It’s Never Easy to Say Goodbye

May 20, 2013 — 51 Comments

It’s never easy to say goodbye but after 11 years that’s exactly what is happening –


Bob Borson, Architect


This is really the first part of two posts that I will write on the subject – the second coming in a few weeks after things have settled down just a bit. Last week I had the unpleasant task of telling the two partners where I currently work that after 11 years employment I was resigning my position and taking a job with another firm. This was a difficult conversation to have, not because things went badly – just the opposite – because things have gone so well. I love my job and I really like the people I work with – they are all exceptional individuals and I have a great deal of respect for the skills they bring to the table. That’s part of what made this process of resigning so difficult.

Another reason leaving my current job was painful was because I have been with this firm for 11 years – and they have only existed for 15 years. I’ve been there for almost the entire growth and development of the firm. I’ve been there for some of our greatest successes, seen people come and go, been through some really good years and some not so great years. That’s the thing with small firms – the good ones are like your family – and quitting the firm is like quitting the family.

I am leaving my job because of an exceptional opportunity was presented to me to continue my growth and development as an architect. I didn’t go looking for it – it found me and it was a great fit. I thought a long time about how I would walk into the office and give my resignation, the people this act would impact, the clients I feel like I am abandoning, the projects I am leaving behind … incomplete. I lost a lot of sleep over it – if you’re in the creative services industry you probably know what I mean. Working on the projects I have been fortunate enough to spend time on, getting to know the people who will eventually call them “home” has been just another aspect of misery associated with leaving my job. I don’t think for one minute that anyone will begrudge me for leaving, in fact, I am quite sure that they will all be very happy for me – that’s just another part of what makes this hurt.

I thought about making this post about how to professionally go about quitting your job – but it’s too soon (but I’ll write about it eventually). I am excited for the change but saddened at the same time … it’s complicated.

But it’s still the good kind of complicated.

I decided to write today just to let everyone know that there will be some changes – the partners had last week to let anyone they wanted to personally tell know what was happening and now it’s my turn. My last day at my current job will be June 14th – that will give me 5 weeks to handle the transition of my projects to other capable people in the office. Things will continue on here at Life of an Architect – hopefully better than ever. In the meantime, wish me luck! Once I make the move, I’ll write part 2 of this post and let everyone know where I’m at and some of the details behind the move.


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  • Dave

    Hi Bob,

    I just stumbled across your site and have found it extremely helpful. I’m not sure if this question relates to this post but I was wondering if you had any insight. I just graduated from grad school and have been working at a firm for a month or so. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to work there but my wife and I are wanting to move to a different city for family reasons. This puts me in an awkward situation in that I need to start looking for jobs but I don’t want to give the impression that I’m flighty or don’t commit to my job because I’m a very hard worker, I just have to look towards moving in the next six months or so. Any advice on how to look for employment elsewhere And still do right by my current employers?

    Thank you in advance for any advice,

    • I think all bets are off the table if you are moving to a different city. It’s a different thing all together to be concerned that you might appear flighty if you leave a job so soon after starting – but life happens and when it includes a change in geography, I don’t think you have anything to worry about from anyone involved (present and future tense).

      Best of luck,

      • Dave

        Thank you for the your input and quick response, I greatly appreciate it.


  • Bob, Late to the scene here. Been a bit crazy on my end so only now getting up to speed. I always have said that certain doors close so others can open. I have little doubt that what is around the corner for you will be great! You would be a wonderful asset to any firm and your new firm will be blessed to have you. I wish you nothing but the best!!!

    Most Sincerely,

    Brad Feinknopf

  • Craig

    I wish you all the best, Bob. Growth is not always pain free. Change is inevitable but uncomfortable. I admire your courage. May this be the beginning of a wonderful new period in your “Life of an Architect”!

  • Paul Scharnett

    Best wishes, Bob! I bet it’s a very exciting and bittersweet time. Good luck, and don’t forget us!

