I hear everyone chattering as they go down the hall to the lunchroom. They are giving me a farewell potluck, a retirement party. Like it's really for me, they just like a reason to eat. My last day of work, the day I have been counting down for this past decade. It’s finally here.
I can’t believe the company president is here today to go over something with me. At five o'clock I'm gone. I don't care what happens. Why can't my replacement deal with it? When has he ever been available for me? So many times I’ve needed to discuss something, needed his signature, he never showed up. Now, today, my last day, he decides to show up, and at lunchtime. I certainly hope there will be food left for me when I can get away. I am sure no one even noticed I'm not there. This is the price you pay for having the top secretarial position in the company. The way I could silence a room by just walking in. Always being left out of the parties. Not being part of the weekly donut day. Everyone jealous, thinking they can do this job better. I can’t wait to see what happens to my replacement. Waiting for the day she calls me because she can’t find something, or doesn’t understand the database that I have been trying to teach her for the last year. Oh, and no one understands how difficult it is to cover for the boss.The lies you have to tell. Well, my lying days, my days of stress, are all over. I will never look back on this place. If I had the opportunity to tell them just what I think, what an ear full that would be.
Finally I can get away to the lunchroom. Some of my coworkers have eaten and are already leaving. Someone asked what was the reason for the lunch, but whatever the reason they want to do it again soon. All the Italian beef is gone. A little potato salad is left sticking to the side of the bowl. The only thing left is a whole bowl of untouched macaroni salad, which I totally hate.
The boss hands me an envelope. My retirement bonus. I open the envelope, trying not too look too excited, and slowly take a peek. One hundred dollars! After twenty years service, that is it? And they even took taxes out!
I've heard retirement day is the day you find out how everyone really felt about you. All their true emotions can not be contained on this day. I wait for someone to get up and tell the funny little stories I've heard at other retirement luncheons. The stories about how the person exploded the copy machine toner in their face. How they accidentally erased all the billing files. How when they started the job, they waited a week to ask where the washroom was because they didn't have to go until then.
The buzz of the crowd quiets down as they finish their cake. My replacement requests everyone's attention. Okay this is it. This is when everyone opens their heart with the stories and emotions they have for me. This is where I am now the center of the day, the special person who has touched them all in some way. The good wishes for my future as a retired person they bestow upon me.
But instead of a "roast" and heartfelt feelings from my fellow workers, she asks that I reflect on my years of service, what working here and what everyone has meant to me. Finally the first time in twenty years my words are important, they want to hear what I have to say.
Here it comes...
How I feel about you...
I’m going out with a bang!
Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak