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