Thursday, March 10, 2016

How I Fear...Er, Fare

And then we came to the end.

Almost, anyway. Tomorrow is my last full day at the Library--the place that has been more of a home to me than any other building in California. Where I have been surrounded by kind, patient colleagues and supervisors that I've trusted for a long time. Where I've had the most financial and emotional security in my life. Where I felt challenged at first, and later confident, and later still too confident, and then pigeonholed and therefore somewhat resentful, most of all towards myself. But always, always,  I felt at home. Safe, and sheltered.

In 1.5 days, I am willingly walking away from that shelter. From those people, from my cubicle (now rendered almost barren), from the patrons both annoying and beloved (sometimes both), from the last known quantity in my life.

"Are you scared?" one of my colleagues asked me last week. Maybe that's not the type of question people ask each other in the workplace, but it's the kind of question that I've always answered, because I am compulsively honest, so why break the habit of the last 10 years of my life.

"I think I am," I told my colleague honestly. "But I'm scared in the same way I was when I moved to California. Then I was fucking terrified; I just didn't allow myself to realize it until after I was done and the fear had passed."

Of course I am scared. I'm scared my cats won't take their sedatives and will yowl and pee all over themselves on the long trip home. I'm afraid that I'll encounter snow on the drive, or that my car will break down, or I will die in an accident before I ever make it to Indiana. I'm scared that I've been too long in one organizational culture and won't be able to adapt. I'm scared that even with all this leadershippy self-awareness, I'll still fall into the same patterns, and won't be any different--just another worker bee that won't distinguish herself or help the Library innovate. I'm scared of everything, but at least what lies ahead is unknown, has as much potential for success as failure, whereas this present is simply more of the same--sustaining, holding the line. It's time to move forward, even if it's just a bit of a lurch.

It's time to be scared. I've gone too long in one spot, sheltered, not adapting.

Let's see what comes of my fear. Let's see what comes next.

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