If You Love Something Let it Go? How to Move on Gracefully


Passionate individuals make good employees. The same drive that makes you good at your job may make it hard to leave it. Whether you’re retiring, moving to a new role within your organization, or going to a new company altogether, letting go of something you care about is difficult. It can easily feel that all the progress you’ve made will be undone or your accomplishments unraveled. That is rarely the case. We have four reminders to help you pass the torch gracefully—and gratefully—when leaving a job.

  1. Make space. Transition brings a lot of emotions in tow. Know that even the best change won’t be smooth sailing. Some things will make you feel proud; others will make you feel sad, frustrated, or apprehensive. Know that a broad range of emotions is a normal part of transition and allow some extra bandwidth during the time of increased stress.

  2. Change does not mean erasure. The person who takes your position will do many things differently than you. That does not mean that what you did was better or worse, just that it was enacted in a different situation. Resolve not to be defensive or proprietary about your decisions, but to be as generous and helpful to your replacement as possible.

  3. Your investment in people will reap dividends. Remember that your time was spent not only shaping policies, but people. The example you set and the way you poured into the individuals you worked with will continue to redouble and extend in the lives of those you’ve touched.

  4. Recognize your development. You have grown. In addition to shaping a position, it has also shaped you. Pause to reflect and appreciate the ways you’ve matured in this position. Consider taking some time to thank those who helped you along the way.

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