Why Quitting Your Job Is A Lot Like That Hillary Swank Movie You Never Saw
May 29, 2008
You know that movie from a few months back where that guy knows he's dying, so he writes his wife all these letters and instructions and she's not allowed to look at them until he's gone, and then he dies and she reads the letters and does all these little activities that he designed to get her to heal herself and become a better person? Preparing to leave a job is like that, except instead of lovingly writing instructions for a person you know and love, you are blindly trying to document the procedures of a job you already checked out of for a replacement you met a week ago. And you get the feeling that instead of finding herself magically a better person at the end of it all, the person replacing you is going to feel screwed and lost.
That's not to say I'm not trying to be helpful; I've been going in early and staying late all week trying to make sure my files are transferred to the right people and my responsibilities are covered and primed for transition. Still, it's really hard to anticipate what someone's going to need to know, and some of it you can't really explain anyway. Otherwise, I would need to make the following instructional documents:
- Powerpoint presentation entitled, "How to play along with the client-site Office Supervisor's borderline-racist jokes without actually appearing racist yourself"
- A copy of the Weekly Status Meeting agenda, annotated to show which segments are ideal times for bathroom breaks and which topics must be paid attention to "for real for real"
- Org Chart identifying the various people whose authorization you will need for certain tasks, as well as the people along the way you have to pretend to ask first so you don't look like you're hassling someone important
- Treasure Map leading to the supply cabinet with the good folders (the ones in the bright colors)
I feel bad that the new person will have to figure these things out for herself, but only to an extent. After all, aren't I going to be in the exact same position on Monday when I start my new job? I highly doubt I will arrive my desk and find a neat stack of papers explaining who's cool, who's mean, and who's the office perv. I will have to find that out for myself as the weeks go by, and maybe if I am lucky when it's over I'll be happy and fulfilled and living the kind of life where it never occurs to me to make analogies based on romantic comedies I never saw.
I had the exact same experience last year as I quit my job. Enjoy the new job transition.
Posted by: the mayor | May 29, 2008 at 09:13 PM
I'm the office perv in every office.
Posted by: MB | May 29, 2008 at 11:35 PM
Not only did I see that movie, I BAWLED during it.
Posted by: Tori | May 30, 2008 at 01:35 AM
i was relieved you weren't referring to "boys don't cry".
Posted by: meg' | May 30, 2008 at 09:23 AM
I saw (and cried during) that one too . . .
And, for the record, I also saw (and cried during) the one where she's a boxer . . . and the one where shes's a teacher . . .
Hilary Swank has a serious emotional impact on me, it seems.
Posted by: | May 30, 2008 at 12:00 PM
I totally know exactly what you mean. It's even worse for a job you hate. I seriously considered hiding notes in files and drawers and on the calendar that said things like "get out when you can!" and "you don't have to take it anymore" and "the alcohol is hidden in the back of the boss' fridge."
alas, the replacement is still there. and all like 400 of the girls who have had my job meet for drinks every year.
Posted by: EmGusk | May 30, 2008 at 03:03 PM
How many baked goods are appropriate to take from catered meetings?
How long can one spend in the bathroom before people notice you're gone?
When do you have to get to the cafeteria to get the good stuff before other people do?
Seriously, a guide like this would be much more important and useful than file routes.
Posted by: Ben | May 31, 2008 at 07:26 AM