Copy That, Over & Out

Well, that’s it. After nearly 18 years in a role I never expected to have, and never had any experience of beforehand, I have now officially finished my first job, alongside my other colleagues from our now-closed printing department who have also lost their positions, as our work has been outsourced to save money.

It is a very sad moment but, as I’ve previously discussed in my redundancy post, it’s also an exciting one given the opportunities that now lie ahead. As one door closes, many more are potentially opening. And as my mother and I are in a financially sound position for the time being, I can have a bit of a break to relax and reset, and take my time to figure out what to do next. I don’t yet have any firm plans, but I am already involved with a couple of paid research projects, I’m doing a bit of volunteering, I’m keeping my copy of the Disability Confident list of employers up to date, and I have connections in my network who are kindly alerting me to vacancies that may be of interest. So it’s all ticking along nicely. My door is also still wide open to further advice, connections and opportunities that anyone may wish to offer.

The one thing that we have now decided is that my mother and I are not going to move house, for the time being anyway. Given the huge increases in energy bills and soaring inflation, the potential impact of increasing strike action, and the lack of political leadership to deal with it thus far, the last thing we want to do is add even more uncertainty and expense to that. We’re better off staying where we are, while we can be certain of our outgoings and can budget accordingly. We will still move eventually, it’s just not essential.

So there’s plenty to look forward to. But here in this post I just thought I’d share how things have gone during my final month, including some of the lovely messages I’ve received and my parting words to my colleagues. It will give you a good sense of how much mutual respect there has been, and how much we will miss one another.

Unsurprisingly it’s been a busy last month, as people from various departments have been clamouring for me to make all sorts of updates to their document templates before I go, knowing that it will be much more difficult afterwards. Plus there have been other jobs to prepare for printing as usual. All of which I did without any problems. I also knocked up some documentation about all of the projects I’ve developed and maintained over the years, for those who will be attempting to take them over on top of their existing work. It can’t cover absolutely everything by any means, but I’ve done what I can to steer them in the right direction, whenever they have to try and interpret or backward-engineer what I’ve done!

Of course, I didn’t necessarily have to do any of that. I could have just booked a month’s holiday and left early. But I’ve always got on really well with my colleagues, and I didn’t want to leave them in the lurch. I will miss working with them a great deal, and it’s abundantly clear that my departure is being mourned, which is very flattering.

We had a nice relaxed meeting at lunchtime today, with people gathering in the Printing department to share wine and cakes, while I was brought in virtually via Microsoft Teams. A few people even received Long Service Certificates, which I was only a few years off the threshold for it seems! And I’ll also be visiting Devon soon to say goodbye to people in person. I’m sure we’ll meet up in the years to come as well, or I certainly hope we do, whether that’s getting together with people individually or having organised reunions.

I’ve also had a lot of very kind and supportive messages from my colleagues. A couple have been over the phone or via Teams, but most have been in written form, which are lovely to keep for posterity. Thank you so much to everyone who has sent their best wishes, I’ve been absolutely bowled over by them.

For example, I received a thank you card in the post from one department, which included these sentiments:

The front cover of a thank you card. The words Thank You are displayed over an explosion graphic in big letters, each with a gradient colour from yellow to orange, filling the top half of the page. Below that are two large hands giving thumbs up.
  • “Dear Glen, thank you for all you have done for us over the years. You have always been helpful, willing and pleasant to us. Nothing was ever too much trouble and you did it without any complaint. Or saying that you were far too busy, which seems to be the go-to setting these days! I wish you all the best in your future endeavours and our loss is someone else’s gain! Best wishes.”
  • “Glen, so sorry you are leaving. We will miss your cheery outlook and always positive attitude. Your willingness to help and support us at all times is second to none. Very best wishes in whatever direction your future career takes you. Wherever you are employed they are extremely lucky to have you. Their gain is definitely our loss. Take care.”
  • “Dear Glen, I would just like to say a big Thank You! From me and all the team, for everything you have done for us over the years. You will be missed greatly. All the best to you.”
  • “Thanks for everything that you have done over the years. All the best.”
  • “Thank you for all the help you’ve given me over the years, usually deciphering a very vague request! All the best for the future.”

