My former co-worker came back from Paris and brought me a jar of tea by Pierre Hermé. It is green tea mixed with a couple of different floral notes, packaged in a lovely printed metal jar. We still meet with her from time to time for lunch in downtown San francisco. She’s always willing to come back to our office and hang out for a bit.
I think this is a very special thing. Usually, and this applies to me too, when people leave a company, they seldom go back to the office to visit. Even if you leave on very good terms, there would still be some awkward sentiments that most people would probably rather not have to deal with. But she comes back to have lunch with us almost once every month. It’s not a lunch with just a couple of people in a cafe. It’s a lunch in the office where about 10 or so people all sit around having food, talking, joking, laughing, and just generally have a good relaxing time with each other.
The job that I have is not exactly my first job, and they’re not the first company I’ve ever worked for. Before I came here, I had been a freelancer for many years. For a lot of freelancers, it is the best to “get in, get the job done, get out.” And you want to do it fast too, so that you can get the most money within the shortest amount of time. That was my mentality when I first started working for this company.
Even though I was only contracting for 3 days a week, I found that I was included in almost all the activities in the company. Someone would always come and ask me to join in for lunch, and there would always be a gift for me when people come back from vacations. We know what each others’ hobbies are, if they’re vegetarians or hate any foods from the sea, and our significant others’ names.
I tried very hard not to, but eventually I started to like my company. I knew this is just one of the many companies I’ll work for in my life, people will leave to have other jobs and one day I will too. But still, I couldn’t help it, I started to like my job, the people who I work with, like the success and also the mistakes that we make (okay maybe the success a little more). When I’m at work, I feel that I’m a person, not just a machine, and I have a strong connection with other people who work here also.
When our former co-worker comes back, she’s a person who we used to see a lot, but now we see her less often. That’s why we need to catch up with her, even if she’s had a million other jobs. She would always be a friend, not someone who does or doesn’t work here any more.