Being Replaced

On my birthday last week, my replacement arrived. She shall now be known as R.

If you’re confused, I meant my replacement at work. R joined the department initially to join the team of another. I was undecided on my boss’ response every time I went to her. She told me there isn’t a replacement for me yet. I was frustrated but somehow assured.

And then, swiftly and subtly, there she was. I had to teach R my roles and responsibilities, introduce her to my project, and then I learnt that she would be taking over my desk.

I’m not bitter, because I haven’t been fired. I’m leaving for a greater good. I’m excited for my greater good. I’m dying to go for my greater good.

But have you ever been replaced? It’s a strange feeling. It’s not just my projects but my place in this department as the youngest chick that the old folks find adoring. The chick in the band of brothers who sticks it to them during lunch. I think I’m being replaced everywhere.

It’s a different feeling having an addition and having a replacement. I’m a girl, of course I think this way. I wonder if I’ve left any form of legacy. The band of brothers are happy to have a girl, any girl, to join the lunch crew. Boys.

But they call me ‘bro’. So maybe there’s a slight difference.

I have nothing against R. She does seem nice. I was introduced into this department as a new addition to a team that was expanding. I took over the cubicle that was empty. It was abandoned, and people used to go to it when their computer wasn’t working.

To know that R will take over my cubicle in 2 weeks’ time, and that my cubicle will be scrubbed down till there was no evidence of my working there these past 22 months – it’s surreal.

I look forward to that day. But it sure as well will be bittersweet.


Threat and Politics

(Note: I’ll have less references in German here now, since I’ve started a brand new blog completely in German – – to better think and write in German. Thanks for tolerating all the German titles so far!)


Where I work, I’ve noticed that people are suddenly insanely friendly and willing to share when one knows that the other is leaving. But why?

I started being in this team since November 2011, and part one of the big news is that I’ve applied for a year off work, which just recently got approved by the bosses. And then I got around to telling one colleague.

Before that happened, we were on work-only talking terms. I’m an open book so most people know about me, my relationship, my travels and stuff. But he was the opposite. He had nothing next to nothing to say about his personal life, which made me feel like perhaps we weren’t close enough for personal matters. Fair enough.

But the moment I told him, he positively changed. He probed more and then told me a lot about his personal life, to a point of mimicking what his girlfriend would say in her tone of voice. I was taken aback and had started to wonder why. We were exactly the same as before, just that I’ve just broken the news to him that I won’t be here for a while, and instantly he tells me things.

I’ve observed this quite a bit in my department actually, since I’ve witnessed three colleagues leave. I don’t understand this phenomenon. Are people threatened by their presence, and therefore are only willing to be friendlier when they know this threat will be removed?

Leaders that suck, and those that don’t

I always think that having a good leader is half the battle won.

Superficially, I always thought that a good leader is a good speaker. I haven’t been in close proximity of a leader of sorts for most of my life, so I hadn’t known what to look out for in leadership.

Sure, you learn in school that good leaders, well, lead.

But that was more of a function than a trait. The job scope of a leader is to lead. But it’s only in recent years that I experienced different styles of leadership. And the leaders that I particularly like share a similar trait.

I’ve definitely encountered bad leaders before. In one stint, the leader was known to be a disciplinarian who yells at people with poor judgment. He wasn’t in close contact with the ground, and the fellow employees around were unmotivated. Everyone encouraged me not to stay on in the company because of him.

In another stint, the leader was only concerned about bottom line. Because it was a small business, it was clear whenever he did or said things, they were just for the bottom line. And nobody liked it. We felt like slaves.

But the leaders that I particularly liked had one thing in common. They were extremely personable. Even if they are many levels above you; Even if their pay checks are multiple fold of yours; Even if many people reported to them; Even if you’re just a small fry; And even if the number of years they’ve been with the company is longer than the amount of time you’ve been alive.

And when you’re personable, people naturally want to listen when you speak. This has nothing to do with a flair for speaking. You don’t need to speak like Obama. (He really is a brilliant public speaker!) But when you’re personable, people feel like you understand them. You don’t make them feel small. You make them feel a part of the team.

And most importantly, this motivates people to stay on. This makes me want to put in effort for them. This makes me want to work under their care.

I’ve been fortunate to have met these people. Just like parenting (I’ve always been on a lookout for what kind of parenting traits I want to have based on observation – I know this sounds weird), but these good leaders have been inspirational. They may not be CEOs, but they are impactful all the same.

And they’ve made me realize what kind of employee I want to be – and if I end up a leader – what kind of leader I want to be.

Be personable, folks, and the world will be pleased to be behind you.