Leaving is hard. Moving from something you know to something new and uncertain can be painful. I think some formality or something ceremonial is important – both to recognize the good you’re departing from and to smooth the transition to the other side. I was privileged to be with my mom at her death. When the funeral director arrived, we accompanied my mother down the hall. The staff rose as we processed by. Their silent stance acknowledged the dignity and importance to my mom’s passing and will comfort me the rest of my life.
Moving on from work completed, a career ending and especially after being downsized or fired is of course painful. We put our soul into the work we do. It’s important to recognize that and speak or write about accomplishments as well as lessons learned. Parties, receptions, dinners, etc. can meet some of these needs but often skirt the true meaning. It may be important to engage in some reflection, writing and talking with a mentor, good friend or loved one about the work experience on a deeper level. This can be both healing and productive during transition to new work.