Leaving at the end of a project can be kind of awkward and anticlimactic; people don't know if they should make some grand gesture to say goodbye, or if they should just say "have a nice life" and move on. One client insisted on me stopping by his desk on my way out after completing a six month project.
He shook my hand and proclaimed, "It's been a pleasure working with you. You've done excellent work here."
Yet somehow after six months of pouring my heart and soul into the project, even that kind ending felt like I'd lost something. For six months I had talked with the same cast of characters every day, stayed in the same hotel, and even eaten lunch at the same table in the same chair at the the same time with the same friends. And while I was doing so much the same, I felt like I was changing my environment. I fixed a complex system, I got two divisions who hadn't worked together in over a decade to play nice, I created real friendships, and I earned the respect and trust of people who had initially doubted me. As a result, I felt like going back to my "home office" meant that I was losing my new friends and that I would not get to enjoy being the respected engineer I had become.
This isn't to say that there aren't times when I am not super excited to get off of a project (because there are), or that I would ever try to extend out a project to keep my life constant (because I wouldn't). Just that as I was walking out of my client's office on the last day, I felt a sense of loss even though it was another win on my resume.
I definitely moped around internally for a few days upon returning home, although I was all smiles when coworkers I'd spoken to once a year ago greeted me back to the office like a long lost sister. I can never tell how to deal with people who proclaim how much they missed me when I don't even remember their name. Luckily for me, by the end of the week I had another assignment at an old site but with a new team.
After walking through a cubicle maze which doubles as a menagerie of old clients and friends, I headed into a room of unfamiliar faces filled with doubt at who this stranger was. I could tell they were wondering if I was truly capable of helping, everyone does at the beginning. I took a deep breath, and braced myself to start from scratch again. This time, I told myself, it would be easier since my reputation preceded me. I extended my hand to each man in the room (since there were, of course, no women) and said, "Hello, I'm Vanessa. I'm the lead engineer for this project."
|When you keep going around, it's hard to feel like you are moving up.|