Friday marked the close of my 30-year career in the music industry. It was a day I had set in motion two weeks earlier when I resigned from my position with Integrity Media. The weeks were filled with thoughts, memories, and feelings that I did my best to embrace as they came, especially the sadness of leaving a company and the company of dear friends in the process.
Here’s what the day included.
- Doing some final clean-up of files on my computer
- Finishing work on some requests that came in at the last minute
- Packing out the remaining personal items
- Sending out farewell messages to both my Integrity Media and Provident-Integrity Distribution colleagues
- Making the final tour of the office, accompanied by Connor, to say goodbye to the distribution team (oh, did I mention I took Connor to the office for the day? I sort of figured the worst that could happen would be they’d kick us out, and that just didn’t seem like such a bad scenario on my last day.)
- Turning in the key card and office key – the final ceremonial act acknowledging I’d no longer be able to pass the front desk without an approved chaperone (and without Connor)
And so it was finished. After arriving home I checked my E-mail and was able to read a number of very kind messages from colleagues who had replied to the message I’d sent out earlier. And while basking in the warmth of those kind words, it happened.
I knew it would, but I hadn’t anticipated when, and it was quite a shock. My BlackBerry beeped and vibrated in protest of a sudden communication problem with the server in Mobile. Huh? Already? I hadn’t really thought about how quickly the crack IT department in Mobile would shut me out of the system, but they’d done their job efficiently and effectively, as they always have when I’ve required their help.
The sudden feeling of finality immediately reminded of something I’d witnessed years earlier. Shortly after being hired by Word in 1981, I traveled to Waco, Texas, for my inaugural visit to the home office. The morning I arrived there was laughter echoing around the offices over something that had happened before I arrived. The previous day had been the final day of employment for the head of A&R, and when he had returned to empty out his office that morning, his parking space had already been re-painted with a new name. His dramatic reaction when he saw it stirred laughter all around the office. (Contrary to what he suspected, the painter had been scheduled to freshen the paint on the spots for weeks. The timing was coincidental, but of course no one bothered to tell him that.)
So there I was at 6:00 p.m., a mere hour since the official end of the business day, and I’d discovered my parking spot had already been repainted. Hmm. That felt like real finality. This was the day it ended.