Well, I survived my leaving lunch in one emotional piece – just.
I held myself together as I mingled with colleagues over a bite to eat, managed to keep my emotions under control as a few speeches were made and a poem recited, and got through most of my own comments.
Then, as I expected, the water works started. Not because I was upset at leaving, but due to an overwhelming tsunami of good memories.
I am fortunate that during my career I was involved in some pretty big pieces of work that I can be proud of, but it wasn’t recollections of those that mattered as I stood in front of my peers. It was remembering their support, encouragement, trust and friendship that tipped me over the edge.
A manager who helped me hugely when I returned to work, following my mini-stroke, by treating me with genuine empathy, not sympathy. Another who had bent over backwards to accommodate the time off I needed when I was taking my mum up and down to hospital for her chemotherapy.
A co-worker who instinctively knew when things were tough for me and offered a few wise words to keep me on an even keel. Another who always had my back, and would point out potential pitfalls ahead to prevent me falling into them. And those who just rolled up their sleeves and got on with things: quietly, without a fuss, trusting in me.
On the face of it, those may seem quite small things, but they mattered massively at the time, and are still important to me now. I think we underestimate those little bits and pieces which amalgamate into something much more powerful.
Relationships trump processes, every time. Create, nurture and treasure them.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent Van Gogh