What a very strange day it was at work today. Although I have 30 working daysleft (who’s counting!), and next week I’m going to be out of the office more often than not and so I’ve been trying to not only make sure that the people who will have to continue the work that I’ve been doing are well trained and have really thought through what’s ahead but at the same time clear out the remains of my work that fill my office. Two very different challenges that I’m doing my best to meet each day. They come with two very different sets of emotional breezes too.
I have never deluded myself into thinking that there aren’t many, many people who could do the job that I do as well as I do it … if not better. I know that I’ve put heart and soul into this work for many years. I know that I care passionately about the outcomes; the real outcomes (more about that another time). I also know that there are points in life where we move from one “state” to the next in a rather natural flow. For example, I know that in childbirth, if we’re lucky, everything unfolds and in the end we leave behind being pregnant and move into being mothers. It’s more clear, however, in childbirth – where that boundary meanders through our lifescape – than it is in the life of work. Some of the things I set out to do are actually done; mostly (because, in the end, most successes have meant setting another tide of things underway) done that is. I’m confident that they’ll been well “hatched” and will grow in strength. Some of the things are still in gestation; some closer to nascense than others. Those are harder to let go of for sure.
I spent much of today involved in office dismantling. Really it was more a dismantling of my last 14 years of working life. I went through filing cabinets; glancing at projects that once filled my days and crept into my nights as well. I thought back to projects that I’d watched over while they evolved – emergent design became a kind of trademark for me. I came across several piles of old 3 1/2 inch floppy diskettes (do you remember them); mostly labelled with reminders of challenges past. One by one I slipped them into the disk drive and watched as a list of folders holding years of memories popped onto the screen. I saw myself in rooms filled with people who were filled with excitement at sharing a new journey together. I saw myself around tables filled with unhappy, tired people. I saw ideas see the light of day; some of them I watched or help as they grew to fruition, some of them I still think and wonder about. There were a couple of personal diskettes in the pile (can’t image how that happened though?) and they too led me back to memories of holidays past, to-do lists of long ago, and a few recipes that actually might be worth giving a try – again. With each thing I’d pass judgement: which to live in a new office, which to move onto a CD so that I could remember it, and which to tear-and-toss into that large bin hunkered down outside my office door.
This was most of my day. There was that warm and lovely nostalgic feeling. I smiled a lot, cried only a little. Watching the shelves become bare, book-cases once filled with my delights slowly readying themselves for a new library, personal mementos move from wall to car to home … it’s truly filled me with a good feeling of “mission accomplished” more than anything else. I came here to make a difference. I believe – really I hope – that I might have made a difference. At least a little. And now it’s time to move on to new challenges and new landscapes and new horizons, and I’m feeling pretty ready for the move.
Fewer than 30 work days left. When you get down to counting days and the numbers seem to spill away it’s different. Already differnt. Hhmm.