While we plan for everyone on the team to remain until retirement, this is not always possible. I found this instruction to be helpful with any responsibility to which we have been entrusted. In his book, Created for Work, Bob Schultz asks an interesting question about our work – “Do you have an exit strategy?”
‘On commercial airlines, before you ever leave the ground, attendants provide an exit strategy. They tell you how to use your seat for a flotation device if the plane landed on water. In the unlikely event of the plane losing cabin pressure, they show you how to employ oxygen masks. Exit doors are clearly noted and you receive instructions on how to use the evacuation slide. Airline companies want their passengers to know how to get off their planes under all circumstances – before the plane leaves the runway.
How does all this apply to our work or job? Do not wait until the last day of work to plan your exit strategy. To finish well, it is good to have the end in sight at the beginning. That vision will direct your actions to your desired goal. If we stopped to consider an exit strategy for our work, we would surely come up with some ideas like the following:
On the last day of my job,
1) I want to have a record for doing well and always being on time.
2) I want to have the reputation of owning a good attitude.
3) I want to give sufficient notice before I quit so my boss might find and train my replacement.
4) I want to finish all my business. That means returning all equipment and owing no debts.
5) I want to be able to look everyone in the eye, knowing I did as much as possible to be at peace with them.
6) I want a heart desire to see my boss prosper. I want to hear my boss say as I leave, “Well done. If you ever need a job in the future, call me back. We can always use a person like you.”
7) When I leave my position, I want to leave all my affairs in order so that I might enter my new course with a full heart, a clear conscience, and no regrets.
I have given only seven off-the-cuff ideas for ending a job well. I am sure that we could think of better ones, with a little effort, that would make our departure admirable. It’s worth our time to consider how we want to finish our current commitments and then keep to the plan. By practicing first-class exit strategies from jobs and other commitments, we will develop the wisdom to complete valuable responsibilities in life.
Knowing my exit strategy gives me practical wisdom for how I should act today.’
Do you have an exit strategy?