Friday, February 03, 2012

A love letter to Berkman

For the last two and half years, I've work at the Berkman Center.  It's a unique place, and it can be difficult to describe.  When asked what I do, I usually stammer "I work at a research center at Harvard... we study the Internet...  I do project management there... so, you know, grant proposals, research assistants, final reports, but also web development projects, ...oh, and graphs."  But it's really so much more than that.

Berkman is the kind of place where "Berk" becomes a modifier.  Interns become Berkterns.  Interviewees are evaluated on their Berkiness.  Employees celebrate their Berkiversaries.  It's a place where knowing your meme is part of your job, and most parties devolve into watching funny videos on youtube.  (If you've never seen the literal version Total Eclipse of the Heart, please do so now.  I'll wait.  Done?  Ok.  How great was that?!)  I guess what I'm saying is that Berkman is a family (in addition to being a fine academic institution) with all the quirks and privileges that come with that.

For a variety of personal and professional reasons, I've decided it's time to move on.  Next week, I'll start my new role at Akamai as a Program Manager working in Media Optimization (I'm not entirely sure what that means either).  The decision has not been an easy one.  I keep using words like "ambivalence" and "bittersweet" to describe the move, but neither of them quite capture what I'm feeling.

My coworkers here aren't making it easy to leave either.  In addition to kind words, congratulatory emails, delicious, celebratory meals and many hugs, I arrived on Tuesday to find this on our whiteboard:

Yes, that is a list of ways to persuade or coerce me to stay, and several of them do involve turning my own coach against me.

Today is my last day, and I'm filled with incredible gratitude toward this place.  For taking me on in the first place, for welcoming me to the family, for sharing your enthusiasm with me.  Although I won't be far away, I'm  leaving the Madame GrumpyPants tiara to the Belfry to remember me by.  Use it well.

Thank you, and I'll see you at Berryline.


Joey Mornin February 3, 2012 at 3:48 PM  

Good luck, Berkfriend!

rebekah February 4, 2012 at 9:20 AM  

I'll be wearing the Madame GrumpyPants tiara every day next week.

Good luck, Belfrymate, fellow ewe, and Berkfriend. May the pastures at Akamai be wonderful.

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