I have 25 days of work left. “I can’t imagine the Coalition without you.” “I don’t want to talk about it.” “What are we going to do without you?” “I’m just really worried about what’s going to happen when you’re gone.”
I’ve been hearing comments like these since I announced a year ago that I’d be leaving in June. And, to be fair to the talented, dedicated and amazing people who make up the Coalition, the staff, board members and member program directors, almost all of these comments are coming from people outside of the organization. Now as the date gets close, really close, the comments are escalating. And the fact that there’s no one identified yet to take on the job has shifted some of the questions to the vein of, “Are you really going to leave? You’re really going to do this?”
“Yes,” I answer. “And everything will be fine. Voids don’t get filled until they’re created, but they do get filled.” I’ve watched this phenomenon my entire adult life, and believe it whole heartedly.
Last night, after reading our Chinese cookie fortunes looking for clues about what’s next in our lives (there was an interesting and possibly relevant message — “don’t pass up a once in a lifetime opportunity” — but that’s another post), we got the real wisdom on our way out of the restaurant. We ran into a woman David and I both know, and met her friend, Gary. Talking about leaving our jobs, and the importance of leaving, the rightness of the path of moving on and recognizing that no matter what we’re doing at our jobs, it can still happen without us, Gary lifted his hands.
He held one hand as if gripping a glass of water, and dipped a finger from the other hand into the imaginary glass. “Put your finger in a glass of water, and then pull it out. The day the hole in the water created by your finger doesn’t fill back up as soon as you pull your finger out, then you know you’re indispensable.”
I don’t need a glass of water to know I’m not.