“Does it matter? We won’t be here anyway.”

It’s a sad day when this becomes your company motto. The company I work(ed) for was small to begin with, even before some moved on, so up until a few months ago we all had to pitch in. We always helped a coworker if she was out or had too much on her desk. (The group is mostly women with two guys left in our location, a few others if you include the second location and techs.) Those of us on the downstairs/sleep lab floor worked our butts off when business was normal.

A few of us cared too much, and on top of that, none of us have a filter. Things have been said that would get a person fired – or at least in trouble with HR – anywhere else. We always brushed it off though, because at the end of the day we’d rather stick with each other than adjust to someone new.

For these reasons and more, it was very difficult to flip a switch and stop caring. At first, when we still had everyday things to do, we continued to make sure they were done right like we always did. We kept asking each other, “Wait, do I have to do this anymore? Should I just throw this file out?” Then if someone got crazy over an overlooked detail, we all joked, “Who cares? What’s the boss going to do, fire us?” We even joked about putting the phone message service on so we could actually enjoy our half-hour lunch for the first time in like, ever.

There was also the stress of finding a new job. Coworkers would cry because of their financial situation. Fortunately many have found new jobs or have a plan by now. The first couple weeks, though…the palpable stress was emotionally draining. We knew business wasn’t good but most of us thought the company would be around for at least another few years.

As soon as the news hit and ever since, we try to keep it light. We crowded into the HR manager’s office and pretended to ambush her the day after news got out. Then one coworker was diagnosed with lung cancer, and we cried some more when she left early because of the pain, but she found out she’ll be fine with chemo and radiation. Still awful but Thank God nonetheless.

Now the work is slowing down, we won’t have any more patients after the 29th, and the phone barely rings. Part of me has been done for weeks but another, much stronger part doesn’t want it all to change. I’ll never find a corporate atmosphere like the one I had here. This place was one of a kind.

After only having an idea of when my last day would be, I unexpectedly heard today that most of us are leaving next Friday, May 6th. Nothing really changed because that’s around when we expected to leave, but it’s different somehow. On Monday, May 9th I will wake up late and have nowhere to go after. Maybe it’s a good thing I only have to wait less than two weeks for my next knee surgery appointment.

I think I’ll focus on what my coworkers and I are ordering for lunch every day next week. We were big on our “lunch club,” sometimes asking each other if we “brought” at 9:30 in the morning. We’re ordering a little less now to save money but I want to have all my favorites one last time. Might as well go out with a bang, right?

changing

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