On Friday afternoon, I sent out my official announcement email. On Monday, the words below of encouragement and congratulations were what I received throughout the day. Not to be morbid, but I’ve always wondered what it would be like to hear the words that might be spoken at my own memorial service. That is how it feels right now. I’m feeling a tinge of grief and loss but I’m also excited and joyful. I’m overwhelmed with blessings and gratitude for the responses that filled my email inbox today. I’m including these very personal messages in this journal for a time in the future when I might need to remind myself that I had an awesome career. If there are some hard days I know that these words will bring healing to me. I’ll read these to remind me how amazing it has been to work with these great people. I wish more people knew the part of government that no one ever writes about. The hard work, compassion and commitment of public servants around the globe; somehow with all of the bad news, this part gets overlooked.
“Wow – What an end of an era. I am super happy for you but sad for us☺”
“NOOOOOOO! You can’t go ….! Seriously – this makes me very sad but also very happy for you at the same time. I want you to know how much I’ve really enjoyed working with you and having you as mentor during the Leadership Academy. Getting paired up with you was a delight and I learned a lot and enjoyed all the time we got to spend discussing work, goals, and life. You are an inspirational lady and I’ll really miss you. Hopefully I’ll be able to see you at some point and give you a big hug! I hope I like working with your replacement as much as I’ve enjoyed working with you, but that will be a tough act to follow ☺ “
“Congratulations! Exciting but scary.
You will succeed and be happy in everything you choose to do!
Thank you for your kindness, compassion and love.
You will truly be missed by all of us.”
“Snohomish County needs you. The value you bring, years of experience, leadership and vision are hard to find. However, after 44 years….totally understandable that you should move forward to the next chapter with a “life reimagined”. You and I did not get to work directly, but your reputation precedes you and the few opportunities to be in meetings and at public open houses has been heartwarming and provided me a glimpse of your energy, tactfully share your opinion, give acknowledgements/kudos for innovative ideas, and your willingness to roll up your sleeve to get things done. Truly inspiration and a model for those moving up the ranks in this county environment. Congratulations as I’m sure it was a difficult decision, but excited and happy for you as well. Much deserved.”
“Just to let you know, you are my favorite director. Of anywhere I’ve worked.”
“Wow!!! Congrats, Barb! I know you will be missed so very much. A PDS without Barb Mock will be very strange indeed. Very best wishes for your new chapter in life!”
“Beautiful- like you – as always Barb”
“I can’t say I am totally surprised but I am very sad (for me) to hear your news.
On the other hand, I am very excited (for you) that you will be taking on new adventures!”
“I just saw a message that you’ll be retiring this coming March. Congratulations! I am so happy for you. You will be leaving quite the legacy from your career at Sno Co. You’ve had a great influence on the department and it has been a real blessing to get to work with you during my short time. Of all the directors I’ve had the opportunity to interact with, no one has been as welcoming and open as you have been and I really appreciate that. You have had a tremendous impact on me that I am very grateful for. I hope we can continue to stay in touch after you’ve retired. Congrats again! ☺ “
“I have so enjoyed your openness and honesty in our Cabinet meetings, and the positive impact you have made on so many of our lives. “
“Thank you for the 44 years of service to the citizens of Snohomish County. Your dedication is remarkable! I am blessed to have crossed paths with you. I wish you all the very best in the next portion of your journey.”
“This is so exciting! For all of those reasons you mentioned, and more! Congratulations is an understatement! I can’t think of the word big enough to express the joy and pleasure on the announcement of your beautiful life reimagined. Salute’ to many years of happiness, dream making, travel and family. I wish you good health for your adventures ahead! Salute’”
“Congratulations Barb! You will be missed as the best director ever and as a great co-worker and friend. I wish you the best; and I will again in 7 months.”
“Atta way Barb, Congratulations on the decision to pursue a life reimagined! Nice perspective. I was wondering when the time would arrive for you to “chop life” (pigeon English of Cameroonian slang) in the third age, yet you've been living in a carpe diem way for decades with no end in sight. We appreciate how you guided PDS through many highs and lows with style and grace, plus putting up with characters like myself. Thanks again for all you've done for PDS and the greater citizens of Snohomish County!”
“Wow, big news! Congratulations on beginning this next chapter of your life, although you will be severely missed by PDS (and me of course)! “
“Very quickly into my tenure at PDS I was impressed by your strength, confidence, and expertise in seemingly all things planning related. I’ve worked with a number of individuals in leadership roles, although I have never had the pleasure of looking up to someone who is so obviously in love with what her job could be. No one can love all of their job, all of the time, although I think the most inspirational leaders see the potential. The potential in themselves, in others, and in their organization. They strive for innovation while understanding that change will likely be incremental, and politics will play a role. Simply put, you are the type of leader I hope to be one day. Thank you for your 44 years of service, and for being a guiding light to PDS.”
Needless to say, the many responses to my announcement have been overwhelming. I'm grateful for the feedback and best wishes and for the many conversations I've had this week about my retirement decision.
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.