On Thursday night, people who had worked at my previous Mr. Company all gathered together in a bar for a happy hour. The last happy hour.
I say the last one because we were let go in waves. The first group of people was out the door in the middle of August. There was a farewell happy hour. The next group, the largest group, was mine, in the middle of December. We had another happy hour. There was a tiny group let go in the middle of January, so another gathering.
Last night was the day before the Boca Raton office closed its doors- the last dozen or so people in the office had been busily clearing away the remains of twenty years of business. Over the last few days, I’ve seen pictures posted on Facebook of an empty data center, rows of empty cubicles, and the lead developer wearing shorts. These are all equally traumatic and heart-breaking.
I’ve talked about my own departure from the company in previous posts, and I mused back in December that the grieving process would probably hit me later on. It has. Up until now, I was still interacting with many of these people on a professional level, but those meetings have ceased.
I wanted very much to go back to the office one last time, to see the empty spaces for myself, and to walk the old familiar hallways. I realized halfway through the happy hour that this was pointless, though. Right now, it’s just an empty building. The thing that made it home to me for so many years was the people, and they were all around me.
When we got together for this last farewell happy hour, it was really a wake. A very Irish wake, because quite a few people had quite a few drinks. I highly recommend the Red Sangria; it was delicious. There was reminiscing, and hugging, and more than a few splashes of emotion. People who had left us in years past turned up, because this was more than a company to many of us. For a lot of us, it was a family.
I started with Mr. Company when I was 29 years old. My entire life for the last fifteen years has been shaped by working with this amazing bunch of people. Thanks to the Internet, I won’t lose touch with many of them, but I’m sure gonna miss working with them.
What’s your favorite mixed drink?
Administrative note: This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Each Monday through Saturday in the month of April, I will write a new post- one for each letter of the alphabet. If you would like to participate, it’s never too late to start. Just look over the guidelines at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.