I have already made clear my anxieties concerning office leaving cards. Although, I was perhaps not sufficiently explicit in explaining that my anxieties relate to all types of greetings cards, which regularly circulate the office, not just leaving ones. Birthday cards; pregnancy cards; new baby cards; promotion cards; retirement cards.
And it is not only the writing of a suitably sincere message, which raises my fears. Once, I have committed my gushing, purple prose to the page I am then presented with the difficulty of who to pass the card on to next, and how to pass it on in a suitably surreptitious fashion that the person whom the card is for is unaware that it is being circulated.
The easiest approach is simply to pass the card back to the person who gave it to me, but a sufficiently assertive person will refuse to accept it, claiming that they have already signed.
I look at the card more closely: there is scarcely an inch of virgin, unadorned white space left on the entire double-page centre-spread. It appears that everyone has already signed before me. Everyone in the office. I am the last one. Why? Is there some reason why I have been left to last? Is it so obvious, my ambiguous position to the person leaving/having a birthday/having a baby?
I scan the names again; read the happy, jokey, enthusiastic messages. There must be someone who has yet to add their saccharine sentiments to the mass of mawkish hysteria.
Terry from Accounts; good old Margaret from HR; Ron from the Post Room; Samia, just finished work-experience: is there no one yet to sign?
There is a solution.
I survey the office cubicles around me. Every one is occupied. No, not quite. Sara is standing up. I can see her searching for her cigarettes and her lighter in her handbag. She is about to nip outside for a quick fag-break. It is a window of opportunity. She may have already signed the card, but that matters not a jot, if I can dump it on her desk while she is out of the room. I estimate that I have a good five minutes clear to perform the task. It only takes me two; I am a past-master.
The leaving-card hot-potato has been successfully circulated.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree checks the coast is clear of office leaving cards.
If you enjoy reading Simon Turner-Tree, you may like to check out his description of his mastery of the paternoster lift.