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105: Election Anxiety, Interpreting Dreams PLUS Are Your Friends Holding you Back? – This Week in Work, 11th June 2024

This week, Leanne and Al dive into the latest trends and challenges in the workplace, explore the fascinating insights of our summer book club pick, and tackle your pressing workplace questions in the Weekly Workplace Surgery.

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Welcome back to another episode of “Truth, Lies, and Work,” the award-winning psychology podcast brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. This week, Leanne and Al dive into the latest trends and challenges in the workplace, explore the fascinating insights of our summer book club pick, and tackle your pressing workplace questions in the Weekly Workplace Surgery.

Key Talking Points:

News Roundup:

  • Moonlighting and the Cost of Living Crisis: Leanne discusses ongoing conversations on LinkedIn about the increasing necessity of side hustles and moonlighting due to stagnant real wages and the disparity between CEO and average worker pay. Pew Research, Economic Policy Institute.
  • Gen Z Career Trends: Al explores new research showing that Gen Z is increasingly taking on founder roles and gravitating towards traditional careers like education over tech. The reasons behind this shift and the potential impact on the job market are examined.
  • Leanne highlights the concept of “election stress disorder,” coined by psychologist Steven Stosny, and discusses how election periods can significantly increase stress and anxiety among employees. The discussion includes tips from Headspace on how to manage this stress. Headspace Article.

Summer Book Club:

  • This Is Why You Dream by Dr. Rahul Jandial: Leanne and Al introduce the first pick of their summer book club. This book explores the critical role of dreaming in our lives, including emotional regulation, memory processing, creativity, and even foreseeing mental and physical ailments. Amazon Link.

Weekly Workplace Surgery:

  • Meeting Invite Concerns: A listener worries about a cryptic meeting invite from HR and its potential implications.
  • Leaving a Micromanager: Advice on how to explain leaving a job due to a micromanager during interviews.
  • Managing Your Circle: Strategies for surrounding yourself with empowering individuals and minimising negative influences.


All the links mentioned in the show.

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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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Leanne Elliott: Hello and welcome to Truth, Lies and Work, the award winning psychology podcast brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne, I’m a business psychologist.

Al Elliott: My name is Al, I’m a business owner.

Leanne Elliott: We are here to help you simplify the science of truth.

of work.

Al Elliott: Welcome. Welcome. This is the Tuesday edition where we have different segments. We have the news roundup. We’ll have in a second. Then we have a middle segment, which I think we’re talking about. I think for summer, we’re doing a summer book club. Leave. I’ve remembered that correctly. So well prepared.

Don’t worry.

Leanne Elliott: Yes. Welcome. If it is your first time listening. You are very welcome here. You know who we are. If you want to join the conversation, you can do come follow us on LinkedIn. We’ll have little chats, little, little, little thoughts, little exchanges of information. I think that’s what generally social media is about.

But yeah, come join. We love to, we love to hear from our listeners and, um, and see what, what you think isn’t all about us, you know?

Al Elliott: Well, it is in this segment because it’s your favorite time of the

Leanne Elliott: is my favorite time of the week. It is time for the news roundup. Cue the fricking jingle.

Al Elliott: Okay, Lee, let’s kick off with you.

What have you got?

Leanne Elliott: This isn’t the first thing I’ve seen. It’s something that was brought to my attention a few weeks ago. We were talking about moonlight, moonlighting on the podcast. I remember moonlighting. If you’ve not heard before you haven’t this episode, basically having a side hustle. Employees having a side hustle.

Um, well, the conversation continued on LinkedIn with quite a few different experts and HR professionals commenting and basically agreeing that given the current challenges with the cost of living crisis, mass redundancies, General instability, it’s not really reasonable anymore for employees to expect, uh, sorry, for employers to expect their employees to be exclusive to their business.

One expert made a really, really interesting point. Rita Ernst. She’s a psychologist. You’ll remember her from episode three. 34, How to Identify and Eliminate Toxic Workplace Coaches. She suggested that the inaction of executives has sanctioned the need for side hustles and moonlighting and quoted some findings from Pew Research Center.

Of course, I asked her for the article. This is what I’ve learned. Pew Research found that real wages for most U. S. workers have stagnated, maintaining approximately the same purchasing power as they did four decades ago, which basically means a typical worker can buy the same stuffs. Today is they could have bought in 1978, or in other words, workers are earning more dollars, but the value of those dollars hasn’t increased at all since 1978.

