I almost didn’t publish this post. I let it sit in my drafts and lurk guiltily in my conscience. With every passing day it seemed way too late to post it. Ultimately, my interest in continuing a tradition from 2015 and 2016 won out, so here are a few rambling thoughts about 2017.
January is the month of knowing. I am keeping the secret that I’m probably leaving Wisconsin and it boils away inside of me. I told my family at Christmas so my next step is to tell my AUL. We do a careful dance as I seek a counteroffer. Is there anything my current employer could offer that would make me stay? Ragip and I have already had this conversation. Maybe a comparable title, a promise of staff. We weigh the possibilities with his job, the closeness of family members. We make a pros/cons list for the new job. Pros: more money, amazing career leap, managerial experience, the knowledge that to grow my career I need to move around so I might as well get on with it. Cons: traffic, higher cost of living, far away from family. All the unknown unknowns, both a pro and a con. Ultimately, I receive a reasonable counteroffer, which is a nice gesture but not enough, and I accept my job offer with elation. I negotiate with my new boss at UCR with a raging cold and the next day we make the nine-hour drive to Pittsburgh for my aunt’s 50th birthday party.
February is the month of planning and logistics. At work, we roll out new marketing materials and I draw up a strategic plan for RDS to try to use any last sway I may have to cement something in place. I’ve always realized the precariousness of everything I’ve worked on here but it takes the knowledge that I am leaving to really highlight it. We fold in time to go apartment hunting in California, touring twenty apartments in two days and signing a lease for the very last place we see. For the first time, we float the idea of trying to go on honeymoon to Turkey early, between leaving UW and starting at UCR. We had originally planned to go in October but decide this is much better.
March is the month of goodbyes and lasts. I send so many last emails! Join in on my last Mirch Masala lunch buffet, shivering down State Street with colleagues. I bring together the librarian meetup I’ve organized off and on for a year, some grad students, some colleagues, some local librarians. There’s a relief that accompanies closing out so many commitments but there’s also a sad twinge hinting at what could have been. All the collaborations I’d envisioned that hadn’t yet been well-timed – just like that, they’re suddenly gone. I push away the melancholy side and reflect instead on how happy I am that I came to UW and had so many opportunities to try things and respond to new challenges. I know I’ve grown by leaps and bounds since taking this job, and I’m grateful for it.