Today a new Marketing Director was hired to replace me. Rob (that's his name) will be onboard on Monday, 2/12. After 4 years leading Lyon's Marketing Department, I'm moving into a sales director position for a sister company called Trendgraphix (more another time).
I accepted the position shortly before Christmas, but haven't had the opportunity to transition out of my existing role yet because somebody (well actually 2 people) needed to be hired to replace me. So, it's been an odd couple of months. While the decision was made to move on, I was still doing the same job. In addition, the lady I was co-directing the department with for 18 months, left suddenly in January - so I was back to managing the department alone (which I've kind of been enjoying a selfish sort of way). Not much time to think or worry about a new job that seemed so far off.
Now, of course, I have to face the moment of letting go and change. I gotta tell ya, it's bittersweet. I love my existing job and doing something else WILL be fun, but the process of transition from me to Rob is something I'm dreading. Not because its going to be difficult, not because of Rob (I haven't met him but am sure he's a great, talented guy) but because this department has been my baby for four years. That sounds a little ego-centric but in my heart that's how I feel. I am immensely proud of what I've done for the company in the past four years, feel like I have grown more than I could possibly have imagined, and have been blessed with making many new friends along the way. Watching someone else take my projects and tasks and manage my staff (ok, I know I don't own them, but I am very fond of them) is going to be really hard.
Part of me is also a little scared that Rob (who I'm told has many talents and much experience) will take all the things I have done and do them a lot better than I ever could, making my challenges look silly, my accomplishments small and maybe even acquiring the respect and admiration I never truly felt I got from a lot of people in the company in the process. I know I say I don't really care what others think of me (and for the most part, others' opinions do just roll off my back), but I do have insecurities. While I don't NEED to be liked, admired and constantly patted on my back to do my job, I'm not immune to wishing and hoping that it happens anyway.
I'm sure I'm going to like Rob, but I'm also sure it would be easier if I didn't. Part of me wants him to fail (because don't we all want to feel that we're irreplaceable) but - because I care - part of me wants him to take what I built and make it even better - shore-up the things I never could and take care of my wonderful team, leading the department to new heights.
Of course, I'm a big girl and not only will I push all this into the back of my mind on Monday and be gracious in my exit, I will do everything I can to ensure his success. But that doesn't stop the sense of sudden loss that I am feeling. Loss of the known, the comfort-level I have in my current job, loss of the relationships I've built, even loss of my little orange-bedecked cubicle.
My new job will offer me many opportunities to shine as an individual contributer, rather than a team leader - and I know I will enjoy that - but in the past four years I have learned the very different sense of achievement gained from helping others achieve their goals, from working in a team or leading a team toward an awesome accomplishment. I will miss that. My proudest achievements in this job have not been the things I have done alone, but the positive impacts I have had on and with others around me. I have also learned so much from the times I have failed (myself and others) and while I'm not one to over-analyze, I know I am forever changed by these experiences.
So, tomorrow, I will begin moving my orange photo frames (some of pictures of me with team members past and present), my orange spotlight, my orange mat and my yellow lava-lamp (!), out of the corner Director's cube and into another little cube which I will call home for the interim. And although I complained constantly about living in a cube-farm without natural light, I will take a moment to look back and I will smile (or possibly even cry at this point).
It sure will be hard to let go.