A little bit shocking. You might be thinking, yeah, but Leanne, that’s just how inflation works. And I don’t know how inflation works, but I do have more data for you, which I think means that this is not inflation. For average workers, the Pew Institute found that the same pattern had not applied to CEOs.

So if we look at some different research, research from the Economic Policy Institute, they found in 2021, the average CEO at one of the top 350 firms in the US was paid an astounding 27. 8 million a year. That represents an increase of 1, 460 percent between 1978 and 2021. That’s according to the latest data available.

That’s even growth beyond stock market, stock market growth. The research went on to look at the ratio of CEO to typical worker compensation. Right? So compared to a typical worker, how much more is a CEO being paid? In 1965, the ratio of CEO to typical worker compensation was 20 to 1. So CEOs earned 20 times more than their average worker.

Fair, they’re probably doing 20, 20 times as much in terms of accountability. But in 1989, that was 59 to one. By 2020, that was 366 to one. And by 2021, it was 399 to one. Again, I’ll play devil’s avocado for you. You might be thinking, yes, but that’s just because there’s a shortage of really good CEOs or they’re just great CEOs that are more productive or something else.

Well, Again, not really. CEOs are getting higher pay over time because their power. CEOs are getting higher pay over time because they have the power to set pay. And because much of it, about 80 percent on average is stock related. So this report goes on to recommend various types of. different things that we can do to readjust this ratio.

So in terms of CEOs, perhaps having pay cuts, of course, they should pay more tax or even the corporation tax should be high for companies that have an excessively high CEO to worker pay ratio. Quite interesting. I’m not sure I’m up for all of those, but one that I can get on board with, which is mentioned was their recommendation to allow greater use of say on pay, which allows a firm shareholders to vote on top executives compensation.

We’re seeing Elon Musk go through this at the moment. What about though, crazy idea L, what if the workforce have a say on pay that’s linked to satisfaction, um, satisfaction with pay equity, their jobs, bonuses, benefits, work life balance, burnout, manager effectiveness? What if employees voted on the salary package of their C suite?


Al Elliott: Hmm. Yes, I can see there being a big problem. Um, I also think that we’re looking at data from the top 350 companies in the US rather than over the entire, which let’s be honest, that makes up 0. 00001 percent of all of the companies in the world. So if you, if you’re not careful, I think you end up saying that.

All managers and all CEOs get paid far more than they, than the ratio is far more than actually just their employees. Whereas if you went to your typical, the Americans call it HVAC, we’d call it, we don’t have air conditioning in the UK, but we’d call it sort of like a plumber or a plumbing firm. It might not, the disparity might not be quite as big.

So I can, I can see that that on paper sounds. Yeah. horrific. Um, also me as wanting to be a CEO and also quite liking money, I’d be like, cool. Okay. Well, that means I can make a lot of money at the CEO. So I can see that as well. There’s also the stock market thing we’ve talked about. You’ve said it’s gone up quicker than the stock market, but the, but the stock market has gone up pretty significantly, particularly the S and P since sort of like the seventies, eighties, consistently going up and up and up.

So if 80 percent of their pay comes from the actual options they’ve got on the stock. I can kind of see we’ll take that out the equation for a moment because that’s not necessarily, it’s kind of directly linked to the performance of the company, but it’s not necessarily linked to their performance. How does that look?

Leanne Elliott: And I like that perspective, Al, and I too. I think there is an element of truth in that. If you’re willing to have what is called a greedy jobs, it’s been a greedy job that’s been termed, it takes a lot of time and sacrifice and compromise, then should CEOs be, be paid so much more? I think my, my, my issue is, is it’s these same CEOs.

It’s these, these top three 50 that are calling people back to the office that are putting more restrictions on their time. So side hustles are harder. It’s those people that are basically role modeling that if you want to be successful. and earn money to make a true difference in your life to be financially independent, you have to be a boss.

Therefore, that’s the message I’m getting as an employee. So I will have a side hustle to become my own boss because that’s the only way I’m ever going to get 400 times more pay than I currently get right now.

Al Elliott: Interesting. Well, what you’ve said there kind of dovetails perfectly into what I was what I saw, which is very, very similar.

So I saw this stat that said, um, it’s from LinkedIn. He said the second most common job title for Gen Zeds is Founder. And so Gen Zed really are doing it for themselves. I mean, the stats show that Gen Zed, like you’ve said before, Gen Zed are much more like to go out and find and do their own side hustle.

