Goodbye See you Later
So, I’m going to try to find some different jobs in the company and/or country. For a few years, my “long term plan” has been to transition over to a non-finance role – something more operational, while still keeping my finance-minded thinking and experience. This is basically a blank canvas. There is no guarantee to this plan. Changing careers would be a big, scary step, but I would always have my finance experience to fall back on, if there's nothing out there for me.
I’m just looking for something a little different, and if Madagascar has taught me anything, it’s that a little different (or A LOTTA different) can be scary – but good. So we’ll see.
Patience isn’t my strong point and I’d like an answer like, NOW, but it’s more of wait-and-see and research approach. I need to find out more about what real options I have. And getting my name and ideas out there.
There are times where I want to run around and freak out, but for the most part, I am looking forward to see what happens next. ‘Cause I really, really don’t know. Its definetly a suspensful plot for me right now.
Helping me with these run-around-and-freak-out times – is the support I’ve received. Co-workers, family, Louis, friends….sometimes it’s the smallest of things, but it just perks up my spirits and keeps me thinking long term instead of “OH MY GOD IN FIVE MONTHS I WON’T HAVE A JOB” and so forth.
There aren’t too many people that know about my departure yet, but I did have to tell my direct report. (Let’s call her Alice for anonymity’s sake.) We spoke about a new task I’m going to help her with, and I used this time to tell her about what a great opportunity she is soon to have, because I will be leaving in July. We’ll work together a lot, and by the time my contract is over, the Alice and the rest of the group will be set up for success. I have worked closely with just a handful of nationals, and Alice is someone I feel I have strongly contributed to and mentored. And, even though we grew up on literally opposite sides of the planet, we are similar in so many ways.
As Alice and I have gotten closer, I’ve realized that yes, she is my employee, but she is also my friend. Being friends with a subordinate is a tricky matter, so we don’t really hang out or anything, but if circumstances were different, I’d definitely want her as my friend and I consider it a privilege to work with her.
Turns out that the feeling is mutual, because when I told Alice about my departure, she started to tear up. I stayed strong, my voice quivering slightly, and again told her about what a great opportunity this will be and all of the different areas we will be focussing on so that she will feel prepared. I told her she is extremely well respected in this company, and I think she is capable of so many things. Then started the real crying. And again, I just kept talking, trying to answer any of her questions, trying to calm any of her worries, and assure her not to be embarrassed about crying.
It turned into a full out bawl session.
I told Alice that I thought she should take my driver and get out of the office and take a looonnng lunch. She went into her husband’s office and the sobbing became worse. I went into his office and told him HE HAD TO take her out for a long lunch. His boss (who was aware of what was going on) called him and relayed the same message.
She came back much calmer, and we talked a bit more, I answered more of her questions, and tried to reassure her as much as possible that this is a good thing for her. (Oh, and worst of all…it was her birthday. I got her this super cool card that sings “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” whenever you open it….now I’m thinking I should have picked up an “I’m sorry for making you cry on your birthday” card as well….)
I was extremely impressed with myself - the entire time we were talking I didn't shed a tear. My voice quivered a couple of times, but that was it.
It was a rough day. At the end of it all, my evening plans included going home, changing into pyjamas, crying on Louis and getting his shirt covered in tears, snot, and mascara residue. BUT, we had a going away party to go to. And it just so happens that the person going away, ranks on my top 5 people that I care about the most in Madagascar (Ok, I don’t actually have a Top 5 list. But if I did, he’d be on it). So, I went to the party, I listened to the speeches made about him, I laughed at the inside jokes. I watched him work the room, making sure to say goodbye to everyone. During his going away speech, I shed one tiny tear. And then I went on to enjoy the party. What is wrong with me!? I’m almost ready to go to the medical clinic and get my tear ducts checked or something!!!
A few hours later, most had left the party and six of us stuck around to have dinner. It was nice. I laughed a lot. We told stories, we laughed, it was a good time. Far better than the pyjamas/crying night I had planned for myself. It was a late-ish night, but thanks to my gigantic stash of Starbucks, I made it through the morning.
Alice’s husband (I’ll call him Alex) came into my office this morning and he was awkwardly trying to chit-chat (he's painfully shy). We talked about last night's party, and after trying to explain what the expression “party animal” meant in English, I told him that I would have to try a lot harder to teach him funny English phrases in the next five months. He said, No. Just don’t go. (I didn’t cry). I said, I’m trying, don’t worry. He replied, Okay, you have to. (Still didn’t cry).
Tonight I invited over my friend that had the going away party last night. It’s his last night in Toamasina. His sent a touching email reply, “Thank you for the invitation. I need to spend my last night with my family, and you and Louis are definetly my Malagasy family.” (My eyes watered but still no crying).
Louis and I have two bottles of champagne (like the expensive stuff!!!) that we have been saving for a special occasion – I think tonight qualifies as such. We’ll have a good night and I’ll try to keep the tears to a minimum….but it won’t be easy. My friend is leaving tomorrow, but its truly one of those “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later” because our paths will cross again (I just happen to be dating his BFF), but, See you later's can still be hard. To be frank, after the past two days, Louis can expect a lot of snot and makeup residue on his shirt tonight.