Friday was the first time ever that Bob and I had our “last days” on the same day. It was my last day in my previous role, and his last day with the city. I’m moving to a different role in Automattic, and he’s moving to the county, to be the environmental health director.
My first day in my new role is today, and his is next Tuesday, so he’s got grand plans to sleep and play video games for the next week.
Neither of us planned to change jobs. But we both saw opportunities around the same time, and both went for it. I wouldn’t say we take lightly our responsibility to be gainfully employed, in order to support our family and our retirement, but at the same time, we do balance that responsibility with personal and professional growth opportunities – and the chance to do something exciting.
The first time I left a job (like, a grown-up person’s job) was more than 9 years ago. I had been with that company for 6 years, and I was pretty miserable by the end. Joining Automattic was one of the best choices I’ve ever made – and it’s led to many other opportunities. I have had the opportunity to change my role about every 2 years since joining; it’s not always easy, but it is always fun and challenging. There’s a certain thrill, moving to a new part of the company, and not knowing anything. It’s exciting when the clouds start to drift away and you become more oriented, and you realize you know some things, then a lot of things. Some advice Matt shared with me, that I then shared with Bob, is this article from Boz on career cold starts. This particular article resonates with me, and, indeed, I’ve already set up 23 calls (and counting) in the next 9 days (and had 4 last week) to listen as much as humanly possible.
Here’s where I start to talk about children’s movies; it relates.
I love media content for children. There’s a bunch that are pretty badly made, and I don’t care for that as much, but there’s so much that’s so, so good. Grant and I could listen to Pancake Robot on repeat forever. We have watched Encanto every day (sometimes more than once) for the last week. I’ve watched Sing, Sing 2, Frozen, Frozen 2, and Moana more times than I can count. I love a musical! A common thread to all of these (except Pancake Robot) is doing something new, really scary and unknown, and facing things that are incredibly difficult (grief, monsters, self-awareness/self-worth, the real possibility of failure).
Modern children’s movies, in particular, welcome us into a place of opportunity and reflection. The main character discovers that there’s a problem (or opportunity), realizes they can help, dives in, and experiences fear, worry, and hope. They grow through failure and mistakes, just as much – if not more – as through victories. They fill roles that did not previous exist or seem necessary. They made space for themselves because there was a need that only they saw.
Importantly, at the end of the movie, the main character hasn’t changed – the person they had to be was the person they were all along; they just grew to reach more of their potential. No one grew legs to marry a prince (ahem, Ariel); instead, they’re still themselves. They’re still capable of being unsure or worried or scared; they don’t know everything. But they’ve developed confidence in their newest abilities, and they are excited for what’s next.