Thursday, November 18, 2004

The End is Near

A week ago today, I was interviewing for the job I'll be starting on November 29. A week from now, I'll be enjoying the holiday, having left my current job for the last time, and preparing for the start of something new.

The whole thing came about rather quickly, and thus I don't think it has totally sunk in yet. I faxed my resume just last Tuesday. I got a call about it on Wednesday, interviewed and was offered on Thursday, and accepted the offer and submitted my resignation here on Friday. I've spent this week trying to get used to the idea that I'm leaving, and now in the latter part of the week I'm actively beginning to prepare for my departure. I'm tying up all the loose ends I can, and tonight I'll start taking home the few personal effects that have landed here over the course of the past 33 months.

I've also started writing out instructions for the various tasks I perform here so that whoever takes them over can do so as seamlessly as possible once I'm gone. Writing these instructions has been more difficult that I thought it would be at first. What I do is fairly complex and contains so many conditions that straightforward instructions are out of the question. I find the job simple enough to do because I've been doing it for so long, and in fact it isn't really hard, but anyone starting on it for the first time would be overwhelmed because there's just so much to it. I know, because I was there once myself.

So I'm trying to be as detailed as I can with these instructions, and I can only hope that they aren't too confusing and that any rough spots or oversights can be overcome easily enough by the next person in this position. I think it'll be fine, as they aren't planning to replace me right away, and instead my duties will be spread among remaining employees, most of whom have been here long enough to have at least a rudimentary idea of what I do. The best thing that can happen is that someone here does my job long enough to become familiar with it, and then when someone is brought in to replace me there can be actual teaching and training instead of reliance upon my written instruction.

I hold a firm belief that virtually no one is irreplaceable in a workplace. After all, I came into this job with no background in this sort of work, and I've become quite good at it, if I do say so myself. If I can do it, anyone can do it. That said, I do think this place is in for a period of rough times after I leave. It's rare that we do things the same way twice around here, and there is so much that I just know from experience and that really can't be transcribed into instructions. They can only be figured out and learned through time. I think it will take a lot of communication for this problem to be overcome, and that's something that some people here simply do not excel at.

Soon (maybe tomorrow, maybe early next week) I'll be posting a list of things I will miss and things I won't miss about the job I'm leaving, as well as a list of things I'm looking forward to about the job I'm taking.

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