Overreacting

Friday was my last day at my job, a job I’ve held for 5 years and I loved – sometimes hated, but frequently loved. A good job, with endless learning and growth opportunities and fantastic co-workers, who’d constantly cross over that mythical professional line into the fun friend zone. Despite these positive aspects, it was time for me to re-orient my career according to my long-term objectives. (That was possibly the most accountant-sounding sentence I have ever written!)

I handed in my resignation in the first weeks of September, along with my 3 weeks notice; I immediately became the top contender for Most Emotional Resignation of All Time, any region of Planet Earth.

I cried when I handed in my resignation to the head partner.

I walked down the hallways 4 hours later, clutching tufts of Kleenex’s in either hand, and burst into one of my favorite partners offices, tears streaming down my face:

“Thank you (sob) for letting me stay (sob) for the next three weeks (sob) and finish this exciting mandate (sob) in Chicago (sob) instead of replacing me (sob) immediately (sob). I want you to know (sob sob) that I appreciate the opportunity to work with you (sob sob sob)…”

In the awkward moment that followed my weepy announcement, the partner looked stunned and slightly petrified and finally blurted out, like any man would, when faced with so many tears: “Stop it! Stop that! We have another 3 weeks before we have to say that kind of sentimental stuff!” Which made me laugh, so I blew my nose vigorously and walked out of his office.

I cried in Chicago, in front of my team and that same partner, because it was my last mandate for work, and it reminded me of all that is wonderful in my job. Perhaps because both the partner and myself had glasses of wine to fortify ourselves throughout the teary episode, the partner seemed only mildly discomfited.

I cried on the Monday of my last week, because I got my year-end evaluation and it was favorable.

I cried on the Wednesday because I realized I wouldn’t see another of my favorite partners before my departure, due to scheduling conflicts.

I cried for almost three hours straight on the Thursday as I began to draft my goodbye emails to various key figures at work whom I wanted to thank. I “borrowed” a co-worker’s Kleenex box, and almost finished it. The first time my coworker that was seated in the cubicle next to me heard me sniffle, he came over, gave me a hug, and said some soothing comforting noises. By the time I was on my last email, several hours later, he had maxed out the volume on his earphones, and had a scowl on his face, and admitted that working beside a noisy waterfall was really awkward.

On the Friday, I managed to not spill any tears during my last lunch with my coworkers, despite being surprised with three cards signed by everyone in my department and industrial quantities of chocolate to help me survive the new job. I (mostly) managed to not weep during my goodbyes at 5pm. I remained at work for a few extra hours, after the office had cleared, to wrap up my admin work. I made a composed goodbye to the cleaning lady, who’d been a constant presence during my work life, all those nights I had stayed late. I didn’t cry as I finally packed everything up and remitted my access card. I walked the up and down the hallways of the office, alone, several times, because I couldn’t get a handle on the mounting separation anxiety: I had spent more time at the office than I had at my home, these past 5 years.

And finally, with a wrench, I walked out. And felt hollow.

I spent my weekend sleeping, exhausted from both the physical toll of a long week and the emotional beating I had put myself through. I had a minor weepy episode when I noticed my email access had been deactivated overnight on my phone. How sneaky! How sad.

And then, yesterday, I started my new job.

And I love it. The days fly by. My new coworkers are friendly and funny. The work is challenging and interesting. I’m going to be just fine over here.

Note to self: next time? Don’t be such a drama queen.

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