The art of “Letting Go” and “Moving on.”
——————————–In my past life, I worked with two of my elderly Colleagues who had religiously worked for this Institution for 35 and 36 years, respectively. I’m not sure how many times they may have been awarded gifts and “long service” awards and bonuses. They had worked under 7 CEOs/MDs, and they would vividly and passionately recall the good characters and personalities of each of them while reading three bulky newspapers from the first page up to the last page which was normally sports page.
While we were busy logging in our laptops and review early email assignments from our line directors, the two comrades would read articles in newspapers loud and making unpleasant running comments almost on every page. From 8.00am, the two comrades would be buried in newspaper stories analyzing every topic ranging from politics, sports, local court stories, business and everything in between up to 10.00am. They would move to the kitchen and make themselves a cup of tea or coffee. They would come back with those cups of tea complaining why the milk was powdered and instead of fresh milk. They would sip their cups of tea While attempting to log on their big screen computers only to realize they had forgotten their login passwords.
They would call Information Technology (IT) Helpdesk to reset the passwords or decide to walk downstairs to summon one of the younger Turks to “make the computer work.” By the time they log in, it was a lunch break. Instead of taking 1 hour, they would disappear for 2 hours only to reappear at 3.00pm and discover they had emails in their inbox inviting them for the 8.30am meeting in the Boardroom. Their Line Director had asked for a report which was needed by noon, and the fellows had not delivered. Surely that type of conduct is career limiting. We all must know that certain things, reports, and board papers can’t just wait until you finish drinking your tea.
For one reason or another, the mere thought of working in one institution for more than 25 years (Quarter a Century) has always scared me. I may be naïve, or it could be that rolling stones gather no moss, but even these two gentlemen had gathered none at all except rust. I could be wrong, but my view is there is another life outside your known “comfortable zone” and corporate circles. Even a change of Desk position, job role, job description, function, Change of Department or promotion could make a difference. Being stagnant can be an energy-sapping and tormenting excercise. There are only a few ways out. If you overstay in one working place or the environment, I have this gut feeling you may become part of the ancient pedantic culture and old furniture.
If you work in a Financial Institution, for example, you could have been availed at preferential staff rate a car loan, a house loan, furniture loan, educational loan, wedding loan, cash advance, personal to the holder, leased vehicle, etc. These types of “so-called incentives” indirectly binds you to an institution and limits your ability, flexibility, and capacity to maneuver and look out for higher positions and higher package incentives internally and externally – within or outside opportunities with different institutions.
The undeniable fact is that some prospective employers, no matter what your 35 years of experience and qualifications you may show them will not move them and may not be so willing and ready to take on your personal liabilities. The challenge which may turn into real fear is that once you resign, your former employers reserve the right to call for their money with immediate effect and or they will transfer your loan from Staff to “general customer” portfolio and commercial interest rates kick in immediately.
In some Sub-Saharan African countries where I have been privileged to serve, inflationary, and interest rates on commercial loans can be that high. Inevitably, one thinks twice and tends to hang around – stay for some time longer in one position.
Once entangled in such web of personal debts and contractual obligations, chances are that your promotion is most likely going to be painfully gradual, very slow or none existent.
Some institutions may take advantage and may stop considering you for any departmental transfer, internal promotions, salary increase or zero annual bonus knowing full well that the probabilities or chances of you are initiating a self-induced resignation is almost none or close to zero. You are trapped in debt and indirectly bonded by the contractual loan obligations you appended your signature on. This could explain why certain brilliant individuals may not seem willing to change industries and try Oil and Gas, Power and Energy Sector, Transport and Telecommunications, IT and other Parastatal Companies which may be equally well-paying jobs. Such type of members of Staff may not resign easily, and they may continue to report for work grudgingly. Surely their poor performance is guaranteed to be noticed by all. After all, their friends and colleagues are noticing how they cannot manage to browse a newspaper and get to work, but want to read and analyze every article in three National papers using company time, company chair, company phone, company desk while sipping a cup of tea provided by company resources.
Employers may also be hesitant to ask you to leave since once they initiate, the labor laws may demand that they compensate you for such a separation. Your labor value now becomes a diminishing return. The company can’t sponsor you for further training as that is considered throwing good money after bad investments. Your promotion prospects become next to zero. So is your personal net income growth. Eventually, no one invites you for any Company strategic meetings. No one notices whether you have dodged or concerned about your whereabouts. Like a zombie, your overstaying in one position creates the perception that you have stopped adding value to the company, and your existence on a payroll becomes just another statistic. Any dynamic company would love to move on.
The company will continue to bring in younger Turks half-size your age, more qualified as your bosses and they will pay them three times your current salary. You wonder whether it is nepotism, tribalism, regionalism, racism or Management is just being unfairly discriminatory. You have missed the writings on the wall. Once you notice that the Human Resource team has placed an advert internally and externally in the media inviting applications from interested parties for positions within your department with similarities in your Job description and job role, be wise and start to introspect and intensely pray and reflect on what may befall before your own eyes. You end up engaging in a “Complaints and Corridor Gossip Mode” criticizing every decision Management implements While being nostalgic about the working environment 35 years ago when no one used computers, internet, wifi, smartphones, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Kiwi or Instagram, pasture, e-bay or Amazon, Alibaba.
Eventually, what was once a comfortable retreat becomes a prison. If you continue to deny and avoid the opportunities to move forward, you will ultimately find the situation so intolerable. I would advise that it will be better not to consult Sangomas, but you’ll do well within what is in your powers and a short prayer to your Creator. Do whatever is necessary to get yourself out of that Institution which may have become Toxic for your own safety and health considerations. Unfortunately, by the time that happens, you will have lost many of your best options.
