Great is the Art of Beginning, But Greater is the Art of Ending

Some of my most painful memories stem from the many goodbyes I've endured – leaving Zimbabwe after 3 glorious years in rural practice, leaving my home country South Africa to move to the US, leaving my family practice after 9 years, amongst others.

Some of my most painful memories stem from the many goodbyes I’ve endured — leaving Zimbabwe after 3 glorious years in rural practice, leaving my home country South Africa to move to the US, leaving my family practice after 9 years, amongst others. Some farewells have been lightened by the promise of exciting new things to come, others weighed down by the circumstances prompting the separation.

A couple of weeks ago, I tracked a physician conversation thread on a discussion board. A tired, embittered physician who planned to quit an apparently mean-spirited, uncaring employment situation was asking the question “How to leave gracefully?”. The question addressed not only saying goodbye, but how even to begin a job search while still employed.

The responses from his physician colleagues exemplified the need for “art in ending” and I thought I’d summarize the conversation into the Top Ten Pieces of Advice for those of you contemplating new pastures and having similar concerns:

1. Unless you have several months expenses saved, consider landing that new job first. Or plan ahead, save religiously for 6 to 12 months and create a cushion for your job search or practice start-up. Read more.