Partir c'est mourir un peu

Box 3 - Pascal Thauvin

Today is my last day at the office. I am leaving the firm. It is time to reminisce on days gone by whilst stuffing memories into boxes, side by side with my long-time secretary. Is that a tear blinking in the corner of her eye?

I feel quite melancholic and seriously question my motivation for swapping my cubicle for the next one further down the block.

Colleagues drop into my office to pay their last respects. If this were a movie, the images would soften. If this were a song, it would be Whitney’s I Will Always Love You fading out. As the French say: "partir, c’est mourir un peu".

And, as we say in Dutch, "Of the dead, nothing but good." So, from the moment I resigned, my working days turned into Pleasantville days, a lovely period of freewheeling, where a sugarcoated attitude seemed to apply to me only. It has been a while since I did any actual billable work, yet there were no subtle hints about our quickly deteriorating department turn over. There was a general understanding for slipping deadlines and fluctuating business hours. And, of course, those traffic jams get worse every day.

Wrapping it up implies unwinding, it seems. It is funny how employers will go out of their way to make you a good leaver. Yes, you should definitely come back! (Yet I won’t make you an offer right now.) Of course we pay for your farewell cocktail party. No, I insist! Add in a little dinner too!

I must confess to be very sensitive to this professional type of sucking up. Of course, I know that the only reason for this disproportionate level of appreciation is the potential future interdependency that my now-former boss and I may have. When you cut your ties loose, you are no longer subject to the office hierarchy. There is nothing in it for you to continue your subsmissive slavery attitude. And, you never know where you will meet again. So your former employer will no longer boss you around, but will grind his teeth and smile. Why, I may just be the next CEO of Shell.

But somewhere over the rainbow dawns a new day at a new firm. It will be difficult to wake up and smell the coffee.