Now, it’s your turn

The Covington News - - OPINION - Mau­rice Carter is a Cov­ing­ton res­i­dent, a na­tive At­lantan, an IT con­sul­tant by pro­fes­sion, and an ac­tive com­mu­nity vol­un­teer at heart. He can be reached at mau­ricec7@bell­

By now, you may have seen the news that I will run this fall for a seat on the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil. That means this will be my last col­umn … for a while.

Weigh­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of seek­ing lo­cal elected of­fice, the recog­ni­tion I would have to dis­con­tinue my weekly col­umn was one of the tough­est fac­tors to con­sider.

Since May of last year, I’ve come to greatly en­joy this weekly op­por­tu­nity to share with you the thoughts, ideas and ques­tions that oc­cupy my mind.

Those of you who’ve taken the time to call, write or stop me on the street will never know how much it has meant to me. More than any­thing, you told me I made you think. And, that’s all that I ever hoped to do.

Along the way, the re­spon­si­bil­ity to fill this space each week made me think too. We all have plenty on our minds, but nar­row­ing it to a topic and a per­spec­tive that can be dis­tilled in 750 words or less taught me much about the dis­ci­pline of think­ing clearly and com­mu­ni­cat­ing con­cisely. It’s some­thing ev­ery­one should try.

A few of you will miss my writ­ings. Some num­ber I’d rather not know will be glad to see me go. But the ma­jor­ity of you will move on and soon won’t eas­ily re­call, “Who was that guy who used to write for The Cov­ing­ton News?”

I learned many years ago not to over­es­ti­mate my im­por­tance. I was em­ployed for some eight years in the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy depart­ment of a ma­jor bank in down­town At­lanta. I’d done well and won a few ma­jor awards dur­ing my ten­ure.

I’d led the adop­tion of some in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies, and I felt they never quite ap­pre­ci­ated my full value.

When a bank in Cleve­land, Ohio, sought my ser­vices and of­fered more money than I could have ex­pected, Kim and I were bound for the frozen north. It would be just the ticket to show my for­mer em­ployer just how much I was re­ally worth.

When I was gone a few months, they’d re­al­ize I was the one hold­ing it all to­gether.

The change in lat­i­tude and the snowy win­ters cre­ated in­ter­est­ing mo­ments that will have to wait for some fu­ture col­umn. And, the ca­reer move worked out too. But, it didn’t all play out the way I ex­pected.

Re­turn­ing to At­lanta a year later for a fam­ily visit over the hol­i­days, I stopped by the old of­fice to catch up with friends.

Roam­ing the halls, I ran into a guy I’d played soft­ball with for many years on the com­pany team. I men­tioned I was back in town for the hol­i­days and drop­ping in for a visit.

“Oh, you left?” he said, look­ing quite sur­prised. My bub­ble burst.

So much for my in­dis­pens­abil­ity. Much to my cha­grin, life went on just fine with­out me there.

It was hum­bling at the time, but it’s one of the bet­ter life lessons I’ve ever learned. That re­al­iza­tion has helped me keep my pri­or­i­ties in check over the years.

We’re all in­dis­pens­able to some­one, but it’s not our em­ploy­ers.

Busi­ness is busi­ness. Do right by your busi­ness col­leagues and do your fair share. But, never for­get it’s the friends you’ve made and the fam­ily you’ve kept who will miss you when you’re gone.

No one is in­dis­pens­able. But, some things are. And one of them is the com­mu­nity news­pa­per. I’m so grate­ful to The Cov­ing­ton News for giv­ing me the chance to reach all of you each week.

I be­lieve our abil­ity to ex­change in­for­ma­tion, ideas and view­points is the great­est hope we have for find­ing our way as a com­mu­nity. In a world where so much di­vides us, that is some­thing that still unites us.

I never wrote to change hearts or minds; I only hoped to re­veal my own in a way I wished might make you more will­ing to share yours — with­out fear, mal­ice or ill will against those with dif­fer­ing views.

They say de­cency, re­spect and ci­vil­ity are in short sup­ply in our times, but I’m just not buy­ing it. We’re bet­ter than that — es­pe­cially in a com­mu­nity like this, where we can still share our words and our ideas with one an­other.

I’m leav­ing an empty spot here.

I hope to re­sume my col­umn af­ter Novem­ber — win or lose. But, that’s a long way off, and who knows? Mean­while, it’s time for some­one else to step for­ward.

Why not you?



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