The two most memorable days in the process of quitting your job to travel are the day you give notice and the last day on the job. After I announced my departure ten weeks ago, I entered a sort of an office purgatory: I posted my job on online boards, screened job applications, sat in on the interviews, wrapped up or handed off projects, drafted a ‘job manual’ of sorts, and trained my replacement. Purgatory ended today; I walked through the office door for the last time.

Escape from the soul-corroding hell

Travel bloggers who quit their jobs tend to make their old jobs sound like soul-corroding hell and their departure like a timely escape for a life of bliss. In many ways work can inflict suffering: the curbed freedom; the bureaucracy; the evil boss/coworkers/inferiors, the pointlessness of so many tasks; the lack of options to having a job; the inequity of the exchange of time for money. On many a night Lindsay and I vented the frustrations of our work days.

But since in time memory ends up focusing on the positive, why not start on the day of the experience?

People who stay: The farewell and the sendoff

Most travel writing I’ve been reading these past few weeks focuses on the trip itself while people left behind get scant attention. I understand because I hate goodbyes too. Yet if planning forms the trip’s foundation, the farewells are its springboard. You can’t truly leave until you say goodbye. All the more so considering how much you spend at a full-time job.

I looked forward to my final work day for so long I was surprised to feel a little sad as I made my rounds to say goodbye to the coworkers I cared the most about (I missed a few). I got more hugs and shook more hands than over the previous two years combined. The parting words melted my heart; the well wishes injected a spring into my step. A old refrain around the corporate office went, “It’s a good thing.” Saying goodbye was like that, and I felt grateful.

A goodbye is the first step on the trek, the first curve you cut in the road, the push of the boat from the pier. It is the end and it is the beginning.

Last day at work

Introducing our new travel companion: Eam the Goat. Eam’s story: My now-former coworker Teri’s catchphrase was, “Go team!” I would trash it by saying all I hear is talk of a goat named Eam. On her last day in the office for the week, Teri gave me a present. Eam is going to have a grand time circumnavigating the planet!

2 Responses

  1. Carmel

    Woo hoo! I thought about you guys on Saturday when we had near-perfect weather for your send off party! Hope it was a good one.

    Goodbyes are hard. I don’t think I’ll be too terribly sad when I leave my job, but I know leaving my friends and family will be almost unbearably hard. I think people do surprise you when you leave a job…but those who are really behind you will stick around in some form or another. I’ve found that to be true at least.

    Not too much longer….!

    Reply
    • Peter Korchnak

      That’s the thing, Carmel, I wasn’t sad to leave the job but some of the people I will miss. Especially the ones who surprised me on the last day.

      Hang in there!

      Reply

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