My old boss was let go two days ago. I’m still reeling from it all. My new supervisor wants me to move into her old cubicle, which is right on the other side of my current spot. I tried to persuade him to let her personal items linger a bit longer so she can return to claim them, probably during off hours, but he wouldn’t wait any longer.
“Pack it all up,” he said, blue eyes steely.
So I did. Two umbrellas, a coffee mug, training certificates, a philodendron plant. Too much for one box. Old sneakers went in first, reminding me of the walks we used to share. I showed her the glories of flowering magnolias and sunburst fall trees as we strode through the city in different seasons.
Then, a coffee card. Reading glasses. Glue sticks. A ceramic elephant. And a white ceramic pumpkin. Don’t ask.
I didn’t want to continue. I took a deep breath. It felt like a death, not simply a layoff. I found a significant stash of tiny kleenex packets and dark chocolate. Seemed to sum up the female condition nicely, a stress management kit of sorts. Needle and thread. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Loose change. Mints. Cough drops and eye drops.
Wait. Chocolate. Surely she wouldn’t mind if I gnoshed a teensy bit…
Nope. Steady, girl. This is hard enough without adding theft to the mix.
Soon, the remains of more than 2 years of dedicated service was put into manageable containers.
“Thanks for doing this,” my supervisor said to my back.
“Sure,” I mumbled.
I just wish I could have said goodbye in person.