“In the end, we seek meaning,” Daniel Pink reminds us in “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” Pink’s book entered into my life by happenstance, around the same time two once-in-a-lifetime work opportunities unexpectedly fell onto my lap. As I was mulling over the possibility of leaving my career at the city for one of the new professional options before me, I looked to the book for guidance. It didn’t really do anything except give me a great opening line and a couple good quotes for this post.
Nevertheless, an end is upon me. At the end of this month I am closing a nearly decade-long chapter with the City of Miami Beach to return to the private sector. I am, as Pink describes, experiencing “one of the most complex emotions humans experience: poignancy, a mix of happiness and sadness.” Right now, the balance is tilted heavily toward sadness. Just ask my team who watched me explain my departure through tears and sobs yesterday. Can you blame me? It’s hard to say goodbye when you’ve got it as good as I’ve had—a job that feels like a calling, a team that feels like a family. (People say that, but I mean it. You need only count how much time I willingly spend at the office and how many of my co-workers I spend time with outside of work.)
And this is the part where I seek meaning. I needn’t look very far, my time at the city has seen me through so much. Professionally, I skyrocketed from an entry-level environmental scientist to an acting director all in my 20s. Working at the city has given me a lifetime of work experience in hyper-speed that prepared me to take on my new role. Thank you to my colleagues and mentors that trusted me and opened doors along the way. I brought the raw talent, you chiseled it like Michelangelo. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you, to learn from you, and pour our collective passion into this beautiful community I call home.
There is so much more I want to say about my Miami Beach chapter, but all the words I type and then erase don’t feel worthy. Instead, I will leave you with an apropos quote from my spirit animal Leslie Knope, who as she was closing her chapter as Assistant Director of the Pawnee Parks and Rec Department wisely said:
“Sometimes you have to make the hardest climb to see the most beautiful sunrise. I read that once on an old lady’s decorative pillow. But it is really how I feel today. I’ve climbed a very weird and rocky mountain, and it was a pain in the ass, and my legs are tired, and I’m starving, but the sun is rising over the sea of love and waffles and possibility. So I’m just gonna relax and take a deep breath and enjoy this view for as long as I possibly can.”