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Not Quite What I Planned...

Not everything goes according to plan.

For the past several weeks I've been thinking about a career opportunity that would move me out of my current group. Most of my group knew about it and had talked to me trying to persuade me not to leave. I recently made the decision to stay where I am, and thought it would be fun to announce my decision in this week's staff meeting.

But I'm not normal.

I can't just say "I'm staying" in a short sentence like that. I thought I'd have some fun with this and make it a speech. I wanted to tell the group how great I think they are and let them know how much I appreciate them and their work, because it influenced my decision to stay. And because people don't hear how great they are often enough. I wanted to make a statement about how much progress we've made together over these years. But I wanted to add a twist — I wanted to fake everyone out and make them think I was leaving, and only at the end tell them that I was staying. How deliciously evil, I thought…

I wrote a short speech, about four minutes long. The bulk of it was addressing the contributions of several team members, the people I've worked the most with. The speech was serious, and it was funny, and it communicated my appreciation of my teammates. I practiced it. I thought I'd be able to deliver it without any trouble.

And when I was delivering it in front of the team, I started crying after the third paragraph. It was right after I laid the direction of the speech by saying I'd be talking about the accomplishments of the people I've worked with. I was badly choked up. The emotion was genuine. I caught myself on the hook I was laying for my teammates — my phrasing made it sound like I was leaving and that I would be saying goodbye to everyone in turn.

Sarah had brought a box of tissues with her for allergies. She slid it over to me when I started having trouble. We do all have a sense of humor. :) For the entire rest of the speech I had to pause every sentence or two to steady my voice, which wasn't very effective.

I made a wonderful ad-lib at the end: "If you think I'd be a fool for leaving this team, I agree. I've decided to stay … <choke> so I don't know why I'm having so much trouble with this … <laughing> … You'll all have to put up with me for a little while longer."

I gave serious consideration to writing the entire speech in iambic pentameter. I'm glad I decided not to; I couldn't have pulled off the delivery. Maybe I should've taken some acting classes.

Tiny Island