We’ve all been on our way out at some point…on our way out of school, out of a club, or in my case, out of what has been my work home for the past 19 years. Once I knew my timeline for leaving, I also knew what my “must do’s” would be before the last day.
First: leave the place better than I found it. This is one of those lessons instilled in children by mothers everywhere. In my case, it was most often heard when our family was preparing to leave a rented beach house and head home. We had to clean the place until it was in better shape than when we arrived. So for the past two months, I’ve worked to wrap up every project and meet every commitment. I’ve cleaned out the paper files and the electronic files. If I’ve worked on a project with a co-worker, I’ve saved those files to a disc, given it to my colleague and made sure she knew what materials were still available to her. I’ve created all kinds of “how to” guides so others would have a step by step outline to follow when tackling some of the work I always did that will now be divvied out to them. I’ve written posts and articles that can be used during the next two or three months so someone else will have time to orient herself to the work. I want my going out to be helpful, not crippling.
The other must do: say goodbye in person. Typically there is some kind of reception for people who are retiring or leaving. I know my health education team members well. I decided I didn’t want them going to the time, expense and effort to plan, set up, buy and prepare food, create and email out some kind of invitation, host and then clean up. What I really wanted to do is what I have done: spoken individually to the many people who have meant so much to me. I wanted to thank people for being kind, for helping me, for covering for me, for teaching me. I wanted to tell them how much it meant to me when they shared their family stories, their family photos and their joys and sorrows. When you have laughed and cried together, when you have prayed together and for each other – those are ties that bind and I wanted to honor those above all else.
When you think about it, shouldn’t this be the way we live every day – not just when we’re on the way out?
If you have any more “must do’s,” post them! I have 5 more days!