Leaving a job

I left a job last Friday. I had planned to spend the first hour of each day in my last week packing.

I’m not a tidy desk kind of person, and as a result of an office move earlier this year, I also had an additional locker full of stuff to clear out. It became clear on Wednesday that the packing required more time than I had set aside. The pile of yet-to-be-sorted-and-disposed had indeed diminished in size, but I had gathered qualitative feedback — concerned questions about if I had packed, and then the less subtle hints that I should — that the difference was likely to be imperceptible.

Even as I was spending less and less time at my desk, it was where I started and ended my days. I enjoyed returning to it at the end of a long day. I wireframed here. I wrote proposals and reports here. I moved ideas closer to realisation here. It held my organised mess of reminders, ideas, sketches, and notes. It was an asylum for toys (bought*, adopted, gifted) that had somehow found their place on my desk. An altar for ghosts of projects past. A sanctuary where if I looked up, I could find friendly faces and participate in conversations about everything and anything.

What do you choose to keep? I can pack a table, I can shred documents (which I did), and I can toss away overdue reminders. But even the easy stuff got a little harder as the week went on — look at this, remember this project? Omg, remember the scolding we got? This site that launched? That strange meeting? That perplexing hairstyle (oh yes…)?

I think memories eventually settle in tangible objects (go ahead, set off the hoarder alert). And so I want a memory launcher. I want to be able to sight a mug that used to sit on my desk or flip through old notebooks and be reminded of things that happened in that time period between March 2016 and December 2018.

So I brought back three bags worth of expired notes and random trinkets. Don’t be so hard on me.


*I had the plush dog from the This Is Fine meme, which I sometimes used it as a litmus test for general coolness.