So today was the day I told my clients I was leaving. I'm not leaving my job until March 25, but wanted to give my client enough time to process this with me. I told them all individually, not giving them full details just that I had accepted a job in Africa. I explained the transition process and what I was doing to ensure that they would continue to receive the services they need. I discussed how I would work with them to process any concerns, emotions and anxiety. I got a whole level of responses. A few were upset, one cried, but were happy. One stated she did not want a man to replace me. I got a blank stare from another. Another one seemed excited for me. The responses were all appropriate and were in step with how I knew each would handle it.
It was hard to do this, I almost felt like I was abandoning some of them. Trying to explain that they would have to work with someone else kind of felt like I was breaking up with them. I worry that my replacement will not have the patience, the knowledge or the empathy. I worry that my clients won't connect with the new person (some will probably rejoice though). Now this is not to say I am some bleeding heard social worker, I'm pretty straight forward on rules, boundaries and bullshit. But a lot of my clients I have worked with since I first started 4 1/2 years ago, some I am the only worker they have known since moving in.
I have to keep in mind I have done this before. I moved away to NYC leaving clients to work with someone else. The world will not end. It will not take long for them to make the transition (though I am sure the replacement will get what I got, mainly clients stating "That's not how ::insert name (me in this case):: did it). I have to keep reminding myself that I am not the gold standard and that the person replacing me will probably be at least as awesome as me (probably more so. I am still working on my organizational skills, but the HAVE improved).
In conclusion, I think telling my clients has really made this whole Peace Corps thing real. I left work tonight in kind of a freak out. I only have like 5 weeks left in NYC. Only 5. Freakin'. Weeks!!! So in the next couple of days I will be making an NYC bucket list. This will not include sitting in my apartment listening to my neighbors fight. No matter how entertaining. As one of my clients said "You are moving to Africa! Oh my God, that is exciting! You are going to have quite an adventure. You have to be scared and happy at the same time. My spiritual lady (her audio hallucination) is pleased with your decision and says"enjoy life and drink everything in."