Starting something new never happens overnight. It is a longer process. But along the way, some days change everything — days where theory becomes a reality.
I have had the chance to work with a few hundred amazing colleagues over the last 11 years. But suddenly the day is there. The day where it is announced that you leave the company, you have been working for 11 years.
What happens right afterward is quite predictable. People ask you what you are doing next, why you are leaving, and in the best case, a few wish you would not leave at all. This goes on for a few days…
Usually, between the announcement and your last day in the company are a few weeks or months. But the final day will come inevitably.
Then the day is there — your last day. Just try to imagine how you might feel in the following situation. You started a company — from zero. Over the time the team grew, you had a few challenging moments and many great ones. Five years later, you join another company with 500 people — with the small company you founded.
For another six years, you try to bring this company forward and take care of the people. You had ups and downs and a lot of unforgettable moments. Pitches, client meetings, Christmas parties, countless talks, thousands of meetings, etc.
That day you write your last emails. In the weeks before your last day, you already have less to do. People ask you less for advice, you have fewer meetings, people don’t involve you anymore on their projects. You are already not part of “it” anymore.
The day goes on, it is 16.00, and you could leave already, as you don’t have anything left to do. For some strange reason, you stay till 19.00 — and then you leave the office, just like you usually do. Nothing is different, but this time it is for the last time.
You get home, have dinner with your family, and you spend the rest of the evening on your sofa. You go to bed and wake up the following day. The routine is the same as usual — til you want to start working. But you don’t have to. No meetings. No calls. No talk to any colleague. Nothing. Nobody needs you. Nobody is waiting for you.
Knowing it will be over one day and experiencing it are two different things. You have been working under full throttle for 11 years. You were always “needed.” People came to you for advice. You laughed with your colleagues and were embedded in a huge team.
But suddenly, there is silence.
I will never forget this moment. The morning of December 1st, 2020 (my departure was already 31.11.2020, but my official release where my contract ended was 31.3.2021).
I had no idea what to do with the day. I decided to drive to the North Sea and spend the day walking around. It was a strange scenery. It was in the middle of the week and in winter there are not many people at the North Sea. And due to Corona, there were even fewer.
It was a cold, windy day. You are with yourself and think a lot. But of course, your thoughts are not really leading you anywhere. Emotionally you are still attached to your past.
But on that day, I realized two crucial things…
More on those soon.
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