The response of people in my schools when I tell them I am retiring at the end of the year is both predictable and rather depressing. “Oh, dear, they say, what a shame, you don’t look old enough, we’ll miss you” Followed without a pause, perhaps just perhaps a slight, embarrassed lowering of the eyelids, so in fact then ostensibly without pause, they say, “Who will we get instead?”
I’d have liked a little more embellishment on the ‘what a shame’ front, on the ‘we’ll miss you’ theme. Maybe some specifics as to why I’ll be missed. A few whys, whats, whens type information. The odd ‘remember when’. Me at my finest. A pause, is this coming next?
Ah no. Instead, “when will we know who is going to replace you?” A number of possible responses crowd into my head mostly along the lines of –“how the fuck do I know or care for that matter” I say, “well it will be a while, they’ve only just set up the interviews”. Then the internal dialogue kicks in at least it had better be internal, ‘and I hope you get somebody smelly idiot and that they’re ugly’. You may think this last descriptor is gratuitous. But it’s generated by the comments of one of my female Inclusion Managers as they’re now called, who responded to my news with, and I quote, “God, I hope we get somebody hot. Be nice to have a bit of eye candy”. Excuse me, if I said that! Political correctness where are you now when I need you?
And what really hurts is that the guy who is almost certain to replace me is indeed a hottie. Even I can see that. Young, good-looking, full head of hair. What’s not to like? Bastard! So has it come to this? Am I so insecure that I’m worrying about being replaced not by somebody who might be professionally better (unlikely in my view) but by some toy boy straight from university? Would you listen to yourself? Is this how a glorious career ends?
None of this was in my leaving speech, the one I hadn’t prepared. Some lame remarks, a final insult at my boss, who, as I said, I haven’t, unlike the previous colleague, said anything nice about so far and didn’t intend to start now. Yes, I expect my warmth and charm will be the qualities people will most miss around the place now I’m off.
My colleagues clubbed together and bought me (at my request) a garden bench. It’s a nice one and looks great in our vineyard about which more later. The leaving card was nice also although you do wonder why they couldn’t have said all those nice things earlier and to my face and often. I’m mean, bloody hell, I never knew I was inspirational. I need details –again.