How Can I Miss You If You Never Leave?

I’m not sure exactly when I realized that I was a “short-timer” at the big bank, but I did have a sense – about a three-month lead time — that my 12-year tour was about to end.

Most surprising to me was the lack of alarm I felt at the prospect of having my job eliminated.  In fact, the coming “separation” (corporate speak) motivated me to conclude my activities quickly so that a natural break in my two-years-and-running project could be reached.

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To be honest, two things helped a lot.  First, it helped immensely that my last boss – my sixth in my last 16 months at the big bank – was terrific!  She and I began discussing the end shortly after she assumed the project leader role.  Secondly, after 12 years at the bank, I was entitled to a modest package (severance) when facing my job elimination, so I knew when my job ended I would have a bit of money coming in as I searched for a new job.

My boss and I met when she came to town and we set a work end date.  As is fairly common in large organizations, the end date was eight weeks away, but the last 30 days didn’t require me to be on premise on come in to work.

In fact, with 30 days to go, protocol called for me to turn in my laptop, corporate identification and building access badges — one for my location; the other for the West Coast HQ buildings — corporate credit card, and keys to my cubicle desk.  And so I did, on Halloween afternoon.

It was a remarkable exercise in that it was very routine and efficient.  Even my good-byes that last actual work day were pretty easy for me.  As I rode the elevator down one last time, I remembered something a friend said about a year earlier regarding transition: “You can leave too early and you can certainly stay too long.”  I wondered as I headed home if I was part of the latter crowd.

It was indeed time to do something different, something new.

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