Saturday, March 1, 2008

The End of an Era

Well "era" is probably too strong of a word... but Friday was my last day at my job. I have been there for four and a half years and almost ten years if you count the time I worked as a student. It has been a great experience for me but I have decided to move on. There are some parts of me that thought yesterday would never happen and I know that many of my family and friends were not sure I would ever leave... but I did leave... and Monday starts a new phase in my life.

But let's back up to Friday first. Friday was time for my going away party! I really do not like being the center of attention, so I was a little nervous about the party. I got even more nervous when people started asking me what I was going to say in my speech (you mean I have to give a speech?!?!). And my nerves reached a new level when they closed me in my office and said, "wait here until we come and get you."

When they did come and get me I was brought into a room filled with people who I knew and who I had worked with over the past ten years. Most were faces from my immediate office area, others had traveled several hours to be there. I was blown away!! I was expecting a small party with a few people, maybe a cake and maybe a small gift. They totally exceeded my expectations.
This was the most unexpected face that I saw.

I'm not sure if anyone remembers this post from last December but this is my retired trooper friend, Captain K, who I was so surprised to see at the conference last year. I did not squeal this time... but only because I had a room full of people staring at me. He traveled several hours just to be there yesterday, just for me. That made me feel very special. It was so thoughtful of the people who organized the party to think to invite him and it was so sweet of him to make the effort to be there.

My best friend Leslie was of course there...

I know I will see her plenty even after I move, so yesterday is certainly not going to be the last time I see her.

Over the past year or so, I have gotten to be very good friends with our Administrative Assistant Elizabeth.

I am going to miss her a lot and I think she is going to miss me as well. We are right about the same age and so we have had no trouble finding things to talk about and laugh about at work. I am sure we will stay in touch after I move as well.

I don't have pictures of everyone but I do have one more to share. This is one of my professors from undergrad, Dr. Dan. I have known him since I was a little kid and he was friends with my grandparents. Whether he knows it or not, he has been a big influence on my life over the years.

The folks that organized the party totally outdid themselves. Here was the cake that they got... it was huge and quite tasty.

Given that I work with a relatively small group, there were lots and lots of people that came to the party and I was happy to see each and every one of them.

I got two beautiful gifts from the group. I got a beautiful Lenox crystal vase and I will think of them every time I see it. I think I already know the perfect spot for it in my new house. I also got this great framed print.

It is a notable landmark on campus and it will look great hung with my college diplomas. Leslie also got me a sweet Willow Tree figurine of two friends. It is very special to me and is already sitting on my fireplace.

I did make it through my speech, although it was completely off the top of my head. I should have prepared a little more for that but it turned out okay. The party was a lot of fun and for the record, I did not cry. I almost cried during Dr. Dan's speech and during Captain K's speech but I held it together. There are certain things that will always make me cry but apparently this is not one of them. No one is dying, no one is sick, no ones dog died... I am just moving on. It will of course be different but I feel like I will see all of these people again one day. And with the world of communication where it is, staying in touch is so much easier than it was even a few years ago.

So on Monday morning, I won't be going to the same office where I have been going every day for the past four and a half years. I won't be seeing the same faces I am accustomed to seeing. Here are a few of the faces I am accustomed to seeing every morning. These are some of the programmers that I have worked with.

I am sure I will see them all again, but for now I will have to make new friends, find new people to laugh with, new people to bounce ideas off of, new people to complain to, and new "work" friends to have adventures with. I will be the new girl who knows nothing, knows no one and won't even know where the bathroom is. It's a little scary... and a little sad... but I think it is for the best. At least I sure hope so.


Leslie said...

I am glad you enjoyed your party. You are very loved!

Amberly said...

Looks like a great party! I'm sure your hard work will be missed!

We're looking forward to fun times in the city!

Vader's Mom said...

You have some amazingly thoughtful friends. That's the sweetest going away party I've ever heard about.

I look forward to hearing more about your new job/town/life on Monday!!

Totallyscrappy said...

What a wonderful party! I have a print that hangs in my living room that I love. It was given to me when I left a school that I had taught at for 4 years. On the back of the print is a little message from each person at my going away party. I think of them every day, although I do admit that it is very emotional to read all the messages... even 10 years later.
I can't wait to hear how your Monday goes!

Carrie said...

Hi Kari, I have been lurking around your blog for a while but I thought I'd comment because I just went through a lot of this myself. I left a job I had been at over 5 years, sold my house, and moved to somewhere I knew no one. You will survive and God will show you amazing things and introduce you to a whole new group of people. Best wishes!