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The Newsletter | Edition 044
In our Off-White Papers, we provide practical guidance on how to respond to our rapidly-changing world. This weekly newsletter explores those topics in real-time, with information and action steps on how to make progress now.

We all have pride. In our work and personal lives, there's a compelling drive to be our best selves, make good impressions, and ultimately, when we transition from one point in our lives to the next, leave a worthy legacy behind. But it works both ways. It's not just about what you leave behind, it's also what you take with you. So what should the construct of 'legacy' really mean? How do you decide what should stay behind, and what should actively move along with you? And how is a legacy really created in the workplace?
  1. The case for taking it slow, from Joanne Bolens
  2. A mutually beneficial relationship, from Mykala Daniel
  3. The mark we make on each other, from Joey Camire
And this time, our illustrations from Nora Mestrich.


From Joanne Bolens


Employers often rush to onboard new employees in an attempt to achieve high performance in a short timeframe. This often results in a missed opportunity: ‘offboarding’ employees from their previous positions.


Among all the stresses that come with starting a new job, many are eager to show they’re efficient from day one. Keen to prove ourselves to our new bosses, we do our best to figure out how things are “done around here” and try to assimilate ASAP. Getting new hires quickly up and running is also a priority for employers, who aim to get their new team members acquainted with the company culture through a streamlined onboarding process.

While onboarding is crucial, we tend to forget that the superpower of new employees is what they bring from their past—whether it’s their ways of thinking, culture, tools, or even better, work benefits.


Before rushing to onboard new hires, offboard them so you get the most out of their past experience.


  • Set up offboarding conversations with new hires to understand what they loved most about their past companies, and what they wish to bring with them (e.g., every Wednesday teams shared some of the work they’ve been doing with the rest of the team, or mothers had access to a breastfeeding room, etc.)
  • (Re)design your onboarding process to equip them with new tools and ways of working, while giving them space to work in other tools and methods acquired in the past.


From Mykala Daniel


Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew herself from the French Open this weekend due to mental health concerns after being fined for skipping post-match conferences. While her attendance presents an opportunity to regain momentum for the sport with press and increased viewership, is building a legacy worth the sacrifice?


The responsibility of upholding a legacy given to us—at the expense of one we want to create for ourselves—wears us down. Employees are left to weigh the trade-offs prioritizing the organization’s values or needs over their own. For many, it isn’t worth it.


Ask yourself, how can you negotiate a shared legacy that equally makes you happy and guarantees the organization gets something out of it?


“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” ― Gustav Mahler

To truly create a shared legacy with employees, start by evaluating what decisions you’re making today to benefit your employee’s organizational impact beyond symbolic gestures. One thing you can do is assess how much you know about your teams’ goals and ambitions both personally and professionally and begin charting their vision from day one. Understanding what your team has their sights set out to accomplish in both the short and long-term allows for the opportunity to invite initiative and responsibility where it’s most helpful.

Another is to revisit your organizational ethos, both spoken and unspoken. It’s not about asking your colleagues or teams more questions but ruthlessly evaluating the processes, systems, or policies you've created. Is your company's vision a burden that employees must grudgingly maintain or a catalyst that motivates them to pick up the torch and take it with them long after they’re gone?

525,600 MINUTES

From Joey Camire


A few years ago, Forbes published a piece encouraging people later in their careers to begin thinking about their legacy. However, in a world where the median employee tenure is between 3.9-4.3 years, it may never be too early to consider the legacy you leave at work.


In an executive training I participated in a few years ago, there was an exercise that stuck with me. The proctor asked everyone to think of a meaningful boss from our past and write down three things we admired about them on separate Post-its. With all of them up on the board, she began organizing them into “hard skills” and “soft skills.” What became apparent was that “soft skills” far outweighed “hard skills” in the range of 5 to 1.

We live in a world, particularly with the influence of technology, where even great accomplishments are washed away relatively quickly by new and better things. What seems to stand the test of time, though, is our impact on one another. How generous were you to the younger generation in your company? Are you helping others learn, grow, and thrive? When you leave a company after 4.3 years, your products or processes may not stand the test of time, but your relationships will.

The simplest, and maybe most trite, way that you hear this is “did you leave a place better than you found it?” But what if the question is actually, “did you leave the people better than you found them?”


Answer one question: How do you want to be remembered?


The grandiosity of the term legacy can get in the way of thinking about it in actionable terms. You don’t have to ask “how do I want to be remembered 100 years from now,” you can ask “how do I want to be remembered 6 months after I leave?” If you know how you want to be remembered—as caring, as generative, as creative, as generous, as supportive—you can start to evaluate how you’re doing today. Small behaviors can make a big mark in how others remember you and the legacy you leave behind. Make more time for people, investing in others, structuring your time to do the things you want to be remembered by. Maybe our legacy is just the friends we made along the way?

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