“Better That We Break”; Overcoming Corporate Heartbreak

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One of the hardest parts of growing up is experiencing your first heartbreak. We all remember that first “serious” relationship and we all remember how it feels when that relationship ends. In retrospect we can look back, shrug, and realize we were just kids. But at the time it was very real. In fact, that first heartbreak often affects your relationships moving forward. You might be jaded, guarded, and resistant to future commitment. But it’s also those heartbreaks that toughen us up during our teen years, prepare us for disappointment, and teach us to identify the qualities we look for in other partners.

I had dinner with a friend who recently left a company for an opportunity at another company. We chatted about the new opportunities and projects awaiting them at the new company. We also discussed what led them to leave their former employer. Like most relationships there were a series of incidents that built up over time, but it was a question asked during an informal exit interview that pointed to that ah-ha moment; “was your heart ever broken”? top-35-songs-for-the-broken-hearted-1578

As the saying goes “people don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers”. While that’s sometimes true, I often think that the managers aren’t “bad”; they’ve just lost focus on the employees. They become consumed with executive sponsorship, fighting for budget, driving internal awareness, demonstrating team value, and defining strategy. These are all imperative activities, but it can become very easy to forget about those on your team that are making all of these activities viable.

When you’re trying to bend the ear of executives at a customer event you might miss the chance to see a project your employee developed that will benefit the customer and drive additional revenue. A project they worked hard on, are proud of, and want you to see.

When you’re focused on generating revenue through contract services, you’re telling employees that the customer doesn’t matter and that you’ve forgotten the customer is the foundation of your business. This is a sign to customer-focused employees that their work doesn’t matter.

When you ask for employees’ feedback and then fail to acknowledge their input, you tell your employees that you don’t really value their opinion.

It’s these moments of devalue that cause employee heartbreak and ultimately drive individuals to leave a company and find opportunities elsewhere. And like any heartbreak experienced in a relationship, there’s a residual effect. As the scorned employee you become cautious about giving 100% to another employer who might not appreciate your hard work. You worry that the last break-up was because you did something wrong so you tread lightly and hold back on offering up new ideas that might be rejected. You fear that you can’t do better than the last relationship and second-guess your decision to leave.

But in time you realize that this corporate heartbreak is making you a stronger employee. You move past the fear, uncertainty, and doubt and grow to appreciate what you have to offer. You become more confident in your skills as well as your choices. You realize that the best corporate relationships bring out the best in you, and in return you bring out the best in the company. And you find that great relationship where someone says “Thank You”.

How have you overcome corporate heartbreak?


Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.

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