Well that was lovely — Monday was my official “last day” at Cisco (the severance was odd — 2 months as an employee but not working, then a big parting gift payment that is coming in the mail). Anyhow, so there it was, my official last day and I got pinged on Facebook in the morning — two of my favorite Cisco people were visiting Yellowstone, and wanted to know if I’d have dinner with them.
So I drove down to Gardiner and had dinner with Joy, who was my manager for about six weeks my first year, and Patty who worked with me in my last group, and Joy’s lovely husband Dennis. It was nice to have some Cisco people to discuss the situation with, because even though I’m a pretty happy camper, and I think this freelance thing might work out okay, there were still some very upsetting aspects to being voted off the island. And working remotely like I do, well, let’s just say I only know one person in Livingston who has ever even been a tech writer (hi Lynn!) and most of my friends have never even had real corporate jobs. It just made for a nice exit, having a chance to talk the situation over with people who never questioned my competance, and who I really liked, and in Joy’s case, who are really happy to have retired and to be doing something else. Plus, they were on vacation, having a lovely time in Yellowstone, and it was nice to share my “neighborhood” with them.
It was an interesting chapter, my ten years in corporate America. I worked with so many really terrific people — and in particular I loved that Cisco is so very multicultural. I worked with people in Galway, Ireland and Israel and Belgrade, Serbia (as opposed to Belgrade, Montana, where the Bozeman airport is). I worked with people who were Italian and Chinese and Indian and Philippino and Korean and French and Swiss and Spanish. That part was great, as were the many terrific people I worked with over the years. The last year, not so much fun, but as a writer I think I’m going to be very glad to have had that long side trip into not only high-tech, but a sort of regular middle-class America that I hadn’t had that much experience with — but for the moment at least, I’m glad to be back out here with the artsy, outdoorsy weirdos. My people. The ones who are perfectly happy to not make much money if we have a lot of time to write or paint or go outside.
I might regret it. I know I’ll miss the steady income and the security. And of course, if my ridiculous Senator has his way, I’m really going to miss the health insurance when I’m forced to pay 13% of my income to some for-profit insurance company that has no interest in covering my health care needs. But for the moment, it was a job I couldn’t afford to quit, where they gave me a very generous severance package, a severance package that just might make it possible for me to build the freelance career I’ve wanted for so long. And, to top it all off, I got to have a lovely good-bye dinner with some of my favorite people from that job. It was the best part, all the kind, smart, interesting people I worked with, and while I won’t miss the job, I’ll miss them a lot.