Taking three months off was never going to be as simple as closing my laptop on a Friday and walking off into the sunset. I’ve been sharing that as the dream when I tell the story, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen that way. As I’ve been saying to the teams I work with for years, offboarding is even more important than onboarding and needs more time than is every available. I’m only following my own advice, and in my situation I’m able to ensure nobody is left in a difficult situation.
Where the role I’ve played in an organisation has been for a long time and the work was complex, it takes more than a few weeks to check it’s all documented, handover responsibilities and know it’s all in safe hands. Even more important than that, if the relationship is strong you feel a need to ensure the humans are able to take on the tasks you used to be involved in.
So this week has been peppered with emails, Slack messages and short calls to reassure and clarify. Generally it’s with the team members not the management. They’re the people who are sometimes left with the anxiety of more responsibility but without any experience to draw upon.
I’m also still working with the wonderful Nexer Digital for a little longer before I walk backwards into a hedge* and don’t resurface until 2024. My real retirement hasn’t started quite yet.
This week I suddenly became aware of the sheer volume of micro interactions I have. Many hundreds every day. Each one chipping away at time for deep work and value creation. I could correspond daily with 50 or more people about active projects. Putting out the fire on all of those conversations takes time. Some get resolved. Some get delegated or escalated. Most have value for somebody and to simple ghost them would be unfair when I have a choice.
But after week of conversations, with a massively reduced delivery burden I do feel lighter. I even managed today—Friday—with no calls, limited emails and a fair amount of tasks around the house. A bit of gardening. Lots of clearing. A walk to the shops. Perhaps more days next week will be more like this Friday.
Whatever happens, when there is finally silence I’ll know I’ve done the best for the people involved. That’s more important to me that a forced end date and turning on an autoresponder.
Have a great weekend all.
* A Simpsons reference for those that this confused