April 6, 2015

Dear Family and Friends of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

It is exciting to apply for a job, be interviewed, and become the one chosen. In the transition you can’t help but be excited about the new opportunities and responsibilities. It is a time to celebrate, and the future looks bright. If you obtain a new job and are currently employed, there are difficulties in leaving your old work. Mentally the new prospect has been tugging at your heart for some time. Meanwhile, you are physically going through the motions of your current job. Now you have to give notice and begin a transition from old to new.

Many years ago I read a booklet entitled, “Walking through the Thistles.” I don’t remember the author or the content, but one short sentence has stuck with me. “The way you say goodbye to the job you are leaving is indicative of how you will treat your loved ones as you die.” Whoa! I want to do a GOOD job of leaving those I love!

As a result of that booklet, I have tried to respect the feelings of those I was leaving in every transition. A friend and priest who retired recently from her parish told me, “After I gave notice, I had to remember every time I went to church that I needed to wipe that smile off my face.” She was right. As we leave, we need to remember that some people are grieving our departure. They may be fearful of the future. You have made a positive difference in their lives, and they want to honor you. Sometimes they are hurt and may lash out at you. This is not the time to be detached from work. It is the time to work as hard as ever—right to the last day.

There are uncanny things that happen after you leave a job. You frequently run into people connected with that employment months or years later. How you departed is remembered, for good or ill. If you were disciplined in your leave taking, there is satisfaction in knowing you did it well. Try to leave forgiving old hurts. Be honest and express regret over things that were not accomplished. With an appreciation of the time spent together, be hopeful for the workplace you are leaving. After that last day is over, you can truly rejoice. You can start your new work with a fresh beginning knowing your past work was finished in the best manner possible. With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,