Friday, August 10, 2007

Social Entropy

I still think about them and wonder if they think about me? Do they still remember me, have they found someone to replace me, and if so do they like who they have now better then me? I wonder why I left the relationship in the first place, what was wrong that made me desire to leave; I can’t seem to remember now. What would my life be like if I had stayed in the relationship, would I be happy or still miserable? Was I even miserable? Questions like these, sometimes, enter my mind when I think about former employers.

I was browsing the internet, and for some reason I can’t recall, I started searching the job postings at Eddie Bauer, my first corporate HR gig after college, and noticed that my old job is posted. It made me think of my old co-workers. I wondered if they were still there working on our old eternal projects, or if they had left and how life was like without me. Conceited, I know, to wonder what my impact on their life was, but all too human I suppose.

I also saw that Eddie Bauer has moved to a new location after selling their corporate campus to Microsoft. The new headquarters is in a skyscraper in Bellevue and I got the urge to drop by the new digs. I stopped myself before going though. Would they remember me, could I get someone vogue for me to get past security, would they want to talk to me, would they be angry at me for leaving them, for allowing myself to be lured away by a former director to a new employer. Would I be perceived as the lame former employee who just couldn't move on?

The new Eddie Bauer HQ in downtown Bellevue.

Are old employers like old girlfriends? Each of whom, after breaking apart the relationship, it is impossible to remain friends with? Is it just too hard, is it unnatural, our we just supposed to move on?

It isn’t surprising, at least to me, that I would have similar emotions regarding former employers as to former girlfriends. If you think about work most Americans spend more waking hours with their coworkers than with their spouse/sig. others, they work through problems together, they revel in business victories and march through defeats, and throughout all of this, people can become very close through work.

My last job was with the Medial System division of Philips Electronics and while there I made some good friend with a couple guys. We would go out and have a beers, bitch about our projects and inept management, and talk about our families. We tried to do this a few time after I left, but the periods between outings grew from every couple months to once every six months and now it has been more than six months since I’ve even talked with them. Have we lost touch because we no longer share the common experience of work, is it because I’ve completely left the field of HR and moved into law, or was our relationship simply based on our shared work that it couldn’t survive without the common connection?

Life is supposed to be a continual forward progression, and I suppose, if you let it, it is easy for the currents of time pull you away from former employer, former loves, and people who once, at that moment in life, were essential to who you were. So, I guess I am left with the question of how hard should you try to fight the essential tide of life, how hard do you press to keep in touch with those to whom your common thread has been cut? I suppose, the answer is how much is it worth to you, how valuable are those friends gained through work and will you spend the energy required to fight the basic entropy that seems to be the underlying ingredient of modern social relationships.

Anyway, ramble off.

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