While tomorrow is my last official day in this role, the celebrations of my pending departure began last night. After the second to the last visit in Radiation B3, Little C and I went off to meet Big C (my manager) and our colleague, Marion. The women of my team (past and present) wanted have a proper launch me off into the world dinner. It was an evening that provided yet one more reason to be thankful for these amazing people who have inspired, laughed with me, pushed my buttons and more than anything believed in me during the last few years. Even when it looked like everything was imploding in my work environment, these were the women who looked at me and said “You can do it”.
As I reflect on the past 1.5 years in particular, I have realized how much having women to inspire me at work has shaped where I am going to next. I’ve spent most of my life working in areas where women were scarce and rarely in positions of leadership. If they were, they almost seemed so far away that having a normal conversation with them was not something I would attempt, figuring they were busy enough. I think that before I moved to the Netherlands and after, I have surrounded myself with strong, independent women in my out of work life and that was a good way to keep going. Yet it really does make a difference when you find them working for the same employer that you do. In my last 1:1 today with Big C, I thanked her for that and let her know just how much having her as role model has impacted me.
This afternoon, it was my farewell lunch with the team. I had secretly hoped and not so secretly said to GG and Little C that if I was lucky, no one would show up and I would be spared your classic introvert’s nightmare of being the centre of attention. It wasn’t made any more appealing by a week ago Little C telling me she needed a picture of me because they were planning to put on the cake, that Big C thought it was the appropriate thing to do. I was appalled. I said to Little C “Why can’t I have a Minion cake? What is this bullshit with putting a photo on a cake? I am not dead!” She told me that it was an English custom and Big C was insisting on it *eyeroll*
Here’s what was waiting for me when the cake came out…
I think this goes down as the second best cake of my life. The first being the one my mom made for my 11th birthday of layers and layers of home made cream puffs between ice cream. She told me it was a once in a lifetime cake based on the number of hours that were involved in putting it together. This cake definitely places a high second, in 43 years.
As the cake was shared, there were the usual Knights of the Round Table behavior of banging on the table calling for “Speech speech”. You probably know by now talking is not a problem for me 😉 I told them the truth, that it hadn’t really hit me until last night that I would be leaving people. Instead I had focused on finishing up all of the job responsibilities, juggling the new ones and not stopping to actually give place to my feelings. I acknowledged that each and every one of them had contributed to the person that I am through the last 3.5 years and that I am going forward into this amazing job based partially on experiences from the current one and being part of that organization. It’s completely true, even the shittiest moments taught me something about myself and gave me another set of skills or determination. Most importantly, it helped me to keep building for new things as the losses came, both at work and at home. Anyway, I got verklemmt and teared up and they got uncomfortable with so much emotion 😉
After lunch, I had a meeting with some of the interns that will be working with me in the new job. Which was fun and inspiring. Hah, they think I know stuff 😉 And then came the real moment, going to pick up my new business cards from the mailroom. That’s when you know it is official, when you have business cards! Mine say very boldly (so there’s no shying away from it) Program Manager – National Empowerment Plan. Yowser…
Today was Little C’s last radiation – Hurrah! Which is probably something I want to celebrate even more than my new job!
Tomorrow will be one last day of handover meetings and then at 1645, or probably slightly later, the auto responder goes on and says “For the old job, please contact so and so” 🙂
Thank you for being part of my inspiration!!!