which are going to open up and be the bridge to more and more juicy questions. I do want to share number 10 with everybody. And then of course, we'll talk more about it as, as we move through our show, but the 10th and final question is a follow-up question. They would like to know would you be willing to elaborate on some of your feedback and provide a specific example or two? I mean, what are we doing? Are you really asking me to give you more examples at the end of our relationship or beyond the end of our relationship after you asked these other nine questions? Again way beyond when it would have been productive or helpful or supportive. If you would have asked me continuously and fluidly, there was a, I do recall there was an evaluation, there was a job evaluation about, about a year in, but like I said, I've been here for seven years. Why did that stop? Why, why wasn't there a continued conversation? And so for them to ask, could you elaborate on some of your feedback? It's just one more like, I, I, are you, did you not listen, were you not, are you really interested in an elaboration or an example or tune in specifics?
Mel: And that goes back to what the hell is the point of this particular interview? I literally just answered nine of your questions.
Mel: Specifically, especially if we're doing this in person. Hopefully I'm not just saying yes, no, never.
Mel: Fuck, whatever. (laughter) Right? I'm giving you more than one word answers. Why at the end, is it now appropriate to say let's just backtrack a little bit cause I wasn't really paying attention for the first nine? Is there something you want to elaborate on cause we haven't wasted enough time here?
Jocelyn: This could be a scantron. (laughter) A, B, A, and B.
Ish: Jocelyn, I just think we kind of indicated our age by saying scantron.
KJ: I was just thinking, she said that scantron
Mel: What’s a scantron? I've never heard of such a thing. I'm only 25.
Ish: Who remembers the purple on the hands?
KJ: Oooohhh (laughter)
Ish: If you're a millennial out there just look it up, it's fine. (laughter)
Jocelyn: This is also a show about finding new things.
Mel: That's right.
KJ: And that let us introduce to you all of the things
Mel: Number two pencils because only a number two pencil will work
KJ: On the scantron.
Mel: As we, as we go through these things and as we think about endings it's always easy, it's usually easy once it's over to kind of look back and be like, oh, that was so ridiculous. But in the moment, I have to imagine KJ, if you can maybe think back to the moment you got this ridiculous, this presumably in an email or someone plopped it on a desk or slid it under your door in the dead of night or something. But, but when you first saw this after having already gone through the experience of all the emotions, the ups and downs of deciding whether or not to leave this business that you've been working at for seven years in a field with something that is core to who you are and then you finally take that official leap and you put in your paperwork and then somebody gives you this ridiculousness.
What was the first thing that jumped into your mind? If you can remember. And did it involve a knife? That's me. That's the stabby part of me. Sorry.
KJ: (laughter) It was in fact sent to me via email in an attachment and my first impression was that it was an afterthought, because like I'd said, I'd already, I'm not in that position anymore. And I still received this email afterwards. I'm with this agency, but in a completely different capacity. And so I have left this job behind and I remember thinking, oh, did you, did you forget to ask me why? And then I remember thinking, I don't want to open the attachment because on top of it being an email, it was an attachment that I would have to take an extra step to open and I just wasn't having it. So I think it took me a couple of days actually, to even circle back around and open. When I saw the first question, which was around what prompted me to begin looking (laughter) for another opportunity I just started to laugh because I had been telling them for a very long time that I was looking for another opportunity and they knew why as well.
Well, to be fair, my direct manager knew why, but I understand that this isn't, these, aren't the questions of my direct manager. It's these are questions of the higher right? The higher structure. And so I'm really quite angry with the higher structure. And so I remember thinking like, I don't, I'm not going to do this because they're kind of to Ish’s point I was just like, why, why, why would, what are they going to do with this information?
And I actually thought that they would probably use it to penalize me and punish me. I mean, like we already talked about, right? Like we already talked about me just saying I'm, I'm leaving this position to go elsewhere for my health. They call that a termination. That's what the paperwork was called. So they already had it framed in a very negative, accusatory, blaming language and filter.
So I scanned these and honestly, I just was, I was frustrated and angry. And then I think I came to you gals about it. And I was just like, so I've been asked to do an extra exit interview and the rest is history. So exit means beginning, you know, and so many other places. And I think that's what we're doing here. And I'm so excited about what we're doing here, but I was not pleased.
Ish: I would love it if companies would say, why do you choose to stay like every year in the annual evaluation? Like, why do you, why do you choose to stay?
KJ: What keeps you here? Yeah.