Much as you’ve just pointed out there, there’s reasons why they should be a founder. There’s reasons why they should start their own gig. Um, and I’m like, I’m applauding this. I’m thinking this is brilliant. So from my point of view, the fact that people that particularly the younger generation are going, well, screw this.

I’ll do my own thing. I’m like, absolutely brilliant. We want, I personally want more of that. Of course, you know, it’s a bit more risky, but In today’s day and age, when you have all of the coding tools, you have all of the software tools, you have basically almost, you could, you could start a company that competes with Salesforce.

Um, tomorrow, well, not tomorrow, but probably in the next like six months. And all right, it’s never going to be as, well, it might not be as big as Salesforce, but it can compete with this at a level playing field. So it’s different to the seventies where, you know, huge manufacturing companies, you couldn’t then, you Jeff couldn’t then go off and start his own, his own manufacturing company without a huge amount of capital.

So I do kind of like this. The other part of this research, which I thought was really interesting is that LinkedIn is suggested that Gen Zeds are avoiding the tech industry now. And the top industry that Gen Zeds are going into is education. Now that there is a, there’s a lady called Charlotte Davies, um, who talked to a link to the article.

And she said that it could be about having more and more time off because, and she says, we know the top priorities professional for professionals are compensation, work life balance, and opportunities to develop. These factors will be crucial for attracting and retaining top talent across all industries.

which of course, education, traditionally, and I know teachers are going to come for me now, but traditionally you get more time off in education than you would in a job, particularly in the States where I think you get like 10 days mandatory leave offer a year. So I can see that happening. The other thing we’re starting to see is that, uh, gen zeds are going into more of the traditional roles.

Like, like we said before, HVAC, uh, plumbers, uh, carpenters, builders. Because that’s where the money is. Exactly. That’s where the money is. Competition is relatively low. Um, and it’s just, it’s a cash business. So you don’t have to wait for someone to give you a pay rise. You can just say, I’m going to give myself a pay rise because I’m gonna put my prices up.

It’s kind of strange because we’ve seen these, we’ve all said, we’ve said this before. A lot of people said this before that the current generations tend to eschew what, am I using that word right? Tend to not want what they’re, what they’re parents have got, but often what they like is very similar to what their grandparents have.

Now, going through these sort of generations, boomers wanted a job for life, and most of them had it. Gen X, my generation, we wanted freedom, but stability. Then when it comes to millennials, they tended to go towards more portfolio careers with people. Projects and stuff. And Gen Z say they want a balanced life that has purpose, but a balanced life is freedom to do whatever you want.

Leanne Elliott: I think that’s the thing, isn’t it? The younger generation, there’s always a proportion of them that are either, in fact, you know what? I just think this is a young, whichever youth generation is in play, they’re choosing profit or purpose. That’s typically where people lean, isn’t it?

Al Elliott: Yeah. And I also think that Gen Z can be the first generation who truly do profit and purpose, not one or the other.

Leanne Elliott: Ah, the holy grail. It is though, isn’t it?

Al Elliott: It is. It is. What else have you seen, Lee?

Leanne Elliott: Well, I think we probably need to call out the elephant in the room. The UK is in election season. Sigh. Yes, Rishi Sunak announced recently that the UK will have a general election on the 4th of July and after five prime ministers in as many years, I think I can confirm that.

Speak for the country when I say we’re all really fricking excited about it.

Al Elliott: Well, most of us. I’m not.

Leanne Elliott: I think I was being sarcastic there,

Al Elliott: really. Sorry,

Leanne Elliott: that’s okay. But of course, you know, there’s lots of countries in the world this year that may see a change in government. France has just called a general election.

India has just concluded a very dramatic election with Prime Minister Maridhi in the process of establishing his first coalition government. And of course, we have. The U S general election in the autumn to look forward to Trump or Biden will be president. I’m not sure anyone was in the mood for that 2020 throwback, but here we are.

But I’m not here to talk politics. I want to talk about something called election anxiety. So I was chatting to our friends at Headspace about some potential collabs Coming up, spoiler, and we got onto the topic of the election and election anxiety. And I was saying that I didn’t really remember coming across this term specifically in the past.

I want to know a bit more about it. Um, so I did some digging and it’s been coined election stress disorder by an American psychologist called Stephen Stosney. He came up with the term after he observed heightened stress and conflict amongst the couples he was counseling during the US presidential elections.

