Approaching the End of an Era

Basel has become like a ghost town to me. Most of my colleagues have either left the project or moved on for the remaining months to Singapore. The office feels a bit forlorn with the sunlight streaking trhough the quiet, dusty air, warming a bit everyday. Some people are still around but mostly there are just remnants of their clutter and chaos, littering the hall and the desks.

It is hard for me to believe I have been here now for 2 years and 4 months. Career-wise it was ultimately a good move but a rocky process. When I started on this project I went through my all time career low, as I struggled with my new position and expectations in the company and the international experience in parallel. After 6 months, I was nearly at the point of quitting; the only thing keeping me going was my work permit and some instinct that I would find my way.

In time, I fixed what I could and other things fixed themselves. As my father says, this too shall pass. After a period of stability, I took the biggest risk in my career last fall, filling a new position leading a team in an area where I had very limited expertise. I had no idea how I would do it, when I couldn't fall back on myself to bail people and the project out of any jams.

I learned some things I didn't expect to learn. I learned that being a good leader doesn't necessarily mean knowing all the answers. I learned the value of good relationships in achieving goals and motivating others. I learned to stand back more often and let people sink or swim of their own accord and how empowering that can be for them. Respect is a two way street and what I couldn't provide in expertise I made up for with opportunities for my team to grow and shine. And they did. I really loved this experience.

I still have a few more months until I finish but I have given my team of new leaders bigger responsibilities and soon they won't really need me anymore. It will be time to move on. And then I will know I was successful here.

Posted from Basel


J said...

Sounds like the 'new' project has been a great opportunity for you. Will you be able to stay in Basel or Munich after this project ends?

Berlinbound said...

Very good piece.

Expat Traveler said...

It really sounds like I'm in the middle of what you have been through to the nail. I'm very happy for you and 2 yrs 4 months, that's crazy to believe. I guess time does fly. I just hope you get in enough travels while you can as you never know what can come next... Hopefully it will be time full with M for you!