I finished in my old role yesterday at about 6.30pm, and vowed never to go back to it. I won’t miss it – it’s my least favourite job ever, but there are people I will (even though I’m only moving to the other side of the building). A couple of things during the week sum up that dichotomy.
I have 3 work colleagues I’m particularly friendly with, 2 of whom I went through training with, and the other I met on the job. On Wednesday it was the birthday of one of them, and so when on a break I wandered over to his corner and wished him a happy birthday, and enquired about his plans. We spoke no more than 2 minutes, and were interrupted by his stern supervisor growling at me “Is this work related?”
I have to be careful not to see red on such occasions. My natural reaction is to snap back. I’m not used to being micro-managed like that, and I don’t appreciate it. Over the months I’ve grown contemptuous of their rigid methods of control and enforcement, to the point often of disregard. I’m sure they know that, and I think resent the fact I might challenge, even if quietly. The smarter of them realise there’s no harm in it, and understand that some give and take is reasonable. The less smart/more inflexible/insecure take it personally, the result being that there are a few of them will find any excuse to put me in my place. Such as on this occasion.
I didn’t snap back. I nodded my head to her and said I was wishing John a happy birthday, as if it was work related – which it is, we being close colleagues and all (and in an environment where birthdays are celebrated by ritual). I took the hint however, as did John, and I left him, pausing only to poke my tongue out at the offending person – but only after she turned away. One of the others saw it and sympathetically at me.
So that’s that, and reasonably typical of an oppressive environment where by and large you’re treated as children by jumped up mediocrities.
But then yesterday for my last day in the team a mini celebration was organised. This too, is straight out of the handbook, but even given its contrived nature people are generous and heartwarming. The team brought in food they made the night before, or bought on the way in. I was given a card with some lovely comments in it, and a surprisingly warm speech was made. I was appreciative and, on my way out, in a generous mood.
My closest companions in the team are Sash, who made the speech, and Hannah, who made these for me:
I love Hannah, but ours is a very unlikely friendship. She’s a 25-year-old Vietnamese Australian, while I’m a grizzled, middle-aged Aussie bloke. We have a great relationship though, based on banter and playful abuse and genuine affection. She’s an easy person to like because she is warm and natural and spontaneous to the point of being silly. She’s one of those rare beings who lives life without filters – she says what she thinks as she thinks it, and the results occasionally are politically incorrect. She gets away with it though because she is so bubbly and authentically decent.
Hannah can seem a bit dizzy sometimes, but she’s no dummy and has a shrewd head on her shoulders. She’s also a great baker, as the pic above shows – raspberry and white chocolate, yum. She makes beautiful and often extravagant cakes for every birthday in her own spare time, but has a flourishing business on the side make these cakes for all sorts of occasions, from birthdays to weddings. That’s where her future lies.
It’s funny, but my 2 closest friends at work are Vietnamese Australians, and the other a Macedonian Australian.
I’ve got the week off now and start in the new job on the 28th. I met with my new colleagues yesterday. I was glad to learn I can work my own hours, and as I told my (ex) workmates yesterday, I know I’m a knob now because I have 2 computer screens.
One of the guys I worked with was saying the other day I seemed more angry lately. No, I told him, I’m just as grumpy as ever, now I’m just letting it out. In fact I’ve been feeling light-hearted, and expressing myself is a good part of that. As we discussed, I have been more snappy lately, but generally it’s snappy with a bit of wit and I get away with it (he enjoys my grumpiness). The bonds have loosened. When I return to the office I’ll be more of myself again.