Exit signs

November 6, 2014

Quiz: How to tell if your colleague’s leaving

Image: Creative Commons

This week, a rather wonderful article has been doing the virtual rounds on LinkedIn. It’s all about ‘Eight ways to tell your employee is about to quit’, and is effectively an omnibus opinion piece by eight US entrepreneurs. (Our favourite is Phil Chen, who really does have his finger on the management lingo. ‘Giving their responsibilities away could be a sign that they are transitioning out,’ he says. ‘When you see these signs… you should provide consistent positive communication.’)

Well, all this got us thinking. How can you tell if the lawyer next to you – whether they be peer, subordinate or boss – is about to ‘spend more time with the family’? By following our informative quiz, that’s how.

1. How much time has your colleague taken off recently?

a) No time at all. She’s been working regular hours.

b) Now you mention it, she did miss a couple of hours last Friday morning.

c) Since the end of October she’s had seven dental appointments, sixteen ‘boiler problems’ and attended the funerals of three of her grandmothers.

2. What is your colleague doing right now?

a) Writing a document. She looks pretty engaged to me.

b) Talking to a client on the phone, whilst playing Fruit Ninja.

c) Marking the days that pass by carving lines into her desk with a broken bottle of Glenlivet.

3. What’s she got on her desk right now?

a) Big deals.

b) Little deals.

c) Her feet.

4. Last time you went to karaoke together, what did your colleague sing?

a) ‘We All Stand Together’ by Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus.

b) ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’ by The Clash.

c) ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ by Meatloaf.

5. What did your colleague do for lunch today?

a) As usual, she had a homemade salad at her desk.

b) She went to the café down the road with her sister.

c) She went into the toilet, changed into a Prada suit and a pair of killer heels, called a cab to a secret location, and came back an hour later muttering something about how this place is a s$£@hole and that other firms have far better looking receptionists and conference rooms.

6. What’s the longest-term project your colleague has taken on recently?

a) A two-year deal involving an international merger.

b) A six-month deal involving a Glasgow property development.

c) Level 6 on Candy Crush.

7. Who is she going to see on the evening of her birthday?

a) Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

b) Sam Smith at the O2.

c) Joe Conroy at Cooley.

8. Finally, if you looked under your colleague’s desk, what would you find?

a) A neat pile of folders, stacked in alphabetical order.

b) A sneaky copy of ‘Gone Girl’ for reading on the loo.

c) Several mounds of earth and three tunnels called Tom, Dick and Harry.


How did you score?

Mostly A

Don’t worry. Your colleague isn’t going anywhere. It’s safe to lend her money and expect to get it back again.

Mostly B

Know what? She’s thinking about it. She might not have sent her CV anywhere, but she’s talked to a recruitment consultant and peeked at a couple of careers sites.

Mostly C

That’s it. It’s adios, amigo – she’ll be out of there faster than an egg from a tall chicken. Better start rummaging around for those Thai bahts in the back of your drawer – the collection envelope will be on your desk before you know it. AB

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