What do you want them to remember? And thoughts on last impressions.
Quit, Laid-off, Let-go, Fired, Discharged. They are all terrible words with negative connotations for what should be a civilized professional breakup. Can we collectively come up with a new one? Suggestions?
I tweeted the question above last Friday, curious to hear what people had to say. Here’s what I learned.
1. I’m not the only one who thinks the words we use to describe the exit from a company are pretty terrible.
2. People have interesting ideas.
Here’s the list of replacement words and phrases suggested. And yes, I have some Twitter friends who think they’re funny. But all the ideas gave me pause…
“End of her/his watch.” – yes, there was a Game of Thrones fan.
“We released ourselves on our own recognizance.” – I’m not sure this changed the negative tenor.
Adjourned – as in, “We’ve mutually decided to adjourn.”
“I’m relocating jobs.”
“Concluded the work.”
I still don’t think we hit on anything that quite works, so if you have ideas, I’d love to hear.
And why do I think this is important? Because your last impression is as important as your first. Because if “every decision made about you and your opportunities is made in a room you’re not in,” then what they’re talking about you in that room is what they remember about you.
Here’s the thing we should all remember. In every interaction, you’re teaching other people about who you are. It’s these actions that create the “Personal Brand” people are always talking about. Protip here – you HAVE a personal brand. And your personal brand is what people remember about you.
There, I said it again.
So what then do you want people to remember about you?
That you were kind?
That you were strategic?
That you were fantastic to work with?
That you knew your stuff?
That you were great at making things happen?
That you were fun?
That you knew more about insert your professional area of expertise here than an average person should?
That you were the go-to person in your industry?
That you are trustworthy?
That you’re the person who people go to when they need someone to synthesize their idea?
That you’re the person who people go to when they need a creative eye?
That you’re the person who people go to when they need to humanize a situation?
All of the above? Yeah. Me too.
The problem is that being all the things means no one will remember why you’re uniquely amazing and when asked, the people in the “room” will say something generic like, “Well, they’re really great. You should hire them.”
Note – this is 100% fine if, say, for instance, you have Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet, or Gwynne Shotwell (look her up if you don’t know who she is) saying, “Well, they’re really great. You should hire them.” right? Massive amounts of relationship capital can override generic any day.
But most of us don’t have a “Gwynne Shotwell”-type individual going to bat for us. Introducing the potential of the Future You to others in a room you’re not in.
If you have any ambitions at all, you need to start thinking about what you’re teaching people about you so they can help you manifest the Future You. And what you teach them needs to be anchored in truth, be simple enough for people to recognize, while being seductive enough to make it memorable.
“I am Joanna, CEO of The Amplify Lab.” or “I am Joanna, Potentialist and aspiring Fairy Godmother.”
Which would you remember? I want people to remember something brilliant about you.
And why did I start this article about leaving jobs?
Because I think the “What do you want them to remember?” is even more critical when you’re exiting a role. What is the last impression you want to leave? And if you’re a manager and have someone leaving your team, what’s the last impression you want a team member to remember about you?
The data signals a 50% increase in employees considering new roles over previous years. I see choppy waters ahead for everyone involved.
For both employee and manager – don’t you want to be remembered for a graceful exit?
If this resonated with you, here’s how I think you can sprinkle some Potentialist Magic on yourself. Find out what folks are saying today. Here are three different questions you can ask. The only difference, how brave and bold do you want to be?
-Curious Version – If you were to introduce someone to me and what I do, what would you say?
-Bold Version – Hey, quick question. When you think of my work, what do you think is the most memorable part of it?
-Brave Version – I heard the other day that last impressions were as important as first impressions. If I told you I was separating from the company to take a role at a different company, what do you think I’d be remembered for?
PS. We’re going to be talking about this topic and how to help make it easier for people to remember you on the Live Show called “What do you want people to remember about you?” Each show includes 20 mins of open discussion and sharing of ideas. You should join. I’d love to see you there.