Letting Go of a Project


I’m going through an important career change this month – I’m letting go of a project I’ve worked on for over a year. Although I look forward to new opportunities, I can’t help but feel sad that this time has come.

There are many ways for web workers to experience the act of ‘letting go’. It could be separating from a client you’ve worked with for so long, an old website of yours that requires a major face lift, or a blog you need to sell.

What drives us to stop working on a project we’ve been involved with for so long? How is this different from giving up?

Reasons for leaving

One of the reasons why we might consider letting go of a project is when we’ve outgrown it. This means that in time, we realized that we’ve already learned all we can from that project. Don’t get me wrong – I believe that learning is a lifelong process and that there are many things you can learn from a single job alone. However, we also need to constantly push ourselves and find new venues in which we can learn. If you feel like your long term project is preventing you from getting other learning opportunities, then either find a way to spend less time on that project or leave it altogether.

Sometimes, we also let go because we want to take our work or lives in a completely different direction. Whether it’s changing niches or redefining your brand, it’s possible that you just want to spend your time on projects that are closer to your own interests. I spent almost two years writing articles on dating and while it was fun, I wanted to spend my time writing about topics I truly cared about. As you grow and change, you’ll find that your work changes with you.

It’s also possible that you feel compelled to leave because your project starts associating with things that go against your own beliefs or ethics. If this is the case, no amount of money or benefits will probably make you stay.

How to walk out properly

Whatever reasons you have for leaving, it’s important that you don’t burn all your bridges – you might want to come back. Sometimes, leaving a project isn’t permanent. You probably just want to spend some time away from it temporarily so that you can return with a fresh perspective. Since this might be the case, it’s best to keep the ties you had with your colleagues and check up on them once in a while.

It’s also better if you make the transition as smooth as possible for those involved. If you’re leaving a long term client, make a list of recommended contractors to replace you and offer to brief them about the work at hand.

Keep in mind that you’ll also be left with some downtime you need to fill. Plan for it accordingly, or else that time could easily become unproductive.

Letting go of a project can be both a painful and refreshing process. Regardless of the reasons behind it, it’s important to go through it as gracefully and carefully as possible.

Have you ever let go of a project you’ve been working on for a long time? Why and how did you do it?

Image by John Evans from sxc.hu

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