by Lim Zhi Rong
"If you think the grass is greener on the other side, it's maybe because it's fertilized with bullshit?"
A colleague once bought me a postcard with the above quote in jest. We laughed - it was hilarious but we also felt there's some truth in it!
There are many sayings on why people leave. 'People join companies but leave managers, higher salaries, work life balance, culture issues, relationship with colleagues', and the list goes on.
This article does not seek to provide career advice on when you should or should not resign. The primary hope is to get one thinking hopefully on this: When you leave a company, what do you should seek to leave behind?
And the answer? A Legacy. (Wow, don't get me wrong, I am not being preachy here). Look at it this way - when you leave, you want to look back from your porch one day and be able to say, 'It is an amazing company and I used to work there'.
I've had the chance to work with good companies and bosses in my career experiences (Thank God!). At Temasek Holdings where I first hone my skills in HR, I was given the opportunity to take on a HR Business Partner role, partnering the Investment Group (unusual for someone who was then junior and green). My boss was pioneering and bold. Together, we created the Investment Management Associates Program, competing against the establishments and likes of Goldman Sachs and Citibank, equipping graduate hires with the Investment skill-set needed for the business. It was a Legacy that we left behind, and we continue to be incredibly proud to say 'I used to work there', one of the world's largest investment holding company with a portfolio of over SGD$200b.
At the Linde Group, my boss was a firm believer of putting the company's greatness before self, rolling out People Excellence in Action Leadership Programs across Asia with great passion and humility. And when the business needed me for an emergency assignment in the Philippines Linde Group, he was ready to let me go on short notice and live with the consequence of losing one resource/doing things alone for an extended period of time. I could also never forget the day when my father was in critical health condition, my boss held my hand and said, 'Zhi Rong, may I say a prayer for you and your family?'.And he did, holding my hand real tight and prayed. My father has since passed away, it was one of the darkest days of my life but I deeply appreciate my boss' genuine care and concern. He left a Legacy in me - the boss who touched my life.
At Mondelez, I've the opportunity to work with a few bosses. Everyone of them brought along a different management and working style. Some are incredibly personal, down to earth, some are incredibly smart, and together they stretched my learning, thinking and I went through the steepest learning curve in my professional career in the last couple of years. They are the living Legacy and the source of my continued aspirations to become a good HR Leader.
So where does this leaves us at? Some employees leave one company for another for higher salary, career progression or simply a change in environment.Good employees leave one company for another because they are highly sought after or because of push factors. Great employees leave a Legacy in the company.
And I quote from Good to Great by Jim Collins, 'If we spend the vast majority of our life with people we love and respect in our personal and working life, we will almost certainly have a great life'.
Don't worry about if you are on the wrong bus or company. Think about whether you are with the right people in a bus. Are you guys going to leave a good legacy for the company and with one another? Such people tend to become and remain friends for life.
With that, a toast to all the friends I've made in the last decade, cheers.