The beginning of an end

He was very calm as he gathered everyone — or those who weren’t on leave because of the school holidays — in his office. He had that Look — that Look I recognized as one of trepidation, of apprehension, at the effect his words could cause. But it was also a look of detachment, the look one has when one realizes that their efforts have come to no fruition, and therefore they have come to terms with their situation and decided to take the only other measure they know they have left.

“I want to let you all know that I am leaving the Group.”

Nobody said anything. I had seen this coming. For as long as I have been on this job — hardly even a year — I have seen him range from outrage to frustration to pure resignation. But for the past few weeks, it had been different. The resignation had become indifference; it was a sign of defeat because he knew he could never alter the powers that be, and do what he had been given the position to do.

I will not deny that I have on occasion been frustrated at his behavior, especially when he could not and would not stand up for himself and for the rest of the Division, when he had cautioned me that it would be best not to question those whose authority directly affected our livelihoods, and when he had advised me not to be too passionate about what I do — this last bit that I still refuse to heed, because it’s my passion for what I do that keeps me sane. At the same time, I knew he had his reasons for doing so, and I knew them well: so that nobody would allow themselves to be dragged blindfolded into the swamp that is Corporate Malaysia, and watch their spirits get chipped away with every passing day.

And so, in the time that he has left — a month has never seemed to short — I will remember as best as I can why I’m still here, doing what I do. It is because I sincerely (and maybe naïvely) believed that regardless of what I chose as a career, I could do some good with it, if not for the world, then at least for my company. It is because I like what I do, in spite of all the heinous politics that dictate this very company, and I thought I could learn to look past it if I just focused on my job. It is because he understood me on a level that not many people can — without judgment — made me believe that life is only ever as good or as bad as I wanted it to be, and reminded me of what matters most in life, which is not the job. And it is because he gave a lost little girl this chance — her very first job back in this country — to prove that she could be worth something after all.

You did what you had to do, and you did good. You may not realize it yet, but you’ve done yourself — and more people than you know — proud. Now it’s your opportune moment to go out there and do great things, because there is always a chance that you can. Thank you for teaching me all that I know right now. Thank you for giving me the room to grow. Thank you for taking that gamble and giving me the chance I needed, a chance that not many people would have given me. Good luck, Charlie.

– Angel #3

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