Today is my last day at work. Six months ago, I had no idea
this was going to come so soon—seven months ago, I was so excited to be starting a
brand-new job, in a brand-new place, doing brand-new things and feeling so
proud of myself for having landed such a sweet gig doing, well, not exactly
interesting things (because proofreading does not appear anywhere in the
definition of "interesting"), but things that were so much more
dynamic (and well-paid) than supervising student assistants at an academic library.
For five years.
I’m glad I made that leap—it woke me up. I loved the library
for a long time, and then it started to feel crazily, oppressively the same,
every single goddamn day. Nothing ever changed, my job was finished within the
first 45 minutes of walking in the door, and I was so very sick of babysitting
adolescents and library databases and reference meetings and microfiche and the
alphabet. I got so tired of the alphabet. I loved the people, but when the ad
agency came along and said hey, check us out! and the light gleamed off their
shiny, shiny teeth, I was so glad to scramble. And pretty convinced I’d love it
and live it and never leave it, because money is nice and advertising is
Funny how things turn out. It was not the job of my dreams—is
anyone doing the job of their dreams? Anyone not disgustingly lucky, I mean.
But I never once dreaded getting up in the morning, going to work, spending the
day with people I like, doing a job that was, admittedly, often dreadfully dull
but simultaneously stressful, because your job is to be perfect and me? Not perfect. Failure around every turn! Oh, hey,
lunchtime. And cupcakes in the kitchen? I love my job! I really liked my job.
If I’m not careful, I’ll slip into exit-interview talk: "I’m really grateful
for this opportunity to have worked here and blah blah blah, your mom."
I’m so glad I worked there. It looks so nice on a résumé. I’m so glad to be
leaving. This day will not end soon enough.
I packed up my desk last night—one pile of things to be shredded,
one pile of things to be recycled, a whole stack of things (including a giant
tub of peanut butter, extra crunchy) stuffed in my bag to take home. Now I have
to finish the purging, go shred and recycle. I have to go through the files on
my computer, delete what I don’t need, save to disk what I want to keep, figure
out how the fuck to clear out all my saved passwords because a bored freelancer
does not need to log on to Facebook as me in that interim between me leaving
and IT wiping out my settings. I’ll hose down my desk and the phone, throw away
all the backup for all the wretched retail ads I will not miss at all.
Later, we might go to lunch over in North Beach, just the
tiny proofreading department, and have wine, and we’ll all talk about how we’ll
miss each other, and it’s so hard, and how we will totally stay in touch, and
we will mean it very much, over our second glasses of wine, but probably they
will think of me occasionally and I will think of them occasionally, and they
will be fond thoughts, and we will be busy, all of us, and eventually, these
things will go as they always do, with this very peculiar category of
not-quite-friend, more-than-acquaintance, and we will fade out of each other’s
life, and it will always make me sad. But maybe I’ll be too busy to be sad,
setting up a new life, and too busy with starting an actual career—my very
first!—to be missing a job I had for six months. Those are good things! And my
throat feels tight, and I don’t want to cry.