Love Affair with Leaving Work
The poor bastard who pairs socks for 14 hours a day and must nail his pay packet down each Friday lest it should float away and the CEO of McManUtd. International who requires a fleet of armored vehicles to bank his remuneration have one thing in common. We all do. Little in life compares to the multi-storied pleasures of leaving work.
Let the record show at the outset that this is distinct from leaving for work, or indeed being asked to leave work, both of which are fraught with unease, danger, and potential disaster and are of no concern.
There are three categories or routes to take in leaving work. Each stands alone, but of course with combining streams to form a single Wonderful Waterway of Winding Up. These are:
Leaving at the end of the day
The joy inherent in each one intensifies as the ante is upped respectively.
Leaving at the End of the Day
It is universally acknowledged that up to almost 100% of employees actually leave work when work is over, so the first category is perhaps most familiar to us all. This category in itself has an ascending scale of glee.
The bronze medal goes to simply leaving with the happy prospect of a drudgery-free evening – just a few hours. Wherever possible spend it in recovery with a loved one, and try to get together enough for the next morning – it’s rehab every night.
The silver award is for leaving comfortable in the knowledge of a day off, bank holiday, or weekend to follow. Interestingly, perhaps borne of desperation, many of us head-start this particular aspect each Thursday. It is indeed ‘almost the weekend’ and therefore why not.
But the runaway winner is, without question, leaving work heralding the onset of an extended break. Disregard any plans to fill the gorgeous, inviting chasm of liberty – you don’t have to go in, that’s all. And here’s the thing. Usually, there’s still a job to go to (i.e. freedom tokens) at the other side as well.
Although employers are increasingly attempting to blur the boundaries between toil and leisure, to muddy our Waters, the rising air of expectancy as shift end approaches is palpable. Simple end-of-day is the most wide-eyed and innocuous of the leaving routes, but it is folly to ignore. Just getting out of the fucking place is something.
Official resignation, as the name suggests, is leaving work and never coming back, but in a dignified, not-quite-yet sort of way. Although not the ultimate employment expiry scenario, its advantages are manifold. With a little consideration this scenario can easily become a holiday whilst still nine-to-five-ing. This period is commonly referred to as Notice Limbo Utopia (NLU).
The definitive aspect of NLU is its backstory (I think I just made that word up), which reads that a new and improved position has formerly been secured elsewhere, neatly sidestepping any reference requirements. And thus the door to NLU is sesame-d. Come inside, take the weight off, you’re very, very welcome.
Tenancies in NLU are generally limited to one month, and then you have to move on. But rest assured, day-to-day delights are on (your) cards. It’s a bit like Logan’s Run really. Specifically, a slapdash approach to projects undertaken and a point-blank refusal to tackle others, coupled with a flagrant disregard for punctuality, a little industrial espionage and even small-time product theft should inform character and deportment. You are in a window of opportunity to briefly sail through life; you know what to do. Ideally, little.
And then, as final act, a crescendo, the leaving do. Ties loosened, personas dropped, and alcohol. Should you require guidance or instruction in terms of home truths, feather ruffling, or deviant mischievousness, then do not have a leaving do. Either activate the tell-it-like-it-is database or stay where you are.
Everybody, but everybody, whines about work, and all of the time. Everybody hates the boss, including the boss, and everybody despises their colleagues, including their colleagues on any given day. Only the manner in which you terminate such misery distinguishes you from the herd. Taking route number three, the walk-out, illustrates an exciting and admirable fact thus: whereas others merely talk the talk, you actually walk the fucking walk.
The walk-out is the most thrilling event working life has to offer; I don’t care how fantastic your job is. It’s in the style of a customary flight ending in a crash, or at least an emergency landing. There is no backstory, no security, and in this instance you can presume that references will not be forthcoming. This is the choice for those of us who do their crosswords in pen and be damned.
Picture yourself standing with your boss at the cliff edge, gazing across the canyon towards a bright, profitable, corporate future. Yes, you’ve both come a long way, through many a struggle and conflict, yet by jingo emerged victorious. It’s going to be alright now. It’s the closing scene of Platoon, rousing strains of Brahms’ Third crashing around you, enveloping you, battering you, suffocating you.
But Jesus Christ suddenly the record scratches and without missing a beat you put on “Anarchy in the UK” and switch the video to Thelma and Louise. Fuck, what’s going on, and with a cry of “See you on the other side, you boring old fuckerrrrrrr!” you jump. The boss stares after you into the abyss at your rapidly receding figure, aghast.
Of course, you don’t have to perform a song and dance. I once jettisoned a perfectly respectable factory position by telling my supervisor I was going to the bathroom, and then immediately heading straight for the exit, shedding my uniform as I went, a kind of walking striptease. The waves of workmate appreciation which massaged me all over the floor felt wonderful as well. No doubt, for an undiluted, immediate shot in the arm, leaving work by route three will seldom disappoint.
