As the phrase goes: “life is a journey” and, as with all journeys, somehow you often come across the same faces at various points. As the world becomes ever more hyper-connected, these coincidental meetings are happening ever more often. You can’t predict when an old contact might pop up.
There are very few occasions in life when you plan to leave a group of your friends behind. You have the farewell party at school, the graduation ball at University, but after that, the only times for wholesale change are when you move towns or move jobs.
Talking more specifically about moving jobs, this is something that you can often plan in advance. You feel that things are “not quite right” and maybe start to look for new opportunities. Alternatively, you might be “in denial” about your precarious job situation, but when people start to talk about redundancies, it usually means that they are not so far away.
This is the moment to step up your relationship rather than step away from them.
It is natural to shift your focus away from the old and onto the new when you are thinking about leaving, but this shift in focus is often detrimental to relationships that you have carefully nurtured over a long period of time. Do you really want someone’s lasting memory of you to be an aloof and distant stranger, who only cares about themselves? This is often how people act when they are about to leave, but it is not a fair reflection of their personality, or how they have carried themselves over the previous however many years.
I would liken it to throwing a sack of carefully invested money off a bridge and into a deep and fast flowing river. When you work with someone on an on-going basis, you often have the chance to “make up” for any problem behaviour. When you walk out of the office on that last day, that is it, their impression of you is fixed, forever and day.
I have left the most important aspect to last. Your boss.
For most of us, work is our home from home, and many of us have close relationships with our direct managers. They help us to grow, they invest in us, and then we leave them…. Obviously, the circumstances of leaving can vary wildly, but in any situation, it is vital to make every effort to retain that bond. This is easier said than done, as feelings of rejection (for either party) often bubble beneath the surface. If logical and rational business (or personal) reasons for the departure are understood, it is often easier to get over the emotional wrench. Talk about it, explain it, break it down. More often than not, you will understand each other.
Leaving anything to make a new start is hard. Leaving under an emotional cloud is ten times harder. Do everything in your power to leave with a smile on your face (tinged with sadness), and try make sure that everyone else will remember you fondly.
It is a tough tightrope to walk, but well worth the investment.