Friday, May 11, 2012

Adventures in Resignation

Eventually, I was going to have to tell the powers-that-be that I was leaving. Technically, I only had to give two weeks notice, but that would have been kind of rude. I might want to come back someday, and I don't want to burn any bridges. I asked my boss what to do, and he recommended that I tell them in May, to give them two months to adjust to the situation, and also, enough time to at least have a chance to counter offer.

But, when I talked to another person at work whose opinion I greatly respect, he told me I should tell the powers-that-be as soon as I was emotionally ready to do so. When I told this colleague, I ended up crying, because it is a very emotionally charged thing for me.* So I needed to practice, he told me, practice until I could say it without crying and in a way that would convey the excitement I was feeling -- to help them understand why I had made this decision.

In a way, this situation reminded me of when I was a postdoc and had to tell my boss that I was pregnant. I remember telling him that I had some "exciting" news -- not good news, not bad news. He received it very well. So I knew I could do it. It was just a matter of practice.

I decided that I needed to do it before a major conference that was approaching. I also thought it would be best to do it on a Friday afternoon. So almost two weeks ago, I told my boss' boss that I had decided to take the other job offer, because it was such an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He was disappointed, but he took it well. I told him I would definitely like for our two centers to collaborate, and he readily agreed. I said I might want to come back someday, and he didn't disagree. The last thing I wanted to do was burn any bridges, and I don't believe I have.

* Also, I was really sick, and if I had a reasonable number of sick days per year, I would have been at home trying to recover from the flu instead of at work sharing it with my colleagues. So I wasn't really in the best state physically or emotionally that day.

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