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And So It Ends Begins

I decided to chronicle my last day ... it's a bit self-indulgent, but that's what blogs are for, eh?

:: :: ::

8:00 am

An early morning blackberry check-in brought me the following ...

From a good friend …

Subject: Five Minutes! Five Minutes!

This is your five minute call, Mr M.
The rest of your life begins this evening.
Five Minutes!

Seriously, if the paperwork gets too much today, call me.

Have a good one.



From one of “the good ones” in the New York office

Good luck. Don’t look back.

From an ex-employee

Bob -- you were a manager that allowed me to work independently, which made coming to work a pleasure. Thanks so much for your support, understanding and exposure e.g., Speech Works and PAICR. I wish you all the best. I'll stay and touch


Also got a kind message from the CEO of the company.

Wrote thank-you (condolence?) notes to my staff, who get (have?) to stick around for a couple months helping with the transition. They really are troopers … pretty much got the shaft and, despite my protests, there was nothing I could do.

9:15 am

On the tube platform, I realized I didn’t have my work ID. Am I already gone or do I secretly not want to turn it in and officially end my access to the office? I decide not to overthink it (me? not overthink? what??), get a coffee from the corner Pret a Manger and have a leisurely walk back to the flat.

On the tube ride to the office, I come up with some ideas for a “things to do while unemployed” project. Perhaps a side blog … dedicated to the job search. It’ll be interesting to track the progress, and it might be a fun project to create a specific site for that. If it gets some readers, it might even give me some accountability to make some job search goals and stick to them. Or maybe it’s just procrastinating on the actual job search itself. We’ll see ... watch this space for details.

10:00 am

Get to the office and realize I should have sent a lot more of this crap home a long time ago. Go on hunt for boxes and trash bins.


Hunt for boexes hasn’t happened. People who haven’t spoken to me for weeks are stopping by or calling. That's nice. Must get packed … or just leave it all behind and just close the door. There are a couple vultures trying to get out of the open concept and into the office, so they can clean it up.

But that'd be mean.

My horoscope via text messaging (which is usually total rubbish) says: “Change is good for you Virgo. Stop complaining! It’s helping you to loosen up. Don’t fight the inevitable.”

Hey, who’s complaining? I guess I could use some loosening up … all this running and gym work have left me a little tight and sore. Memo to self: schedule a massage.

My Daily Om says: “Regardless of outcome, there are no wrong decisions.”

See, I’m on the right track. Just made a decision to get a massage and I’m validated by my daily dose of zen email.


Random headhunter (who found my CV on efinancialservices.com) calls to get some details for something a contract job I don’t think I’m the right fit for. But there’s no such thing as a bad opportunity, so I’ll go talk to the folks in Surrey. Or Sussex. Can’t remember. It's a 50-minute commute to work in the suburbs. And the money's good but not great. We'll see. Too early to settle, but never to early to see what's out there.

Headhunter with whom I have induction appointment on Thursday calls to reschedule. It’s now 11am instead of 1pm.

Back-to-back recruitment calls. Is unemployment going to be this busy?

Where's that masseur?


I still need those boxes.

12:30 pm

Have the last official Brand This! conference call under my helm. Don’t really know why we’re having it, but his highness wants to officially do the handover thing. Interestingly, they've yet to tell me who it’s being handed over to. Turns out it’s one of the people who has the least amount of time and has never met a deadline since I’ve known him. He’s not on the call. Apparently too busy. This bodes well for the project.

Halfway through the call, his highness says “I have to go to another meeting, but this is a good discussion. Bob will prepare notes and next actions and circulate. It’s a shame he’s leaving us this afternoon.”

Um, if memory serves, you’re the one who made me redundant. “A shame.” Hmph. And giving me work to do with only a few hours left on my last day? Unbelievable. I have an uncharacteristiclly indignant moment and whip off several emails for support. I should be drinking and leaving early. What's this work nonsense?

Emails are duly acknowledged.

I resolve to do the work in the spirit of "we'll burn no bridges."


Boxes have arrived. Start cleaning out files and realize I have a bunch of expenses to submit. I so needed an admin. I kept telling them …

Maybe in the next gig.


Expenses are submitted and (very, very brief) notes on BT! call written and distributed.

A couple of lovely e-cards from some “good ones” in other offices, although one had me being toasted with toilet water … and not the French perfume.


Boxes are packed. Loaded up the first one, lifted it off the table and the bottom fell out: folders, papers, wetsuit (I’m still confused about that one), and 3 bottles of wine (xmas gifts that never made it home) crash to the floor.


How does one end up with 5 mini umbrellas in one tiny office?

I found so many memories. Photos of gay boat trips from years ago. Photos of New Years in Provincetown when we were geishas at Gallerani’s. Pictures of a very funny man who left NY to move to London and is now dead (I still have weird feelings about a potential parallel nonexistence). Pictures and cards from friends I’d thought I’d lost. And so.much.crap. The shredder’s going to be very busy.

Memo to self: in the next job, purge your damn files (and stacks of ‘I’ll get to these soon’) … REGULARLY


Call his highness to say goodbye and thanks for everything. Unsurprisingly, I get the standard response, “I’m very busy, call me back in 10 minutes.”


“I’m still on the phone. What’s your number?”

Um, the same one it’s been for almost 18 months.


His highness calls. Asks how I am. Tells me the call went well and thanks me for it and tells me to not forget about him. I assure him I won’t.

He really is a charming man, and, for the most part, has been very good to me. Many wonder if in fact he does have a soul, and I believe he does. Way down, deep down, buried under all that "business first" blah blah, there's a kind man.

But he should've laid off the other guy. Anyway ....


A few more goodbyes, two boxes down to reception where I have them call me a taxi to cart all my shit home. Threw away a ton of stuff.

Now I have to go and turn in my badge, my laptop, and my cell phone (what??? I haven’t paid for my cell phone in over 10 years, this is horrible --- email if you don’t have the new number). Oh yeah, my blackberry has to go to.

Now this, my friends, is very sad.

Goodbye Mr. Blackberry … gosh, I think I’ll miss you most of all.

And so, without ceremony, I save my last blog post on this here work machine, email it home to be posted later on tonight.

What is it they say -- for every window that you get thrown out of, a new door opens.


:: :: ::

Later that night ....

So I closed the Word file, sent it off home and started to shut down the computer. I decided to put a final "out of office" on Outlook; partly for closure, partly for anybody who may not know how to get in touch with me if need be. I was amazed by how many people wrote back to the I'm-outta-here email saying, "I had no idea."

I reworked my out-of-office template, and then, as I always do, gave it a test.

The message came back, working perfectly.

Thanks for your message. I am no longer with BrandThis!

Should you need to contact me directly, I can be reached at ...

I read it. “I’m no longer with… "

And so it ends, I thought. Suddenly I'm weeping like an 8-year old who'd left his bedroom door open and found out the cat had eaten his pet hamster for a late lunch. So I scurried off to the gents, had a good cry in the stall, washed my face and carried on with the day. Oh the gays ... so emotional.

Very nearly 8 years with the company. They made me associate partner a couple years ago. Now it’s over. I took my belongings down to HR as directed, where there was no one to collect them. So I just left them on a desk. No exit interview. There were lots of kind wishes and words over the past couple days. I know I did good things. I know I've made invaluable contacts and amazing friends.

But it all seems so anti-climactic. Eight years. No formal goodbyes, no going-away do, just carting out boxes with puffy eyes and a thirst for some ice-cold vodka.

And now, we move on.