Isn’t it funny how good things and bad things seem to come in waves? Or how “good things come in threes?” Or that “good things come to those who wait?” All those sayings were definitely upheld for me at work in the last few weeks and I’m honestly feeling like I should go buy a few lottery tickets while my luck is good!
First, and most significant, is that I got a promotion! I am now the Group Lead for the ISS Operations Safety group. I’ve been in this group for the last 4+ years but our lead is shifting to a new role within my division, and her job was suddenly available. I applied, interviewed…and got it! Being a group lead is part technical and part management, so while some things will feel familar, other things — like personnel management, task assignments and budget planning — will be totally new for me. Being “in charge” of people feels a little intimidating right now, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and to building new skills. I officially moved into the new position a week ago and am furiously trying to both come up to speed AND make sure everything will be covered while I’m out on maternity leave. The fact that I’m essentially having to say “thanks for picking me…see ya at Thanksgiving!” is definitely a bit awkward, but I’m confident it will all work out in the long run.
Second, the same day I found out that I got the group lead job, I also found out that I’m receiving a JSC (Johnson Space Center) Center Director’s Commendation award! It’s an honor to have been nominated for it, and it was totally unexpected. The awards ceremony is in late September and I honestly have no idea whether I will be able to go due to the tiny-new-baby factor, but hopefully Jose and I can figure something out.
And third, a couple days later, I found out that I made it to the next round of the selection process for the work-sponsored leadership development program I mentioned a few weeks ago. (I guess my “screw this, I’m just going to be unflinchingly honest” approach actually worked! Funny that…) The program is for the entire agency — they will select a total of 20 or 30 people from all the the NASA centers across the country — so actually being selected to participate in the program is still FAR from a sure thing, but it feels good to have made it past the first hurdle.
Over the course of my career but especially in the past few years, I have often felt torn between wanting to be recognized for my efforts but feeling like I should be satisfied by just doing good work for good work’s sake and letting the chips fall where they may. I feel like wanting to be rewarded is not how I’m supposed to think. After all, kids aren’t ALL supposed to get a medal, right? I’m not supposed to want or need any gold stars.
But I also often conclude that this is an unrealistic expectation to put on myself — or on anyone else, for that matter. Maybe everyone doesn’t deserve a medal…but everyone probably does something, sometime, that deserves a pat on the back, or an award, or a bonus, or a promotion. And who doesn’t want to be told, in one way or another, that they’re doing a good job?
So while part of me feels like this post is far too braggy, the other part is happy to have so much good news to report on the job front. All in all it feels really, really good to be finding some success after leaving the world of the space shuttle and mission operations and spending the past several years of building my credentials in the ISS Safety organization. And it is really, really nice to be heading into maternity leave on a high note. I will have a lot to look forward to when I go back to work in November!