The last time I attended a going away happy hour for myself was nine years ago. I was at the Enquirer then, and I remember the waning days at CiN was spent taking photos of other people who also aren’t there anymore, and with Ronson drawing smiley faces on things to tell me how happy he was going to be when I was gone.
Lies. He missed me terribly.
Last month, friends and now former colleagues threw me one for my last week at Cincinnati Children’s. I never considered when I started at Children’s I’d be there so long. Nine years. Crazy. But it was such a great gig and I got to do so much there that I stuck around and grew as it grew.
As I attended meetings and walked around the last few weeks, I became hyperaware of how many folks I knew. Physicians, researchers, friends, acquaintances, colleagues… all sorts of people.
Over the last nine years I’ve updated countless web pages and written numerous stories about lifesaving procedures, cardiac defects and mechanical hearts. My audience was often people who were experiencing the worst day, week, month or year of their lives. And the people I worked for were the ones who offered them hope. I wrote marketing copy for ads and social media, created strategies and tactics in the hopes that physicians nationwide could offer their own patients hope through our talented staff. And I wrote about the staff and helped them tell their own stories.
Everyone I ran into the last few weeks had something to ask me, or needed guidance in some way, and I thought about how much I would miss being the go-to person. I became the person to ask because even if I didn’t have the answer, I knew who would. And if they needed a presentation, video, photo, talking points, patient story, I could write it up pretty quickly it became so ingrained in me.
|Badge photo from my CCHMC start date.|
Originally I didn’t want to have a going away happy hour, but I am glad I ultimately did. It’s always good to get together with folks and mark the occasion. (At newspapers, they give you a fake front page, complete with funny headlines and stories and what-have-you.) My going away gift for this happy hour was the Boss Man handing me food from his pocket and him threatening Rachel with germy bar snacks. (Who says hospitals aren’t fun?!)
Then, just like that, I was off to my new gig.
Two weeks ago I started at GE Aviation on the Global Communications Team. I KNOW. Majorly exciting!
I build jet engines now.
Well, I don’t exactly "build" them, but I help them stay aloft. Well, okay, not really. I guess "technically" I write about them and other GE Aviation stories, but still, it’s as if I build them! (I build them with my mind, okay?!)
Tomorrow I start week three. It's been great being new again — meeting new people, learning a new business, starting fresh and seeing everything anew.
During my interview my (now) boss walked me through The Learning Centre, where engines hang from the ceiling and sit on a long curved pedestal in a museum-like space, with placards curating the engine and when it was built.
It was so thrilling I walked around thinking I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Ray about it. I figured that even if I didn’t get the job, I still got to see this incredible space and this museum of GE aircraft engines. I just knew Ray was going to be so jealous. After I told Ray I called my dad (recall that my dad was a diesel mechanic for the school district for 30 years), and told him about it.
“The GE90 wouldn’t fit into the kitchen,” I told him. “Not without raising the ceiling. It might not even fit into the whole house.” I said this as though I had built it, real matter of fact, like I had snuggled the blueprint at night and learned the entire engine by osmosis.
I was already thinking of the stories I could tell about the engines, the folks who engineer them, repair them, fly them. I wondered if in addition to needing a communications person if they wanted me to learn how to wrench on them or fly them as well, because I was willing. Whatever they want! I thought.
A few days after my interview I was on a plane wondering if I was being propelled through the air by a GE Aviation engine. I took this series of photos somewhere between Florida and Ohio during a lightning storm.
I've since learning that every two seconds, an aircraft powered by GE technology takes off somewhere in the world. Pretty amazing.
A few people have asked me how the Boss Man handled the news of my departure. I can't remember his exact reaction, but I know that it was quickly followed by a pun. (That I immediately repressed.)
"Don't worry, you can think of me whenever you're on a flight," I told him. "I'm basically a pilot now."
He didn't seem overly comforted by this. Weird.