Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that I've been living in Chicago now for a year and a half, which also means that I've been at my current job for a year and a half as well. In that small time frame, I have had three bosses, three titles, and I have moved desks four times. When I moved to my current desk I found something unexpected and that was three best friends who really feel more like sisters.
At my old job in New York City, I had a lot of friends my age (and some not so close to my age) and we hung out a lot...but always at work. We were "at work" friends and we joked about this a lot. We didn't hang out outside of work and there wasn't any real reason for this. It was most likely just because we had other groups of friends and our time to hang out was at lunch during the week, not at brunch on the weekends.
When I first started my job here in Chicago, I found that things were similar. I had friends but they were purely "at work" friends and we didn't cross the boundary. And then I moved desks for the first time and I found myself sitting in a cubicle next to tons of young people. And slowly but surely we found ourselves hanging out. At first it was a lot of going away dinners or happy hours celebrating good news. And then that evolved into dinners out and happy hours for no reason.
My most recent desk change came with the biggest difference. I was moved into an office with the other two Project Managers at the office both of whom I was already friends with prior to the office move. Our office literally looks like a dorm room and if you added bunk beds we'd be all set to go back to college. A guy at work jokes and calls it our "sorority house". The three of us quickly became inseperable. We worked together, talked about everything together, went to meetings together, and were even hanging out sometimes on the weekends.
E & L (names omitted to protect the innocent) are two of my very best friends. And they are leaving me behind for new adventures. Commence sad, pouty face.
L just recently had a baby who E and I are obsessed with. We visited her in the hospital, took her a meal last week to catch up, and she calls us Aunties. And honestly I do feel really close to her and her baby - E & I were there for the whole pregnancy and that baby is like a part of our little sorority. L has been on maternity leave now for about a month and she won't be coming back until September and while she thinks she wants to come back to work for the camraderie and to have a routine, I have a feeling that coming back to work will take a back seat to her new baby boy.
As we speak, E is in Ohio interviewing for a new job because after three years in Chicago she wants to move back to her hometown.
I have to admit that it's been really hard to be supportive as I watch my two closest friends at work (and outside work as well) move on with their lives and on to new, exciting adventures without me. I've considered my own new adventure, but I know in my heart that I'm not ready for a next step. I'm content where I am and in the job that I am doing.
But I can't shake the feeling that it's hard being left behind. And it's incredibly hard letting these girls go even though I know I have to.