Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Glass Hammers and Chocolate Teapots or How I became as Useful as a Screen Door on a Submarine . . .

Some of you have asked 'How was your last day at work . .? ' and to those who emailed good wishes and kind thoughts, thank you for asking, I really appreciate it. Lovely to know that others are thinking about me when I feel a little isolated. It's been quite a learning curve as those I least expected have offered support and kindness and some I have known for years have said absolutely nothing. They're as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike!

I was retrenched formally on the 15th April although my best friend had alerted me to the fact that it might be on the cards for some time. Hopeful that the business would pick up through the March quarter, I worked my bum off, made suggestions for revenue-raising, website improvement, lead generation and client contact and was met largely with blank stares and a feeling of fete accompli . . my position was to go and that was that. My boss was being very curt with me at the time and I didn't know why but he was struggling with how to tell me after doing battle in my corner for weeks so I appreciate that. One of the other partners totally ignored me and I didn't know why. I was sworn to secrecy and kept schtum about the whole prospect. I felt a useless as a string condom.

Anyway, I'm a professional and love the people I work with, especially the three Executive Assistants in the "Quad" as we affectionately call it. So named because four workstations make a square with each of us positioned in each corner and a wide open space in the middle. We laughed, we chatted at that tiresome 3:30pm. We shared our thoughts, discussed our families, solved each other's problems and asked each other what was on the menu for dinner. Because I liked them, and one was away on holiday when the news hit, I decided to stay on until 15 May to hand over and make sure life was made a little easier for those taking on extra responsibilities.

I didn't work every day. If I had interviews, I'd take a day off. If I needed new glasses, I'd take a day off. I went in late, I finished early. Frankly, once the announcement was made it was embarrassing going into work knowing that you had no value or real reason to be there. The Quad girls are eminently capable, Marketing went straight to the licensee who wasted no time producing materials to a lower standard and a higher cost but . . .they produced them. IT was handled by a very competent outsourcer and troubleshooting passed over to an equally competent Jaime and once Laura returned from her leave, she took the mantle of EA on admirably. I realised once and for all, my position really was 'redundant'. I had become as useless as a chocolate teapot . . .

So, final Friday . . wondered in late, . .took down the wonder wall of all my blogpals which was very hard, I'd grown used to your smiling faces and sweet words and symbols that greeted me every morning and will now have to 'erect' something at home to keep my spirits up. Told my funnies people to send their hilarity to my personal email. Took a few lovely calls from a couple of clients and suppliers who were sad to see me go. I had one email from a partner who was unable to attend due to his daughter's impending wedding. and despite the fact he doesn't like my 'team building' style and I think he's a frosty old sod, he acknowledged that I'd done a good job over the years and he was grateful. A nice gesture I guess. So, little left to do but tidy the desk, clear the cache and head for lunch.

The problem with these 'departure' lunches is, you can't be 'exclusive' about who you invite and can be even less exclusive by refusing to attend so there were a couple of people who attended that I really didn't want to be there. They were seated as far away from me as possible so they didn't bother me. Seriously? They were just there for the free lunch and a chance to escape work for a couple of hours, neither bad me farewell in the end. Both as useless as tits on a bull!

I received beautiful flowers and chocolate, $500 worth of vouchers for the local shopping centre. Well needed as I'm desperate for more 'corporate' clothing and new shoes. The Quad girls had previously framed a photo of the four of us and duly signed it. I love it the most.

gave a heartfelt speech and I declined to reply other than a quick 'Thank you . . ." for fear of incriminating myself had I taken up the gauntlet and said more.

Actually, it was very nice. I sat with Thommo and Char, Jaime and Laura. We laughed I drank (a lot). I conducted myself with grace and good humour. Wondered back into the office, gathered my remaining belongings, put on my red 'power' trench coat and bid fast farewells and left feeling as useless as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.

As I walked through the underground carpark, I had this rather foreboding feeling that an era had ended, two friendships had changed, others had cemented. TheBoss met me with a bottle of Moet in his hand and a silent apology all over his face. We exchanged a quick peck and that was it. Nine years of familiarity and I was tossed back onto the pile. I wasn't emotional, I wasn't upset . . just numb and feeling about as useless as a glass hammer.So, arrived home about 4 ish . . .opened a bottle, shared a couple of glasses with Clare who's going through her own dramas and then headed out at 9:30 to Gold Class Cinema to watch Angels and Demons. Damn that recliner! I was so warm and fuzzy after a plate of spring rolls and two more glasses of champagne that I slept through most of it, woken only by a couple of prods from Clare because I was snoring and in time for that silliest of moments when the priest flies a helicopter containing anti-matter and parachutes into the Vatican fountain. . .really wish they'd cut that scene! Ah well, the thought was there and apparently the film was OK but none of the magic of the Da Vinci Code (stop groaning! I liked it!).

