Today, we are saying goodbye to two of our office mates. They have been part of our organization for several years. We have had lunches, group meetings and activities outside of the office to spend time with them, but today seem a little anti-climatic. It feels almost as if there should be something significant that takes place in order to acknowledge their presence.
The thing with our co-workers is that we spend more time with them than we do with our own families. We know more about each other’s natural tendencies simply because we observe them on a routine basis. We cannot help but connect with the people that we spend so much time with. So, it is natural for us to individually and collectively anticipate some void when we say goodbye to each other.
One of my co-workers and I have similar backgrounds. We were both part of military families that continuously relocated; we have similar experiences of putting everything you have in boxes and going somewhere else. We have both lived a relatively planned timeline, in that every two to three years you would have to pack everything up, say goodbye and move on. For someone that hasn’t lived this, it may seem that this component of one’s lifestyle would tend to make one sort of emotionally numb to saying goodbye repeatedly, forming new alliances wherever you go and detaching from them when you have to leave. From my perspective, it is just the opposite. I think it gives you an appreciation of what is important in life and what is insignificant.
As we say goodbye, we feel sad. That in of itself is an acknowledgement that the person has made an impact on you. From my perspective, the most important thing we can communicate to each other when we go in different directions is to let that person know that their presence in your life gave you something. That is the best and most significant way that we can say goodbye.