Leaving Well—Bad Times

Last time, we talked about how to leave well when things are good. You landed a great new job, or just felt God calling you to a new adventure. Those are good reasons to leave. But sometimes, you have to get out of an organization that is unhealthy, is not good for you, or perhaps you were let go. In those cases, it’s really easy to toss your keys across the table, slam the door on the way out and flip the bird in the rearview mirror. 

Don’t do it!

Remember, this is a small industry, and word gets around. While it’s important to leave well under good circumstances, it’s even more important to leave well under bad ones. 

Do Good When You Can

Again, I haven’t always followed this advice, but when I have, it’s always been better. When I was downsized a few years back, I could have shifted into neutral and coasted all the way to my last day while watching the thing crash and burn around me. But I didn’t, thankfully. And I’m pretty sure I could get a great recommendation from anyone who I worked with back then. 

I built a 3-ring binder of all the processes, procedures, passwords and accounts that they would need when I was gone. They weren’t going to re-hire, so that all had to be documented carefully. It was my choice to leave them in a good situation, and I’m glad I did. 

Yes, I got the short straw; I had only been there 18 months and had moved my family away from our friends, family and a pretty good environment to work there. I could have been pissed and made life miserable for them. Instead, I tried to bless them as much as I could. I believe God honored that attitude and He blessed me in return. 

Avoid the Temptation to Sew Discord

If you’re leaving under bad circumstances, it’s easy to stir up trouble with co-workers or others. Again, don’t do it. And again, I’ve not always been good at this. But nothing good comes out of tearing others down, so there’s just no point. Sure it feels good to let everyone know what an idiot that person is for letting you go, but ultimately, it makes you look petty. Take the high road and leave well. I promise you will not regret it. 

This is especially important with your team. Whether you are leaving because you can’t take it any more or because you are being kicked out, don’t turn the team against the leadership. I know it feels good to do it, but it’s not right. And it does you no favors in the long run. 

If you can leave a bad situation with integrity, not only can you feel good about how you left, but it sets an example for others to follow. You will have more respect from your team, future employers and maybe even the leadership when you leave well. 

Leaving a church can be hard under good circumstances. Leaving under bad ones can be really hard. The temptation is to go nuclear—I get that. But trust me, when you bless those who curse you and leave them in a better situation than they deserve, you are acting more like Christ than almost any other time. This is a great opportunity to show the world what we are really made of. 

Don’t miss it because you’re hurt.