Last Day

I said goodbye to my workplace of the past three years today.  This whole week has been a goodbye.  Going away work party, exit interview, early goodbyes by staff who wouldn't be there today.  I got some goodbye flowers with a 'thanks for all you've done' note that made me tear up.  I even said goodbye to the guy who takes my pike ticket almost every morning.  It feels a little surreal.  Maybe it will sink in on Tuesday when I start my new job?  The last two weeks have been a blur of frantically trying to adequately wrap everything up so things could be neatly handed off to my yet to be hired replacement (and juggled in the interim by the under-staffed Reference department).

Wrapping up three years is hard.

For the better part of three years I have been the entirety of my library's IT department, and for the large part the entirety of the technology budget.  Some of my knowledge has been openly shared, but 99% of the time it doesn't matter, it comes to me whether I'm at the library or on vacation in Colorado (yeah, that happened).  Three years of decreasing staff resources in the Reference department that I was a part of, pulling me on to the Reference desk to the point of detriment of my technology duties and shrinking my tech back up in the case of my absence.

So I have three years worth of familiarity with the system, knowledge of the quirks that I almost don't notice anymore to quantify and organize.  All the ideas for the future, all the regular maintenance, all the projects stalled or in progress.  All the passwords and accounts.  Just quantifying the regular maintenance and immediate tasks that will have to be taken care of in the interim was a task in itself, and the resultant list was was pretty impressive for something that's truly just a device to hold the status quo (sorry guys, but I did lots of things, hope my replacement is hired quickly).

As it turned out, despite how often it felt like I never got anything done, I really was doing a quite a bit, just in lots of alternating pieces.  Like a box of rainbow Nerds.

Fortunately I had a good idea that this was coming months in advance, so I was able to start slowly bringing things together a bit more.  Avoid starting any big projects (not that there was time for me to start any big projects anyway).  Picking up the still relatively new (yet filled with progress notes and other scribblings) tech plan and doing a complete overhaul to get it up-to-date.  Ok, so maybe over-hauling the tech plan counts as a big project, but not something I could leave undone if I wanted to leave things in good shape in my wake (the resultant document was 10 pages, plus almost as many pages in appendices, and that was with cutting out some of the wilder future ideas).

This whole last month has been interesting.  Our director left and the head of the Reference department became the Interim Director (and is currently on probation to become the full director).  I think she will be fantastic for the library and between that and some of the the other efforts including talks with the union, things have been improving.  You could say it was in part for health reasons that I sought other employment.  Over the past two years we have been plagued with air quality issues in the building that my asthma flares up in response to.  I'm also generally proud of the work I do, and feeling that I am unable to do my job has been a significant source of stress for me, and there have been issues across the whole staff where we feel that we are not valued or respected as employees.  I want to see where things go, how things change over the next few months or year at the library.

That being said, I think the right move still was to move libraries.  Economically it makes significant sense.  In terms of family and life planning it makes more sense.  The library I am moving to is beautiful.  The drive will be significantly safer during inclement weather.  I think I will have both more creative opportunities and more opportunities to grow professionally.  I actually like that I will be working with a smaller service population.

Amusingly the library didn't seem to want me to go, as five minutes before I was due to leave and right after I finished my final project, we had a computer crisis that kept me late.

I'm going to miss this library and the staff.  It's scary to jump from a familiar job to a new one, no matter how similar the job descriptions may be, the unknowns always exist.

So next week starts a new leg of the journey through my professional career.  We'll see what it brings.

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