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Insight, wisdom, lessons learned and everything in between to help you find the information you need for smoother transition between diplomatic assignments.

Planning Your Exit Strategy

We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Even if this is your first PCS you have been through a transition in your life. Transition is a bit of a deceptive word too because it sounds so smooth and effortless, doesn’t it? I am pretty sure if you transitioned during COVID, you wouldn’t necessarily agree with that description. But as summer PCS season gets closer, it is time to plan your exit strategy.

How will you leave here to arrive there? Part of transitioning is getting closure on this season of your life to welcome the new one, and here are a few tips to get you through it.

Planning for a trip with a map, camera, passport and day planner.
The nervous check out of the window to see if the plane is here.

Making Room For Your Departure

Own Your Farewell

Taking ownership of your farewell means getting out of your head and taking action. You may need to give yourself some tough love and ask difficult questions to get to the answers that can guide you. Are you afraid of leaving? Is not knowing what the future will bring, holding you back? Clear the way to a more realistic understanding of the situation by working through the pain of goodbye.

Preserve a Story

Our April newsletter featured Nora Kerr and her business Memoir For Me. She specializes in preserving personal histories. Nora's business of recording personal memoirs creates cherished memories you can re-read time and again.

Nora writes, "Do you have someone special you’re leaving behind in an upcoming move? Consider giving them the greatest parting gift: their life story preserved. It’s a gift for them, but really secretly, it’s for you! Mom and Dad have a great story worth saving. And if you have kids, I guarantee that they will love to read a story about how their grandparents met, or what you, their parent, was like as a child. And what grandparent doesn’t love to gush about their grandchildren? Kids love to read that!"

The ending of a significant piece of one's life — a relationship, job, stage of life, or way of thinking — may be difficult and even painful for many of us. Something that you once counted on as very important to your life is over and done.

Prioritize Your Needs

This is a good time in your life to do what you need more than what others need from you. It is not your time to be your best people pleasing self. This does not make you selfish. This does not make your family selfish. Creating and holding healthy boundaries enables you to be your best version of yourself. Whether that means attending one less work-related event or going on vacation when everyone seems to be having community events, only you know what is best for you. You have to protect what you need, when you need it.

Say Goodbye

Ceremonies are an important part of change and transition. That’s why there are so many of them. It’s a time to celebrate a season of your life. No matter how much you loved or hated a place that you lived, it will forever be a part of your history.

Plan time in your schedule to say goodbye to the people and places that meant something to you during your time in your former home. If you have children, plan a party for them to say goodbye to their friends before school ends and everyone disappears. Visit your favorite restaurants, travel to your favorite local destination or do that one last activity you enjoyed or didn’t get to do yet because life got in the way.

Family Trip to Dublin in 2018 outside of Trinity College
You smile through the goodbyes even when it hurts.

Don’t wait to begin this process until the last week or two you are there, plan it early and embrace this phase. Remember, it’s not just about you saying goodbye, it’s about those that care for you getting to say goodbye too.

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