Today was my last day at work; after eight years working for the same company, across three different countries, I switched off my computer for the last time, handed back my access card and left the building. It felt strangely anti-climactic, at the same time as emotionally draining. On the one hand, I’d known this was coming: I had decided to jump, rather than be pushed. On the other hand, eight years is a long time to build up all kinds of emotional attachments, loyalties, confidences and bonds. If you could walk away from all that and not feel a thing, you’d be a bit strange.

There are a few ways you can write a farewell email. I’ve always quite fancied a scorched earth policy, where you’d leave no bridge unburned as you fire a vehement email off to your former colleagues, telling them everything you hate about them. But I’ve never had the guts or the insane rage to pull that off. What enrages you now may look trivial with hindsight and a bit of distance, so why leave a smoking crater unless absolutely necessary?

Alternatively, emails where you tell everyone that they’re the greatest people in the world and it’s the best place you could ever think of leave some questions unanswered. If it is so wonderful, why do you go?

Finally, you could just say goodbye as formally as possible. I used to work here, and now I do not.

I used to work there, and now I do not.

When I have a few days distance and time to ruminate on what I’ve done, I’ll say more. For now, I have to contend with half-complete memories of last night, where apparently I thought I could speak some Spanish, but was in fact doing nothing apart from shouting "Montepulciano" with ever increasing gusto.

2 responses to “Finishing”

  1. We get a whole end of term staff thing with leavers’ speeches and everything.

    I am going to have to work it so that when I eventually finish here, I leave in the middle of a term.

    My last job & workplace just sort of disintegrated so there wasn’t really one leaving moment. That’s not a good strategy for avoiding leaving moments though, choosing a workplace that looks a bit unstable.

    • Instead of “You can’t fire me – I quit!” I suppose the unstable workplace strategy would end up with “You can’t fire me – none of us have jobs!”

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