Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Looking Back on Six Years of Work

Today I put my things into boxes, Clorox-wiped down all the surfaces of my desk, and left my cube with my replacement's name on the name plate. The guy I've been training asked me if it was hard for me, and I said no. I meant it. I've known for ages that I'm leaving, and we've been working towards this next life stage for so long that even though I love and value this place and people, I am ready for the next stage. I think I did my grieving a year ago.

I've actually got nearly two full weeks of training left before I step out of my role (if baby doesn't come first), but today felt like an ending. Friday was a baby shower and goodbye party, the sentimental and slightly awkward type of thing that is very sweet and affirming but that I still avoid because I don't like attention on me! In reality I am thankful for how many people have affirmed me. I feel loved and valued.

Six years. It's funny. I actually worked at my last workplace in Chicago for six years as well. In both places I worked in multiple roles within the same organization and left in a drastically different place than I started. My experience is that where you start out is not at all where you end up, and gaining an entry into an organization is perhaps more important than the level of position you start out in.

As Isaac and I prayed tonight, we both thanked God for the provision that this job has been over the past six years. It helped pay Isaac's way through seminary. They flexed with us when Judah was born, allowing Isaac and I to juggle a newborn and Isaac completing his classes while still maintaining my status as a full-time employee. Somehow between the head of the organization and a friend who spoke on my behalf, they managed to see potential beyond my under-utilized initial role (see this old post: Desk Job Angst) and asked me to take greater responsibility. Now as we've been raising support, they allow me to keep Judah with me at times while Isaac is at meetings with donors.

In the end, the professional growth I've experienced is huge. I chuckle even as I write that because "professional growth" sounds so useless. But really, expanding what I know how to do, my confidence, my job experience, my life experience... it affects all of life, actually. The exposure to high-level leadership teams and the decision-making process among leaders? Awesome. Managing our international security? Immensely intimidating and really cool. I felt empowered and really believed in here at work, and it's affected how I view my role in the rest of life.

And then there is purely the sense of community and friendship. I've learned that I highly value being a part of a group. Maybe it's the raised-in-Asia part of me. Whether it was my class overseas, my MuKappa group at Moody, or the group environment at both of the two places I've spent six years working  - I love getting to the point where I am a part of a group. I don't have to know everyone well, I just like sense of belonging in the group identity. This particular workplace, after two or three years, suddenly became really, really fun. Between pranks and lunch chats and funny office email trails, I laughed a lot and just really enjoyed the people I work with. That's a gift, you know?

It was a part of the journey of faith I was on personally when I arrived here in Dallas. I took the job because I liked that it was an international organization, but I was quite hesitant about working for Christians, being that I was in the middle of feeling quite cynical about the church. It was a gift to find people quirky and sometimes annoying and well.... people.... but people who loved. I have learned so much from them. Some of them are dear friends now. A lot of them moved on before me. Now it's my turn.

I'm thankful for the last six years. Now for the next stage of life..... bring it on!

From the archives: Who Sits in the Cube Next to You?

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