“Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.”
There comes a time in professional life when you realize it’s time for a change. It’s like that dating relationship that you’ve been in for a long time. It might be true love, and you might get married one day… but you’re really just staying because you’re comfortable there.
I’ve been feeling that way in my work for awhile now. I didn’t get into the steel industry because I thought it would fulfill all my desires to do meaningful work,
but I’ve certainly been a part of meaningful projects and work!
Here I am, five years into a career, and I finally know a thing or two about my industry. Finally know what time to cold call, how to negotiate the best deal, and how many 18” cuts you can get out of a 24’ piece of tube (16 pieces) , and how many 8 x 8” squares you can get out of a 48″ x 96″ plate (72 pieces if you didn’t know.).. And these last five years have seen me through significant life changes
- First Move Away from Home All Alone
- First Apartment, First Budget, First Major Financial Breakdown
- First Date with a Boy I would marry
- An Engagement
- A Marvelous, super awesome Wedding
- First Year of Marriage (also awesome!)
In all of that transition, there were two things that remained constant:
God was always with me!! (all praise, honor, and glory be to my sweet Abba for this!)
I would always be at West Memphis Steel Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm.
Talk about stability..
But I started looking in the job market. Just wondering what life could be like outside of steel selling, and boom. Someone made me an offer.
So after prayerful consideration, I jump in. Yes.
You don’t really know what it’s going to feel like when you leave a place… until you do.
And if you’re someone like me, you give your heart and soul to your work. I’m a “give it all you got” kinda gal. I try to abide by Paul’s words,
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men..” Colossians 3:23
so when I tell you that I gave West Memphis Steel my best self, I really did.
As I’m preparing for this new job, and tying up loose ends with my current one…
Here’s what I’m learning about leaving a place (and people, especially people) you love.
Never Ever Burn a Bridge (you just may need to go back one day)
My momma has always said this, and I couldn’t agree more. If and when you leave a company, be sure you leave on good terms. If you haven’t given the company your best work, then be honest and apologize for not being a good fit. If you’ve felt you’ve done good work, then thank all your leaders for the opportunity to grow a skillset (and for getting a paycheck.) even if they weren’t the greatest to you. Either way you go, don’t leave yelling and cussing because there just may come a time when you will need that old job back or need to call in a favor…so leave on good terms. The proverbs say it is better to have a good name than riches… so be sure that Name is still intact on your last day.
Leave a place better than when you started
I know you may feel like a small cog in a large machine, but you have the power to create change. You can choose efficiency, positivity, problem solving, and you can choose to create value. The best influencers don’t need permission, they take ownership. Lead by doing your work first (as best as you can!), streamline it, and teach it. Serve your team! Your attitude every day should be, What one thing can I do today to make this thing better?
Your Last 2 Weeks > Your First 2 Weeks
There have been so many things I’ve wanted to accomplish in these last two weeks. Don’t let any conversation or positive action that you could accomplish for your team or company go unsaid or undone. What’s the worst that can happen, you get fired?
Gratitude is the parent of all virtues
If you’re like me, you LOVE and adore some of your coworkers, and then there are a handful of them that you could strangle with your bare hands. (no, that’s just me?) Either way, you have probably learned something from the people who you have worked with and from the people you have worked for. Either way, take a moment to write out a thank-you note. Gratitude precedes all great works.
Touch Base every so often
My baby boomer coworker, Doug, always makes fun of me for saying “I was just reaching out to you” or “I wanted to touch base with you because..” He laughs and says that is such a millennial thing. (Baby boomers apparently just say I’ll call you.) Whichever word you use, be sure to check in with your old crew occasionally. You spent a significant part of your life investing in the people, the processes, and the success, so be sure to get an update from them every once in awhile. No one is harmed when you reach out…
And with all that said about my last two weeks at a job I love, with a company I love, and with people I will profoundly miss….