January 22nd, 2004

In too deep, Brood

A Farewell Party In Some Kind Of Honor!

I meant to post this earlier, but for an incident(?), it would have been so. :) Well, here it is....

Tuesday:

I went to work half asleep and unenthusiastic, Bracing my mind for the special day as it was, the day I was to leave the organization. I trotted in stealthily, but was caught at the steps with my Company ID card half way to the smart security detector device on the wall, by the Xerox girl. (read!)

I get stormed by a slurry of regrets and what not and am accompanied to my floor in the elevator rather embarrassed and unable to respond. Begging for mercy and stealing my privacy back, I gently settle down at my desk and check the intra-company mailbox to see what was listed as my activities for the day. Not very surprised to see a single mail asking me to "Meet with the boss, ASAP!", I pack my stuff into a cardboard box, taking my own sweet time in doing so and when I'm satisfied that I've left nothing, I shuffle over to the bosses cabin.

An over done display of cordialities and welcome greets me to the only available seat (Where's the other two chairs that are usually there? I'll come to that later....) opposite my bosses table. My boss sits there scrutinizing my drawn out face from just over the rim of his eye glasses for a couple of minutes and then finally takes them off to clean them with a Kleanx towelette. Not surprisingly, he does'nt replace his glasses over his nose, but begins a story. I was half expecting one to materialize as he's always full of stories that pertain to every situation imaginable and he never hesitates to bring them into public view.

The following is a reconstruction of the story in my own words, spoken through his mind and must not be interpreted as a direct assemblage of his erratic story telling abilities:

"We both know that today is your last day at work and though I know you, I do not know you well. I know you well enough, though, to know that you will not change your mind regarding your decision. No, Don't say anything, just listen to what I have to say for a bit.

About twenty five odd years ago, when I was about your age, maybe a bit older, I had just got myself a job and was actually doing very well at it, much as you have been at this place. I worked hard and was determined to show people what I was made of. I worked with that company for eight years before I quit.

Unlike you, I made the mistake of judging myself by the impression I left in other peoples minds. Often, I misinterpreted their opinions and rarely was I close to the truth. I found I was fooling my self into believing that I was a good worker. Infact, I was fooling myself into believing that I was doing very well and this was what my heart wanted. Money!

You have told me time and again that you're not happy with the work that you do. I have never once asked you why you were unhappy because it was clearly imprinted on your face. I noticed it during almost every submission that you came to me with. I know that you don't like your work, not because we pay little (which by Indian standards, we don't!) Not because your work was'nt up to mark, but because your heart was'nt in it.

In your eyes, I see myself when I was twenty eight. I never tried telling you to give us the pass-over since you did'nt like the job, because of company needs and partly because I saw a beam of light from my past reflected in your heart. I'm not sure you'll understand what I just said, But it means a lot to me.

If you had quit earlier, and with ample notice, I guess it would have left the company better prepared to a.) find ourselves a replacement and b.) not regret the loss of the best content writer we had on our force. Partly, I am to blame, and partly our companies ideals. I know that telling you all this is not going to fix anything, It's just so you know how much you mean to us.

As a writer, you are brilliant. As a content writer, you surpass anybody we have. But as a content Writer writing about stuff that does'nt interest him, doing a job he absolutely hates, you did your job like an absolute genius.

We'll perhaps never see the likes of anyone to match up to your skills and I'm not sure we can really replace you with any justice, but know this, that we have hearts too, and we understand, honor and respect your stand.

In the end, all I'd like to say is that you are always welcome through those doors. And as a display of our understanding, your access card shall remain in circulation, you are a part of a family here and are free to come and go as you please.... I have been asked to convey our sincerest regards, by the board of directors and my superiors.

I tried speaking to them directly regarding the justice in letting you go, but they refuted all my attempts to convince them. In the end though, I held my stand and they understand that it is your wish to leave us, but only physically I might add. (Big smile!) As a person, you are still as much a part of us as you were, if not more.

You see, I made a mistake as a young man, and I almost made you make the same mistake. They say it's better late than never, and I'm happy you'll now be doing something you really want to do. You have my best wishes for a wonderful future and the company wishes you the best for your career."

Now, he stands up, drawing himself to his full height. (I've never seen him so tall. He's usually moping around the place with a slouch that makes his arms hang low, so low infact, his fingers scrape the bottom o his knees when he walks.) With a wave of his hand, his bellowing voice booms over the cubicles and through the entire floor. "What are we waiting for? Let's make merry!"

Stunned as I am by this sudden end to his monologue, I hear cheers go up all around the floor, the even hum of millions of tiny feet on carpeted floors shuttling about.... As I am pulled unwillingly to my feet by my bosses huge saucer shaped paws, I see through the door the smiles and shadows frisking about excitedly.

If there was one thing I did'nt expect, it was this, a Farewell Party! I froze just in time to lock my knees from turning into rubber and had to titer against the table to avoid hitting the ground with a squishy splat. A cake, a bottle of champagne, an array of tinsel dispensers, a mob of animals and a sudden dawning of an impact to my mind!

I hardly knew anyone there though they all obviously knew me, knew who I was, and knew even that I was leaving, perhaps for good. I've been in company farewells before, about sixteen of them in my own tenure, but this by far was the most extravagant one I'd ever seen. The same grouchy people were eager to rub shoulders with yours truly, people I'd never even seen in my life before were coming up to me and congratulating me on my past and regretting my leaving. I know when a person is not being genuine, and these people really meant it.

A couple of my senior colleagues (whom, I might add, I hardly ever interacted with, but who had the job of going over my work and maintaining a constant vigil of my activities) actually had glazed eyes and that far off smile on their faces.... For all I know, they could all be celebrating the demise of the single most painful entity on the planet. (That's how I consoled myself later, of my guilt in leaving, by the way.)

Two hours later, a very shaken individual walked out of the floor, clutching his belongings close and in reminiscence, receiving farewell regards and pats on either shoulder. I reached the lift and pressed the button for the parking level. Dumping my stuff in the back seat, I sat down in the drivers seat, fidgeting with the keys absentmindedly.

If I've learned anything from this, I shall not know what it is immediately, but in time, I might grow to understand. For now though, I know that leaving a company is more than just aquital, it's more than that. That farewell is one I'm not soon going to forget.

If any of my colleagues are reading this, I would appreciate a bland reading of this post, it's uncannily unsuportive and has little to offer in any real sense, but it's all I could dream of, thank you guys, I'll remember this.

Kaydeeyoh!
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