Leaving

LeavingI have four days left at work. Four days! After 10 years and five months working for the same company, four days are probably going to feel like four minutes.

It seems like I have been engaged in this process of Leaving for a ridiculously long time. It’s been three months since I handed in my notice, and I’d almost got used to operating in a kind of in-between state of still being there but also going. It’s only now that I can genuinely say I am starting to feel nervous. I am actually quite scared of the unknown, and even though I keep telling people I think I will be ok (sometimes more to convince myself), I’m feeling the fear now. All the ‘what if’ questions I wrote about a few weeks ago in my post on Fear are resurfacing. My internal organs are doing the lindy hop. This is it, I’m in my last week at work and I can’t go back and change my mind now!

It’s strange, this business of Leaving. Part of me would just like to slip out the back door without anyone noticing, and part of me wants to hire a marching band to accompany me to the office on my last day to mark the occasion. Having already had three leaving do’s in various parts of the country, I’m obviously not doing a great job of slipping out of the back door quietly. To be honest, even though I am not very comfortable being at the centre of attention, and I really hate actually saying goodbye to people, and I am terrible at receiving compliments, the whole process of getting leaving cards and baking cakes for the office and regularly exceeding my recommended weekly number of alcohol units has been quite nice. I tell myself to be unapologetic about it: it has been 10 years, after all.

A colleague asked me recently what other jobs I’d had, which made me realise that pretty much my entire experience of Work has been with this one employer. I came in as a temp straight from university, and although I’ve had various roles and various bosses in the last 10 years, I’ve never properly worked anywhere else. So it really is about time I broadened my horizons a bit.

A couple of weeks ago I was part of the interview panel to recruit my replacement – a slightly surreal experience. I was struck by how well-qualified and confident some of the candidates were, and how they presented themselves way better than I think I could ever manage. I’m glad to know that a competent and likeable person is taking over from me, of course, but I also worry she will do a much better job than me.

What if she did though? I have to come to terms with the fact that it really doesn’t matter what happens after I leave. People might discover something I handed over badly and curse me. My successor might be so brilliant that people wonder why they kept me in the job so long. People might laugh remembering my many idiosyncrasies. The truth is, they will probably forget all about me pretty quickly. And that’s ok. Hopefully I will manage to move on equally quickly, and won’t spend the next six months wallowing in wistful longing for my old job. Being ridiculously sentimental, I will probably have the odd pang of nostalgia – but more than likely I will be so distracted with new experiences and impressions that those 10 years will start to feel like ancient history.

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6 thoughts on “Leaving

  1. Monday morning is the best time to publish a blog post so don’t fret the timing. Don’t fear the fear, I’ve gone through the same process twice in my life and the fear is a great motivator if you harness it to your advantage and let it sharpen your focus rather than letting it stifle you. Whenever I’ve had the confidence to make the leap into the unfamiliar I’ve always been rewarded.That isn’t to say that leaping isn’t risky because it is!

    • Thank you Jose! That’s good to hear. Would love to hear more about your previous two plunges into the unknown and their outcome. I definitely think this process will be good for me – a kick up the behind is what I need! 🙂

  2. when i did it I found out how many people I worked with wished they were doing it…I felt like that cartoon image where the a character runs off the top of the cliff but doesnt realise immediately that they are in mid air (until they look down) – I called it Freefall – you just have to keep running and not look down – Fortune favours the brave…. I am now wondering if I have the courage to do it again…enjoy (;

    • Thank you Marney, that’s exactly what everyone is saying to me too! I guess that’s quite telling. I’m going to take a deep breath and run right off of that cliff!! And I’ll report back 🙂

  3. Hi Anne, although it’s not exactly the same experience, I can’t help seeing some similarities in what you’ve experienced and I’m experiencing now.

    It was my last day at work yesterday and I was overwhelmed at how lovely my colleagues and team were with home made cards and gifts galore. Having said that a lot of the same fears about discovering things that are incomplete or could have been done better, do scare me somewhat. Will the company and the team forget me? Will they cope without me? I really hope so, I want them to succeed but it is scary. Maybe when the baby is born all of this will be inconsequential anyway.

    I’ve had to face the unknown a few times and it’s right what you say about looking back. Just keep moving forward and looking ahead. Sometimes things with be great, sometimes not so but we only grow if we challenge ourselves and face our fears… right?!?

    • Hey Julia, it’s funny as I was thinking about you the other day and wondering when your maternity would start. Glad they gave you a good send-off, very well deserved! My prediction is that pretty soon you’ll start focusing on other stuff and stop worrying about work. They’ll miss you if course but it’s a good bunch and they’ll be fine. You’ve got a new exciting life phase to look forward to which will distract you! I have to say I literally haven’t looked back since I left work, which is not to say I don’t wonder about how everyone is getting on of course. It’s so true that facing your fears and challenging yourself is really beneficial – seeing that every day. How nice to hear from you and I wish you all the best, let’s stay in touch! X

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