Friday, November 5, 2010

To Robert Kot

Dear Robert,

I know I'm one day early but I'll be travelling tomorrow, so I'm writing to you now.

How the years have flown…
It’s been 6 years since you left. I thought it would be good to let you know how much I missed you and how often your name popped up in some of our conversations whenever ‘we’ meet up. ‘We’ are the Clinique alumnis.
Yes, you’ve left that indelible mark on our hearts.

I left company just about the time you went off to your heaven.
I’ve always wonder what would life be after Clinique because in the Lauder family, one is so protected, so pampered and so respected.
Not many, especially those who have worked for more than a decade would even dare to dream of leaving.
My existence there for two decades was a gigantic achievement or so I thought!
But I guess I’m also one who has always been seeking to experience something different.
Although I’m neither adventurous nor ambitious, I’m always curious.

Therefore, I went seeking for something more fulfilling but before I even discover what I’d really wanted, I landed with old Sue again. I helped her develop her businesses and don’t deny that I did gain a wealth of knowledge from all the businesses that she ventured in.
And of course, lessons which I’ve learned from you still stay intact.
They became a source of encouragement for me over the years.
For example, the company’s vision statement of Bringing The Best To Everyone We Touch became a personal motto for me as well.
Remember how you used to challenge me on staffs’ turnover and pressure me crazy over their productivity?
Honestly, I detested it and fought back with questions like, “Why don’t you pressure the HR manager? It’s also her responsibility as well!”
Deep down, only I alone will know the answer to my own question.
You’d wanted me to look beyond myself and grow.

You must've known that by the time I left Clinique, I had succeeded in controlling the turnover and the Brand was experiencing a double digit growth. It matters a lot to me at that time.
Some of the best friends I have now are my own staff, because you’ve inspired me to take it deeply from within and to serve them with the heart.

When I started with Sue, I didn’t leave those principles behind, I actually carried them along with me, much to the chagrin of my boss then.
Although he seemed to be a nice young chap, our working styles were completely different.
I could always feel negative energies from him. I don’t know. I just felt it and it was suffocating my soul.
I endured for 5 years and left.
I left with no regrets because I badly needed time to heal myself.
I need to learn how to let go….

I took a break and spent the last one and a half years, semi-working, reflecting and taking time to seek, to observe, to learn, to serve, to run and to dream a bit more than before. Basically, I need to realign myself back with nature.
Bits and pieces of my interesting encounters are shared in this blog.

Unlike some of my peers, I haven’t made much progress career wise, but I’m not worried. At some point in life, one needs to slow down and take stock of what we have in order to appreciate more.
It was good for me to look at the various aspects of life and learn.
Still learning…

I knew for sure what I wanted to do. I want to work in Hospis! Don’t ask me why. My heart just felt it.
The saying, ask and it shall be given….
Not so in my case, I asked but was rejected several times. I felt upset and discouraged.
Perhaps, it wasn’t meant for me after all.

Therefore, I’m now back to the retail industry which fortunately, I still do have some values. Haha! Friends commented that it is all fated because retail operation remains my forte – I can’t run away from it.
But then, retail no longer excites or drives me like it used to before.
Although the rewards are good but it is not the same as doing something after my own heart. Get the drift?

Guess what? I’m currently engaged with the Bonita Group Of Companies, reporting directly to the MD. He’s very kind man.
In some ways, he reminds me of you. I’m not joking!
Good business acumen, compassionate and down to earth.
But there’s one thing he is of no match to you; his attention to details. I guess you’ve set such high standards that made it so difficult for me to compare anyone with you. Perhaps, that’s the reason why I appear in his space.

Well, Robert. I don’t think I have the guts to tell you all these if you’re still my MD. But now, I’m writing it all down for you.
If you’re still around, I’ll be presenting to you my retail sales plan and we will be discusing about sales vs. target.
Funny, how we tend to talk more privately to people only when they are gone.
Sad, but I supposed life is like that.

Robert, do you remember how we panicked and got all stressed up over that Jeanette Wagner, Fred Langhammer and Leonard Lauder’s visits? Eeee…I certainly wouldn’t want to go through those nightmares again!

And I will also never forget the day when Steph and I were dragged to your office over an ad that we placed in The Star. We were forced to look at our own mistakes and when we couldn’t find it, you pointed out the flaws and taught us about attention to details all over again.
Your eye for details – no one in the company can escape from you!

Well, 6 years and many things have changed.
John and I had run a few more marathons.
Your daughters are all beautifully grown up. I’ve seen them every now and then in Annie’s facebook.
I met Mr. Loo briefly about 3 months ago and he is running Suria Meriang smoothly albeit the normal challenges.
Sue and Madam have both expanded their businesses and doing well.
The politics in this country are growing from bad to worse but you don’t need to know.
We’ve many more malls now and the cosmetics brands have increased 20 to 30 fold!
So are the competitions! It’s certainly not an easy market.

I believe as I mature my priorities change too. The things that are important to me right now are no longer the status, power or winning competitions.
It’s about living a life with love and humour. Love to understand and humour to endure.
It’s about learning to help the less fortunate.
It’s about leading with good intent of the heart.
This brought me back to some of the lessons which have been inspired by you.
You’ve taught me …

- The vision given and aims to aspire
- The pride of doing things well
- The attention to details
- The opportunities of responsibilities
- The power of perseverance
- To respect in order to gain respect
- To practice what we preach
- To deliver what we promise

Different phase in life, we do different things. And soon, I will be taking another leap of faith again.
By the time, I end this letter I already had a job offer from Hospis Malaysia and they are willing to wait for me to finish off my contract with Bonita until next year.
It is for me after all!!
Some people thought I am a bit ridiculous to opt out the security of a lucrative job and be surrounded by people who are terminally ill (directly or indirectly).
But I believe I will find meaning in my role in the palliative care services and the rewards will be much more than the salary package from both Clinique and Bonita put together.

I believe I'll be a better person too because I want to be a better person.

Miss you much...

No comments: