by Sarah Pearson
During college I worked part-time at a local company as department assistant. I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment I got from the different tasks, everyone in the department appreciated my organizational skills, and I always got good evaluations.
Yet as my senior year ended, some co-workers took me for granted. I felt that I would be better off moving to a full-time job at another company. I gave my supervisor two months’ notice, effective when I graduated. My supervisor was very understanding. She asked me for a detailed report about my job, to support her request for a full-time person to replace me.
Over the next two months, many co-workers had troubles surface in their personal lives, and the department went into a tailspin. My imminent departure was small news compared to the tragedies all around. And my best work buddy — a fellow part-timer — had quit suddenly and gone on a cross-country road trip without letting me know.
On my last day of work, I was surprised to discover that my desk had been moved to a storage room to make room for the new department assistant. A couple of my co-workers came in to wish me well, but that was the extent of the thanks I was to receive for three years of devotion and hard work. I felt disappointed.
On one trip to the fax machine, I spoke to the receptionists. Lori and Jennifer mischievously congratulated me on my last day, when Lori asked if my department would throw me a party that afternoon.
I said, No, and she didn’t believe me. I convinced her it was true, and she was aghast. I told her I was fine, and it didn’t matter, since my department was already gotten used to the new department assistant.
I went back to my desk, and continued working. Later that day, I got a call from the reception desk. Lori asked me to pick up a package for someone in the department. “All right,” I said, sighing.
I went to the reception desk, and there was a vase of flowers on the desk. Lori and Jennifer were both smiling at me, and I asked, “Who are these for?” They started laughing, and I checked the card. The flowers were for me! Lori and Jennifer had written a cute note, saying that even if I was under-appreciated some places, I was very appreciated elsewhere.
I couldn’t believe it! Lori and Jennifer barely shared the same work environment with me. They were in a different department, and we didn’t know each other very well. Still, they took the time to get me flowers. They knew it would lift my spirits and make me feel appreciated — which made it easier for me to say goodbye gracefully.
They knew my department was having problems, and instead of gossiping or complaining about it, they took the initiative and showed compassion for someone they would probably never see again.