A Word Of Advice: How Do I Let Her Go

Dear Kally,

I always enjoy reading your blog and never did I know I’ll be one of those who will be seeking your help today. I must say, a lot of your articles makes sense and I can tell you are a very sensible person.

Here I have a problem. I run a small family business. We have a small cafe. It used to be just me, my brother and sometimes my Mother-in-law will chip in to help out. Three years ago, my Mother-in-law had a stroke so my Brother and I took turns in running the cafe and taking care of her. Business at the cafe was doing pretty well so we decided to hire someone.

This someone (let’s name her Debbie) is hardworking, always on time, took initiative and never have a grumpy day.

We totally love her!

She has a wonderful rapport with many of our customers and she always tries to help out in the kitchen when there no customers in the cafe. Sometimes, we even let Debbie in charge of the cafe in the mornings so we can take mother-in-law to her doctor’s appointments.

She is truly a blessing to us.

The thing is that these past few months we are struggling to keep the business afloat. My Mother-in-law has mostly recovered from her stroke last year and didn’t require us to be around her all the time.

My other brother has moved up to be closer to us, both he and his Wife have started to help out at the cafe as well. Now with me, my two brothers, my sis-in-law and Debbie, it seems to be quite a squeeze in the small cafe.

But how do you let go of someone who is so efficient and of no fault of her? We would love to keep her but it seems frivolous now that we have two extra sets of hands.

Maybe some advice?

Thank you!

Ruthie K

Hi Ruthie,

Good to hear that your Mother-in-law has recovered.

I know how guilt must be eating at you and probably thinking that asking Debbie to go is committing betrayal. What does make sense is you need to let go of someone good before your entire business starts to fall apart because you couldn’t cope with the extra expenses.

What you can do is start off with an honest discussion with Debbie. Let her be aware of your improved situation.

You can also prepare a good severance package for her – one is to thank her for her services and going the extra mile, another is to compensate her during a gap where she will take time to find a new job.

If you like to go the extra mile for her like what she has done for your customers, do try to find a similar job for her around your vicinity. And don’t forget to provide a shining reference.

You can also provide an alternative temporary solution for both of you, that you can reduce her hours in the cafe and hire her on a part-time basis until she has found a new job. That will give you some time to adjust the cafe business without her presence and she is not completely without an income.

I wish you all the best in your cafe business and hope that this termination will not be too painful for both of you.

Good luck!


If you think this is good advice, check out other articles too:

A Word of Advice: Expensive Office Theme
A Word Of Advice: Money Or My Soul?
A Word of Advice: Get her out of my Hair!


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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Very well done Kally.

    I have always found TRUTH to be the best answer.

    “Debbie” isn’t “stupid”; she would sense that things have changed, I would just be honest with her and offer some compensation and an extraordinary LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION, which in this case COULD include your reason for the dismissal.

    God Bless,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never an easy situation. But good advice. Honesty is the best policy.

    I’ve been the person who was let go. My boss waited to have the discussion when no one was around so it wouldn’t be awkward. He explained he didn’t want to let me go, but why he had to do it and that he would hire me again in a heartbeat if he had the chance. I looked at the business situation objectively and realized he had no other choice. He gave me a severance package and a letter of recommendation. I stayed in touch with him over the years and stopped by for an occasional visit. Eventually, years later, I did have the chance to work for him again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. msw blog says:

    I love the alternative temporary solution option. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very honest advise Kally

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you so much

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you, Rob! How are you doing? I still have the lovely rose picture you gave me years ago that reminds me of you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Kally. It’s good to see you. It looks like your blog is thriving. I’m glad I was able to visit.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. ecohorizons says:

    Hey Kally . Another alternative possible solution if they can is to expand the business . Why don’t they open a new branch in a new city or try to find another part-time job for himself as an additional income?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      Good idea actually. I shall forward your suggestion to him.

      Liked by 1 person

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