Quitting your first job sooner than expected can have a destabilizing effect on fresh graduates who thought they were ready to take on the world, which may leave them disillusioned and full of self-doubt.
Here we have a young adult who is determined to make the best of their situation. They share the highlights of their final week in public service as well as how their short stint shaped their views towards work and the organization that they are leaving.
D-8 to My Last Day of Work
My inbox notifies me that it cannot receive or send any emails as it has reached full capacity. I spend the next half an hour deleting emails from five months ago, scrolling past cheery greetings from bosses and endless threads from which I had to troubleshoot logistical issues.
Upon announcing my imminent departure from this job, some of my colleagues asked for last-minute help with their ongoing tasks. It feels ironic that my act of leaving has suddenly made communicating with them a lot easier. Also, this is probably the closest I had worked with my supervisor ever since my first day at the job. Well, okay, enough email-clearing, I have an email draft due by the end of the day.
Over the past week, I ate meals with several colleagues, something that was mainly initiated with my farewell in mind. Funnily enough, it felt as though people were happy for me to leave the place, and they wished that they too had a chance to leave. Surprisingly, I started to see more of myself in these coworkers and could even imagine an alternative reality where I worked tirelessly at this job for the next few years. I could see myself settling into a comfortable rhythm — checking emails, going on coffee breaks and indulging in the occasional office gossip. But the past few months have convinced me that a life of complacency wasn’t what I aspired towards. Surely there must be more to meaningful work than navigating out-of-bound (OB) markers and endless standard operating procedures (SOPs), right?
Wrapped up the last few emails I had to send out as part of my official duties. It feels bittersweet; I’ve come to enjoy the consistency of checking emails and responding to them. Nonetheless, the morning went by relatively quickly. Here’s to waiting around for the last few days at work.
12pm – Back in the office! Spent the morning clearing and replying to my personal emails. I think I am too ready to jump back into my own work and I couldn’t care less about wrapping things up in the office. I even made a Spotify playlist called “last day at work” on my way to the office this morning. It is filled with edgy songs about farewell and vogue parties. Oh, and also about being my best self.
5pm – Had an interesting lunch with colleagues. We talked pretty candidly about the intrinsic flaws of the organization and they shared their own experiences with the management. The advice that I received from them was the same: I am still young, so I can afford to head out there and explore my options. It comes from a good place but there is an anxiety that underlies such comments, which suggests that “I am tied down but you are not.” It makes me wonder how many obligations we cannot escape once we get older as working adults. My colleagues advise me to take a few months off and enjoy life while I can before I start working full-time again — I wonder if they have ever considered taking a break with regards to their own careers.
9am – Last day of work! It all feels so surreal, walking in and knowing I will not be coming back again. I came to work prepared with some snacks as gifts, just for a polite farewell. There are no more emails for me to clear so the day ahead seems like another chill one.
3pm – Just came back from a short chat with the Human Resource (HR) team, who seemed interested in my reasons for leaving. I hope they take my feedback seriously but at this point, I am ready to just up and leave. The few months I spent here taught me a lot about rules and regulations, and I think I’ve learned enough to break some of them after I tendered my resignation.
5pm – My colleague gives me a small token of appreciation on behalf of the team and I really appreciate it. The gift was thoughtful, and they sent a lot of encouraging messages my way too. Other than that, the last day at work was rather uneventful. There was no farewell lunch or party. Understandably so, since I was only here for a few months. I pack up and bid my last goodbye to the office.
7pm – Finally done and out of the office! Gonna head out for drinks and relax a little. The past week has been a whirlwind of emotions but I am thankful that I get to quit with relatively no fuss. I can’t wait to sleep in on those weekday mornings and tend to my plants in the daytime again.
Feature image by Sherryl Cheong
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