    • Thanks – and I always remember my friends, it’s the secret to my imagined success

  • Bob wishing you and your current partners the smoothest of transitions. Growth can be painful. But everything happens for a reason. In the end everyone benefits!

    • Thanks Sherry – when am I going to see you again? Will you be in Denver for the National AIA convention?

  • Meelie

    This one resonates with me. I too am facing a similar decision and I am still trying to figure out the how in breaking the news. Luckily for me you will break yours before I do so I will have the opportunity to learn from you =) All the best to you on this new adventure Bob!

    • Meelie – no matter how you actually decide to break the news, just make sure that you make the transition easy for the firm you are leaving.

  • Jas

    Bob- PLEASE continue LOAA blog even with your transition and new position. VERY inspiring; so glad I came across it and you.

    • Thanks Jas – I will continue writing LoaA for the foreseeable future unless I win the lottery, then forget about it

  • Audrey rhodes

    I can’t believe it has been 11 years, I know you will be missed and best of luck in your new adventures.

    • Thanks Audrey – hope Austin is treating you and Scott well

  • Good luck, Bob! I’ve been with my company for 11 years now too. Wishing you an awesome future!

    • Thanks Kelly. I hope our paths cross again in real life this year! My new “job” will let me out of the office a bit more

  • Congrats / Good Luck!

  • Paul Anderson

    Bob, I know most of the feelings you are experiencing now. I’m sure the Principals your current office will continue to champion your abilities as an Architect and a human being – and you theirs. Congrats!

  • Ged

    When I first read the title I thought this article was going to say that you were being let go due to current economic issues like so many other architects at the moment. So its great to see someone advancing their career for a change ! Go for it !

  • Richard

    OK Bob, good luck!…But I honestly don’t think you need it. Enjoy the new office space…Post pictures!

  • Arpi Nalbandian

    Good luck on your new adventure, Bob! I’m sure it will be as fabulous as this journey has been!

  • Daniel

    A toast! To old friends and new adventures!

  • Wow, that’s big news! Congrats, and good luck. I’m sure it’s bittersweet.

  • Carbone

    Congrats Bob. Sounds like you’ve got an exciting opportunity and handled your ‘exit’ correctly and with much class. Best to you.

  • Michael

    Best wishes and good luck.

  • Mark Mc Swain

    In my thirty years’ careening about the biz, I’ve noticed that it’s good for the life of a firm for the makeup of its principals to change every so often..

    As with all human endeavors, this will have equal parts joy and pain, mirth and anger, acceptance and denial.
    Naturally, it’s far better when the changes are voluntary, where people are moving to things which are better for them. (Having been through the horror of a closed, shuttered-for-good, office, any alternative is better.)

    This is something that has struck me in my (infuriatingly) infrequent gigs in “business continuation”–that mix of backups, IP storage, hardware, & practice that is both sensible amd needful in our modern world.
    The problem is not in whether backup equipment is merely off-site, or “on cloud”–the problem is in identity. Suppose the service hosting your web presense was in Shawnee, OK? Or your collaboration files? But, that’s just “stuff”–the important question is how does that reflect upon what you want your company to be, to reperesent, to become.
    And one of the least best ways to achieve any of that is to collect a group of “I’m just doing this until I/You die” principals. Growth is the key.
    I appauld growth; therefore I appauld Bob, and wish him all the best.

  • Bittersweet – but changing things up a bit is good for personal growth. All part of life’s great adventure. Good luck.

  • Daniel Montgomery

    Best of Luck with the move Bob hope everything works out great for you.

  • jen born

    WOW! Good for you to take this opportunity. I hate change as well, but if you can learn and grow, its for the best. And you are leaving on great terms, which is nice. I’m glad that you will still be posting on your blog – looking forward to your future adventures 🙂

  • Chioma

    I totally understand what you mean. Even when I left the firm I had worked with for a year 6 months, It was pretty emotional because we were like one little family. I wish you the best in your new endeavour.

