Ease on Down the Road

January 18, 2012

In two weeks I’m leaving a job I’ve been at for four and a half years.  It’s at a nursing home in the Boston area and while I love the residents I work with there and have become very attached to some, it’s become a twice-weekly reminder that we do not care for the elders in our country with the right priorities.

There are other reasons why I need a change, but that’s all I’ll say for now, because this post is actually about the transition I am helping to create with the music therapist who is taking over my position.

I gave almost three months notice, and while I’m no Mother Teresa, I admit I feel some responsibility, not only to the residents I work with but also to the person replacing me, to ease everybody into my absence smoothly.

So…for the past few weeks, my lovely replacement has been attending my groups, meeting my clients, learning their favorite songs and asking priceless questions about technique and interventions, as well as exhibiting a wonderful personality that fits into the group dynamics well (If you’re reading this, L., I really mean it).  What’s interesting about all of this is that she wants feedback, which I am comfortable giving because of my love for supervision and, I feel like I’m training someone, which wasn’t my original plan but seems to be working out quite well for everyone involved.

Today she and a Master’s level expressive therapy student (who has been observing my group for several months) led the entire session and my residents really seemed to enjoy it. They have always loved it when I’ve had students in my groups and I think the fact that a familiar face (ET student) will still be there after I leave, and that my replacement is able to spend so much time with them before I leave, is hugely helpful for them.  Some of them have known me for nearly five years and have voiced their sadness that I’m leaving, but seeing them so enthusiastic and open to the new MT makes me feel like a giant load has been lifted off my shoulders, and makes me feel less like I’m abandoning them.

When it’s time to ease out of a job, thinking about everyone involved may be inconvenient for us, but it’s worth it for them.

My advice is this: When quitting a job, if it’s possible for you to prepare your clients, co-workers or supervisors for your absence with good feelings, peace of mind and a smooth transition, do it.  It makes all the difference in the world.



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