Montreux, my home, my paradise.

Montreux, my home, my paradise.
Montreux at dusk

08 July 2008

Farewell to a boss

A farewell message, written this morning to my departing boss (in brackets and italic some clarifications for my readers):

Today might be the last day that you are looking at your computer for a long time. Me, as usual, I am up since 5 o'clock. This is always my privileged moment of the day. Drinking my coffee, surfing the internet because at this time of the day the connection is very fast. Seeing what is happening in the world and writing emails.

Andrea Bocelli, this fantastic singer, became famous with his song "Time to say Goodbye". In many senses, Goodbye is a horrible word. Because it is often connected with pain. Goodbye can be said to somebody just like that without a special feeling. But there are moments when it hurts to say Goodbye. And that is why I refuse to tell you Goodbye. I prefer the French style. They say "Adieu". Which is similar to "Goodbye". But they also say "Au Revoir". Which means that people will see each other again. One day, sometime.

I remember when we met the first time. I remember when you came to Zalingei (my first assignment in Darfur). To use this "vulgar" term: We hit it off right from the beginning. And now for two years you have been my boss.

When I got interviewed by SDC (my agency) during the recruitement process I was asked: "You are of a certain age. This means that you could have a boss which is younger than you. Would this be a problem?". I responded: "Well, as I have that certain age, you can imagine that I already had bosses that are younger then me". Then they asked: "And what if the boss is a woman?". I answered: "Does it matter? If she is the boss, this means she is qualified to be it". And indeed, I think it is stupid to worry about if a man or a woman is the "chief". It is the human being that counts.

As I said you have been my boss. But I don't like the word "boss" very much. The "leader"? No, not nice either. My Superior? To official. The one running the show? To American. So, I really don't know what I should call you. Oh yes, a friend.

But you have been my boss. I worked for many bosses in my long career. And recently, in an email I wrote to my agency people, I said the last ten years of my working life were the best ones and the apotheosis of what I did in my life. And this includes you. Four years in Darfur is tough. And one needs to be motivated all the time. And indeed, after this long time here, I am still motivated like the first day. There are many reasons for this. But the major one is you. You always have trusted me, you have encouraged me, you have given me special tasks and sometimes (How pretentious I am) you made me feel that if I were not here, things would not work. Which, of course, is not true. I am just a member of a team. A team that will continue to work without me.



A team that has been led by you in a way I have never experienced before. By a person with a huge warmth. By a person with a heart of gold. It makes me smile when I think that, at the Wali's (Governor of South Darfur State) farewell party, you said: "I came here as a woman, I came here as an African". What a woman, what an African!! It was the perfect combination to succeed. Because succeed you did. Because (sorry for some American thing again) you have guts. And you have charm. You did, indeed, charm people. If it is me who says that, it might have not much weight. But if the people from my agency say that, it weighs tons. For them, you are an extraordinary person. For us too.

And so tomorrow you will leave these fields, you will go for new discoveries and they will be exiting. You will leave us behind. But only physically. Because in our minds and hearts you will stay behind.

I would like to thank you for everything. You were a great boss. I owe you a lot. And I wish all the best for your future. Which will be bright.

And I refuse to say "Goodbye". It hurts. But with joy I say "Au Revoir".

15 comments:

  1. What a great post, Worldman, and a lovely photo too.

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  2. What a nice letter to send to your boss. I am sure she appreciated it.

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  3. You are truly a respectful man.

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  4. What a very touching post regarding yor friend. She sounds like a very wonderful person. I konw they will surely miss you as well. I am not fond of good-byes either.


    I am sure we will cherish the memories of the time you spent working together.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Peter ~ My Mum would never say Goodbye, she would always say "See you later". I asked her once why she never said Goodbye and she told me that "Goodbyes are final where see you later means you will meet again".

    Your story is very touching Peter. I know that you boss will miss you. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  6. This was a beautiful post. You have such a lovely way to look at everything in life!

    I hope you get to see your friend again as soon as possible. :)

    <3 o.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post. And a nice reminder that people transcend their titles when they enter our lives

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  8. She must have been so pleased to have received your email - and sorry to leave you all too.

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  9. Hi Pete!
    This post says a lot about you; and it's nothing that couldn't be anticipated from what we've seen before! Touching farewell!!
    Thanks for your comments on Blogtrotter, now at the Michigan Law School! You mentioned many railway stations there? I wonder whether you’ll be travelling one of my dreams: the Trans-Siberian Express Moscow–Ulaanbaatar-Beijing… ;))
    Wish you a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's a great post. You are very wonderful and respectful person. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  11. Peter, having read your post about Sri-Lanka, of course I had to read this one to make sense of it all..Pappa, you are truly an honorable man and you paid a great tribute to your boss...great picture..."Au revoir" was the right thing to say at the time...and now you're on the way to Sri Lanka...what a beautiful Country you are heading to..excercise caution over there. There is a small Swiss community in Colombo...due to the owner of an electronic assembly factory...that was many years ago, not sure if they are still there.
    Au Revoir mon cher ami Peter et Bon Voyage

    ReplyDelete
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  13. Anonymous20:02

    Lovely way of saying Goodbye.this is exactly what i wanted to say to my boss and was surfing for a message because I am a bad letter writer. thank you for the points.lovely

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very useful information indeed. I really like this site actually I want to get more time to see it. Thanks for posting it online.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous23:50

    Well I got few quotes for farewell here.

    ReplyDelete

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