Many may not know, but very recently I handed in my two weeks’ notice to the agency where I have worked for the last 17 years. I actually handed my notice in on my 17th anniversary. It wasn’t planned like that, but it worked out that way.
I remember telling my parents on the very first day of work before I walked out the door with my right foot, “One year. I’m giving it one year. I don’t want to travel to Brooklyn every day.” And here I am, 17 years and two weeks later. Many asked, “Why are you leaving? You’ve been here so long. You’re part of the family. Is there a reason why you’re leaving?” The truth is yes, there was a very specific reason why I was moving on, but what I told everyone was, “I’ve been home for 17 years. It’s time to go to college. Time to grow and to move on.” Many laughed at that; whether or not they believed it I don’t know nor do I care. The truth was, I couldn’t stay there anymore. I was feeling smothered. I felt as if I wasn’t able to do the job and fulfill the commitment that I had contracted with the New York State Department of Health to do if I stayed any longer. The one place where I felt safe and able to be myself had changed, and I no longer felt safe to be myself. I’m lucky that a new position in a new organization almost literally fell into my lap and that was the time to say that this was my way out.
On my last day of work, I sent my staff a goodbye email. I have often written about my staff; how we are all different but mesh well together, that I handpicked each of them. I had told my staff all together on a conference call that I would be leaving; this way no one found out first and rumors didn’t spread. All found out together at once because I thought that was the right thing to do. Their response overwhelmed me. All voiced their surprise at my announcement, but all said they were very happy for me. After we hung up, the individual calls started coming in. Many shed tears, others thanked me, and some shared memories they had of me and lessons they had learned working with me throughout the years. These people were my family. They were the family that I spent 35 hours a week with. But now I was leaving them. I was moving on because I felt I deserved better. And so I sent them an email on my very last day of work. A few of them called me in tears (again). Two of them told me to transform my email into my weekly column, because it was a life lesson for everyone, not just a farewell to those I have loved for the past years, but a lesson that can be tied to dating. I thought about it and I feel they are right. This is not an email one may expect a supervisor to send his or her staff as a final farewell, but a lesson to carry throughout one’s life. I like to think that I wasn’t the “typical supervisor,” so why send a typical goodbye email. Below is the email. I will explain a bit more at the end, after it ends.
Good morning, all.
And so the time has come to say goodbye.
Like Dorothy said to the Scarecrow at the end of The Wizard of Oz, “I think I’ll miss you most of all.”
As the great Frank Sinatra sang, “And now, the end is near, And so I face the final curtain. My friends, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case of which I’m certain. I’ve lived a life that’s full, I traveled each and every highway. But more, much more than this. I did it my way.
Like E.T. said to Elliot at the end of the movie, “I’ll be right here,” and points to Elliot’s heart.
At the end of Toy Story 3, Woody says, “Goodbye, Partner.”
And lastly, as the great Roy Rogers and Dale Evans sang, “Happy trails to you. Until we meet again. Happy trails to you. Keep smiling until then.”
It has truly been an honor getting to know and working with all of you. You have all taught me different but equally important lessons in life. My own words of advice that I write in my weekly column and tell my daughter, I pass onto each of you, “Never let anyone dim your spark. You be you. Stand up for what you think is right because at the end of the day, it’s you who is looking back from the mirror at you. Be proud of what you do and if you have to go against the current, like salmon swimming upstream, then do it because, you’ll never walk alone!” My spark was dimming here like Tinkerbelle’s light was dimming in Peter Pan, and I think you all saw that with the limits and boundaries that had been drawn this past year. But I believe in myself and my abilities. I have to leave in order to not only survive, but live and shine again. I have to be Goldy and I think the administrators here wanted to squash my spirit, and I was not going to let that happen.
Don’t allow them to dim your spark or get you down. Be the best “you” that you can be. It sounds silly, but it’s true; and it’s what I told my daughter every day when she went to school (the good ole days). Don’t give anyone the power to make you doubt yourself. You are all amazing at what you do, and if you feel that what you’re doing isn’t right for you, then do something about it. Do something that will make you want to get out of bed at six in the morning every day with a smile on your face. Work in an environment that makes you smile and brings out the best in you, not one that forces you to play motivational songs on your way to work so you can face the day ahead of you.
I love you all. Do what you have to do in order to be happy. This is what I must do in order to feel like me again. In order for me to sparkle and shine again.
Again, thank you all for your time and all of your hard work.
One last time,
Goldy Krantz, LMSW
Program Director of ……
My job was my safe place. I knew what to do and was able to fulfill my responsibilities with my eyes closed. It was easy. I had my schedule, knew all the ins and outs. But there came a time last year when the environment changed and it began affecting me negatively. I wanted to leave but was scared because this was my first job. This organization and its employees were all I knew. They were my family. But how much is my self-worth and esteem worth to me? I couldn’t keep going in every day feeling as I was. I tried not to let it, but the way I was feeling about the organization I once loved was carrying over into my personal life. That’s when I realized I had to leave, and when I received that call offering me an opportunity to shine and be happy again, I knew I had to take it.
Now the nimshal: You may be in a relationship that’s easy. You know what he or she wants, you know what to expect. It’s a safe place for you, but you may not feel appreciated. You may feel like your sparkle is dimming or that your star is starting to droop. Don’t let that happen. Is it worth it to stay in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, just because you don’t know what’s out there or if you will find someone who will appreciate you and help you shine again? I took the chance. I don’t know what will happen with this new job, but I know that I’m excited again. I know from the meetings I’ve had with the administrators that I will be appreciated and able to shine again. I took the chance and that is the first step. Already I feel lighter and have less stress.
All I ask is that if you are in any type of relationship that makes you feel stifled, smothered, or puts limits on you being you, evaluate if you want to live the rest of your life like this. No, we can’t have any guarantees that the grass will be greener elsewhere, but you won’t know if you don’t look. Stand up for yourself. You all deserve a relationship where your partner wants you to shine and sparkle! Don’t settle for anything less!
I’m here to say that I practice what I preach.
Hatzlachah to you all!