Endings and transitions

Although this new phase of my life, untethered from MSH, has not started yet, the transition is here. I learned much about transitions from Bill Bridges – the notion that new beginnings have to start – always – with endings and then the transition sets in before the new beginning can happen.

The ending process has already started – not a clean surgical strike like when previous layoffs happened – abrupt, unexpected. Mine is gentler – having two months to untether.

In the olden days, when long time staff left, they walked away with much accumulated knowledge that was in their heads and essentials captured in folders and files, left at the office. All that is different now. Now we walk away with terabyte thumb drives that, even if a copy was left and password protection removed, would be all but inaccessible – no one has time to sort through it all.

I have started to sort files and transfer those I may want to keep. It means going over decades of accumulated stuff, like the clean up of an old house after mom and dad have passed; what to do with all those photos, documents, folders that contain stuff I  may not need anymore but I know contain the answers to questions people ask me – when and where did we do this, or that? I am the embodied institutional memory of MSH’s leadership work – but it is organized in ways that are only meaningful to me.

I was asked to write five to six lines for a communication that will go our to all MSH employees just before my departure. To capture 31 years in five or six lines turned out to be impossible. I ended up writing just about one line for every year, 31 lines, to be edited down as the powers that be see fit.

Although I am at peace with the unthethering, and I have quoted all the things I don’t have to do anymore, there are of course some losses, as there are in any ending. Each thing I refer to as good (not having to commute anymore) contains something I will miss such as the company of colleagues who have become friends, the conversations over our cubicle walls, the walks we take, the stories we share. But then there is Facebook and Linkedin and WhatsApp and we’ll stay in touch.



2 Responses to “Endings and transitions”

  1. 1 Judy Wang April 22, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    I feel you! I am at the same stage but I am only week away to tether from MSH. I feeel like we are thrown into an ocean. I can see those who not yet found a job floating and waving for help. Stay in touch!

    • 2 svriesendorp April 28, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      I guess the departures are starting to be real now. I can only wish you are finding new windows and doors open when this one shuts. Be in touch on LinkedIn if we aren’t already. Maybe one day we get to work together again. The good memories remain – Chinese New Year at SOLA, such fun!

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