My last shift at the office in Somerset came around far too quickly. I had been working there for six whole years, how do you say goodbye after that kind of time? Even stranger still, who is there left to say goodbye to? Over the years I had seen lots of people come and go, for what was essentially a contact centre however there was a lower turnover rate than some places. There are even many people who had been there much longer than me and are still there now.
It had become customary for people to write a leaving email and typically it would include some subtle and sometimes some not-so-subtle parting shots. I had an interesting dilemma on my hands, tell the truth or give a bogusly cheerful account of my six year roller coaster ride. Now I wish I had kept my leaving email, I think there were a few people who assumed I would opt for the former of the options. Yet I’m not completely stupid and I was vaguely aware that I was staying within the company and to do a ‘kiss and tell’ style leaving story wouldn’t have been very classy.
In my leaving email I was suitably nostalgic, I had saved some fun pictures that I could share on this occasion. There was one that was a team portrait with a difference, I’d created us all as South Park characters. I think I even still had one or two of my pokemon creations that I shared in m parting email. I don’t clearly remember the tenor of the message but I know it wasn’t as negative as it could have been. I very subtly hinted at outlasting a few members of staff who might have made my life barely tolerable at times. For the most part I was excitedly looking forward to the future.
I had a leaving card that wished me luck in my new job which was signed by plenty of people throughout the office. They also did a quick whip-round and the pennies collected would of course be spent at the local pub The Charlton. I finished quite late so the turn out when it was time to hit the pub wasn’t exactly overwhelming, but that was Ok, it meant that the collection was last a little bit longer. Lara had done me the solid favour of driving me to work that day and Michael would be driving me home so I was free to get completely drunk.
I actually failed in my mission to get legless. Instead I was drinking and failing to get drunk. For those that joined me, well they heard the truth about how glad I was to be leaving, there were a lot of people however I would be sad to be leaving behind. In the last year alone I had become much more sociable at work and I had some amazing shift-buddies that lamented about how they were going to get through their shifts without me. And that was it, I was off into the unknown come Monday morning.
I didn’t plan any grand farewell with my friends and family, the way I saw it was more that I’d only be away from Monday to Friday, every weekend I planned on coming home to see my friends, family and Lara. Sure things would be massively different than how there were in this moment. Almost from the first night Lara and I kissed nearly 5 years before we had barely spent a night alone, it was one of the most amazing thing about our relationship and the most absurd thing about our relationship.
Over the years we had become Lara and Elena, we were ‘that’ couple. The couple that acted like they were old and married before their time, we were still young and should have been having a lot of fun. Well in the past year leading up to this big career change, move and general upheaval we had slowly been reclaiming our lives, getting our individual identities back. It felt healthy, what we should have tried from the start. Lara was still on course for finishing her college course and heading to Uni, everything looked like it was going to fall into place with out master plan.
My friends were both worried about how different things might be and excited about the possibility of having someone in London that they could visit, perhaps utilise (in a completely ‘It’s Ok she’s my best friend’ kinda way) as a crash pad whenever they wanted to party it up London style. There were exciting times ahead, we all still had our ‘family’ holiday to look forward to in February. I had already made sure I still had the time off at my new role. Everything was changing, but it all felt like it was for the better.