With intention, leaving with grace and dignity, and with your integrity intact is easier than you think. Well, maybe not easy. But, not difficult, either.
It happened on a Tuesday afternoon in June. I received an email from my boss to not leave for a road trip to Chicago, until after she and I had spoken. Odd request. We talked often and usually when one or the other—or both—were driving somewhere. She called when she could break away from the meeting she was attending at the corporate headquarters.
The news was not good. The five training managers positions for the field were being eliminated on January 1st. She tried to assure me that something would open that would work for me. Well, this truly sucks. Six months of waiting, wondering, and hoping. Also feeling anxious, desperate, and hurt. Asking questions like, How could they let us go? Our work is important to the people in the field. Who will get them the training they need? And yet… On January 1, there was no new role with the company, though many went to bat for me.
Sure, I had six months advanced notice. Of course, I brewed, stewed, and stressed like any normal mere mortal would. While having six months feels a bit luxurious, it really meant six months to brew, stew, and stress—which is not the best. Those six months were also some of the busiest months I’d experienced during my seven years working there. No time to get my resume updated or look for work elsewhere. Instead, the busy time kept me focused on the work and highly visible in the organization, at large. Never a bad thing!
During those six months of heavy work travel and high visibility is when I chose to continue to work with intention, grace, dignity, and integrity. Leadership gave me worthwhile projects to complete. My boss said that she trusted me to do what needed doing, without any hesitation in assigning the work to me. Well, okay then!
- Defined using the words, purpose and aim. Apply them when you get up every day and choose go to work. Just as you have been. Sure, it would be easy to use up that sick time and strand leaders or coworkers. Don’t do it. Adjust your mind and get back on track and go to work emotionally, too.
- Do the job they are still paying you for.
- Dress for success. Meaning, this is not the time to rebel against the dress code.
- Steer clear of situations where you could be drawn into gossip, bashing, and other types of conversations that won’t look good on you. Note: this means after work, too.
Grace and Dignity
- Pay attention to your tone, when speaking and crafting emails.
- Make and maintain eye contact, at all times.
- Volunteer for additional projects.
- Finish everything you can before you go.
- When the last days arrive, thank people. Thank as many as possible, including the leader(s) who chose to let you go.
- Smile, head up.
- Integrity is largely what you do when no one is looking. This is the time to truly “put your best foot forward”.
- For example: If you’re working late, be working not just banking hours.
- When clearing your work area and files, take with you only what you’re entitled to take.
Let’s take a moment for a gut check:
- What is your attitude toward the work and the organization right now?
- What will it take to change things up if you’re not here yet?
- How are you feeling about all of this, right now?
- Who are your work champions that you know are in your corner and can be counted on for the big things and the small?
- What steps are you willing to take to lead with intention, lead with intention?
- And, leave with grace, dignity, and integrity?
Hang in there. This is not the worst thing you’ll ever go through—I promise!
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