After I gave my notice, everything seemed to continue forward business as usual. My office looked the same, my desk was still filled with task lists and documents to review. As I fired up my computer each morning, it seemed completely natural that I would fire up my computer again the next and the next. But, my time was coming to a close in quick 30 day succession. I stayed so busy that I didn't have much time to reflect on my upcoming departure, but as February 5, 2016 approached, the transition memos, departure emails, thank yous and goodbyes began to stack up.
I slept fitfully on Thursday night, thinking of all the things I promised to get done before I left on Friday. I woke up riding a wave of fear, but I reminded myself that I quit of my own volition and this was all part of a grand master plan. This is a happy change. Be grateful.
Andrew and I set off to pick up donuts together, as we are now sharing one car. Andrew's company retrieved our trusty Diego (company issued Ford Escape) last Monday. I started the morning by making a circuit around the offices. One last chance for everyone to express their deeply held anger over my escape; I brought the donuts as a peace offering, of course. A large group insisted on taking me to a very nice lunch, and upon our return another group decided to gather us all in the boardroom for a toast. We all bemoaned the fact that the HR guy attended to monitor our behavior, and everyone cut their sea shanty toasts short in favor of less vulgar options. Poor HR Guy, he just wanted to have some champagne, too.
"What are you going to do upon exiting the building? Will you look back or only forward?" One partner asked me. That's an interesting question. I had no idea what to expect from myself.
In the end, I was furiously typing up a brief and compiling a folder of key emails up to the buzzer, i.e. the moment that the IT Department shut down my computer and collected my keys. I tidied up the pile of documents left on my desk and gathered up as many used tea mugs as I could find. This was it, the moment I had been waiting for.
As one long time office pal says each and every day as he punches out: "I think it's time for me to ease on down the road." (Always spoken with the lilt of a New York Mets fan.)
I delivered my office salt lamp to She-Who-Will-Guard-The-Salt-Lamp until I return. I passed by the team meeting room where I was first interviewed, I waved goodbye to the painting of Jimmy Hendrix smoking a doobie hanging outside my office door. I took one last look at my office, and bid a fond farewell to my office plant, Jon, who has been with me since my very first day as a lawyer. I dropped off some documents at my assistant's desk with a note of last minute thoughts regarding the same. I got caught by a co-worker/friend taking a picture of the front desk, which resulted in a blurry picture because he made fun of me mid-snap. We rode down the elevator, and walked out like it was any other normal day. I said goodbye to the elevator, the lobby, the building, and then of course my friend.
Time to blast the Quitting Anthem:
We hopped in the car, and a few blocks later I laughed and exclaimed I'M FREE! I'M FREE!!!