Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tomorrow is my last day

View from my first office
Tomorrow is my last day.  It seems so weird to hear that I'll say it again.  Tomorrow is my last day.  Sometimes we go into things with one idea, one frame of mind, and we have no idea what will end up happening.  What I've come to believe after a ton of reading and conversations is that it's not always a bad thing to change course, to cause a little chaos in an otherwise comfortable existence.  Through change and challenge, we encounter opportunities to learn and grow as people.  But we mustn't forget to reflect on and show appreciation for the things we've picked up along the way.  Tomorrow is my last day, but I'm thankful for a lot of what I've experienced because of my company over the last four years.

I'm thankful for all of the interesting people I've met.  When I started my first role, I was the youngest person in the entire region, and one of my first experiences was watching an old coon-ass throw rocks at an alligator.  When I started my second role, I was the only northerner in my building.  Mixing a yankee social liberal in with southern conservatives can lead to some interesting conversations.  All in all, I got a chance to meet and work with everybody from truck drivers to company presidents, to see the good and the bad, the smart and the slow, the pleasant and the perpetually pissed off.  The lesson here:  be as genuine as you can and give everybody a chance.  Some of the best people come from where you'd least expect.

I'm thankful for the experiences I've had.  I've taken helicopter rides to offshore platforms.  I've walked inside and on top of tanks that hold 100,000 barrels of oil.  I've seen modern control rooms, platinum catalyst, and sulfur spewing onto the ground.  I've given presentations to hundreds of people and I've gotten praise for writing that's gone around the world.  Every job comes with its ups and downs.  When I leave, the ups will stand much more vividly in my memory.

I'm thankful that I was brought to New Orleans.  I'd never been here before I accepted the job.  A year and a half after Katrina, I moved away from the city I'd known all my life into a great unknown that I'd only seen on the news.  That's how most people still know it.  But beneath the tragic stories, corrupt politicians, and eternal partying, it's a place that has had a sizable role in our history, it's been a gathering point for artists, writers, and musicians, and it's been the locus of some of the highest highs and lowest lows that can be experienced.  Tomorrow probably wouldn't be my last day anywhere if it weren't for the backdrops and people of this city.

I'm thankful for the support.  The financial support that comes from working for an oil company is self explanatory.  The support that is given to allow a hollow kid right out of college to change into something of a responsible contributor is more difficult to understand.  I've been fortunate to work with some great peers and a great boss that have pushed me further than I could have gotten on my own.  Even on my way out, there's more encouragement and faith in me than I would have expected.

Tomorrow is my last day.  So long, old life.  Thanks for everything.

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