Today the curtain fell on my long working association with the city of Newcastle upon Tyne - which stretches back to 1986 – as I left the Newcastle Blood Centre for the very last time. Officially my last day with the organisation is tomorrow, but that will only involve a short trip over to our Teesside depot and not a single solitary mile on the A19.
During the three decades since I moved from York to the north east... or simply further north east depending on your point of view, I have worked in a sports shop, three different insurance brokers and, since 2002, the National Blood Service (as it was then).
To say my life has changed since I took this job would be the mother of all understatements. The biggest – and, by a country mile, the best – change has been meeting (falling in love with, and eventually marrying) Elaine. Now is not the time, nor is here the place to dredge up memories of past relationships; suffice to say that the only reason I applied for the job (and by definition the only reason I met Elaine) was because my ex-wife showed me the advert....
The very definition of “irony”!
I’ve been living in Teesside since 2006, and the daily 100-mile commute has taken its toll – on me and my car. Whether or not I would have ever left is a moot point now, as I, the rest of my team, and colleagues right across the country, were given notice of job disestablishment and redundancy at the start of the year. Having seen two layers of management (including my own line manager – the best I have ever worked with/for) disappear, the writing was very much on the wall, but that doesn’t lessen the blow when the announcement is made.
It’s hard to see so many good people – and friends – so deeply affected by what was effectively one sentence delivered at a presentation (of sorts) back in January, but “change” is part and parcel of the world we live in, and however daunting the future seems, there are still choices to be made, as well as (even though I hate the word) opportunities to be taken.
I feel very lucky to have been offered the chance to work within Hambleton, Richmonshire & Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group. I start on Monday; it’s a wonderful move for me, and I hope that over the months to come those who appointed me will feel they made a good choice. For now, the emotions are all pretty jumbled up; sadness at saying goodbye to some very good friends, a few nerves about turning the next page, but excitement about what the new chapter will contain.
So with one last look over my shoulder I will say goodbye and good luck to everyone I’ve worked with these past twelve years, but the final few words have to be for Elaine. I’m blessed to be sharing my life with you, and I’ll never stop trying to make you happy... and hopefully proud. I love you xxx