On leaving

It’s a week until my leave commences. I’m in the home stretch and come this time next week couldn’t give a hoot what happens within these four walls – I’ve already told them that I won’t be responding to phone calls or emails. I’m sure I’ll still get them, but they really need to get their act into gear. Fat chance.

I’ve been in contact with the vendor we work with and sent him my CV. Because I’m straight up I mentioned to the head of digital that I’ll be on the look-out. Even though we’re both incumbents here he’s understanding and supportive. He’s offered to be a referee, as has the digital marketing manager. He’s also offered to put me in touch with some of his contacts.

In the meantime I’ve been speaking with one of the HR reps. He’s speaking to some of his contacts for me also. He’s sympathetic because his experience here has been almost identical to mine. His complaints mirror mine, as they do many others – there’re many looking to move on. It’s all about a lack of professionalism, the cliquey nature of business here, the poor management and unaccountable incompetence, the lack of any bold or decisive leadership. On top of that is the very nature of so many here. What we have in common is that we’ve come from competitive corporate environments where you just do the job. As one here said, this place is full of snowflakes.

Having said all this I have to temper my expectations. Nothing happens quickly and while I hope to return to work in a months’ time with something organised, that’s not a definite. All of ANZ, Telstra and NAB have let go of thousands in the last six months and many of them are still on the market.

Something came up in my meeting with the head of digital next week. He urged me to take time for myself and freshen up and I told him a story.

I’d attended an offsite presentation on Wednesday morning about workflow management. As it turned out I was the attendee, and so I had the various presenters all to myself. What was meant to be a presentation turned into a technical conversation. I felt enlivened by it. It was good to engage at a higher level with some smart people, and to converse equally on subjects complex and interesting. I felt myself again and afterwards I realised how far I’d strayed from that – something once that was an everyday occurrence.

I explained that to him and he understood completely. The truth is I often feel grim in this office, to the point that I can feel it in my mouth. It’s time to leave when it gets like that, he said.

Changing my job and earning more won’t solve all my problems, but it would be a mighty help.

I realise that while my work is respected here, it isn’t really valued. So often I get no response, or a response of indifference. I have experience and qualifications no-one is interested in. All of this goes to state of mind. If I were to summarise much of what has dragged on me these last few years it’s the sense of always being the supplicant – so different to how it was before. No-one hears me as they did before, and circumstances are that I rely on the help of others to get by. I feel as if I go about cap in hand, though I ask for nothing.

I wondered on the weekend if this was intended as some lesson for me. For a man once so proud and independent nothing can be worse than having that independence undermined and pride tarnished by irrelevance. If it is, it’s a lesson I don’t want to learn. Here I draw the line. I’m more humble than I’ve ever been, but I have to stand for something. I have nothing now but who I am and I can’t give that up.

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