And I think anecdotally, a lot of us will relate or admit to doom scrolling through the constant news updates, the debates, the political scandals, um, and all this pushes our anxiety through the roof. But what does the data say? Well, the American Psychological Association found that 52 percent of Americans found the elections a significant stressor and the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy found around 33 percent reported a negative effect on their wellbeing from the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Headspace themselves have reported finding a 50 percent increase in the use of their app during election season. But what was really interesting is the psychologist behind this, Steven Stursey, also observed that the stress persisted once the election was over. So it continued. He called this post election stress disorder or headline stress disorder.

And again, noting kind of this constant flow of news and social media kept people in this state of tension. So it seems as though election anxiety, election stress disorder, May well be a new thing. And you might be thinking, well, as a business leader, as a HR professional, why should we really care? Well, regular listeners will know that stress isn’t just bad for our people.

It’s bad for our business. So during election periods, employees might experience increases in stress and anxiety that can lead to decreased concentration, high absenteeism, even strained relationships between colleagues. And that is going to mean for your business, lower productivity, lower performance, dips in revenue, profitability, and maybe even unhappier customers.

So what can you do about it? Well, there was a really good article from Headspace and I will leave a link in the show notes. It suggests a few things, including encouraging employees to limit their media consumption, engage in rest and recovery activities. Those two things are different. And of course, vote by participating in the poll.

In the election process, the APA believes that the American Psychological Association, they believe it can help us feel a sense of control and it can empower us and that in turn can reduce stress. Interesting stuff. I feel a bit less anxious this time around. I’m not sure about you. I think Brexit was my rock bottom.

Al Elliott: Yeah. Well, regular listeners will know we’re massive Europhiles here. Um, and uh, yeah, Brexit was a big rock bottom, but then I’ve coined this term, um, the Venn diagram of give a shittery, um, and in one side it’s got stuff you can control, other side it’s got stuff you care about, excuse me, and then in the middle is the stuff that you both can control and do care about.

Um, and I employ that when it comes to, to elections. So I go, well, the only thing I need to worry about is who am I voting for? I speak to my wife because she’s far, far more knowledgeable than I am. She says, I’m voting for this. I’m going to go, right. I will do the same thing. That’s as far as it goes for me.

And I’m like, well. You know, everything else is out of my control, so I might care about it, but it’s out of my control. So I’m like, just let it go. If

Leanne Elliott: you want to try and make a change, it really, and I know having that one vote doesn’t feel like it can, but you know, maybe it will. And if you’re unsure, there’s loads of really good, particularly UK people, US, I’m not quite sure how it works over there, but in the UK, if you’re unsure about who to vote for at the minute, um, usually the BBC will do some kind of like questionnaire that you can go through.

Not always very helpful. I think my results last time came out basically like, third split for all three main parties, um, which then wasn’t very helpful, which again, is a problem with politics, but that we’re not here for that. I’ll, I’m going to put pin in that.

Al Elliott: Yes. Thank you very much. End of the news roundup layout book segment.

This is what we, what you came up with last week. I think the summer book club, um, if you we’ll leave a link to the books in the, uh, in the show notes, read along with us. And then wouldn’t be fun. Wouldn’t that be fun to sit on a beach? Oh, that’s a lot of fun. You are reading a book called this is why you dream.

Leanne Elliott: Why you dream what your sleeping brain reveals about your waking life by Raul Yandiel.

Al Elliott: How you getting on? How’s Raul tickling you?

Leanne Elliott: Raul is tickling my pickle. I’m not going to lie. Early days. But what I really like already is it’s already, I love a book that That either introduces me to something new or shifts my opinion on something I thought I had a fairly strong opinion on.

I, last time I thought about dreams from a psychology perspective was in my undergrad when we talked about Freud. Um. It’s just bullshit really, isn’t it? So I’m not really giving it much thought since then, but now I am, I’ve actually got a couple of little things out that I thought I’d share that I think will, will maybe, I think it will intrigue, it’ll intrigue you.

I think it might encourage you to, to dive into this one. Um, so basically Raoul is a neuroscientist if you didn’t listen last week. So it’s kind of the science behind dreams and what we’ve learned about the brain and dreaming since these advances in technology allow brain scanning, et cetera. But he said.

So this is like science stuff. This has like been shown that the amount of energy, certain regions of your brain burn while dreaming can exceed that which burn when we’re awake, particularly in the emotional and visual centers of the brain. So whilst the waking brain might typically adjust metabolic activity up or down by three or 4%.

