It was somewhat odd to walk into the holiday party of my old office (of 5 years ago). I was immediately greeted by familiar faces, but there were so many new faces, people who had come on board after my departure.
One of the reasons I decided to attend was the fact that the venue was a sports bar only minutes from my house. I would not have relished a trip to Suitland, but Arlington was too good to pass up.
I showed up with my wrapped gift for the round robin gift exchange -- a jar of Wasabi Passion Fruit mustard from Kauai. I decided not to go with a bottle of wine or beer although they had always been the most highly sought after gifts in past years. (It turns out my mustard exchanged hands several times before ending up with someone who really wanted it.)
The big boss who had caused me so much angst apparently left a few years ago, rumored to have been forced out. Part of me would say that served her right if it was true. But regardless, I met her successor, someone I had worked with at least 10 years ago. He is an easy-going competent guy who seems to have the support of his staff.
I talked at length to the guy who took my place. He never mentioned the possibility of bringing me back as a consultant and I never asked. There is a good chance I wouldn’t remember enough about my old job to even be effective any longer.
I made the rounds to visit with lots of people who worked with me and for me, giving each of them a hug, something I never did while working there. I learned about children grown up and off to college, one coworker who was actually fired by my old boss, and any number of other interesting tidbits.
It was a good feeling to be so warmly received. It was nice to realize that none of the bitterness that clouded my retirement remained any longer.