Reunion with ex-colleagues

When I left my job with Accenture I knew I wouldn't hear much from most of my colleagues anymore. We worked together well, I had no problems with them. But we weren't exactly close friends that met each other outside of work and I knew neither of us would do many efforts to stay in touch. With some of my managers, my counsellor and some of my colleagues however, I would like to stay in touch because I respect them very much and I want to know how they are doing later on in life. But except for a brief very occasional e-mail once or twice a year, all of that faded away. Thanks to I kept in track of who was changing jobs at which moment.

Much to my surprise I received an invitation a couple of weeks ago for an informal "Accenture Alumni" event from our former community. I had very mixed feelings about it at first: "what was the point of meeting the people again that you haven't talked to in 3 years? " "wouldn't the people that have stayed and that probably promoted up to a manager position now, look down on my job in a "non-technical" world such as a job without the title "manager" (yet)? " "Great, isn't such an alumni get together the best way to stay in touch and to keep a professional network" "I wonder what x is up to" "will it be an evening where accenture is going to profile itself and make a big show on good they still are?" "I really hope y will be there, that would be cool".

And I accepted the invitation. As it came closer, I had some feelings like you see on tv-series when an old high school reunion comes up: I really wanted to make a good impression, wear my coolest clothes, ... and at the same time I knew that was a fairly rediculous reaction. But I couldn't help it. :p. Until the day itself. Then I started being genuinely excited to see some people again that I had lost touch with.

You are not going to believe it but I arrived as 3rd!! (I was still half an hour late, but I remembered the good consultant tradtion of coming late for internal events, so I didn't worry). At first there were a lot of silences and the conversations were a bit unnatural. The obligate questions came for everyone "where do you work now" "where do you live now" (most of us had gone through the process of moving/buying/renovating :p), "do you have children yet" (most of them had just had a baby last year so it seemed or were expecting a baby) after which the first pictures got exchanged etc. After all the mandatory chitchats had happened, the conversations became looser and the natural old little groups came back together (I don't mean that in a negative connotation at all!) and all of a sudden I had the impression there had not been 3 years in between. The big mouth was still the big mouth, the nerd was still the nerd, the quiet guy was still to speak and I felt quite at ease with those people. In a strange way I felt I knew them, maybe more than the last year that I worked for them. That last year I started feeling unhappy in my job and as a result in my relations with my co-workers, whereas now that didn't play up. I am really happy that I went and I hope we'll keep on getting together just from time to time. We still won't become "friends" and I don't need that, but it would be nice if we could all stay in touch. The old community that stays alive.

The evening was nice too since we got to tast some really excellent, rare wines that were very very nice. The only problem was that the wine tasting went on for quite a while and we only got our food served after 22PM. Phew, that was a challenge and I had the impression we all jumped on the food by that time.


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