Sept 8: Last Day at Microsoft–WOW and Oh No!

I woke up at 6:00am and was in by 8:00am for my last transition meeting with my boss.  Between tying up loose-ends on e-mail and finishing transition meetings, the day raced by. Every once in a while I stopped to contemplate the view from the 24th floor of our office in Bellevue, WA. I kept thinking of how surreal it was that I would likely never set foot in this place again.  And I couldn’t help but wonder “after 11 years, I’m quite comfortable and happy here—what will it be like starting over somewhere else?” And the reality that I start at IJM (www.ijm.org) in just a few days set in—“why did I not schedule any transition time between the two jobs?

Me and Bill Gates during my first year at Microsoft—1999

Me and Bill Gates during my first year at Microsoft—1999

At 4:30pm, I was escorted to a goodbye celebration hosted by my boss. Many people (including team members, colleagues, my favorite execs and bosses from the past) joined to say goodbye—it was really great. They surprised me with a tribute video, which featured team members and other colleagues sharing memories and farewell sentiments. I was overwhelmed by the kind words and outpouring of support I received from everyone. After the party ended, I said goodbye to some of my closest friends at Microsoft, including a senior leader who was also celebrating his last week at MS as well in response to God’s call to Africa (www.urquharts.wordpress.com). I was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but was pleased that I only had a few emotional moments—I was keeping it together better than I expected I would—phew! What an amazing and memorable day!!!

At 6PM, I sat down at my desk, trying to figure how I’d get my final e-mails out, pack my desk and leave by midnight when my network access would be shut off.  AND THEN IT HAPPENED. I picked up a voicemail from my real estate agent saying that the buyer on my house in Seattle had backed out. (I later found out that one of my neighbors scared them off with jokes about topics that my buyers didn’t think were very funny. My lawyer sister told me my neighbor likely committed “tortuous interference with contract”—it is only by the grace of God that I did not later go postal on my neighbor!) That was it for me–the emotion of leaving Microsoft, leaving friends, moving to a new city and now losing my buyer broke me. I sobbed for over an hour.

Me, Bill Gates, Kate Kirsch, Julie Falvey in 2000 the day I won an award for my “Dot Combat” campaign

Me, Bill Gates, Kate Kirsch, Julie Falvey in 2000 the day I won an award for my “Dot Combat” campaign

I kept thinking about the fact that I was leaving for DC in 4 days and starting at IJM in 5 days. I had always planned to fly back one more time to coordinate the movers, but not having my buyers anymore left everything too uncertain, so my stress level went through the roof. The biggest concern was that I had already secured a condo in Arlington Virginia, and the builder had kindly accepted an offer contingent on the sale of my current home—I now had only 8 days to sell my house in Seattle or I’d lose my place in Virginia. Everything seemed to be unraveling. I tried to finish my emails but I couldn’t stop crying. I tried to pack my desk, but I was so overwhelmed and felt like my brain wasn’t working—I couldn’t process what should be kept vs. throw away. So I just sat in the chair and cried.

I finally called my sister Jamie (who also works at MS and was coincidentally in Seattle on a business trip) who came to my rescue. She picked up my other sister Kim (who was in Seattle to help me do errands during my last week) and brought her to the office. They insisted on taking me to dinner downstairs to get my mind off things for a while. I wasn’t hungry but I went anyway because I was in no condition to argue. I didn’t talk much at dinner (except to talk to Jenn Blanco from HR who called to check in on me—she rocks!) and kept thinking “God I know you have a plan but this is a HUGE curveball—please give me the strength to trust You.”

 

Steve Ballmer and Kevin Johnson with me and my sister Jamie the day we both won ironically won the company’s annual  “Circle of Excellence” award the same year.

Steve Ballmer and Kevin Johnson with me and my sister Jamie the day we both won ironically won the company’s annual “Circle of Excellence” award the same year.

After dinner, my sisters (at my request) headed back to my house while I went back upstairs to pack my desk and close things out. The cleaning people had come while I was at dinner–and they took my empty boxes, so I just laughed and wondered how I would pack now.“ Are you serious, Lord?” Then Jeff Shirk (awesome team member) ‘randomly’ showed up back in the office.  Apparently he was at a partner dinner and needed to stop by his desk for something—AND he ‘just so happened’ to have some boxes in his cubicle for me. Jeff probably thought nothing of it, but I think he saved me from another meltdown. Around 11PM, I sent my final goodbye e-mail to the awesome US Partner Marketing Team, took a deep breath as I scanned the room one last time. I rode the elevator down to the parking garage and left the building. For a moment I thought “wow this is sort of sad—I’m walking down these dark hallways for the last time and leaving the building all by myself.” And then I thought “get over yourself, drama queen!!”

That night I woke up at 2AM with one of the worst migraines of my life—no surprise given the stress from the last 24 hours. I took my migraine medicine but it didn’t work. I could barely stand or see and decided I needed to go to the emergency room—that is always the last line of defense when nothing else works. But then I realized it was after midnight and I no longer had medical benefits, so I woke my sister Kim and she took care of me for a few hours.

The next morning, I was SO depressed. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone and my heart was in despair. But I soon felt convicted by the Holy Spirit and realized that I was not doing a very good job of trusting God in the last 24 hours. His handprint is ALL OVER this change in my life. He has been with me every step of the way. He is not going to abandon me now—He NEVER abandons His sheep. So I gave myself one more hour to have a pity party and then went upstairs and prayed “Lord—I’m handing this to You.  I thought you were very present in my acquisition of the place in Virginia, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe I won’t get a buyer in time and will lose it. But I know You have a perfect plan—so Your will be done.”

 

Ed Render, me, Steve Ballmer, Lisa Sheppard back in 1999—this picture is such a great reflection of me—always talking!

Ed Render, me, Steve Ballmer, Lisa Sheppard back in 1999—this picture is such a great reflection of me—always talking!

Advertisements

~ by amylucia on September 14, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: