The Office Leaving Card: this is perhaps my current bugbear. I’m currently temping somewhere, one of my better jobs actually, where there is a handover going on from temps to permanent staff, and someone is leaving every other day. So there are loads of leaving cards knocking about and collections for people I barely know. Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous, but people seem determined to share every experience.
The situation reminds me of the minute’s silence and black armbands you get in practically every football match nowadays. There are temps leaving after just six weeks, as temps do, and there are leaving cards and leaving dos being organised on their behalf. I see the people leaving pretending not to notice the 150 plus members of staff inching towards their desk with weird grins on their faces. They know a card and present is on the way from people whose names they may not even know.
Emotional emails are then sent out to all staff after card and gifts have been received and always include contact details.
And I struggle with this. We’re temps. It’s the nature of our work that we’re passing through. We don’t enjoy job security. We have no safety net. Assignments come and go. If I could stay, I would. But I can’t, so like Dr David Banner, I have to sling my bag over my shoulder and move on to try and find job 151.
Leaving a job after a few weeks or just a few months is no big deal. It’s not enough time for a job to become so embedded in your affections that leaving is a trauma. I work with people who have been in their jobs for years. When they leave, sure, I can understand them having a leaving do. It’s a major event for them. Got no problem with that. Maybe I’d even sign their card. I don’t know. I’d certainly at least think about it.
"I see the people leaving pretending not to notice the 150 plus members of staff inching towards their desk with weird grins on their faces. They know a card and present is on the way from people whose names they may not even know."
But I have made it clear to some overly-enthusiastic colleagues here that I will not be signing any more leaving cards for temp staff, and I will not be giving over any more money. Cards should not be left on my desk. And I’m sticking to this despite being labelled by one colleague a ‘cold and bitter man’. And I don’t want a card when I get the chop. I don’t need one. I’m all for the low-key exit. It’s classy. Far classier than these shared experiences.
And it’s with great pride that I recall not turning up to a leaving do organised on my behalf by colleagues in a previous temp assignment last year.
Going back even further, in another job, there was this leaving card doing the rounds for this guy who was going on a career break – his second in as many years – so for a start, I felt there should be no leaving card for someone just going on a career break, let alone a second career break. So I was never going to sign and I let the colleague excitedly circulating the card know why I wasn’t signing.
Secondly, there’d been a collection and they’d bought him this baseball glove and everyone was signing it. What was this guy doing following an American sport? That was my second reason for not signing it.
I’m so tempted in this present job to get one big card that everyone signs in which we agree, no more cards. And that same card gets circulated every time someone leaves.
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