take this job and...hold it for me, please
Friday was my last day of work for the next year, and it was slightly surreal to pack my things and say goodbye. I've never left a job to come back to it again at a later point, so I must be careful not to say things like "I've always wanted to tell you what an enormous prat I think you are" or leave rude words hidden somewhere in the online help files I've just completed (I didn't - don't bother looking). My teammates joked that I would be blamed for anything that went wrong simply because I would be absent (alternatively, we would also blame the contractor just for fun). Former teammates of mine will fondly remember the "Colin: He Didn't Give it His All" chapter in our lives that probably still goes on to this day. Poor Colin had the misfortune of quitting his job, thus being the scapegoat for every mishap that followed. Missing files? Tsk, that Colin. Typo in a manual? I bet it was Colin. The Greenhouse Effect? Damn that Colin. And so on.
I have to say, considering that I work in an office that is almost entirely populated by men (software engineers at that), I was surprised when I received numerous emails, comments in person, and phone calls from workmates who were genuinely excited about the upcoming birth and wanted reassurance that I would take this time off to relax. We got a very generous amount of gift vouchers for Babies R Us and an incredibly cute outfit for the baby (denim overalls and top). It was only just over four months ago that these same people chipped in for our wedding presents, and I was the third woman to go on maternity leave in the span of six weeks; I was expecting an envelope full of buttons, a few paperclips, and a couple of used Post-It notes at the very most. I was really touched at everyone's generosity and the kind parting words.
So the contents of my desk now sit in a box on the dining room floor. I am now officially a Domestic Engineer/Lady of Leisure. I am thrilled about being able to do whatever I want without having to schedule anything around my work week. I am relieved to have met all my deadlines and to not have to look at that fecking administrator's guide anymore. I can get caught up on all those books on my "to read" shelf, all the DVDs of films I meant to see in the cinema but never got around to, and finally go to our local farmer's market I've been meaning to check out for months (it only happens on alternate Fridays from 10am-2pm). Then I begin an entirely new life as a Mum.
And away we go.