Ish: Right? Because that actually is, is a positive way of getting information. That could be very valuable. Well I choose to stay because I need the money so I can put food on the table. Oh, well, there's, there's nothing else. No, sucks the life out of me. The other thing that made me so angry about your situation was, was just the wording, a voluntary demotion. Reall?
Ish: Like it really and, and, you know, just for ourselves, how we talk to ourselves, how other people talk, you know, we grow up and people will say sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Well that’s just BS.
Ish: Because words are powerful. I mean, Jocelyn's a book coach. I mean, if there's anybody in this room, this virtual room that knows that, but words are very, very powerful and they stay with you.
And the negative state, the negative is like Velcro sticks, and I want people to understand that if you're going to make a change in your life, it's okay. There is nothing to say that you have to be one way for however many years. I'm going to go back to the mom thing. It's like, oh, you just have to be a mom. Like your whole life is sacrificing for your kids. Who said? Oh, wait a minute. That was the patriarchy. Okay. You know, but why…
Mel: Another episode Ish don't, you start us burning down here
Ish: I know (unintelligible), very juicy.
Mel: I know it’s hard, I know it’s hard.
KJ: Well we are setting it up for what folks can expect our conversations are going to be like, which is exactly that. Oh, right. So let's address that and burn that down. Yeah.
Jocelyn: Exiting and change doesn't have to be adversarial and apathetic and demoralizing. And I mean, ish, I thought you made a beautiful point you know, why do you choose to stay? How do we reframe this to, to value? I mean, I think about this with my clients. How, how do I frame the gratitude that I feel for them when they come and work with me? When you're working with somebody, even as an employee or a freelancer, which I've done you're giving them your time, immortal soul. I mean, a lot of times it's just a contract for, a payment. At the end of this, I'm going to get X number of dollars. But that just takes the, that takes the community out of it.
It takes the relationship out of it. Everything ends up becoming transactional. And when you live in a world of transaction, it becomes very easy to throw people away. Whether it's employment or relationships or friendships or whatever it just becomes very, it becomes easy to walk away. It becomes easy to throw things away.
And this is just like one more, one more layer in the onion of, how not to build a positive cultural environment where people thrive and grow and do amazing things. All the amazing things.
Mel: Oh gosh. I love, I love that so much Joelyn that idea of transactional disconnect. Because we, we do that, we do that individually, we often get to that point in relationships where it's like, I have to do this in order to disconnect, but for a business, for a business that is in the business of mental health is concerning to me. That like, if you guys can't get it right, what's the hope for the rest of us?
KJ: Right Yes.
Ish: So that's so true.
Mel: Yeah. True. Yeah.
Jocelyn: If people who are supposed to care can't
Mel: What are we left with?
Jocelyn: We're all screwed
Mel: We’re not all screwed because we have each other
Mel: And we have this space
KJ: And we have these conversations
Mel: I feel like this is the perfect segue out
Mel: Of today's portion of this tomfoolery here with this exit interview (laughter) and leaves the door open for all the other foolishness to come as we talk about how we're exiting the things that we need to and how we have to choose ourselves as we do that. We have to make sure that these exits that are necessary and needed are happening, but happening on our terms.
These conversations are so important and we're not going to stop having them. And we are so excited to be having them with all of you listening. And we're not going to stop. We can't stop. We're too amazing. You're too amazing. We're going to keep talking about all the things until the next time.
KJ: Well, you heard the lady. We can't stop. We're not going to stop. You're just too amazing. These conversations are too important to not have. Thank you so much for spending a little time with us for our second episode of All The Things . We are so excited to connect on these relevant and charged topics.
There are several prompts that we wanted to have folks consider for continuing conversations. We listed these prompts in the show notes.
For instance: how might you answer Exit Interview Question Number Seven: “Is there anything that would have changed your mind about leaving?”
We wonder: Why aren't some of these questions explored during actual employment?
Whether or not we choose to stay or leave. It's an especially poignant decision working women consider every single day.
And what if an annual evaluation question were: “Why do you choose to stay?”
We want to let you know that there are many more opportunities for us to continue these conversations. Starting with the first, All The Things Live. It's streaming on Instagram, zoom and Facebook on Tuesday, January 25th at 5:00 PM. P S T and 8:00 PM E S T
This is where all of us will join together live and continue the conversations that were started during our episodes.
Please take a moment to check out our Instagram as well as our website.
And if you have questions or comments, or if you would like to contribute to the discussion topics for our Live, please send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can't wait to see you there!