I have 4 work weeks left until I retire. There is something special about that number. It’s real, and it’s coming soon.
Cue the panic attack.
Wait… I’m not panicking. I am strangely serene about this whole Outgoing process, and anyone who knows me realizes just how unusual this is. Giving 6 months notice and working part time to manage my transition turned out to be the best thing I could have done. Here’s how I did it.
Exit Checklist – Once I gave notice, I created a spreadsheet with a working list of all the things I needed to accomplish in the 6 months I had left. As I completed each item, I was able to check the “Completed” column and keep track of all the outstanding items. That list kept me sane, and enabled me to make sure nothing was left undone.
Thought Leader – I moved from an active participant in the work process to more of a contributor of knowledge the last two months of my employment. I have a list of work blog posts I need to crank out before I leave, and I’m really enjoying having the time to thoughtfully write on some of my favorite PR topics. Usually, I’m banging on the keyboard in a frenzy between client calls, and when I finally get to edit mode, I am practically rewriting the article while wondering what on Earth I was thinking. This is very refreshing, and I hope my articles will be better as a result.
Professor Emeritus – This one was the hardest to do. I have three incredible ladies who will be carrying on after I leave, and each one needed to feel confident that she can Go It Alone. Training the team was the most important task on my list, and once I accomplished that, I had to step back and let them do things their way, just being here for support, questions, and advice. I found during a two day strategic planning session, that keeping the phone on mute and saying all the things I wanted to say – but knew I shouldn’t – without anyone actually hearing me was perfect.
Art Student – I have a new passion to explore. My art classes were originally taken as a way to ease my transition, and remove the creative blockage that plagued me the past year. What I didn’t expect was to discover a hidden talent. Apparently, I’m pretty good at this art stuff – enough to decide it’s something I want to seriously pursue just for my own pleasure. I’m studying with a great artist, and learning so much. I’m already trying to figure out how to turn a bright corner of my office into a place for an easel.
No Regrets – This I consider to be my biggest accomplishment, and most likely the reason I’m not upset or stressed. If I had simply resigned and left in January, I would have always felt guilty that some things just weren’t wrapped up in a nice package. That would have put a big strain on my transition. I have only two more items on my spreadsheet that are not checked – finish blog posts and send back my equipment. I am truly leaving with no regrets, and I am happy.
Tomorrow I am going to the company’s San Francisco office and clean out my desk. Tech has sent me the boxes in which I will return all my home office equipment. My exit interview is scheduled for later this month. All clients have been transitioned to the appropriate person on my team. On August 31, I will close a chapter of my life, and I can now say I am ready for it. Happily, and with no regrets.