Therese is Staying
Many will be perplexed at having seen Therese’s job advertised, yet she’s still here, and she’s here for the foreseeable future. Eyebright has been on a journey from being a business that relied on one person for just about everything, to a business where the load is more equitably spread.
For the Eyebright staff, the Covid lockdown was no hardship. It was, however, a time for reassessment and making some changes. In Therese’s case that led to tendering her resignation.
She returned after the lock-down with her usual enthusiasm, but after a few weeks, concluded that she couldn’t do it anymore.
Rather than doing the brave thing, and accepting her resignation, I suggested she think on it for a few days. She did, and she came back.
Over the next two weeks we had a blizzard of resignations, not because I’m a horrible boss, but because lives change, and the lockdown gave people time to reflect on their changes, and set new directions. With the loss of experienced and much valued staff, Therese felt her burden redouble, and she handed in her second resignation.
This time she meant it so I engaged Judy Fanselow, a recruitment specialist, to find me another wonder-person.
If you read the job advert that Judy drafted, you’ll think “what a marvellous job” CLICK HERE. She interviewed applicants, and narrowed down the list.
With only day before I would need to conduct my own face to face interviews with the shortlisted applicants, I decided to carefully reread the script of Judy’s advert. That gave me the insight to see what was the fundamental problem that was making it necessary for Therese to leave.
Therese’s job had two aspects: People and Products. She had responsibility for customers, suppliers, and staff. That’s the ‘people’ part. The ‘product’ part was purchasing and display.
Her job mightn’t sound too onerous, and it wouldn’t be if Eyebright was a small one-category shop. Eyebright is anything but.
Judy described Eyebright as a department store. It has Wool, Silk Flowers, Dried Flowers, Clothing, Liqueurs, Décor, and of course the Christmas Shop. Therese bore responsibility for most of those. Heap on top of this organising staff, and serving in the shop, and you’ve got a role that’s too big for one person.
Realising this, I organised for Therese to meet me for an early morning meeting; then turned in for a sleep disturbed by concerns about the future.
At the meeting I offered Therese four days a week (Monday to Thursday), where her role is purchasing and display, with me shouldering staff concerns. The key is Therese limiting herself to Monday to Thursday, not six and sometimes seven days a week.
Eight years ago, when I became sole owner of Eyebright, the business was not viable and it was likely to go down. Without extraordinary staff it would have.
With Therese running the shop, and an amazing team behind her, we navigated a safe journey. Quietly Eyebright has got better and better, more diverse while always delivering outstanding customer service. That doesn’t happen by accident. It takes dedication and focus, which Therese delivered in spades, but the more she did, the more there was to do until the burden became crushing.
Had I been courageous and accepted Therese’s first resignation, Eyebright would now have a new manager, and maybe everything would be fine. Different but fine. We’ll not know. Therese is still here, doing what she loves doing and is spectacular at: Stocking Eyebright, and making it beautiful.
You’ll probably notice no difference, apart from the near clean sweep of front-line staff, (Kathy, Therese and myself are still here). Therese is, of course, still delighted to help you, and she’s still our florist, but you’ll rarely find her behind the counter and you won’t find her from Friday to Sunday.