Wednesday was my last day at my first job.

The past few weeks ever since I announced my decision not to renew my contract with my ex-employer a month ago had been horrifying hectic. I think that I had never ever worked as hard. Hours and hours were put into trying to wrap up the research study. It was not what I had hoped to be, even though I did want to be responsible and finish up my work. Even though I did promise my boss that. I did not regret my decision, yet I wished I could have more time with my colleagues while I was still there. Instead I probably spent more time with the photocopier, the documents, the files and the phone. It sucked, I guess, but I couldn’t deny the immense sense of satisfaction that swelled from the bottom of my heart at 10:30pm on Wednesday night as I looked at the neatly organised study files all nicely packed onto the shelves and in the boxes. Finally everything was done.   

I could not have done it without my colleagues who undeniably suffered a much heavier workload as a result of my decision to depart. They had to rush to finish all the research cases in a couple of weeks. It was quite a bit of a torture but fortunately they like me, so the complaint was kept to a minimum haha. The manager had been so helpful too that my view of her changed quite significantly over the last few days. In fact when I left the office at 11:30pm that night, I told my colleagues to be obedient and listen to her in the future. Lol they almost puked.

I was kind of surprised when my colleagues threw me a, well, surprise farewell party on Wednesday evening. I didn’t really expect that. Even though I did think that they would buy me a cake or something because a few days before, they asked me if I like cupcakes and what type of cake I like. That was quite an obvious hint, I suppose, and partly because I didn’t want them to buy me anything and partly because it is the truth, I told them that I do not really fancy cakes. It was hilarious because they started looking a bit troubled. 

On Wednesday though, I did not suspect anything because I was too occupied trying to finish my work. My entire mind was set on work, work and work only. A colleague even asked me whether I would be going home for dinner, to which I simply gave her a slightly exasperated look. There was supposed to be no time for dinner because my boss would be coming over for the proper handover after her private clinic ended. By 4:30pm, my head was still buried in work. I actually happened to be at the counter when the delivery man came! Someone at the back of my head whispered to me that they ordered food for me, but I was sooooo busy that I did not have time to stop and think about it. Even though everyone else started gathering suspiciously in the clinic out of my view and moved a table into it for no apparent reason. I knew, yet I was too absorbed in my work to think about it.

5:30pm came and my boss arrived. I panicked slightly as there was still work to be done. A colleague came to the patient room which I had been using as a office for the past few days where documents, files, stationery and garbage scattered the entire room, and asked me to follow her. I must have looked at her as if she was insane because she gave up trying to talk me into that and dragged me out instead, with me grumbling about the amount of work on my hands on the way. She brought me to the clinic which had its door closed. She opened the door and it was dark inside. She switched on the lights and ta-dah! everyone else was already inside! There was tons of food on the table and even a cake!

My words might sound excited now but trust me, I bet I was looking nothing like that at that time because my colleague upon seeing the look on my face, which I truly hope now that it didn’t disappoint them, said “Chey! She’s not surprised at all!”. It is quite true, mainly because I had known and partly because the thought of work kept nagging at me. I know, I know, what a cold blanket I must have been, but trust me, I did my best not to be. My colleagues were so adorable. You would never have expected what they ordered for me. Indian food haha! Which is really one of my favourite, believe me or not! They were so attentive to have noticed it previously. And the cake was from Awfully Chocolate! Which was of course awfully yummy! The manager bought it herself. It seemed like she never forgot my contribution during the laboratory accreditation period haha.

Hence I stayed and ate the food. I had to, or they would not start and I felt bad that as most colleagues had stayed back for the party. The food was fabulous! And most appropriate since half of my colleagues are either Indian or Muslim. As for the cake, need I say more? Of course we gobbled it up even after a filling dinner! My colleagues bought me Tangs gift vouchers too! That was kind of unexpected though because I would not have wanted them to spend money on me. But of course I really appreciated it haha. It seemed like the greatest surprise was when I realised that my boss bought me farewell gifts too! An expensive Crumpler bag and $200 gift vouchers! I tell you, my tears almost dropped haha!