Thanks possums for your kind thoughts and emails and for your messages of support. I know that at least three of my commenters are or soon will be out of work. As a single, it's a daunting prospect. As a couple, it's tolerable. Good luck to you all as we embark on new things hopefully!

One door closes and another one opens . . soon . . . any moment now . . .really . . c'mon . . when you're ready . . .either that or find me a rich man with a heart condition! But for now, I'm about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.


jay said...

'... As useful as an ashtray on a motorbike'! ROFL! That's the one I like best, although 'chocolate teapot' is always a winner, because, well, you know, you can always eat it, can't you?

I know that feeling of working out your notice, when the notice comes from others, not you. It's bloody embarrassing is what it is. Kudos to you for behaving with grace and dignity. You will get another job, and possibly a better one! Let's hope so.

Hails said...

You are entertaining even through crisis and when you are feeling as usless as an inflatable dartboard or a solar-powered torch! :)

Hope an opportunity comes up soon, Baino. One that is not as useless as alcohol-free vodka or a waterproof teabag. xx

Brian Miller said...

as a fellow unemployed commentor...suggest looking for something part time to at least keep a little money coming in. Learned that lesson the last time, 12 years ago...

Last days of work can be miserable. Glad you survived and have $500 to show for it. Don't trow glass hammers in subs with screen doors, you might make a hole!

River said...

Something will turn up for you. I'm sure of it. As Brian said, even part-time is better than nothing, and often leads to a full-time position. My girl got her current job by being the most competent work experience applicant they'd ever had. even though she was out of their age range (they'd advertised for a junior), they loved her so much, she's still there 8 years later.

i beati said...

please open my door . ha ha but not Sandy

Kath Lockett said...

Look Baino - STOP saying that you're about as useless as a dry sponge in the desert and so forth... I know it's just being self-deprecating but you are well rid of that job and will find something much much better.

I'm sorry that I didn't realise that Friday was your last day - I was too focussed on enjoying reading about your RSPCA Million Paws Walk - good to see that you still had a great day out regardless of the craptastic month you've had at work.

Chin up, my friend.

Kate said...

I do know how you are feeling but that's easy to feel! Deep down inside you is the fighter, that knows her worth and given a few days will climb out and face the world and the employment scene with renewed energy!!!
Don't let the B******s grind you down!

Susan said...

Hey Baino. Wish I could send a big hug over the connection (though knowing my connection it wouldn't arrive until the year 2412).

Glad you enjoyed your bottle anyhow, and your lunch, and I hope you find wonderful things while shopping with your vouchers--including a new job that you like even better than the old one, hope hope hope.

Or, if not, you've got time now to go feed ducks in the park, which is a *perfect* place to find a lonely old rich fellow with a sweet nature AND a heart condition. I'll be wishing you all the luck in the world.

Sarah Lulu said...

I can't wait to be a witness to the next chapter of your life ....obviously you are way too smart and funny to be stuck in a quad any longer...

Keep us posted!

God bless your new journey.

Candie Bracci said...

Oh Baino!That post moved me a lot.I can feel many different feelings here all at once!You expressed it so well.You should consider paying paid for what you write.Your sentences with as useless as..were so great!Anyway,you know,I'm here anytime,if you wanna talk.I hope you will find something soon.

You know it's kind of difficult for so many.Paying this and that.At the moment,I don't work,keeping my son and blogging.I write a book too.Normally I work in a shop,part time but it ain't worth it to go back there,I was earning shit.Besides,I want to write,any job as long as I can write.So apart from my blog,which is perso and I don't want to add any adverts or stuff,I might create another blog,where I might talk about something I know,well in my case won't be food or sport,but might be something esoteric,lol.But still even if it's 20 euros by month,it doesn't matter,everything will be fine.Cause I really need money now.I'm thinking about it those days.We'll see.

Have a nice day,hope you're not feeling to blue.

Ropi said...

Well, last days are always special. The last days of a school year are always loser however it starts a bit earlier. I would say it has a prologue but I hate it. I mean I have full desire to quit learning but I know I can't but it has the feeling I should.

I have to say that I don't like that emotional dumbness on the very final days (we had it on our last day in elementary school and I am scared in advanced because next year I may need to bear this agony again).

Grannymar said...

You got it wrong!

As they say in the Theater You are Resting!!

Tomorrow will bring a new day, new adventure and new beginnings.

Moon said...

