I’m in a reflective mood this evening. I have been for most of the day, including yesterday afternoon.
In many ways the end of my current period of employment can’t come soon enough. The knowledge that we are all being made redundant and yet still having to be present in the office makes a single moment seem endless at times.
So – despite wanting an end to this lingering death I find myself in a strange no-man’s land.
In this weird landscape I’m faced with a paradox where time seems like it’s stopped altogether and I can’t wait for the end of the day. As soon as I’ve worked through that feeling I’m faced with thoughts about the finality of it all and the knowledge that one week from now it will all be over. It’s difficult to know how to feel from one moment to the next.
I do know that today I don’t want it to end.
One workmate (whilst we made tea this afternoon) pointed out to me that his son was now a precocious teenager – an energetic 14 year old.
I’m not sure how this happened. I’m not sure where time went.
I remember the day he announced in the office that his wife was pregnant. All of a sudden it seems like yesterday. We joked about the time he trained me on a new discipline a couple of years after I started, and how he broke up the long sessions of dry technical information by playing Kylie Minogue videos and remarking on her perky antipodean posterior.
We both laughed about this – and were transported right back there into the moment.
I’ve bonded with colleagues through a variety of shared interests – and my current (unexpected and inexplicable) addiction to Downton Abbey prompted someone else to tell me today how much they love afternoon teas.
I suddenly found myself saying that we should schedule regular lunches, to make sure we didn’t loose contact. I’ve felt it important to say that to people, although it may already be obvious. I don’t want to be a stranger to any of them.
Another talked about his experiences of the office where we first worked, and how close he had come to ending his employment on his first day (with an act of cavalier parking) before he had even walked through the front door. The security there could be ferocious, and his memories underpinned my own recall of their almost terminal lack of humour.
One person walked away upset when I hugged her today – and she left me feeling quite the same. I didn’t quite know what to say as she hurried off. I made light of it to those nearby – but that wasn’t how I really felt.
I remembered that we once sat together in a corner office being bored to death by a visiting American who drew Six Sigma Ishikawa fish diagrams to explain how our jobs worked. We both earnestly paid attention to him throughout and then agreed between ourselves it was pretty much all bo****ks when he left to go home.
He kept saying over and over ‘In God we trust, but everyone else needs to give me DATA!‘
I’ve been reminiscing all week with different people about things like this.
There have been comic stories about DIY jobs performed by colleagues gone awfully wrong, people’s sometimes odd but now accepted habits, drunken tales of christmas parties, office romances and office scandal.
We have talked about people who we didn’t know at first but eventually came to trust, then respect and in almost all cases finally became friends with.
I’ve also realised today (and it seems so obvious now) that next Friday when we say goodbye there will be no more managers and staff, just people who know each other like family, saying their goodbyes.
Oddly I’ve never felt managed really. Just befriended, so maybe it won’t be that different after all.
Soon I won’t regularly see these people any more but (thanks to social media) we’ll still remain in each other’s orbits as we migrate to new lives.
But it’s not quite the same is it?
I won’t be able to cheerfully walk through a door and see them all at the same time, engrossed in their tasks, or making cups of tea for one another, or saying hello as I pass them and the pot plants to get to my familiar desk with its ornaments and fan.
Anyway internet – I’m trying to keep my chin up. Lots of people have already found new jobs, and those that haven’t are an excellent sort and will find something soon enough. I have faith in them, even if one or two may be a bit downhearted at the moment.
What other employers don’t know yet is that they’re all getting a bargain – the steal of the century.
They’ll find out soon enough though. Which is a good thing all round. All will be right with the world eventually.