Today marked one of the last communications I would send about a project that I have been working on for over a year. I have been looking forward to this one for a while. The amount of time and emotional energy spent on this project has been higher than I ever could have expected. Nevertheless, the communication struck me as hard to write; not from a content or grammatical perspective. I had difficulty putting the end on the message because I was (and still am) emotionally invested in the work.
Here is an excerpt from the email to help with illustration:
I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the search for a new solution and the implementation of WebCheckout, including the students at College and Memorial Library and the LTG Help Desk, who helped us pilot WebCheckout and have been invaluable in understanding this new tool and documenting our use cases. This process has truly been a team effort, approaching a brand new piece of software and aligning it with goals and guidelines originally put in place for a completely different tool. ECS has been a tool that we were able to mold over almost two decades (I see records in ECS dating back to 2005) into exactly what the program needed. As we step into this next chapter of [computer lab] equipment circulation, I hope that we are able to improve and evolve the service to take advantage of the additional capabilities of WebCheckout.
The statement "the end of an era" is apt. Two decades of successful use of a tool is nothing short of astonishing when so much of the world jumps from tool to tool to try things out and accomplish goals in a just-in-time type way. I too have done that with tools in my personal and professional life, but I am not that way with other things. Relationships, for instance, are not happenstance for me and those connections die hard. That manifests itself (for me) as workplace loyalty and long-term employment, in a world that doesn't really hold that as a value in the same way anymore.
The tool known as ECS (the Equipment Checkout System) has had at least five stewards during its life, me being one of them. Those other stewards were around for two to three years on average; I have been in my current role for almost eight and a half. I have seen ECS through some of its more troubling times and I now see it put to bed. I am now the steward of a new tool that ideally will last as long as its predecessor. The end of ECS is a milestone for me, perhaps marking a transition away from those more operationally focused days of yore to a new leadership-focused present.
So while I lament the end of an era of which I have been a large part, I also see this as the end of other aspects of that work and perhaps the beginning of something else. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." It comes to mind when at transition points. This feels like a natural transition and it is not always easy to understand what comes next when the childish ways still hold so much comfort in trying times.