Stand-up desk with double monitors

On the topic of legacy…

In the last two weeks, I met someone who has been a federal employee for 60 years, attended an all-hands meeting where years and decades of service were recognized by regional staff, and was invited to a retirement party for a beloved employee.

I learned from the aforementioned individual with six decades of experience in federal work that there will be periods of “feast” and “famine” and that creativity and planning ahead will help me survive the famines and maximize the feasts. At the party, I met coworkers who made picture slideshows and traveled over two hours by car to attend, say goodbye in person, and wish their beloved colleague good luck in his retirement. This was one of the two retirement parties planned for this individual (the other one was in San Francisco). One of their long-time friends, whom they met as a seasonal employee and shared a room with back in the 70s, attended and gifted them a rock sack commemorating their time working on trails together. Most recently, the honoree had worked on a myriad of facility and emergency construction projects throughout the region. He was described by peers as always kind, helpful, and professional; a testament to the fact that you could be all three and still be wildly successful at your job.

I was inspired! I thought to myself, “I hope someday, if I’m lucky enough to be able to retire, people will want to throw me a party before I leave”. All of this has made me think about what I want to achieve in the next two or three decades. I see myself working for the park service long-term, but I understand that in terms of professional achievements, nothing lasts forever, and nothing is guaranteed. I can only work hard, be nice to people (see song below), and plan for retirement. Simply put, I want to work with good people on cool projects, but in terms of legacy, only time will tell. I am happy to leave it in the hands of those who get to know me over the years, knowing that I will do my best always to be kind, helpful, and professional.

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