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You are the boss. You are the leader, coach and manager, and there are some things that you just got to learn, like it or not. One of these skills is to be able to identify when someone has quit. “How dare they?” I here you ask.

The first time I quit a job and didn’t tell anybody was when I was in the RAF working as a fighter pilot in World War 2, and I accidentally bombed Newport in South Wales, and was given a stern talking to for my troubles. Well, I didn’t actually quit and I was never in the armed forces and I was born into the era of the Beat Generation, but that’s by the by, it’s just there for effect, to create some artificial empathy between me and those who have actually quit a job and not told anyone about it. Myself, I would never do such a thing. Although to be fair, Newport has looked like it has been freshly bombed with dark green, brown and grey shades of poster paints and self-raising flour, since forever.

So, whether you are a pro, a novice or a don’t know, here are seven handy never-seen-before tips to help you out.

  1. Clean Desk: This is always one to watch. Their desk is cleaned out, and apart from a manky half-chewed Hershey bar in the upper left draw, with a yellow post-it note stapled to it – with “Eat me!” scrawled on it in crayon, and a copy of Horse and Hounds disguised as Hustler in the ‘done’ tray, there is nothing left. More to the point, even their aspidistra, posters and family photos have gone AWOL.
  2. Scared Bunnies: When you ask their colleagues where their co-worker is, they stare at you in a mixed state of wordless fright, perplexity and incredulity. How to interpret that? So you get them all into a meeting room, and repeat the question again. Have you ever seen what dogs do when they look as though as they are listening and understanding, but can’t actually speak like a human, or speak at all, for that matter? Well, that could be a sign right there.
  3. Head Shrinkers: The Human Resources (Personnel department) have been continually asked for work references from competing businesses, and agencies are trying to head shrink/hunt them – or whatever, plus, there have also been anonymous bomb threats, in the style of The People’s Liberation Front of Judea .
  4. Bonding Beach: Their time sheets haven’t been submitted for nine months, and it’s been their round down the Cat and Fiddle of a Thursday night, when you have your ‘team bonding, group chanting and getting pissed’ session, for what seems like generations.
  5. NSA Bait: Someone with the very same name has coincidentally been arrested on charges of suspected insider trading, embezzlement and blackmail. They have subsequently escaped via Bognor Regis, Benidorm and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and have gone into exile in the Bolsovian Embassy in Moscow.
  6. Wheel of Fortune: Their phone never stops ringing, when you answer, it is usually to speak with an excited and distraught person, who begs you for small share of the many millions that you have apparently won. Even though you yourself have never played the lottery.
  7. Banksy Moon: A not so anonymous artists has spray painted “I am the boss and I am a useless tit” on the side panelling of your Knightsbridge off-roading 4×4, and suspiciously signed the graffiti with the same moniker as the person that you suspect has done a runner. You of course sincerely believe that it’s the work of anti-system UN chief Banksy, who has simply forged the signature and imitated the writing style.

Down the years I’ve learned that if someone has quit, it is useless to try to talk that person into coming back, especially after a few years of absence. In many ways a quitter is like a black swan… – oh, hang on, that’s wrong. You are like a like a black swan, up Stercore Amnis and without a paddle. Now, that’s better.

So, when your partner says, “I don’t love you anymore, you creep” responding with “Fancy a lovely cup of tea, Violeta?” makes a lot of sense. The same is true in a situation where the person has clearly quit their job, but of course they might not like tea and they might not be there to talk with you or to have a cuppa, in fact, that is usually the case when someone has simply walked away, and not said anything about quitting.

Finally, I wanted to call this piece ‘7 signs that someone on your team has bottled it’, but I was angling for more hits and less reads, and I changed that title, based on the neuro-analytic recommendations of that great spiritual leader and cultural icon, Rab C Nesbitt. So, please share this nugget of platinum plated gold with all your friends, colleagues and family, and remember – Risitas aside – that lameculo is not the new like.

As always, many thanks for reading.