8 days and a wake up

18 02 2009

I have switched jobs many times throughout my life. Historically, it hasn’t been difficult. There is usually a personality disordered boss or innapropriate coworker that I can rely on to give me that little shove out the door and on to my next nightmare job.  Also, the truth of it is I get bored after a while….I get good at what I do and feel as if I am not being challenged intellectually enough, so I move on to the next challenge.

Throughout my youth (which I suppose I may still be technically in), this was not of much consequence – switching jobs I mean. I worked at restaurants or coffee shops or even later as an administrative assistant. The people I served may have been sad to see me go, but it was unlikely that it lingered and significantly impacted their ability to enjoy that 5 dollar latte or recieve the 10 page fax transmission.

Since starting in my professional work as a social worker, leaving a job has taken on a much different feel. It has become an experience wrought with emotions. I have begun that process of terminating with clients and saying goodbye and inevitably I get the ” Thank You’s ” which are wonderful of course but so much better when not followed by a speech on how I am triggering abandonment issues….. I have chosen to have a sense of humor about this because I know better of course. Although I must say, it does tap into that feeling that I am walking away from people who rely on me.

This feeling has been here before in my social work career when leaving a job. Beause I am in the business of connecting with other human beings, severing those connections is a hell of alot more impactful than hanging up the apron for the last time.

As a young intern, I found termination with clients very difficult because of that sense that I was abandoning them. Reflecting back, it is nice to see growth on my part. The emotions are still there but they don’t invade and take over the game, so to speak.

I am curious how others have experienced this process, if you feel like sharing.


p.s. – i actually don’t even know if impactful is a word…..but it is now baby.



3 responses

18 02 2009
David Markham


I don’t think the question is as much whether it’s ok to terminate and move on but how you terminate and move on and its sounds like you handle it very respectfully and constructively. I admire and appreciate that.

As we learn in social work, it’s all about the relationships we develop with clients, colleagues, referral agents and collaborative partners.

I am the executive director of a substance abuse agency and just wrote and article for the GCASAcares blog which will be posted next week on employee longevity. Our success as an agency depends on enthusiastic, dedicated staff who enjoy their jobs. One of the barometers of morale and good management is staff turnover. While we wish employees well who are moving on for good reasons, we appreciate staff who continue to enjoy their work with us because it contributes to high organizational performance and good client service. On the other hand, there are times when people need to leave, and want to leave and that is Okay too. As Jim Collins says in his book, From Good To Great, great organizations know how to “get the right people on the bus.”

Good luck to you in your new endeavors. Grieving and letting go is part of the process. Some do it well and some botch. It sound like you are doing it well.

All the best,

David Markham

20 02 2009

Thanks for the comment. I am officially hooked on your blog! Very interesting!!

Take care of yourself.

8 05 2010

I will be graduating from undergrad in 5 days with a BSW. I was suppose to complete the termination process with my clients at my internship 3 weeks ago, but because of the overwhelming feeling of leaving them high and dry I made the personal choice of extending my time so that I can post pone the termination process. I have come to the point where I can not extend my time any more, which leaves me no choice but to terminate, I am not looking forward to this at all. I am looking forward to the day where termination becomes a lot easier.

P.S. I also want to work with the prison population that’s why your blog caught my eye. I really enjoyed reading them, thank you for the heads up!! Keep writing and I’ll be reading.

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