Today, for the last time, I will make the trip southward in commute traffic to my job of seven years. I will go through the motions that accompany any leaving of a company: the HR exit interview, the final salary receipt, the options interview. I will be told I am free to say goodbye and leave whenever.
And then I will make the rounds and say goodbye.
It is a funny thing, these endings - this one especially. I have been at this company 7 years and two months (almost precisely). That is a long time to be anywhere, especially in this economy - 1/3 of my work life in industry has been spent at this one location. That is a lot of institutional history to hold in your head, a lot of things that you have seen.
A lot of people that you have known.
Work is ultimately about relationships - after all, we end up spending 1/4 to 1/3 of our lives with a group of people, often more than our families and friends. In a way they become our family and friends, or at least bothersome acquaintances we have to deal with on a regular basis to get things done, those neighbors that never quite get their lawn mowed or their trash out of the way. We get involved in each others lives, perhaps by accident or perhaps by choice.
Either way, such a parting is a hard one.
In so many ways it is the people that have made the work environment as bearable as it has been. Without looking forward to going to the small corner of the universe where I have sat for 4 years, associating with the folks that were originally someone I had to work with but have become much more, I would have probably become more overwhelmed than I became or have left without thinking through the consequences long before. For this, I am grateful.
This has been a grating job in so many ways. Lots of them I have written about here over the years - in some ways, the bulk of this blog covers that period. And I will not miss so much of what I am leaving behind - I have done all I can and so leave with a conscience that is clean. But I shall badly miss them.
And then with a sigh - somewhat tired, somewhat regretful, I will cast off my rope for the last time and allow the traffic flow to take me up and out, bearing me away to a future that feels it has been long in coming, but in fact came exactly when it should have.