So Long, Farewell

This Friday marked my last day in the office. These last few months have gone by quickly, and it was honestly a bittersweet feeling to have to pack up and say goodbye to everyone. My department is such a fun and supportive group of people, and I have no doubt I'll miss them.

Having spent the past year in my department, my coworkers really grew to know me and understand my quirky personality. I've grown so much in a years time; I've become sassier, more confident, a better programmer and surprisingly extroverted. I have no doubt that I owe these changes to my awesome department. 

This weekend I realized just how many memories I've made over this past year at the office. For the rest of this blog I'm going to share pictures and reasons why I'll miss my time spent at the office. Let me just warn you guys that this will be really long, so don't hesitate to skip this post or just scan over the pictures.

Reason 1: Prideful Decorating

Whether it was for Halloween or The Annual Christmas Decorating Contest, our department really took the time to decorate our area and get into the spirit. For Halloween we surprised our manager by decorating her office, and two of us also dressed up as the Yip Yip Martians from Sesame Street and walked around the rest of the building to make people laugh. As well, our over-the-top holiday decorations came in second place for the Christmas Decorating Contest. Yes, that means there was a department that was even more ridiculous than us (that's a fake fireplace and cookies you see in the picture).

Reason 2: The Location

I loved both the location of our building and the location of our department. Our office certainly wasn't located anywhere brag-worthy, but for reasons I'll explain, the amazing window space our department had made for some interesting observations.

Our building was located in a typical industrial park, but we had some interesting neighbors; one of the companies sharing our building happened to be a parole office. Between the usual chaos that occurs in an industrial area, we also has our fair share of interesting characters walking through our parking lot.

This kind sir had been walking by when he decided he would stop, pull out a newspaper, and proceed to read it directly in front of my coworker's car. Is it just me, or does this seem ridiculously abnormal and sketchy? Fortunately, the owner of the car had an amazing window view and we kept a close eye on the man until he went away. 

Ever heard the expression, "fell off of the back of a truck"? Before we took this picture, the back doors of the trucks had been open, blocking the view of what was being exchanged between vehicles. Trucks were always one of the hazards of the area. In my short year working at that location, I saw three tipped trucks obstructing traffic.

Also, see that grey mound in the background of this picture? That's snow. Disguising, old, black snow. We lovingly referred to it as "Snow Mountain" and it didn't melt until about mid-June.

Reason 3: The Characters

I was fortunate that my department was made up of some amazing, intelligent people. Because of them, I always looked forward to coming to work despite sometimes having days of ceaseless, repetitive coding to do. 

Mariusz taking a picture of me while I took a picture of Shane taking a picture of Mariusz's tie. Phew.
This picture was the result of a break spent debating the color of Mariusz's tie.

One of my first tasks was cataloging nearly 40 boxes worth of binders. One day, my coworker decided to build me a "fort" for the library's entrance using the empty boxes. I think everyone enjoyed the surprise as they walked down the hallway and came across a doorway filled with cardboard. It probably wasn't up to fire code, but I kept it there for a few hours before it became annoying to walk through.

Clark is a huge personality in the office. He's an engine guy with a lot of experience working on motorcycles, cars and planes. Somehow, he had obtained a "Rolls-Royce Owners Club" sign that he brought into the office and displayed proudly in our department. Thus began the inside joke that we were all members of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club. 

Even better, Clark could do an awesome impersonation of what he imagined a member of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club would be like. He drew glasses on his computer screen magnifier and would hold it in front of his face and say, "Others work on lesser engines." Of course, the zany impression was complete with one of my Ultimate Frisbee pylons balanced on his head. What a goof!

Clark owns a hand-me-down Buick that we lovingly refer to as the "Opa Car". Clark travels quite a bit as part of his job, and he would generously allow us to use his car for errands and lunches when he was out of town.

Over December though, his poor car became more of a burden. Winters here in Ottawa often drop to temperatures of 30° below zero, and it was my job to ensure his car was cleared of snow and started frequently. Unfortunately for me, over just one night a snowstorm had dumped several inches of snow followed by freezing rain.

It was just before holidays, and I wanted to make sure Clark came back home to a usable car. I spent about an hour digging out the front door of the Buick because the freezing rain had solidified all of the snow. Once inside the car, I was able to turn the defrost on and the process became a lot easier. It was a two person job to move the Buick to a clear parking space, but I think in the end Clark appreciated not having to dig his car out of a icicle.

Driving in the Opa Car was a lot like navigating a boat while sitting atop a couch. I think we all enjoyed taking the Buick out for a spin and were always amazed at how much gusto the car had.

Clark wasn't around for Shane's last day, but we all decided to take him out for sushi using the Opa Car. We decided to have a little fun on the way back to the office by dressing up in all of Clark's accessories that he had left in the car. Here Shane is wearing Clark's Ducks Unlimited hat, rose-tinted aviators, and leather driving gloves. We were probably quite a sight to other drivers.

Reason 4: Being Appreciated

Whether they were joking around or not, I could always tell that the people I worked with liked and appreciated me. It's a little sad for me to say, but the feeling of being acknowledged has been quite rare over my work history. It was really great to work in a team where everyone supported my goals and interests, and I hope in the future I can continue working in a similar environment. 

One of my wonderful coworkers added a caption to my Spartan Race photo and hung it in his cubicle.

My workout goals were always something that I think a lot of people couldn't understand, but my department was really supportive and knew it was a matter of me trying to become stronger. While they used to make fun of me when I said things like, "guys, I'm going to be vascular" they were all really excited and amused when my vein started showing over my bicep. 

They were all my personal cheerleaders and were really proud of me when I completed my first Spartan Race. To this day, if I ever told Mariusz I was worried I'd never make a goal, he would undoubtedly tell me to keep on trying.

Another inside joke with my department was that I was their administrative assistant. This came about because I started sharing a cubicle with Mariusz, which led to me writing on his dry-erase calendar and answering his phone when he was in meetings. To boot, I also started helping out my department by scheduling department meetings and writing meeting minutes.

As a joke, I received a gift from Mariusz on Administrative Professionals Day. However, the gift was perfect and well thought out. I received a few royal gala apples, a fresh basil plant and a card. Mariusz even said, "I was going to get you kale, but it was sold out. I had to settle for fresh herbs." He couldn't have come up with a better gift.

Everyone also treated me wonderfully on my birthday. I was surprised with a cake, and taken out for lunch where I was given a CamelBak as a birthday present. I've already used the CamelBak several times while hiking, and I know for certain that it's going to come in handy when I'm out exploring BC.

I received my last surprise during my last day of work. A few of the departments that I work closely with  took me out for lunch and presented me with a card full of well-wishes and money to go towards my move. I can't believe the generosity of everyone and I'm so grateful to have had such wonderful people in my life over the past year.

Those of you from work who read my blog, thanks so much for the experience! You won't be forgotten and I miss you already. I'll be sure to keep in touch, and hopefully I can do you all proud in the future.

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