Advent Blog : It is the end, but the moment has been prepared for.

by | Dec 17, 2019

It’s almost a year since I said goodbye to my colleagues, as I left work to set off on a new adventure to run my own HR Consultancy, ImagoHR. 

It was an itch that I needed to scratch; I’d been dreaming about what it would be like to venture off on my own.  I’d been preparing for a while, with a logo and a website and even some potential clients. But saying goodbye to my colleagues on my last day at work was very tough. There were tears and feelings of regret for what I was leaving behind. We had been through so much as a team and faced up to what seemed like constant change with humour and energy. 

Today I find myself looking back to that ending as if it was in fact a new beginning. Finding the strength to leave propelled me into new unchartered territory of terror and triumph, and the opportunity to learn every day.

To prepare for my departure I wrote a leaving speech, which was a very cathartic process, as I was able to give thanks for what had gone before. Here is what I said last Christmas.

My Leaving Speech

‘When I handed in my notice over 3 months ago, I visualised this situation, with me standing in front of you all to say goodbye. I imagined it because I was trying to get my head around leaving you all, my work family. Like any family we’ve been through some great highs and some ‘not so great’ lows, but we have supported each other throughout it all.

It’s very hard to leave you now that the time has come. It’s been a huge privilege to serve as your HR lead, and a great inspiration to work with you all. What a truly committed team you all are.

You’ve probably come to realise, working with me, that I care more about the ‘human’ and less about the ‘resources’ element. It’s not for me the world of KPI’s, I’m more about what makes us tick! I think that’s something that’s stayed with me since I started my first job in Personnel, back in 1988 and my first manager said to me, ‘it’s basically about people Vanessa, if you ‘get’ people you’ll do ok’. My next manager told me to always wear tights to work, ‘we don’t like bare legs in the office, Vanessa’, and those two early lessons have stood me in good stead for my career. I’ve not looked back since!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working here over the last few years and the highlight has been working with you. I have benefited greatly from being with you all. I’ve felt safe around you and you have been honest and faithful colleagues. I’m really going to miss you.

I’ve been racking my brains trying to think of a quote I could use to sum everything up. Recently another colleague’s parting words were ‘so long and thanks for all the fish’ taken from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. My inspiration for today comes from a different source of wisdom. It’s from Winnie The Pooh, who said ‘how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’

And so finally, thanks for everything you’ve all done for me, I wish you all the very best for the future and remember, be kind to each other.’

Vanessa is a very experienced HR Professional with a career spanning over 30 years. Prior to setting up Imago HR she worked for many years as a senior HR leader, providing a compassionate and pragmatic approach to people management. Click on her website to find out more about the Imago HR service