After making the big decision to retire, I had to formally submit my resignation through our online HR portal. This triggered what is known as a “termination process” also known as “offboarding”.
The language made me feel quite ill and a little bit anxious. I’ve been working at the organisation for 14 years, so to end my career in this impersonal way felt a bit sad and confirmed my view that working for a large government department turns you into little more than a number, fodder for the machine.
I emailed my manager to let him know that I was submitting the form and he emailed me back the offboarding checklist. This is to ensure that you settle all your accounts and hand back any equipment that’s been issued over the years. He also rang to say that he would miss me, which was nice. I specifically requested that there be no fuss as I just wanted to walk away quietly.
I’ve always hated those corporate morning teas that are usually held when someone leaves. I dislike the people who only turn up for the free sponge cake and the ubiquitous cheese and crackers. I hate those speeches where the top brass talks mainly about themselves or tells embarrassing stories about the poor person who is leaving.
I hate the bit where the person says that they won’t miss the work, but they’ll miss the people. I know that for most people this is true, but I will genuinely miss the work and the people.
I will miss laughing with my team-mates, helping people solve problems, and moaning about senior staff who send you long rambling emails but don’t ever say what they actually want you to do.
I’ll miss people shouting across the room to ask me how to spell accommodation and other tricky words.
When I went in yesterday to return my laptop and security pass, I was still a bit surprised at how upset I was. There were only about four people in the office and the place was a wasteland of blank screens and empty chairs. I handed over my computer and the admin person said weakly, “we should have bought a cake”.
I wandered off down the corridor and came across a lovely colleague that I’ve known for years. She could see that I was upset so she gave me a hug (verboten). She told me that I would be missed and that I’d had a big impact on the organisation.
It was nice after all.