Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Language of Death

It’s a funny byproduct, but a real one, that changing jobs is both like a breakup and a death.  As with a death, there is a tendency to talk in present tense about your last employer or team, if it hasn’t been long since the transition out.  As with a breakup, it’s the same thing as talking too much about an ex, because the frame of reference of your most recent situation informs so much.

You can hear yourself doing this, maybe you try to remember to adjust to past tense, maybe it’s a little embarrassing (“am I talking about THEM too much?”), but it’s a small thing to those around you.

In my case, oddly enough the dominant “ex” on my resume’ isn’t the most recent.  Right now, to be sure, they’re the ones closest to me – but my years with the last mainstream financial services firm I worked with have long been the largest-looming ones for me professionally.  I’m still in touch with the most people from there, still personal friends with some, and still admire and respect everyone, including the executives, I worked with then.  It’s quite the trick, a pack of Securities professionals coming in at the top of a mental hierarchy of People I Think Highly Of – but I worked with those good people whose counsel was “perhaps it is unwise to hand out credit to everybody, their dogs, and their pet rocks” at a time when the industry as a whole was going the way of madness in terms of credit.  Seems to me there was SOME sort of kerfuffle in the economy when that madness failed to work out precisely perfectly …  Hmm.

As much as anything, it’s my team I will miss.  I have good FRIENDS from my most recent gig, and there can be no question that I was leaving my people.  They’re my kids, and I loved taking care of them, and hope they’ll be well served now that I’m gone.  The level of inevitable “you’ll miss me when I’m gone!” schadenfreude is not high.  Heh.

But the new team does have a good shine, and there’s always excitement learning who’s who in a new place.  I’m finding the funny people, and seeing how to relate to my managers already.  The atmosphere here lacks a certain inescapable pall of stress and fear of falling short.  It’s early days, of course, so I’m sure I’ll find plenty to concern myself about as I bump my way along the learning curve.  But, so far, everyone seems to be willing to put up with me …

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