The Online Leaving Card

The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have hit many sectors of the country, and the organisation where I work has not been immune.  The virus has caused uncertainty, and uncertainty has caused a down turn in profits, and a down turn in profits has caused job losses, and job losses has resulted in more office leaving cards.

But even the traditional office leaving card has had to evolve as a result of the pandemic.  With so many office workers still working from home, the leaving card has gone digital.

No longer the faux humour and insincere sentiments of a physical card purchased from W H Smith or Hallmark, to be surreptitiously passed around the office in a plain-wrapper envelope, collecting messages, signatures and small change as it goes.  Now the procedure has gone online and, perversely, is more conspicuous for that.

Where in the past, a canny sleight of hand could disguise the fact that you weren’t putting any money in the gift collection, since the leaver was someone that:

  1. You didn’t know
  2. You didn’t like
  3. Earned more than you

now donations to the farewell gift are visible online to all and sundry, like the audited accounts of a public limited company.  It is no longer possible to contribute three pence and a button without being horribly exposed as the office miser.  Even giving––what I consider a fairly generous––£1 now looks rather paltry if your colleagues have all been pledging higher amounts.  Indeed, an unhealthy element of competition has entered the arena of the digital leaving collection, beneficial to no one except the person actually leaving.

Leaving parties, too, have now become awkward, mawkish events taking place on Microsoft Teams, rather than opportunities for drunken home-truths down the pub.

And, while anxieties regarding furloughing or redundancy remain as real as ever, actual job losses have become conveniently virtual.

© Simon Turner-Tree

Simon Turner-Tree waves goodbye to the old and hello to the new.

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