I worked for one company for 26 years. Over those years the business changed, moved offices several times, portions were sold off, divisions moved out of state and finally all that was left in my state was an executive office in a high-rise in a very high-rent part of town, occupied by my boss (the elderly business owner) and me. He spent a lot of time at his second home several states away, so much of the time I was working alone in the office. In order to justify staying in this upscale building and keeping his ocean-view office, he sub-leased half of the office to a friend, another semi-retired business owner, who occupied it with his part-time assistant. Since his assistant, Karina, and I were in the office alone together much of the time over the next several years, we became friendly and usually ate lunch together in the office kitchenette, but we didn’t really socialize outside of the office.
The time finally came when my boss decided to fully retire and he sold what remained of his business to a partner in the midwest, who decided to close down our expensive office and move everything to his state. I was not offered a job in that state, nor was I interested in moving there, so after 26 years I was laid off (albeit with a pretty decent severance package). I was assigned a final day, but then asked to stay several weeks longer to shut down our part of the office and have everything shipped to the new owner’s location. The other executive who was sub-leasing from us was able to take over the lease of the high-rise office for the final six months so they wouldn’t have to find a new office and move immediately.
As it turned out, the day that would be my last day working for the company fell while my boss was out of the country. Karina offered to take me out to lunch on my last day, and her boss suggested the two of us try an upscale restaurant nearby that was out of our price range. He couldn’t join us as he wouldn’t be in that day but he offered to foot the bill as his farewell gift to me. Having a nice lunch as a send off sounded great, working alone so much I had been worried that I’d just be locking the empty office door behind me on my last day and just walking away after so many years.
Every day during my final week Karina reminded me that the two of us were going out for our fancy lunch on my last day. We were both excited about the restaurant, had looked at the menu on-line in advance and found an article about the celebrities often seen there. When the day came, our lunch reservations were at noon, Karina started acting strange. Remember, her boss had authorized the lunch and was even paying for it, but she mentioned several times how busy she was. She said she’d try to take a quick break for lunch, IF I still wanted to. Of course I wanted to, I’d been looking forward to it all week! After we walked down the street to the restaurant, she told the host that we wouldn’t be needing our table, we’d just find a spot in the bar (neither of planned to drink). For lunch, she ordered only a cup of soup. Once she gulped down her soup, she sat and watched me eat my salad and made no effort at conversation. Once I’d taken my last bite, she said “are you done?” jumped up, slapped down cash and headed for the door. I don’t think we were out of the office for more than 35 minutes in total.
For the rest of the day Karina stayed at her desk and didn’t speak to me. Since she was part-time, she left several hours before I did. Strangely enough, she left while I was in the restroom down the hall, so I came back to an empty office and no good-bye.
Nothing odd had happened between us that week and we really weren’t close enough that she would be all broken up about me leaving and wasn’t dealing with it well. I’m still puzzled about what happened that day… 0828-14
We could fruitlessly speculate about the causes of Karina’s change of attitude until the cows come home and still be no smarter. I would bid her and the office “Good riddance” and mentally flush the entire episode down the drain. Karina has made it pretty easy for you to cut your losses and move forward with no regrets.