I am reliably informed that the key to a successful chocolate cake is only known by the cake makers. There are many recipes with everything from incredible detail through to general guidance. The difference is all down to the experience and instinct of the cook. Only they know how much mixing…how much cooking…and how much chocolate.
This all came to pass on Friday. Friday was my last day at work and we had the most amazing chocolate cake to celebrate my 26.5 years. I had never really thought about the day I would leave. Why should I? I had never really thought about leaving. But there we were. The messages in the card were heartfelt and genuinely moving and the chocolate cake was superb.
Leaving a company after such a long time was – in the end – simpler than I had expected. The company is so much; so many; and so massive. It is more than any one person and way much more than me. It will succeed and thrive without me. It will grow, advance, adapt and continue to deliver amazing products to treat patients across the world who are waiting.
Leaving my friends and colleagues was – in the end – every bit as hard as I had expected. There are so many. They are too good and so special. And there was not enough time for me to thank them all for being there; for teaching me; for accommodating me; and for befriending me. Real friends are rare. Colleagues who I care about, I like and I trust. I know our relationships will change, will adapt and will distance. But we will always be friends.
And now I look forward. I am free to look forward. I don’t like to look back. I love to learn from our past, but I work hard to avoid reminiscing. The past is behind me. Expending energy looking back has never helped me.
That having been said, if I do find myself feeling nostalgic, I am amazed at my ability to view any moment in my history in such a positive light. I am sure this is (in part) because – like everyone else – I have a great memory of who was there, how we worked together, and the fun we had…and I have an awful memory of what exactly we were doing and what else was going on around us in the organisation. But as someone pointed out to me, this is definitely the right way round. Wouldn’t it be awful if we remembered all the gory details and forgot who we were working with and – worse still – the great times we had together? Scary.
When I explained last week what I was doing next in my career, a great and long standing friend told me that I am being true to my word. I will indeed continue to work in the pharmaceutical industry. But I am not working in big Pharma…although I will be working with big Pharma. I am so enthused by what I am about to do. I feel so energised by the people I am going to be working with. Passionate and committed colleagues. Outstanding scientists with a desire to deliver, to impact and to contribute. I am going to develop so many new friendships. I am going to learn so much so quickly. I am going to have so much fun. Scary.
I look forward with excitement and anticipation. Such excitement and such anticipation. I look back with pride and affection. Such pride and such affection. But there is a large blank sheet in front of me…waiting.
And I can’t wait!