Each and every person that I've known to leave the Smithsonian said the exact same thing to me when I brought up my exit clearance, "Once you go through that process, you'll be glad you're leaving."
I really thought that things would go smoothly today. I only had three offices left to visit, and I arrived at the Archives at nine o'clock on the dot. Because I had never used the archives, I was cleared immediately. I then headed to Human Resources where I was to conduct my exit interview.
Apparently, they just weren't feeling up to it this morning and the receptionist signed my forms instead.
Then I ventured to the ID Office and the Office of Protection Services.
The people in this office... well... let me ask you a rhetorical question: Why do people - who clearly hate other people - work in customer service positions? If you have ever worked at the Smithsonian and had to get an ID badge, you've met these people. You do not screw with these people. They will cut you. They are surly, angry, sad people, and I don't feel bad AT ALL about saying that. They acknowledge your attempts at politeness with a scowl and talk down to you like you are a complete idiot.
It was at the ID Office that I learned of an "error" in my forms. Since they had not been updated since 2003 (amazing), there were an additional TWO offices that I had to visit. AWESOME. The best part? One was in Chinatown and the other was at the Air and Space Museum.
OH MY GOD.
So I trudged to Air and Space to visit the parking office. The parking office. I DON'T OWN A CAR. The guards there were completely unsympathetic, made fun of my last name because they couldn't pronounce it, and it took five minutes to get them to explain to me how to get to the fucking parking office. Thanks. Again, customer service? You? WHY?
I then hopped on the metro up to Chinatown to my old building. The SI health unit is still there in the basement and even though I had never set foot in there, I had to get cleared!
I understand why we have to complete this clearance, I do. But I am convinced that it is designed in such a way - without instructions, addresses, or phone numbers - as to encourage the exiting employee to just give up.
"You know what? Fuck it. I'm not hauling my ass to these FOURTEEN offices. I'll just stay."
But I completed everything, and my director filled in the last section. I handed over my letter of resignation, and... had to finish up about twelve million things. There was no bounding out of there with dust in my wake. And I still have to drop by on Friday to pick up the massive amount of junk that I had stashed there.
It was still sad to leave. To turn off my computer for the last time. To flip off my office light. But I'm going to be doing what I love in just a few, short days. I am not going to be sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. I am so excited. SO excited.