End of an Era and Under Appreciated

Gene ZarnickCorrespondent IMay 26, 2010

Some of you may have wondered what happened to Favre Dollar Footlongs.  My last column I wrote about was "The Drought" and not being interested in sports and the next thing you know, I am gone for over a week with no goodbye letter.  Well, I'm back from my drought, ready to write with a purpose and hopefully write every day, at least until next Friday.

I wasn't as much in a drought as I was in the end of an era.  Last week was my final week as an IT Administrator at my past company.  I'm moving on to bigger and better things, which I'll probably talk about next week.  Still, it was an awkward feeling to leave a small company that you've seen grow, hopefully due to some of my work.

I've been training my replacement for the past couple of weeks, getting him ready for all the problems that can arise in a small company.  The e-mail problems, the server, the time and attendance, the network, the printers; basically all the fun stuff that a sole IT person in a company has to deal with.  The person who was coming in to take over for me was great. He had a solid sense of humor and more importantly, he was able to grasp everything pretty quickly.

It's kind of awkward to think that someone is ready to take over everything that you've put in place for the past couple years.

During my past few years there, I've seen numerous hirings and firings; lots of temp workers who came in the morning and were already fired by the afternoon.  I've seen people get fired and have tirades, I've seen someone get fired over Facebook, and I've even seen an employee who was offered a raise and the next morning it was already off the table. Somehow, I made it through the mayhem.

It wasn't the best place to work or the worst place to work, but I wouldn't change those years for anything because it helped me gain all the experience I need to move on to my new company.

So now that I'm on my third day of vacation, which seems like more of a work week than my typical one usually is thanks to friends and family needing help on a bunch of different issues, I have finally sat back and reflected and realized how so many athletes feel when they are "forced out of town."

Now "forced out of town" can mean a lot of things.  It can mean that the team doesn't want them there anymore, it could be that they aren't providing the productivity needed, or it can mean that the team doesn't have the resources or doesn't want to pay them the value that they think they are worth.

For me I'm a little "the team doesn't have the resources or doesn't want to pay them the value" type of departure mixed with a little bit of "I want to go to a championship contender", a bigger and more successful company.

It doesn't really matter why you go out, but the appreciation you receive when you leave.

We saw numerous athletes this year who got bounced from their teams for one reason or another: Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Brady Quinn, just to name a few.  All these athletes were loved by the cities they played for, gave it the best they could, and all were sent packing with not so much as a thanks for playing for the team.

Each are gone for different reasons.  The Eagles didn't want to extend McNabb and pay him into the future so he got traded to the Redskins.  Brian Westbrook is one concussion away from becoming Gary Busey so they had to send him packing.  Brady Quinn just wasn't cutting it so the team had to move on in a different direction.

The team had their reasons for getting rid of each and every one of them, but it's how they were sent out is the problem I'm finally beginning to see.

My situation was a little different.  I knew about the position I was going to be taking and gave over two months notice that I would be leaving.  Everyone kept telling me to wait two weeks before or a month before; I chose to tell them soon after I found out.  When I actually told my boss I think he got confused and said, "That's soon."

At the same time I thought that maybe I just gave him the earliest notice that anyone has ever given.

The first month went by and then a couple weeks went by and my replacement came in for training.  Someone was taking my spot, and even if it was on my own accord, it's still a weird feeling to see it happen.

Last Friday was my last day.  I wasn't expecting much.  Over the more than two years I was with the company, I didn't receive a raise or as much as a "great job" more than twice a year, so why would I expect something different now?  During the farewell I just thought that maybe things would change.

Everyone else in the company was happy for me; the boss was sad to see me go.  Early in the morning he walked in, shook my hand, and said thanks for all my hard work. It was a kind gesture that I very much appreciated and reciprocated back.

Later on in the day I was asked what I was doing for lunch. They wanted to see if I wanted to have a pizza party for my last day.  A kind gesture, but one that I knew was kind of spur of the moment, since we had visitors in that were supposed to receive lunch, but they left early so it quickly moved into a gesture for me.  It was fine though; it was just nice to get everyone together one last time.

As the day ended and the boss was leaving, I thought he'd stop one last time to wish me good luck or say thank you.  He didn't.

That's how my first career ended.  A pizza party.

Maybe last week it bothered me a little, this week I could care less.  If I didn't receive appreciation during my years of work there why would I receive it on my last day?

The biggest thing I've learned is that appreciation from others is nice, but appreciating what you've done yourself is more important.  I know I did a lot for that company and hopefully helped it move in the right direction.  I know that I will be missed and that there will be the times that they wish I was still there.

Just like all the other athletes that are "run out of town" I want to prove my value to my next team.  All these players who have been released, traded, or signed elsewhere know that they have to prove their worth by benefiting their new city by means of production on the field, team leadership, community service, or anything else to prove to the team and the city that "I want to be here and this is where I belong."

I want to do the same with my opportunity.

Unlike most players who are out for revenge, I have no ill feelings toward my ex-employer.  I hope they do great.

Then again, I hope I do better.