As you’ve probably noticed, the last few weeks in the UK have been full of the debate between Bremain and Brexit. Even in the aftermath of Friday’s announcement – that the UK had voted to leave the EU – the caterwauling on both sides has continued, the Prime Minister has resigned and no-one seems particularly keen to lead the UK into this next stage of its history. Not even the victorious Brexit camp.
But in the background of all of this, I’ve been dealing with a separation of my own. You see, the company I’ve been working for over the last five and a half years is being bought by one of our competitors and by this time next week, it will no longer exist.
It’s been a very long process – almost a year and a half – so it’s not a shock and work have been enormously supportive throughout, despite not being in the ‘driver’s seat’ so to speak. And different people are being affected in different ways: Some will continue on in their current jobs whilst others will move to take on opportunities in the ‘new’ company. Then there are those who will leave.
This is the case for the majority of people who work in the office where I am based. By the end of next week, there will be significantly fewer of us at our desks – working handovers or waiting to transition to new roles and/or locations over the coming months. The farewells have already started to trickle in as have the packing of desks into boxes to be despatched to whatever new location awaits them.
The office will feel like a very different place.
I’ve felt largely philosophical about all of the ups and downs over the last 18 months. After all I quite like change, I’ve been through corporate changes like this before and I try to take a pragmatic approach, focusing on the things I can affect and exercising a little compassion for myself when the going gets tough (although I often need a little reminder about the compassion bit). The chance to create what’s next is both exciting and scary in equal measure – I’ve been talking to all sorts of people about different paths I might take and some opportunities to learn which has helped to keep me energised and curious over such a long time of feeling like life is ‘on hold’.
Yet in the last week, my equilibrium has been shaken by the prospect that the community with whom I spend a large proportion of my life will disappear. Yes, that is what will happen on Friday. People that I see every day, that I chat with over lunch or at the photocopier, those who I have come to know better through facing this period of uncertainty together – will simply stop coming to the office. And I know that I’ll move on, I’ll keep some friendships going and it will all be a period that I look back on with fondness and a sense of camaraderie.
But in the meantime, the goodbyes will be tough….but also a pause for me to acknowledge what’s been before setting out on what’s next. So while I’m going into next week feeling excited about the future, it will be with a heavy heart and I’ll be reminding myself to be kind, to celebrate and to look for a few moments of joy to get me through…
Yesterday’s moment of joy: Street art under the Kilburn Underground Station railway bridge
…so feel free to send any such moments you may find this week in this direction.