June 5, 2005

The Not-So-Long Goodbye

This week has been particularly rough - as many of you know, I gave notice, and right now, I'm in the middle of the "cleaning up and finishing past projects" phase. But this week was the hardest - I had to begin saying goodbye to all of my teams.

My job involves working with community groups, schools, neighborhoods, etc, on substance abuse prevention. After awhile, even though I had the most geographically diverse (and heaviest) workload, you get to be part of the family. So much so that teams can't feel they can deal without you - at least, until the new person comes in.

In between goodbyes came a variety of challenges - spending a whole day tooling around downtown and south St. Louis to collect forgotten signatures; dealing with the inevitable "do you have something lined up?" yet; trying to avoid extreme drama and/or mawkishness; and basically attempting to keep my own positive spirits up.

However, I was not prepared when, after a meeting, after giving the "It's time to move on," speech, a member of one of my teams pulled me aside and asked, "Leaving isn't exactly your idea, is it?"

I'm not going to publicly discuss all of the internal machinations - my close and personals know the truth, and quite frankly, I don't burn bridges, especially publicly. However, I was able to mumble some kind of half-hearted assertion, and went on my way. I firmly believe that the truth will always come out - I just have to get out of the way. Luckily, though, the fact that I received two Mixed Bag CDs has helped - nothing like new, unfamiliar tunes to help raise my spirits.

But it stinks - I have always hated goodbyes. I never followed up on buying lunch for former colleague, and that was well over a year ago. (In all honesty, though, it's for the better - a lot of thorny, emotionally charged issues on my part). I know there are people I'll follow up with, and I'll still continue a co-chair position that I started with...but let me tell you, I honestly hope I won't be unemployed for long.

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