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How to leave your job

May 11, 2021


I want to spend a minute talking with you about leaving your job. Not about why you might leave a job. There’s plenty of good reasons for why you might leave a job - an opportunity that you found elsewhere that’s too good to pass up, something that’s happening in your family needing to relocate. There are plenty of good reasons why you might leave a job. What I want to talk with you about is how you leave your job if and when you make that decision because it’s a moment in life, an important moment in life that most people handle poorly. There are two things that we often miss when we’ve made the decision to leave a job, they’re both potentially transformative.

The first is we miss the opportunity to talk with and to share with the people, the team, the leader,  the organization that we’re leaving what it is that we saw, what it is that we learned and what it is that we think they should change or work on after we’re going. Now, you may think you’ve done that but I promise you once you’ve made the decision that you’re going to leave, it frees you up. You’ll have a sense of liberation, you’ll be able to talk about some things that you’ve seen and observed and lived within for some time with a little bit of distance, some emotional space to be able to share and maybe have an impact on the organization for the people who are going to be there after you’re gone.

So, you owe it to yourself to do that, yes, you owe it to the people who are going to stay, you might say you owe it to the organization, but you owe it to yourself because these are your values this is your life this is what you want to see in the world.

That leads us to the second reason why it’s important to lean in and handle these conversations well.  Whatever it is that you’re frustrated about, whatever the other reasons are that you might be leaving all of the challenges and struggles and things that you think should be different about where you work and your role in those things, whatever your part of it,  whatever feedback you’ve gotten whatever struggles are in your face in this moment when you’re having this important life moment, trust me when I say this, you will take those issues with you. You will recreate them elsewhere. Maybe not in exactly the same form but if you really lean into this moment whether you’re going to be there for two more weeks or two more years, you have an opportunity to look at yourself to self-reflect and say okay I’m leaving, and here are the reasons why. But, what do I want to learn about me before I go? What’s the opportunity that I have in front of me if I’m going to be here for another month or maybe another year before I make the decision to leave? How can I use this job, this role this team, these dynamics, these challenges, to become a better version of myself?

If you’ll focus on these two things - not why you’re going to leave but how you leave to share your own values to share what you see to provide that moment of learning and reflection to the organization for your own reasons out of your own values and to remember that whatever it is you’re carrying with you, you will recreate it elsewhere and you’ll never have a better opportunity than this one to work on it.

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