Friday, 1 February 2008

The end of an era

Today is the last day in the office for our current head of department before he heads off to pastures new. It’s hard to believe today is his last day, I’ve only just got used to the idea that he’s leaving and here he is clearing out his office to leave. I’ve never really got used to the fact that everyone in the US, regardless of seniority, seems to be on a 2week notice period, it’s so short compared to the six months notice required for many of my friends who hold senior positions in the UK.

It's quite a sad day really. I’ve worked for him so long it'll be weird not to have him around anymore. He hired me to work here just a month shy of 7years ago and although I’ve had my moments where I haven’t exactly agreed with his way of doing things - he can be terrible for having favourites and he’s always been very reluctant to expense a few drinks on those rare occasions he’s called upon to reward his underpaid, hard working staff. Seriously you’d think he was being asked to spend his own money - but for the most part I've appreciated working for him and I’ve learned a lot so seeing him leave is like the end of an era.

I'm not the only one that feels that way. His resignation stunned a lot of people as everyone just seemed to assume he'd be around forever. He made no secret of the fact that he loved working here and he did very well for himself. Understandably news of his resignation led to a lot of whispering in corridors with people speculating as to whether he’d decided to leave of his own accord or whether he'd been pushed out due to the recent deterioration of his working relationship with certain senior someone, especially given the company he’s leaving us for hasn’t exactly had rosy financial prospects of late. It feels like a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire to me and so in a wine fuelled bravado at his leaving do on Wednesday night, I decided to ask him what the story was on his resignation.

You would have been proud of me, I fearlessly got down to the nitty gritty and did not once shirk from asking the hard hitting questions. Seriously I’m like Jeremy Paxman after a couple of glasses of wine; except unlike Jeremy I have absolutely no problems whatsoever with the quality of my
M&S underwear, you’ll find no quibbles here about the supportiveness of their underpinnings, oh no, in fact their lingerie appears to be of a far superior quality to the shite sold in Victoria’s Secret, but I digress…..

He’s usually a very diplomatic person, so I was surprised when he responded to my questions very frankly and pretty much told me flat out that he’d decided to leave because of his rapidly souring relationship with the CSS who, putting it mildly, has a reputation for being difficult.

“I really just couldn’t deal with it any more” he told me. ”It wasn’t worth it to stay.”

I can’t say I blame him. He’s lasted longer than most, but I saw first hand back in September how the CSS treated him and it wasn’t pretty. A few of us later learned from our manager – the one who's been promoted into his position – that things got so bad between them that they both used him as a conduit to communicate with each other. You know the way you do when you're about 12 and you’re mad at someone, so you refuse to speak to that person things directly even when they are standing right next to you? Instead you talk to them through a third party and say things like 'Miles, could you ask Kimberley if she’d like a cup of tea please?'

It's hard to believe that I work for grown ups sometimes.

Anyway I’m very sorry to see him leave us, but I wish him all the best. It’s a small industry so I'm sure our paths will cross again in future.


Photo of Jeremy Paxman courtesy of the BBC

9 comments:

Ha Ha Sound said...

Sorry to hear that he's leaving. How do you think that this will affect your job? Any chance of a promotion for you? =+)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Ha Ha, it won't affect me too much. I used to report to him directly, but then he got promoted so M was promoted to be my boss. I will still report to M who sort of got promoted to replace him.

To be honest I don't feel ready for a promotion, I'm enjoying where I am for now. A promotion would bring me too close to the 'Certain Senior Someone' who can be a complete nightmare. Dozens have people have resigned because of this person.

Sometimes it pays to be less ambitious ;-)

Have a great weekend.

thewishfulwriter said...

I find it absolutely amazing that a CSS can be responsible for dozens of people quitting (or being let go as is the case where I'm working right now) and NO ONE stops to ask why or consider that perhaps the CSS is the problem.

I hate office bullies. especially when they have big titles.

i'm not a big fan of change in the work environement - when things are working well. i know you'll miss that relationship, but you're doing the right thing keeping up with him. who knows when your paths will cross!

and you know what - he probably really appreciated someone asking him point blank what his leaving was all about.

Kitty said...

hm. I hope the aftermath is better, but things tend to trickle down.

at least you have him as a good connection!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Heather, I hear you. Sorry to hear you have a similar bully at work. This particular CSS is a complete nightmare, dozens have resigned rather than continue working with this person. The word 'psycho' is a term I hear a lot when people speak of them. Fortunately I have a buffer for now.

Hi Kitty, yes my fear is that additional responsibilities will somehow trickle down, but I'm keeping my head down and hoping for the best ;-)

Amel's Realm said...

Ahhhh...glad you had the conversation with him. Speaking of conduits, my Mom is my bridge to get to Dad. Dad's more conservative, so if I want something that I know my Mom will support that Dad will probably not, I tell Mom first so that Mom can help explain it to Dad.

Dad and I are too alike...if he starts talking heatedly, I'll also use a raised tone of voice. In order to avoid this, Mom's the best way out he he...

And I AGREE COMPLETELY with you that sometimes it pays to be less ambitious. :-))))

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, sounds like a good strategy to getting what you want :-)

Amel's Realm said...

HE HE HE...yes, and Mom can be very persuasive and since she's always positive, she can help change Dad's mind HA HA HA HA...or she can always come up with a middle ground for us to meet. ;-D

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, your Mom sounds like a very wise woman :-)