Monday, 30 April 2012

Why leaving a job can be like being at your own funeral...

As you may have heard by now, I have announced that I will be leaving the really rather wonderful job of editor on Friday, June 1.

It was a very tough decision to make as I’m one of those very fortunate people who loves his job (and always has done) but I have just come to the point where I feel it is time to seek a new challenge. And if I don’t do it now, well perhaps I may never do so.

The fact that I don’t have a clue as to what that challenge may be has certainly surprised some people but I am of the opinion that maybe you can’t even think about opening a new door until you’ve firmly closed the old one.

I made the announcement on Thursday, April 19,  and since then I have been genuinely touched at the way people – both in my office and outside – have reacted to my news.

I’ve received a number of emails, cards, telephone calls and messages on social media sites all wishing me well and it has been very humbling to see, read and hear some of these generous remarks. They all reminded me again (not that I needed much reminding) about how special and thoughtful the people of Bath and surrounding towns and villages truly are. And how very lucky my eventual successor will be.

What these messages also made me think, however, is it is a real shame in some ways that we only ever tend to tell people what we think of them at times of leaving.

At the most extreme example of this, I have often sat in funerals and heard the deceased lauded for his or her achievements. At times I’ve wondered if the unfortunate recipient of these eulogies had actually known just how highly they were regarded while they were still in a position to appreciate such words. Indeed a little rock group (who you may heard me mentioned in this blog once, twice or 74 times) called The Stranglers once penned a ditty called Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead which summed up the way we only rush to praise people after their demise. Maybe it is because we find it easier to express our love and admiration for someone when there is no chance of a reaction from them?

Leaving a job, as I’m about to do, is probably the nearest we get to hearing what people might say if we make that, ahem, ultimate journey and I think that’s all rather sad.

So, as a leaving gift to me (although as satted I’m still around for a few weeks yet!), I am hereby urging you all today to make a ‘living tribute’ to someone in your home, school, office, factory, shop, college, playgroup, church, sports club etc etc etc. I know it is not terribly English to do so but why not just surprise someone you care about and say something nice to them – for no other reason than you can.

If you do so you might just give them the sort of lift I have had this week as friends, colleagues and contacts past and present have made my inbox a happy place to visit.

Don’t wait until someone has a P45 in their pocket (or, even worse a one-way ticket ‘north’) to salute them just do it today because people need to feel good and nothing makes them feel better than knowing that someone, somewhere, appreciates them.

It’s nice to be nice.

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