Welcoming the new, Saying Goodbye to the old
I stood in front of the company Town Hall audience as the tears welled up in me. All my planned thoughts flew out the window – the thank yous, the welcoming of my replacement for the role I was exiting – as I absorbed the fact that I was leaving this company, these people, and the profession of HR altogether. I felt sad and vulnerable. I knew I was moving on to new things but I needed this moment to say good-bye to what I was leaving behind.
I had spent years learning my profession, working in different industries and with different types of people, full time/casual, hourly/executive. And I knew that, underneath it all, the industry or type of person was less important than the recognition that fundamental human needs don’t change. We all want safety, belonging, and dignity. As the company Town Hall ended, people approached me to wish me the best, offer a hug or kind word and I was reminded of why I chose Human Resources in the first place. I wanted to take care of people. What I didn’t realize is how they took care of me.
Relationship. We are all in relationship with one another and with the larger whole. Safety, belonging, and dignity comes from practising The Golden Rule. Treat others the way we want to be treated. Here I was, exposed and vulnerable, and I felt embraced with a huge hug. Or “huggle” as my son called it when he was little, by combining the words hug and cuddle.
Saying good-bye was hard. It meant an ending, closure, that I had wholly anticipated but not accepted. After all, there’s always more to learn, more ways to grow. I recognized the challenge of letting go – releasing resistance – felt different intellectually than emotionally or physically. Physically, my chest tightened to hold in those tears. Emotionally, I felt overwhelmed by strong feelings because I was holding them in. The result was predictable: my thinking brain, the pre-frontal cortex involved in rational decision-making, turned off.
As I experienced those emotions and physical sensations by breathing deeply, I eventually settled down, said some words, and gradually felt better. My brain came online again. I knew I was making the right decision by becoming a career coach. I knew it in my heart and mind. Taking care of people didn’t end with my last HR role; it was adopting a new form.
I will miss the people I worked with very much. They gave me the gift of recognizing why I chose HR in the first place. I made eye contact with various people and remembered the connections we made as they filed out of the room. And then it was over. Well, almost over. Turns out the joke was on me – it was the first Town Hall that day. I had to do it three more times! And yes, I teared up each and every time.