Thursday, January 30, 2014

Time for Transitions: Open Letters for my former colleagues

Breaking Important Big Darn News.

Tomorrow is my last day at the Big J aka The Juilliard School.


This is long in the offing. Again, I'm not done processing it yet, and as I've been saying all week, this is NOT goodbye--because I will see many of these colleagues and friends later. Also, the many, many reasons that have brought to me to this point have to be processed and may be shared, sometime, long after there's a nice separation built up.

It wasn't an easy decision, and then it was--and then it wasn't--and then it was. As most life-changing things often are.

The following is a slightly edited version of a letter I sent to my colleagues last week.

Dear All:

You may have seen the e-mail sent out last week by my VP, announcing some staff changes in Development, including my departure as of Friday, January 31st. I wanted to follow-up with my own personal note.

February 2014 would mark the end of my seventh year at Juilliard. While seven has always been my lucky number, I decided to try my luck at another venture this coming year.

I have been so fortunate to have been at the School through some  interesting transitions. From rocking through the renovation and expansion (sometimes literally, while sitting at my desk), or wearing hard hats while in heels, to digging in and doubling up on duties through the economic downturn, it has been my honor to serve in three positions and work with three VPs, as well as a host of hardworking colleagues, eager interns, and talented work-studies. It has also been thrilling to attend a host of spectacular performances across all the boards of dance, drama, vocal arts, and classical music. It has truly been a remarkably rich and rewarding experience. I will treasure the collegiality and friendships that I've found at the "Big J."

I continue to wish all of my colleagues in Development & Public Affairs the very best as they endeavor to raise funds to continue the important mission of the School. I also wish them and I.T. a continued successful roll-out of the new ticketing system and ongoing efforts to integrate the various database systems.

There is no place like New York, New York, (it's a helluva town), but boy... will I be glad not to be commuting in here every day – especially after being stuck at Grand Central Terminal for three long, crowded hours last night. (That was NOT FUN!)*

I'll be traveling for a bit in February, but also starting a renewed reverse commute to some familiar gardens and grounds -- at Caramoor,** "upstate," in Westchester County, where I will be rejoining their development team in a director capacity.

I hope to see many of you in the "country" this summer for some wonderfully diverse musical and artistic offerings. Please feel free stay in touch via my personal email.

Thank you all, for everything. I cannot say THANK YOU enough.


P.S. I know it is the tradition to have a farewell party when someone departs, but I have expressed my personal preference not to have one. I will make my rounds for more personal good-byes all of next week.
There were a variety of reactions to this announcement and email (which saw many drafts and much thought). I wish I had compiled them. (I may yet, as they are somewhere in the work email archive.)
I almost got out the door this week without a hoo-rah, as I call them. But no. Even with a cancelled train this morning, and then a late train on top of it, there was a lovely little departmental (plus guests) cupcakes/bagels gathering. Thank goodness I realized I would have to give a speech. I got up around up at 2 a.m. to write down some thoughts. (Introverts need time to prepare and rehearse and "gird their loins.") In true introvert fashion, I also had to be dragged back to my own party. (But I was really dealing with email archiving with I.T., and it gave me an excuse to step out and regroup. I AM NOT CRYING ABOUT THIS. THIS IS A GOOD THING!)
As rocky as the last bit has been, and as varied as some of the interpersonal relationships have been, I do think this seven year period was mostly beneficial for me, just from the exposure, experiences, and connections forged.
THANK YOU, even in emails and blog posts, can't really say it enough.
Even though, as you'll see, I tried
Dear ALL:
Thanks again, everyone, for the lovely send-off carbily-fantastic breakfast gathering. The Baked by Melissa cupcakes are a nice homage to the many Melissas formerly on staff, as well as the many delectable treats that were made, shared, and ingested in my time here. The bagels were a perfect NYC treat that I will miss in the “country.” (There are nothing quite like the bagels in the City!) On Monday, my stomach will start growling at the appointed hour for Tori’s Treats. Who’s going to send me a care package?

I can’t wait to read all your messages of support and set up my Juilliard swag at my new rustic desk. Every day it will remind me of the best of the Big J moments. I can’t wait to have time on the train to crochet up the yarn that I will get at Knitty City. I just have to remember to put my Big J lunch bag in my Big J yarn bag and not leave it on the train.

Like I said, it was the connections forged here that really made hard for me to decide to take this step --  connections that I know won’t be broken even if I am up in the "country" and you're all down here. I’m not kidding about those Summer  Fridays off. I do I expect to see at least some of you opera music lovers at Caramoor's summer festival and I WILL be sending you brochures.

This isn’t goodbye, but THANK YOU. I will see, talk, text, and email you all soon.

Thanks gang....

And that means you too, readers and family. You've been part of this long long long processing process.

* That's a whole other blog post. 
** Yup. Does all the foreshadowing make sense now?

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