  • Kate

    Best of luck to you! (I also had to leave my most recent job after 11 years. It’s tricky getting the hang of the way to do things in a new office – even if you do come with all kinds of expertise and experience, you always end up feeling a bit like a tool when you can’t get the “new” office plotter to work for you. So you end up asking a wet-behind-the-ears intern, who fixes it in about 5 seconds.)

  • Nancie Mills Pipgras

    Best of luck to you, Bob. It sounds like an exciting new beginning.

  • Bill Reeves

    Good for you. There is good and bad with every job. I hope there is more good than bad with your new position. I’ve always related my jobs as a marriage and changing jobs as a divorce. I keep promising myself to never do that again. My last change put me in a partnership with two other experienced architects. It is a little different being responsible for running the show. Damn recession.

  • Art

    I resigned a position I had for 21 years back in 2007 to start a new firm. It was with a small family firm. I only mulled it over a weekend and did not realize I was going to resign until about a mile from the office that Monday morning. These have been the happiest 5 years professionally I have ever had. Good Luck, everything will be all right.

  • Zeljko

    This is how it works man. You should be happy that your bosses and your people you work with are cool guys. I quit also my job three months ago after three years of hard work. I was good with the guys I worked with but after about one year I couldn’t stand my bosses. I had no respect for them when I realized that they didn’t apreciated my work and all the stuff I did for the office beside the architecture stuff. You should be happy that you quit and you stll are going to talk with your bosses.

  • Sharmila

    This post really resonated with me, Bob. Coincidentally, I too resigned from my current job last week, having been there for ten years. It has been an amazing place to work, given me wonderful learning opportunities and room to grow. It was a difficult decision to leave but I leave by the first week of July, hopefully helping ease the transition.
    I wish you all the very best for your new adventure!

  • And I feared, you’d say good bye to Life of an Architect, but beginnings are always mor exciting than the hardship of saying good bye 🙂

  • Steve

    I’ve been in your shoes and understand the bitter-sweet position you’re in. We live, we learn, we better ourselves in the process. Best of luck to you, Bob. Truly, best of luck.

  • Sad for the chapter that will be closing for you, but happy for you that you’ll be starting another. How cool is it that the position sought you out! Kudos to you, friend!

  • Hi Bob – when a great opportunity comes along, you have to take a chance on it. I’ve been through that several times, and I can appreciate the mix of emotions. I wish you all the best in your new firm, and I’m looking forward – as all of your readers are – to continuing the conversation that you started here.

  • All the best Bob. These things are tough and exciting all the same. The transition is the worst part.

  • It can be really hard breaking the news. I changed jobs last summer, and while my new job is amazing, it was hard saying goodbye to everyone after a couple of years. You’re exactly right – a small firm is like a family.

    Best of luck and congrats on your new adventure!!

  • Tim Barber

    As we all know “the only constant thing in life is change”. I have told many that it has become clear to me that Chaos is the norm and that when things go smoothly enjoy them because they won’t stay that way for long. Moving forward is a part of life and as you know we should not pass up opportunities to hang on to the past. I am glad that those you have worked for understand and can separate friendship and business, which I think many find difficult. Good luck on your new venture and I look forward to reading about what the future holds for you.

  • Tom Baker

    It’s going to be tough for a small firm to reorganize and to finish the work in progress. Will you make a complete break or be around to answer questions?

    I hope your new job doesn’t prevent you from continuing here.

  • Joe

    Terrific! Enjoy the transition. I did it a few times and, wonderfully, my best clients followed me to other firms.

  • It can be tough & I hear you on leaving things unfinished & in other hands. With that it can be exciting moving onto that next book in the series. Congrats & best of luck

  • Well, best of luck at your new position.

  • ChristopherSipesRA

    Best of luck Bob! There’s always someone who is in or has been through a tougher experience so try to keep things in perspective. In the end you won’t regret your decision as it was made with tons of thought about you, your family and your career. You will look back at this time and know that it was supposed to go the way it did. Thanks for sharing,… and for keeping your followers up to date.