The first half of June was tough. I prepared my work team for my departure. I organized projects. I prioritized future activities. I updated my operating manual for my replacement. And I did it while grieving an organization I faithfully served for 14 years. It was like breaking up with a long-term boyfriend and continuing to make his lunch every day. I was pretty miserable. I rejected the agency throwing a farewell party. I wasn’t leaving because I wanted to. I was leaving because I had to. It wasn’t a celebratory moment. To avoid goodbyes and an awkward exit, I Irish-ghosted. I announced my last day would be June 15th. Then, I let my boss know it would be June 13th. Yet, when I woke up on June 12th to a cold, gloomy day, I decided Tuesday was the end of my tenure. I went in. I did my last tasks and walked out NRS’ door forever at 3:15pm. And I toasted the NRS’ chapter of my life by meeting Josh and Abby for drinks in Wrigleyville. Unfortunately, it was the same day our family lost Trixie. My sister’s faithful golden retriever companion that brought so much joy to Jenny and our entire family.
The second half of June was much better. I spent a week in Nashville and Clarksville at the Walsh family reunion. It was a perfect transition from employment to under-employment (I’m still serving at Wood). Much like my parents, most of my aunts and uncles are retired. They are traveling and enjoying life. I see this crew every three years or so. It’s fun to catch up on theirs, their kids’ and their kids’ kids’ stories. Our reunion house was in the middle of nowhere. And it was 95 degrees. I was forced to chill inside the air conditioned lodge.
When I got back to Chicago, I was very productive about this new phase of my life. I picked up extra shifts at Wood. I worked Friday dinner, Saturday double and Sunday brunch. It was hard but lucrative. It was the Pride Parade on Sunday which made it even more exhausting and luckily profitable.
I spent the last week of June applying for jobs, working on self exploration and talking with people. I chatted on the phone with my mom, Jen, Sue James and Michelle. I had lunch with Scubi, Jen B-B and Bilger. I had dinner with Abby on Tuesday and Steve and Mike on Wednesday. I met with Maree, a guru in the nonprofit community. I’m open to any guidance on my career quest.
I worked out with Josh six times, reviewed three plays and wrote a LinkedIn post. I started a journal to chronicle daily this career crisis. I’m musing publishing it to help others who find their careers suddenly topsy-turvy. The working title is “Unexpected Changes” – courtesy of Josh.
I’m giving myself an A for June. Even though I might not have accomplished as much as in other months, I left NRS in much better shape than it left me. And I’m rallying in positivity and productivity for the next part of the journey.
As far as my 2018 goals…
Student for life: I’ve listened to 1.75 books and read 1/2 book. After finding out I wouldn’t be the next NRS’ executive director, I took a break from professional books. So far in 2018, I had listened to 8 books on servant leadership, shifting cultures, radical candor and transforming workplaces. Instead I decided to listen to something lighter, I cued up “Calypso” by David Sedaris. Rich, James and Crid have insisted for years that I’d like his storytelling. I finally went there. I thoroughly enjoyed his humorous narration on his eccentric family and his own fascination with the mundane and morbid. His passage about his sister’s suicide was powerful and his account of feeding a tumor to a sea turtle made me queasy. I’m currently finishing up Sedaris’ “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” This might be my summer of David Sedaris.
Abby also gave me a yoga book, “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele. It’s an absolutely, perfect book for self exploration. I’m savoring it. I read a chapter and reflect on it for a day or two. I’m journaling on the principles and how they impact my life.
I continue with my Monday night course “Change Your Outcome” with Joel Kessel. As I’m pondering my next move, the exercises on value proposition and map messaging help me hone my craft. I even had a one-on-one call with Joel – invaluable.
Be an advocate for marginalized populations: Despite being in pain, I finished my fourteen years of service to youth in crisis with professionalism and integrity. Even if I don’t land in the nonprofit arena for my next career position, I will need to find some other cause(s) to support. Being philanthropic is one of my rules of life.
Be kind: People have been so kind to me!! Family and friends have reached out with love and concern. I’m blessed and grateful for the kindness of my community. I will pay it forward.
I’m embracing this journey of uncertainty. I am curious about the destination but I’m enjoying the wonder of the possibilities along the path.