My last few weeks as a public servant were really weird. I was facing a slow down of work as I passed my tasks to my colleagues and a slow down of meetings from a few to none. The team didn’t even think I needed to attend our weekly meetings, so left me to my own devices when I did not show up. In truth, I simply didn’t know when they were meeting, so I quietly sat at my desk and pondered my usefulness for the rest of my time with them.
I hate being idle. It is OK sometimes, especially after an especially busy period but to sit and do nothing day-in and day-out is tiring. More so than when I am busy. So I let everyone know I was available to help them and then looked for work to keep me occupied. The first thing was to ensure all my personal information was forwarded to my home email account. Then I had to delete them from my office computer. I also kept busy by cleaning up the folders I used on the office shared drive and forwarded any emails my colleagues would need as they took over those files. I suspect they will go mostly unread as they are busy enough with the here and now. No real-time to read up on past history. It is too bad as I was responsible for a number of files for a few years. I knew all the ins and outs, past requests – such as the need for yet one more communication plan – and future plans. Still, I did my best to share this information with my manager and colleagues. I very much suspect they will go through the same woes I did. It isn’t something I wish on them but one learns as one does.
I finally had time to write some stories for our departmental newsletter. I searched other federal web sites to get some ideas and received a request from another office too. I heard one of our branch employees became an overnight celebrity, getting to sing with The Wiggles at Scotia Place. Not being the parent of a little boy or girl, I had never heard of The Wiggles. Seems they are the next best thing to peanut butter in a young child’s life, especially in this friend’s child’s life. So a story was written, photos edited and approvals received. Hopefully it has hit the press. My other stories included the joy of genealogy and shopping on-line at other federal web sites. Cool things can be had for friends, family or simply oneself.
As my last week crept up, I was riding an emotional roller-coaster. At times I was sad and others overjoyed. I knew I would miss my office mates and friends I made since joining HRSDC. And I do, I miss them a lot. I miss the team meetings and our lunch hour chats, seeing what nice outfits they wore and guessing how many sweaters Lori would wear. We had our ups and downs as any team would but I am glad this was the last team I worked with, as it was one of the best.
I am happy, of course, to be off work. Currently on vacation to be followed by my full retirement. Going to bed later than ten o’clock is nice. Getting up after six a.m. is nice too. Time to sit and read and plan a leisurely day and to follow-up on my travel plans for my “dream of a lifetime” trip. Although this is my dream trip, my husband is also keen on going. We have such similar interests, he knows he will enjoy what ever I plan. Still, he will have a dream trip and we will make that happen too.
“What are you going to do?” people would ask. And I had to think about it. I knew what I planned to do in the next few months, I knew what I wanted to do in the next year but do they want to know to satisfy their curiosity? No one seems satisfied if I say “live life to the fullest” or “stay up late and sleep in.” They want details but quick ones. “I will write a best seller, I will go back to school and get my masters in journalism, I will master new skills and help the less fortunate!” It is liking asking someone new to their job what they plan to do for the next 30 years. It is not the same, of course, as I am no longer in my twenties but I am a healthy individual. And I do love life and I plan to live it to the fullest.
I plan to stay in touch with my friends at work, either by visiting them on site or meeting them now and then. I have kept in touch with friends I made through my government jobs from more than twenty years ago. When I meet my friends from our near past and distant past, it is like time stands still. The chaos of the world stops swirling around us. We get to step off the roller-coaster for a few hours to enjoy the simple pleasures we have shared and will continue to share in the years to come.