Thursday, January 10, 2008

Heraclitus Was Right

The postings on this site ares my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

"You Cannot Step in the Same River Twice"

Change is good. Change is good. Change is good. At the table in the IBM Learning Center dining room at lunch yesterday, my rational mind was doing its best to convince me of that.


I looked, and it was one of my former managers, Mike.

"Last time we saw each other was in India," he said and came over to hug me.

And then everyone other than the one person at the table I didn't know got up and we hugged. Tony. Yvette. George. Irwin. It was heart-swelling.

"What are you guys here for?" I asked.

They mentioned their meeting and then we smiled at one another and I went back to sit with my director and another manager in my current organization till our table filled up with my current colleagues.

My director asked me who they were and I was chagrined at not having introduced them to my tablemates. I sat through the rest of lunch, feeling wistful, wishing I could sit with my old colleagues and friends. I kept steeling myself not to look at them. And failed a few times.

Irwin's tie was a great orange with a suave pattern. Yvette was even more lovely than usual, if that was possible. Tony's hair was cute. George was as tall and kind-looking as ever. Mike's shirt was crisp, custom-made.

They were the current iteration of the GLBT Sales team that I helped start up nearly seven years ago, but it was three times the original size (not including Albert from Europe, who wasn't there then).

Toward the end of lunch, I stole a peek and noticed that the table, as well as the one next to it, featured a tent card that read "GLBT Sales;" the second table was full of people I didn't even recognize. Finally, I think I got the message that I feel my dad, may his memory be blessed, was sending me:

Look, Sarah: Teams that you helped launch continue thriving long after you're no longer on the scene. As you embark on your new assignment, which is poised to go well, too, I'm reminding you of this.


Anonymous said...

Actually, many teams don't thrive after their original coach leaves the scene. The teams that continue to be successful and grow are ones who were launched properly. You have much to be proud of for innovating GLBT Sales and building the GLBT community at work. Moving on can be very painful, as I am experiencing these days, but as someone told me the other night, "You're still here because you have even more important work ahead of you."

Sarah Siegel said...

Thanks for the great encouragement.

Tapak said...

I very much appreciate your sacrifice.Being an Indian even I dont want to go back and work in my country as I cannot live the same life with respect as I have it in Europe or US. You are right about the police harassment. Even Indian people are afraid to open about their sexual orientation because of harassment from police and others for being gay. so I understand how much scaring for a foreigner to be open up in a different country. I am hoping that things will change soon as the younger generation has an open mind.

Sarah Siegel said...

Indeed, there are marvelous people, too. The person, who is poised to start the India chapter of our GLBT employee networking group is heterosexual and wants to lead it, as she is all about promoting everyone's basic humanity. It stands to be the first chapter in the world that's led by a heterosexual IBMer, and I think that's beautiful.