The Last Day at Work

I worked my last day in my old job, but why do I feel so guilty for leaving?

Yesterday was my last day at the job I’ve had for over 6.5 years. The longest I’ve had any job.

My last few weeks were very intense trying to wrap things up with clients and leave information for colleagues, and this week was dominated by a very stressful final implementation for a client that resulted in my working two 10 hour days to get it done.1 Having such a hard deadline really upped the ante.

I had no wind down time. I was flat out, full speed, until the moment I handed in my computer.

I’m exhausted, and it’ll take a while for all the stress to leave my body I think!

While in the middle of this maelstrom I did questions why I was getting so worked up. It really didn’t seem like my colleagues were as concerned as I was about any kind of handover for my leaving, when I was turning myself inside out to make sure I was leaving notes and files with easy access. It is very possible that they just don’t realise how much I do for my clients, when so many reach out to me directly.

Or maybe I just think I’m more important than I actually am!

Why do I feel guilty for leaving?

I remembered that I felt similarly when I left my previous job. Leaving that one was an easy decision, I wasn’t very suited to being a School Librarian2 and the new job was objectively better in every way! But, I did feel a little guilty for leaving. Not for the sake of the school management but for the students. There had been barely any interest in the supporting the Library during my time there and I knew once I left they’d likely not employ someone for my role. I had a little community of kids who’d come in every lunch time that would be losing a space they relied on for a variety of reasons that I don’t think management were bothered to understand.

Leaving yesterday I also felt guilty for the impact it would have on the clients I’d built strong relationships with, especially those where were mid way through a project, and for the colleague I knew would be most likely to have to pick up and have to make sense of issues from things I’d worked on. I know my job, in our odd little niche, is not easy to recruit for and it will probably take some time to find a suitable replacement.

But then when I think about this some more it is silly. The clients (though I do treasure their words of thanks and well wishes) will likely soon forget me, and the company will find a replacement – maybe even someone just a suited as I was! The company clearly wasn’t thinking about long term retention or getting the best from employees otherwise things I’d brought up would have been addressed.

The reason I feel guilty is because I know its a sink or swim, unstructured environment with shaky internal support; where only someone truly adept, professional and dedicated to providing good service will stay out the quagmire and help clients get the best from their products. It takes someone with an internal drive to always do their best, because you’ll get no external validation.

I know that my leaving leaves a big hole in the quality of support and service clients get.

But that shouldn’t be my problem, nor (crucially) is anybody telling me that it is. I’ve just decided by myself that it is my burden – and I have to just let that go!

It is not on my shoulders.

I need to fucking relax for a week. Work on some of my fun hobby projects! These are my plans:

  • Finish my wall hanging embroidery!
  • Finally write up my review/analysis of All’s Well by Mona Awad!
  • I have some other post ideas (thoughts on Outer Worlds, and I have more embroidery to share!)
  • Just started a new game of Skyrim!

Then prepare myself for my new job at the new company and my new clients, where I will also be awesome – and hopefully actually get a little bit of recognition for it!

  1. I never do this unless its a rare emergency! I’m a very firm log off after my 8 hours and never think about work until the next day person! ↩︎
  2. I don’t have the personality or social skills for navigating school politics! Plus I’m not great with kids and I really hated the behaviour management side of it. It gave me anxiety every day for 4 years. ↩︎
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