Bowing out Gracefully

There is no shame in bowing out gracefully. The problem is so many of us react and leave in less than desirable terms. Its akin to a two year old throwing a temper tantrum and we, as adults, are better than this, right?

Right, perhaps not. Going to grad school has taught me more about myself and perhaps less about the world I will be entering than I thought. I thought I would learn new skills and tools and how to use them in a new environment I am unfamiliar with, and I have. But more than that I am being forced out of my pretty little box and into places and situations I very much would rather let alone. However, once I’m placed in a position, not necessarily backed into a corner, but certainly forced to act, I find that things begin to move in a way that is unexpected, quite desirable, and better than I could have asked for. I am forced to reconcile what I want and don’t want from work life and to make it happen.

The search for an internship has been long and arduous. Application after application has gone either unanswered or denied. And then in my lap fell an incredible opportunity. And then another and a third. When given the chance I jumped at one because it offered what others did not. In actuality, theirs and my goals were not the same and I quickly realized two things. One, that this was not going to be the right place for me and second was that I had taken a position based on convenience and not where my heart was really leading.

So, after much discussion and heartache (because I do not do anything single minded, my heart is always part of the equation) I opted to bow out (hopefully gracefully). I know it was a bit unexpected but I also know that at this point in both my life and my schooling it is important for me to be focused on what will give me the best benefit in the long run and it was obvious that this was not the appropriate place for me.

There are three simple rules to keep in mind when you need to walk away:

  1. Bowing out with grace is very difficult, especially when emotions are involved. The first thing to do is to step away from the situation for a day or so and let things sit. Sometimes, after the emotion has subsided, things can be repaired. However, if not, it will give you time to sort through all that has happened and give you the opportunity to handle the issue sans emotion.
  2. Secondly, it is important to remember that this is business. The business owner would rather know as soon as possible that you feel the situation is not ideal. If it can be remedied, discuss that. If you feel everyone would best be served by removing yourself, then do so and as quickly as possible. The owner would rather not waste either of your time and move forward.
  3. Third, let it go (this is my version of letting it go). Once you have dealt with the situation, either by discussing it or bowing out, move one. Drop it. Let it go. My mother would be particularly pleased at this one. I have a difficult time letting things go. I always feel bad and want all parties involved to be satisfied with the outcome. I never want hard or negative feelings, but remember, you can not control what other people think, feel, say or do. You are responsible for yourself. If you act with integrity, honesty, and grace, then you have done all you can to bow out gracefully. The other sides feelings and actions are not your concern.
Whether you have been employed long term or just a few days, if a situation is not what you expect, need or desire and it cannot be remedied through a conversation with the boss, then it may be time to bow out gracefully.
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