I don’t know why but I had always envisaged my last week in the Army as a sentimental Military milestone where everyone patted you on the back and wished you well, where you did no work and cut around in civvies calmly (with a smug look on your face) getting your clearance chit signed…
How wrong was I?!
Actually it’s just another week. You are required to work if someone needs your help because you are still in the Army, nobody really seems to care that you are leaving, you are still in Uniform as you are forced to keep a set in case we (the UK) goes to war with Syria/Libya/Korea and you are recalled and the clearance chit is the MOST difficult document in the world to complete! For years as an administrator I have said to the guys ‘I’m the last one of the sheet’ or ‘you need to get this person before I can sign it’ and believe me – Karma is a bitch! I’m sure people were doing it on purpose and the icing on the cake is when you think you are nearly done and people start manually inserting other people to see! Aaaargh! Anyway, after a valiant effort I handed it into the Docs Sgt with most boxes signed.
My leaving do was also nowhere near how I’d imagined…After 13 years service I thought I’d be given a decent send off by all – instead my Dept of 8 people (including me) went to a restaurant, had a very early lunch which I had to pay for and then everyone less 2 people went back to work! To say I was mortified at the poor show was an understatement. Eventually people finished work and more of my friends joined the cause but I had got way too carried away drowning my sorrows in approx 8 bottles of Moet by this point and was taken back to the block by a friend.
The next day I cleaned my room in the block with a hangover from hell and handed it over to the QMs staff. I nipped into the Office to hand in my ID Card and sign my Official Secrets Act said goodbye to people in there and they said goodbye in return and then they continued to tap away on their computers and I was already forgotten.
I was so disappointed with how my Military service came to an end and felt that rather than go out with a bang, I just faded away into obscurity…but this just proved to me that deciding to leave the Army was the best thing I could’ve done as you are just a number, you aren’t irreplaceable and the big Military machine will continue to roll on without you!