How To Step Down With Grace

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The road may finally have come to an end for Hillary Clinton and her race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Associated Press reported that the New York Senator will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination. Clinton’s concession speech, which would probably be delivered in New York City, will signify that Obama will have reached the 2,118 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

However, sources from the Clinton camp say that she will not formally suspend or end her race entirely. Instead, the senator plans to continue speaking out on issues like health care. Her continued campaign presence may also give her room to negotiate with Obama on a possible vice presidential nomination.

Experts say that by conceding sooner than later, Clinton keeps more political options open. When it comes to bowing out, whether it is from the presidential race or from a position at work, timing is everything. Kathi Elster, who along with Katherine Crowley, co-wrote Working With You Is Killing Me says, “Timing is critical. You want to leave before you burn your bridges.”

While Crowley feels like Clinton’s timing is not too late for her reputation, it may be too late for to share a ticket with Obama. “She wanted that voice to be heard and she had a lot of support. She has been winning along the way,” says Crowley. “But, politics is a funny game. If she wants to be vice president, she probably should have pulled out a while ago. She may have burned too many bridges at this point."

In addition to properly timing your exit, it is important to go out with dignity. There is nothing to be gained from leaving a campaign or a company by angering everyone around you. According to Crowley, there is a true art to leaving well. “You shouldn’t just up and leave. It is admirable to complete all your projects, say goodbye to everyone and leave gracefully.”

And, the experts agree, it is safe to assume Clinton’s concession speech will be nothing short of classy. “I’m sure her speech will be high road," says Elster. "When you resign it is important to take responsibility and come up with reasons that put you on the high road.”

By ending on an uptick, Elster says, former colleagues or associates will be more likely to remember you in a positive way, which is especially important if you are considering using them as references. “What matters most is not what people think of you at the moment but what they will remember in three months, or a year,” she says. “And, what they will remember is whether or not you left with dignity or if you trashed the place.”

 

 

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