On Leaving Well…

So a week from today is my last official day at Thomas Nelson. How crazy is that? It feels crazy, really crazy. And I am still sorting through my plethora of emotions…sadness, happiness, excitement, fear, optimism, and of course grief.

As I read through the emails, comments and twitter encouragement after my announcement, I was struck by how many people are feeling unsettled in their careers. I think part of that is a tension that we should always live in, after all this is not the place are destined for, this is not our eternal home. But I also think that there is a time to be bold, be courageous and follow our hearts. That there is a time when in fact God is nudging us to make a move.

Once I knew it was time for me to make a move, I began to process through what it might look like to leave well. Because the last thing I want to do is blow-up four years of hard-earned trust and respect. Here are a few things I am learning about leaving well:

1. Have an open and honest conversation with your employer. As soon as you have made a decision about leaving, have a discussion with your boss or HR executive about what it might like for you to leave well. (Now I know that this won’t work for everyone, but I have a feeling you would be surprised at how smoothly this conversation will go if you are open and honest with your employer.)

2. Make a transition plan. Outline current projects and ongoing responsibilities and create a plan to bring them to completion or find someone to oversee them until permanent replacement is found. Try to prevent anything from slipping through the proverbial cracks.

3. Stay in touch. Make it clear that you don’t want to leave them in a lurch. Leave  cell phone numbers and email addresses and encourage colleagues to use them as need arises. Because 9 times out of 10, need will arise.

Have you ever left a job? What other things did you do to ensure you left well?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • bethanyplanton

    This post is so timely for me. I am also in the process of leaving the job I have had all through college. It is time for me to get married and move, but I also want to finish well. Luckily for me, I have the opportunity to train the people who are taking the position. We are spending a couple of weeks in the office together. The part I have found most challenging is just trying to remember every detail about the position and the work I do to be able to tell them. At times, I wish I could just have some one take my brain and empty out all that I know about the organization and then it be translated into a manual. 🙂 

    • I so know what you mean. I don’t even know what I do or know sometimes. 🙂

  • I’m just catching up on the news Lindsey. How exciting and unsettling! I can’t wait to see what doors God opens and how He will use all of your gifts, experiences and passions. 

  • I just left a teaching job in which I wrote the curriculums from scratch.  I’m leaving well by making sure when my principal hires someone, I’m available to give them some coaching (and hand over all my materials) so they aren’t starting with nothing.

    Best of luck with the new endeavor!

  • Lindsey, I wish you the best as you discover the next step God has planned or your life! I know you will be sorely missed at Thomas Nelson. I’m sure the next week will be bittersweet. As always, your thoughts are insightful and promising for anyone looking to find their true passion!

  • Sorry – last post was from me. Forgot what account I was logged into!

  • I’ve only once left a job where someone else was going to be directly ‘replacing’ me. So I made sure all my files were organised and clearly marked, all the stuff I used (policies, procedures, advertising files, minutes of meetings from teams they’d be taking over etc) was on a memory stick together with a little ‘Guide to the Job’ I made up which told them where everything was, about all the different committees, forums and staff teams they’d now be overseeing.

    • That sounds awesome! Wish I started a job with that resource. 

  • Kristin Cole

    Lindsey, I wish you the best as you discover the next step God has planned or your life! I know you will be sorely missed at Thomas Nelson. I’m sure the next week will be bittersweet. As always, your thoughts are insightful and promising for anyone looking to find their true passion!

    • Yes, I am going to miss Thomas Nelson. So thankful for we can take friendships with us when we go!

  • So proud of you for stepping out and trusting God with the new.  We’ve had lots of different jobs over the years, moved overseas three times, and have seemed to have been in constant transition.  I loved your list about leaving well and think it’s a good one. It’s so easy to just “leave” and not to do the hard work of “leaving well.” There is a huge difference, for sure.

    Will be praying and following as you head into the Unknown-to-you, but Known-to-God places of the future.

  • Great insights I needed to hear and be reminded of. In light of my life, this was a reminder to have an exit strategy. 

  • I have left 2 jobs. The second was retail and they really didn’t need my assistance after I left. The first was a Corporate America job. I gave notice, but then found out my position would be ending within a year. (They would have found another position for me) Neither my employer or I saw any sense in hiring and training someone for a position that was in depth, extensive and complicated, so I agreed to stay on through the end of the position. They agreed to let me work nights, weekends and early mornings, so I could accommodate my family. It was the scariest transition I had ever made. I was making twice as much as my husband, and we were jumping, feet first, into relying on only his income. I have told people before, I had peace about quitting. It was like having to jump off a cliff, because something is chasing you, and jumping into the unknown. What I couldn’t see until I jumped was the branch that held me. God was truly there through every step of the way and it has turned out GOOD! 

  • Keith Glines

    The best piece of advise I have ever heard and it changed my life was from Steve Harvey(believe it or not). He said on a interview that I was watching “when I quit following my perceived passions and starting operating in my gifts my whole world changed”. I took this and began looking into what my gifts really were and have been more content than ever. I’ve found out through this process the passions that really matter most! Proverbs 18:16

  • Lakesha Gadson

    This post is just what I needed. I have stepped out on faith and left a job before and I believe I handled it very well. I had a conversation with my employer and told them what I felt God calling me to do. He expected it because he knew my heart was in ministry. I’m currently now in a similar situation. I am looking at the future and realize where I am now is somewhat inhibiting me from doing more ministry work. I am worrying about a check…yes, it’s security! But, ultimately all I really need to do is seek Him first. So, this post put some thing in perspective for me. Thanks Lindsey for the wisdom and advice! Blessings!