How to “gracefully stay” in the place you wanted to leave?

Dr. Jennifer Melfi: What’s going on?
Anthony Soprano: Nothing I can think of, except it’s Thursday, 1:00am, so we gotta talk about something.

Okay, spin the wheel. Here’s something that’s been bothering me.

It’s the final stretch. You decided to leave this company, and there are only two weeks between you and a totally different life. New environment, possibility to try new stuff, another kind of energy — those are the things that define your future. So, you’re tying up the loose ends, taking care of this last project, the knowledge to share, the equipment and — most importantly — the People. You want to transition fluently, without any bridges burning, as smoothly as possible. “Graceful leave”, as you like to call it.

And yet you’re sitting in front of your computer, going through your inbox, closing the open loops and… you don’t really know if that’s what you want. There it is… the moment when the doubts come. Doubts which, although natural, cannot be dispelled easily.

“Do I really want to leave? What about all the things I can still learn in this team? What possibilities lie ahead if I stay? Could I continue to work here and do my best to improve? Nah! It’s settled, all the paperwork is done, all the clients have been informed, why the hell are you even considering such things?! Forget about it — it’s set in stone, period”.

Or is it?

At some point, you start talking with your colleagues, family and friends, about your decision, casually mentioning the doubts. You try to figure things out by rethinking your approach to date, knowing what works and what needs some adjustments. You even dare to imagine that you’re really not going anywhere. Or rather that you’re starting from scratch, loading the game-save file from 2014.

All of a sudden, the code isn’t a bunch of random letters anymore, the design starts to be something much more meaningful to you, the new energy you wanted to find in a new place arises on its own. And most importantly, the relationships along with the values of the company — things you care about most — improve a lot. You conclude that getting out of this “some kind of way-of-thinking-box” (you weren’t even forced to sit in!) allows you to look at the work from a whole new, better perspective. And eventually, you’re making up your mind. You DO want to stay. But…

Isn’t it too late?

Indeed, you don’t have much time. “It’s now or never”, as Bon Jovi sang in that millennial hit. And now you want to talk to your Boss as soon as possible, but it’d be better to prepare somehow, right? So you open a new message window, starting with some quote from The Sopranos and… you just write. All about your doubts, everything that’s bothering you, plans for your possible self-development — it’s all there in those 7 paragraphs. You click the “Send” button and wait for that freakin’ “Undo” button to disappear. It’s done.

Several hours later you get the response:

“Krystian, that’s the kind of honesty, for which they should build monuments. We’ll talk today”. Nothing official yet, no emojis involved, but you’re sure that it will be a good talk. “Will she let me stay?”, you think to yourself. After all, you tried the best way to achieve your goal: ignore that what-if bullshit story in your head and just do the right thing.

Spoiler alert: She did.

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