Saturday, 15 December 2007

Last day at work

Today was my last day in the office. It was going all well and I spent most of the time copying my files to an external hard disk and really clearing my desk. I went to Starbucks with my venezuelan friend Carla around 11 and thought how I would miss that occasional grande latte with skimmed milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup.

I was ok, really. People kept asking me how I was and I kept answering that I couldn't wait to go home and take the plane to Mexico.

Then, the time came to have the Exit meeting with the financial director. She explained my last salary (deducting 1,150£ from relocation expenses and laptop, ouch!). I was ok with it, I knew beforehand I would have to struggle financially for a few weeks. I signed the form, gave my keys back and the questionnaire started.

It is the third time I quit a job (4th if I count the EFL school) and it's the first time I get such a dedicated process to say goodbye. It might be because it's the first time I quit in Europe.

Anyway, I don't know how or why, but when she asked "is there anything we could have done to keep you?". I just started crying. Sobbing actually. Like when you can't say a word because your breathing changes. I felt so daft. But then she said the words I actually needed to hear. That she was sorry on behalf of the whole company. She apologised for having let me down. For not having given me enough work to make me want to stay with them. For not fulfilling the promises they made when they hired me and brought me here all the way from Mexico. That I will be very missed, they wished me all the best and they would try to get me back if the workload increases.

By that time, I was completely in tears and my face all red. I actually needed it. I needed the reassurance that my leaving doesn't mean betraying them, not my fault, but a natural career progression.

It probably is the third world I still have in my mind that kept me thinking that I was letting them down after all they had done for me when in fact it is the other way around. And to hear it from the management was cathartic.
In Mexico if you are lucky enough to have a well-paid job, you don't leave it.. ever, unless you are sacked.
My previous 2 resignations had been full of guilt, but now I feel really peaceful.

After I had washed my face, there was a nice surprise for all employees. A hamper full of Scottish goodies that can only be translated as "arcon navide~o". It has shortbread, chutney, mustard, port, wine, crisps, sausages, cheese, bacon, oatcakes, chocolates. I can take the non-perishable to Mexico, but the rest... I need to share all with someone or it can really jeopardize my weight loss even before taking the plane.

Still lots of shopping to do. At least I have 2 more days.


Fned said...

I know exactly what you mean... in Mexico you feel so grateful to have a decent paying job that you work your ass off and nobody mentions it, it's like it's actually expected.

Here, my boss usually sends me home in the evenings startled to see me still at the office late in the evenings. He is usually making such a big deal about how "committed and reliable" I am when I simply feel that I am doing my job. I even feel guilty when I take days off and can't help calling in to see if they need any help. I'll go to work even if I'm sick and don't mind getting to the office hours earlier that my entrance time, if needed.

You call it our "third world mentality", perhaps you're right... people often say to me "the french work to live, not live to work"... I suppose the mexican "work to live"... literally.

I'm glad your boss showed you their appreciation. It always feels nice to know that you made a difference and that your contribution to the ensemble was important.

Have a great, safe and fun trip home. Felices fiestas!!


Anita said...

Such a touching story. Agree with Fned that our 'third-world mentality' makes us accepting more than demanding, contrary to those Westerners who count every sweat they give to the company and ask for a return.
Have a safe trip back "home". I'm sure you'd enjoy the sunshine again, just like what I'm doing now, back to hotpants, tanktops and sandals! :)