The start of 2017 has already seen the departure of a couple of long-standing colleagues. They handed in their notices at the end of last year, but their actual leaving dates ran into the start of this one.

Coming off the back of the holidays these January job moves couldn’t have been more poorly timed.

For starters there’s only a few of the team in the office, as most are either catching a spot of winter sun in some exotic locale or blitzing down the slopes.

Then there’s the small matter of being cash-poor from the overspend of the winter festivities, with most of the team’s paychecks not dropping until the end of the month.

When you’re watching the pennies, the last thing you want to be shelling out for is a present for a colleague you’re unlikely to ever see again.

Annoyingly, it was left to me to organise the leaving collections and then to pick up the presents and cards, having been dumped in it by Irritating Colleague. “You’ve known them the longest so I’m sure you have a better idea of what they would like,” she said sweetly.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if:

■ The collection had more than a few pence and a couple of sweets with fluff on.

■ Irritating colleague hadn’t been so smug as she wheedled her way out of it.

Despite me sticking in extra cash to bulk up the collection there was a paltry sum with which to buy not one but two leaving gifts. Even the Canary Wharf mall sales, with their cornucopia of slashed-price delights couldn’t help.

I plumped for two John Lewis gift cards, without receipts, as the embarrassingly low amounts wouldn’t be revealed until point of purchase plus I saved on giftwrap.

The leaving cards may as well have been written in invisible ink, the page looked that white. My entry looked as though a five-year-old had written it, the writing was that big.

I used Master A as the excuse for not being able to attend their leaving drinks; I just couldn’t face the sorry affair. I heard on Monday that just four people turned out, two of which were the leavers.

So the morale of this tale is if you’re going to quit, plan it in advance that your leaving bash doesn’t fall during the January blues.

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