5 Career Lessons Learned From Jon Stewart’s Departure
Jon Stewart’s announcement came as quite a surprise to many. Many of his fans felt sincere, deep, and personal sadness; many also felt confused and shocked. Why would someone leave their career when it’s seemingly at its peak?
(Photo Credit: Michael Hirsch/Flickr)
Luckily for us, Jon helped us make sense of his choice. His ability to help us understand the seemingly absurd is what got him to this high point in his career in the first place, and he didn’t disappoint when it came to explaining his departure. And maybe, just maybe, there is some wisdom to be gained from this that we can apply to our own lives and career in some way.
There is a lot we can learn from Jon Stewart’s decision.
1. Leave the party while you’re still having fun.
Another way to say it might be, get out while the getting’s good. No matter which words to live by you like best, why wait for the tide to turn to move on? Instead, choosing an opportune time to make your exit, before things start to shift, will allow you to leave on a high note with wonderful memories and a great big smile on your face.
2. It’s OK to “have ideas not plans.”
Stewart told us that he has ideas about what he’d like to do in the future, but no concrete plans. If you have the opportunity to do this, why not?! Since his announcement, there has been much conversation and speculation about what might be next for Stewart. Maybe some of this talk will help construct his next move.
Even if social media won’t explode with commentary should you choose to make a bold move like Jon has, chances are your friends, family, and colleagues would weigh in. Hearing about your strengths, the areas where you excel, and listening to the suggestions others offer about what could be next for you, would be immeasurably helpful when moving from the brainstorming to planning stage. Again, not many of us have the option to quit a job before having another, much less without having a clear direction to point toward, but wouldn’t it be cool if we could?
3. He will, “have dinner, on a school night, with my family.”
Jon did mention one plan the night he made his announcement — to have dinner, on a school night, with his family. He’s heard they’re lovely people … doesn’t this kind of speak for itself?
4. He was, at least, “slightly restless.”
Stewart mentioned that the show, and the fans, don’t deserve, “an even slightly restless host.” And, maybe this is something for the rest of us to consider too. If your heart isn’t all the way in it, maybe it would ultimately be better to move on — for everyone. Although, leaving a position when you’re at the height of your success will make this a little difficult for others to see and understand right away.
5. Maybe someone else deserves the opportunity.
Jon mentioned that he knows he’s been given a tremendous opportunity through this position, and that maybe it’s time someone else get the same chance. If your heart, your passion, has started to turn away from the work you’re currently doing, maybe it makes sense to let someone else take advantage of the opportunity presented via your position.
This decision to walk now is a bold one, even for Jon Stewart who has all the resources needed to ensure a secure future. But, maybe there is a little something to learn from this for all of us. Even if we can’t afford to make such a bold move, perhaps Jon helped us look at the world, and our lives, just a little differently, yet again.
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What career lessons did you learn from Jon Stewart’s departure? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.
Gina Belli works as a teacher, freelance writer, and educational consultant, and lives in her beloved home state, Connecticut. She likes to write about education, work-life balance, and the economy. Given her arresting capacity to over-analyze anything interpersonal, her writing often tends to focus on some of the more emotional aspects of workplace connections and disconnections, as they relate to partnerships and teams, personality and communication styles, and leadership. In her free time, she likes to putter around her renovated one-room schoolhouse home, take walks in the woods, and eat as much guacamole as she can get her hands on.