Leading The Good Life

Last Day

Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. I'm a mixed bag of emotions right now.

For the last 7 years, I have worked as an actuary (either in a student or analyst capacity) in the same area with the same boss. I realized a few years ago that I didn't actually want to be an actuary. A hard realization to make after majoring in Actuarial Science and completing the first 4 of the actuarial exams. A lot of time and energy had been put into this career path, but I couldn't pretend any longer that it was going to make me happy.

But what would?

That's the million dollar question. (And, no, the answer is not a million dollars.)

I finally got the courage to seek some guidance from a mentor at work, and I ended up getting some really good advice. He suggested keeping track of which pieces/tasks of my job I really like and which I dreaded. Keeping a list by my computer made it easy to just jot things down as I came across them. It was such an easy way to get the clear picture I needed - what I actually enjoy doing.

The next task was to actually find that job. I talked with my boss about what I was interested in (something more technical, perhaps coding/programming oriented), and he was encouraging. He would have given the chance to do that in a minute, but he just didn't have a position like that on his team.

After seeing an intriguing job posting pop up in my inbox awhile later, I went to another work friend for advice. I asked her what she thought of the position and if she thought I was understanding the conditions and tasks correctly. She was very supportive and welcomed a chat about what I was looking for, both short-term and long-term. Then she gave me my golden ticket. She told me about a position that was about to become available on a team I already work closely with. I knew what the work was like on that team, and I found it very appealing. I was immediately excited about this lead and knew that was sign enough that I should look into it.

I immediately emailed the hiring manager to ask some basic questions. Namely, would she consider hiring someone with my skill set? There are definitely huge learning opportunities for me here, but I also bring experience that would be very useful to the team. Thankfully, she saw it that way, too.

Before I knew it I was updating my resume and filling out my first application in 7 years. I told my boss and manager about the opportunity and they both encouraged me to go after it. (To be honest, I think they encouraged me because they knew I could do it and would probably enjoy it, even if they didn't want to see me go.) I had interviews scheduled the next week and was offered the position a few days later. Just like that, I had a new job.

My new position, which starts Monday, is an application developer on an I/S team. I will be taught how to code in Informatica, write Sequel, and will learn the ins and outs of developing data repository systems. Honestly, I am giddy with excitement about this. I am dying to have a job where my main goal is to solve problems. I love puzzles and logic problems. I'm a math girl at heart, and this is right up my alley. Plus, I will learn new, marketable, and valuable skills, which can only open more doors for me in the future. Exactly what I was looking for.

The bad news is that I have to leave my boss of 7 years. My new boss seems great, but this is still hard for me. The main reason I've stayed in a job that I didn't care about for so long is because I liked who I worked for. He knows me so well - he knows just how to communicate with me, and he can read me like a book. He respects me and trusts me. He encourages me, stands behind me, and sets me up to succeed. It's really hard to give that up because it's not every day you find something like that.

The good news is that I will still have many opportunities to work with him and my current team. The I/S team that I'm moving to supports my current work group, so I will work with these people all the time. And although I'm moving desks, I'll just be a few aisles over, so I'll still get to see my old work friends every day. (If I want to. :) )

I realized that this is the first time I've left a job for a reason other than moving. Sure, there was that 2-week temp stint that was just NOT going to work out, but that doesn't count. Growing up in Omaha, going to school in New York, coming home every summer, moving to New York after graduation, and eventually moving back home meant that I always had that perfect excuse to move on. Now I've actually made the choice to look for something different, something new, something that will meet my needs, both professionally and personally. I've been in this position for 7 years - which is pretty much longer than I've done any one thing, ever. It's no wonder that I'm a little shaken up over this. It's actually a pretty big deal! I feel so lucky to have so much support as I make this transition - from family, friends, and coworkers, old and new.

In honor of tomorrow being my last day, I'm bringing in treats. I just spent the last 3 hours in the kitchen, and my stomach aches from all of the taste-testing. Of course I couldn't make just one treat. Or even two. I tried four new recipes, all of which seem like winners thus far (one is still cooling.)

I really hope I can keep from eating my emotions tomorrow. I just really, really don't want to cry at work. I guess I'll just keep focused on all the positives and the excitement yet to come, as opposed to dwelling on the things I'm leaving behind. I know I'm doing the right thing, so there's no reason to get upset about it (in public.) Besides, we've got a big happy hour planned so I've got to be ready to celebrate!

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  1. I miss that feeling of absolutely loving my job, but retirement is worth it. So happy for you! Now about those treats — though they all sound quite delicious, I would like to place an order for a batch of Carmelita’s for my birthday in January or Christmas in Decamber or Thanksgiving in November ( who needs pumpkin pie) or maybe even Halloween treats next month! Please!!

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