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The merit of farewell dinners

March 22, 2012

Went to a farewell dinner tonight. Two nice chaps from the company are leaving for better pastures. Well, at least one is. The other one is retiring. Well, probably that’s a better pasture too. You get to spend more time with your grandchildren, do some gardening and other stuff. Until you get tired of it and get the hankering to work again that is.

This post is not about retirement. Which is exactly what I’ll be doing in about 17 years’ time. This post is about appreciation. During the dinner, praises of the guys who are leaving were sung. You know, things like, “this guy spent 15 years in the company, the department went from also-rans to super brilliant during his leadership”, things like that. Which is all well and good. But that makes me wonder. Do people sing your praises while you are still in the company? Do people say the above things about you while you are still around? Probably not.

I’m a cynic. That goes without saying. I’ll look at something and see the bad side before the good (with a few exceptions of course). So the cynic in me comes up with all these permutations about why the praises are being sung. Are people just being nice? Maybe. “Well, give him chance lah. Anyway, we won’t be seeing him anymore after this isn’t it? So let’s just humour the guy.”

Don’t get me wrong though. The two guys tonight were good guys. The kind of people who really contributed to the company’s growth and well-being. The type of guys who are well received by almost everybody.

I have another question. At which juncture are you entitled to a farewell dinner? In football, your club will give you a testimonial match once you reach the 10-year mark. They’ll organise a game with another club, the proceeds of which you get to keep. What of the farewell dinner then? I have a theory. Firstly, you’ll qualify if you’ve served the company for a very long time. A minimum of 7 years, probably. Secondly, the tenure of your eligibility for a farewell dinner a greatly reduced the higher you rank in the company. A CEO gets a farewell dinner even if he/she serves a company for a year. A clerical staff would probably just be treated to a farewell function by his/her own department, no matter how long he/she serves the company. I don’t know how you feel about it, but that’s how I see it.

I think the same goes for your farewell gift too. The longer you serve and the higher you rank in the company, the better and more expensive your farewell gift gets.

Well, it’s time to sleep.


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