I got the sad news this week that the nonprofit where I entered this field, and that I've been associated with for so many years, will close its local office at the end of the month.
Each year, this organization holds a huge auction fundraiser in June, and for the last six years of my life, I've spent the months from January through June organizing it and dealing with many volunteers, committees, local businesses, and details. Last summer, it was clear that the national headquarters of the organization no longer supported this fundraiser. In fact, they actively discouraged it, and so it got put on hiatus for this year.
I have to say that it's been somewhat of a relief for me, actually. On one hand, I've deeply enjoyed my work on this event, and it pays well. On the other hand, it really does occupy a lot of my mind and time for six months. I was sort of eager to see what new things might move in to fill the space that I'll now have in my life this spring. I've done that fundraiser really well, and it's nice to try out new things instead.
But, now, just this weekend, I get this sad news. Not even officially, but just trickling to me through the grapevine. I'm surprised and I'm not. I had already realized that just about every person I had ever cared about through this organization had already moved on to other things. A few moved, some were transferred. Most were cruelly laid off as the org kept cutting back and cutting back. The unexpected dismissal of the former Executive Director, a beloved and all around excellent guy, last spring was especially shocking. And now this.
Though they own the building, and this is the most efficient and productive location in the entire nation, the org is finishing it. It is a bit to adjust to. Even though I didn't have the time anymore to make it part of my regular routine, I had always hoped to go back and volunteer there one day. I even thought I could get the girls involved in their teens. Now it will just be gone. Another empty space, with only my vivid memory holding it intact.
I have so many good memories of walking through that door. Stopping by everyone's desk to chat a bit, catching up on the news, and settling down to be productive while surrounded by kind and interesting people. Getting bored working on the computer, engaging the office manager in small talk. Working with the books to get things right. Giving tours and training new volunteers. I represented the org many times at conferences and for development purposes. It's where I got the start to my new life.
In some ways, I am fine with its end, just as I am with the fundraiser's demise. It has already served its purpose for me. I enjoyed my work there while I was there, and I benefitted greatly from it. I met many friends and I learned a new trade.That chapter of my life is closed now, behind me, and this physical closure only makes that more clear.
But I'm still sorry for the loss and for the sake of the people who are currently more involved, especially those who will no doubt now lose their jobs. At least, my job is here. And now.