Going Scorched Earth

I often fantasize about the day when I will quit my job. In this fantasy, I’m standing on my desk tossing the shredded pieces of my last performance review in the air while screaming, “Sayonara, suckers!” Then I smash my computer with a sledgehammer and run away, cackling wildly, at which point the entire building spontaneously combusts because my sweat and hard labor were the only things holding it together.

This is probably not the way I will go out, but a girl can dream.

One of my co-workers recently celebrated his last day, and his departure got me thinking about the proper way to leave a company. It was no secret that he had been unhappy and we were all glad that he had found a job that seemed to suit him better. But he committed what I feel is the cardinal sin of job-quitting (aside from giving less than two weeks notice) – phoning it in on your last day.

We’re all guilty of slacking off when the end is in sight. I once had a professor who held the last day of class AFTER the final exam, and was surprised when no one showed up. But the stakes are higher when you quit a job because the people you leave behind could be useful to you in the future as contacts, job referrals, or references. It’s absolutely senseless to flush away the months or years that it took to build those relationships because you’re just itching to run out onto that sidewalk, throw your fists in the air, and let out a victory howl.

So when my last day comes at last, I plan to sit at my desk all day, very calmly answering emails and getting my affairs in order. Then I will politely shake some hands, look my co-workers in the eye, and lie to them that I will come back and visit all the time. At 6:01 on the nose I will step out onto the sidewalk, look back at the company logo on the door, and shed a single tear as I walk away toward my new life.

Then, when I’m at a safe distance, I’ll scream, “Sayonara, suckers!” and take off running.

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4 thoughts on “Going Scorched Earth

  1. BigHeadKid says:

    Ok, no, absolutely not. I can’t let this post walk on by without picking this apart.

    That’s all there is to your last day fantasy? It’s very impersonal. There’s no one you want to call out and ask, “Why are you the way you are?” without really caring what the answer is or feeling guilty for asking but doing it just because you can? You don’t fantasize about the terrified looks on the faces of your boss and co-workers when they realize you’re really leaving? The satisfaction you have when repeatedly rejecting their offers to pay you more money?

    Did I just take issue with your own fantasy? Yes. Yes, I did.

    That’s what you think you’ll be doing on your last day? First of all, you will not be sitting at your desk all day. There will be cake you’ll need to eat at your going away party, which will be held in the conference room. And knowing you, your affairs will have been in order weeks ago. If they aren’t right now. Your successor will have already been handpicked and in place and be the one to deal with any actual work-related emails. You’ll simply be answering all the “Goodbye” and “Best of luck” emails that will have flooded your inbox.

    And you ain’t shedding no single tear. Maybe a heavy sigh fraught with all the emotional baggage you associate with your time at your current employer. Followed by a slow Cheshire grin. And you’ll feel this tremendous weight being lifted off your shoulders. Giggling will ensue. In fits and starts. Randomly while you’re on your way home. Free at last, free at last!!

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