The story of the misjudged resignation

Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash

I’ve made some bad career decisions in my 30+ years as a professional. I once left a steady call centre job because I was in bed with a girl and more interested in whatever position she might be offering. I‘ve taken work for less money than I was already on because the interviewer reminded me of an old friend, and I once resigned from a long-term writing job, completely by accident, during a casual get-to-know-you chat with a new editor.

But none of the above can hold a candle to the crushing professional embarrassment that came knocking in 2010.

To paint the picture you’ll have to rewind to a time when the 2012 Olympics were still just a big circle on Sebastian Coe’s kitchen calendar, I was neither married nor engaged, nor did I have any children to speak of. Yet I was already starting to look too old to be a writer at FHM. I was yesterday’s man, akin to someone who definitely shouldn’t be skateboarding still skateboarding. So when the bowler-hatted newspaper The Daily Telegraph got in touch to see if I fancied some work at their gaff, I said yes, snapped my flip-phone shut and told FHM to go fuck itself.

I was off to greener pastures. Only turns out I wasn’t. In fact the pastures may have been slightly covered in shit.

My first mistake was to take the words “come in for a few shifts, then we’ll see from there” as “take two weeks to resign, then come in forever”. So before departing the magazine ghettos forever I enjoyed an extensive farewell bash of burgers and beers, while an emboldened colleague seized the opportunity to share his various opinions re: me (as it happens, not a huge fan). I then clambered aboard a giant steamboat silhouetted by the moon while my former workmates shriveled beneath the looming shadow of my talent. God I’m good at imagery, The Daily Telegraph really had made a brilliant decision.

My second mistake was to fall asleep at my desk on my first day. In my defense I hadn’t slept well the night before on account of nervousness, nor was I helped by the hum of a newspaper which can be accurately compared to the white noise you use to steer babies off to sleep.

“So just to be clear Mike (let’s call my new boss Mike), how long am I booked in for?” I asked, coming to, wiping the drool from my freshly trimmed beard.

“We need you until Tuesday, Josh,” Mike decided, also seizing an opportunity.

Because, you see, Tuesday was tomorrow.

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