We came in the town we are living in at the moment because of what seemed then a great opportunity: a great job with big money. I lost it within a few months, through no fault of my own but hectic and very poor management. It left me quite bitter about the whole ordeal, the experience as well as the people there and the company itself. Last year, when I was unemployed, I used to avoid going out at lunchtime and at the end of a working day, to avoid seeing my former colleagues. It was not totally possible, but I managed to avoid them most of the time. Now that my job situation and job prospects are better (more about it in French here), I am less of a hermit.
Today, I bumped into one former colleague at a sandwich shop, one I used to work relatively closely with, in the same department and all. She was one of the few that actually said goodbye to me in a warm, friendly manner, instead of ignoring me straight away, and this afternoon she seemed happy enough to see me. We said only a few words, asking each others how things were, I remained vague about my life in the past two years, but I was surprised to feel pretty good about my life at that moment. It was far from an epiphany, but I felt no envy or anger about the whole ordeal I had been through. Seeing her would have made me bitter less than a year ago. Not now. Maybe it is because she is working for a less than ethical business, which treats its employees like cattle going to the slaughter and which is now in trouble. I might not be a wealthy man, but at least I don't have the feeling that I am selling my soul to Satan on a daily basis. I feel as well that I spend working time with nicer people.
And, ironically enough, I saw out of total chance one of the seniors of the company a few hours later, in another local shop. This one I did not say hello or chat to (I don't even remember his name), I just gave him the half smile with mouth shut and eyebrow up that means "I acknowledge your presence and this is the only thing I will do to stay civil, because deep down I despise you and all you stand for". Again, I felt no bitterness, just a certain feeling of liberty. It is Friday and tomorrow we will go Christmas shopping. Life is good.