I left my job yesterday. I’d been with the company for 16 years.
That’s longer than I spent in all my schooling. Longer than I’ve been married. It’s the longest time I’ve ever spent doing the same thing (well, a series of things really…. but you take my point). I knew 350 people at the company by name, and many, many more to say ‘hi’ to.
Intellectually, in an abstract and nonchalant sort of way, I vaguely speculated that my last day wouldn’t be just like any other. It would probably be, you know, a bit sad. I issued the customary gags about being finally parolled etc etc with little thought.
So I hadn’t prepared myself for the cold wrecking ball of reality that hurtled into me when I got home last night. I was suddenly bereft and lost. A part of my life that was bigger than I’d ever realised was history – and time’s implacable usher had hustled me into a new era. At the door, my wife greeted a man smaller and quieter than the one she’s known these last 14 years.
It will pass, of course. Next week I start a new job, where I’ll have all the miseries of being the newbie to blot out the sorrow of today.
But until then, I feel totally defined by my ‘ex-’ status.