March 18, 2006

The Last Day at Work

Who would've thought spending my last day would be hectic? I hardly had time to feel sad, excited or anything at all because things kept coming my way. It was as if they were giving me all they had, a last hurrah.

A lot of people turned up in our office. They surprised me with chocolate cake. The head of the office gave a speech that caught me by surprise, it was so complimentary. She admitted she tried to stop me, but "her mind was made up, there was nothing I could do". Then she asked me to say something.

I admit, I was planning what to say early this week. I didn't want to blabber on. Then of course, I ended up forgetting it when it was my turn. I rambled. For a minute or two. Arrgh! Awkward.

Then I saw their faces, all the faces of people I've known for years, coupled with the faces of people I've just met. They all looked sad. Why they looked sad didn't matter to me. Seeing them sad made me sad. My voice shook. All my experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly - led to this decision.

Then something clicked.

I thanked them for their time, the cake and their company. I talked of how I grew up there - joined when I was 24 and leaving now that I'm 31. How I couldn't believe it was my last week there. How I'm leaving behind all that is familiar. How great that I met a lot of people from different countries and different backgrounds. How glad I was to have known all of them. How much I learned just being there. I ended by saying, "the best thing I learned from being here was that I should do work that I believe in." After I said that, I realized how much of the real me I kept well-hidden from them. I told them what made me resign yet I wonder if they understood what I meant.

There was silence...and then applause. The head of the office turned to me and said (with a tone that registered much surprise), "that was a good speech".

There was a bit of snit when someone from my office commented that "vultures" were coming down in droves - people from other offices. Of course, the so-called "vultures" heard that. I tell you, sometimes my former coworkers are just tactless. It was JUST chocolate cake, a BIG chocolate cake, no reason to make a big fuss. Why the need to say something like that?

People left the office late. Most of them were hanging out by my cubicle. People were helping me with the things that kept coming my way. Others helped me pack my stuff.

One of them just kept looking at me wistfully. Turns out she couldn't bear to say goodbye. She was close to crying. I understand how she feels. I don't like saying goodbye. What's more, suddenly, Connecticut is a cool place for them to visit. They kept telling me they'll organize a group trip to visit me. They kept asking me to come back.

Things haven't been great, as this blog can attest. I've been unhappy at work. I tried positive thinking. I tried distancing myself from it. I've been sick on and off for months on end. Finally, I mustered up the courage to resign last week. Even being unemployed did not stop me from resigning. After months of despairing, weeping, wailing and whining, I kept believing something will turn up, something better, something right for me. Happily enough, something did turn up.

I'm going to miss the people, just not everybody. I'm going to miss the routine, but not the work.

Not a bad way to go.


Paige said...

It is hard to say goodbye to some. I'm not good about staying in touch & don't really ever say I will. I'm honest that way. You will be fine! This is gonna kinda be like a vacation for about a week. Then you might get nervous about getting the last pay check. Hang in there & take your time about another job, if you can. Breath deep & relax a while. Have a little fun.

Lei said...

I'm sure they learned a lot from you, Cez, I believe that's a good way to go.

Rest and recharge. ^^