Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Independence Day

Birmingham, they say, has more canals than Venice. Edinburgh, almost certainly, has more roadworks than Naples. Sighthill is perhaps 7 miles from Leith. The journey takes about 45 minutes. Every month, therefore, I spend 30 hours of my life inching my way to work, as the car bounces from pothole to pothole along shoddy, badly-maintained roads. Every day, I sit in traffic, and imagine I can see the petrol gauge moving inexorably from right to left, burning up money for the most banal of purposes. And the reward for enduring this wretched journey - is to arrive in work. It's a journey that brings out the worst in people. It brings out the worst in me.

Today, however, the streets are relatively clear as the city winds down for the season. The opening movement of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, the Marseillaise of Christmas music, is playing on Radio 3. I crank the radio up to 11. "Jauchzet! Frohlocket! Auf, Preiset die tage!" - "Rejoice, exult! Up, and praise the day!". Oh yes, indeed, because today is my last day in work, and I will never have to make this journey again.

Truth be told, leaving a job - even a job you hate - is never as much fun as you think it's going to be. God knows, I've left enough of them. Most of my friends have already left for Christmas, and my farewell email generates an awful lot of "out of office" messages, so I'm in a bit of a melancholy mood. Cards, presents, much shaking of hands and good wishes. A final slightly boozy lunch with a handful of friends at a rather grim pub that people only ever seem to go to for leaving drinks.

I'm not going to bang on about the evils of the banking industry. Your prejudices about it are probably correct. If a prerequisite of a successful company is that it needs to be run for the benefit of at least a few elements in the combination of customers, employees and shareholders then LBG, manifestly, is not working for any of them. If it were a football team, fans would have started chanting "You don't know what you're doing" some time ago.

But that's not really the point today. The job might have been rubbish, but the people were a good bunch. Nice folk who deserved better than this.

Time to go. I slip my presents and my Swansea City mug into a box, and leave the office for the last time.  

Update : My Swansea City mug is over twenty years old, stayed with me throughout my student days, and travelled with me through Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Scotland. Two hours later the bag containing my presents tore through and dropped a bottle of wine on top of it, cracking it irreparably. In terms of its symbolism, this seemed to me to be an event rivalled only by Prospero breaking his staff.

1 comment:

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.