I cleared everything off of my desk last Friday and it all sits in boxes in my living room today.
A yellow bowl,
Books about leadership and building community,
"Charlie the camel,"
Cards from friends,
Six years into boxes.
I told my team about two months ago that I thought it was time to move on.
Try something new
After six years.
I knew that I had to say it out loud so that others would hear it.
So that I would follow through.
Every job comes with its ups and downs.
And as many downs as I have experienced at this job, something kept me connected.
I was never able to let go.
Part of it was my determination.
Part of it was my will to get through the hard times in order to learn and grow from the experience.
Part of it was that I believe in the mission. So strongly that I couldn't think of anything I would rather be doing.
Most of it was my friends.
Thinking back to first days - they were strangers.
People who I knew shared the same belief and vision, but people I didn't know.
It's hard to remember not knowing them.
Because now, when sitting across from them at my going away dinner last night, when "cheers-ing" them at our neighborhood lounge across the street from the office, I see faces that I love.
And that's exactly what made it so hard for me to leave.
A job is just a job to some people.
To me, this was a lot more.
It was a stand against injustice and inequality.
It was a united voice of adults saying, "Every child absolutely can achieve."
It was a family. A group of people who got the work done and cared about each other while doing it.
I cherished this - A place where you come to love the people with whom you work.
I have cried (maybe one time too many times) with them.
Laughed with them.
Stressed with them.
Struggled with them.
Danced with them.
Confided in them.
Listened to them.
And sometimes not for that much more than
A well timed joke during a virtual meeting.
A great point in an otherwise confusing discussion.
A solution when things seemed grim.
A note left on my desk that made my day.
A smile and a wink over a cubicle divider.
An impassioned speech that left me feeling inspired. Not so alone.
A relentlessness to be admired.
An unbreakable positivity.
Just being there, next to me. Committed and in the work.
To my co-workers throughout the six years I have worked at New Leaders: Thank you.
You are inspiring, amazing, determined people who have made an unmistakable impact on my life. Thank you for all that you have given me, and most of all, thank you for your friendship.