Sunday, September 11, 2005

Insignificant Things

At the company where I worked for the last 8 years, I kept a haphazard collection of foreign coins in the pencil drawer. I inherited them from the woman whose desk I took over when I started the job. Eight years ago next month was when she left the desk and gifted me the coins.

The first one, a large coin from Hong Kong, was given to her by one of the founders of the company, our first CEO.

Subsequent coins came from the various travels of other executives and Legal Department people. I never asked for them, but they were brought to me anyway.

When I was let go, I left the coins. They aren’t mine to take. They belong to whomever occupies that space next.

A couple of days ago, a good friend who still works there IM'd me about them It seems the guy moving into my cube collects coins and would like to have them. It never occurred to me that someone would be polite enough to ask.

These are the insignificant things that make up the blood of a company. The customers and investors may be the bones, the Board of Directors or whatever may be the brains. But these things—-these are the memories that give a place a soul and a spirit.

These are the legacies we leave behind. These are the things that are hardest to walk away from. These are the things we miss. Little pieces of our stories. Our common history.

I said, "Tell him where they came from. Tell him they're a housewarming gift."