Monday Mornings with Madison


The end of a year is a good time to consider how you say goodbye. Whether it’s saying goodbye to the year or to a person, place, or way of life, there’s no way to avoid endings — the challenge is to figure out how to benefit from them.

This is especially important when you’re saying goodbye to a job. Hopefully you’re doing this on your own schedule, for your own reasons. You may be moving to a new city, for example, or going back to school or pursuing a new opportunity. At the end of this astonishing year, however, many are saying involuntary goodbyes because they’ve lost their job to lay-offs.  But no matter how or why you’re leaving a job, here’s one important thing to keep in mind: you can’t say a good goodbye unless you actually say it.

It’s always a small world
It’s amazing how many people leave jobs without saying a word. Of course, if you’ve been laid off, the natural response might be to slink away–although today, there’s little shame in joining the millions of other people in this difficult position. But whether you’re sad or eager to be moving on, don’t just disappear. You’ll deprive yourself of the friendly farewells of your co-workers and you’ll also lose many of the contacts that you accrued over time at your job.

Remember that it’s always a small world, no matter what field or industry you’re in. You’ll be surprised at how many times you bump into people from previous jobs. And you can never predict which former co-worker or client will decide that you’re exactly the right person to contact for a new opportunity.

Bridges unburned
So make sure to leave the door open to your old colleagues by sending them a thoughtful e-mail that includes your plans for the future, your new contact information and above all, an expression of gratitude for all that they’ve shared with you. Gratitude is not always the first thing that comes to mind when leaving a job but a graceful thank-you always leaves a good impression. And any mentors or close colleagues should get handwritten notes that acknowledge the special help they gave you.  

Saying thank you in this way does far more than simply leave your bridges unburned. Gratitude, even in the face of loss, allows you to move ahead without bitterness or nostalgia. It makes sense of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”  Garrison Keillor

© 2008 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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