Two Ways to Go Out

There were two goodbyes last week that went viral and I don’t think they could be further away on the “keep it classy” scale. You’ve probably heard about both of them so I wonder if you had the same thought I had: “when my time comes to say goodbye, how will I be remembered?

The first was Charlo Greene, the reporter in Alaska who quit on air and then punctuated her resignation with an F bomb. Now, I’m no prude nor am I easily offended (especially by bad words).  So seeing this clip didn’t get me all worked up. Yet when I saw so many people sharing it on social media and some even saying, “good for her” I had to cringe a little. Here’s a woman who not only decided to embarrass her employer by using an on-air profanity, but she burned every bridge she possibly could in doing so. If things go up in smoke in her cannabis business (pun intended) I doubt she’ll have any opportunities in broadcasting. Such a shame when a simple, “so this is my last broadcast, thanks for allowing me to bring you the news these past few years” would have sufficed. Sure she wouldn’t have gone viral and had her fifteen minutes but she would have left with some class.

The other goodbye I’m sure everyone is aware of. Indeed the hashtags #Re2pect and #Jeter have been trending a lot lately. As a Mets fan who has had to witness Derek Jeter‘s career with a fair amount of envy I am not too sorry to see him go. But wow, even I can admit, that was a clutch and classy ending.  The clutch part was that in his last home game ever he got the game winning, walk off, hit. The classy part was really the culmination of an entire career. Jeter has done things right since he arrived in New York in 1995.  Which is not an easy thing to do. The Big Apple has many temptations that can lead a young man astray (just ask Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry). Yet in an era when the headlines on the sports pages often scream about performance enhancing drugs or domestic violence or worse, Jeter has somehow avoided being dragged through the mud.  He’s been scandal-free and there aren’t many big name athletes you can say that about.

When it comes time for my goodbye, I’d rather go out like Derek Jeter than Charlo Greene.  I’d rather be known for my body of work, for staying above the controversies and hopefully for my performances in the clutch. I’m sure you’d agree. And the great part about life is it’s all up to us. We get to decide what we’re known for. Our actions and our deeds and indeed our words (especially when the cameras are rolling) become our legacy. So if you want to  be known for dropping a four letter word and embarrassing your employer and co-workers, go right ahead. Who knows, you just might go viral and enjoy your fifteen minutes. But if you want to be remembered for style and class then live that way.  Everyday. Earn your reputation. Or as a meme I saw recently said, “live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, nobody would believe it.”

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