What you need to know:
- To be honest I was expecting to be occupied by responding to messages on Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp, for just one day. It is day 14 and I am still getting messages of disbelief, congratulations and good wishes.
The last two weeks have been filled with so many kind words and gifts, ever since I shared the news with friends, workmates and others, that I was wrapping up my time at Nation Media Group after 20 years of uninterrupted service (I love how that sounds!).
To be honest I was expecting to be occupied by responding to messages on Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp, for just one day. It is day 14 and I am still getting messages of disbelief, congratulations and good wishes. I am grateful for them all but the ones that have touched me deeply are those of people sharing with me how I impacted their lives and the lessons they learnt, took and are using to this day. I feel like a teacher whose students have come back to thank her for the many lessons taught – in and out of the classroom.
That first day I shared the messages, Twitter couldn’t stop! The messages kept pouring in even into day 2, I had to take a break for a day. I was overwhelmed by the number of messages, as I felt I had to respond to all of them, but was even more by the content that was in them. I could not believe that lessons, words of encouragement, or admonishment, and skills I had shared were still fresh in the memories of these many people. One person remembered something specific I had done in 2012, all of 11 years ago. Others recalled how I met and gave them a chance more than 15 years ago. There were some I could not even remember meeting, working with or talking to. But there they were writing about how the time I had given them had propelled them in their careers.
That day I also received a beautifully-designed, tasty cake from a former writer of mine when I was the features editor. Abdulaziizi Tumusiime was one of those writers who had dared to do some crazy stories, when he was in the newsroom between 2011 and 2015. He was one of those I felt left too soon. But he was kind enough to keep in touch and was the person who sent the cake. What an honour! The fact that I love cake capped it all.
A couple of days later, I was taken out to lunch by one of the newer workmates, Desire Ninsiima. What I thought would be a one-hour lunch date because I was late and felt I had delayed her, ended up being a two and a half hour date of catching up, laughter, swapping of experiences and sharing our life stories. It was a very kind gesture from someone who has known me for only two years and who had worked directly under me for much less than that.
The messages on social media continued to flow in, including some from well-known personalities. I could not help bragging to a few people that a BBC radio presenter here and a regional bank MD there had been among those sending me good wishes! Who wouldn’t?!
On Friday August 11th, the surprise grew even bigger. Lured by a former workmate and good friend who had promised to take me out for dinner, I went excited to meet her only to find many of my now former workmates waiting to surprise me with a farewell dinner! I had had no clue whatsoever that they had been planning for this. Current and former employees of the company were there to appreciate the work I had done with and for them. It is a surprise I did not break down and cry at the wonderful things they said. Many validated my work, and it was such a joy to find out that when I was at what felt my worst during some years, they believed I had done a tremendous job. To hear such words from the top people in management would be great but to hear it from the people I supervised and led, is affirming.
I have reflected a lot on all that has been said and picked many things but one stands out. What you do to those you work with, especially your juniors when you have influence, matters more than you know. You have the power to make or break people. As much as you can, every single day, choose the former.
I still have two pending dates this month with others who want to take me out as thanks for my service. I am excited about them and will be happy to receive more. After all, a girl must enjoy the kindness being offered while she can.
My heart is full.