Leaving is such sweet sorrow

I left my job last week. (For those of you that don’t know, I was working in the paramilitary wing of Matalan).


‘Up to the minute fashion and homewares at prices up to 50% below the equivalent High Street prices: Never surrender.’

I’ve left quite a few jobs in my time. I don’t have a fixed time rule, but about 18 months seems to be plenty. You know it’s time to move on from a job when:

  • people in the office come up to you when they can’t find specific stationary items,
  • jokes about you wearing your ‘Thursday shirt’ are standard practice,
  • it’s far too late to change anyone’s opinion about your level of competence,
  • you work for an erratically racist fruiterer.

Leaving a job for the first time is much like breaking up with somebody for the first time;  traumatic, unpleasant, and generally put off for as long as possible. I can’t precisely recall the moment when I announced my dignified resignation from Top Banana, made on the not unreasonable grounds that me having to wrap one more cauliflower in clingfilm would have indirectly caused a fairly major conflagration in Buckden’s buzzing retail district.

Buckden shops

Buckden’s buzzing retail district. Top Banana is no more these days, having fallen foul of the recession, poor customer service and selling crap fruit at high prices.

But I do remember that there were few more joyful moments of my teenage years once it had passed my lips. To return to the previous analogy, it was like breaking up with a abusive, needy partner who needed constant attention and was undermining you at every possible point.

Saatchi and nigella

Top Banana’s manager out for a bite. ‘I say Terence, you couldn’t get the satire klaxon out for me again could you old chap?’ *SATIRE*

This time round, things were a little more bittersweet. On the one hand, I am leaving a place where I met some quite frighteningly able people. There were also precious few occasions on which I was required to ensheathe root vegetables in an airtight plastic coating. On the other hand, it did drive me to two months of disappointing malaise, and I had to occasionally argue with a Mr Faill (nominative determinism in the raw right there).

The best thing about leaving at this time of year is that you can finish on a drunken high. December is an ideal time to leave a role – the professionally-sanctioned drunkenness at Christmas parties to whip up a fog of nostalgia, the inevitable process of winding down as people sneak out for kid’s nativity plays and to pick up Amazon parcels that Yodel has dispatched to a windswept warehouse somewhere on the Isle of Sheppey.

New year, new job. The folks at TK Maxx don’t know what they’ve got coming. But at least they know I won’t hang about.


4 thoughts on “Leaving is such sweet sorrow

  1. Andrew, I’m sorry to hear your Top Banana experience left you with a deep and ongoing psychological trauma linked to root vegetables. For those who also shared in the TB experience I’m sure we can all say with hand on heart that giving our resignation was the most empowering thing we’ve ever done.

  2. I disagree that the charming proprietor of Top Banana was ‘erratically racist”, though his attitudes may well have worsened between your time there and mine. Between the spring of 2004 and the summer of 2005, he directed his particular, venomous bile at all non-WASPs who dared enter Buckden village limits, with total relish. Finally, lured by a fifty pence salary hike, I hung up my green tabard for the final time and said farewell to shrink-wrapped broccoli.

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