Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One door closes when another is meant to open.

The title of this post is actually my favorite quote from the card my co-workers gave me at my good-bye lunch. My friend Kathy wrote it, and it's such a great sentiment.

Thanks so much to all of you who left supportive comments and wondered how and what I'm doing. So far, not having a job has been wonderful. But before I get into that, I did want to try to talk a little about my last few days. I'm not sure I can put it all into words or make anyone understand, but I'll do the best I can.

I started my job over 15 years ago. I was fresh out of college, had a boyfriend in Massachusetts, lived with my parents, and had just bought my first car (a used Hyundai). While I was there, many boyfriends came and went, and I met and married Sweetpea. The Hyundai turned out to be a hunk of junk, and one of the Sales Reps at work helped me get a great price on the Honda Civic I drive now. I bought my own house and had my co-workers over for a party. I lost both my grandmothers. I went from being Ad Traffic Co-ordinator, to Ad Traffic Co-ordinator 1, to Ad Traffic Supervisor. I went from a 22 year old girl to a 37 year old . . . girl!! All kidding aside, those walls have seen a lot of changes in me over the years, and the people in my department felt weirdly like family. A few of them are friends I know I will have for life.

When I told people within my department I was leaving, the first thing most people said was "What are we going to do without you? Who will do the work??". When I told people in other departments, they usually said "NO, you can't go. You are the one person we know we can come to and you will take care of things right away. Who can we call now?". But overall, everyone was very supportive, and wanted me to do what was right for my health. My boss's boss told me he wants my health to come first, so he wouldn't try to convince me to stay, but there would always be a place for me if I wanted to come back. Another Vice President told me if I ever needed recommendations, I should put him at the top of my list. pretty flowersThe news director in Yonkers sent me these lovely flowers, and the guys upstairs (who I don't even work with anymore since procedures changed years ago) chipped in for a thoughtful card and a restaurant gift certificate. Numerous department heads offered me jobs in their departments. It is an unbelievable feeling to know your hard work was noticed and was something you can feel proud of. It did make it sadder and harder to leave, but I've also never doubted my decision was right. I was so unhappy there, and I've tried to changed things, and waited for others to change things, but I finally realized nothing was going to change. I had given up trying to make things better, and that's no way for a supervisor to feel. The people who reported to me deserved someone who had some fight left in them.

Thursday night, there was a party in New York to celebrate the anniversary of our news channel (I worked for a cable television company, btw). I went, and all of the people I deal with in our NYC office and our Elmsford NY office were there. It was such a great coincidence, and it gave me the chance to say good-bye to them all in person. It was a lot of fun, but when it came time to say good-bye, I couldn't keep the tears back. I will keep in touch, but I know it will never be the same. But I promised to take the train to the city some time soon and meet them for lunch. I swore to them I will keep that promise . . . . because after all, I can't have their last memory be of me sporting my Alice Cooper look!! (Why didn't I realize I would cry and wear waterproof mascara???)

Friday was so surreal. Some people seemed surprised that I actually put in a full day of work - but hey, the work needed to get done, and it was still my responsibility to do it!! Other people didn't hesitate to come to me with problems, which kind of ticked me off. I didn't mind doing my full day of work, but I did think they would go easy on me and bring the problems to other people. My "surprise" lunch (which one of the more clueless sales reps told me about earlier in the week) was wonderful. My boss ordered in some awesome food and we ate and talked. Everyone in our office signed one card, and everyone in the Elmsford office signed another. They even took up a collection, and I now have $300 in "yarn money"!!! When "The Bossman" (the big boss) got up to speak, I was crying before he even said his first word. He spoke about the day I came in to interview, and all I've done throughout the years. He had us all crying (and if there's one thing he hates, it's a room full of crying women!!) He's like my second dad, and I have nothing but respect for him and know I will never have a better boss then he was. It was tough to say good-bye.

By 5:30, I had finally finished my work, and I began to pack up my desk. I sat alone and cried when I realized it was no longer my desk and no longer my computer. When Sweetpea came to pick me up, it was time to say good-bye to my close friend Tica, which was so hard. And then I had to say good-bye to my boss Olga. I am the first person she ever hired. She's a weird mix of sister, mom, friend and boss to me. We got so hysterical you'd think one of us was dying. It was crazy, and it was probably a good thing we were the last people left in the office.

