Man, oh man, am I on the verge of tears and shame, or what?!
I have been quite the bitter bug regarding the last two years at my job, and went deeply and darkly into a mindset that I wasn’t good enough at my position, my managers didn’t like me, I didn’t add to the quality of my team, that I was average pooh.
But I sat in that pooh, milked that pooh, ate and slept in that pooh until I was unable to be great, do better, see the bigger picture, or most importantly, dig myself out of my hole.
And then something happened for which I was not prepared.
And people began to say their goodbyes and talk to me about how THEY saw me at work, and suddenly my walls began to crumble and my blinders turned outwards and I knew that I had gotten a lot of shit just w.r.o.n.g.
On the day I gave my notice, my boss shared with me how sad he was to lose me and if I could be swayed to change my mind. I was pretty surprised because I had seen myself through my own eyes as a disappointment to him when he saw me as a hard worker who added a specific element to our team that would now be noticeably missing.
Coworkers that couldn’t even say my name correctly, labeling me “Carol Line”, “Caroleena”, “Carey Lyn”, shared with me their favorite parts about working with me, most including that I was a bright, funny, uplifting person with a strong desire to work hard and a refreshing change to the norm. One of our two clients came to my desk and told me that I was going to be missed for my witty banter, kind heart, and disarming charm….I was irreplaceable.
AKA, I was not average pooh.
But I was upset about ONE thing coming up to this last day in that I hadn’t made the kind of impression I had hoped on my direct client. A super tough, intelligent, driven woman who has no time for hoop-di-lah and has trust issues that would scare the crap out of any reliable human being. I made mistakes and for that, was tainted in her eyes…this I own. It was her that hired me and it was to her that I could never demonstrate that her instinct to give me my first job was the right move. So the idea of leaving today knowing that I was going to shuffle into her office and mutter a “thank you for the opportunity and best wishes for the future” before hanging my head over the last two years of nothingness felt so crappy and unsatisfying I wanted to cry. Not being as impressive as I see myself was the most bitter of all the pills to consume. I hadn’t fulfilled my destiny for this moment.
But like all things you never see coming, this next one was shocking and debilitating.
My work wife, who is always somewhat sneaky, asked me to come somewhere with her this morning, and I assumed it was to a big meeting the specialists were having to be a note taker. Its’ not like I didn’t have the time. But when we passed the conference room, I then assumed we were going to a coworkers desk just hang and Shoot The Shit.
And then I saw them…saw them ALL. Everyone in our office, standing around the back cubicles, smiling and awkward, waiting for the dawn to come over me. They were saying their good byes, with a card, and cake, and my heart dropped to the ground.
In true Cara Lyn fashion, when no one spoke, I immediately busted out with, “This is the worst flash mob I’ve ever seen, jeez, when does that dancing start???”, which caused a relieved giggle and allowed the first moment of shock to pass quietly. When my client told me that she tried to get Joe Montana here for me but this was the best she could do, I realized that I had to FOCUS on this moment because it was the pinnacle of this experience that I had wished for and was now on my plate. She thanked me for my support and good service, wished me luck, and said that my bright self would be missed. It was all that I wished to hear.
And then we ate cake. Goooooood Italian cake.
Everyone was so kind and generous that I had to really reign in my leaking eye ducts before I made myself look foolish. But saying I was touched was the biggest understatement of the century. In that moment, all the work, tears, self doubt, and frustration was squashed by a simple gesture of respect and I will never, ever forget this job, my experience, my people, or the view from my cubicle.
On this last day, I am grateful. And so happy.