I'm sitting here, 10,000ft in the air, writing to you from the middle seat of my flight from Portland to New York and my mind is blown. Over the past five days, I officially moved out of my apartment, I bid adieu to my job of 5.5 years and I'm on my way to Israel to get on a boat. Things just got real. While each of those tasks was different and challenging on its own, the hardest part was leaving work.
A lot of people have been shocked by my news--not only because it's a little on the extreme side, but because of the timing and how quickly everything is happening. What's that saying about ripping off a band-aid? Yeah, think of it like that. If it makes you feel better, I didn't know myself until about 2 weeks ago and I shared the news with my team only a day or two after that. Sending the email, letting my team know about the big changes coming up, was hard. Harder than I thought it would be. Feeling like I was abandoning my team and leaving them short-handed was a tough pill to swallow. Because these people were more than just 'these people'. These are the people who would ping me after a particularly tough meeting to tell me about the bright spots and offer coaching to help next time go better. These are the people who would gladly take 20 minutes out of a 30 minute 1:1 meeting to talk to me about personal challenges I was going through to just make sure I was ok. These are the people who volunteered to drive me to the airport in the middle of a snowstorm so I could make it to a family vacation that I was looking forward to because I was especially homesick. These are the people who would share stories about me with their family around the dinner table and then come back to me to let me know that they wanted their sons/daughters to be like me when they grow up. These were the people who made it their personal mission to educate me on American Culture after they were shocked and appalled at the lack of classic American movies that I had seen. These are the people who would put aside agenda items to hear me gush or vent about a particularly good or bad recent date--always to end the conversation with a hint that they had never been to an Indian wedding and couldn't wait to go to one, one day, someday.(I got the hint, people!) These were more than just people--this was a sort of family.
Fortunately for me, the thing about family is that they support you to follow your dreams, and enable you to reach those dreams. I have been absolutely overwhelmed by all of the positive encouragement, the unwavering support and the jestful jealousy that has come my way. When I first started at Intel, I didn't know what to expect. It was my first job out of college and I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when it came to the corporate world. I expected a job, the start of my career, but instead I found a family. A family that makes each other laugh, a family that has each other's back, a family that bickers and makes up, and a family that supports and encourages. My colleague-turned-friend-turned-family, Teresa, put it best: "Working and growing a career sometimes means you have to change course. Intel is the kind of place where you feel empowered to make changes in your career. Sejal is off on a new adventure that will take her far away but her Intel family will be cheering for her. We’ll live her adventure through the inevitable Facebook posts, Instagram photos, Vine videos and through her texts and calls back home." (You can read more of the post that she dedicated to me here. I'm not even going to try to cover it up--it made me cry.)
My takeaway was this: I consider my time with Intel an incredible investment in myself, not only because of what I accomplished professionally, but because of the growth I experienced personally and the relationships that were created and nurtured over that time. Thank you, Intel family, for an incredible 5.5 years and for all of your support and encouragement as I move towards the next adventure and chapter. Fortunately for me, maybe not so much for you, is that I'm like quicksand. Once you're in my clutches, there's no escaping :-) So as I sit here, in my middle seat, flying through the air towards my next adventure, know that you have contributed to getting me here and pushing me towards my dreams.
And the other thing about family is that you don't say goodbye to them--you tell them you'll see them later.