A change of path

Posted: 04/10/2010 in Serious

Rarely for me, I’ve decided to write a serious blog entry. An entry relating to a very recent, and significant, change in my life.

After over 11 years of employment at my current firm, I have decided to move on to pastures new. This wasn’t a decision I took lightly. There’s a lot to be said for being comfortable, knowing the job, knowing the people, the customers, the suppliers and the day-to-day processes in your job.

Then there were my colleagues to consider. People who I spend more of my time with than my own family. People who I have come to consider as very close friends over the years. We have socialised outside of work, many times. Many meals have been consumed, alcohol drunk, and hilarious, crude and filthy conversations had. How will they react to my news?

Will they be shocked? Yes. Upset? Possibly. Angry? I hope not.

An added dimension to this dilemma was that I knew my resignation from the company would result in the business being sold. This is not me being a big-headed arsehole. Those of you who know me in real life know, that isn’t me at all. The simple fact is I work for a small company, and I am a significant cog in its wheels. As the managing director, almost all decisions come via me at some point or other and, with the economic climate as it has been of late, added to our (already) low staffing levels, I knew that me leaving would be the final nail in the coffin.

What would happen to my colleagues?

The truth is, whilst I do genuinely care about them, their futures and welfare, I also have myself to consider. I had been working all hours recently, with no holiday or any time off since April, and the strain was starting to show. No job is worth making yourself ill over. And after many weeks and months of agonising, I had come to realise this fact. I just hope my colleagues did too.

So, I handed in my notice to my chairman. I don’t think he was surprised. And whilst he wasn’t particularly supportive about my decision (then again, why would he be?), he was gracious. And as I expected, the wheels were set in motion quickly regarding sale of the company.

Now the very difficult part: Telling my colleagues. But, I was to be spared that task – for now.

My chairman asked that I didn’t say anything to anyone for a week or two whilst some initial arrangements were put in place. I was okay with that. From a selfish point of view, I didn’t want everyone to ‘jump ship’ at the first sign of trouble. I had 3 months notice to work as managing director, and didn’t want to be working 2 months of it on my own!

However, the days dragged on. And on. 2 weeks, then 3 weeks into my notice period. And still I wasn’t allowed to say anything.

I sat in the office, with my colleagues, trying to be normal. Laughing, joking, not letting on I was going to be leaving. Them, blissfully unaware of what was happening behind the scenes. The situation became more and more stressful to me as I was forced to continue deceiving my colleagues. My friends.

People in my ‘real life’ as well as some trusted Twitter and Facebook friends were incredibly helpful and supportive to me during this time. I know it changed me. I became more withdrawn, miserable, grumpy. I even came away from Twitter briefly because I didn’t want to upset or offend people. But they stuck by me.

Thank you – I love you all. You know who you are.

Anyway, finally the day came when I’d had enough. I told my chairman if he wasn’t going to announce it today, I would do it myself. I couldn’t – no wouldn’t – deceive my friends and colleagues any further.

D-Day was here.

True to form, the announcement was not made as we had agreed. My chairman ambushed my team, whisking them individually upstairs (without me) to tell them the company had been sold, and that arrangements for them to transfer with the business had been negotiated. And failing to tell them that I was leaving.

So, as they returned from the meeting, shell-shocked at the news, I had to drop a further bombshell – the news that I was leaving. Leaving them. And in only 3 weeks time now…

I had to be honest with them; Me leaving was the reason the company was being sold. It wasn’t the other way round.

I explained my reasons to them, just as I have to you in this blog entry. They were understanding. But still somewhat shocked and bemused. I felt like a Judas. Like I had betrayed them. And especially by keeping the news from them for so long.

There were lots of questions, secret discussions between them all. I felt like an outcast, for a few hours. But rightly so, maybe. Perhaps I deserved it? It felt warranted to me – but maybe it was just my conscience.

However, they started to come round. My colleagues and friends. They understood why I had to move on. No job is worth sacrificing your health over.

By the end of the day, things were approaching ‘normal’ in terms of the office atmosphere. Fortunately, it was a Friday and everyone had the opportunity to go home, relax, have a drink, reflect on the news, and then decide what they wanted to do next.

I was apprehensive about coming in on the Monday. Would there be more questions? Anger? Bad feeling and atmosphere?

Fortunately, this was not the case. Whilst the subject continued to be discussed – quite naturally – everyone is being friendly, chatty and as normal as they can be, under the circumstances.

So, now I have 3 weeks to go at my current firm before I move on to pastures new. I’m excited – and nervous – about the change. But it was necessary, and I’m glad I’m doing it.

11 years is a long time to stay in one place – and whilst I’ve not worked with all of my team for that duration, our bonds have been quickly formed – and thankfully, not easily broken.

I plan to stay in touch with them all – and I hope they feel the same way about me. Of course, only time will tell…

  1. Anilu Magloire says:

    Damn, Hoff… That had to be hard on you. I hope this new stage in your life comes with all you need and want. I hope those peeps you worked with know what a very cool and good person you are. I hope you find the new pastures to be a gorgeous emerald green for you.
    You deserve it.

  2. Donnamarie davidson says:

    Awe my lovely pants! I can’t believe you have been going through all of this without my knowledge, you are such an amazingly strong, kind and caring person and whatever you will go on to do you will succeed in, as always I’m
    Here to support you whenever you need it!
    Good luck with everything my lovely pearly king!! Xxxxx

  3. Nic says:

    Well Hoffers, massive hugs first off….
    The past few weeks must have been really hard, decisions like that aren’t taken lightly, hoping everything goes smoothly for you!
    #KeepSmiling 😀 xxXxx

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