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

June 8, 2011
Philippa Kennealy MD MPH CPCC PCC

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.