Exit with Grace

broken heartLeaving a position is like a break up and sometimes it is your idea sometimes it comes out of the blue, but the point is it is happening whether you like it or not.  Who made the call is irrelevant, the main focus is how you leave.


That lasting impression.


It can be a very emotional time yet this is the time that you need to let your brain shut your heart up.  Leaving with your heart can lead you to all sorts of problems.  No matter how hurt or upset you are you need to leave with grace.


Remember one thing, no matter what you do – it is over.


You are not going to change that.


Another important point to remember – this is business.


Sure there may have been personal issues involved in your departure but at the end of the day it is still business.  This was a place you were paid to perform a service.  Keep it business.


Let me be blunt (I know, what a surprise) they do not care about your hurt feelings.


Making a grand-stand public announcement of how they did you wrong or performing any sorts of revenge acts will only hurt you in the long run.  Co-workers or other management may not know the specific details of why the break up happened but after some stupid stunt it won’t matter.  All they will remember is you were a whack-job in the end.


Who is to say that those people will always be at that company?  Maybe they will go to another, better company and that could be a possible connection for you to get into that great company, too.  Unless you make a fool of yourself and then you can pretty much kiss that opportunity goodbye.


Breaking up with someone (i.e. firing) is not easy for them either.  Once they finally say the words they then go to a very uncomfortable place.  They do not know how you are going to react, what you may do and quite frankly it is awkward.


They can’t ask you if you are okay or if you need a hug – they are the middleman for the company.  The company broke up with you and the company is still paying their salary so of course they are going to remain on the side of the company.


They are doing their job.


Leaving with grace is the best way to salvage your self-respect.  The world will not end when you walk out the door so do not be overdramatic about it – even if it was your idea.


Maybe the company treated you like crap and maybe you really want to tell that SOB boss exactly where to go – but really, what good will that do you?


Sure, it might make you feel better for a minute; but let’s think about it.  You tell them off, maybe even get a silent round of applause from your co-workers but then what?  You are unemployed and that SOB boss still has their job.  Outbursts do not change that.


If that SOB really was an SOB well than that is their burden to carry and karma will come back one day – it is not your job to help it along.  Later when you look back at the situation you will derive much greater satisfaction knowing you did not let them get the best of you by being a fool.  Leaving with grace will be much harder on them than the satisfaction of goading you into an outburst.


My son is 20 and has a very short fuse and quick responses.  Yesterday he was having a really, really bad day and he called me.  He was ready to go off in a big way for the littlest things.  Ah, the joy of testosterone.


This is a trait that I know well and have always worked on with him, and he with me.


Yesterday on the phone I told him that it is good that he recognizes his mood and that is the most important thing.  Knowing how he feels he can then avoid any situation that will spark a response.  If he did find himself in a situation in which he could not avoid he has the knowledge that he was not in the best frame of mind so he also has the power to walk away knowing that his best option is to keep his mouth shut and walk away.


He knew this, it wasn’t new; it wasn’t like I just imparted great pearls of wisdom that made him think, gee, I never thought of that, now everything is sunshine and roses.


He just needed validation for his feelings.  He needed me to recognize that he was in a crap mood and not judge or try to talk him out of it.  Talking him out of it would only fuel it; but validating and allowing him the self-control to handle it in the way he knows best allowed him to relax a little.


If you are breaking up or getting broken up with call your person in private.  Vent a little and get your validation but then walk out with your head held high so that way you can see the windows that are opening from the door that was just shut.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



Can You Go There Again?

Here’s an interesting question: should I return to a past employer? Well, that depends. There are some concerns that you need to address and let’s put a different spin on this: think of it as going back to an old boyfriend. Honestly, your job is like a marriage or serious relationship. The resume and interviewing is dating but getting the job is getting hitched.

So let’s take a stroll back memory lane – why did you leave? Let’s face it, if it was so great why leave in the first place? Were you feeling neglected, under-appreciated or without the opportunity to grow? Where they smothering you? Think back to the reasons that you wanted out and remember them because I doubt things have changed. Oh, they may say they have, but really, I highly doubt it. So if you couldn’t live with it before why do you think you can now?

Or did you get tempted by the “grass looks greener” virus? I could say shame on you, but surprisingly I am not going to because it may have been really good for you. Cutting someone else’s lawn makes you appreciate the lawn you left. Maybe you needed the little reality check to realize it really was home. Now, for the ex-boyfriend, if he did more than cut the neighbor’s grass than I say no, you can’t go back you dumb bunny. But if it was a matter of stupidity and something you can forgive – oh, and more importantly live through telling your girlfriends that you guys are dating again, then go ahead. But, luckily for you, jobs can’t cheat on you so no hurt feelings or need for tests. But that is going a bit too far off the path here.

Did you just need a break? What I find sad is so many people are unwilling to take time off work. For some unknown reason they think the world will stop revolving if they take a day off for crying out loud. It won’t so get out and live a little will ya? When I was a manager, I had an amazing staff who each shared a bit of knowledge about what I did so when I took a vacation my duties were covered without taxing one person and enough that my rule was simple: do not call me. Not even if the building is on fire – I’m not a fireman and I’m on vacation – I earned it.

I digress, so here you were never taking time off to recharge and you got burned out. Instead of taking that needed time you looked for another job. Well, that’s stupid, but that’s beside the point. The point is we all need to recharge. So if you did the stupid move, go back and this time plan a vacation or two not only for your sake, but for your co-workers as well.

Oh, and one last thought to think about in going back to an old employer: trust. If you left, how are you going to earn their trust that you won’t wander again? Face it, you burned them and you have some making up to do. They have every right to tell you that you broke up with them so you have some making up to do. You can’t just waltz back in there like nothing happened and start where you left off. You need to rebuild that relationship and the burden is on you. If it is worth it then swallow that pride and the stupid notion that they should believe you just because you said so. Work for it, you owe it to them. If they let you go, well then, my friend, you’re the one getting made up to.

It is a deeply personal decision whether to go back or not and there are many factors to consider. How wrong is too wrong for you? For me, if a guy cheats – I’m done, he’s dead (metaphorically speaking). I only like four legged dogs thank you very much. If it is a timing thing or he had to deal with some life issues, okay, we can talk about that. I mean I know the world does not revolve around me. So think about the relationship that you had before, what you want out of a relationship now and if you both can work together to make that happen.

If nothing has changed why on earth do you think it will be better this time? The definition of insanity what, doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results? Think about it…

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.