16 February, 2006

Gardening leave

I've just over two weeks until I start my new job, which would make for a nice fortnight of holiday were it not for the small business of upping sticks and moving 200 miles south. The potential ordeal of such a relocation completely overshadowed the fact that today was my last day in my present job, or rather my last half day, as due to the way my leftover holidays were calculated I only had to work until lunchtime.

I had thought this would make for the perfect exit: understated, underplayed, and straight out of the door when everyone's minds were on food. I was completely wrong. I ended up getting all my stuff together and putting on my coat while the entire rest of the office watched me in stony silence. Had I been leaving at the end of the day this wouldn't have happened, given how everyone would have been putting on their coats. Instead I felt like I was on stage, doing a turn for an audience, and it was really uncomfortable.

How should you feel when you leave a place of work after three and a half years? The principle thought in my mind as I walked back home was the fact that I wouldn't be doing this walk again ever, after what must almost be 1000 trips (2000 if you count walking there and back). I then thought about why I should be thinking of that, rather than the people and places I was leaving behind and which I would surely never see again in my entire life.

Even now, from several hours distance, the significance of my departure is beyond my grasp. It feels like I have expended so much energy and emotion straining to get to this point, I have nothing left with which to appreciate its actual passing.

So many of my private diary entries from the past couple of years have been filled with bile directed towards my employers. Now I've left them, I've also left myself with the problem of what to write about. And, for that matter, to whom I should direct whatever traces of malcontent lingering inside me.

Ah well, at least I've suddenly got a lot of thinking time at my disposal. And top of the list, you'll be glad to hear, is thinking myself out of a negative frame of mind.


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