I’m a lady of leisure, a lady that lunches.
A year ago this month I gave in my notice, well, actually I didn’t hand it in. I’d been completing my last course assignment and hadn’t slept since the night before so was in no fit state to go to work. After discussing it for a while, my husband and I agreed that it was okay if I gave up work to concentrate on the house, kids and courses that I had planned for the next four years.
On the day I was supposed to go in with my letter, I received a phone call from my husband; the company had announced redundancies and my department was affected. The feeling of relief, happiness and apprehension washed over me and through my body – I wanted there and then to phone them and shout ‘me, me, me’ but I couldn’t. I had to wait a few nerve-racking days until I was told they would be accepting voluntary redundancy; I couldn’t just say ‘I’ll go’ as that would have affected any kind of payout I was entitled to.
I only worked part time and then logged in from home in the afternoons working most nights until the early hours of the morning. Up until the year before, I’d given them everything I had, but after the diagnosis of our son, I’d started to slip into the background, shutting off and no longer giving when they refused to allow me to progress due to my hours. So, when the department was pulled into another meeting to tell them they would accept voluntary redundancy, I was told by my team leader and I instantly typed up an email to HR and told them ‘I would like to put my name forward’. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew I was no longer in a position for them to fight for me, things had changed too much and they now had someone who could do most of my job. I had to wait for a few more days for them to discuss and inform the board before coming back to check that it was definitely what I wanted. I had a quick informal chat with the department head who I’d known for 11 years and she wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing it for the wrong reasons. I badly wanted to get out, I wanted to shout it to the office ‘I’m leaving, I’ve done it, I’m going!’. Again, I couldn’t, I had to wait another week for them to tell my clients and then I was allowed to tell the rest of my team.
First I went with my area head to break the news to my team leader who until then had been non the wiser. We discussed the situation and progress of the main team member who would be taking over some of my jobs and how he could progress if he really wanted to. Even then, while knowing I was leaving, I was falling back into how I’d been over a year before, offering them my services, opinion and advice on team members and how they were doing or could do. Why, I don’t know, I just felt like that job was me, it was my life for so long and habits were hard to break. Following that meeting, although I’d wanted to shout it to the world, when it came down to taking the team to the meeting table to let them know, my body started to shake, my hands started to sweat, my heart was beating and flitting, I felt extremely nervous. We told the team and then I consoled my work colleague who became a little emotional after – partly because I was leaving but I think more so for the fact that he was safe! There was no chance now that with me going he’d be placed on the list for redundancy – the relief was too much at that time and he broke down. We had a brief chat and then carried on as usual with our day.
I had to wait a further 3 weeks before I left and they felt like the longest days of my life, trying to not care about how things were done, yet caring far too much. I had mixed emotions once everyone knew; I’d been there so long that I didn’t know anything else and soon I would be leaving behind over a decade of my life full of memories, both happy and sad.