Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Speech! Speech!

Putonghua Speech Celebration 013
Originally uploaded by

The count down is on. Today was my third to last day of work. It was the last Wednesday of Dan on the floor. It was my second, "this is my last court appearance day." It was, oh, you get the picture.

Last week I thought it was my last hurrah at court. The commissioner even came down from her bench to give me a hug. Then I walk right back into her court room again. The court reporter looked at me and smile, "Dan, didn't we already say goodbye to you?" Yes, but just like Cher, Barbra, Tina or Celine, this is my goodbye tour! A coworker of mine was out of town, and she asked me to appear in court for her. She had double set hearings, in two different court rooms. Most would find this to be quite stressful. Not me. I love it. To me, there is nothing like wheeling and dealing jurisdictional language with attorneys. It's what I do best. It's also what I will greatly miss. When we got into the court room, I sat at the table, and the attorney to my right looked at me with surprise. "Dan, your leaving?" I looked down at the table, and there was a flyer announcing my departure, and inviting everyone to join in on a gathering for drinks at the corner piano bar. It's happening next week, and I am looking forward to this.

Today at the office, there was the usual gathering in the middle of the floor, where all of our 4th floor celebrations occur. As a rule I try to avoid these mid-week gatherings, as I don't usually like to socialize much. A friend took me to lunch, and we were running late, and almost missed the Goodbye Celebration for Dan. There was a delicious chocolate cake, and a gathering of my peers. Many nice words were shared, with everyone singing my praises. This list of praises got a bit out of hand, so my good friend George decided to add her own praise to the list. "And I think Dan even invented Child Welfare!" I laughed so hard, as the whole thing was a bit much. Okay, I contributed during these last 21 years, but I didn't walk on water.

"Speech, Speech!"

It always comes to this. That is why I avoid these types of things. Not that I'm afraid to speak in public. Quite the opposite. While I tend to be kind of quiet, I have no problem when it comes to addressing the masses. These were my people. I needed to leave them with something. Right? What a responsibility. You don't just walk out the building without leaving some sentiment behind.

What struck me most about this moment was that everyone was happy. Everyone was genuinely pleased that I was doing this for myself. They are all aware of the loss I have suffered, and have been amazingly supportive of me during the two years of battling Michael's cancer, and especially during these past 10 months. And this is where my speech began.

Today I said my formal goodbye to my San Francisco family. I told them how much I have appreciated that they have always had my back. Through each of these hardships, I knew that I could count on any of them. I respect each of them for all of their dedication and hard work. When you are a civil servant, you don't always get much praise. There isn't an end of the year bonus. You are expected to do more than your share, then you are expected to do even more. I wanted each of them to know that they have given me an enormous gift with their loving support. They have provided me an environment where I can continue to do my work, yet also attend to my family's needs. Many of these people went to graduate school with me, so we have been at this for over 23 years together. This is why this was not an easy choice to make. I wasn't just quitting a job. I am taking all that they have given me, and I am using that support to propel myself forward.

While I am feeling quite overwhelmed by all the work here at the house to be ready for next weeks move, I am very grateful for the launching pad that these wonderful people have provided. I am truly fortunate.


  1. Hello Dan,

    I've been a little mia again lately - I honestly don't know how you find the time to write every night with the house hunting/packing/etc/etc/etc!

    Anyhow, I just wanted you to know that I've been trying to keep up as much as possible with your blog and I hope all goes well for you with the move. I also hope to see you in San Diego at the conference - I'm about 99% sure to go.


  2. Chelsea, that's great. It will be great to see you at the conference. Now, how do we get you to 100%?