Today was my last full day at work, and it's safe to say I am freaking out. I'm not worried about things going smoothly while I'm gone--I really have no control over that, and I spent my last week or so putting as many systems into place as I could to enable my team to do their thing without my assistance. I'm freaking out because of how weird it is to be suddenly released from my work responsibilities. The only other time that happened was when my last magazine folded, and that was just totally different--most notably in that getting laid off happens for terrible reasons, while going on temporary maternity leave happens for (what I hear are) fabulous reasons.
It's an understatement to say that I'll miss seeing my co-workers every day. I work with a really fun crew in a lighthearted environment--no surprise, given that we make a magazine about videogames. Everybody there loves what they do, so even when things get stressful, the product keeps us from getting too terribly dour. I'd say my favorite moments are when a bunch of editors gather round one person's desk trying to come up with a funny caption for a screenshot, or when we finally see a laid-out page that took forever coming together but in the end looks really, really awesome. Magazines are true team efforts, and I'm lucky to be part of a great team. I think it's safe to say I'll feel left out of the next few issues that come together while I'm not there.
Of course, I'll also miss the job itself. I do get true satisfaction from writing a clever review or particularly creative article. I'll miss actually seeing game demos months before they come out. I'll miss doing my podcast and writing my work blog (though I hope to keep up the blog part at least a little bit during the next few months). I'll even miss some of the more mundane aspects of my job: running the staff meetings, keeping the team on schedule, doing budget stuff (seriously, deep down inside, I'm a bean counter at heart; I love a good spreadsheet), and simply making sure all the right things end up on the right pages.
Then there's the workaholic stuff that I'm actually scared of letting go of: checking my email on a Saturday afternoon, deadline dinners, sharing office in-jokes and silly forwarded email videos, eagerly opening and reading every last reader letter (even the hate mail, sometimes directed, personally, at me!), redesigning my latest spreadsheet creation, fretting over how many pages are left to be laid out, obsessively copy editing pages I know have already been copy edited... I can freely admit that some of these things do not merit the time I put into them, and many will say I'll be better off once I have that fabulous thing we call a baby because I won't be able to waste time and energy on certain trivial things at work. But right now I'm not ready to say goodbye, and I'm definitely freaking out.