In early October 2003, I remember sitting in the middle of a long table across from a group of people who would, unbeknownst to them, shape my life in so many ways for the next almost eight years. This was my job interview to work at SAMHSA as an SAIC contractor.
I remember the interview vividly, and remember the faces and names of everyone who was there. Some are still here with SAIC at SAMHSA, some have left, and one or two have even retired. One of them, Alla, was very pregnant at the time and left six months later – only to come back again at a full-time capacity.
For eight years I have worked side by side with the amazing federal employees and other contractors at the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration as a contractor on the Web & Application team. In those eight years, I’ve learned a lot about both my chosen profession (web/application UX/IA/design), about friendship, about hard work, about teamwork, and about life in general.
This Friday will be my last day here, and it’s a bittersweet thing to me. I’ve made amazing friends, I’ve had a great time. There have been bad patches mixed in here and there, but they are outweighed by the great things that I’ve seen and experienced.
To anyone who says that federal employees don’t do anything or are wasteful, I implore you to look at SAMHSA as an example of the polar opposite. The people I’ve worked with here – hundreds, literally – are the most motivated, caring individuals. They truly believe in the organizations’ mission to bring substance abuse & mental health issues to the forefront, and to bring relief to those who have and are suffering from addictions and afflictions. It makes me feel good every day that the work I do here helps to reach millions of people in need.
That’s why it’s so bittersweet. Good people. Good work. Good times. Good memories.
So, on July 1st, I begin working for Monster.com as their new Sr. User Experience Designer. It’s going to be quite an undertaking that will put all of my current skills to use and will teach me new ones, but it’s going to play to my biggest passion: creating wonderful things, and making good things even better.
I don’t know what exactly the future holds, but I’m looking forward to experiencing it and working with new people and new challenges while holding the memories of SAMHSA & SAIC close to my heart.