And that was it. I walked out the door with two boxes of stuff from my desk (most of which was mine, but some that wasn't - hell, after 15 1/4 years I was taking every last Post-It note and staple in my desk!!!). I am no longer a Cablevison Employee. No more free cable television and free cable internet. No more reporting for work, seeing them all every day. No Holiday Deadlines, no billing week, no "my clients commercial is running wrong". Friday night, it was a very sad feeling.

Sweetpea made a surprise dinner reservation to celebrate. He picked the most perfect place ever. Instead of going to a fancy (stuffy) restaurant, he make a reservation at a Hibachi table at a great Japanese restaurant. It was just the fun and festive atmosphere I needed, and I've always love their food, so it was perfect!! And then I came home to find that wonderful Secret Pal gift, and I felt so good. All the sadness of leaving slipped away over the weekend. I still feel sentimental when I think about it, but I am so happy with my decision.

Is this post too long already? Well, if you're still here, I'm going to keep you a minute more to tell you about my "new life". I feel so happy and content. I love having the time to take care of my house and my husband. A typical work day for us meant leaving the house by 8 am and getting home somewhere around 7 pm - if we didn't have a dance lesson, if we did it was more like 9. Cooking became a chore, cleaning didn't get done, and laundry baskets overflowed. Yesterday, I got to sleep until 7. I actually exercised - and I have the sore muscles this morning to prove it!!! I did laundry. I scrubbed the kitchen spotless. I bought groceries. I cooked a huge dinner that was ready when Sweetpea got home - a "country dinner" of Chicken & Gravy (a recipe I kind of made up by looking at a few chicken recipes and winging it . . . no pun intended) with biscuits made from scratch and collard greens. Oh boy, I love to cook . . . I think I had forgotten how much!!! My obsessive compulsive tendencies have kicked in, and I re-washed the kitchen floor after cooking!!! And my blood sugar levels? Perfect all day!! Sound boring? To me, it's the best life!!! I know I still have a lot of adjusting to do - right now it kind of feels like I'm just on vacation. I'm sure some days will feel lonely. And eventually I will probably get bored. When that day comes, I can take a look around and figure out what I want to do next. For now, I'm off to wash some clothes, clean upstairs, and knit on a secret Christmas present for Sweetpea!!!


Cathy said...

What an absolutely WONDERFUL post! Thank you so much for sharing so much of your life, and I am so happy that you are content with your NEW life! I LOVED being at home and cooking and taking care of the things I "felt" like taking care of that particular day! Even working part-time like I do now, makes getting things done incredibly hard, and they are NEVER done the way I used to do them or want them done. Enjoy your time, enjoy the peace and tranquility, ENJOY your holidays! Congratulations on your new life!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Jillio said...

lots of change, and i know it's for the best! i know the feeling of being out practically all day: leave early and come home late. there seems to never be enough time to get everything you want to get done. it's great that you now have the chance to step back and assess your life from a new perspective.
good luck! :)

Laura said...

As much as they can make us crazy, it can be really hard to say goodbye to people that we work with. But it sounds as though you have definitely made the right decision and are finding some well-deserved peace. Yay, Karen! :)

chris said...

Thank you for sharing such an intimate time with us. You almost made ME cry, just reading your post. (Glad I didn't have any mascara on-no Alice Cooper! ;-)) As hard as it was to say goodbye, I'm so happy that you finally have time to yourself to smell the flowers and enjoy life a little! (Even though you're being quite a Monica about it. ;-)) Country chicken and gravy sounds soo delicious. Lucky Sweetpea! Most of all, I'm glad to hear that your blood sugar is improving. Now get out there and SPEND that fabulous yarn money!! You deserve it!!

Jen said...

I know how I felt after leaving my first job, and that was only after 2.5 years, so it must have been really hard. Thanks for sharing with us. I'm glad that you're enjoying the time for yourself now.

knittinmom said...

Wow - great post on your last week! I left my first job after 6.5 years, and it was really difficult although I had transfered to a different office and it wasn't quite the same there... It's great that your blood sugar is nice and stable and that you're enjoying your Donna Reed time. Just don't have any kids if you want your life to stay nice and tidy! That's a sure-fire way to surround yourself in constant mess and chaos (although they do have their good points as well).

Enjoy your days as a lady of leisure! It's definitely something I think everyone should get a chance to do!

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