Last day

This move is getting real, folks!  Yesterday was my last day of work at the firm.  I finished transitioning all of my projects to other lawyers and spoke with the last of my clients who needed to know.  At 5:00pm I turned on my “out of office” notice and headed down to a special farewell happy hour, where I had a chance to say goodbye to many of the good people I’ve worked with over the past six years.

I’ve moved enough times in my life to know that saying goodbye is never easy, and it certainly wasn’t easy to say it yesterday.  The firm has been an enormous part of my life for six years — I started there fresh out of law school, a baby lawyer with no idea what I was doing, and in the intervening years I’ve learned and grown professionally, developed lifelong friendships and a remarkable professional network, and gained a level of financial stability that I never had before — all of which makes it possible for me to move on to the next chapter of life.  True, there were frustrations and challenges, and plenty of blood, sweat and tears along the way.  But as I looked back over the years, I felt a welling up of emotion:  gratitude for the blessings and opportunities that I’ve had; affection for the many good people I’ve known; sadness at the thought of no longer being part of the community.
The hardest person to say goodbye to was my secretary, Joanne.  She was there on day one and every day since then.  She’s smart and funny and loyal, and I realized early on that she was a keeper — even though I moved from one office to another as I got more senior, I always made sure that Joanne and I stayed assigned to each other.  When she came down to give me my last timesheet for review, I meant to tell her how much I’ve appreciated working with her — but then I started to get choked up and so I made her go out into the hall and take pictures with me instead.
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JJD and Joanne
Good timing, too, because right then Lynn came back from lunch and we were able to get a shot of all three of us.   Lynn is another secretary who has been there for me since the beginning.  She and Joanne shared a suite for the first couple of years that I was at the firm, and now for the past year we’ve been down on the 6th floor together while Joanne stayed up on 7.
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The only one missing from my “secretary trifecta” is Barbara, who was out on vacation.
The farewell party was a lot of fun, and I was really touched by all the people who took time out of their busy days to stop by and see me before they went home (or back to their offices to keep working).  The extrovert part of me loves parties like that, where I’m the center of attention and can chat with everyone in the crowd.  The introvert part of me wishes I could just have a series of intimate one-on-one conversations with each of them.
By the time the party left and it was time to go back upstairs and gather my things out of my office, the melancholy of farewells had returned.  Fortunately the people who knew me well had stuck around.  Adina, who had organized the whole thing, stayed until the end and helped me close out with the restaurant.  Then I went out for sushi with Jeff and he cheered me up by discussing such important topics as which guilty-pleasure TV shows were we watching (TeenWolf, Glee) and which Broadway musicals and/or Russian composers it was important to like and/or not to like in order to be thought cool by the cognoscenti (Phantom and Tchaikovsky, respectively).   

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