I know the build up has been intense, and I didn’t reveal much when I shared the news that I resigned from the CIA on February 28th. And I didn’t reveal much because I was both nervous that for some illogical reason the new position wouldn’t work out and because I was a bit too far out to share the news anyway.
Now that I am only a few days from starting on Monday, I’m excited to share that I am taking my next step in my professional development and growth and starting as the…
Marketing Manager for the Partnership for Public Service!
…a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that strives for a more effective government for the American people through leadership development, government modernization, and employee engagement.
Okay…now that I’ve exposed the secret, I’ll explain how it happened.
On Wednesday, January 22nd, I received a call from one of the Partnership’s employees, asking if she could interview me over the phone, along with another senior manager there. I immediately responded accepting the opportunity and thanking them for reaching out.
The next day, we spoke for about 30 minutes, and while I felt the phone call was good overall, I definitely had one answer to a question that seemed off the mark. Nevertheless, an hour after the call, I received another email from the interviewer asking if I would join them for an in-person interview the following week.
I was ecstatic, and the next day, we confirmed everything. My in-person interview was set for 3 – 5 p.m. the following Thursday, January 30th.
When the day came, I left my apartment at 1:45 p.m., planning some extra space to get there early as well as see how long it would take me to get there. A quick walk to the metro and five stops later, I walked two blocks to the building. All it took was 29 minutes. No car. No driving. No traffic. I’d never really had this type of commute before while living in the United States (I had good ones in the Middle East), so I was already happy about this.
I’m not going to disclose the details of the interview process to help keep the privacy of it for the Partnership, but over the couple hours I met with a number of people, many of whom I’d be working with or for. I felt good at the end of the interview, so good that I invited my brother, who worked just a few blocks away, to meet me for a happy hour.
I didn’t know how long it would take for the Partnership to respond, but I’ll never forget the day it happened.
The following Wednesday, February 5th, was a special day for me and my wife. It was the first day that we decided to take a day off from work and spend together while our little girl was in daycare. We hadn’t had a weekday like this since she was born, but we thought it was important. After we dropped her at daycare at around 8:00 a.m., we walked back to our apartment, put on an episode of The Office and had some breakfast from Starbucks. By 10 a.m., we were back in bed asleep and didn’t wake up until 1:30 p.m.
As I sat on my couch looking at my phone, I received a phone call from an unknown number. I was lucky I was looking at my phone at the time because it was on silent mode and I wouldn’t have been able to tell if someone was calling. Either way, I answered it. It was the HR Manager from the Partnership asking me if I had a moment to talk.
By this time, Abby was in the kitchen doing some dishes and I began to excitedly mouth [but not make a sound] to her, “IT’S THE PARTNERSHIP!” Her eyes grew as big as mine as I refocused on the phone call.
The HR Manager told me how much they enjoyed meeting me and that they were excited to offer me the position. She said she would send me the official offer to my email, along with a few other documents for me to fill out. She said they looked forward to hearing from me soon.
All I could do was admit I was a bit overwhelmed by the moment and that I very much appreciated the offer and their time.
When the call ended, I placed my phone on the dining table and stood in the middle of our living room. My left hand covered my mouth as I began to cry.
But in that moment, I realized I wasn’t crying out of happiness. I was crying out of relief. It was relief that I could finally leave CIA for something else. It was relief that I could finally take a risk and see what I could do on the outside. It was relief that I wouldn’t be holed up in a government agency for the rest of my professional career. It was relief that someone else wanted me…that someone else thought I was good enough!
I cried. And I cried more. Then Abby hugged me and asked where the tears were coming from. I told her everything I was feeling.
After I regained my composure, I wanted to celebrate, so we walked up the street to get the best Vietnamese pho I’ve ever had (it’s called Pho 75 in Court House/Rosslyn.) After a large bowl of noodle soup with strips of beef, we picked up our little girl and I hugged her with excitement and joy, telling her about my new job.
She’s six months old, so she had no idea what I was saying, but I could tell that she could tell I was excited and happy.
And I was…and I am.
I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I’m ready to work hard, learn, and do my best. I’m ready to get after it. Thank you to the Partnership for Public Service for this opportunity. I won’t let you down!
It’s a new life with new people, new responsibilities, a new location, a new commute…new everything.
And it all happens on Monday!
And I can’t wait!