Today is my last day at Community Action Project. I started here 921 days ago with the intention of getting some solid work experience before moving on to graduate school, and hopefully a little direction as to just which type of program I should attend.
In those almost one-thousand days, I’ve accomplished basically all I set out to do in my time. Least importantly, I learned that public policy wasn’t the direction I wanted to take in my life, that I want to pursue a career in city and regional planning. That’s because CAP gave me the opportunity to do what I always said I wanted to do – apply research and evidence to professional practice and in programs that would bring the most benefit to the people they served. That may not be CAP’s mission statement, but it is certainly among it’s greatest strengths. I feel certain after spending time here, even though it’s not “city planning” per se, that the planning approach to community- and region-level challenges shares this commitment to research, evidence, application, and service.
And so that’s what takes me from my desk here on the 2nd floor of Exchange Center East to, literally, “New East” – home of the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Most importantly, I developed relationships whose impacts will stay with me for a lifetime. I said in a parting email to my work friends that:
In the time I’ve spent here, the single best thing about my job has been the relationships I’ve formed. The clients we served through CareerAdvance were an entirely new challenge for me – in how I view social programs, in my understanding of the causes and consequences of economic disadvantage, and in what it takes for people to change – and so watching them persist and succeed has been immensely rewarding. I will miss them.
It’s true. I will miss those relationships, both with clients and colleagues, and I will miss the work. I hope to continue to find reward in my coming studies and, especially, my coming career.
I’ve been surprised at how many people know me from this blog. When people hear I’m leaving CAP they ask “but what will happen to the blog?” Many of you receive these blog entries by email, and these do not list the author of each post. My colleague Elizabeth Harris has been the blogger you’ve been reading over the last couple of months, and she will continue to do so when I leave. She must be doing a great job if so many of you are still worried about what will happen to this space.
Thanks for all you do in your careers, all you do for those you serve, and all you’ve done for me in my time here at CAP. I will miss you all.