Today is the Last Day of my Day Job. In four hours, my work email will begin bouncing back any correspondence sent to my former electronic identity, forever lost in the mysterious world of email space. My phone number will be redistributed and someone else will move into my office, probably on Monday. Over the course of my eight year tenure, I received countless “Last Day” emails; some are funny and creative, most are pretty generic, begging the question, why even bother; others are just plain weird. Like, creepy weird. And in my latter years, the sole purpose of these emails seemed to be to taunt me, as I imagined these people floating off into The World, free to explore their next Life Chapter, while I sat there, tied down by the golden handcuffs.
I discovered the key to those handcuffs 18 months ago, and today, I am using it. And I will not be sending one of those infamous Last Day emails. If I spent my time here right, I shouldn’t have to. Those I have a relationship with know exactly how I feel and where I am headed and why; those I don’t won’t care that I am gone. Instead, I will simply fade away into whatever black hole all of the other ex-employees disappear. On second thought, I will fade as far away from that hole as possible. I will create my own black hole and erase the evidence, a work twist on the Irish goodbye.
It’s not that I didn’t like my job. It was actually pretty spectacular. Before you leave, HR asks you to fill out a departure questionnaire describing what you liked about the company and your role and what you didn’t. As humans, we feel it’s our absolute right to complain about our jobs at some point, and I bet if you caught me at the right moment over the years, I could have filled that questionnaire to the brim. But when it came down to it, when I was really given the opportunity to lay it all out on the table, throw anyone under the bus, unleash the fury built up over eight years, I found that I didn’t really have any. Nothing seemed bad enough to actually bitch about and even that stuff was overshadowed by all the good stuff.
But when it’s time, it’s time. And I am ready. And now that it’s over, I can fully appreciate this chapter of my life, and recognize the doors it has unlocked for my future. I see one of those doors straight ahead of me. I am about to cross that threshold, into a bigger room full of new doors, just waiting to be opened.
My friend Lisa has this thing for celebratory sky lanterns. Two years ago, the sky lantern headed straight for a tree and we nervously watched, waiting for the tree to catch fire. It didn’t. Last year, my sky lantern never even made it to the sky. We burned a hole in it before it had enough hot air to fly. This year, on my 33rd birthday, not one, but two sky lanterns flew happily off into the night sky. In four short hours, I will unlock these golden handcuffs, drift toward that open door and float off into The World, following my lanterns to my next Life Chapter.
Annnnnd I just received an email from HR with the subject “Departure Reminder.” As if I forgot.