How do you say goodbye to your coworkers of 3.5 years when you’re scattered all over the globe and none of you is in the same physical location? Last week, I sent a text to my husband, “My co-leads are going to have going away happy hour (via video) in the evening on Wednesday March 14. I imagine it could go for a while. Will that work for you?”
He replied, “Of course that’s fine. Weird… But fine 😉”
It’s times like these that being distributed is hard. We can’t get together in a pub, with the ambient sounds of end-of-workday chatter, mugs thunking on a bartop, chairs scraping across the floor, laughter at the other end of the table. We can’t sit next to each other and clink glasses as we raise a toast. We can’t hug each other when it’s all over.
But we make do. On Wednesday evening, about 15 of my fellow Happiness team leads made our own drinks in our own kitchens, fired up our Zoom software, and joined each other in front of our screens for a last hoorah together. Some of us moved to a different part of the house than we usually work — from the desk to the couch, or from the office chair to the floor. Some were travelling on meetup and were in a completely different time zone than they’d normally be, 10:30 at night for a couple of folks who’d normally be at 2:30pm. Others had to hoist beverages mid-afternoon instead of after 5pm. #sorrynotsorry.
We laughed and shared memories, and thoroughly-martini-ed, I
probably said stupid stuff. I’m going to miss these folks.
The next day, a teammate pinged me on Slack and asked, “Do you have some free time today at 3pm your time today?”
I answered, “Yep!” and all day wondered if something was wrong. Did something happen that she needed advice for? Did she just want one last 1:1 together?
When I joined the Zoom call, my team was there :-). I did not expect that at all — a surprise going-away party! — and it was wonderful. Not everyone could join the call, but gosh did it make me feel special. We laughed a ton, made fun of each other as is necessary, and then spent about half the call trying to set up this shot, with me in the middle, and everyone waving in the right direction:
So that’s how we say goodbye at a distributed company :-).
Thank you to all my Eshu teammates in the shot above for the fun, laughs, challenges, lessons, and for helping me grow — Cátia, Rafa, Edu, Samantha, Jay, Mindy, and Sam — and to my peeps not shown, Amy, Nello, Charlie, and Jen.