Losing a Team Member is Hard: Lindsay and GiniBy Gini Dietrich

Man! What a game last night! THAT is how the Super Bowl is supposed to be played. Right down to the last minute and 20 seconds.

Couple a great game (with no skin in it) with the more than two feet of snow we got in Chicago yesterday and I am one gleeful person.

It’s 5:30 a.m. and Jack Bauer and I have already been out to play in it. It’s glorious (and a great early birthday gift for me!).

But that’s neither here nor there. I just had to get those two things out before I got to the subject of the day: Losing a valuable team member.

During the Ask Me Anything we did in December, Lubna Sadik asked me why I never talk about the people who leave our organization.

When she asked, the couple of people she mentioned had been let go and that’s never something you want to advertise, from a legal perspective or because of their privacy.

It’s also not something you really want to celebrate. It’s very exciting when someone new joins your team. It’s not always super exciting when someone leaves.

But, as is the nature of the business—and of life—sometimes you lose people and it hurts your heart in a way that is different than if you don’t own the joint.

Jobs Change; People Leave

Such is the case with Lindsay Bell.

Lindsay joined our team in September of 2013. I had wanted to work with her for a long time and the timing could not have been more perfect. She had left Jugnoo and our content manager was leaving here.

It was kismet!

In the more than two years together, not only did she and I become better friends, she helped this blog move to the number one PR blog in the world.

She also took the content we do for clients and made it more sophisticated and effective.

She has been an integral part in our growth and has helped push me to reach bigger goals.

She is the one person I can count on to be brutally honest and tell me things no one else will say.

I remember how hard that was for me at first: She kept calling my baby ugly! But today, I’m not sure I can live without it.

There also comes a time in an organization’s life that the people who got you where you needed to go may not want to stay for the growth you have planned.

Sometimes it’s because the culture changes. Sometimes it’s because the work changes. And sometimes it’s because the job completely changes.

Such is the case with Lindsay. Last fall, we began to evolve Lindsay’s job and it became pretty clear it was a job she wouldn’t apply for today.

We started to have really tough—but really adult—conversations a few weeks ago and came to the conclusion last week that I couldn’t give her what she needs and vice versa.

(Cue the tears.)

Losing a Valuable Team Member

So she is leaving. Not super immediately, but the plan is by May 1 (when Eleanor Pierce comes back from maternity leave).

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this now if she isn’t leaving for a while.

It’s because I promised her she could interview for, and find, the perfect job during that time. Of course, if she finds the perfect job before May 1, she’ll leave before that, which I’m prepared to have happen (I think).

And this is where you come in.

She’s looking for a job!

Ideally, she can continue to work from home (she really does best in that environment and she is super productive) for an organization that values her writing, editing, and production skills.

A content job is perfect for her, but one that doesn’t require business development or P&L responsibilities.

She also may freelance so keep that in mind if you see of anything that may be of interest to her.

And, if you think you have the perfect job for her, email her!

Just try to be kind and think about me when you negotiate her start date.

So What’s Next?

The good news is that we are promoting from within for the content director job.

Eleanor will move into that role when she’s back from leave, which means you’ll all get to know her even better, starting this summer.

With her journalism experience and amazing attention to detail, she is the perfect fit to help us reach our super aggressive goals.

(Lindsay also warned her that content is my passion so she’s going to have a new relationship with me that may drive her a little nuts.)

We think are going to hire an account executive. Someone that has a strong background in media relations, but can also do social media and content development.

That’s how Eleanor’s job has evolved in the past six months so that’s probably the role we’ll replace.

I do know the person must have a minimum of five years of traditional PR experience, have a passion for media relations, and be savvy on how the world is changing our industry. Previous agency experience would be nice. The position is a remote one so the person must be able to work independently.

Though the job isn’t officially open, we will begin collecting resumes to start interviewing at the first of March.

Not a Conspiracy Theory

I know some of you will read this and wonder what the heck really happened. What am I not saying? Surely there has to be more to the story.

Unfortunately, there’s not. It’s not some big conspiracy theory.

The job has changed and it doesn’t suit Lindsay’s major strengths.

That’s all there is to it.

This is hard for me. I feel great loss when someone leaves. My team is my extended family. My business is my baby. Though they say it’s business, not personal, it’s very hard for me not to take it personally.

And, with Lindsay in particular, I am losing a great friend who is required to answer my Skype calls at my whim.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich