In the new division I joined last September there is a high turnover, it is mostly due to rotation with other sections, meaning that new people come from other divisions, old people go to different ones. Every time someone leaves, you sign a “See you soon” card, there is a little farewell party, some drinks, some food, a little speech, even if they might just go one floor below.
Having joined recently, in the last three months I went to about six farewells of people that -I admit- I barely knew. Last week, another colleague went through the offices to say goodbye. He will move two floors up and he kindly brought some chocolates and some little farewell presents for all of us: a little bag with two candies and a little toy he bought at the Christmas Market in the city centre.
Funnily enough, in my little bag I randomly found a spinning top: a dreidel. Given my surprise, I explained why, so I gave him and another colleague who was there the concise version of the miracle of Hanuka, the festival of lights we are celebrating in these days, during which kids traditionally play with dreidel. One of the two asked how kids actually play the dreidel game, and I -naively- answered “Well, it is a sort of betting, because the dreidel has 4 sides, so they spin the top, and then depending of the side it lands on, you win all the pot, part of it, or nothing. And you can play with candies, or also with money!”
One of the two, with a smile, “Well yes, of course, with money because…”,
They were both already giggling when they realized that I was not, and I was still waiting for the end of the sentence. They stopped for two seconds of pure politically incorrect awkwardness, then the other found the words to finish the sentence “…because if you don’t play with money there’s no fun!”.
*Susanna Calimani is a wandering economist currently based in Frankfurt.