Life After Undergrad 8: Bitter farewells and welcomed exits

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The past few weeks have involved a fair bit of change. My friend at work resigned, and finished up 2 weeks ago. I am happy for her, but I will miss sitting across from her. There is a little, conveniently placed window fitted into the partition between our desks, so the absence is hard to ignore. I’ll miss the hilarious banter, and even just the hilarious glances exchanged through the window that made my working day legitimately fun. I don’t believe we are getting a replacement any time soon, so my side of the office will continue to be pretty quiet and empty.

Last week, another team member finished up. He had been with us a few months, but was still on probation, and it was eventually decided he wasn’t a good fit for the role and was let go. Being that these events happened one after another, it’s easy to recognise the difference between each situation. When I was told he was gone, it was actually a relief. Not that he was particularly difficult to work with, but after the fact, I reflected on his working style and realised it was painfully obvious he was not a good fit.

The reason I chose to write about this in Life After Undergrad, is although I have been at this job 8 months now, this is a totally new experience for me. I have never experienced a team member leaving on someone else’s terms. A few have resigned and been replaced, but it isn’t the same as someone being fired. It forces you to think about your own place in the team.

On the day we found out he would not be returning, the team spent the day reflecting on it. What he was like, what the new person might be like etc. And one of the managers made a comment about how this team that we have now is really strong, and works well, so she hopes the new guy can fit into that. Although this sounds stupidly obvious, I realised in that moment that I am a part of this team, and it felt like I had an epiphany just hearing her say that.

I have a lot of doubts about whether I measure up at work. I feel like I make too many mistakes and don’t catch on fast enough. As a graduate I don’t have prior experience, and I feel as though they have to keep teaching me things from scratch. But they didn’t fire me while I was in probation. Not only that, they think we make a strong team. I suppose my epiphany was simply that I realised I succeeded and he didn’t. My doubts about whether I fit in this role were somewhat put at ease, because it became so much more real knowing that if they wanted to fire me, they would have done it a long time ago. They wouldn’t hold back. Not everyone makes it in a new job and employers don’t keep you around if they don’t find you valuable. I just have to keep my work above the line and not let the team down.

Before my friend left, we went out for coffee and she was saying that as I become more experienced I will learn that people come and go from jobs a lot. You just have to roll with it. But it seems the working world is still brand new to me. Even now, I still feel like a child being babysat by the adults I work with. But I need to stop thinking of myself that way, because they didn’t fire me.

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