    

The beautiful sunflower was from a nurse colleague! It was so sweet. But perhaps not as sweet as the following gift:

Truffles from GODIVA!!!!~

OH MY GOD!!! Even the sound of it draws saliva!!

Let’s take a look at the treasures hidden within!

Slowly…

Getting there in a jiffy!

Let’s say “WOW” in unison!!!!~

Ain’t they gorgeous???

And you can trust my words that they taste just as divine!

This box was from a sales representative who has become extremely good personal friends with the unit staff over the years at work, being the assistant manager of the company which sells our unit the equipment. Actually I’m not that on familiar terms with the rep because we have not seen each other as often, so the gift took me by pleasant surprise. The rep wasn’t even at the farewell party probably because the rep wasn’t part of the staff, so I guess the rep wasn’t exactly invited. I did express my sincere thanks through a sms though.     

I didn’t manage to take any photograph at the farewell party because I couldn’t take my mind off the work and I guess I did not thoroughly enjoy myself although I truly appreciated their thoughts. The night shift colleagues even reported to work an hour earlier for the farewell dinner! Right after dinner and the cake, the day shift colleagues went home, and I returned back to the quiet patient room where my work awaited me, while waiting for my boss to end her meeting with a doctor. As I was doing the last bit of my work at a feverish pace, my colleagues popped in to offer their help. After being turned down politely, they simply hung around to chat while I worked which was really thoughtful of them.

Finally my boss finished her meeting after AN HOUR, when she said it would only take 15 minutes. Not that it truly mattered though since the work was not yet completed. We settled the handover within 30 minutes and started chatting. Or rather, my boss started handing me advices on life. As any older person will always do. Which amuses me often. It is as if I am less mature only because I am not as old. While maturity probably does grow in an exponential rate with age, I must say that everyone has different rates. I think I made her realise that. I enjoyed talking to her as usual. She makes me feel that there’s someone else outside my family who believes firmly in what I believe in. She is truly a good person. I just respect and like her sooooo much. I feel so much gratitude towards her and I will never forget that.

After my boss left and I finally finished ALL my work at 10:30pm, I stayed on to chat with my colleagues until 11:30pm while they did their night shift. Oh, I just recalled a scene that was quite tickling. While my boss used the computer to approve some administrative matters for the unit online, which meant that I couldn’t use it to do my work, I went to chat with my colleagues in the storeroom where they were preparing the materials for the night tests on the patients. I was there sitting on top of a pile of chairs, happily swinging my dangling legs while chatting to my colleagues and watching them prepare, when my boss finished her stuff and walked past, presumbly to find me in the patient room. She saw us, looked kind of shocked and asked what we were doing, to which I merely chirped “just chatting!”. I found it funny because I do not understand why she had that look on her face. Maybe she couldn’t imagine my colleagues and I turning out to be friends who do chat haha.

I love my colleagues to bits. They have treated me sooo well. Sure, they may not have the best working attitude at all times, but as friends, they are caring and kind. Perhaps one of the best things which came out from this job, other than a strengthening of personal confidence, is getting to know this bunch of lovely people. During my last moments in the lab, they kept asking me whether I would miss them. I did not reply. Because to miss them means that I will be leaving them. And I am not. Even though I will be going to a different office next Monday, even though I will be working with a different group of people from Monday onwards, even doing completely different things, I will still be with them. They have entered my life and I have entered theirs, and neither of us is leaving unless we want to.

It is at times like this when I wonder if I am cold hearted. I did not feel any pang of sadness on the last day. I am quite sure that I wouldn’t even miss anything or anyone related to this job, and it is definitely not because I did not enjoy myself during these two years. I guess it is because I believe that good things always come to an end, and people meet and separate. It is simply part and parcel of life, and if it is a natural course of life, what is there to fear or feel upset? Separation is not scary, just like death. If we always hold ourselves back by fear, we do not move on in life. We will always be running on the same spot, and this is not what I want.  

So now, I have ended my first job, a special phase in my life, and next Monday I will be entering a brand new phase. I have moved on. Have you? 

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