There are some great benefits to working for the same company for a long time - like knowing your way around, having friends, earning respect and flexibility...
There are also some negatives - one of the most prominent is baggage.
I have written before about how I believe I have changed quite significantly in the last eight years. In addition to getting married, buying a house, having kids, I also matured as a person. At 25 I had different priorities, at almost 34 I have a different life. And I can honestly say that I am way more comfortable in my own skin now than I was then. My now former-co-workers witnessed my evolution. They could recall (or at least in my hypercritical head I imagine they could) silly mistakes I made - from poor clothing choices to unfortunate professional decisions.
As I prepare to start my new job next week, as scary as it is to enter a whole new world, it is also a bit freeing. It is an opportunity to reinvent myself. Not that I am walking in trying to be someone I'm not; rather, I am walking in as the person I am today. The confident, sassy, newly highlighted woman with two awesome little girls and a supportive husband.
So, instead of focusing on the scary surrounding starting some place new and different, I am focusing on the opportunity. Not just the actual position, which really is great for me professionally, but the opportunity to have a clean slate.
The only baggage they will see is the neatly packed little briefcase I will carry in on my shoulder.