Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow…

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Close-up of a mid adult man throwing away papersDid I really just Google “resignation” letters?! Four years, six months and 19 days after stepping foot in the doors of STC Associates I was making the choice to accept an opportunity at a new agency. At the same time I would be saying goodbye to the place I’ve called home for nearly a fifth of my life … and continue to work there as a technical employee until my “notice” was complete.

The minute you resign the balance of power shifts. You are no longer in need of the job (I encourage you quit when you have a job or a back up plan – but hey to each his own!) and any work you do is out of respect for the practice of giving notice. So while I was waiting around to be “free at last” I thought is it even possible to make a graceful exit after uttering the words “I
quit?”

Luckily the answer is yes – I just had to keep in mind a few simple tips:

  • Make sure you tell your boss first before you tell any other person in the office. Sure, you should consult a mentor or colleague in the industry but it is best to keep the news between you and the boss before posting it on the front page of the New York Times.
  • Keep your bridges intact! Sometimes it is impossible to take these things personally. My resignation had nothing to do with my boss; it was about my desire to try something new. But lets face it in life not every new place is happiness and marshmallows – there may come a time when you need that bosses help again.
  • The time post resignation is not a Caribbean vacation – so don’t treat it that way.  You are still a paid employee of the company and should treat the team you are leaving with respect. (Now I am not going to say I followed my own advice here! Some of my co-workers thought a 4 hour lunch on my second to last day was absolutely necessary)

  • Treat the exit interview as you did your first job interview – with class. Although the company allows you the opportunity to “air your grievances” upon your departure it is really no need to bad mouth everyone and their mother. First of all it won’t change your experience and 9 times out of 10 it won’t change the way your employer does things in the future. So smile, say thanks and move on to your next big thing.

These are my own personal opinions on what I tried to do to make my time of “transition” smooth. Why did I choose this path? Maybe so there is no awkward feelings when I come to meet former colleagues for drinks, or if I need to make a return to the office for one reason or another, OR because STC Associates put on some AMAZING holiday parties and I want to be invited back!

In truth it was my attempt to remain “classy” because the past five years had been the most amazing ride of my life. I was afforded the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented men and women, was allowed the chance to travel the globe to represent our agency to clients and when times were tough chose to keep me as an employee in the worst recession I’ve seen in my career.

I really did LOVE my time with STC Associates and know they will continue to shine long after the “KreeBeau” star has faded. So where am I now? Affect Strategies – an awesome group of men and women expecting the same thing STC Associates did – success! Now I’m just looking forward to delivering!

kreeKristen Massaro is an Account Supervisor for Affect Strategies in New York City. Having spent seven years in the communications and PR world, Kristen has a passion for non-profit public relations and is currently in the process of starting her own non-profit, the Fearless Heart Fund, which was inspired by her 2 year old goddaughter who received a heart transplant in 2008. As a born and raised NYer, Kristen loves her puppy Alfie nearly as much as the Yankee infield.

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  • http://twitter.com/CatherineEllen Catherine Patterson

    You're so right about keeping bridges intact. After I resigned from my first 'real' job, I made sure to stay in touch with my former colleagues and it's been wonderful. In fact, last summer I needed letters of recommendation when applying for grad school, and my old supervisor wrote a recommendation for me. I'm so grateful to him for doing that and it's all because we've kept in touch.

    Congratulations on your new position!

  • Laney

    Great post. When I left my first job it was for a number of reasons but the hardest thing was having to do the exit interview. I tried to be professional and not bad mouth anyone but my HR person just kept trying to pull it out of me. (She had known I was unhappy for one reason or other.) It was really difficult because I didn't want all of that on file.

    If there is a next time, I am going to have to figure out how to politely decline to answer the way they lead me to.

    Good luck with your new job!

  • http://twitter.com/KOttavio Kate Ottavio

    This is one of the most important points you make, Kristen: Keep your bridges intact! (echoing Catherine) Any job transfer should highlight the class-act that you are. People should always remember the positive when you exit. And no matter how much you think you are “done” with a certain company, we really never know when we might need something from the people we once worked for/with whether it be a recommendation, connection, etc. Great post!

  • http://twitter.com/tjdietderich TJ Dietderich

    Good points. One of my colleagues is leaving this week to pursue another career path, and even though she won't be in PR anymore, she's been working towards a smooth transition for everyone. Thumbs up.

  • Kristen

    Thanks Catherine!

    Keeping in touch with former colleague and bosses for that matter is so important. It has only been three days at my new place and I talk to the STC daily cause they are a huge part in helping me have a successful transition … which I think is something I should blog on next!

