My grandfather taught me to crab from an early age with baskets off the dock of the bay at Rehobeth Beach, Delaware. After I mastered the basket, phase 2 crabbing was going out early in the morning on the boat and dropping a line where he had tied tons of chicken wings on them and at the end of the day, we would come back and scoop the crabs off where they were eating the chicken wings all day and my grandfather would throw them into the boat and we would pick them up with gloves and put them in a bushel basket.

It was exhilarating!

When a single crab is put into a lidless basket, they surely can and will escape. However, when more than one share a basket, none can get out. If one crab elevates themself above all, the others will grab this crab and drag’em back down to share the mutual fate of the rest of the group.

…and they NEVER escape.

Are you working in an organization that has the “crabs in a basket” mentality?

Here are three scenarios that suggest you might be:

1. You’re so valuable: Do you want to leave, but your team and boss guilt you into staying with comments like: What will we do without you?

2. You can’t leave me: Is your co-worker/friend thinking about leaving and at lunch you make comments like: You can’t leave me…I will miss you too much. We are friends, right? You can’t leave me here by myself.

3. No one can do what you do: Have you been told, you can’t leave because no one else can do what you do? I’m sure unintentional, but this backhanded compliment has an hidden motive.

If you find yourself in these discussions, here are a few thoughts regarding escape!

Trying to escape? As women, we are the supporters, doers, and plate spinners. We often are the “sherpas” of the organization who roll up our sleeves and get the work done. Recognize when it’s time to escape and be prepared for the scenarios above with a strong response.

“Don’t worry…I will document everything before I leave.”

“I have already identified xyz to do that job when I am gone and will be available for questions when I go.”

or better yet…

“Because we are such good friends, I need to know I have your support to do what’s best for me and my family.”

Trying to hold someone else back from escaping?

Be a true friend…support that person and release them with love ❤. I once had an excellent salesperson that worked with me. She and I both knew she should have left 2 years before she did and for as positive as the first 3 years were working together, the last two were tough for both of us. Why?

I kept pulling her back into the basket.

If I replay that scenario today (in my more mature self). 🙂 I would tell her I support her decision to leave, write her a recommendation and throw her a party for the outstanding results and impact she had made in her years as a top producing salesperson.

Bottom line: Don’t be a crab! 🦀 Take the high road, the one that believes in abundance, that when one door closes, a beautiful and better one can open.


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