Friday, April 20, 2012


When I sat down that weekend, a year ago, to write my actual resignation letter, it took much longer than I anticipated. I had foolishly thought it would be easy. There were several drafts and redrafts.

I wanted to outline my plans to transition to the resignation date over the next few months. I wanted to outline what initiatives I would finalise over the period ahead. I wanted to acknowledge the opportunities that  my job had given me.  I also wanted to be true to myself too and to outline how challenging things were for me and that I couldn’t continue. 

It took me a couple of pages but in the end I was happy. There was still a moment of hesitation as my finger hovered over the “print” icon and a further moment of hesitation as my pen hovered before signing the letter itself. I delivered it to my boss’s office early Monday morning before he’d arrived at work as it happened. It wasn’t long though before he came to my office to have one last supportive discussion. My resignation was flagged later that day at the executive meeting and it was agreed not to make my resignation public until June. This time frame would give me the support I needed to effectively accomplish my raft of workplace initiatives without the risk of being in the role as a “lame duck”.

I was elated and a tad scared. This was actually going to happen. Not going public for a couple of months was a two edge sword though in that I would have loved to have started talking to people about my plans. But I would now keep it to myself. The hardest part was not saying anything to either my executive officer or my executive assistant.

It remained within the four walls of both my immediate family and the executive team. I even kept it from my extended family and friends: Canberra is too small a town.

I took a call that night from one of the executive team expressing his disappointment that I’d be leaving. But he also expressed his admiration and suggested that whilst a lot of people talk about doing what I was planning to do, that almost none have the courage.

With this positive reinforcement in my mind, I got to work. I got to work on two fronts. Building and designing my business; and delivering the workplace initiatives I’d committed to – especially now that I had new self-imposed deadline.

Work became easier. At least it felt easier. I know my attitude shifted and I believe that this was noticeable to those around me. A burden was lifted and I had a new spring in my step. The spring wasn’t there every day of course, but it was present more than not.

I recognised that I still needed to do something about health. I was technically the owner of the workplace gyms, including the one in my building. Amongst my team were several fitness instructors as well. I really had no excuse. So I signed up to a program and committed to three days a week in order to bring my fitness back from the edge.

Oddly enough over the period between April and June I managed to slow down, yet achieve more. It highlighted to me how being energised about something could have such a positive impact.

After hours I spent time building my office which gradually took shape. It was actually very thereputic to build an office. It was a physical representation of the business I was concurrently building. It also gave me additional thinking space.

I had a long list of things I needed to start organising for my business. Business and web domain names were of course priorities before thinking about designing web pages and other practical steps.

We plunged back into brainstorming. Would I offer a niche set of products and services? Would I take a generalist approach? For the past couple of decades I’d workedin the pucblic sector. Was there capacity for me to sell to the private sector too?

Every spare moment over the following couple of weeks, Sue and I worked through a process of articulating my skill sets and potenital offerings from the perspective of clients. We revisted the previous brainstorming we had undertaken and drew out the themes. We shaped the themes and a strong outline of my business emerged.

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