Friday, August 29, 2003

Not sad, not yet

Heavy-lidded and feeling a touch displaced I stumble through my last day at work.

Had a fabulous farewell function last night, for me and two others who leave next week. There were nearly 30 of us: the guys presently working at my level in the different teams, and some who’d recently left us.

I hadn’t realised there were going to be speeches, and got a little apprehensive about who might have been tapped on the shoulder to make mine.

It suddenly struck me that most of those co-workers I got to feel close to when I first moved to Melbourne and was in hard-core friend-making mode, moved on from the office some time ago. (Most people only do this job a year or 18 months because there’s really no career path, so there’s constant turnover – but less angsty than at a firm because you know going in it’s a one-year gig.)

Anyway, I realised that at work I have, on the whole, probably been friendly – but maybe a little aloof. My Melbourne has been one of a broad range of acquaintances and a few good friends. This suits me, but left no one at work who really knew me. I wondered who on earth would be asked to speak about me.

So, when Mr Z rose to his feet, I was quite relieved. He used to work at the Adelaide office and we got to know each other first through some weeknight drinking. He was also present when I, metaphorically, “hit the wall” rather suddenly at a party some months ago. I was burbling along fine for ages, then kinda got rather flat and sick-feeling around 2.30am, and went to sit, unspeaking and pretty non compos mentis for some time in the garden.

I blamed this mostly on drinking a series of tequila shots with a man possibly twice my weight (I’m a slender guy, if tall-ish, weighing in at a mere 55 kilos immediately after eating).

Mr Z lead with the words: “Doug is a man who punches above his weight …”

The speech was hysterical, short and very kind.

Eventually they kicked us out of the restaurant and a hard core went on to finish a bottle of red at Soft Belly before getting our trams home.

So, this is my final day in the office. There is literally nothing left for me to do here, except fill out the “leaver’s clearance” document that will trigger my final pay and pay-out my accumulated leave, and delete about 2,000 personal e-mails that have accumulated over several months. I no longer even have a desk, my replacement is now well settled in and I’m using spare computers where I find them.

Sad? Not yet. I think I will be soon though.

Meantime I just have to work out what “returned all attractive items?” on my clearance form means …

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