In five days, I will be saying goodbye to the job I've had for almost two years. During the time I've spent there, I've really bonded with some of my colleagues and it's going to be very difficult to say goodbye to them after all the hours, days, weeks we have spent together. Unlike a lot of people leaving their jobs, I don't have the promise of new bonds and colleagues to look forward to (at least not yet!). I'm going to be working from home, working on my own, which makes the goodbye even harder. It's always so much harder to say goodbye to someone when you don't have someone else waiting in the wings (a truth I've battled in my personal relationships for years).
When, months ago, I looked forward to this week, I didn't imagine feeling anything but excitement and gratitude to be finally been given the opportunity to focusing my attention on what I love: writing. But it's not all exhilaration and anticipation. There is a bit of sadness there in knowing that some of the people I loved seeing every day will no longer be part of my daily routine. No matter how big or small a part someone has played in your life, when you have to say goodbye, it can be tough. Below are some of the best ways I've come up for coping with goodbyes.
4 Tips for Saying Farewell
1. Focus on the positive. Looking back at the time spent with colleagues, it's oddly tempting to zero in on the people who were not positive, who made working with them difficult and irritating. It might be a trick of the mind that urges us to look at what we won't miss so we don't feel so down about what will miss, but don't forget to focus on the positive. Think of the good times you had with those you're saying goodbye to and remind them of those positive experiences when you go (stay tuned for my Friday post filled with all the positive things I'm going to be sad to say goodbye to).
2. Embrace the present. Saying goodbye often causes us to think back on the past -- both the good and the bad -- and dwell on it. We want to cling to the good times or feel slighted by the bad times. But life -- and goodbyes -- is too short for that. Don't allow yourself to dwell on what was. Instead, focus on what is. Be grateful for where you are today and encourage others to do the same. As I mentioned in #1, it's tempting to focus on the negative people and situations, but don't go there. Instead, wish everyone -- yes, everyone -- well in this present moment.
3. Share your sadness. It's okay to be sad about leaving. Don't feel like you have to keep all of this to yourself. Find a colleague or friend you can talk to and express how you're feeling. Others might be feeling the same way and appreciate your openness -- and you will release some of the burden once you open up and share your emotions with others. Change of any kind can be intimidating, but we don't have to face it alone. Don't underestimate or ignore your emotions. Embrace them, address them, and share them in order to overcome them.
4. Exit with grace. Over the years, I've seen a lot of people come and go in the workplace. Most people do it with grace, but there are a few that have left angrily, quickly, harshly. No matter what your situation (unless, of course, it's something extreme like harassment, etc.), don't leave in anger. Don't leave a sour taste in the mouths of those you are saying farewell to. Instead, leave with grace. Say goodbye to those who meant the most to you. Move forward to the present and do not dwell on negative interactions you have had in the past. This is the last time you will see many of these people so leave them with a positive impression of you.
I'm fortunate that my upcoming goodbyes are due to my happily-ever-after dream coming true, but not all goodbyes occur on such positive terms. While there's never going to be a perfect way to let go of the people you've grown accustomed to having in your life, I hope these steps might help you if you are facing a goodbye scenario in your own life. It's never easy. It's never fun. But it's one of those "it's part of life" things that we sometimes have to suck up and deal with. If goodbyes are something we must face, we might as well do what we can to make them as positive as possible.
Any tips for dealing with goodbyes?
How have you cope with saying farewell?