Beginning or Ending?

The word has begun to sneak out around the workplace … Debra’s retiring! The atmosphere has turned a little gloomy, as though everyone feels a heavy sharp knife hanging over exposed necks. There’s a happy face plastered on top, but the gloom oozes around the edges. This is the part I did not want to drag out.

I’ve been lucky in previous work separations to hand pick my successor, but not this time. And, it feels really comfortable to leave it like that. The workplace I’m leaving is undergoing its own change process and my departure is part of that. My legacy will live on its own.

What I’m paying attention to now is how beginnings and endings are sometimes the same thing. Every four years, our office hires a student to help out with admin tasks. They typically started as a freshmen and returned every single semester until they graduated. Through my years in this role, I saw two young superstars grow along their way, one is now almost a Veterinarian and the other joined a Marketing firm in Denver when she graduated last year.

This year, we have a freshman again. And in her very first semester, the Office Manager retires. Which is it, a beginning or an ending?

I asked her to pack up a shelf of pottery for me while I was emptying my space to leave in a few days. As always, impeccable work, enthusiastic smile, just a dear heart. There is no way for me to have a crystal ball to see what her new boss will be like.

What I can see in her, however, is a strong inner value system that already guides her choices (same as the other two students). She’ll be fine. And the office will be fine. And I will be fine.

Growth is inevitable.

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