So basically how much energy our brain is using. Um, The dreaming brain can boost the limbic system by 15%. So three to 4 percent when we’re awake, 15 percent when we’re dreaming. That means that dreams can achieve an emotional intensity that is not biologically possible in our waking lives. In fundamental ways, you’re never more alive than when you’re dreaming.

Um, so it goes into kind of talk about how dreams can help us in terms of give us a heads up around health issues, how it’s linked to mental health, addiction, that type of thing. And I read this last night, um, So unsurprisingly, he says, the imagery in the dreams of people who are depressed tends to be dark.

Even people who are sad during their waking hours, but not clinically depressed, tend to have more negative emotions in their dreams. Likewise, people who report unpleasant moods when they are awake, have more aggressive content, negative emotions, and misfortune in their dreams. I got bitten by the world’s biggest mosquito over the weekend, and my body.

Shin is basically a golf ball. It’s bigger than that. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, like a bowls, ball, balls, balls,

Al Elliott: balls.

Leanne Elliott: It’s as big as a

Al Elliott: ball, balls for legs. And it was really

Leanne Elliott: sore yesterday and it was throbbing and I was miserable and I was, it was just really unhappy and it’s itchy. It’s so itchy, but you don’t want to itch it because it’s going to scar.

Um, I dreamt last night that I dined in a plane crash and peanut our dog identified my body. Maybe it’s a coincidence.

Al Elliott: Okay. Um, well, first of all, well done, P for, um, for that’s, that’s not a skill I thought he had. He can’t even, he can’t even bring a stick back. So, uh, I’m pretty impressed by that. Uh, but secondly, maybe moving away from the slightly darker element you’ve brought into this segment here, which I appreciate.

Leanne Elliott: You’re welcome.

Al Elliott: Let me tell you about a much light heart, much more lighthearted book that, um, one of my favorites, uh, I’m rereading it for, I think the fourth time, um, it’s called anything you want by Derek Sivers. It’s the story of CD baby. Um, I think maybe a lot of people under the age of 25 might not have a clue what CD baby is, but back when CDs were a thing before there was iTunes before Amazon sent out sort of CDs, this was like the, the America’s biggest sort of like independent store of CDs, mail order CDs.

Um, it’s kind of part autobiography, part life lessons. Um, I have to be honest, part slow motion car crash, uh, because there’s a bit in there where he talks about exactly what you said before, Leanne, quite interesting. He gave the staff the, the option to vote on how they got paid, what, um, uh, what the stock options look like.

And I’m not gonna spoil the book, but it wasn’t what he expected, but it is a really lovely, simple book. It’s probably only about 150 pages. So many great stories and lessons. Now it is aimed at the entrepreneur, but the lessons in building an organization, um, which you are proud of and is timeless and impactful and everything Leanne says are there.

And it’s definitely a light hearted, lovely book. I read it in Thailand when we were on holiday and I wanted to just, I wanted to go and get my laptop and start doing something because it just gave you that. So. Maybe that’s not. Maybe that’s the reason we shouldn’t read it over summer. But if you are, if you have got a weekend off and you fancy just a couple of hours of reading through this book, it is a fabulous book.

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers.

Leanne Elliott: It’s a good book. I’ve read that. Have you? Yeah. I think you gave it to me actually after you read it.

Al Elliott: We will leave links to both books in the show notes. If you’ve got a recommendation, get in touch. We’re going to take a very short break, but in a second, we’ll be back with the weekly world famous work, the workplace surgery.

I’m going to change the name. We’re back with Leanne answering your questions. See you in a second. Welcome back. Lee, this is, you say that News Roundup is your favorite time of the week. This is my favorite time of the week. Yeah, I really like it. If you’ve not heard it before, then essentially I take your questions or questions that we’ve found just anonymous questions, but usually on the internet and I put them to Leanne and Leanne answers them.

So are you ready?

Leanne Elliott: Yes.

Al Elliott: Here’s the first question. It’s, it says, would HR say nothing bad in a meeting invitation for a planned termination? So this is the story. An HR rep scheduled a one on one meeting with me this Friday afternoon for Monday morning. Here’s the content of the email. Hi. And obviously the name isn’t there.

I have news to share. Nothing bad, but wanted to ask if you could kindly dial in Monday morning. Sorry for early morning, but wanted to give you a notice you could plan. And that’s from their HR rep. Would there be any circumstance in which a rep would say nothing bad if it was a planned termination or layoff?

This person said, just to give a bit of context, despite receiving a good pay bump last month and a new sizable stock option, not everyone gets that, but They’ve written, I am shook, which sounds weird me saying that, but I am shook. This has been absolutely crushing my weekend, Lee.

