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Last day and beyond

25 August 2013 by superlative

This is a rather late post about my last day in my job of five years, a couple of Thursdays ago. As I predicted, I didn’t enjoy it very much, but not for the reasons I was expecting.

As it turned out, my last day in my old office ended up being the single worst day I have ever had in that job in the whole time I’ve been there. I have never felt so harried, and stressed, and unreasonably put upon there before, to the point that when I finally left the office my sadness at going was partly overwhelmed by annoyance and relief.

I was really quite surprised, because normally it’s quite a laid back sort of job. I keep on top of my work, and although it tends to arrive in unpredictable bursts, I get it all done fairly quickly. Something went wrong on that particular Thursday day though, and I was suddenly given MASSES to do, most of it by one person, and all of which simply had to be online by Monday. Given I was on annual leave on the Friday and the following Monday, that only left me that day to do it. And it really pissed me off. Everyone knew I was off on Friday, so in what way was sending me large pieces of urgent work on Thursday afternoon with a Monday deadline going to be helpful?

“It’s for Clearing”, she said (Clearing is a big deal when you work in a university), as though that would sweep aside any of my objections.

“Yes – so are the other three things you’ve given me today, and the rest of the work everyone else has sent me. You can say everything is for Clearing, but that doesn’t mean I can fit it all into a single afternoon,” was my rather terse reply.

So I ended up rushing everything, not taking any breaks throughout the whole day, and leaving late. I have NEVER left that job late. At some point around lunchtime everyone gathered together to present me with a card (which I couldn’t read, because I would have cried) and a lovely box of chocolates and some champagne. I had so much to do all I could say was a mumbled thank you and then return to my desk.

Most people had gone home by the time I could leave.

“Haven’t you normally left by now?” said the person who gave me all the work.

“YES,” I replied pointedly as she swanned off home.

And then when I’d finally finished everything, I just packed my stuff into box files and carrier bags, shoved it all in the car, and left. It was nothing like the day I’d envisaged, where I’d take a last walk around the sunny campus and the adjacent field, and then carefully pack up my stuff and forlornly lock up my office. Instead I stomped out exhausted and in a huff, and I’m sad that that has to be my memory of my last day there now.

I’ve had a couple of weeks working solely in my new job now. I still haven’t worked a full five day week there, because I take all the Mondays and Fridays off during the summer holidays, so I don’t think it’s quite sunk in that I’m there permanently really.

At the same time though it’s been nice to install myself properly at my desk there, with my books and toys and nick nacks from my old office. I feel like it’s my own space now and that’s made me much more relaxed and chatty there. Previously when I was only there two days a week, I never used to leave any belongings on the desk when I went home, in case someone else needed to sit there. I used to take a few bits in with me in my bag, and just take everything away again at the end of my two days. So it never felt like it was my desk, and it always seemed a bit transitory. But now it’s MINE and it’s got my stuff on it, and that’s quite nice.

I think it will feel a bit odd once I am there for a whole five days in a row, but the people are really nice and I do enjoy the work, so I’m hoping it will be fine. And I’ll try not to remember how annoyed my last day made me.

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