Just leave, already…
In the past couple of weeks we’ve had at least half a dozen people leave the team. This has been for a variety of reasons – new and exciting career opportunities, promotions, internal investigations – but whatever the reason each has resulted in the dreaded envelope of death:
The Leaving Process.
There is nothing wrong with saying goodbye; short, sharp and to the point this is a nice thing to do without getting overly sentimental. But that’s not easy enough, is it?
The starting level is a Card, signed by colleagues and co-workers. This level is where the problem starts.
You see, you need to first take a look at what else has been said to get the general tone. You don’t want to be too friendly and informal if everyone else is offering cold good luck phrases, likewise you don’t want to be an ice queen if the rest of the team are espousing their every virtue. There’s also the tricky point about where on The Card you actually pen your words of luck; do you go for a corner, a strategically sound spot but also one that attracts the eye like a dancer from Strictly or do you instead opt for a side or area which attracts the eye like a typical back bencher? How long should your message be? Do you leave kisses after your name?
Then there’s The Collection. Everyone fears Collection time, especially if you are one of the first in the queue. You don’t want to feel like a cheapskate and potentially jeapordise your own eventual collection, equally you didn’t know them that well… Do you empty your pocket of shrapnel with an apologetic and gaelic shrug, confidently throw it in there hoping that no-one notices the copper nature of your coinage or do you pop some paper money in and gingerly withdraw some change?
Whatever happens, you have to avoid like the plague any hint of you being responsible for turning The Collection into The Gift. You will get The Gift wrong, no matter how large The Collection is. Whether you go for a single large Gift or opt for a smaller one and a bunch of flowers, they will accept it with a rueful smile and a desperate plea for the receipt.
Next comes The Speech, from the highest person in authority you know who wasn’t smart enough to be on leave that day. They will spend ten minutes giving them the most backhanded of compliments and looking back on every fould-up they ever made, icily dredging up horrific incidents from their past follwed simply by the phrase ‘we can laugh about it all now of course’. Rest assured, nobody wants to laugh about it. Ever.
The leaver then does the most play-it-safe speech they possibly can, biting down the bile rising in them and not saying the things they have been promising to say for the last two weeks through a combination of fear and realisation that references may still be required. They either mumble something incoherent or launch into fifteen minutes of thanking each and every person sitting near them, regardless of actual friendship, giving off the impression that they are in fact a benevolent individual who spreads love and happiness wherever they go (not the self-laothing trogladyte that they actually are).
Finally and most embarrasingly is the Leaving Drinks. No-one wants to go, the only person who gets drunk is the leaver and that is usually after the rest of their team have left and they’ve attached themselves to a random group of drug-adled locals dancing to Mark Ronson tracks and drinking Jaegerbombs.
Frankly, enough is enough. This is crippling me financially and ruining any semblance of socialisation that our team needs to develop. If you’re going to leave consider your peers and do it quietly – a whimper, a box for your things and an e-mail is more than enough thank you very much.