All You Need Is a Trigger

While I was in Korea, one of our colleagues M (M again) at the Japanese company submitted her resignation letter, regarding which, I only found out after coming back from my business trip.

I was a little surprised, but I actually knew about M considering leaving the company before most people did. One of her friends apparently approached her asking if she would like to join them at an insurance company doing sales (i.e. sell insurance policies) and it pays much better than what the Japanese firm is giving her. Besides, she has to work 6 days a week here while the new company only requires her to do 5. Further, they are giving her employee benefits when the current company has been hiring her on part-time basis the last 10 years.

Selling insurance is very tough work and I’m sure being 44 this year, she should understand that. But she also has 4 children to raise and her husband doesn’t make much from his work, so, the base salary + commission remuneration is very attractive to her leading to her ultimate decision to leave.

M may be an administrative staff at the company, but she’s not just an administrative staff. She knows so much about the workings of the company and does so many other things, I would think she plays a pretty important role at the firm. From the things she says, I could also tell she’s a very intelligent person but for some reason, she is only receiving minimum wage.

The current CEO of the company is my friend, H, whom I’ve known for over 10 years. When M first told me about the offer, I thought, I should let H know about it so perhaps they could increase her salary or hire her on a full-time basis instead. But at the end of sharing her predicament, M said the magic word, “Secret.” And so I had to keep it from H.

Recently, H asked me to dinner and told me about M’s decision to leave. He told me about the details of the company she is expecting to join and all the down sides of the new role hoping I could help convince M to stay. It appears that despite the company offering to increase her salary, it wasn’t enough to retain her. While the company already told M that they welcome her back anytime if she decides that she doesn’t like the new job, H still hopes I could somehow make M stay. To think I’ve only been at the company for less than 2 years.

Today, I nonchalantly spoke with M about her impending departure and she again, shared that she hasn’t actually gotten the job as they still require her to go through an interview and take some tests. That was surprising for me since she could’ve get the interview and first test done before tendering. Nevertheless, when I asked if she would come back to the company in the event she doesn’t like her new job, she said no almost as a snap response. There was no hesitation. She said because the pay is so low, she can easily get a better paying job elsewhere and no matter what happens, she would not come back, that is unless they can offer her a more decent wage, which she thinks is unlikely.

It’s interesting to me that M never thought about leaving the company for the last 10 years despite knowing there are easily better paying jobs elsewhere around the same area. If her friend hadn’t suggested for her to join them at the insurance firm, she may never leave the current company till her retirement.

Perhaps most people do have ideas on what they want but just do not have a reason to move forward with it, until a trigger comes along—whatever it may be—then a new chapter in their lives opens.

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