Restraint requires more courage!

September 28, 2021
Restraint requires more courage

My Quote #293 says, ‘Many a time, restraint requires more courage.’

I am coaching a senior professional who is serving his Notice Period with his existing employer. He is getting ready to take up a new role in an MNC and is visibly excited about the new prospects.

However, when he called me last, he was bitter and angry. Reason? His current employer is making his exit ‘difficult’. He plans to have a ‘session’ with the CEO and give the CEO a piece of his mind. He wanted to check with me before he did that…thankfully!

It is a matter of character

I have always believed that the true ‘character’ of the organization (of course, an organization is composed of people!) and that of the separating individual is reflected during the Notice Period.

Painful exit

From the organization’s standpoint, in some cases, the exit formalities can be painful and convoluted.

I remember an instance when I was separating from a large company in the earlier part of my career. I was handed over a form in which I had to secure a No-Dues clearance from no less than 18 departments spread across 3 buildings in the city. In at least 12 of those departments, I could not have even imagined any connection, howsoever remote. Also, the fact that I had resigned from the organization ‘entitled’ every member of the organization to treat me with indifference and/or rudeness. I had to go innumerable times to visit the same person and humor the person until I obtained the signoff.

Another organization held up my PF (Provident Fund) transfer for many months offering indefensible reasons for the delay.

In another organization, my manager was infuriated when I resigned – he was least expecting it. Consequently, he made my life difficult till the exit date. Fortunately, I continued to behave professionally during that period.

He is now ‘friends’ with me on social media and we once discussed the whole episode in a detached, lighthearted way. 

Loose cannon

When it comes to the ‘character’ of the separating individual, in many situations, individuals end up becoming loose cannons. Once ‘liberated’ from the need to be politically correct or to adhere to the mandate of demonstrating professional behavior, they follow a different path. They could call in sick during the Notice Period or neglect the process of effective transition. They could shortchange on the documentation, and in extreme cases evolve into potential landmines – ready to explode.

My coachee was proceeding in the direction of evolving into a landmine.

Philosophy for exercising restraint

I had 4 pieces of advice for this young professional:

1. Focus on the 99.8% and not on the 0.2%: The 15 days left in his Notice Period translated to a minuscule 0.2% of his career that lay ahead. Would it not be better to focus on the future than to worry about what happened in these 15 days?

Just in case you are harboring any negative thoughts during this period, here is a post that could help.

2. Lose the battles to win the war: When we feel ‘liberated’, there is that raw human instinct to get even with the organization or its people. However, if only we could find a way to exit gracefully (read: lose the battle in some situations to win the war), we would carry less negative baggage. We would also carry a useful portable Brand into the future that awaits us. By the way, restraint requires more courage.

More philosophy for exercising restraint

3. Learn the art of closure: My Quote #338 says, ‘A proper closure is key to move on.’ There could be provocations to escape a proper closure but my view is that a proper closure is key.

Our closure in such cases should be like the burning of camphor – no residue left behind, only a gentle fragrance in the air.

4. It is a small world: Eventually, we will still be around at the same waterhole. It is a small world, after all.

I remember that when I joined an American MNC, a senior person from within the organization wanted to meet me. He had known my former manager. I went through some awkward moments when this person placed a call to my former manager in my presence and put it on speaker. My presence in the call was not revealed. When my former manager’s opinion about me was sought so openly on the call, I was relieved to hear some glowing praise. While we could argue on whether it was the right thing to do, the point I make is that it is a small world.

My view is that, in spite of provocations and justifications to be Rambo-like, if you have separated professionally and with grace, you are indeed the courageous one.

Because restraint requires more courage.

PS: I am hoping to hear from my coachee soon with the news that he indeed exercised restraint…when it mattered.


Are you going through any challenges in your career? My Career Coaching program is quite popular and much in demand. Do reach out to me at [email protected].

Happy to fuel your success!

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