Wednesday was our last day of work – at least for a while.  We have started calling our current situation “semi-retirement,” which is fitting considering  how my last day of work felt.  During the exit interview with the woman from HR, my answers to her questions were more like those of someone leaving the workforce than of an early 30’s individual leaving a job:

“Why are you leaving?”

“My wife and I are going to travel.”

“Have you taken a new job?”


“Would you consider coming back?”

“Probably not.”

After a brief series of questions that made me feel a bit like a retiree, I had a feeling of finality with the job.  A feeling that is still sinking in but is becoming much more real each day I wake up unemployed.

I’ve left two jobs before this one, and the feeling was not the same.  In each case, I was leaving the job for a new (hopefully better) job.  In this case, I left for a completely different reason and the result was also completely different.  People treated me like I was retiring, not quitting.  They took me out to lunch, asked questions about my upcoming adventures and treated me like a friend leaving — not like a coworker abandoning them.

Earlier in the day, on my way to getting lunch, a co-worker and I had a conversation about memories and Daniel Kahneman’s remembering self vs. experiencing self.  The conversation culminated in a story of how people who end experiences on a positive note have a much more positive memory of the entire experience — even when portions of the experience were painful or difficult (our example was actually colonoscopies).  We were talking about how to best experience and remember the trip we are about to embark upon. But after surrendering my badge and saying a final goodbye to my (ex) boss who escorted me outside, I glanced back at the building and knew my memories of the 5 years I spent there would be positive ones.