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Saying Goodbye...


Adam Garr

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Years ago, I faced my team in the morning meeting and told them I was leaving to pursue another opportunity. I’d been preparing for this moment for days, but when it was finally time to tell them, the emotion of the moment took over. 

Yes, my voice cracked. Yes, my chin quivered. Yes, a tear fell. I think what hit me the most were their faces. The shock and the sadness were reflected back at me in all directions. 

Then came the sense that I was letting them down. It was this nagging, guilty feeling that wouldn’t go away. I knew that no amount of explaining would make anyone feel better, including myself.

A day later, one of my guys stopped me on the golf course. He was the first person to congratulate me and say that he was happy for me and my family. He told me it meant a lot for the team to see me in a moment of weakness. He reminded me that my compassion for the people who worked with me, was why they returned year after year in the first place.

He told me it meant a lot for the team to see me in a moment of weakness...

This conversation helped me move forward. It didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to my work family, or to a property I had spent a third of my life working on, but it provided me some comfort. I was reassured knowing I was leaving things better than I found them. I was proud of the relationships I made while I was there, and I would leave carrying friendships that would last for years afterwards.

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It’s always the people that you miss the most.

So what happens when it’s time to say goodbye to a global Fortune 500 company on your own terms? Well, it’s not the same warm and fuzzy feeling I had leaving my first golf course. In fact, it feels a lot like getting fired.

My company phone was shut off almost immediately and I wasn’t permitted to contact any of my customers. My car keys were taken away. My computer was confiscated and email access was denied. My future competitors were warned I would be going up against them before I was legally allowed to announce I was leaving. And this is before I was threatened with stiff legal penalties should I still possess any company proprietary information.

I guess this is to be expected when a company asset like me becomes a company liability overnight. I was told it was nothing personal, and that this was “just business.” It doesn’t feel like “just business” when people you worked with for 7 years won’t even reply to a text or email anymore, or when a manager you considered a friend stops sending you Christmas cards. It sure as hell doesn’t feel like “just business” when you’re on the receiving end of a corporate goodbye.

It sure as hell doesn’t feel like “just business” when you’re on the receiving end of a corporate goodbye.

I recently said goodbye again. This time it was at another golf course, where I spent most of last year working while I started up my business. It was great getting my feet back on the turf again, but now with the grow-in experience behind me, it’s time for me to see if this business of mine has legs.

Once again, saying goodbye proved a little harder for me than expected. I’m going to miss seeing these guys every day. But relationships were formed, friendships were made, and this is less of a goodbye and more of a “see you later.” I’m excited to see this team succeed this year, and while I’ll be watching from the cheap seats, I’ll still be cheering as loud as if I were still on the bench.

Personally speaking, I much prefer the golf course goodbye to the corporate goodbye.

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