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Resigning From Your Job: (and a Poem)

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For a hard-working, dedicated, conscientious worker, voluntarily leaving a job is one of the hardest things to do — especially if you’ve worked at the same job for many years.

This weekend, my wife decided to leave a position she’s held for fifteen years. She made the decision after many months of thoughtful consideration. Once she’d finally decided, (it was 3 a.m. after a restless sleep spent tossing and turning), she felt as if a gigantic weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

When it came time to write a letter of resignation, the full reality of the decision struck her hard. She felt some guilt, sadness, and a touch of some ethereal form of pity for her boss; she knew that she played a very vital part of his practice and would be especially hard to replace.

I think many of us feel as if we owe our bosses something, and we have to be reminded that they don’t necessarily reciprocate that sense of loyalty and commitment. The folks who run the show aren’t used to being “terminated” by their employees, but a resignation is — in some ways — an implicit “firing”, a subtle statement that something is wrong with an organization, a rejection of sorts that carries with it a refined and delicate rejection. The egos of those in charge don’t take these implicit insults lightly; one doesn’t leave a situation that has been provided through generosity and corporate magnanimity.

With that in mind, I wrote the following:


RESIGNED

Do you have to be reminded
that you are not a slave?
That this is no plantation,
nor your desk, an unmarked grave?

They paid you lots of money
for your work and for your time;
but you helped the business prosper

and you earned your every dime.

They could fire you at any moment,
as they did to many friends,
but now you fire the company
and you choose just when it ends.

You owe these people nothing,
and for bosses — never grieve.
You made the choice to work here
and you make the choice to leave.

So you find you have the power:
depart the building, close the door.
But in that mighty gesture
you have opened many more.

* * *

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About Mark Shark

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple A. Stark

    Sweet. Poetry. Thank you. People don’t try that enough.

    I resigned from a company – with no job lined up – because the boss was a Grade A asshole. I was the first of many to resign. Strange how the guy is still employed at the same newspaper though.

    So my thoughts are different from your wife’s.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Shark, been seeing a lot more of the real you lately and appreciating it. Best of luck to your wife – I think the best jobs are in reality partnerships between the employer and employee so it’s more complicated than it appears, but ultimately you always have to do what’s best for you

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple A. Stark

    I thought the other parts were real, too?

  • http://squaringtheglobe.blogspot.com Harry Forbes

    I left a company after 20 years there…and have not regretted a day since. Good luck to her, Shark.

  • http://darkeroticism.blogspot.com swingingpuss

    I had a high end paying job when I was single. I hated it so much that it turned me into a party girl. That was the only way I could ensure that I didnt quit the job coz I needed the money to maintain that kind of lavish lifestyle.

    Now that is what I called irrational reasoning.

  • Shark

    Thanks for your comments and positive vibes. This post was a lark, but I thought it was a pretty common situation.

    Temple, xxoo. I left my last job because of an asshole, okay, he wasn’t really an asshole; he was an idiot. Idiots usually aren’t smart enough to be assholes. It was a real hoot, too. After I turned in my resignation letter, we (the Museum Director and I) had a knock-down drag-out wherein I dumped the entire tsunami of past examples of his own stupidity on him. He told me to get out NOW! I got my 30 days pay and didn’t have to go back. Love that.

    Eric, you’d LOVE the real me! I only playan asshole on BC.

    Harry: Yes, I left a company after 13 years. It’s sorta like riding a bike; the first time is hard, but once you’ve done it, it’s easy. Mrs. Shark is about to learn that.

    Swingingpuss: Gee, I never realized being a crack addict or an alcoholic could contribute to one’s consistency on the job. Thanks! I’ll have to try it… someday when I get a job.

  • http://darkeroticism.blogspot.com swingingpuss

    lol Shark, if I was an addict of some sort
    I dont think I would have functioned too well at my job the next day. Ain’t as good as Mr Limbaugh.

    It was just working and playing hard in designer clothes.

  • ID

    After three years of hard work and three promotions up the corporate ladder, I decided to resign, despite being granted 12 months of unpaid leave. Its been hard for me to leave my high-paying public service job and all the material comforts of my life for the uncertainty and material deprivation of a possible life abroad. I’ve made my irrational decision based on my feverent desire and curiosity to explore the unknown.

  • http://mini-bites.blogspot.com Cmate

    Hey!

    Love this poem, would you mind if i share it with my blog readers? I’ll link you in the post?

  • Miserable

    Wow! A rather powerful poem which reinforces the power of the individual – I hate my bullying bosses, how they make me feel, and how they rip my heart out daily – I am thinking of the poem…..Monday looks like my Emancipation Day! The 3 Heathers can run the fun house without me. Thanks for putting into words how I felt and remindig me that it is MY choice!