You’re leaving your job.
But, it’s not nearly as contentious as everybody likes to assume. You aren’t heading out in a blaze of glory, convinced that you’re far better off without them. In fact, you’re actually pretty sad to be hitting the road.
Maybe you’re relocating for your partner’s job. Perhaps leaving allows you to take a big career step that would’ve otherwise been limited at your current company. Or, maybe you’ve received another offer that you just can’t refuse.
Regardless of your specific reasoning, needing to say “goodbye” to a role and employer you love brings a slew of emotions with it — many of which are far more complex than if you were just ditching a position you couldn’t stand.
Here are four different thoughts that are sure to run through your head in the days leading up to your departure, as well as some advice for how you can cope with that sudden onslaught of mixed emotions.
1. Am I making a huge mistake?
Here’s the one that nobody wants to talk about, yet everybody experiences.
You love your coworkers. Your boss has always been supportive and encouraging. You’re confident in all of your tasks and responsibilities. Wait a minute — are you making a huge mistake in leaving all of that behind?
I get it. There’s a huge sense of comfort associated with sticking with what you know. And, realizing that you’re about to drop all of that for something else that seems so uncertain can have you feeling a sense of homesickness for your job — before you’ve even officially left.
Rest assured, it’s normal to start to get sentimental about nearly everything. Even your coworkers’ habits that used to completely grind your gears will suddenly become endearing routines that you know you’ll miss.
How to Deal
Your desire to cling onto what’s comfortable is totally understandable. But, now’s the time to remind yourself of all of the reasons you decided to leave in the first place. A raise? A big promotion? An exciting new adventure? Time to relax and recharge? Those positives are far too easy to lose sight of when your emotions start to creep in, so use them as a boost right now.
There’s a huge sense of comfort associated with sticking with what you know.
2. This is it — I’ll never see these people again.
When you’re leaving a toxic work environment in your wake, this concept is reassuring. You’re excited by the prospect of never needing to interact with those people again.
But, that’s not the case when you’re leaving colleagues you adore. You suddenly feel panicked by the idea that you’ll no longer see each other daily or sneak out for regular mid-afternoon coffee breaks.
Here’s the good news: this might be the end of you working side-by-side, but you can definitely still keep in touch.
How to Deal
Make a plan to keep in touch with the coworkers you want to stay connected with. Make sure they have your personal contact details, and then actually follow through and schedule a time when you can catch up — whether it’s over coffee, drinks, or via video chat.
3. Will they be totally lost without me?
I know that this seems totally egotistical at first glance. But honestly, it’s not until you’re getting ready to leave a job that you realize how much you actually manage to squeeze into an average workweek — and a lot of it is stuff that nobody else has any idea how to do.
That can inspire a hefty dose of guilt. How can you do this to them? They rely on you so much. How could you possibly leave them in a lurch like this?
However, that old sentiment really does hold true: everybody is replaceable. I promise, they’ll find a way to carry on without you. And, honestly, isn’t worrying about how they’ll survive far more reassuring than wondering if they’ll even notice that you’re gone?
How to Deal
Give yourself some peace of mind by creating an unofficial manual to onboard whoever takes over your position. Not only will it help you feel like you’re tying up those loose ends, but it’ll also be a huge help to your employer — which means you’ll say your farewells on excellent terms.
4. Will everybody here hate me now?
Up to this point, you and your coworkers had one major thing in common: you all worked at the same place.
Now that you’re ripping that shared trait away, what will be left? Will they all resent you now that you’re heading in a different direction? Will your betrayal become the core topic at those Thursday evening happy hours you used to attend?
Here’s the thing: regardless of how long you worked together, I’m willing to bet that you forged some bonds during that time.
And, despite the fact that you’ll no longer be sharing experiences on the daily, I think that level of loyalty will hold steady — even when you can no longer commiserate about the quality of the coffee in the break room. Your coworkers won’t be as quick to turn on you as you assume.
How to Deal
In your final days in that role, spend some time with your coworkers — whether you head out for one final lunch, grab some coffee, or take a walk. It also doesn’t hurt to leave them with a handwritten note or a treat on your last day to let them know how much you enjoyed working with them. Trust me — those surprises ensure that everybody remembers you fondly.
Despite the fact that you’ll no longer be sharing experiences on the daily, that level of loyalty will hold steady.
Leaving a job is never easy — but, in many ways, it’s even more challenging when you’re bidding farewell to a role you loved.
Take comfort in the fact that it’s totally normal to feel a mix of emotions. You’re happy and excited to tackle what’s next, but also sad and sentimental about saying “goodbye.”
Use this advice to appropriately cope with those emotions, and you’ll close that chapter and move onto your next step with confidence (and, ideally, not too many tears).