Leanne Elliott: Shame on you, HR rep.

Shame on you. That’s just common decency not to do that. That’s not even about being like an expert in human resources or people or culture. You do not send anybody an email on a Friday afternoon for a meeting first thing Monday and not tell them exactly what that meeting is about. That’s just, that’s just.

Poor behavior in any context from any person, shame on you. I feel very sorry, sorry that you’re put in this situation. Um, lovely listener who wrote that question. Um, I mean, it sounds unlikely if you’ve had a recent pay bump, if you’ve got a good, a good benefit going on, um, it, it sounds like it might be something I didn’t know, probably a change, possibly something confidential, possibly something really frivolous.

And this HR rap is just, just like, I don’t know, sadistic in terms of how they use their power. Um, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I know that’s, that’s. Nobody has stopped worrying by somebody saying, don’t worry. Um, yeah, you just gonna have to grin and bear through until Monday really, aren’t you? But shame on you HR person.

And if you’re a business owner out there, never do that. Never ever leave anything hanging over a weekend. ever, ever, ever, ever. It’s just cruel. It puts people in this threat state. It causes stress. It’s going to impact their ability to work their ability to be at home and try and rest and recover. And as you just pointed out, it’s going

Al Elliott: to impact their dreams as well, as you just pointed out, because

Leanne Elliott: they’ll be dying and plane crashes over the weekend as well.

Shame on you. HR rep.

Al Elliott: They did trigger warning. I think on this episode. Okay, great answer. So second one, what would you

Leanne Elliott: say?

Al Elliott: What would I say? Um, I can see it from both sides. I can see. Yes, that’s a horrible, horrible email to get. Secondly, from the HR rep, I can see them also thinking, Oh, but it’s okay. I’ll tell him it’s nothing to worry about because in their mind, there’s nothing to worry about.

And then they thought they were doing themselves a favor. or doing the other person a favor. So I can see it from both ends. It’s just very clumsily done from the HR point of view. And you’d think that if it’d come from an ops manager or more likely a finance function, perhaps you might’ve gone, okay, fair enough.

But someone who, for whom, whom its job is, is to look after people and basically be an expert in how people behave. Like you say, unforgivable. Are you ready for question number two? Yeah. I worked for a micromanager with a superiority, superiority complex. Even as a manager, I had to show her presentations before present them to customers.

She reviewed emails, was always in everyone’s business. So it wasn’t just me. I couldn’t do it anymore between her and a change in the corporate culture. I had the means to leave and save. So I left to safeguard what was left of my wellbeing. However, when it comes to interviews, People are going to ask about why I left the previous job.

So how do I answer the question? Why did you leave in a graceful manner?

Leanne Elliott: Good question. And one I get asked a lot, possibly my most frequently asked question as a career coach, actually. And my answer is always the same project forward. Never spend too much time. Looking back at the end of the day, it can feel like a nervous question.

Cause you don’t want to say anything that’s going to make you look bad or look like you’re slagging off the previous company. That’s going to be a red flag to somebody interviewing you. Um, so I understand it’s a, it’s a tricky question, but actually the, the only reason people are asking really the intention of that question really is to know how you might talk about their company once you’ve left it.

On the risk that you would have had a bad experience and how are you then going to talk about their organizational brand, their employer brand to other businesses out there. They’re going to know why you left unless it’s, you know, if it’s, if it’s just a, I handed in my notice, that’s all the reference the company is going to get.

If it’s for something that happened, um, an event or a termination or a disciplinary or something like that, that will probably get flagged in, in the reference potentially. Again, this depends very much on where you are in the world. There are some more protected privacy laws around that in the UK. Um, project forward, you know, why did, why did you leave that position?

I felt ready for a new challenge. I’m really, which is why I was so excited to see, The job that I’m interviewing for today advertised. I really admire how your company does this, how your company does that, how your company works with its customers, works with its people. I think I’d be a really great addition to that culture.

Um, and I’m, I’m excited to be here today and explore this opportunity more project forward, my friend.

Al Elliott: I like that. And if you, if you do genuinely, if this person was going for a job and they genuinely did think that the corporate culture was, was better, then I would, I would be tempted to say this. Tell me what you think, Lee.

I’d be tempted to say. Um, and also I really like the freedom that you seem to give here. I’ve spoken to, I’ve done a bit of research and it seems like you don’t micromanage, which any decent interviewer is probably going to. Positive spin,

Leanne Elliott: always positive spin. Don’t say you don’t micromanage, you give people autonomy.

