Final Fast Company - April 2000 - Leaving With Grace : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Leaving With Grace

By Karen Rigdon

The reasons and circumstances for deciding to leave one job for another can be as varied as the marketplace itself. At one end of the spectrum one might feel stagnant, ready for a change, or psychologically or financially unfulfilled. At the other end of the spectrum, one could be ready to take a risk, establish their own business, and become the employer rather than the employee.

In the April 2000 issue of Fast Company we are introduced to five people who have made career moves. Their stories, presented in the article Exit Strategies, are different but they all offer suggestions for leaving a job gracefully. Although there is no one right way to depart a job, we can learn from others who have made smooth job transitions and from those who wished, in retrospect, that they had done things differently.

At a web-based career-information site, Inc., cofounder Mark Oldman says, Your last impression is almost as important as your first. The way you leave your place of employment is important because it creates an impression that will last. Chances are that you will be working for, or with, some of the same people again or need a reference at some point, so it is important not to burn any bridges.

Advice from Maxine Clark, the former president of Payless ShoeSource, Inc., includes being honest with the company executives, nurturing your network of contacts, and serving on corporate boards to stay in the loop. Dawn White, formerly a senior engineer, at Ford Motor Co., prepared her project teams for her departure over a six month period building a platform from which she could leave with honor (p. 356).

Desiring to start his own business, Nayan Patel protected his reputation by giving a one month notice on his job, helping to hire his successor, and by creating and sharing a vision for future client relationships with his colleagues. Patrick Lin, formerly a principal at Robertson Stephens Inc., left his job abruptly writing a two-sentence resignation letter and leaving a short voice mail. In retrospect, Lin wishes that he had met face to face with his team.

After reading this article I interviewed Mike Katrin, the husband of a fellow International Falls cohort member. The interview focused on his recent split with a major bank in town. Katrin decided to leave the frustrations of corporate banking to return to his first choice profession  decentralized community banking. Although Katrin had to leave Norwest Bank quickly, due to establishing a competitive business, he took the time to leave detailed notes for his successor on every aspect of his job. Katrin, now president of Border State Bank of International Falls, says he offers competitive pricing with decisions made locally. Believe in what youre doing, says Katrin and he believes his customers will be delighted with the improved customer service that results from community banking.

Endings and new beginnings are inevitable in the course of a lifetime and the workplace is often in a state of flux due to the ebb and flow of employees. In November 1999, my husbands job transferred him to Idaho. Consequently, I had to write my resignation letter in March 2000 to the school that I began teaching music at this year. In the letter I praised the principal, staff, and administration for their caring and support. I also stated that I would do anything I could to make the transition easier for the new teacher.

I feel melancholy to have to leave the children and young adults that I have had the pleasure to get to know in my music classes, bands, and choir. I know that they have had a different music teacher almost every year for many years. Deep in my heart, I hope the next teacher can stay for at least several years. In any case, I will exit, hopefully with grace, the new teacher will come, and the music will begin anew in the fall.

-- Anonymous, April 09, 2000

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