I guess I have a thing for lockers.
I fantasized about having one of them in high school and college, and was genuinely thrilled when I finally had one at the first company I worked for away from home. That’s probably why when I got back to surrender my headset and make sure I had not left anything inside the locker I used to leave my things on for more than a year and a half, I was close to tears again. I sighed and looked at JK (not Rowling), who was standing behind me, to divert my attention from the emotions brewing up and to get some reassurance that it’d be OK, that it’s OK. Maybe I also did it because I’ve always seen her as the more rational version of myself—two years older and a couple of years wiser. I turn to her for advice most of the time because I know she’s been through the same road before. She’s like the older sister I never had.
I looked at her, helpless, because I knew it’s my fault and it’s irrevocable. I was helpless because I knew that I’ll be leaving for good, and I’m not good at goodbyes. We had thought of resigning from the company now and then. We were restless because we both knew that we have a choice, that we were not cut out for this, that we were not made for customer service. But we cannot pick the right choice, not yet, not until we graduate.
I had planned to stay until mid-May, in time for enrollment. I wasn’t really certain of that but the company had it all figured out for me. My supervisor accompanied me to the Human Resources office back in December to explain the tardiness points I had incurred (because of internship duties) and since I didn’t hear from them after a month, I thought the case was closed. Based on the information I gathered from reliable sources, nobody got kicked out due to attendance issues on the first endorsement anyway.
I was summoned to the HR after shift on the 28th of January, so that was technically the 29th, and there’s this lady who read the verdict to me. When she reached the end of the document, she asked
“Naintindihan mo ba?”
I didn’t have time to take that as an insult, so I just nodded and smiled a bit. Perhaps she was expecting some sort of reaction from me, given her experience with employees who got terminated.
I am certain now about why I could not just leave no matter how much I hated the job—it was safe and familiar territory. Termination made it even worse because unlike resignation, it didn’t give me a 30-day period to condition myself that everything (post-shift donuts with JK, toothbrush sessions with SM, pre-shift huddle and coffee breaks with the team, etc. etc.) was about to end. It was so sudden it felt like getting kicked in the gut.
I went to the locker area after that and as I was getting my stuff my boss asked if I was OK. I only gave him a thumbs up and a wave goodbye even though I actually thought of giving him a hug and a speech on how grateful I am for having a superior who put up with my stubborn self. Thinking about those things alone made my eyes glassy so I just turned to my locker and sighed.
I guess I would try not to get too attached to the locker I’d be assigned to in the next company I’d work for.