“So I’ve got new insurance,” I tell the receptionist, handing her the card. “My husband switched jobs, and the policy just kicked in.”
“He switched jobs?” she says, sounding quite surprised.
I nod, wondering why she’s reacting this way. People change jobs. It happens. And one would think since dealing with insurance as part of her job, she runs into this all the time. After all, there’s a sign in front of the desk that reads: Happy New Year! Make sure to let our staff know about any insurance changes in this new year.
She leans forward. Tells me a lot of other patients who go to that practice work at the same company, the one my husband just left. “And they all rave about how great it is to work there.”
“Oh, it’s a good place to work, for sure,” I say.
“Then why did he leave?” she asks.
I’m amazed that she’s asking me of all people. Since I’m not the one who worked there. I’m just his wife. But I do know the answer.
“It wasn’t that there was something wrong with the old place. The new company offered him a really good opportunity. More responsibility. Big pay bump.”
She hears me. She understands what I’m saying. But I don’t feel for a moment like what I’m saying actually makes sense to her.
Driving back home after the appointment, I find myself amazed by this interaction. The employment market can be rather cutthroat — most companies are at-will employers and will drop workers the moment it behooves them.
Oh sure, a lot of them talk about being a big, happy work family. But many times that’s just talk. And they’re absolutely not shy about laying folks off. Saying one thing, doing another.
And lots of them don’t necessarily give you promotions or pay raises. Oftentimes, you have to leave one company and work for another to actually get more money, better titles, etc.
And that’s the workplace — arguably the most transactional set of social relationships most people have.
With that attitude, is it any wonder that people don’t understand that sometimes people might need to cut toxic people out of their personal lives — friends, family members, lovers?
Don’t get me wrong. Loyalty is a beautiful thing, but sometimes you just need to leave.
And sometimes people who would leave you in a heartbeat if it benefitted them (like an employer who does layoffs willy-nilly) will be the most likely to complain that they’re being victimized by an exit.