Saturday, August 28, 2010

Farewell gift

After my confrontation with my ward manager, my ward admin staff insisted that I apologise to my ward manager. She had served for more than a decade under the ward manager. She felt that I had hurt the ward manager's feelings, especially in tendering my resignation a couple of days after the confrontation. I refused to, after all my ward manager was aware of my pre-planned resignation date long beforehand.

Unlike the ward's usual practice, there was no farewell party for SN O nor me. Both of us had been from the nursing career-conversion course. SN O left after the completion of her 3 year bond, whereas I left after 1+ year. When SN O left, her farewell party was cancelled with the admin staff's message that her farewell party will be held in conjunction with mine.
[Addendum on 15 Aug 2011]
SN O's final month at the hospital was when we had the new rooms opened. During one of those shifts when we were both taking teams, SN O remarked to me repeatedly in frustration that she would rather pay back her final month of bond than to accept such work conditions. Subsequently she mentioned that she would be sure to vent her dissatisfaction at her exit interview with HR. I do not know if she made her complaints to HR at the exit interview. As far as I know, she completed her bond as originally planned.
During my resignation notice period, I suspected that there will not be a farewell party for us. During those last few weeks, a nice consulting doctor TT kept asking me when my last day would be, and reminding me that he shall be away but would be back in Singapore in-time for my farewell. If only he knew...


Since I was packing my home for migration, I made a request via the admin staff to my colleagues [and I also spoke directly to some colleagues] -- not to buy me any farewell gift for it would add to my baggage. If they should insist on giving me something, then I would prefer cash or gold for portability and retention of value. The admin staff informed me that the ward staff has agreed to my request and will be giving me a cash gift on my last day of work.

On my second last day of work, I bought my colleagues a box of chocolate candies with a note of thanks. The admin staff insisted that I should present the gift to my ward manager. I said, "No, this is meant for the staff" and left it in the staff room.

On my last day of work, my ward manager passed me an angpow. At that instance, the admin staff jumped up from her desk, flipped opened a small printed brochure from her desk and read ostentatiously from it.

Admin staff read, "The love of money is the root of all evil."

I quietly replied, "Not really. It depends on what you do with the money."

My ward manager awkwardly signalled to the admin staff, and turning to me, she pointed to the Chinese words on the angpow and said, "We wish you 福 [good fortune] and 滿 [full/enough] 。”

I took it and simply said, "Thank you."

Call me petty, unrealistic, or whatever. I do not wish to keep a gift if any of its contributors were insincere, especially when I am not in need of the gift. Thus, I donated the full $105 to a charity in the name of the "Staff of XYZ ward (ABC hospital)". I shall be sending them the receipt with a note that I'm "paying it forward" with regards to their blessings.


  1. well done...cannot be more proud of you donating their money for will be thankful that you will not longer be working with these people and that system. my wasn't pretty for you it seems be hey, it would just make your resolve stronger.

    Have a great time in canada...and post alot of pics on FB!

  2. Hi Bone Collector,

    Another ward colleague SN LT was transferred to another dept about 1+ year ago. Back then, I thought that my ward manager's treatment of her (immediately after the transfer) was just a case of bad mood/timing.

    I am so sorry that 40 years of nursing (and 20 years of admin work) in that hospital has not opened up the mindset of my ward manager (and the admin staff). It says a lot about the quality of training provided to the staff. I am also sorry for my fellow supportive colleagues who have to remain in the system. One of the HR manager just called me. At least he is rather supportive, but he comes across as cynical as a result of his years in the hospital.

    Keep in contact on FB, blogs, etc. Will catch up with you over tea/coffee before I leave for Canada.

  3. Hi CK,

    I am also "Sinkee", you know! Ha ha :-D Just that you've left and I will be leaving this island soon. Minor irritations like these are easily forgotten once we move on to other areas, be it another job or another country. Singaporeans aren't to be hated, let them find their own light.

  4. Minor irritations are not forgotten, because we need them to remind us of the past so that we can appreciate our present and future. I thank my lucky stars everyday for being able to migrate and walk around with a smile on my face. Some days I still can't believe I am really here!

    Sad to say, Sinkees will never find their own light, since all they are interested in are food and shopping.