In the Trenches: Turnover Hurts

If I seem a little frazzled as I write this, it’s because it’s been a busy couple weeks. My number two guy has decided to leave, and that’s left me scrambling to fill the void.

It wasn’t really a surprise that he left. We had discussed his pet project many times, and I knew the day would come where he decided to devote himself full time to it. I just didn’t realize it would come when it did, and I failed to really prepare.

For a big business, when someone leaves, it can be easier to spread the work around because you have plenty of people available, even if they don’t have the exact knowledge necessary. For a small business, it’s not so easy.

Generally, small businesses have everyone working at their max output out of necessity. In my case, I’m the only full time person but I rely on independent contractors to handle some pieces of the work. With my longest tenured contractor leaving, the burden falls back on me.

While I was already working 12 hour days before, now I have more to worry about. He is staying around to finish working on the immediate stuff he has on his plate, but I still need to devote my time to handling new work that would have gone to him. More importantly, I have to recruit and train a replacement.

I did bring on a new contractor last week to help, but the training is just beginning. It’s going to take a while before he can take work off my plate.

So what’s the lesson here? It’s always good to have a backup plan in place in order to make the transition smooth. I’m working on creating more of a safety net going forward, so that it doesn’t all fall too hard on me anytime someone leaves.

And the other lesson? Learn to live without sleep. It frees up a lot of extra time.

About Brett Snyder

Brett is the Founder and President of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. He also writes the consumer air travel blog, The Cranky Flier.
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freelancers, contractors and other guns for hire allow you to build flexibility and they will also let you find some really talented people who you can then hire full time as your business grows


One lesson you might take away from this is to build excess capacity (both employee and your own) into the system so that you can deal with unexpected illness/leavings without pushing staff or yourself over the edge.I run a small language school in similar circumstances, and our goal for this year is to build a buffer so that we can deal with staff issues without getting overstressed or sick!


Cranky, its your own tight ass fault for being a contractor only hiring comany. You get what you deserve! As a contractor employee we are walked on, kicked, beat on and worked to death for very little money and no benifits but the hour pay. also, mistreated. I hate contract companies due to mistreatment of employees. So if you want people to stay with you and be loyal then stop being a financial tight ass as a contract only hire company. If you want loyalty then treat employees like you want to be treated. Give a person a sence of being important to your company as a person but not a contract person. If you care about your employees then they will care about you and your company. It goes both ways! Dont be a tight ass employer!

All Day Ray
All Day Ray

Ah, youth does it again ... so chalk this up to a learning experience. Seems since time immemorial that the "youngsters" can't seem to benefit by others life's lessons ... they have to learn it all by themselves. Welcome to a more mature professional future!


  1. [...] In the Trenches: Turnover Hurts – Intuit Small Business Blog We had someone leave Cranky Concierge in the last couple weeks and that has made things difficult in the short run. [...]