Two things happened today that brought an involuntary wistful smile to my face. One, whilst leaving for work this morning, I realised my trousers & shirt were the exact same ones I'd been wearing on my first day of work (of course they've been washed after that day). Two, as part of my handover, when going through the numerous folders and documents that have accumulated over the year, I chanced upon the very first piece of work I'd been assigned.
It has been just over a year since I started working at this organisation and today is my last day. It was a good first job; not very demanding and convenient in many ways but in the long run, not the most ideal of workplaces. Every employee among you must have collated a list of negatives about your respective office & I am no different. However, I will not be airing the dirty laundry in public except to say that I have learned a fair amount over the last 13 months, though sadly none of it had anything pertaining to my work. Instead, I've got a very good idea of work-culture in India. This was my first proper employment gig and I was laughably naive about office life and group dynamics. Not any more.
I want to say I feel sad or nostalgic about leaving but it would be a lie. The truth is I was tired of working here. Having never worked in a large corporate office, I'm no expert on office politics there. But its also pretty rough working in an office with a small staff and even an even smaller team. Its especially tricky when other people in the team are long established. I realised very gradually that these people may loathe each other and not respect any contribution except their own but are forced into an ambiguously-twisted symbiotic relationship to keep their jobs. Don't even get me started on the sycophancy permeating the team. Suffice to say, I want to salute the tenacity with which things seem to get done in an atmosphere more suited to a shabby murder-mystery. You know... whispered conversations, endless gossip, pointed looks and childish attempts to introduce difficulties into the simplest of processes.
I am going to miss a few people though. They all seem to be the ones with a sense of humour I can relate to and who know how to mind their own business. In their own way, they made the hours tolerable and I am thankful.
Knowing what I know now, I did not forewarn the new employee who's coming in to replace me today. Like mine, this is her first job & she has a right to choose to learn the lessons I did.
Today, the clock will tick calmly towards closing time & I will take a final glance at my desk with the piles of papers & other stationery that prove I existed here professionally till now. Lying around for a better part of the year in that naturally higgledy-piggledy way, they will now be stacked neatly. Too neatly... hinting gently that at least one person won't be back here on Monday morning.
Over the year, on many a frustrating day or stiflingly slow afternoons I have written blog posts sitting at this computer. This is my last post from here & the only thing left to say is "Bonne Chance".
Song for the moment: Long nights - Eddie Vedder
Update: So, I felt a little bad after all.