Saturday, January 09, 2010

Making Space

1. Stuff

Last weekend some guys from church came over to move the brown, plaid sleep sofa out of our basement - a task which others had tried and failed to accomplish. Or so I hear. When I moved in a dozen years ago it had been a fixture in the house for some time already. I don't know who first brought it here - that day that six people moved into this tiny place at once! But whoever it was didn't take it out again. And since then nobody had managed to get it up the stairs.

I found a wooden "wise man" in the couch. He'd been separated from a nativity set one Christmas some three years ago but was reunited with his brothers just in time for Epiphany. It was another wise man, Reuben, who figured out how to get the couch out of the basement: bless you, Reuben. Now it's in the garage, rejected by the Salvation Army truck driver on account of some tears in the fabric on the corners. So possibly it is destined for the dump. But maybe I can find a home for it through Craig's List or something. Never tried that before.

The removal of this one item, puzzle-like, makes space for the reorganization that will bring in two large bookcases from the office. Somehow I will manage a filecabinet as well. By the time I'm done with my reorganizing I think we'll have bookcases (and lots of books) in every room of the house except the bathrooms.

Yes, I'm moving home. I may (or may not) have a cubicle or an office once again before long, but it looks as if by the end of January or February I will have to get my stuff out of #10 Dry Creek, as well as making a plan to mothball the files left over from CP's research and advocacy departments. Even after thinning them considerably when CP collapsed in 2007, much remains. And now I think I'm ready to evaluate it more objectively and let go of more of it. We probably have the best stuff electronically. What's worth keeping goes into storage: at HQ in Florida? joining boxes already in a storage unit paid for by some coworkers? in my basement? Not sure.

2. Career

Another thing I did this week was to update my resume. Though my previous job-hunting resume had been written in the early 1990s - which seems a lifetime ago - I'd pulled together something along the lines of a curriculum vitae in early 2007 order to be included in a list of mission speakers. So I just tweaked that.

That process felt good, too. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to summarize what I've done these last 15 years. Doing so helped me recognize and articulate the values, themes, and patterns that make up the best of what my career has been about so far. Just from the level of personal vanity or whatever, I realize I do look good on paper where I can choose my words and organize their presentation. In person, they tend to spill out all over the place.

And perhaps some of those patterns are much more problematic: recurring struggles, besetting weaknesses, wounds, and failures, and so on. But those don't show up much on a resume.

If people ask for references, I'm not sure whom to ask. People may just take the initiative to ask coworkers and mutual friends and draw a lot of their conclusions from those conversations - as well as from my work, which tends to speak for itself.

If it's up to me to suggest references, though... well, you know, there have been some tough times in recent years. I'm not sure who would speak well of me - probably lots of people would. I'm not sure. Or, if they did, that it would be in the best interest of my future team/boss. If someone told them, "Marti would be a great asset to your team!" well, under what circumstances would that be the truth?

What sort of culture, values, structures, would bring out the best in me, would allow me to really thrive and make a great contribution - and what scenarios would it be better, for everyone, that I avoid? I think the sabbatical will shed some light on that.

I have a hunch it's going to be mostly up to me to say yes or no to what is next; I'm more likely to be courted than shunned. People aren't as hard on me as I am on myself.

I had something like a job interview this week, the latest in a series of informal conversations with people serving in ministries where I might find a fit after the sabbatical is over. I'm not pursuing these things aggressively, but in order to avoid getting too trapped inside my own mind I have talked to people both within our larger organization and outside of it, checking out options.

Let me just be clear here: I haven't been nor do I expect to be laid off. Nor have I resigned or have plans to do so. It's just that, with our Colorado team reorganizing/disbanding, I'm a floater for this next season. I'll need a place to plug back into an organizational ministry structure by August. And, to protect the integrity of the sabbatical, probably shouldn't make a commitment before, say, June.

I think there are probably quite a few ways all of this could work out. Which is really something to be grateful for. I want to blog about some of the options here and invite your input, but I'm not sure that would be appropriate. We'll see.


Dean Smith said...

I am sure you will find a golden opportunity. How is your parachute?

Shane said...

Regarding the couch, some people use to give stuff away.

Marti said...

Someone else recommended What Color Is Your Parachute so I may pick that up at some point.

About the couch, thanks for the tip. I am motivated to take action every time I pull in the driveway (and not into the nice cosy garage!) Charity says the couch cannot be sold and will not take it, trash co. says they will take it but charge us $50.

Dean Smith said...

Try Craig's List people are suckers for free stuff there.