Awkward Goodbyes

I rotate assignments every 4 months. Different cubicle. Different coworkers. For the most part, different type of work. But the goodbyes that come at the end of each rotation are always the same: awkward.

Today was the last day of my current rotation. So those in my work group kindly stopped by, said a few words, and that was that. The funniest thing that happens is when people know you’re leaving and you’d have these halfway conversations with them throughout the week. They “save up” what they want to say, in a sense, because it’s awkward to say goodbye and end up seeing that very same person and have a normal conversation again.

It’d be weird if they were giving me a final farewell and I ended the conversation asking how their kids’ baseball games are going. In some sense, I can be a very nonlinear (some call it ADD) guy when it comes to conversation. I’ll jump from point A to D and back to C.

And invariably, this closure ends with a hopeful projection into the future. “Well, I know we’ll be in contact. Let me know if you need anything or have any questions.” These types of farewells smooth out awkwardness, and sometimes feel more like they’re for those staying rather than those leaving.

This time, I learned – When it comes to goodbyes, people are linear. They want an end, a closure. And I’m okay with that, even though I’m returning the very next damn day to pick up my stapler.

I tend to like the parting words that erred on the side of too casual than too serious.

“Alright cool man, I’ll catch you later.” That’s what my immediate boss  said. I liked that.



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