I was just on my way back from a meeting this morning when I was collared by one of the other people in the room:
"I hear that you're taking some time off?"
It was phrased as a question, but really it was a statement of fact. Although I'm not really one for small talk and I don't know this guy particularly well, I carried out my side of the social obligation by offering up a few words about how long I was going to be away and where we were planning to go and so on.
As the time of my departure from the office draws closer, this kind of thing has been happening more and more often, and I imagine it will continue to do so until the day I leave.
The thing is, though, that my departure hasn't been announced yet. It was agreed months ago, it's true, and clearly lots of people already know about it, but it hasn't formally been announced. It's not a secret, but I'm aware that lots of people - including most of my customer's - don't know anything about it. Until it's fully out in the open, I feel as though I have some kind of an obligation to keep my mouth shut until everyone knows.
I think the reason it hasn't been announced is because absolutely no plans have been made for my replacement. I'm under no illusion that I'm irreplaceable, but until my department have worked out how they're going to cover my absence, they haven't got anything to tell the people who rely on me as their account manager into the department. So they haven't formally told anyone anything.
I can sort of see the logic, but as we agreed everything months ago, my patience is starting to wear a little thin. I could easily say that it's not my problem, that the second I walk out of the door they're on their own.... but there are still two months to go before I leave, and although I'm carrying on as best as I can, I'm becoming conscious that this lack of planning is starting to affect my colleagues, my customers and -- yes -- to affect me too. Should I carry on as though nothing is going to be happening on 22nd January 2010, or should I be actively working towards that date?
I had a nice conversation with my boss at lunchtime today: he enquired about my plans and I told him the current thinking in terms of places and timescales and so on. That's all very well, and I'm happy to have that kind of a conversation with him, but he's not my friend: he's my boss. My boss expects certain things from me whilst I'm at work, but in return I expect certain things from him. I expect him to have a plan for my departure, and to get things set up for both my absence and for my return to work in September. We had a meeting in the diary later on in the afternoon to talk about these things, and he didn't turn up back at his desk until our timeslot was already half over. He sat down next to me for a minute, studied his diary, and then got up and went to talk to someone else for three-quarters of an hour. Then he went home without a word to me.
Not. Good. Enough.
You know what's the worst about that? That I let him set next to me and check his diary; I let him stand a few feet away having that other conversation; I let him pack up his stuff and go home. I didn't say a word about our meeting or what I wanted to talk to him about. You know why not? Because I've given up on him and I don't want to talk to him about these things because I no longer trust him to do anything about it. His credit is pretty much gone.
I've taken a step towards the plane. A slightly reluctant step, but a step nonetheless.
3 days ago