That same department even sent me a lovely box of chocolates – the Everything Collection from Hotel Chocolat – which is very generous! It has the Billionaire Shortbread Selector (with caramel, cookies, and smooth hazelnuts), Patisserie Mini Selection (with 3 different French-inspired creations), Salted Caramel Puddles, Strawberries and Cream Chocolate Puddles, and 3 Nano Slabs (Milk Cocoa Cookies, Dark Fruit & Nut & Salted Caramel). So I’m looking forward to trying everything in there.

And here are a bunch of other messages I’ve had via email:

  • “Been a pleasure to work with you too Glen. When we saw your work ethic and willingness to take on new challenges it was a no-brainer to take you on, and it did indeed work out very well. Keep being you and you shouldn’t have issues in your future working path.”
  • “Hey Glen. Sorry to hear about your job. It’s been a pleasure (well, apart from the odd smashed/spilt pint here & there!!!). But chin up! I don’t need to hope you’ll get on fine, because I KNOW you will. I’m sure a great guy like you can get a decent job on a London wage up there. But good luck & best wishes for the future. I’ve been made redundant twice before & both times I’ve come out better off & happier so it is not all bad news….”
  • “I would like to say that I am very disappointed to hear the news about Printing Services and particularly as we are losing your skills and expertise. You will be a huge loss as you are one of the very few people I have utmost respect for. There are very few people that leave this organisation where you can honestly say they will be greatly missed. For me it’s a crime that we’ve lost someone like you. Anyway, I have no doubt there will be many more opportunities ahead for you and you have the ability, as well as the personality, to go far.”
  • “Let’s stay in touch, I’m happy to support you in anything you want to do in the future, I take this as an opportunity & not a negative thing.”
  • “Very sorry to hear what’s gone on with the Printing Team, you will be greatly missed! No idea what we’ll do for knowledge and expertise and willingness to help in the future? All the best for whatever you do next.”
  • “Glen, we’re all devastated you’re going. We (especially me) have relied on you so much over the years, and you never fail to help us out with good humour and a real willingness to help in any way you can. Really hope everything works out well for you, wherever you work/whatever you do they will be extremely fortunate to have you. Very best wishes.”
  • “I’d just like to echo those comments. It’s been a pleasure to work with you, your expertise will be sorely missed. Good luck!”
  • “I’m glad you have a plan Glen. I can’t believe it was so long ago you started with us – makes me feel old! You will certainly be missed. Good luck with everything you do.”
  • “I am very sad at the closing of the Print shop. As you know, I have supported it ever since I joined the organisation. It has always been a pleasurable part of my job that appeals to my print & design heritage. I have always had fun looking after you all and feel quite bereft that you are being cut loose, as it were. All the very best, whatever you get up to Glen. Take good care of yourself.”
  • “I wanted to say thanks for all your help over the years, you have saved the day on numerous occasions! And you have been so helpful and knowledgeable whenever we’ve spoken, it really won’t be the same without you here. I wish you all the best with your next adventure!”
  • “Really sorry you’re losing your job Glen: it’s obvious how good you are. You’ll be an asset anywhere you go.”
  • “Been good to work with you over the years. Good luck for the future.”
  • “All the best on your future endeavours Glen, you will be missed! Thank you for all the help you have given me the past 4 years I have worked here! Take care and good luck!”
  • “I wish you all the very best in whatever you decide to do next, and a hefty payrise if you should ever decide to return. It has been a pleasure to work with you, you are the type of colleague every one hopes to have. Look after your self and don’t get swallowed up in the Big Smoke. I look forward to seeing your blog, etc.”
  • “You really will be missed and thank you for all your help over the years. Good luck and wishing success in whatever you decide to do.”
  • “Thank you Glen. Best of luck for the future, I have no doubt that wherever your career path takes a you, it will end in success.”
  • “All the best for the future mate. I’m sure you’ll get the right job for you up there. You’re in the right place. We’ve not had a lot of contact, but it has been a pleasure to help you out wherever I could. Good luck, and maybe catch you when you are next down here.”
  • “That all sounds really positive and it’s good to know that you have some options to explore. I took a short career break when I moved from London to Devon and found it really helpful as it gave me time to try new things whilst I looked into what was out there and focussed on what I wanted to do. I can definitely recommend it. I hope everything works out well for you.”
  • “Good luck with your future endeavours, Glen. I am very sure that you and your expertise will be greatly missed by everyone. It was lovely to meet you and thank you again for your valuable help over the last few months, despite the situation being very unfavourable for you. If our career paths ever cross again, I hope that it will be under positive circumstances!”
  • “I am sorry to hear this and hope that you guys find new jobs ASAP!  I just wanted to say thank you for the support you have provided over the years and I wish you all the luck in the world in your next adventures.”
  • “So sorry you’re leaving Glen. Good luck for the future. A new beginning.”
  • “Good luck Glen and thanks for all your help over the years, it has certainly made my life a lot easier having someone who understands what I need!! I will certainly miss your help as you have always been extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the processes etc. If you need a reference from one of your customers, I’m happy to write a good one for you if it would help! I wish you all the luck with your new endeavours.”

