It’s a funny thing, building a career at a small office.
We were twelve workers when I joined fifty-one months ago. I came in with a bushy tail and eyes wide in uncertain terror. The others were so calm and collected, so put together.
I stumbled my way through the minor and catastrophic mistakes that breed in-depth understanding, and, with my colleagues, spent many, many late nights waiting on thankless clients to make up their minds before sunup. We would get takeaways and ask after each other’s families. We heard about children growing up from parents who weren’t there to see it. I made it through the worst of my depression and CPTSD in those years. I nearly didn’t.
We carried the company as it grew. New faces joined every department.; others left. Interns came and went, lawyers arbitrated dismissals, my manager absconded after clutching me in a hug that only barely kept her on her feet. And, still, the company grew. We loved, suffered and often fell into desperation together.
I was promoted into a different department six months ago, and the company kept breathing employees in and out. Management declared two resignations, at today’s mourning meeting, and I realised I’d become the unfamiliar face in a larger crowd. Of the twelve and of the many more genuinely good employees I’d come to love, four were left.
I stood, a 29-year-old-man in a room full of strangers and ghosts.