Today I am handing in my notice at work. And I am absolutely dreading it.
You may be able to tell this from the fact that instead of working on my letter of resignation, I am writing a blog post. I have been at my desk for an hour and so far have watered my plant (Ludo II), made three cups of coffee, watched videos on Youtube, stamped my arm with the company stamp in an artful fashion and made blubbing noises at Jaws, AnJawlina and Sid Fishous; the company goldfish. This blatant avoidance cannot go on any longer, however.
I really love my job. It’s hard not to love a job that mostly consists of filling a beer fridge, playing ping pong and buying fish tanks. But I also really want to move back to Australia. My job is fantastic but it is woefully devoid of a beach.
The HR manager sits opposite me. She is a good friend of mine. I know that at some point today, I have to tell her. But I feel like I’m about to confess adultery to my husband of 30 years. I’m not sure how to approach the issue. Its a pretty informal set up here (corporate powerhouses do not tend to invest quite as much of their time and resources in in-house ping pong tournaments), so an official letter of resignation probably isn’t going to cut it.
I could ping her a quick Skype message and ask to speak to her. Then, of course, she will immediately know what I am about to tell her. People don’t tend to send cryptic messages asking for ‘a word’ unless they are about to quit, they accidentally dropped the goldfish in the blender or they are dying.
I could try to corner her when she leaves her desk for the coffee machine but in all certainty would time it wrong and freak her out by following her into the loo.
I could work on a musical ditty and surprise everyone so much by suddenly leaping onto my desk and breaking into song that it would take a while for the actual news to sink in., by which time I have escaped and am munching on a Classic Super Club in Pret.
Or I could skulk out of the office and stand below the window, throwing pebbles at the glass until she appears, and then hold up a sheepish sign.
I have quit many jobs over the last few years. I usually feel terrible. When I worked for a public sector accounting body I spilled the news out in my review meeting and cried, whilst my bewildered manager looked as though he’d prefer to jump out of the window than comfort me. My job for a networking group for millionaire entrepreneurs ended in tears from the other side as my boss choked back a sob and stormed off, leaving me sitting in the lobby feeling a tad awkward.
I quit my job lobbying for a cancer charity in Perth over email and turned up the next day to find that the locks had been changed on me, leaving me with no choice but to break in through the toilet window to retrieve my laptop, favourite mug, spare flip flops and half a watermelon.
The problem for working for SMEs (oh my god get me to a beach) with a close knit, entrepreneurial streak is that you’re made to feel that your decision to quit is a personal affront. You’re not just a number. You’re a twentieth of the company. The person whose pocket will feel the strain of having to recruit someone new is sitting in your direct eye line.
If you leave, the beer fridge will be empty save for three alcohol free beers bought by mistake and some tumbleweed; the fancy Nespresso coffee capsules will run out leading to a company-wide meltdown as no-one knows where to get any more; the bailiffs will turn up as no-one is paying the bills and Jaws the goldfish will be floating on the surface for a week before anyone notices that AnJawlina is half starved and driven insane in her grief.
Perhaps I would feel more confident if I had a concrete plan in place, with which to wow everyone. I gather that people usually move on from jobs either because they have found something else, they are moving away, they are with-bun or they have won the lottery.
I am technically moving away, it’s just that at the moment I have not quite pinpointed the exact location. I have the country down, which is a start. My farewell email to my colleagues is at the moment looking something like this:
“It is with great sadness that I inform you all that I will be leaving the company. I am heading back to Australia with dreams of working as a reptile keeper at a crocodile sanctuary. I have sent my CV to every reptile park in the country, but as yet have not been offered a job. I’m not sure where I will be living yet, but if you ever find yourself in Byron Bay, Northern Queensland, Torquay or Broome; look me up , as I have been browsing these places on Google Images and they look nice.”
My HR Manager just sent me a completely unrelated Skype message and I jumped about five feet into the air. I have the guilty look of betrayal plastered all over my face. If I drink any more coffee I’m going to have a kidney failure.
I’m praying that they don’t tell me to pack my stuff and get out. It will be a tragic moment if I have to pack a small box with my terminally wilted plant, jumbo pack of Mars bars and musical camel novelty pen, and try to stoically walk to the door with Jaws in a teacup.
I’m giving myself until 5pm, by which point I will probably have broken down and bellowed my treacherous intentions to the entire office in response to someone offering me a crisp.