The long goodbye

I’m in the middle of a two-month notice period at work and I’m sliding into a state of irrelevance. Handover work is ongoing and I’m helping with the recruitment process for my replacement. Nearly two months is an incredibly long time when you know, and your current employer knows, that you’re leaving. I haven’t quite reached the chair-spinning stage yet (on my last day in a previous role I spent the afternoon in the library office spinning in my chair and singing Goldfinger to my bemused colleagues) but I’m definitely winding down.

There are now meetings that I don’t attend – or meetings that I attend the start of and then part-way through someone says ‘You don’t need to be here for this bit Jo…you’re welcome to stay of course’ (I am not expected to stay and if I did it would just get awkward, so I gracefully depart.) All meeting invitations after 27th September have been declined and deleted, some with more relish than others. I do have the occasional ‘Oh’ moment though, when conversations and meetings about the library happen without my knowledge. It’s a forcible reminder that it’s not *my* library any more. I think I’m allowed to feel a little sad about that.

More and more people in the organisation know that I’m going. I started off telling those close to me in person, which led to some difficult and sad conversations. Then my departure was announced in team meetings. Then it was announced in the strategy directorate news email. I have booked a venue for my leaving do and now the wider London team knows. I’ll be writing something about my departure for the next current awareness bulletin. There’s talk of my departure being announced as a news story on the staff intranet. Gradually everyone will know.

I have been described by colleagues as irreplaceable, an institution, a massive loss to the organisation, a hard act to follow. All of which is extremely flattering, but the sun shines, the world turns and later this year someone else will become LIS Manager and I’ll quickly become a distant memory, if I’m even remembered at all.

After I handed in my notice I expected to have a middle of the night “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?” moment but it simply hasn’t happened. I have done everything (and more) I could possibly achieve in my current role and while I could sit here for the next ten or twenty years quite happily, I don’t think it would be healthy for me or my organisation.

It’s an oddly enjoyable time. I have been able to let go of a lot of things that were irritating me because they simply don’t matter. Whether they really, in the grand scheme of things, mattered before is now irrelevant. The pressure is – finally – off for a little while and I’ve started doing long-neglected hobbies again because I have more brain space to enjoy them.

I’m going to be incredibly busy in my new role. I haven’t been a newbie for a very long time and I know my brain will ache with exhaustion from trying to remember names, procedures, how to get in and out of the building, and learning a completely new job from scratch.

Even though I’m becoming irrelevant to my organisation *now* I have done some impressive things over the last decade and that I shouldn’t allow myself to minimise my achievements in my current role.

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