Another era is coming to an end in my working career.  I have officially entered the last full month of my employment with this company, and by and large I am very excited to be moving on.  My leaving will fall almost to the day 3 months before my 5 year anniversary with this company.  The irony is that when I left my other long term job, Best Buy, I left almost to the day 2 months before my five year anniversary.  Apparently there is something in my brain that keeps me from being able to work in one place for five years.  It might also keep me from living in one place for five years, but that is a separate factor.

I will miss very little from my current job once I leave.  It’s a decent company to work for in many ways.  I do feel that they genuinely care about us as employees.  Unfortunately, like many companies that have worked hard to be successful, they have very few new ideas about how to compete in the new millennium.  When they do stumble over something worthwhile, they do their best to pick themselves up and pretend that nothing happened.  I get to set my own schedule, which is cool, except that I really have about 10 hours of work I have to stretch over a 40 hour work week.  Time goes so much faster when you are busy, and other than Christmas, I am never busy.

What I will miss most though is the brotherhood of my crew.  Each person that works for me now has been hired by my own hand.  The average turnover in our company is less than a year.  In four years, I have only lost two people.  One that got a better job, and one that needed to go.  I have people that I know only stay in this job because they work for me.  I have one guy who started his own business because I told him to get off his ass and run with his idea.  Both of my assistants were promoted up from within my own store.  I have set sales records in different metrics, and all with a crew that had very little sales experience before I trained them.  I have created a machine so well that I made myself redundant, and I am bored with it now.  It is both a triumph and a failure to not be needed in your workplace anymore.

I spend as much time with them as I do with my family.  Like all families we have our own stories that only we know.  We have our own jokes that only we find funny.  We have our own words that only we understand.  Things like this can only go on as long as all the cogs stay in the machine, and I am taking a big hammer to it instead.

If you have ever worked in retail, you know that we don’t generally like the customers.  They are rude, demanding, cheap and cruel.  We view each day as a chance for victory over the opposing forces of browsers and time wasters.  You view yourself as an army, standing on a hill, trying to hold the line at all costs between success and failure.  It might not be the best image to use, but it does make sure you watch out for your friends.  For five years we have been watching each others backs, and now I am stepping away.  I am leaving a hole in the line, and exposing them to danger.

I know my legacy will live on, at least for awhile, as those that worked with me will keep it alive.  My assistant Gabe will step up to take my place, and he will lead as he sees fit.  Yet in the end, my memory too will fade.  Just as all those that came before.  I was the longest serving store manager for this location.  I gave it my all, and it took a lot from me.  I will step through that door for the last time next month, and I will never look back.  Yet a piece of me will stay behind in the hearts of all those I led.  I will carry forward with me what are hopefully my last scars of retail.  No one who hasn’t done it can ever understand what we do, but for those that do, the impressions are forever.  I stride forward, changed, and leave behind a legacy destined to fade.  Such is the fate of all those who grow and change.