Al Elliott: Oh, okay. Always

Leanne Elliott: positive spin.

Al Elliott: See, every day’s a school day. Very well answeredly. I think that’s a brilliant bit of advice. And I’ll be honest, going back to when I used to have a job, I think I went for an interview once and I did exactly that. And I said, I left because the manager was, I didn’t say, use the word asshole, but it was basically along those lines.

And I didn’t get the job. It didn’t go any further. So now I know why that was like 30 years ago. And now I know why.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah. And the thing is, if they, if they push you on it, and it can be awkward when someone pushes you on it, because also you don’t want to look like you’re avoiding the question. Um, but I think you just, you know, you, you just do what you can to project it forward.

And if you’re really, really pushed, um, then I’d go with something like, I was there for three weeks. for three years, two years. I learned X, Y and Zed. It was great experience for this. It was time for me to move on.

Al Elliott: Lovely.

Leanne Elliott: I’ve hijacked the final question, Alan. I have one for you.

Al Elliott: I wondered why, why I hadn’t got a note down here with a third one.

Leanne Elliott: I thought it was one that is one that popped up and I thought was really interesting. I’ve heard you talk about it before and I think will be useful for business leaders, for employees, for just anyone. And anyone listening really, so the person asks this, how do you surround yourself with people that empower you and don’t suck your energy?

I’m a big fan of Alex Ramosi, who talks a lot about surrounding yourself only with people who benefit you. I truly 100 percent agree with that. That said, I find it hard to manage my circle of friends and family and exclude people that pull me down. Most of the people that I’m surrounded with do not have big goals for their life.

They do not have They are not entrepreneurs. They are not all the kind of person that I am or that I want to be. How do you guys deal with this?

Al Elliott: It’s a tough one. Um, it’s tough because it’s difficult. It’s tough because this is some tough love. Um, you have to, you have to exclude them. That will mean if you want to grow, if you, if you want to be an entrepreneur, and we’re not talking about someone who’s got, you know, a little side hustle or someone who perhaps goes and starts a small business and then self employed, talking about if you want to build something, then you have to surround yourself with people who think the same way as you do, and also don’t suck your energy.

And that will mean you leave some people behind. There is no way to sugarcoat that. I have friends who, or previous friends, I just don’t spend any time with, um, because They just, like you say, they’re, they’re energy. So they, you say, Oh, I’ve got this idea. They go, Oh yeah, well, that’s not going to work because someone’s done that before.

And you know, all that kind of stuff. So Unfortunately, the sad, the sad and blunt truth is there is no way to do it without getting rid of them. Not necessarily cutting them off. Like if your family, like you can’t get around, not for you, but just don’t talk to your family about your, about what you want to do.

Just go. If you go to family barbecue, you go to family party and they’re like, what are you up to? Oh, you know, just working a couple of projects. I don’t know. What about you? What’s new in your life? Bear in mind that everybody loves talking about themselves. So Leanne said before, deflect, deflect back onto your friends.

When they ask you, how’s it going with this? Go? Yeah, not bad. Not bad. Yeah. You know, there’s a few challenges. There always are. What about you? Haven’t, didn’t you get a new dog? By the way, hello to Jeff, Jeffrey, my brother’s new dog. But didn’t you get a new dog? How’s it going? And that and it will effortless.

It sounds, it sounds contrived. It’s not going to be. They will go, Oh, brilliant. I’ve got a chance to talk about myself. Because let’s be honest, most people when they’re talking in a conversation, they’re just thinking about what they’re going to say next. So the blunt truth is. You have to get rid of them.

The other thing you need to do is make sure you do surround yourself with people who are positive. Now, if you’re in a situation where you can’t necessarily do that, I found Twitter or X to be quite good for that. I know some people hate it, but I’ve muted, blocked, created lists, all that kind of stuff over the last year or so.

So now whenever I go on Twitter, I just see really uplifting posts from people who are doing something that I want to do, or perhaps have got skills that I want. So I, I almost have this virtual network of people because we don’t have any friends here in Bosnia. And yet we’re only quite new in the country.

We’re only quite new in the country, but it is kind of difficult to find someone who is interested in podcasting, building a business, a workplace culture, who speaks great English, um, and is also under the age of, uh, age of 60. So it is kind of So we don’t have that many people physically. So I tend to do it.

