The day is here. September 21st. People are having their exit interviews with HR. Our three temps were done yesterday, and one stopped in this morning to collect her things. One team member has already packed up and shipped out for her Florida vacation. The department is thinning.
Yesterday afternoon, we all got “yearbook” pages featuring messages that people in our department wrote to each of us, accompanied with a CD slideshow of photos and music. I haven’t watched the slideshow yet, but I’ve been told that it features the Green Day song “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” Now I’ve had that song stuck in my head all morning.
It’s a unique atmosphere here today. Somber, certainly. We’ve been working together for years now, and now we’re all parting ways. Granted, a few of us still have another week or two, but that’s going to be more like hanging around a deserted school during summer vacation, doing what still needs to be done.
There’s also a feeling of discontent. Some people aren’t entirely clear on the amounts of their severance and retention, and when that will be paid out, and about their eligibility for unemployment. There’s a slight feeling of bitterness and flippancy — we’re still doing our jobs for one final day, but we’ve long since lost any feeling of company loyalty. We still have enough pride for our jobs and respect for our coworkers not to slack too much, but there’s definitely more people away from their desks and more chatter than usual. It seems to come in waves — silence, then everyone talking at once, then silence again. Team members are also amazed and frustrated at how many people are still requesting loan changes after our widely-publicized Wednesday cutoff.
One ray of light is Stacy, our boss’s boss’s boss. She came through the department earlier and spoke to each of us individually, thanking us for our hard work. Stacy is one of the few management types who really seems sincere to me. I can talk openly and freely to her, and even though I feel like I’ve got diarrhea of the mouth sometimes, she still listens and seems to honestly care. I think Stacy’s visit softened some of us a little.
This is a strange and unique experience. Each of us is simultaneously closing a chapter in our lives, and emotions can run high. As for me, I’m not emotional, per se, but I’m definitely feeling… detached? Surreal? I’m noting the poignancy of the moment without being overly sentimental about it. Sure, I spent more time with these people than with my own husband for the past few years, and I’ll miss some of them, but it’s not like they’re dying. Thanks to e-mail, we can all be in touch quickly and easily at any time, should we want to be — even Scott, who’s moving to Utah.
But I’ll see him next week. Scott, Heather, and our supervisor Ruth Ann will be around for two more weeks. I’ll be around for one.
It’s something unpredictable / But in the end it’s right
Still, work is *not* the time of my life. 🙂