A Surreal Start to a New Chapter
Right now I’m in a co-working space in Brooklyn, where I’ve been for a couple of days. I’m working remotely, and this space serves as a temporary landing spot between a trip to Europe and a return home to North Carolina.
Just one week ago, I was in Berlin at the US Embassy. I had to get a document notarized that would finalize my retirement from local government after 25 years of service.
The trip to the embassy felt like a ceremonious and memorable way to seal the end of my career as a city planner. I was completing my final government paperwork from a different continent.
Tomorrow is my last day on the job.
In the years prior to covid and remote work, I always imagined my last day would involve a cake, lunch with co-workers, cleaning out a desk, and perhaps some hugs and fond farewells.
But tomorrow will be anything but ceremonious. I will be sitting in a quiet corner of the co-working space, checking email and wrapping up a few loose ends.
At the end of the day, I will close my laptop and that will be it. One career will be over and the next one will be about to begin. I’m making the transition to software development at the young age of 52.
I landed here at the co-working space because my boyfriend started a job with a dynamic and thriving startup company. So for a bit of irony, in my last week working for government, with aim toward becoming a software developer, I ended up as a fly on the wall at a tech company.
My final week feels a little surreal.
This is really it — the end of one career and the start of another, and I am physically and mentally in a sort of limbo between the two worlds. My day tomorrow will be spent answering a few emails, while those around me will be collaborating, strategizing, and tenaciously working to grow a business.
To add to the surreal feeling, this week we are staying in a sort of creepy short-term rental apartment. It’s not even an apartment really, just a private room near a stark and poorly stocked kitchen, and a modest bathroom shared with another room.
So, I’m camped out here at the co-working space, matching the hours of the devoted entrepreneurs.
Perhaps this week of limbo is meant to be. Maybe it’s meant to make me more resilient, or to light a fire under me to join the ranks of tech success. Or, maybe it is just part of the journey, a footnote in my story.
There will be moments on the journey where I feel knocked down. My job is to get back up. The worst thing I could do right now is feel intimidated by change. Change is uncomfortable but necessary.
And my task tomorrow is to sail through a strange ending to this chapter, and look toward a bright beginning to the next.
Tomorrow there might not be a cake or hugs from co-workers, but when I close my laptop I will take a deep breath, let out a small sigh and keep moving.
Maybe I’ll go get a beer or an ice cream. Maybe I’ll get both.