And also the other thing is just what I did when I was first building my first second company, the first one went bust, maybe bankrupt. Second one did work quite well was I used to go to founders and I’d say to them, could I take you for a coffee? In the morning was one found that we hounded. It was it was from a company called late night rooms or late rooms, late rooms dot com, which I think you’ve got price line in the U.

S. It’s similar kind of idea might even be that might be the parent company. And we ended up by sending so many emails. They end up saying, Look, I’ll meet you at the station. for 20 minutes when I get off the train before I get into the office. And we met him up and it was brilliant because I just felt I, I surfed for weeks on that conversation because I spoke to someone who built a 300 person conversation, a 300 person company, and I just felt brilliant.

So I think I could have summed all that up by saying ditch them.

Leanne Elliott: I don’t think it’s not, I think, no, you didn’t say ditch them. I think it’s dilute them.

Al Elliott: And I

Leanne Elliott: think, you know, friends and, and again, I’m going to make an assumption that you’re maybe on the younger side, because I think as you get older, you kind of experience friends coming and going in that your life just naturally, um, because nothing happens.

It’s just the way it is. You move or they move. Yeah, exactly. That just kind of happens. Family. Yeah, of course, you know, but even then you can, you can limit you. Contact if it is a toxic relationship or indeed cut it off. If you really think that’s necessary, I would dilute exactly what Al said. And it’s not always, as he said, finding things, um, finding people exactly within your proximity, your location, look at other ways and online.

There’s so many good things, conferences, talks, events, go to them, find local groups, local entrepreneur groups, business groups, whatever it is that you’re, you’re trying to get into. One thing that I did, and I felt like this back in, I want to say the beginning of 2023, and I made it a thing that anyone who liked or commented on a post about the podcast or about people and culture, about great leadership, everyone who liked or commented, I would connect with, send them a message and say, thank you so much for your support.

It’s such an important conversation. I’d love to have a 30 minute virtual coffee and chat with you just to learn more about your life. And I probably spoke to about 25 people in two weeks, which was exhausting as an introvert, but I met some really cool people that have subsequently been on the show that we’ve collaborated with that I still check in with every now and again and just kind of see how things are.

Um, and that was transformative for me from an energy perspective. Um, Because it can feel that you’re, you’re the only one, you’re kind of banging your head against a brick wall sometimes within this type of, type of work. So it’s good to just know there are other people out there trying to drive the same change that you are.

Um, so I think that’s what I’d say is don’t, maybe you’re focused on kind of cutting people out and maybe just need to just, enrich your pool of people a little bit.

Al Elliott: Exactly. You can have silos of people you spend time with and you can have friends or you can just spend time with and talk about friends stuff.

You’ve got families speak about family stuff and then you’ve got work. And the problem is that if you, I think a lot of people think that work, you know, that’s your first question, how’s work? And so just rather than going into going, Oh, it’s really good. I’ve got this really great idea. I’m building it low.

Don’t do that. Just go, yeah, it’s going really well. How about you. That’s what you need to do. So Lee, I think that’s the end of probably a bit of a bumper episode on this one. If I’m honest, um, we have got an amazing episode coming up on Thursday for you. We, I’m not going to go into it. Basically it deals with all of the things we talked about here today, particularly the wage parity.

It is, if you’ve got CEOs earning What is, what was the number? Was it 699

Leanne Elliott: times more than a typical worker?

Al Elliott: Then you’re going to meet on Thursday, someone who earns exactly the same as everyone else. And you can work wherever you want and you can work as many days as you want. And the salary. It’s decent six figures.

So join us for Thursday is going to be a great episode and with the, with an amazing guy who’s got a great story. So anything else to add before we go, Lee?

Leanne Elliott: No, just the usual things. If you have enjoyed the show, if you do enjoy the show in general, the best way you can support us is by subscribing, by downloading, by reviewing the show, by following us on LinkedIn or the socials, joining the conversation.

Um, we’d love to hear from people. We love to have those chit chats. chat’s going. Um, so yeah, so get in touch, subscribe, all that business. If you have any complaint, send it privately. If you have any praise, please do it publicly.

Al Elliott: Look forward to your letters. We’ll see you next week.

Leanne Elliott: Bye. Bye.

Al Elliott: Bye.

Have the world famous weekly workplace search. I almost got it that time. Almost. Oh, I meant to bring my

Leanne Elliott: book in. I need to go get my book.

Al Elliott: No, you don’t.

Leanne Elliott: I do.

Al Elliott: Lee. I’m

Leanne Elliott: reading bits from it on the table.

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