The long goodbye

I’m between jobs.

No, not like *that*. For the past three months I’ve been ‘in transition’ – that’s business code for ‘doing two jobs at the same time’ – moving internally from one division to another. Today was my last day in the office before Christmas and also my last day in my ‘old’ job. When I come back in January I’ll be in my new role full-time.

Finally I've managed to adhere to the clean desk policy ...

Finally I’ve managed to adhere to the clean desk policy …

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu

It’s been something of a long goodbye. I had initial discussions about the new job in mid-August and after some to-ing and fro-ing on my part agreed to it in early September. I could probably have moved across at the start of this month but there didn’t seem much point doing it with barely three weeks of the year left. So January it is: new year, new job.

Consequently, the outcome of what has been a 4½-month process has felt like a distant blip on the horizon for ages, one easily ignored.

Not any more.

A small leap, and yet a big one

In physical terms, I’m not moving far – about 25 metres, to be precise. But mentally it’s a big leap.

I’ve worked in the same business and with many of the same people for over eight years. When I walked in on my first day in June 2005, Crazy Frog had the number one single in the UK, London was still three weeks away from being awarded the 2012 Olympics, Twitter had not been born yet and a certain fledgling video-sharing service was barely three months old. Whatever happened to YouTube, eh?

I’ve moved around several times over the years – this will be my ninth job in my fifth company – but I’ve never been a particularly status-driven individual. Indeed my career trajectory has resembled that of a punt on a river being steered by a blindfolded novice who has enjoyed one too many alcoholic beverages: occasional bursts of forward motion punctuated by random, zigzagging meanderings and periods of going round in circles. Somehow I’ve managed to progress into a fairly senior role, but looking back I’m a little hazy as to how that actually occurred.

The head's too big but the waistline is about right. Honest

The head’s too big but the waistline is about right. Honest

But now it’s time for one of those occasional bursts of motion. I’ve been gradually saying goodbye to people over the past few days, which has made my impending departure feel tangible. This morning we had our usual last-Friday-of-the-month communal coffee and cake. I was presented with a cartoon caricature of myself in Arsenal strip. (Oh, if only I was really that slim and skilful …) I was genuinely touched.

We’ll gloss over my stumbling hash of a farewell speech, though. As always when called upon to speak publicly, I was too long, too incoherent and about as funny as having root canal. There’s a reason I’m a writer rather than an orator. Oh well.

Anyhow, I’m done. I’ve packed up my desk, leaving it tidy for pretty much the first time ever. I’ve said my goodbyes. And when I return in two weeks’ time, I need to remember to turn right rather than left after stepping out of the lift.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my Christmas break. Given the nature of the modern workplace, I suspect my honeymoon period will be considerably shorter than my long goodbye …

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2 thoughts on “The long goodbye

  1. Probably there will still be some nostalgia, you think? My sister surprised me with the news yesterday that she’s retiring at the end of this year, at the age of 58. She only ever worked for two companies…IBM and AT&T, but really only one company, because the division she worked in kept being bought back and forth by one or the other of those companies. But for the last couple of years, she’s worked for a private contractor to AT&T. And for umpty-many years she’s worked from home. So there isn’t that connection to co-workers you have when you work in a “real” office. I don’t know if she’s even ever met her boss in person. Like you, she’s had several different positions within these companies, and bounced from shore to shore (great image). And speaking of images, I love that caricature. Merry Christmas!

    • Hope you had a great Christmas too!

      I’ll certainly miss the people, and the business too. The sense of loss is tempered by the fact that I’m only moving a short distance on the same floor, so will still see them all – just not on a day-to-day basis. The business I’m moving to has a lot fewer office-based people, so I’ll miss the daily banter which has been a big part of my last eight years.

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