It’s been so heartwarming to receive all of those well-wishes. And these aren’t people who are only complimenting me now that I’m going, I’ve had regular praise from them throughout my time there.

And so to finish, this is the email I sent to nearly 40 colleagues and a few departmental inboxes yesterday, just slightly edited to remove personal references and to add a few links to relevant pages on this blog. But it stirred up my emotions a bit while writing it, and still does when reading it back, because it does sum up my genuine feelings. And several people have complimented me on it. So I think it’s a nice way to sign off.

Hi all (including anyone I’ve inadvertently missed off the list that you can pass this on to)…

With my dodgy eyesight, I’m used to stumbling into places I’m unfamiliar with, and fumbling around until someone shows me the way out. Just in this case it’s taken 18 years. 😊

And how that time has flown. When I left Exeter University with my 2:1 Accounting & Finance degree in 2004, and then started my work experience with the team developing the Council’s new financial management system a few months later, I had no idea it would lead to a temporary contract with the Print team, which in turn would result in them entrusting me with their newly-created position of Pre-Press Supervisor for 17 years. Considering I had no prior experience of working in printing or local authorities, or any job for that matter, and being visually impaired inevitably led to uncertainties in myself and others as to how well I could fit in and what I might be capable of, I think it’s safe to say it’s all gone rather well!

I feel very proud of everything I’ve learned and achieved here, immensely grateful for all the trust and faith that has been placed in me, and forever humbled by the high regard in which I know I’m held by many. It’s been a genuine pleasure to work with so many friendly, supportive and incredibly hard-working people, and I will greatly miss the camaraderie and our close working relationships. It’s thanks to all of you that this job has given me a massive boost in my self-confidence over the years, which has empowered and enabled me to do so many amazing things since moving to London, along with the wealth of valuable knowledge and experience I’ve acquired from everyone. It all places me in very good stead going forward.

I don’t know where my career path will take me next, but I have a lot of interesting options and connections that I’m tapping into here in the Big Smoke, and no need to rush any decisions. Those who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or read my rambling blog will be kept up to date directly, and the rest of you will be kept informed via the grapevine I’m sure.

So thank you, for everything, I will miss you all very much. To my Print colleagues, who have looked after me so well, taught me so much, and have been a joy to work alongside and socialise with, I wish you all the very best for your future endeavours. And to everyone we’re leaving behind, I hope the transition to the new way of working isn’t too rocky – good luck!

I finish this Friday, but I will be down there for a few days at some point very soon, so I hope I’ll be able to see some of you then. My manager can let you know when I’m around. And I will certainly continue to visit in the future. Likewise, if you’re ever visiting the capital and want to say hello, feel free to get in touch!

But until then, as a print operator might say on their final job – copy that, over and out. 😉

Regards,

Glen

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger, culture vulture & accessibility advocate, with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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