I’ve worked in the same place for 7 years. During that time, people have come and gone. Only a small group of about 4 people are still here that have been around since I started. Today, one of them is leaving. I wasn’t particularly close with this person, but he wrote a farewell e-mail to all of us co-workers and called out the 3 of us who are now the last stragglers from the original group. He had included an old phone list of our group that showed a dot next to each person that is no longer here. Now, it was time to put a dot next to his name. For some reason, as I read his e-mail on my way into work, I became nostalgic.
It was one of those surreal moments when time stands still, everything seems brighter, and you wonder, “Where did the time go?” Instead of dreading walking into work, everything seemed glazed over with a warm glow that made me think I would miss this place when it was my turn to leave.
I started in the group when I was just 23, and now I’m 30. I spent my formative 20s with this group and have grown so much. Fresh out of college, work meant getting to meet new people and trying not to embarrass myself in front of the higher ups. I mostly accomplished this by never talking, which was not very helpful since everyone labeled me as too quiet.
|my original badge photo. sorry for the blurriness.|
Now, I’m management. I’m the person that people come to for advice and to ask questions. I can’t tell you how strange that feels. I do feel more competent and confident, but sometimes I just want to go back to the carefree days when little was expected of me and I just got to take long lunches and leave early. Maybe it’s hardest to come to terms with the fact that I’m not the same person who joined this group 7 years ago. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t left for a new opportunity yet. I don’t want to let go of this place, because I would be letting go of that shy girl who wore no makeup and who it took a whole two weeks to say hi to her co-worker who sat across from her.
This moment reminded me of the Office finale. It was just a paper company, but the relationships made in that small building made it mean something much more to the workers. You don’t realize the impact of your every day until you take a moment to step back and look at all that has happened. It doesn't matter what you're doing. In the moment, you see it all as just the mundane moments that everyone goes through. You trudge into work, trudge out, make dinner, watch some TV, and then you do it again the next day. Nothing about it feels special, but I promise you that when you look back at an accumulation of years, these seemingly mundane moments will be your treasured memories that will make you smile. For me, work will become synonymous with how my husband (then boyfriend) used to meet me for lunch dates almost every day at the Planet Sub close to my work, how I formed two awesome friendships in cubicles that started when we were just killing time, how I finally found my voice, and how I got the guts to start a craft business.
Looking back even now, I see all these moments in a soft romantic light. These are the moments that are making up my great adventure.