There is an ongoing philosophical debate concerning the relative merits of each option. One school advocates security, a safety net as enhancement to the entire leaving experience; another feels that sanctuary merely tempers the endeavor. Whilst the former is altogether more relaxed and easier on the nerves, the latter tells a better tale, and is definitely easier on the eye. Would Monopoly ever have been unfortunately christened Monotony if it was played with real money? I digress.
Mode D’ Emploi
Rest assured, then, that leaving work is one powerful and dangerous motherfucker of a tool. It is your ace in the hole and the fly in your ointment depending on how you decide to detonate.
In life, as in work (although the two should be forever separate), to welsh on a deal will always spell t-r-u-b-b-l-e. So no matter what, I’m not interested, never ever renege on leaving work for there will be tears before bedtime. Be 120 percent intent and steady on your feet as you head for the door lest …
… Once, in the company car park at around 5.30pm, I realised my house keys were still in the office behind. Without a moment’s hesitation I climbed in and drove home, where I proceeded to wait at the front door in the rain for a housemate to arrive. I lived alone. The next morning I simply retraced my steps to the car and returned to work. It was absolutely the correct course of action and I remembered my keys thereafter.
Countless times before I’ve done what you perhaps think I ought to have. And on each have been emphatically waylaid by the boss/colleague/a jangling telephone or something else that is seemingly unaware of the fucking time, and flopped home at midnight. I’m not stupid, I’m not doing it again, it’s just worth it and that’s that. You stay if you want.
Just Do It
It is suggested that changing one’s mind is a sign of weakness or uncertainty. Obviously such conjecture is utter bollocks. In fact, the idea of weakness or uncertainty consistently being a bad thing is equally ridiculous, while we’re about it. However, to the prospective leavee, there is little room for procrastination.
Using the ‘back’ button on the net all too often results in ‘the previous page has expired’, as if it were just waiting for you to go. Crudely (and very possibly lazily on my behalf), this also the case in employment. To discover that your position is no longer available, sometimes after even only 30 seconds, is fairly defeating. Being replaced is unhealthy enough for the self-portrait; the only thing worse is not being replaced, as Wilde never said, thank God. As we have already understood, leaving work ought to be a shot in the arm, as opposed to bursting your bubble. And that’s enough of tired cliché. In fact I’d drop this bit, if there wasn’t a point to be made.
Incentive versus Unreasonable Demands ft. M.C. Jobseeker and the Boss
Thou shalt not worship false Gods. The Ten Commandments are fairly important to those among us of a religious bent; the dos and don’ts of leaving work are deserving of far weightier store. Beware false profits, regardless of what’s on offer, be it financial, conditional, or otherwise beneficial. Remain steadfast of resolve, straighten your back, and thrust the chin forth. Even cultivate a dapper little moustache or apply starch to your clothing if need be. Do not bend, and do not bend for two simple reasons.
To relent is to display a characteristic which can and will be manipulated by the employer in the future. If you fail to resign fully right then and there, allow yourself to be talked out of the idea, then, no fooling, you will wish you had, and soon.
Also, reckless gift-bearing illustrates an employer so desperate, in such dire straits, that it is willing to extend itself to retain even somebody like you. Confronted with this situation be as the rat and vacate this vessel in distress.
To this end, of course you are leaving, but again, don’t rush it, give pause. For haste is to forsake the final and arguably most beautiful stretch of Leaving Work Waters. Take time to navigate the nadir of Unreasonable Demands. Make them, do.
The unreasonable demand is a straightforward yet dual fantasy thus: make one, and indignation develops before your very eyes; make another, and hopefully shock-horror will ensue; make yet one more, the most outrageous yet, and according to leading experts, a supreme effort of self-control is required on behalf of yourself and Boss Hog, albeit for contradictory reasons, as both try to keep a straight face.
That’s fantastic, I know. But, unbelievably, the zenith, the summit of Unreasonable Demand Mountain is still to be reached. I hardly dare speak of this but …
If, by some Celestial Providence your exaggerated, hysterical, altogether galactic terms are accommodated, then the Golden Stairway to Leaving Work Heaven is paved. A pause, a momentary consideration, a thoughtful stroke of the chin; and then, delivered in an even, level tone, the legendary, mythical, mentioned-only-in-whispers rapturous response:
“Do you know, I think I’m gonna leave anyway.”
What a fucking way to go.
Leave work indeed, but know what you’re doing and do it properly. Never, ever, ever, ever blow it by doing something unforgivable like simply not going back. There is just far too much to lose.