Out of respect for the organization's media policy, I must be discreet by not revealing the name of the company. However, this doesn't take away any merit from the fine work they do and the amazing colleagues I had that are receiving this blog dedication.
The work was great, it was inspiring, but in terms of growth and development, I gradually felt that I was becoming the baby bird that must leave the nest in order to fly.
I was only a Temp and yet, I had a supervisor who invested in a historical story development for me that went above and beyond her job description.
...And it didn't stop there, I had the opportunity to meet and communicate with individuals that were enduring many different walks of life and two of them just happen to be these strong, intelligent, funny, women, who put together this Bon Voyage for me the moment I was given an opportunity of a lifetime.
I knew, more than likely, that I was going to be asked to give a farewell speech. Eeek!! There was so much to say, so much I've learned, but we only had an hour so I needed to make it short and sweet. Down to the last minute, I pieced together a brief outline, starting with a big thank you to everyone for coming. But when I arrived, all of my organized thoughts crumbled.
The colleagues greeted me with awesome sailor decorations which accompanied the sailor hat they had given to me. Flowers, champaign and a beautiful card was handed to me with the big font on the front that exclaimed "BRAVO!" Being so moved, I was taken aback.
The celebration began with everyone going around the room, telling their story and the moments they cherished working with me. I was starting to get a little choked up as I observed everyone in the room. Every single being in that room deeply touched my life. What they had to say was quite the range, starting with a little humor:
"I finally found someone in this office who is as crazy as I am!"
"I maintained my sanity because of you!"
"We had a blast collaborating and performing at the Purim Shpiel together!"
Then gradually the mood shifted to factual input:
"We had an intense assignment and we rolled up our sleeves got it done!"
"Knowing that you came from real estate, an extremely different profession, it was nice to watch you grow leaps and bounds."
....And then there were others that addressed my departure in a heart-felt fashion:
"I find your wealth of knowledge captivating."
"Look around this room. Look at the people who've shown up to your party. Look at this level of diversity, this your strength."
...Then came the grand finale. The very first colleague that I sat across from in my first cubicle - the first colleague that sparked the very first conversation I had in the office. As he talked about our incredible conversations regarding our spiritual values and books that have inspired us, it was becoming harder and harder to keep it together. And speaking of our passion for reading, he pulled out his phone and began reading the final lyrics of the musical, Wicked, as his final words to me:
"Who can say I have been changed for the better -
I do believe I have been changed for the better -
Because I knew you I have been changed for good"
I lost it. Tears came streaming down my face and then came the shrill of panic that began my farewell speech:
Looking down at my outline, I had to omit some of the values that were already addressed by my colleagues (diversity being a big one). Not only that, but further examining my outline...oh, I can say much more, but I need to keep it quick! Ahhh! some people are not even here yet, including my supervisor, I need to edit the speech! Oh know, I started my speech, but I forgot the first sentence, which was "Thank you all for coming!" Oy vey!!
As much as I tried to keep it together, I knew there were topics that didn't exactly tie together to perfectly create the moral of the story that I envisioned. But looking back at the speech now that some time has passed, the least I can do is say that from the botched speech, three things I've learned from being the Temp are sticking with me through my new journey:
1) Positive Results Do Occur When I Put Myself Out There And Allow My Values To Be Known
It turns out that, for me, this is the key ingredient to building work relationships that are not only stronger, but more meaningful.
In the office, meeting Rick was a perfect example. I knew I had to meet him after his presentation of his film. He was, undeniably, a storyteller who didn't waste time to seek the truth. Even during our first coffee meeting, outside of work, we both got right down to business and by business, I mean we immediately discussed where in lies our values. Was that risky? For social American standards, sure, but, it was appreciated and, effortlessly, we were able to build conversations beyond that first meeting because we were so direct. To no surprise, long after that first meeting, his talent remained strong and recognizable through the hallways of our organization. There was a reason his ability for truth-seeking, produced the film that won him an Emmy.
2) When A Voice Cries Out, It Deserves To Be Heard
At many failed attempts to get the goal of finishing "Tempt!" achieved, I felt I was being knocked down plenty of times. But while working for the company and discovering the nurture and the nature of this profession, a voice was awakened and just as when I felt I had nothing to offer. That voice would scream "Do something!" It became the voice that offered a gateway to learning that I can seek enlightenment through others. Before I knew it, I was flooded with colleagues who would selflessly step in and offer their thoughts and stories. Through them, I learned that storytelling the key that connects us all.
It wasn't too long before the "Do something!" transformed into action and became a strong enough voice to drive the launch of WOMANworks.
3) I Promise To Try My Hardest Never To Use The Word "Suffer" Again
Yes, I had my share of struggles during this journey. I was making significantly less income, I was sick during the first 3 months of 2016, I felt lost and unsure of what my next move should be. But, I truly believe, despite all of my hardships, I have never experienced the word "suffer". When Passover approached, I received a success story from a woman who was a part of a poverty-stricken, elderly community in the FSU (Former Soviet Union).
Due to the fact that she lived in a 5th floor walk up building and that her weak knees were unable to get her down the stairs, she had no way of going outside. Ultimately, her lack of contact with life outside her flat caused her to lose track of the days, which resulted in her need to celebrate Passover on certain days sprung by mere prediction. Since she had no funds, a small piece of matzah that she kept wrapped up in a cabinet for years, was reduced to small pieces so she would have something to eat for her celebration. One day, just before Passover 2016, a volunteer showed to deliver her food and her joy leapt from the screen as she described the sight of "Not one piece of Matzah, but a whole box of matzahs!" She was so thankful, repeating it over and over again. Her new found joy was this "whole box of matzahs."
As her beaming glow of joy pierced the pages of dialogue, it was this moment that I realized that her gratitude and sheer happiness stemmed from someone who has deeply suffered.
These lessons have impacted me not only as a person, but as an agenda that launched my future. Remember Rick? He is now my new boss. We stayed in touch long after his departure and what more can I say other than being greatly appreciative of the viewing of his presentation that led to our our very first coffee meeting...
...and because of him, this year's Passover is meaningful to me since I have now been assigned the new role that involves taking action in addressing the tragedy in Syria on behalf of our new organization that supports Rambam Health Care Campus.
From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank my last job and my colleagues (now former colleagues) enough and for being the guidance that led me towards this new journey where I have to put myself out there, listen to every voice that cries out, and (as of now) try my hardest to address all of those who are suffering.
...And this is only the beginning. But until then, have a Happy Passover and a wonderful Easter.