Interesting feeling ... I had that a little when I left Coface after 8 years there finally building a proper career. I went by my own choice, so it was a little different . I had a 3 month notice period, but as I was leaving only on a years sabatical, that didn't apply, so although I had told them I was going 6 months earlier, I worked until my last day. I had been through so many leaving do's, and I was a popular person, I felt mine was flat, and meant nothing ... very wierd sensation. However, a year later when I did let them know I was satying put in the USa, they only went and paid me my 3 months notice period !!!!...

And, as far as a chocolate teapot, I would LOVE one please ... 5 more days to go till I can finally have my first chocolate of 2009 !!!

Leah said...

As others have remarked, you are handling yourself and the situation with humor and grace. You are awesome and I know good changes will come to you.


ebony said...

Wow. You really are a tough viking. I wish I had your optimistic outlook in everything I did. I'm really sorry. You always say smart motherly things to me when i feel low and all I can say is "I'm sorry"... Talking about useless! I loved the metaphors.
Well, like you said when one door closes another one opens. I'm really sorry for not blogging recently. I can't help it but I feel like crap when I don't keep in touch. Could I email you sometimes. You wouldn't have to reply..I'd feel better. Well lots of hugs and I'll be there for you (in a weird virtual way) like you've been there for me.

Anonymous said...

My mum used to say 'as useless as a chocolate fireguard'.

Hey Baino- I didn't know you were going through this- you have expressed it very well, with your amazing humour and grace.

I am sure there will be good things ahead for you and opportunities for new experiences.

Colette Amelia said...

Good luck! thanks to this I now have a reference to how useful I am!

Dot-Com said...

You might as well have described my last day in my old job there! I didn't stay as long as you did though. I decided to see myself out straight after lunch, and I never looked back. You'll find the right thing to move on to.

Baino said...

Haha . . true, you can eat a chocolate tea pot! Ah I was being paid so not so bad.

Hails, I'm keeping those! Alcohol-free Vodka . .what's the point! Yep, I manage to keep sane in all sorts of crises actually.

Brian, commiserations, I know you're looking too. I've already registered with a couple of agencies to commence temping from 1st June. Having a little holiday first and 'working' at applying for jobs.

River I actually got my second job and one I really loved after temping for them. It only ended when the Government moved the department to Canberra . . .not my idea of a swinging city!

Sandy, keep looking . . all I can offer is moral support! Tough times but there are jobs out there. Here at least anyway, it's just that there are a lot of people applying for them so the competition's hot.

Kath actually that's there for comic relief, although I did feel pretty useless during the last week at work when everything had been transitioned. I've never been so busy or indeed 'useful' as I have this week! Clare's getting on with her startup business and I've been converting my lounge into an office. Plus a few other things which I'll blog about later! Applying for work is indeed hard work!

Nah, not quite ground down yet Kate. I'm just being fussy about salary at the moment. I've realised that administrative jobs are offering the same today that they did 10 years ago yet we're expected to have many more skills!

Oh! Never thought about where to FIND an old fella with a heart condition . .ducks and parks of course! Thanks for the hot tip! 2412 hehehe!

Candie, I do know people who make a little living on their blogs with Adsense but that's not what blogging is about to me. Good idea to create a specialist blog though if you have a skill or an interest that might pay the bills! If you do it, let me know. I've learned a lot about SEO lately and can help with key words and pay per click.

Ropi I know what you mean. It's the end of an era, especially when you leave high school and wonder into the great unknown. However, much like losing your job and searching for another . .it's a learning curve and a new adventure.

GM if this is Resting, I need a break! Yeh I am having a little holiday and you've sent us Irish rain . .it's pouring!

Moon your discepline is AWESOME! I mean I'm not a fan of chocolate but for you to go six month is indeed remarkable! Actually it was a good day all in all. Sadder was leaving my old job and actually locking the door on the way out!

Well Leah, shit happens dunnit! No point crying over spilt milk and all that. At least I have some redundancy pay to tide me over. I only posted this because quite a few had asked me how the day was.

Ebony, I'm old and experienced rather than optimistic but thank you and of course you can email me my email's in my profile.

Cheers Cinnamon. Well the 'going through' is now gone and I'm on the job trail. Having 2 weeks respite then off in earnest from 1st June. Got loads of applications out there, actually got the first job I applied for then realised the salary wouldn't feed my dog so onward and upward . . .

Haha . . Collette I have a feeling you're very useful!

Dot I did go straight after lunch! It was a long lunch! hehe!

Baino said...

Sorry Sarah, I missed you there (6am). Well it's never dull I guess!

nick said...

