Leaving a job I love

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”
― Azar NafisiReading Lolita in Tehran

This quote pretty much sums up how I am feeling today as I leave my post as Subject Librarian at Cass Business School, City University. I love this job, I love the people here and I love the life I have had whilst working here. Yes, I even like the commute.

Obviously if our lunches were like this we probably wouldn’t have laughed so much.

There is so much I will miss from my time here. This is probably best characterized by the laughing lunches – so often laughing so much we cried at topics as varied as Benedict Cumberbatch, board games representing people, people’s personal yoghurt eating habits and on more than one occasion my eventful love life. In fact even on the days when I felt a bit heartbroken my colleagues have, without fail, made me laugh with kind gestures and jokes. For example Sam’s note on my desk after another dating drama or Chris’s theories that I have been dating a series of spies (it makes sense when he says it).

The same sense of camadarie also made it so much easier for me to return to work after my jaw surgery as did the support of my great manager.

Every body I have worked with is excellent – I daren’t start naming people as I’d probably forget someone and lose a friend!

But it’s not just the people I work with but also the job itself, I have had such great opportunities to be innovative, to build on existing skills and develop new ones. Not least with the great MA in Academic Practice Programme. The staff and students in the school are also brilliant. It has been great to work with such motivated people.

I am not just leaving a job or the people but a chapter of my life that really started at the job before this in Middlesex Street near Liverpool Street. Until then I’d worked 5 minutes from where I lived for 9 years with many of the same people. Being the new girl was a shock but now I’ve done it twice in less than 3 years (soon to be three times) I can assure anybody who is worried about moving on because of meeting new people that it isn’t that bad. A bright smile and being yourself is the key (but some people might need to tone themselves down at first). Also don’t worry about leaving people behind – you’ll keep in touch with people if you want to. I’ve got close friends from every job I have ever done.

Working in central London is amazing and this week as I’ve walked around and met with friends all over I have really appreciated it. My walk to work took me through Borough market, past the Golden Hind, the Globe theatre, Tate Modern, Over the Millenium Bridge, past St Pauls and through the Barbican – what a walk! I will miss being in the greatest city in the world. The pay off from commuting every day is that I get the best of both worlds – I live in the prettiest town, am 10 minutes from the sea but have access to London at the drop of a hat. I’ll still get a bit of it as I travel to Surrey and will come into town for the BFI and other delights but I will miss being here so much.

My new job as Head of Academic Liaison at Royal Holloway is truly my ideal job. I can’t wait to start and get into it. I’m looking forward to working with a wonderful team. I’ll be working in a beautiful university and the next chapter of my life will begin. I hope it will be as happy as the last one but right now I know I will never be the person I am right here right now ever again and that makes me a bit sad.

Returning to the quote at the start I am who I am because of the people who I have met, who have been my friends and who have challenged me, the jobs I have done and the experiences I have had up to now. The people I meet in the future and the jobs I do will change me more but hopefully future me will be a credit to present me.

We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everyhwere.
― Tim McGraw

Confirmation

I don’t usually post especially personal things on this blog but I think this is worth breaking the rules for … yesterday I was confirmed at church. This was a lovely service and meant a lot to me. Especially as so many people were able to be there to support me. I generally think my faith is my concern and not something to foist on others so i imagine some of my friends were a bit surprised when I invited them but  they didn’t let on.

Confirmation is essentially about confirming the promises my parents and godparents made for me as a child and making a public declaration of my faith. Part of the service was to read a testimonial, mine is below and hopefully explains in some way my journey to being confirmed.

I have always believed in God, something bigger than the physical world but maybe I didn’t realise that I had a faith. As a small child I went to church quite regularly, Sunday school and high days and holidays with my mum but at some point we stopped going. Apparently this was because the Sunday school was full of boys and I was the only girl. Oh, the irony that I stopped going to church because there were only boys my age!

I did go back as a Brownie and Guide for church parade. What appeared to be keenness at getting there first had more to do with the promise of carrying the flag than religious fervour (I’ve always enjoyed the lead role in things!)

As a teen and a young adult I was interested in the spiritual side of life, talking to people about their beliefs and reading about different religions. This interest helped me through some difficult times, along with my family and friends, many of whom are here today but church itself always seemed uninviting. It was a place where everyone else knew each other but they didn’t want to know anyone new. It also struck me there was a lot of being told what to think and do. I am not very good at being told what to think and do.

Last year was a year of highs and lows. The lowest point without a doubt having to have two lots of jaw surgery but the highs included coming on the Alpha course with my wonderful friend Claire.

Ever since we met 16 years ago We have spent many nights in the pub discussing religions, where are own feelings drew us and how we could work this out. We have probably looked into and considered whether everything from atheism to becoming a Quaker was what we should try. At the end of the summer Claire’s children came to the summer club here at Southover which is how we found out about Alpha. Claire said everyone seemed lovely at the church and she was right.

I am honoured to have taken this journey with Claire, my dear dear friend, although I do wonder what our teenage selves sitting in the smokers common room at college would make of it! I’ll be honest I was wary about the course, having heard tales of more extreme Alpha courses but this was perfect. Relaxed, open and inspirational. Everybody was free to talk, Steve’s talks were great and I met some lovely people including the Elliots who are here today. There was nothing weird about these classes, in fact they were an extension of Claire and my pub talks but with people who actually knew what they were talking about.

Over the course I began to realise that all the things that were floating around in my head, my beliefs and personal moral code, were in fact a Christian way of life. My faith solidified, the cogs started turning together rather than all spinning separately. There were several moments where I felts blockages fall away, for example the session on faith. I remember a feeling of great release at the end of this session, that yes I could be myself and still be a Christian. That nothing fundamental to the things I believed was about to change, This was also helped by chats with people away from the church especially Catherine and Sarah whose own faith I greatly admire. I realised it wasn’t about rules but faith about believing that Jesus lived, he was Gods son and he died on the cross for our sins. My heart agreed with my head for the first time and i have never felt happier, calmer and more at ease with the world. Along with my faith I have found at Southover a place of community, living out Christian values in a the most inclusive and welcoming way possible. I am being confirmed today because this is about my relationship with god and I wanted to show a commitment, literally confirm it.