I firmly believe in the concept that a human being must be their own most significant asset. Put your time, effort, and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset – you yourself. Allow your abilities to blossom somewhere else. Progress is made by those who dare to be wrong and the persistence to find how to get it right. Great achievements are crafted into existence by those who, when they begin, are not sure exactly how they’ll do it.
Don’t wait until you know how to do everything before you have the confidence to do anything. Find confidence in the authenticity of your desire and the goodness of your purpose. Just remember God is still in Control and on the throne up in the Heavens. You don’t have to be already an expert to gain expertise. You have to get busy. If you should stumble a lot at first, get back up each time and apply what you’ve just learned. Even when you stumble going forward, you’re still moving ahead.
Don’t wait for confidence to somehow come to you. Get out there and create it for yourself. Console yourself that you are worthy and able to reach the goals that truly meant something for you. Get going, and enjoy the experience of allowing your capabilities and abilities to blossom, somewhere else. “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility,” Eleanor Roosevelt. Move one. Come out of that “discomfort zone.” It does not matter at that point whether you are staggering, crawling, moving sideways or forward, but certainly, the moving should not be going backward.
On August Sunday morning, from Church meetings, the family went for lunch at Swensen’s at Bedok Mall. After some sumptuous lunch meals, we all decided to buy knowledge – books each for reading, stocking the physical bookshelves and home use and old fashioned display. We all know there are ibooks, but the Zambian mentality of having the physical books with pages in hand compelled us to haul some books back home. I bought an Interesting small book from the Popular Bookstore at Bedok Shopping mall entitled “Who Moved My Cheese.” Although, I had read this book before and had Lessons Learnt from the same during the “Great Manager’s Program,” it was still refreshing to re-focus and learn more real-life lessons from it.
With over 2.5 million copies sold worldwide in more than 40 languages, Who Moved My Cheese is a simple parable that reveals profound truths.
It is the amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life, for example, a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for what you want, perhaps the organization you work in, or the family or community you live in. The problem and FACT of Life are that the cheese keeps moving. Change is the ONLY thing which is constant in real life. We ALL have to get used to this undeniable FACT of life.
In the story, the characters are faced with an unexpected change in their search for the cheese. One of them eventually deals with change successfully and writes what he has learned on the maze walls for you and me to discover. You’ll learn how to anticipate, adapt to, and enjoy change and be ready to change quickly whenever you need to. Valuable lessons, indeed!
Discover the secret of the writing on the wall for yourself and enjoy less stress and more success in your work and life. Written for all ages, this story takes less than an hour to read ( I was reading and underlining and highlighting salient points, so I took several hours though) , but its unique insights will/MAY last a lifetime those who have read, digested, got inspired and applied even few lessons out of the many.
Spencer Johnson, MD, is one of the world’s leading authors of inspirational writing. He has written many New York Times bestsellers, including the worldwide phenomenon Who Moved My Cheese? And one with Kenneth Blanchard, the One Minute Manager. His works have become cultural touchstones and are available in 40 languages.
My family and I traveled to Malaysian Capital and visited the famous Petronas Towers and later moved to another board town called Johor Barhol to reflect and consider other probable moves to another Continent.
The date is 31st August 2015. The Day is a Monday. Time is 6.11pm. A short silent prayer of thanks to my Creator, family, and colleagues always do the trick for me. It is time-up. On my marks, get ready, pack, and go! I logged-off, shut-off/down and power off the Official laptop. Unplug it from the power socket within my Official workstation. That’s it. It is done and dusted. Together with other Company Assets, I religiously handed them over to my Global Line Director. This official handover process signified the end of yet another Professional Epic journey with Standard Chartered Bank Plc (SCB). Time had come to formally leave the services of Bank to pursue other personal interests outside the Bank how time flies. 31/08/15 – 6.11pm marks version 6.11 information and data overload. It has been six years and 11 months of dedicated, selfless, diligent, and professional service of Financial Crime Compliance work within Legal and Compliance Functions of SCB ever since I joined on 01/10/2008.
As I bid farewell, adieu and move on, I would like to take a moment to especially thank you and say goodbye as I remember and cherish our times together. It has been great interacting and knowing each one of you. I have enjoyed working for Standard Chartered Bank. I greatly appreciate having had this fantastic opportunity to work with you all within the Country, Region, and Global role. It has been both an enjoyable and learning professional experience and growth. During these last six years and eleven months, you all have supported me and through your coaching, encouragement, and guidance. With many of you, I have shared a unique camaraderie which I hope will continue in the years to come.
My colleagues and seniors have been unfailingly supportive and professional, and I have learned a great deal about several Countries, Regions, Group Functions, Client Segments, and Products – not forgetting the famous Acronyms and great Corporate Politics of this great Standard Chartered Bank.
To my colleagues I worked with within the Africa (COMESA and SADC Region, Southern, Central, Eastern, and West Africa), Middle East, Asia Pacific and ASEAN Region, the European and Americas Regions, I will miss your enthusiasm, perseverance, and the ‘never say die’ spirit and of course the talent that you brought to our groups and various
Projects and Assignments. I sincerely thank you for all your support throughout and hope you continue to extend your cooperation to the current MANCO leadership teams and the succeeding managers. I wish you all, my fellow partners and everyone in the larger SCB family, all the very best.
This is not a goodbye, only “hasta luego” or “see you later.” Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They mean I’ll miss you until we meet again! ~Author Unknown. The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning. ~Ivy Baker Priest.
The word thank you may not be enough actually to thank you, but I wish nothing more for you but your realization, growth, success and that of Standard Chartered Bank every success in all its future endeavors.
Stay well and be blessed. Many thanks and kind regards. I signed off.
Later that evening, I went online and bought Air tickets for my family members and me to relocate from the East to the West via South in December 2015.