Oh yes, that awful last day at the office syndrome, saying goodbye to people you never liked anyway (and who probably didn't like you), all those sheepish faces from the ones who've still got jobs etc. But the genuine farewells and nice presents from the workmates you got on with sort of make up for it.

Indeed, I'm still jobless myself but as you know because of the move I'm not seriously looking for anything at the moment. I hope something comes up for you soon, hopefully a job that really suits you and is challenging and rewarding.

Ces said...

You are braver than I am. I would have quit the day they told me for I would have cried like a waterfall. Ahh difficult times and I hope your new door will open soon. Yes, come on already!

I had an expensive progressive lens pair of eyeglasses but my diopther changed every year, I can't afford a new pair every year. I bought cheap reading glasses instead. They are scattered everywhere because I always lose them.

Good luck and best wishes Baino. I am rooting for you!

Ronda Laveen said...

I am kind of like Dot-Com...never look back...at the job I mean. But I still keep very good friends from every job I've held. They are the true treasures. Just like your fave pic of the Quad girls. Kind of scary though, huh? But a relief to not have to fake the game.

Melanie said...

/sigh, matey you wrote that so well that by the end of it I felt like it had happened to me and I was about to get the paper and look for work. Oh wait, once again the world isnt about me lol AND its a good thing too because I AM as useless as tits on a bull, not you, you have real employable skills and quals. I wish you the best of luck. My hat goes off to you for maintaining grace and dignity. The are skills that I dont possess and I really admire people that can carry those 2 things off. Well done.

kj said...

me the broken record: i'll be back later to read this updated tale.

meanwhile, you beautiful sensual crusty marshmellow, keep your chin up up up. your future is bright.

most sincerely
madame kj
professional fortune teller

Bimbimbie said...

At least the two tits of that bull lived up to your expectations - imagine if they had come over and hugged you*!*

Renee said...

Besides laughing at all the useless things, this was a very hard post to read.

It is like we are disposable people. And the two that went and didn't even say goodbye. A real couple of fuckheads.

A door shuts a window opens....

Love Renee xoxo

Anonymous said...

How many times have I heard the ol' "useless as a screen door on a submarine" joke? Still funny tho'. And as for doors opening and closing; you just have to search for the one that's not locked. 'Tis what'srecently been going on with me, Baino. But I saw it coming and avoided an out-right sacking( opting to leave of my own accord ). But this was pre-planned( I intended on leaving any-way ). One of those doors was open but I'm always looking for another.

Enjoy the time off whilst you look for yours. Think of it as an extended holiday( tho' that doesn't always work ). Take the time to examine the home-front and any options open to you. And don't fret luv. Remember that you're not alone in this.

e said...

You are far more nuseful than a screen door on a submarine or an ashtray on a motorbike!!!

You acted with professionalism and class when others found that difficult which is one of the reasons you'll land a next better position and land on your feet!

Megan said...

Everyone has said just about everything that I could.

I'm thinking about you, though. Really, I am.

steph said...

You say it SO well.

I'm simply sending you HUGE understanding hugs...


Have a fab wee holiday!

Baino said...

Nick I don't think of you as jobless as more a 'kept' man . .good for you I say!

Well Ces I had a bit of warning, believe me there were tantys a plenty early in the peace! Yeh the multifocals are a bit exe but I've found Hong at the Optical Superstore! He's a legend.

Oh I'll keep in touch Ronda. One of my referees is actually an old boss from 9 years ago! We still do lunch!

Haha Mel, you don't have grace or dignity? Getaway wi ya!

Less of the 'crusty' thanks kj!

Bimbimbie bugger the thought. One in particular is a fuckwit!

Rene I think Dot has the dibs on useless as . . .yeh, they don't bother me frankly, most of the people there are just lovely.

Sorry Subby, I thought of you as I wrote it. Frankly I've been off for three days and apart from hours in front of the PC applying on line I've been pretty busy. I don't know how I fit stuff in whilst working full time!

Ahh very sweet e, thanks. Time you posted yourself girl!

Hehe . .don't think too hard Megs! Nice to know I have so much support tho.

Oh Steph! I'm dealing with crumbs when you take the cake! Thanks sweets. Good luck to you as well. Hope your Nottingham man had some solutions!

OK everyone that's quite enough votes of confidence, I shall have to buy bigger hats in order to squeeze between the door jamb!

laughingwolf said...

no worries, baino... better things in the wind, i'm sure :)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks for such a thoughtful, personal, and despite the drama of it all, funny and witty post!!

your images had me cracking up as much as a glass hammer on an iron door!

speaking of doors, you know what they say...about windows and all that!

best. hugs....mouse