Week 1, Day 1: “Left to your own devices you’ll be effectively industrious…”

It’s not quite as alluring as the after-dinner fortune cookie omen with the happy face at the end, but my horoscope in today’s paper made me smirk. On my morning commute into the much-anticipated “Day 1,” it read:  “Left to your own devices you’ll be effectively industrious…”  Now, I don’t usually pick up the free paper (nor do I put more than a giggle of faith in horoscopes); so, today Fate must have forced me to skim the last page of the metro paper just before my train stop to quickly remind me what great potential lies ahead.

For the last few days, between today and my last day at GSK, I took the chance for some mental housecleaning. The separation between the “day-job” and the “pulse assignment” helped rid me of my chaotic office-impulses and release any unwarranted biases or preconceptions from my mind. It was one of those rare moments of quiet in life –  like a summer off after college – one experience ends and the next has not yet begun.   The best way to describe it would be that I felt like I extended those amazing last 5-minutes of dark silence at the end of yoga class into 5 days of mind clearing.

Then the quiet loudly ended in a surreal state as I opened the doors to the Philadelphia Education Fund building. I literally stopped my tracks mid-way while opening the door. I consciously noticed “This is it; you’re doing this.”  The security guard probably wondered why I was holding the door open for myself.  I felt my zen-yoga-esque state slip out behind me, and fresh adrenaline filled my veins as I crossed the threshold.   Since I didn’t have the same airport departures and landings as those volunteers going on away-from-home assignments, my “OMG”  moment arrived when I stared at the circular (7) button aglow in the elevator on the way up to the office suite. A rush of excitement passed through me as the double-doors opened, and the PEF logo flashed in front of me. This was not just a quick consulting or audit gig like in my old days.  Now,  I would get a chance to do more than leave a list of ideas and recommendations for management to address. I, personally, get to take initiative and have the amazing chance to be involved first-hand in a dedicated way.

My mind raced throughout the day as Cliff and Nancy (my fellow GSK PULSE volunteeres) and I met everyone.  Our very helpful and knowledgeable partners at PEF poured over us with information, which still left us thirsty for more.  We could hardly stay on topic with all of the excitement. One discussion tangent would lead to a new idea, which in turn would stir a question, and that would cycle back to a learning point. The tide of knowledge rushed in, as the wave of questions rolled on. Our hands fervently jotted down page after page of facts. We could barely keep our eyes up long enough from our papers, now inked with bullets and arrows and stars, to stay engrossed in the meeting. Hours passed by quickly, and before we knew it our first day was over in a flash!

My head is spinning with ideas and thoughts of what lies ahead. I am eager to dive in to this sea of excitement!  I have to be sure to keep on listening and learning during these initial phases so that I can be sure to be “effectively industrious” over the next 6-months… and fulfill the prediction of my horoscope thrown down by the almighty metro-newspaper gods!