I wrote recently about how futile it can seem, arriving every day at my office and staring at the same two computer screens for hours on end, then leaving having not really achieved very much. I’ve been in the same job since November 2007, and nothing much has changed about it during that time. I’ve been in the same little room, doing the same work, with mostly the same people around me, staring out of the same non-window at the white wall opposite me. It had all become very comfortable, and very dull, and I could quite easily imagine that I’d be there forever simply because I didn’t really have anything else I’d rather be doing.
But now I’m leaving. And rather suddenly. On Thursday.
I mentioned on here about a year and a half ago (you’re forgiven if you don’t remember) that I was given the opportunity to go and work in a different office with our main web team two days a week. It was to support them on special projects and bits of web development, like making our website responsive for mobile devices and working on the new CMS we’re buying. I didn’t get any more money or anything, and I didn’t get to do any less work in my normal job – I just did my normal job in three days each week (which is generally sufficient, because it’s a stupid job), and I took on 40% more work for free because it made my life more interesting and was much better for my rapidly stagnating skills.
Although it was a temporary arrangement in principle, it was one of those temporary arrangements that gets extended and extended, and somehow nearly a year and a half has drifted by with me doing two half-jobs in two different offices.
But now after much prevarication things are changing. The new job wants me full-time. And that means giving up my old job, and my little room, and my pseudo-window, and my lighter coloured circle of carpet.
I’ve known this was on the cards for a while, not least because our new CMS will mean my old job ceases to exist in many respects. So I’ve been very lucky to be able to ease gently into usefulness in another role that I can move over into just before that happens. And I do like my new job very much – the people are fun, and it’s proper web development work that stretches me and asks me to achieve things I don’t know how to do, forcing me to learn all the time.
But at the same time I’m sad, very sad, to be leaving my old job now, and in such an anti-climactic fashion.
Officially I’m being seconded temporarily into the new job, so I’m not ‘leaving’ my old job as such. But in reality it’s very unlikely I’ll be coming back, because once the secondment ends I’ll hopefully slot into a newly created permanent role and I’ll just carry on doing what I’m doing. So I am leaving really, but not really, and I’ve only had a couple of weeks to get used to the idea. I told my old job colleagues last week, and because of annual leave and things I’m only actually in that office again on Thursday this week, when hardly anyone is there, and at the end of which I’ll pick up my things and leave. And never come back.
It’s not the work I’ll miss. The work is boring, and after five years somewhere everything becomes annoying. But I’ll miss the people, some of whom I’ve known for a long time. I’ll miss the luxury of a non-visible computer screen and a hands-off manager that have meant I could do pretty much what I liked, when I liked. I’ll miss being in an office on the edge of the Downs, surrounded by fields and fresh air. And I know I’ll cry when I leave on Thursday, because I always do – I even cried when I left a job I hated after two months, so I’m certainly going to cry leaving this one. I cry at television adverts. My eyes just like crying.
In some ways, the manner of this transition is very good for me. I’m terrible at change and I tend to get very anxious and freak out during the first two weeks of a new job. I always settle down, and I’ve learnt that it will pass, but it’s not a pleasant time for me. But this way I’ve been eased into the new job and got to know everyone first, and now I’m just dropping the old job. So it’s perfect really and I couldn’t ask for more. I mean, I could have been made redundant in six months time when my old job disappears. I cannot complain at all about this.
But it’s still sad, and odd, and disconcerting, and not how I thought I’d go. And I feel bad that it’s been so abrupt for all my old colleagues, some of whom I already won’t see again and of whom I’m very fond. We’re going to try to arrange a belated already-left leaving celebration I think, which is nice of them to want to do. And I’ll no doubt cry at that as well.