Test Over, Pencils Down

I'm starting a new job on Monday, so this week I've been trying to finish things up here around the office. It's hopeless. That's okay, though - everyone understands that I'm ready to move on, and they know they'll get along fine without me, just like they did before I came. We're not really sure why the company has chosen not to replace me, and I'm not sure how that would have affected my decision to leave if I'd known it beforehand.

The real kicker for me is the adjustment to caring about new things - well, for now it's more stopping caring about the old things. I think most people have a tendency to kind of keep score at their jobs, to tally up every meeting that goes well and every flubbed assignment, constantly balancing those against public praise and late arrivals and promotion of peers and all the other things that figure into each little worker bee's personal appraisal of How It's Going At Work.

And then two guys in a conference room up the street cautiously push a sheet of my paper in front of you, study your eyes as you consider the offer, and shake your hand when you say yes. You walk out into the sunny afternoon, stand there on the sidewalk and smile for a moment, then start dialing home to tell your wife all about it.

It just stops. All the projects that were still pending suddenly pend no longer. All concerns about the direction the company was taking are suddenly irrelevant, and, just like that, you pick up what you were doing, shuffle over to the new place and start again, there.

Can you imagine if you never let it go? Can you picture your facial expression if everything you ever worried about at every job you ever had was still on your mind?

Sheesh, I'd still be afraid of getting fired from a Mexican restaurant for spilling a dozen glasses of ice water on a table full of people. I'd still be wondering about the condition and accuracy of the measuring stick I used to check the levels in the underground gas tanks at the station where I worked. I'd still be wishing the restaurant I used to write ads for would finally take my advice and buy punctuation marks for their outdoor signs.


There is no final score. The game's just over, just like that.

And a new one's about to start.

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