Saturday, December 19, 2015

When you say goodbye, what taste do you leave?

Yesterday, someone I work with left his job to go to another company. And while I understand why he's making that choice for his career and I think it's the right choice for him and I wish him the best, I'm processing a little bit how you say goodbye to someone that you've seen almost every day, and then your contact with them just...stops.

It doesn't really stop, I suppose - I am still able to reach out to him as needed, but the nature of how we interact fundamentally changes when he's working for another organization.

It's not like this is a new experience for me - at the end of every summer internship I've had, I had to say goodbye to the people who I worked with and saw everyday, and at graduation, I had to say goodbye to classmates I had been with for years. And with all of them, the nature of our relationship somehow changed. I still saw them, I was still happy for them when they got married, but something changed. Experiencing this before doesn't make it feel different, or feel easier, to say goodbye to someone. It's still a bittersweet experience.

At the end of the farewell luncheon for my co-worker, there was a long line of people waiting to shake his hand and say their few words - and three women (one of them me) who got (*cough*, asked for) hugs instead of handshakes. And yes, that was special, and I'm glad I got my hug...but that was it.

I know, from those previous experiences, that this feeling will go away and that my job will stay pretty much exactly the same. But it still feels weird, and I still feel like I should capture it somehow. Sometimes, people go out of your life and come back into them later, sometimes, people go out of your life without your even realizing that they're leaving. But moments like these - abrupt endings - make you think about how many people are in your life, how many lives you touch, and what message you may be leaving with them about you, what motivates you, how you work, etc. When you walk out of their life, how will they remember you? what taste will you leave behind?

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