On Saturday I drove to my old office for the last time. Unfortunately, when the company I used to work for conducts a separation they do so in a manner that shows no respect, no matter the time you spent with the company or successes you brought through your role, or the relationships built over time, and most importantly how well they know you. You are immediately an outsider. I'd seen it before and always cringed. It's not having to get my things during off hours, and it's not returning the keys and all those details, it's the watch. It's the HR Manager hovering as if I would do damage or take something not mine. For me though the real moment of shock was realizing the irony and absolute lack of good judgement when I was asked for the near-completed next issue of People First, the quarterly internal newsletter that I wrote for the company. I was told they want to get that distributed. I considered saying something but didn't feel it was my place to suggest that even though they are completely within their rights, perhaps distributing that particular issue was not a good idea as most folks know I am the writer and know my writing style. Plus, the darn thing is so upbeat and positive that, all things considered, it sends a weird message at this point. Seems to me it will further damage an already sinking employee moral. But, not my decision to make.
I kept a smile on my face and a friendly tone in my voice while I packed boxes under the watchful eye of the HR Manager. I sorted files and I turned in my final expense receipts. I took my diploma from the wall and one-by-one the framed photos. I packed my reference books and other items that I'd collected through the years, leaving behind the ones with the company logo. I sorted my project files. Then I explained the status of each project to my old boss while a kind long-time coworker who showed up to give support to me loaded all of my items and the furniture I had at the office into his truck. With the task wrapped up, it was time to go. And what I did was extend my smile a bit wider, held my head a bit higher, and wished my old boss and the HR Manager the best of luck, and told them that I wished for their and the company's continued success. Then I walked out of that office for the last time.