Well, yesterday was another momentous day marking my final transition to retirement. It all started with my first visit to the Gartner Egham office in ten weeks to hand over formally to my successor at work, Jason Whitfield, who doesn’t start work until the beginning of September due to his notice period I believe.
Getting up early and driving to work for a 9am start & waving goodbye to Debbie again was a surreal experience, as was parking at the front of Tamesis 2 in the visitors bay. Also a bit emotional was seeing the old Tamesis 1 building all boarded up and being rapidly demolished to make way for a new larger office building to be built over the next two years.
That building was where I started my Gartner career just over 15 years ago. Before meeting Jason 1-1, however, I returned my computer, mobile phone and corporate Amex card to Emma Harris in HR, but kept hold of my security access pass until I finally left the building. I bumped into a lot of my soon to be ex-team as it was their team day where Jason would be introduced to them for the first time. I was in fact relieved not to attend this formal event, as I agreed with John Adey’s suggestion that it would have muddied the waters a bit and I much preferred to say goodbye in the evening informally at Bar 163!
After 90 minutes I shook hands with Jason one final time and wished him well before picking up my last belongings from reception organised by Lauren. After loading them in the Focus with Zo Khalid’s help (my last Executive Client Manager & Khal’s nephew) I then returned to say goodbye to so many sales colleagues on the second and third floors, meeting my Italian boss Lorenzo Larini on the way. He had to fly to the U.S. that night and so would miss my leaving do, so I was glad to meet up and say goodbye in person.
About an hour later, after receiving so many congratulations and best wishes for the future, I headed back home for the last time from the office with Debbie by the door as I pulled up. Quite an emotional experience for both of us, so to distract us before the taxi would pick us up at 6pm, we decided to go clothes shopping at M&S in Camberley and have lunch in the cafe there. We got back to Thorpe around 4pm and I had a lie down to recharge my batteries while Debbie got everything ready.
Below is one of my prized possessions “liberated” from a Cannes Symposium special event (James Bond) which must have been quite a few years ago as its been held in Barcelona for at least 3 years now. It will be coming to Wales with us and take its rightful place in my future home office, perhaps in the annexe!
When we arrived we had drinks outside with Sasha Mocnaj, Simran Sehmni & Cherin Dash before heading upstairs and sitting down for dinner.
As you can see from the pictures above there must have been around 20 to 30 colleagues from EXP and sales in the upstairs function room and they gave me a great send off. Thoughtful and moving speeches from Simon and Duncan were followed by a brief valedictory address by my good self. I can’t remember too much about it as it was “off the cuff” but Debbie confirmed it was a good one despite being in tears throughout! After consuming huge amounts of white wine and unfortunately eating very little of the menu pictured below, we were “poured” into a Gemini taxi for home, my hand grasping my retirement card, and Debbie’s holding onto my John Lewis gift card – for a not inconsiderable sum!
What a fantastic send off and final closure of a very happy fifteen years at Gartner! 😀