After three and a half years, today is my last day in my office. Emotions are mixed.
Mostly, I am excited. More time to focus on this blog, my upcoming book, and other writing projects coming down the pike. I’m eager to try my hand at working for myself, though recently someone told me that anyone who works from home needs two things–a good agent and a good antidepressant. I’m hoping I’ll be able to establish a daily routine that will keep me from living in my pajamas, not showering, and never experiencing the high of human contact. I’m excited to start fresh. Now seems as good a time as any.
But also, I’m a bit bummed. In the friendship realm, I’m losing one of the most important factors: consistency. I am a steadfast believer that above all else, regularity of interaction is the single most important element in building a best friendship. Work attendance took care of that for me when it came to my office BFFs. Now there’s more effort involved, and not that we’re too lazy to do it but… well, there’s always the fear that we are lazier than we think.
Goodbyes are no fun. Coworker goodbyes are especially no fun as they involve some severe awkwardness on my part. Is this a hug situation? Or a handshake? Or the always-uncomfortable so-long-see-ya-later wave? Yikes. And when you’ve worked cubicles away for more than three years, does that make you friends? Or simply coworkers? How heartfelt do these goodbyes have to get?? What is the protocol?!?
Then there is the fear of the future. The one thing about leaving coworkers, usually, is that you are gaining new ones. As an old colleague of mine once told me, “you may be leaving these crazies, but you’ll get a whole new batch of ’em.” Because yes, there will always be crazy coworkers.
Until there aren’t. Like, for example, if you’re working from home.
So, yes, I’m sad about leaving my current wacky work family, but I’m equally nervous about not having a new one. Will I start talking to my houseplant?
I was about to say “where does one meet people??” until I remembered that this is how this whole search got started. Before there was a proactive friend-dating quest, there was me, in between jobs, complaining to anyone who would listen about how I was going to be working from home and how, then, would I make pals?
In these moments of change, it’s easy for me to forget everything I’ve learned. That one can meet new friends at every turn, that people are excited to hear from potential pals. The good news is there’s one big difference between now and then: Now I have friends. I’ve got a year full of searching under my belt and the companions to prove it.
So the new challenge extended? Re-up the effort to see the friends I already have. Make sure to interact with a few people everyday. Don’t let myself fall into some ‘I have no friends’ funk I worked so hard to dig out of. And undertake serious networking as the next extension of this quest.
Any advice for this new career phase? Any must-heed advice for an official work-from-homer as of, say, 5 pm?