As I described in Part 1, I was made redundant from the job that I had had since 3 December 2000.
But in several ways, my job had gone back further.
First, I had been outsourced to my employer from the employer before that, one of Australia’s major banks. I had been with that bank just over five years, from 1995 to 2000, and it was there I had begun my career as a technical writer.
Second, the bank became one of my employer’s largest clients, and most of the documentation I wrote and maintained up until my last working day was for the bank.
Third, as part of the outsourcing agreement, on paper my years at the bank counted towards my years of service with my employer – which was an added bonus indeed to my payout.
Fourth, although their numbers have dwindled over the years, there were still several of my bank colleagues at my employer. As the years passed and we moved about within the organisation, we saw and worked less with each other, but we stayed in touch and during the last few years annual catch-up dinners have been good fun (and we’re thinking of another one in the near future).
Finally, and this struck me most of all about the true length of my last job, there were the files on my work computer’s hard-drive and my external back-up hard-drive.
At my employer, I estimate that I’ve worked on at least 2000 documents – and that included some documents that I had created at the bank in 1999-2000 and maintained for a few years until the platform they were written for was replaced.
All of those 2000-odd documents were confidential, and I couldn’t keep copies of them after I left – but during my last few weeks, the idea of having to delete them often gave me pause.
Up to 15 years of work, soon to be gone from my life forever. Just like that – and at times, it did feel like I would be blotting out a large chunk of my past.
On my second-last day, I updated my external hard-drive with copies of those files to hand over to my remaining colleague.
And just before I went to bed that night, I deleted all of my files from my computer. Just like that.
I did look for other roles at my employer, but the closest technical-writer position I found was in Singapore – and it also required qualifications that I didn’t have.
There were also a few technical-writer positions being advertised in the US, but they required local citizenship and security clearances.
But even before I saw those roles, mentally I was already leaving.
Being able to stay would not have been the end of the world, of course – but career-wise and most of all financially, it would have remained what it had been for years: a dead-end. Since 2010, my work had changed very little – and since the day I had joined my employer, my income had stagnated with miniscule or no pay-rises (for my first three years and my last two years, I got none).
Having to leave meant having to look for another job, which is not one of the most pleasant things in the world and something I hadn’t done since 1995 – but, it did offer a lot of potential. I would be leaving with a very good payout that meant I didn’t have to necessarily scramble for a new job immediately; I had a wealth of work experience behind me; there was the chance of earning a better income; and there was also the chance to do new types of technical-writing, or maybe even something quite different.
So I embraced the idea of leaving, and that helped me to keep calm and carry on.
What also helped me to embrace the idea of leaving was that although I was disappointed about my job being made redundant, I wasn’t surprised.
Since 2010, redundancies had become increasingly common at my employer – and in particular, 2013 had been a very bad year. Almost every month, people had left – and as 2013 progressed, I thought my time would come as well.
It didn’t – but the situation remained as a case of not if, but when.
Thursday, 26 February 2015.
Officially, my last day was tomorrow – but today was the day that I would return all of my equipment, have my exit interview and have a farewell lunch with my manager and my remaining colleague.
Because I don’t drive and I had bulky equipment like a large external monitor, my colleague very kindly drove me and my gear almost 30 kilometres across Sydney to my employer’s facility.
My exit interview took only 30 minutes and was completed without any issues.
Half an hour after that, my manager and my colleague and I headed off to what would be a very pleasant lunch at a cafe in nearby bushland.
After 2pm my colleague and I hit the road again, and at 2:40pm she dropped me off near the Westfield shopping centre at Broadway near the CBD.
And as my colleague drove away and I looked east at the city, that was the moment when it truly felt like that was that.
A major era of my life had ended.
And a new one had begun.
TO BE CONTINUED