As redundancy continues its path for me, I have experienced one of the strangest stages.
Although technically I am still employed until the 6th of April, I left work on Tuesday to start my gardening leave. How would I describe that day....
A cross between loads of people leaving for a Christmas break and someone dying. There were 23 people from my department alone leaving on the 13th. A lot of goodbyes, a million "Nice to know you emails, see ya" and a series of leaving do's. A party with an underlying darkness that taints things with an odd taste.
Don't get me wrong, it's not been the most depressing week of my life. In fact it's the beginning of something new for me. Optimism is still flowing. But at the end of the party "Have a nice life" sounds a bit final. "See you tomorrow", doesn't work anymore... A common, reflexive comment just doesn't work anymore. There's a little moment of awkwardness until someone cracks a quip and then it's over.
It was also my birthday. Except it was slightly taken over by other things. It won't be my fondest bday, but it'll probably be one I remember for a few years to come.
Still the outplacement company they have got to help us find new jobs actually seems OK. Even the most cynical of us thought they sounded reasonably decent, and believe me, being made redundant (voluntary or not) will bring out the cynic in you if it's not already there (I've seen some people change...). Time will tell if they are actually any good.
Onward and upward. It's time to take on the world.