He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.


Well, that’s it. Today, I prepared my handover for my successor, handed over my keys and left my job. As of now, I am redundant, unemployed or one of the jobless masses - whatever you choose to call me. I’ll be looking back at this point in three months and considering it as either the pivotal act that changed my working life, or the one that commenced my demise - only the next couple of months will tell.

Unlike some of my peers who have recently left, I guess you could say I did a relatively low-key departure. Showy is not me. I didn’t do a final tour of the working-floor like a foreign dignitary, I didn’t have a leaving “do”, where members of the clique-erati were made to feel inadequate and outcast by their absence and I didn’t immediately expect everyone to repeatedly examine my facebook page - to hang on my every breath and see whether I’d farted that day.

I just said,“goodbye” and left.

And I feel I left with dignity.

That’s not to say that I didn’t wave farewell to people in my own way. In fact, it was more gratifying that people hunted me down and said their goodbyes, people who appeared to be genuinely sad to see me go. I’ll be sad to leave some of those people behind too. As always. amongst the rough, there’s diamonds.

But most gratifying of all was the sheer quantity of little gifts and cards I received - to the point of embarrassment. I was so preoccupied with staying professional and doing a good job right up to the end that I was too busy to write a single card. For this reason, I feel genuine guilt. I saw the great efforts that many had gone to, along with the generosity that they demonstrated. When I read the cards, I saw that people had written little letters in there, telling me how I was “caring, yet professional”, “a pleasure to work with”, and how I’d kept them on the strait and narrow. More complimentary things have been said in my final week than in the seven years previous. The genuine feelings of fond affection from those I managed went towards endorsing something, namely the feeling that I must have got it right somewhere. People management isn’t easy. Everyone’s got a story about a manager who was an arsehole.

I knew that this day would come just over three months ago - meaning that I’ve had a lot of time to mentally prepare. I’m just a little bit sad, but still me - if that makes any sense. I’m at the acceptance stage. In a couple of weeks, I’ll go on my driving trip - and when I return, I’ll hopefully be a step closer to employment. At the moment, I believe that I’ve done the right thing. The company that I worked for is so precariously on the edge of oblivion that my package is the best a normal person could hope for.

And if it’s not and I’m regretting my words in three months, then stuff will occur, things will move on and shit will inevitably happen.

But in the meantime, it’s time to move on. It’s time to enjoy Christmas.

The Other Side

Did you know that there’s ninety-one days left until Christmas?

You probably didn’t. In fact, the thought of Christmas probably brings you out in a cold-sweat, with the notion of false pleasantries uttered to unsavoury relatives and a credit-card bill akin to the national debt of Brazil - but I’m really looking forward to this years festive season and will be counting down the days like an impatient child. It brings forth a new year and a complete change of direction - something that I’ve wanted for a while. I need a fresh start, a kick up the arse.

On Christmas Eve, I’ll get that kick - when I join the other two-ish-million in the UK. I finish my job, clear my desk (although, I’d like a desk first) and join the rats leaving the sinking ship - to face a world of Jeremy Kyle, house makeovers and c-list celebrities giving DIY tips. Although, as I don’t have a television I’ll just enjoy the peace and quiet - a considerably nicer option.

But if I tell you that I’ve not been sacked, you might scratch your head a bit. If I tell you that I volunteered to lose my job, you would probably question my sanity. Hell, you wouldn’t be the first and despite my pre-festive exuberance, the eggnog hasn’t got to me yet. The situation is that I’ve been presented with an opportunity that’s too good to pass up and to miss out this time would probably mean that I’d never get another chance again. It’s now or never, as the saying goes.

After four paragraphs of waffling, I finally get to the point - I’ve taken voluntary redundancy and will leave my job after seven years of service, with a package that minimises the risk as much as can be reasonably expected. In these times of austerity and belt-tightening, the offer is miles better than many could hope for. I get to try something new with a secure buffer behind me, significantly minimising the risk.

You could be asking why I’ve even decided to do this. Surely, having a reasonably paid job is all the more important when economic conditions get tougher?

You’re probably right. I could continue in my current position, doing pretty much the same task for the next thirty years. I could carry on filling-in, signing and filing lots of little bits of paper until the day I die and be a truly hardcore paper-bitch. W00T.

Or I could just throw myself into the shredder now.

Truth be told, my interest (and subsequently, my performance) in my job peaked at the beginning of 2006, after which it has been on a downhill slope ever since. I don’t usually stay in the same job for more than three years and as a consequence I’d made a conscious decision back then to take the same package if offered (and it was), but like a fool I decided too late and missed the deadline. I’ve been kicking myself ever since, so this time I made sure it didn’t happen again by being first in the queue to cash in my chips...

...which leaves me with the dilemma of what to do next, which is not such a large dilemma as you would think. I aim to enjoy my Christmas, do a bit of travel during January and find a job - there’s lots of them still out there. Initially, I don’t really care too much what the job is and only have two criteria to validate it against:

- No call-centres.
- No contact with bodily-fluids.

I feel these are good metrics to work by. They preclude working as part of the drone collective for Yet Another Very Large Company Ltd and at the same time mean I don’t end up mopping up old-ladies wee, cleaning toilets or hosting sex chat-lines (a combination of both rules). Apart from that, I’ll give most things a go.

In the meantime, expect my posting frequency to get a little bit more regular than they have been of late (i.e. more than virtually non-existent). I’m sure you’ll find my adventures at the jobcentre to be interesting reading.