Today, after four years as a temporary employee, I worked my last day at the Chicago History Museum. It is a sad day for me indeed, not only because I'm going to have to face the financial ramifications of losing my income and employer-sponsored healthcare, but because I'm no longer going to see my friends on a daily basis. In many ways, the people have always been the best part of working at CHM, and it is only through their love, support, and the sympathetic ear they've lent me in the last week that I have been able to make it through this goodbye process without totally breaking down.
Working at CHM was my dream for a long time, ever since I realized that there was one institution where I could honor both my passion for museums and American history at the same time. I interned there two years during college, and doggedly applied for every opening I was qualified for once I graduated. Landing a gig there was a dream come true, and I was blessed with interesting work to do, in the form of the Chicago Politics and Chicago Cold War oral history projects that I coordinated.
I am luckier than most, in that I got to do my dream job so early in my career, and now that my time at the museum is over, I don't know what the future will hold for me. I will have to find a new dream job, and figure out new career aspirations.
|My going away card, hand-drawn by the incomparable Erin Tikovitsch. In fact, getting a homemade card from Erin is pretty much the lone bright spot in this entire process.|
My coworkers threw me a lovely going away party today, though the atmosphere was decidedly bittersweet. I knew I would have to give a speech, as per CHM tradition, so I tried my best to keep things light and upbeat, even if it didn't reflect my true feelings on my departure. It would also appear that my coworkers going to miss my baked goods as much as I'm going to miss having friends and colleagues with whom to share my kitchen experiments. I can only hope that I'll find another group of coworkers with a sweet tooth in my next position, wherever it may be.