Friday, April 08, 2011

Where I'm at

*warning: this is a boring work-related post which I needed to write to process things*

Growing up I was always a bunny hugger. Chairperson of the Environmental Society in grade 7, vegetarian from grade 8, member of the SPCA society throughout high school, studied a BSc in conservation ecology. I recycle. Like I actually recycle, I don't just think it's a good idea. I'm a greeny. The dream job of a greeny is to work for the cause, to be part of the solution, to represent The Panda. I've always loved WWF. I dreamt of working there and when it happened I floated about the place for months in a happy bubble.

My job at WWF has sent me tracking wild dog, relocating rhino, travelling to India. I have met with celebs and have been treated like a celeb on all major radio stations and TV stations in the country. I am the last remaining member of the team who brought Earth Hour to SA and have made it happen for the last 3 years, we have garnered the support of presidents and politicians, musicians and sportsmen.

Last year WWF was involved in a court case whereby we sued a mining company and the Department of Mineral Resources for granting mining rights in a place which was environmentally pristine. The area in question provides water to most of Gauteng. It was ludicrous. We joined with a few other NGOs and took the bloody agents to court. We were pouring in millions but how do NGOs compete with endless finances? Then someone from the mining company made the mistake of commenting to the Mail&Gaurdian. Because he broke the "no media" agreement we were allowed to as well. I put together information and comments from our side. It was printed and within days the mining company had withdrawn their mining application and promised to never mine in that area. What millions could not achieve, the media could. I am immensely proud of my part in that.

In my time at WWF I have completed my Masters, had two children and bought a house. I have had 3 cars stolen (I know!) and have had several break ins. I have moved house twice. I have lost my gran, my Phoebe and Sophia. Two of my best friends in all the world are fellow employees.

My point is that while it makes all the sense in the world to no longer be a permanent employee of WWF, my nails are bitten short, I feel queasy and anxious and this is why: While I don't doubt my decision, WWF has been such a large part of who I am for so so long that it feels like in leaving, a little part of me is dying.


Hels said...

Shees, when you examine all that you have been a part of at WWF and all that you’ve been through, it's very easy to see why this is such a huge, difficult, intense time & decision for you (even tho you really do know you are making the right choice). At the same time, it's nice to leave when you have far more fond memories of a job than bad ones; when you leave your very own legacy behind, and when you have such exciting opportunities ahead of you. WWF has never defined you, but rather you’ve played a vital part in defining it. Your leaving doesn’t cause a part of you to die because, as you so rightly point out, you live your job! You’re a greeny at heart and that will never change no matter where you work. So of all the employees who have walked out the doors – you are the one in which I believe WWF will continue to live the most. Of course this doesn’t in anyway belittle the momentousness of this change, just that I think the loss is on WWF’s side, not yours. The one really important thing though, is to make sure that those friends of yours that are colleagues are not forgotten in your new life ;-)

Tamara said...

I think you're totally normal to feel this way. But everything Hels has said makes sense. And as we grow, our dreams change. You're still being true to who you are. You're not giving up on a dream - you're being brave enough to follow a new one.

Sharon said...

You are not what you do. AND, there is a season for everything. Your season at WWF full time has come to an end, new doors are opening, and the path is being made clear one step at a time. Have faith in Him who guides you and be blessed.

clare said...

Do what feels right in your heart and tummy :) but it sounds like you will still be connected to WWF at least some of the time. The world needs way more people just like you x

Nes said...

I just have to partake in some hero-worshipping right now. You work/ed at the WWF and you RECYCLE! That is so so cool. I just finished my MSc. and in the process had to start working in a non environmental field (of course trying to find environmental jobs with no experience now is very difficult) but I hope that one day I will be lucky. Anyway, after that...the experiences you have had, what you have learnt and who you are don't change. Good luck!

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