Same desk, different job

In a play on the ‘same shit, different day’ phrase … the first day in my new role as Head of Learning Experience was very much ‘same desk, different job’.

In the current times with the increases in hybrid and remote working, changing jobs is a very different experience. Changing jobs remotely often means being sat in the same place one day, doing one thing and … then the same seat doing something different for someone else the next. Even with a break between roles, the view is the same. This time, however, you’re the newbie and looking to others for your cue. So, what has actually changed?

I’ll get to that later, but first, how did we used to leave a job?

We used to have ceremonies for leaving jobs. Everyone gathering around your desk, a few cheesy words from your boss about how they wouldn’t cope without you, maybe a card & small gift. People would pat you on the back, you’d exchange personal phone numbers – even if you had no intention of ever speaking to Jane from accounts again. You’d hand over your ID badge, hand over laptop to an IT support person who’d scowl at all the stickers you’d peppered it with. As you walked out of the building, you’d turn around for one last look at the office, sigh, and wonder if you were making the right decision. Perhaps the team might decant to a pub for valedictory drinks where someone would drunkenly let rip about how they were secretly in love with Jane from accounts.

In those days, you knew that you’d left a job. A greetings card full of sloppy handwriting and soppy messages was tangible evidence that you’d once worked there and had now left.

‘Job leaving rituals in the WFH era’ – Terence Eden

Whilst I’ve never really had a leaving experience like this, we all know where Terence is coming from. There was a ‘ceremony’ of sorts we’d follow – there would be cake, maybe a lunch, probably an after-work drink. Laptops and ID cards were handed over, more chat and, eventually, there would be the final walking out the door. But not anymore.

My old team got me a virtual card which has since been deleted unless I pay for an Premium Account on

They were kind enough to get me a present – a gift certificate. I didn’t get a carriage clock to put on my mantelpiece (not that I have one) or anything physical. Instead it paid for a few months of a TV streaming service.

Those colleagues were scattered all over the country, so it would have been impractical to gather in a pub for a venting session. I did get some spicy private messages on LinkedIn, which sort of made up for it.

A courier picked up my old laptop. He didn’t care about the stickers and wasn’t interested in a hug goodbye. Which was fair enough really.

‘Job leaving rituals in the WFH era’ – Terence Eden

Earlier this week I travelled back to Coventry for a lunch I had arranged (more on that nightmare another time!). The team joined me to say goodbye, or to just make sure the rumour was right and I was in fact leaving. To be fair, without the planned lunch there may not have been a need for me to be on-site at all; I could quite easily have just sent my equipment back by courier and left quietly, without fuss. I’m not one to make or like a fuss, so that would have been the prefered option, but I also wanted the chance to see people one last time, to chat in person and for the opportunity to wish them well and to say goodbye.

While my circumstances don’t match either of the examples above, it was still an unusual experience. A team who works, for the most part, virtually, it was great to be together in person. Yes, they had arranged a virtual card and gift voucher (thank you, so very generous!), both of which arrived by email in the morning. We then had a remote meeting to attend before I drove to Coventry for my first (and last) visit to the new office. A few short chats with those in the office before heading off for lunch. Good food and great company at lunch, chat and banter over a burger and drink, the obligatory speech (I hate giving them, but it seemed to go OK despite not having prepared anything), then the fizzle out as we gradually made our way back to the office. Five minutes later, with nothing to do, we said a few more goodbyes and I left everyone there, working or on a Teams call.

And the next day? Same desk, different job. I dusted the desk properly for the first time in many months, rearranged the pictures on the wall behind me … and there I was. Ready for the new role. It’s as though nothing had changed, but everything had changed. I cannot emphasise enough the feeling that it should be different, but being in the same place takes all that away.

I have a renewed vigour for what I love, which is learning design, learning technology, and learning in general, and enabling learning designers to explore their craft and provide them with the ability to be their very best. The new job is going to give me all the space and opportunities I need to do this, and so much more.

But the view is the same. I don’t know what I expected leaving and joining jobs remotely, but this wasn’t quite it.

Anyway. Onwards to the new job, and hello exciting new opportunities!

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash