Last Day in the Office

13 May 2011. Filed under category Personal.
Leaving work on Friday 13th!

Leaving work on Friday 13th!

Today was my last day in the office. It may even be the last day in any office. Life is unpredictable and things change, but if things go the way I hope, then the stable long-term 9-6 desk job part of my career is now over.

I had an ironic wake-up this morning when I, hung over and very confused, slowly realised that I was in the office. How did I get here? Oh yes, of course. The leaving drinks.

I had my leaving drinks at a funky little roof garden the day before. It was good to get everyone together for one more social time-out from the office and talk about old war stories. At midnight, the last person went home, and I walked back to the office to pick up my bike. I sensibly figured that I was too drunk to get home safe, so I slept in the office until a dawn chorus of birds woke me up. I probably broke some rule doing this, but what are they going to do? Fire me?

I spent most of my last day saying good-bye to people. I also worked on my ‘good-bye and thanks for the fish’ e-mail, which featured my first ever limerick.

At UBS, there once was a lad,
who joined the firm as a grad.
After five years of work,
he acquired a quirk
and left to become a nomad.

During the last two days, many of my colleagues have asked why I decided to leave my career. First of all, I have not left my career; I have changed the direction of it. But the question made me think. I went to university and then worked five years at a bank without ever having to justify my decision to do so. No one ever asked me why I thought that working a fixed eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, was the best thing for me. I didn’t even question it myself.

I don’t want to make it sound like these five years have not been good. In fact, I leave the office carrying bags bursting with good memories and friends made. I worked my way from being an intern to managing my own development team. Along the way, I filled my toolbox with not just technical skills but social ones too, not to mention a good dose of self-confidence. As a first job, it couldn’t have been much better.

Nevertheless, it is time to leave. I imagine my career at the bank as a mountain, one that I’ve spent five years climbing. I could stay and enjoy the view. I could climb a little further and maybe get a slightly improved view. But staying here, I will never know what flowers grow on other far-away mountains. The grass probably won’t be much greener there, but the view will be different, and that is all I need. I am aware that rolling stones never make it to the top, but that is OK. At least they don’t get mossy.


I don’t suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th, or I would probably have chosen a different day to leave my job.

The name of the phobia comes from ‘Frigg’, a Norse mythology goddess from where we got the word ‘Friday’, and the three Greek words ‘tris’ (three), kai (and) and ‘deka’ (ten). Easy.

Due to the commutativity of addition, the name could just as well be friggadekakaitrisphobia.


What is your most memorable job-exit memory?

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  1. daz73 says:

    “To be safe we lose our chance of ever knowing, what’s around the river bend.”
    Pocahontas… err Disney’s (1994) 🙂

  2. Freddy Shaoul says:

    I left the so called ‘secure job’ 4 years ago for the unknown world of ‘free lancing’ and despite the difficulties and challenges, I still think it is the best decision I’ve ever taken along my career journey.

    You will always do brilliantly well Gustav … not a single doubt. Tons of good luck …

    1. MB says:

      I would like to do the same and I am trying to make plans for it, but from my research so far it seems it is harder to make an income doing free lance work if you’re not technically trained like webdesign and etc. What has been your experience?

  3. Congratulations on your last day at UBS, Gustav! I’m excited that you now have time to come to Silicon Valley where we’re always looking for talented software engineering managers. 😉

  4. Peter R. Geiser says:

    Beautiful to leave with respect and good wishes.
    And now spread your wings and fly. I wish you all the best.

  5. Amazing!
    I see that you’re now more than ready.
    Having said that; you’re making it so exciting and inspiring.
    I know that you know a lot of people everywhere but we will never be able to entirely share you with the world… We’re being kind. LOL!
    I can’t wait to hearing from you on this blog.
    Bruno (my dog) and I wish you all the best.
    … that’s right, a brilliant future!
    – What a guy!

  6. Henrik Andersson says:

    Helo brother its have hapends sometimes that i slept over att work nothing to bother
    Good luck on your journey and welcom home.
    Talking about climbing mountins “en björn gick över en kulle en björn gick över en kulle en bjön gick över en kuuulleee ohoj vad han fick se jo andra sidan av kullen jo an……….. 🙂

    1. Gustav (The Modern Nomad) says:

      Ha ha! Thanks for that in-joke reference. Who knows? Maybe all I am searching for with this nomadic life is to find some new bears to play with?

      1. Andy DelliColli says:

        LOL! you should totally join this bear at the occupation camp here in Syracuse, if you get a chance. I begin my journey out in the late spring/ early summer.

  7. PDragon says:

    Your Limerick skills need work…..a lot of work!

    1. Gustav (The Modern Nomad) says:

      All criticism must from now on be delivered in the form of limericks or they will be ignored.

  8. Linden says:

    I like to say that Henke captured it just perfect since a björn gick över en kulle en Björn gick över en kulle..

  9. Doug Burns says:

    Erm reading your limerick, my standard response would be ‘Dont give up the day-job’. Mmmm, bit late for that I suppose 😉

    I am too long in the tooth and have seen too many people come and go from offices to believe that anyone is indispensible or will be remembered too long after they leave, but you will be missed. The office just wasn’t the same last week.

    Your gift of two of the desk cuddly characters was kind (well, at least to your inventory of stuff!) but a wildly insufficient substitute.

    Regardless, D2 and D3 say hi, with a small tear in their eyes.

    1. Gustav (The Modern Nomad) says:

      Thanks buddy. Be sure to send me little (picture) greetings from D2 and D3.

  10. Simon Vandi says:

    Wow you finally did it!! I saw it coming. This is how I saw you really, life is about discovering new phases in our life and not about staying fixed at a comfort level! Challenge is the best reward in life and the only thing constant in life is CHANGE!!!

    See you soon

  11. Larry says:

    Great Blog, I had moved to Hamburg Germany from Boston MA.USA for a job and the employer was not able to keep up with their side of the contract. In the middle, well north of Germany I quite my job with no place to live and no other job prospects moving forward. “What had I done?” Within a month I had found a new job in Freiburg Germany where I stayed for nearly 2 years before moving on to Munich. I loved my time in Germany and miss it. I yearn for the return to that experience.

    1. Isn’t screw ups like those exciting!? Scary for sure, but also so full of opportunities!

What is your most memorable job-exit memory?

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