Nerd Journey 012: Effective 1-on-1 Meetings with your Manager and Gracefully Leaving an Organziation

Welcome to episode 12 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss how to have effection 1-on-1 meetings with your manager and how to gracefully leave an organization.

Original Recording Date 2018-09-23


2:47 – Effective 1-on-1 Meetings with Your Manager

  • John stresses the importance of an agenda (to be created 24 hours or more ahead of time)
  • Both parties can contribute to the meeting agenda (manager and employee)
  • Meeting structure suffers without an agenda
  • How many listeners out there have weekly 1-on-1 meetings with their manager?  Let us know on social media!
  • A yearly performance review won’t be a surprise if effective weekly 1-on-1 meetings are happening
  • What constitutes giving your manager an action item?
    • Don’t just bring problems / complaints.  Bring something you need help with and what you have already tried.
    • Helpful asks – leveraging a manager’s experience, leveraging a manager’s relationship with other department
    • Be prepared for feedback from your manager on any request
  • A 1-on-1 meeting is not the same as a project check-in meeting
    • The 1-on-1 is about your professional development / career journey (how to get better)
    • Keep project update meetings separate
  • Career path questions
    • What is the individual contributor career path or management career path for you?
    • How can you get better at what you are doing?
    • I have new interests / am requesting new challenges
  • Pay raises are a separate conversation from career conversations
  • Whose job is it to bring up career progression first (yours, your manager’s, both)?
    • In a good company culture, managers should be encouraged to have regular 1-on-1 meetings with direct reports
    • A manager not bringing this up may just be oversight on his / her part and not intentional
    • A lack of career progression conversations period could be a lack of organizational maturity
    • Development of employees could reflect well the manager
  • Cadence for a 1-on-1 should be weekly but bi-weekly at a minimum
    • Stick to the cadence!
  • What are organizational barriers that prevent regular 1-on-1 meetings?
    • Proximity
      • Manager and employee working in different locations
        • Manager may have less visibility into employee day-to-day work
      • Manager and employee working in the same location
        • More difficult to have a long-term strategy
        • Talking over the cube wall is usually a project update
    • Managers with large number of reports
      • Possible indication of lack of managers in the organization
      • Not scalable for the manager
      • Could cause infrequent conversations and feedback and frustration for both parties
    • Culture
      • Are 1-on-1s being encouraged from the top down?
  • Let us know if you want this topic revisited

26:19 – How to Leave Your Organization Gracefully

  • Nick’s blog –
    • Inspired by Nick leaving his last position for VMware
    • Advice for both the employee
    • Preserving relationships
    • Be prepared to leave that day
    • Be honest with reasons to leave
    • Preserve relationships with co-workers
    • Stay engaged until the end
    • Expanding on “Be Prepared to Leave that Day”
      • It’s a possibility
      • Perhaps with short-timers
      • Prepare documents you need to take with you
        • Performance reviews
        • Organizational contacts
        • Not proprietary employer intellectual property and work product
    • Expanding on “Preserve Relationships”
      • Clarify employer’s protocol for disclosure to other employees
    • Possibly help with a job listing
    • Project transition plans
  • Manager Tools – How to Resign
    • Tell NO ONE
    • Get your next position before leaving
    • Don’t bad-mouth people on the way out
      • Just say you’ve been happy and it’s time to move on
      • Repeat until they stop asking
      • Nick reminds us that the things you do on the way out can ruin your reputation at the organization you’re leaving
    • You need buffer cash in case you’re walked out the door
      • What if your new position offer is rescinded
      • What if your new position’s pay day is further away than you thought?
      • Have an emergency fund of 6 or more months
    • Assume you’ll lose access immediately
    • Copy reasonably
    • Prepare a Key Project Report – Transition File
    • Make lunch appointments with friends and colleagues you want to stay in touch with
  • Manager Tools – What To Do With A Counter Offer
    • Don’t take a counter offer!
    • If you have reasons to leave, will more money really change all the other things?
    • You’re alerting your current employer that you need to be replaced, even if you accept the counter
    • Ideally you’d leave on your timeline, not your employer’s
    • Taking a counter burns the relationship with the recruiter, hiring manager, and prospective new employer
    • If it’s just money, you should have had a different conversation
    • If they only give you a raise after you have an offer, that’s not a healthy place
    • If additional compensation was dangled in the past without follow-through, there’s no reason to believe they’d follow-through with what’s promised in a counter
    • What if you take the counter and they don’t follow through again?
    • If an employer refuses to give you compensation until the counter-offer
      • Either calculated that they could get away with not compensating you at the level they valued you
      • Or they’re keeping you in the position short term while they search for your cheaper replacement.

49:00 Outtro

49:55 Stinger

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