Recently, I was surprised to learn of an associate who was offered another job. It wasn’t the fact that this individual was leaving a company with which a long, rewarding career had been granted. What shocked me is the fact that, after making mention to the direct supervisor, this associate embarked on a quest to share this news personally, and first, with a few key people who had been instrumental in helping along the way. I thought that was honorable, respectable and most importantly smart. You see, while this person’s focus was certainly on the new journey about to be embarked upon, there was also a keen awareness of the importance of tidying up things presently before fast-forwarding to the future. I made a mental note when I heard of it to do better at learning how to leave.
Leaving can be so hard to do. Whether it’s going from one job, church, school or group to the next, ending a relationship or transitioning a friendship, leaving can bring about as much fear, anxiety or questions for the person wanting to leave as the person being left. The thought of leaving and having to have that dreaded talk, even if you’re already half-way out of the door, can cause a stomach to do Olympic-worthy somersaults. Still, honorable and respectable conversation regarding a departure is needed and very necessary for all parties involved.
Thinking again on the associate who took great steps to leave a job in a proper way, I think back to the times where I’ve burned bridges, or have been the one burned. I also think back to the times where the bridges I might have scorched or chosen to handle the right way reappeared later in life. I certainly think of the times I’ve been burned only to reappear in the lives of the “flame throwers” later. Needless to say, there are lessons learned from both sides of the bridge.
How to Leave:
- Make sure you’re making the right move. Don’t let anger, “the whispering committee” or misunderstandings cause you to make an unwise, and hasty decision.
- Let people know. Never leave a situation whether it be a business, relationship, association or organization without informing those involved who need, and deserve to know. People ought to know you’re gone. They should know it firsthand from you.
- Don’t let people know. In relationships, please inform the other party directly involved before involving or becoming involved with other parties. When it comes to jobs or organizations, always let those in leadership or authority know you’re leaving first before co-workers and comrades.
- Be professional. Write a letter or have a face-to-face or verbal conversation, but do not use social media or text messages as the method to say “I quit you” or “I’m on to the next one”.
- Complete the assignment. Never leave a job undone. Handle your business.
- Take out the garbage. Deal with any unhealthy emotions you have from one person, place or thing before you go on to a nother person, place or thing so that you don’t take those damaging sentiments with you.
- Leave the light on. Always leave in a manner that assures you that you’ve left in such a way that you can return.
- Be respectful. If they were good enough to share some part of your life leave it at that. Don’t go on a trash talking free-for-all after the association ends.
- End with a bang. If you know you’re going to go let your last impressions be your best.
- Make it better. Make a concerted effort to leave jobs, organizations, things and people better than before you. Yes, I know that can be hard to do, especially if you feel they wronged you, but trust me, it pays off in the end.