Fifteen years. A decade and a half. Enough time to nurture and grow and develop.
And then it's gone.
Saturday would have been my 15-year anniversary with my old job. I would have chosen a milestone gift from the corporate catalog…perhaps I would have picked out an anniversary plaque or desk plate, a pin to wear on my lapel, or a commemorative paperweight. I may have received a few congratulatory emails, maybe a personalized card through inter-office mail. My co-workers would have recognized me during the morning meeting.
But guess what? I don't care.
Four weeks ago I cared. I was looking forward to my milestone. (I was definitely excited to be earning a fourth week for my vacation time). I knew the date was coming. I was looking forward to the recognition. I needed it, craved it; I see that now.
Then I was fired.
The anniversary was killed before it had time to bloom and flourish. I would not be receiving a special company gift, there would be no cards or emails, no one would know I came so close to 15 years. I was crushed. But that was before. Even a week or two after my termination I was still nursing the wound of my non-anniversary.
Why couldn't this have happened after my special day?
But when the day came, I didn't even notice. I was over it. And I'm glad. So glad. It feels like a shedding of dead skin, old and dry. I left my former corporate chrysalis behind and emerged as a shiny, clean butterfly, ready to spread my wings and find a new place to land.
I have moved on.
It feels liberating to close the door on my old company. I thought it would take me a lot longer than three or four weeks to feel this way. Don't get me wrong, getting fired after so many years of working at the same place has left a deep, painful bruise. Full healing will take a long time.
But little by little, things that used to be important are shedding themselves. I feel lighter, less burdened by the old. The sadness is smaller every day. I'm sleeping better and enjoying this time at home with my daughter. I'm actively interviewing and excited for my next career adventure.
My wings are ready, watch me fly.