  • Kristen

    Thanks Kate! And I totally agree! My job at Affect is my fourth position in the working world – after internships and STC but I have kept in close contact with many of my former colleagues at all my jobs. They have been great in helping me to excel in my career. A special shout out should go to my mentor Anne – since she deals with my crazy on all levels when it comes to finding a new job!

  • http://twitter.com/CatherineEllen Catherine Patterson

    Blogging about successful transitions is a great idea! Share that with Kate O., wasn't her prbc post today about blogging topics? :)

  • http://www.lindsaymallen.com LindsayMAllen

    Good post!

    A thought: Points 2, 3 and 4 also apply when you're leaving a job but not by choice. When my position and two others were eliminated in the spring, I received two months' notice. While I was wired to continue on as usual until the job was no longer mine and do my best to make the transition smooth for my colleagues, it was fascinating how many people told me I was “working too hard” and “shouldn't be coming in so early” and “shouldn't care about training” the people who'd be absorbing my duties. I was shocked! I mean, how does it benefit *anyone* if the person who is leaving slacks off, gets a chip on their shoulder, etc.?

    Bottom line: Stay classy. It makes things easier for everyone, including yourself. It's better to be remembered for that than for the alternative …

  • Kristen

    I am not going to lie – the exit interview was difficult. I did lower myself to a level I did not like for a few minutes – mostly cause I had well known “issues” with a colleague. I felt like that was a low point but “defend” my self in saying I wasn't trying to change the company – just stating fact that it was one of the factors in my leaving.

    Not my finest hour unfortunately!

  • http://twitter.com/CTMichaels CTMichaels

    I really enjoy this post. It's so funny because I actually did google “how to write a resignation letter.” I really didnt feel that it was necessary, but eh, everything needed to be in Print Form, 14 copies of it, and addressed to each person where I used to work. It was a joyous time using that photo copier for the last time, copying that letter.

    I did work crazy late my last day though packing up 15 months of loving goodness!

  • http://www.techaffect.com/ KSafrey

    Welcome to the Affect team Kristen! We're so happy to have you on board.

    This is a great post, and I'm glad that your transition is going smoothly :).

  • http://www.affectstrategies.com/ Chrissy Carney

    It's so great to have you as the newest Affect team member Kristen! Welcome!

  • jeffespo

    Good point about not burning bridges. I know some former interns that I have had (not the best ones either) using me as a reference after trash talking on the way out that use me or ask to use me as a reference. On those instances when asked I am honest. It's not holding a grudge, but rather only speaking the truth.

  • Kristen

    You said it – stay classy! It will only benefit you should you need a reference or as I am finding out a job again (it seems PR has the same people and you just meet them over and over!).

    It also keeps you on the invite list for future parties the company may hold too ;)

  • Kristen

    I hear you! I was still working on the weekend after my last day – mostly cause the team I worked for at STC treated me so great for 5 years I didn't mind pitching in some extra hours … and also I took that 4 hour lunch!

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  • Guest

    Kristen, interesting post.. surprised you say you only one “issue” with one colleague. STC Associates has major “issues” all around affecting not only employees but also clients. “management” can try to sweep these issues under the rug but it all comes out in the end. I've heard the words “dysfunctional” being thrown around here on more than one occasion. I'm searching for a new job myself. Can't guarantee I'll hold back anything on my “exit interview” what goes around comes around…but agree with you that no one will do anything especially at STC,..many are too arrogant to realize their own incompetence…glad to hear you are doing well though.

  • http://prbreakfastclub.com PR Cog

    Hi Guest -

    Thanks for your comment. I am a bit disappointed you decided to go after a place of business rather than discuss the actual purpose of the post.

    Interestingly, while looking over the glassdoor.com reviews of a potential employer I recently interviewed with all the negative comments had horrible grammar, spelling and sentence structure, while the positive ones did not suffer these problems.

    I wonder if perhaps the agency is more a reflection of the individual than the agency itself in these situations.

  • Kristen

    Hi Guest – thanks for your comments and interest in the post, however I think you missed the “message” of what I was trying to say here. I have no ill will towards STC or any of my former colleagues whatsoever. I actually think the people are what makes that agency such a great place to work – they are interactive, dynamic and very smart.

    Not every job is a walk in the park – it is going to have its up and downs. A true reflection on your character is how you, as an individual, handle those times. I think rather than concentrating on what you will say in the exit interview you should put some energy into making positive changes – where you see the need for them – while you are currently work with STC. Who knows – it may make you re-evaluate the very harsh comments you chose to make on this platform.

    Kristen

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