Yesterday was my last day at IBM. I wrote a few weeks back about resigning and the thoughts and feelings around that. I figured I'd also capture some thoughts on the last 5 weeks, and my last day.
It is a very strange thing to work a notice period. For me it was 5 weeks from handing in my resignation to my last day. This is odd, because up to the point of resigning I had built up a lot of 'energy' and decisiveness to take action. Finding the new job, the excitement of finding out I'd been offered the role, the act of resigning, these are all very positive steps. But then nothing changes, I had to spend 4/5 weeks turning up to the old job, the old desk trying to find useful things to do but without starting any major new work. This slips you back in to a very 'low energy' state, and feels like a big drop in momentum. I find I'm now filled with excitement again and can't wait to get going on Monday. But for the last few weeks I didn't know whether I'd feel this way, and I wondered whether I would find it hard to rekindle the enthusiasm and energy to tackle this big new challenge. I guess there is no other way to really do these things, you need to provide adequate warning, and if it was the job disappearing rather than your own choice to leave, then I guess 4 weeks feels like really short notice. However my wait is now over.
My last day was not entirely as I expected. We had heavy snow fall Wednesday night/Thursday morning, so my last Thursday was spent working from home. Although I did make it into the office for my last day, many people were unable to do so. Including my manager, and most of the team. This meant handing my laptop to the nearest manager I could find, and walking myself off site, handing my badge in to security. It also meant that I didn't have to go through the farewell card/speech thing. This was a definite plus...if you've ever attended one of these, a big group turns up at the desk of the leaver, and their manager makes a slightly awkward speech about how much they've liked working with them, and how much they'll be missed. Wishes of good luck are professed, and then the leaver is expected to say an equally awkward few words, and generally pretend that the reason they're leaving is not because they felt under appreciated, and generally hacked off with the company. This ceremony is normally marked by no clear 'ok everyone can leave now' moment, so there is often a slightly uncomfortable 'are we done now?' confusion as people sort of drift away again. I'm really quite happy that the weather afforded me the opportunity to just leave, go to the pub with a few people and call it a day.
Whilst there are many people I would have liked to see, and it's a shame that they were unable to make it, in truth I'm happier in a small group around a table, than amongst a crowd feeling like I should speak to everyone. So this also worked in my favour, I got to spend lunch with a handful of colleagues, and then went for some drinks in the evening with a different handful. This suited me perfectly, so I highly recommend arranging snow as you are leaving your job ;-)
Of course in this modern world of blogs, twitter & LinkedIn, it's easier than ever to stay in touch with people regardless of whether you still work with them. So there is no sense of those relationships ending, so no real need for a big final 'good bye' gathering.
I will however miss my frequent coffee breaks and those I distracted from their work on a regular basis, I'll have to make more effort to plan social things outside of work instead. ;-)