The Art of Transition

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

One thing we can probably all agree on is that change is a constant. While there is nothing new in this observation, I am currently experiencing a new perspective on it. After nearly four decades in the parking profession, I find myself planning for retirement. This new wrinkle (no pun intended) has me thinking differently about a lot of things, but mostly I am focused on transitions.

Webster defines “transition” as:

1a: Passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another : change.

b: A movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another.

2a: A musical passage leading from one section of a piece to another.

I am fortunate to work for a great company that appreciates and values my contributions. When I approached them with my ideas on a three-year retirement transition plan, they embraced the idea. The plan involves staff recruitment and training, client transitions, and collecting, organizing, and sharing a career’s worth of data and best practices, etc. Just thinking through a transition plan (whether in a personal or professional setting) creates some interesting shifts in perspective.

Rather than planning for the next big thing and developing strategies on how to stay relevant in a dynamic and fast-changing industry (which will always be important), you now imagine developing and implementing these new approaches without you in the picture. While this can be a little unnerving, it can also be quite liberating. Letting go is difficult for some but I have found myself excited by the energy, skills, creativity, and passion of our young professionals.

I rather like the allusion to the musical passage in the Webster definition above. As an analogy, I can almost hear the change in key and cadence and feel a shift in tone and focus in my life these days. I feel honored to have had the opportunities that this industry and my many friends and colleagues have provided over the years.

Even though I am entering a new career phase, this is not a time to only look back. The challenges and opportunities for advancing our profession are more exciting now than ever—so it’s on to the next challenge! (If I could only find my darned glasses!)

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president, senior practice builder, with Kimley-Horn.