Goodbye Shanghai

Yesterday, my heart was as gloomy as the stormy rain – gloomy, dim and wet. My team organised a farewell dinner for me. (To me, it was a farewell dinner for all of us – not just me alone) Not a big or grand one but they are the ones who matter to me most. Come 1st July, this fellowship will ceased and all of us will be separated to pursue our next destination. This will be our last dinner as colleagues in Shanghai.It was quite an awkward dinner for me. No, I didn’t made any teary farewell speech. I just don’t want to make the dinner an emotional or solemn one. No sad parting words – just in high celebratory moods. The cold rain had dampen our night, I do not want to make it any worse.

My beloved team gave me 2 perfect parting gifts – Philips Digital Photo Frame & Oregon Projector Clock. I was indeed very touched. These 2 items are always on my “browsing list” whenever I go shopping. Rebecca (despite our regular fights and tussles) is my very attentive and lovely partner. She knows all my likes and dislikes. Honestly, I was surprised that she remembered all these. (Man, she is like that worm in my tummy!)

We are a marvelous team. These are the great ones who stood firmly on their values and supported me to the final minute. They are what you call the “real friends” who stand by you in a real crisis. Despite knowing that they may lose their current posts after this migration exercise, this team delivered the best results ever in the history of global travel retail business. Morale hit rock bottom last December but our performance exceed all expectation. (Rebecca, Calvin and Alicia scored and won 3 big projects for me in the last 5 months!)

Throughout my last 2 years with the team, I encountered extreme characters. A couple of my team members took short cuts and failed disgracefully. They also left a load of mess for us to clean up. Others stood firmly and loyally on their values to deliver good results. Our global business is a pressurizing one and it stretches our people to their limits. I can understand why some never meet the marks. It is not an easy account.

The last 6 months were terrorizing moments for many. Clare, Alicia and Lisa are planning for their wedding. Calvin is expecting his first child. Steven is waiting to join our team as full-time staff. The decision to migrate broke many hearts in our team. “We are just a perfect team” many said. There were lots of “whys” and “grumblings” – yet despite all their grievances, they never quit on me or their job. “Every man for himself” never exist in our world. Clare, Calvin, Rebecca, Steven and Alicia stood by my side till the very last minute. For that, I respected this crew of mine. (not forgetting Lisa and Daisy). All of them left a legacy for the new Hong Kong team to continue.

It was their words on my farewell card that made me so sad about leaving. I wish I can give them good goodbye hugs last night. (but the Shanghai ladies in my team are very conservative about getting hugs from a married man). Our parting was just so quick and abrupt. At the dark pavement, we left in 2 separate directions – east and west.

Today, I went back to the office and cleared my table. Looking at my empty department, I felt so sad. We were an excellent team and our rapport was great. In less than 15 days, these friends will be separated to other business units. From then on, we will be leading a separate path and a brand new life.

Don’t get me wrong. I am confident they will excel where ever they are. I just feel pitiful to lose such a good team of talents.

“Can you manage a team of people and our business?” asked Michael, the interviewer.

I paused for a couple of seconds and answered.

“Yes. Your team will love me. Your client will love me too.”

Michael was surprised by my answer. He looked at me in disbelief and said “I hope so, we shall see about that.”

That was back in 2006 when Michael interviewed me. If he is still around today, he would come to me and pat my back and said “Well done”.

Yes, my team loves me. And I will miss them very very much.

One Response to Goodbye Shanghai

  1. Calvin says:

    With regard to your concerns about hug, please do not mind it too much. It’s all about different culture/manner in between eastern and western people.
    But please do not overlook the tears in eyes and behind the glasses.
    We’d love to save the hugs now for our reconvence in the future..

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