Last week was my final week at the law firm. On Thursday they surprised me, and another attorney who was about to go on maternity leave, with a champagne toast to celebrate our new milestones. All week long I heard a lot of kind words from partners, associates, and staff, which really meant a lot to me. On Friday, I labeled all of my files for storage and cleared the last lingering items from my inbox, and then sent my farewell email late in the afternoon. I talked about how I felt grateful for the opportunity to work with, and learn from, all of these colleagues. The final lesson, though, the thing that surprised and heartened me, was the warmth of the goodbyes and the sincerity (or so it seemed) of their best wishes for the new job and the new baby. I was really touched.
On Friday afternoon, around 4:30, it seemed like there was nothing else to do. My stuff was all packed up, my desk was empty, and the usual stream of emails and phone calls had dried up. So I packed up my bag, left my security cards on my desk, and said goodbye to the two grinning partners who had been hanging around my office. I gave my secretary a hug. I said a few quick goodbyes as I waited for the elevator one last time. Although there were moments when I felt very ambivalent about leaving this position, this feeling would always burn off in a dawning sense of excitement and relief for the next chapter. Once I got to the lobby I put on my headphones, selected "Imma Be," and strutted out into the clear spring evening.
Today was my first day at my new job, at the university. I saw many old friends and had some promising conversations with people who seemed warm and friendly and personable. In the afternoon there was a champagne toast to welcome me to the office. They said how excited they were that I was there. The differences between this work environment and my previous one are many, although I can't say that one is objectively better than the other. But after this first day I am feeling very confident in the decisions I've made, and grateful for the new opportunities before me. It's exciting to enter a new environment, a new culture, with a new mission to guide you. And the fact that all of my comings and goings have been punctuated by these champagne parties -- I have discovered a new depth of my gratitude, for working with kind and gracious people who have been so warm and welcoming to me.
There were three big things I had to wrangle this spring: End the old job. Start the new one. Those two are basically taken care of. Now there's only one thing left.