Most adults have experienced one if not both of these extremely stressful, life-changing events. This past Monday, the first Monday of the New Year has recently been coined “Divorce Day”, since it is historically the day when the greatest number of divorces are filed each year. With that in mind, I found it most suitable to start the New Year with this somewhat dismal topic.
Ever heard of the term “work wife” or “work husband” ? If you have worked in an office environment within the last decade, most surely you have!
If you have been working for a particular employer for many years and are debating on moving on, it is actually quite more similar to the divorce process than you may think. Just as I have outlined the Parallels Between the Dating and Sales Processes, the divorce and job termination processes have just as much in common.
The average person spends more time at work then they do at home with their significant other, so there lies no mystery therein why terms such as “work wife” and “work husband” were coined and embraced. Although those labels do not infer any sort of sexual relationship, it must be noted that a close working relationship with a superior (or inferior) can still be an intimate relationship even though it does not involve sexual activity. As such, when those relationships begin to fall apart to a point that is beyond repair, regardless of whether the relationship is romantic or one of a platonic nature with a close colleague or superior, the separation process is remarkably similar as follows:
Stages of Divorce and Career Termination:
1. Dissatisfaction and Deliberation of Change
Could the grass really be greener on the other side? Once the relationship enters into a phase where at least one of the individuals is not content and their issues are seemingly unable to be resolved, one if not both individuals may begin to seek alternative arrangements.
In a romantic relationship, the most dissatisfied party may begin to consider alternative mates or imagine life on their own. They may open an online dating profile and begin to scope out prospective mates (not necessarily even replying to messages they have received) or begin to search for new housing accommodations and envision their new independence.
In the working environment, the disgruntled employee may begin to brush up their resume, consider applying for other jobs, contemplate starting their own business and/or begin networking with other companies to jump-start their job search to see if there are better opportunities.
Similarly, the disgruntled employer may begin networking to seek out potential alternative candidates to replace the employee.
2. Enough is Enough
Eventually the time may come where a partner in a relationship, an employee or employer may decide that they have simply had enough with the relationship/working agreement as it currently exists and that the time has come for it to end. For whatever reason, it wasn’t working and there is no resolution except to decide to terminate the relationship. BUT, in this day and age, that never comes without a price which leads us to stage #3.
3. The Legal Consult
Whether you are contemplating divorcing your significant other, suing your employer or are an employer who needs to know their rights and obligations before terminating an employee, you must seek legal advice. This is an evil (and costly) necessity in any of these situations in order to ensure that you don’t end up getting the short end of the stick at the end of the process that you have already committed to proceeding with (or maybe not?).
4. Giving Notice: Filing for Divorce or Severance
There is no escaping paperwork! Regardless of whether you are intent on notifying your significant other of the end of your marriage or the end of a working relationship in the case of an employee or employer, this intent must be submitted in writing to the other party.
This is where things get messy. In a divorce, this can take years and tens of thousands of dollars to resolve. Similarly, if an employer or employee cannot come to an agreement about the severance of the employee’s agreement, it may end up in the hands of a lawyer or labor board and both parties may incur significant legal fees in addition to time in court.
Following (hopefully not) extensive deliberation with a lawyer, partners, employees and employers will eventually come to a settlement agreement. In the case of a divorce, this may involve alimony, child support and the dissolution of any other assets. In the case of an employer/employee relationship, the settlement can involve termination pay (if the employee is fired) or severance ( if the employee is fired and the employer has 50 employees or more). In either case, a unique settlement can be agreed upon by both parties.
7. The Aftermath and Moving On
So you got divorced, quit your job or fired your employee, now what? Hopefully you thought about this when you were at Stage 1: Dissatisfaction and Deliberation of Disloyalty, otherwise sorry to say but you’re kind of F@%$’d.
In reading this, before you engage in any of these steps, be sure to make sure that you are completely and utterly prepared to deal with the “aftermath” and consider all of the potential outcomes carefully.
Nobody ever plans on getting divorced, getting fired, forced to quit their job or fire a long-term employee, but the reality is that it’s a fact of life and it happens to all of us. We must always be prepared for these “hiccups” in life but in reality, none of us ever are.
If you are currently in the middle of either of these messes, keep your head up, be strong and persist because the grass will be greener on your side if you grow it and nurture it yourself.