Yesterday was my last day of work and it was a very good day.
It all started off nicely with a spring in my step and a smile on my face as I slipped on my retirement ring for the first time prior to leaving to work. This was the last time I was going to my job downtown. No more alarms, no more delays from construction on my route and no more worries about being late. And when I get into the car to drive I have to smile as the song comes onto the radio “Goodbye” by Glenn Morrison which seems like a perfect sound track to this day.
Upon getting downtown and into my office building I get a coffee and chat with a few of the co-workers. We speculate that I’m the front of series of changes over the next five years at work as several of the older workers are planning retirements in the next few years. I realize that I won’t even recognize the staff in this place in a few years anyway.
Then I sit down to my computer and finish the final purge of data. I go in a delete every bookmark I ever had, my phone has every personal app I ever installed deleted, and I delete anything remotely personally off my hard drive from vacation pictures used as backgrounds to old expense forms. I then pack up the last few items left on my desk (which is about three things since I have been slowly taking things home now for two weeks). Then I sit down and read some fun stuff on the internet since I really have nothing left to do at this point. I’m waiting for my very last meeting with my boss at 9am.
I also take a moment to check into with myself. How do I feel?
Fear or doubt? Nope, that happened back when I gave notice.
Regret? Not a trace of that.
Excitement? Honestly a bit, but not too much.
In the end more than anything else I feel impatient. I’ve been waiting for this day for about 11 years now and I just want to get the last few items over with so I can move on and start my new lifestyle. There is no more delays, no more second guessing, I’ve quit this job and career for better or worse and I just want get the rest of these final items done with so I can get the hell out of here.
The meeting with my boss finally comes and we walk down a floor to a meeting room and do my final performance review. I’m nice and fake interest in the entire procedure, but honestly I’m thinking ‘why are we even bothering with this?’ My rating is literally irrelevant at this point since it won’t change anything. I could get the maximum rating or the bottom rating and not one thing would change. I’m leaving and I don’t qualify for any bonus money or a raise anymore. Then finally we submit that form and we hit the good part of the day were we discuss the final few items that I need to deal with before I leave.
The issue is this is my last day in the office, but I’m officially on vacation for the next six weeks. So I’m still an employee with a paycheque and benefits even if I’m not in the office. I have previously discussed this situation with my boss and said under no uncertain terms would I be coming back to finish up any paperwork after my vacation ends. So I ask how he wants to collect my last few items like my parking pass, employee ID and work cell phone. He agrees to me leaving it all in an envelop on his desk once I’m done. I also mention that I have a bit of vacation left so I will be leaving early, so I get the usual reminder to enter it the system before I leave. Then we have one last short discussion regarding expectations while I’m on vacation. I point out I expect that I expect people to try to resolve issues on their own before contacting me for help and I won’t be sitting beside the phone or email. I do check my email daily so we agree to that being a reasonable timeline. I’m on vacation and it isn’t my fault that they still don’t have approval to fill my position (don’t you just love the fact it’s been six weeks and they still don’t have that done) so I haven’t even met my replacement to train him (or her). Instead I’ve leaving behind 200 pages of documentation on how to do my job and they will have to sort it out.
Then my boss informs me that he got me a goodbye gift which catches me a little off guard. I have honestly expected nothing from this company so the gesture is nice as he picked out two bottles of wine and says “At least you can enjoy a drink without having to make it first.” I smile, as it shows that he actually paid attention to our casual conversations over the years and he knows I will actually enjoy this gift. I thank him and I really mean it as I shake his hand for the last time.
Then the goodbyes start with the rest of the office. One co-worker buys me a coffee before I leave which is appreciated. Then I tour around the office shaking hands and saying goodbye to those that I will miss the most and I skip the rest. I’m not making a big deal out this day more than it already is. After all I have most of their well wishes already in a card I got the day before at my goodbye lunch which honestly impressed me as they got almost the entire department to sign it despite the fact we are spread out over the entire province in various locations. Then with a few final goodbyes I grab my bag and drop the envelope of final items on my boss’s desk (he is gone at meeting) and the door closes behind me with a click as the electronic lock engages. There is no going back now.
Then on the elevator going down my face breaks into a grin. I’m out. I’m free of this place. The air is cool outside but I don’t feel it. I take the long route to my car because I can and I head home to have lunch with my family.
The rest of the day passes quickly. I cook my pepper steak for supper and open one of the gift wines from work to drink. Then afterwards I break open my 18 year old scotch. It’s ridiculously smooth as I drink my glass and relax in my chair.
Then I check in again. How do I feel? It honestly hasn’t fully hit me yet. I’m done but it doesn’t seem real. I suspect the full impact will kick in next Monday when I don’t have to go to work anymore but for now I’m relaxed and looking forward to next week and filling up those extra 40 hours. This is going to be fun.