After a mad week of trying to hand over my old job to incoming colleagues, the day finally arrived that would conclude my dozen or so years of working for the Business School. It's certainly been a strange day, with more than a few tears at the prospect of no longer sharing office space nor confidences with people whom I would count more as friends than co-workers. We spend a lot of time together, enjoying each others' sense of humour, offering support in stressful times and generally contributing to the process of keeping each other sane, even without taking into account the store of knowledge that we each possess that enables the job to get done. Nobody is indispensable but the whole is always greater than than the sum of the parts, and taking one of those parts away could lead, if not to disaster, then at least to a few hiccups.
But I'd grown increasingly confident that my replacements would pick up the tasks and run with them, so the chief sensation during the day was one of closure. I hadn't sought the change, and still have mixed feelings about the new post, but at least I have a job at the right scale and I know that my new office will be pleasant and populated by friendly colleagues. Time to move on then. With yet more gifts. Having spent many phone calls' worth of hold music, waiting to get through to the IT department to resolve overseas partners' access issues, contemplating the massive world map and not only picturing said partners in Singapore or Sri Lanka or wherever but also dreaming up new trips for myself, I knew I'd miss the map. My special friend Erin thoughtfully presented me with a more personal version: a delightful globe that will sit on a little wooden doughnut on my new desk. She and Lynne, who will both pick up the pieces of my unfinished tasks and face the challenges still to come on the partnerships' front, also gave me a lovely bouquet. Let's hope it doesn't turn to brickbats once they realise my handover could have been more thorough. Good luck, ladies.
What's that saying about one door closing and another one opening? By a quirk of immaculate timing, I had the result this morning of my application to join a start-up business project open to students, alumni and members of staff: I'm in! The plan, by means of an intensive series of workshops, a residential weekend and the support of a personal consultant, is to establish myself as a proper self-employed freelance writer. Even with a large dose of luck, this may take some time to yield results so I guess I won't be giving up the (new) day job just yet, but I think it's brilliant that I'll have something constructive, crucially of my own choosing, to do on those extra two days per week having reverted to part-time hours. If nothing else, it'll keep me scribbling away, and sometimes we writers need all the discipline we can get!