Change is a constant in life. I’ve been going through a weird time at work since March 17, when our editorial and publishing directors approached me about moving from Upper Room Books to Marketing. My conversation with Robin and Lynne came on the heels of an announcement in staff meeting by our publisher, Sarah Wilke, that some of us would be working in different ways. Sarah hastened to assure us that layoffs were over (for the time being, I thought…since December of 2008, we have laid off close to 40% of our staff. This is just my estimate. I looked at a staff picture from December 2007 and counted how many people are no longer there).
Anyway, it’s been a strange time. People have asked me how I’m feeling about the move. It’s hard to describe. In one way I’m excited about the possibilities that a complete change in job assignment brings. I think it’s good to constantly develop new skills, and I’m a big believer in lifelong learning.
On the other hand, I am grieving about leaving the work I’ve been doing for the past few years, not to mention the relationships I’ve developed over that time. Upon reflection, the past 9 years have been the best period of my working life. I’ve worked with some awesome women, and we have gotten along well. My managing editor, Rita, is the best boss I’ve ever had. She’s also the only one I’ve felt comfortable enough to tease about being obsessive in some areas–grammar, personal habits (this woman is the ultimate cook, a model wife and mother, a hard worker…sometimes too hard, is obsessive about getting in all her fruits and vegetables, bikes religiously–and she also picks at herself when she’s under stress). She and another colleague, Jeannie, and I have had adjacent offices in the same corner up to the last month. We’ve bounced ideas back and forth (often shouting from one office to another; a funny thing is that Rita and I can’t hear each other because our offices are right next to each other, but Jeannie could hear us both, and she’s interpreted for Rita & me) and been what I jokingly call the Trifecta or Holy Trinity of Upper Room Books. I can’t describe what Jeannie and Rita have meant to me over the past 9 years. When my teenage son was undergoing adolescent angst and some serious fallout from bad choices, these two women were my rock (along with some other trusted friends who have been my prayer supporters). They encouraged me when I was down and have been true friends to me. We have enjoyed a truly collegial atmosphere at work.
I’ve also been blessed to work with some understanding and supportive editorial directors, Jo Ann and Robin, and awesomely creative acquisitions editors, Kathleen and Amy. And our assistants, Karen and Joanna (and Joane, who split her responsibilities between Upper Room Books and Discipleship Resources) have all displayed helpful, cheerful, and positive attitudes even in the midst of difficulties.
Another group of people I will miss working with regularly are the authors, graphic designers, and freelance editors with whom I’ve developed relationships over the years. I can’t begin to say how blessed I’ve been to be in a job that has allowed me to be creative, work with some wonderfully creative and talented people, and use every bit of my educational background in English literature, Spanish, and music education.
So, I stand on the threshold of a new job. On one hand I’m a little terrified…what do I know about marketing? On the other hand, I’m excited. I like to learn. I love meeting new people. I like to be stretched, and I like opportunities to exercise my creativity. I am looking forward to developing new relationships in the marketing department with folks I already know, and I’m eager to see what I can do to help get the word out about some of the best spiritual formation resources on this planet.
I consider myself fortunate and BLESSED to be employed in meaningful work and to get to work with creative, hardworking, passionate Christians who press me to be a better person. Mostly I am just grateful for the past 9 years and am optimistic about the next 9 or maybe even more.