Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Job Well Done, The Long Goodbye

It's customary for employees on the corporate side of the business to write a last email, a goodbye missive, to the departments they worked closely with on their last day. I put off writing mine because I didn't know what to write. I even looked online to see if there was a form letter I could use. But I decided that the best email would be one from the heart, even if it sucked. Turns out it didn't suck, and I only got positive feedback from it.

In this letter, you'll figure out that I didn't burn any bridges, I didn't mention any of the things about my job that frustrated me, and my husband's real name is Chris, not Chester. (He wasn't comfortable with me using his real name, but I finally realized that he's just being silly, and he won't notice anyway since he's never read my blog.) I feel good about the letter. It feels like it was the right way to end an era.

"As I'm finishing up my last day of employment here, I realize I'm exhausted, physically and emotionally. Physically because I didn't sleep much last night, and I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy, so I'm entitled to some fatigue. Emotionally... well. It's hard to say goodbye to a place that's been my home away from home for the last four years.

But I'm not really saying goodbye. I'm not dropping off the face of the planet after all — I'm just going to my house that's only a fifteen-minute walk away. There, I will dig out some fingerpaints, some crayons and some scrap paper, and I will play with my son. Ben and I will have at least a month of Mommy/Ben time before the birth of his little sister Anna, and then a whole new adventure will begin.

I've learned a lot as a proofreader and as a member of the team. I've learned that it's important to think about and maybe even talk to our customers every once in a while to gain some perspective. Concentrating too much on the details keeps you from seeing the bigger mistakes you might be making. Smiling at a coworker while you tell them how much they screwed up goes a long way toward keeping your car tires unslashed at the end of the day.

Leaving this job is most difficult, I think, because I didn't hate it. I actually loved being a proofreader, and I rarely tired of proofing catalog page after catalog page. So really, you all owe me an apology. You should have made my life unbearable. You should have always been sullen and morose and crabby. You shouldn't have smiled at me in the halls or thanked me for my 'good catches.' You should have made me feel undervalued and unappreciated. But you didn't, and now I'm sad.

On the bright side, my husband still works here, and that means I'll still be coming around to visit often. I'll definitely be coming in to show off my babies, and I might actually have Chris bring in baked goods that I create in a fit of domestic flurry but can't bring myself to keep in the house. In that way, your life may be better once I'm gone.

I'll be online at home, and you are all free to email me to visit or to gossip or to ask proofing questions.

-Cheryl Mathis

'I don't believe that children can develop in a healthy way unless they feel that they have value apart from anything they own or any skill that they learn. They need to feel they enhance the life of someone else, that they are needed. Who, better than parents, can let them know that?' -- Fred Rogers"