A Tale of Two Cities…

Posted on May 19, 2023

Top-down view of luggage standing next to each other, including a blue suitcase, red bag, white bag, brown case, and several more.

Today’s Buzz is by Cassie Johnson, Police Operational Support Director for the Scottsdale Police Department. Follow Cassie on LinkedIn and Twitter

What I’m working on: Getting ready to leave for Portland, Ore. for a long weekend…and all that entails

What I’m watching: I’ve started watching Madam Secretary

What I’m reading: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


By the time this #MorningBuzz publishes, I will be in Portland, Oregon (and on a trip to Cannon Beach). I was invited to again speak at the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) conference on the topic of process improvement, and have the opportunity to sandwich the session between time seeing friends in the area. I used to be an avid traveler and would find ways to fit in quick adventures throughout the year, but over the last several years, like many others I’m sure… that has slipped. I’m trying to regain those opportunities this year, and this trip seemed like the perfect opportunity! 

But, what sounded like a great opportunity a few months ago feels like a bad idea in the days leading up to leaving. It’s annual evaluation season (as others have written about recently), finishing out one budget year and preparing to welcome in the next, and we’re preparing for our on-site assessment for our accreditation process, while scheduling department-wide facilitated meetings for our next strategic plan. Oh, and a blog is due!

So as many can probably relate to, it does not feel like a great time to be gone! As I found myself sitting in my office the last few nights, mulling over everything I needed to get done, I realized I needed to switch my lens and appreciate it differently. 

  1. I’ve gotten a lot of things done and off the list this week. Seriously, I’m super productive in the tasks that have been weighing on me and getting them sent off. It needed to be done, and I had the motivation to get through it. 
  2. I’m training new team members on critical projects that are very seasonal in nature. I have new leadership in my respective sections, and these things that are happening only come along once a year or, in some cases, once every four to five years. I have the opportunity to teach them what we do, why we do it, and how to get it done. Getting the things sent out and wrapped up is important, but I don’t have to do it all myself.
  3. When I am gone later this week, I have the privilege to be gone and spend time with family and friends in a very intentional way. I’ve never been to Oregon, and I get to see things I’ve had on my list for a long time. I can be present at that time because my deadlines will have been met, and I can refill my cup. 

As I reflect, I know that it never really feels like a good time to be gone when you’re still in the midst of getting ready to leave. But it is always important to be intentional, set priorities, and remember that it is difficult to serve others when you are running on empty.

So this week I am getting to enjoy two significant adventures in two cities. First, I am accomplishing tasks for my own city, so that I can enjoy a new city in a very meaningful and intentional way. 

If you’re going to be in Portland for GFOA, I hope I get to see you Sunday, and I hope you find those intentional moments to refill your cup!

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