Too good at goodbyes

I’ve never quite understood why, but I’m a massive fan of stairs. I think there’s something so powerful about charging up something seemingly challenging, that not everyone endeavours to tackle. When you reach the top, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, (perhaps even a loss of breath), as you stand at the top of your new destination.

Whenever I’m travelling to a new trail, I always explore every off-road path, just to see where life takes me, and the potential vantage point the new path provides. Stairways are my favourite of all the off-roading paths, as it’s almost implied that the destination is going to be worth the journey.

But it’s never long before you get bored of the view, and race away, seeking a new set of stairs, and a new challenge to climb.

Since 2020, I have left three jobs to propel my career path in a new direction. In that time, three of the four jobs I’ve taken on have made me the youngest person to ever hold the position. Sometimes that results in a lack of full value and respect, but the stairs, and what lies at the end of those steps, are always worth the climb.

I’ve spoken many times about the importance of taking risks, and there’s something that severely excites me about the idea of taking that daunting next step for what could turn out to be a better career path, or even a better life.

I knew I was leaving my last job for nine months before accepting my next role. This time around, it took a small bit of build-up toward a nine minute phone call, for everything to change. Plan C quickly became Plan A, and I realized it was time to leave the greatest stairway I’ve ever climbed.

That’s not to say that the decision was easy. I felt devastated for the days that followed over the thought of leaving the kids and their families behind, saying goodbye to my two best friends, and the best boss I’ve ever had. But the risk, and the potential reward that will accompany that, is simply too good of an opportunity to pass up.

So now devastation day will come tomorrow, when I make it official and leave what has been the best experience I’ve ever had at a workplace. It will take some beating for me to walk into an organization again, utterly unpronounced, and completely kickstart into motion everything the organization had been calling for. It will take some beating for me to develop such close bonds with the people that we serve, become like family with the other full-time supervisory staff within just days of knowing them, and to fit into the entire identity of everything we wanted to accomplish.

For the first time ever leaving a position, I don’t feel confident that I will be happier with what’s on the other side. But I also know that the lack of room for progression meant that I never would have stayed past June, without a similar career-changing upgrade in title and pay. I’ve never been sailing, but I can see when the ship is sinking around me. And as much as I desperately wanted to help steady the ship and keep it afloat, I also wanted to feel that reciprocated.

When a substantially bigger ship suddenly soars along the sea, offering a secure future within this unsteady world, it’s difficult not to jump on board.

So I leave with a tremendous sense of sadness of what I’m leaving behind and everything I had been building toward. But I have to focus on the future, and everything I can now accomplish moving forward by taking this step.

As for devastation day itself, hopefully I can be like Sam Smith, and be way too good at this goodbye. More than any other time in my life, I want to maintain these relationships, find a way to ensure I’m part of their lives, and not leave without first allowing the organization to be set up for future success. I will always wish that things could have been different. But it’s time to seek a new destination.

– Rhys Desmond


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