“I just want to leave my job and travel the country!” Sounds like a dream right? Well when you work for an amazing organization like the YMCA, it is not so easy. I have worked for the Wheeler Regional Family YMCA for almost 7 years, as both the Health and Wellness Director and Membership Director. The amount of work it takes to do these jobs is incredible, but it is so worth it. The YMCA is literally changing lives everyday. Developing staff, helping cancer survivors thrive, providing a place for individuals with disabilities to gain strength and confidence, raising money to help people attend the Y regardless of their ability to pay and watching kids learn and grow are just some of the great things I have been a part of on a daily basis. You truly realize the impact you have made on other’s lives when you are on on your way out. When I made my announcement on Facebook that I would be leaving the Y to begin my adventure, so many co-workers and members were so supportive, sharing stories of how I helped change their lives, sending well wishes, expressing feelings of sadness but excitement were many of the words we received.
On my last day of work, my co-workers threw a going away party for me, and the room was filled with love. I really did not want this to be a tear fest, and continued to keep the mood lifted. I really wanted to enjoy the time with the members and staff I have grown to love so much, reminisce with laughter, and soak in the last bit of Wheeler Y that I could. At one point, John, former client of mine, walked in, and said, “April….!” with tears in his eyes. John was one of my few clients I had at the Y. I worked with him for years, helping him to recover from hip surgery, lose weight, and train him to get up off the floor so he could work on his tractor. John is in his mid-80s and I did not realize the impact I had on him until the day I left.
We had some fun having Tom fix the crooked YMCA sign, dropping the mic, and taking some great pictures. I really thought I would lose it as I walked to my car, but I did not. I was ready. I know that I had a great run with the GHYMCA, I had learned a lot, and I was ready to move on. I can only hope I can find another Y to work for someday, or another organization just as amazing!
The advice I have to give on leaving your job, no matter what the reason, is to leave on good terms. Don’t try to drag a company down with you as you leave. Leave with integrity. Make sure that when you resign, include what the company has done for you, and what you plan to do for the company prior to your departure. I made sure my team had all the tools for success and made sure there were no surprises after I left. As difficult as times got, I did not want to leave anyone hanging. I now have a clear conscience that I gave my former co-workers everything they needed from me to succeed. I still keep in touch and only wish the best for them!