I just moved from the Midwest to the East Coast, after a year in Germany. My last day at the old job was almost a month ago and I still can't quite believe I really left. I keep expecting to wake up and go into the old office, like I have the past five and a half years, or to get an IM from a colleague to complain about this one project, which he liked to do even when I was in Germany. Because while it wasn't perfect, it was a good job with good people. People talk about work husbands and work wives but I had a real work family. There was the work mom, who gave me feedback on work and career but also my outfit and haircut, in whose office I cried more than once about things personal and professional. There was the work dad, who checked my car before long trips and provided Fox News tidbits. I had a work sister with whom I shared a cube wall. There were the two female college interns who were like nieces. I had uncles in Germany. I'm really torturing the metaphor here but I've never had a work environment like that. It was sad to leave but also somewhat comforting because I know that a lot of these people, the core of the family, I'll keep in touch with and visit. Already, there are emails and messages and visit trips being planned.
It hasn't been easy, moving across the country and starting a whole new job. But I can't imagine it is for anyone.
Six years ago, before I took the job with what would become my work family, I had a job in Portland, which I've written about before. As I mentioned in the post, I had a boyfriend with whom I was way too preoccupied. When I took the job back in the Midwest, I was upset to be leaving him, even though we promised to keep it going long distance (we lasted two months after I left) and he promised to visited (he didn't). So I was upset. Not sobbing or hysterical, just kind of down about that part of the new job. One afternoon, while he was out of the room, I looked at his phone. I know, terrible, but he sucked at sharing, I wanted to know what he was thinking. And I was immature and insecure and anxious about moving. What I found: a bunch of texts between his mom about me. He mentioned I was sad about leaving and didn't know what to do. His mom's response?
Why is she upset? She took the job.
The relationship was never the best but I'm glad I didn't end up with such an empathetic mother-in-law. But also good lesson: don't look into stuff you really have no business looking into. A friend recently got a divorce because of questionable Facebook messages she discovered on her husband's account so who knows.
But I've been thinking about her comment a lot lately. Because I did it again, abandoning my comfortable life. A company where I had a work family and I knew everyone and most people knew me. A city where I knew all the back roads and the Target layout, which were the good restaurants and which ones to skip. Where I had friends and my hometown was just a short drive away. Leaving all that, for the unknown East Coast. Goodbye, cozy job. Goodbye, friends and alma mater. Goodbye, just-a-few-hours-away hometown and entire family. Hello, totally new company. Hello, state where I know exactly one person.
But as Nancy would say, I did take the job.
As for the new job, I've lasted two weeks, straightening my hair and putting on makeup like a real adult each day. I'm this better version of myself, chattier and more social and also more productive than I have been in ages. How long will this last? How long until it's just a messy bun and some mascara, checking reddit in between meetings, hiding when the office chatty kathy comes by?
I know this will become normal and my last job will be more and more a memory. Eventually, I'll get the pronouns right when I talk about my old company and the new one. I'll learn enough about the company and its process and its products that I feel in place and comfortable. I'll build my reputation and I don't think it will take as long as it did the last go around because I'm starting at second base, at least, with what I'm bringing from my last job.
I'm grateful for this blog as a reminder of who I am and where I've come. Because the little, daily life stuff is the first to go. I remember the really good days and the really bad days. What's harder to remember? The boring Tuesday. Just the feel of a typical day. What did I do for dinners and what was a typical Saturday? Germany already seems like a thing that happened to someone else.
I'm excited and terrified. A part of my life is over. Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
And don't get too pissy. You're the one who took the job.