I attended a retirement lunch today for a former coworker. Previously in my life I've attended a reasonable number of similar events, either people retiring or people leaving for other opportunities. Sometimes the people leaving get emotional and I had a hard time understanding why. I always thought, "It's just a job." Today, it's hitting me as to why.
Friday November 4, 2011 will be my last day at my current job. The following Monday I'll be starting at a much smaller company with huge aspirations to do amazing things for their customers. I'll be building embedded Linux systems and developing the software that runs on them. It's going to be an awesome challenge. I'm very excited.
I spent most of today organizing my notes and cleaning out my office. Over the next week, I'll be transferring my notes, responsibilities, and everything I've worked on to the rest of my group. Looking at things I've done, it's astounding. I've gotten a lot accomplished. I didn't realize how much work I've actually done in the past six and a half years and three different roles within the company. The amount of time, effort, and personal investment I've put in astounds me. Others feel the same way when they leave a company, that's what drives the emotions.
Looking at my resume, sure, I've done a lot. But when I found a directory full of minutes from meetings I ran 5 years ago and I can remember the details surrounding decisions that were made, problems that were solved, and bureaucracy that was dealt with, it's way more impressive. I've had quite a few other experiences like this, just today.
People spend a huge portion of their non-sleeping life at work. The relationships that are developed, the work that's accomplished, the situations that are dealt with, and the impact on the world that is made is non-trivial. It's a big deal to stop working somewhere that you've been for a significant amount of time. Work reflects a good chunk of life, leaving it, even for something better, is a big deal and shouldn't be taken lightly.