The funny thing about working is that, for an indeterminate amount of time, a random group of people are forced to interact 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.
Even if you end up hating those people (which, let's face it, there are some), you do end up learning alot about them, and about other stuff too. For example, I found out today that Liz is allergic to cinnamon. Other things I have gleaned along the way: Nate's favorite fruit is strawberries. Mary speaks Greek, Wolof and French fluently and bakes the best banana bread in the world. Oliva is a size nine. There is only one double-landlocked country in the world (eg surrounded by landlocked countries); it's Uzbekistan. And don't forget that Trinidad is waaay bigger than Tobago. :)
Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get a group of people who actually enjoy each other's company and get along reasonably well (even if you have to tackle them with bubble wrap...). They make working kind of like hanging out - something you would chose to do even if you weren't getting paid. It makes doing actual work alot more palatable - hell, even, a good time.
And if you're even luckier, you get a boss who is the perfect balance of taskdriver, leader, mentor, friend and laugh riot.
Another funny thing about working is that, even if you promise to stay in touch, once you've been released from that cage, you no longer share a common, current reality with those people. The magic is gone. Unless you've been able to reach out and make true friendship, most of the colleagues will stay that way - someone to complain about work with. And, if one of the ingredients is missing, the relationships quickly go stale. Which is I guess what truly bums me out about today.
I have been so blessed to work in a job that applies to my degree; I have learned a ton here. I will miss the routine, the people, the jokes and the tasks. But (and I'm getting used to this feeling as I get older), I can recognize the right time to go.
It is, after all, just work.