Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Last summer I started working at a family owned farm. The family that owns the farm decided to start a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and they teamed up with their elderly next door neighbor Mr. Pickett* who has grown vegetables all his life and has been selling his own veggies out by the road in front the farm for a few years now.

A lot of the time I worked alone with Mr. Pickett, picking and selling veggies. I learned a lot about gardening from him, which I thought was really fun, because I would love to have a garden of my own someday.

Mr. Pickett and I were getting along well. He really liked my work, so as vegetable season was coming to an end he started telling me about the plans he had for me for next year. I never really knew what to say to him about his plans, because I hadn’t decided for sure that I was going to work at the farm again this summer, but I hadn’t decided that I wasn’t going to either. Although there were things I loved about the job, there were also a lot of things that made the job not a very good fit for me.

It was this March that I finally decided that I was not going to work at the farm this year. After making that decision I, of course, had to break the news to Mr. Pickett. This was the first time I’ve ever had to say no to a job offer, and to me, it felt a lot more like I was breaking up with Mr. Pickett than just declining a job. I was so worried that he would be upset or hurt by my decision. I knew he was planning on having me around to help him this year, and I felt guilty that I wouldn’t be there for him, but I also knew I had to do what was best for me.

I was so stressed out and nervous about telling him. It took me a few days to get up the courage to call him. When I finally made the call, I told him that working at the farm wasn’t going to be a good fit for me this year, and that I was sorry I wouldn’t be able to work with him. To my relief he said that he wasn’t hurt, he was just disappointed. He ended up telling me that if I ever changed my mind and decided I would like to work there again, he would always have a job for me.

So, in the end, it didn’t feel like a break up at all. I was so pleased with the way it turned out. When I got off the phone, I actually started dancing around the house from excitement and relief! I had gotten myself so worked up over the situation and thought it would turn out absolutely horribly, but it didn’t!

What do you do when you have to break news like this to someone? Have you found ways to handle these types of situations to make them less stressful?

*Name changed for the sake of privacy.