Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Goodbyes are Hard

I've been scrambling like crazy to wrap up all my projects at the college to prepare for my exit next week. I have just five more working days to get it all documented and packed up. I've been so focused on the task at hand I hadn't really let it sink in that I will be saying good-bye to several people I've come to care a great deal about.

On occasion I've torn out my hair over the politics and the sometimes dysfunctional system of the college where I work. But even at its most pathological phases, I've been truly blessed to work with some dynamite folks. For the past two and a half years we've shared a lot. After next week I won't be seeing them again.

There are a few I HOPE to have some ongoing contact with. But I've moved and changed jobs too many times to be very optimistic about that. Many a time I've heard folks say "oh, let's do stay in touch" but the reality is life gets busy and once we no longer have the common work environment there is precious little to pull us back to the same level of camaraderie we once shared. Particularly since I'll be working in a town 50 miles away (transitioning from Pendleton, OR to Walla Walla, WA) it is highly unlikely I'll see many of the old crew much at all. It's not like we can catch a quick lunch together and share stories.

So today I started really feeling the loss of all that I'm walking away from. I'm quite sure this transition will be mostly positive for me. But the change will have its share of heartache as well as blessings.

Besides missing certain people, I am very much going to miss the sense of mastery I have now. I know my role well and I'm good at it. I have every reason to believe I will GET good at my new job, hopefully in short order. But there is no way of getting around the fact that the first few weeks I'll be in a foreign land, unsure of processes and procedures, trying to learn names, reviewing every single policy with no sense of familiarity at all. I don't look forward to that.

I'm trying to be as positive about the whole thing as I can. I have already started thinking about some things I hope to initiate and scheming about ways I can start off strong. But I know that to a certain extent I will need to be patient, take my time, get the lay of the land and give myself some grace as I find my way in unfamiliar territory.

So I take a deep breath and plunge forward. The next few days will be a mixed bag emotionally speaking, of that I am sure.

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