Six or seven years ago, I was eating in a chinese restaurant. I overheard a conversation that struck me to this day.
The speaker was a woman in her late 30s, eating at another table with a companion. They seemed to know the owner.
She said, "Ping used to be a waiter here at this restaurant. The owner really takes care of his employees. He gives them good food to eat for the meals. When they're sick, he visits them at home with medicine. Then Ping was offered 10% higher salary by another restaurant, and he quit and went to work there instead."
"The other restaurant didn't treat him well. They wouldn't let the employees eat the nicer food. When he's sick, they didn't check in on him at all."
"After a month, Ping called up this restaurant owner and asked to come back. The owner declined. He said, 'I treated you like a human being, but you don't treat yourself like one. Don't come back.'"
I was struck by how much we undervalue feeling loved in our job. All those gestures of caring clearly mattered a lot more to Ping than the 10% salary, but he didn't consciously value them until they were gone.
I also was surprised that the owner is so relentless. Ping is sorry! If you take him back, he'll probably be extra loyal, now that he knows the grass is browner on the other side. Why shut him out?
Maybe the owner already hired replacements and now has no open headcount for Ping.