I wanted to fill up my (still) bare room with photo frames so I had to go through the bulk (I mean, BULK BULK) of photos from my hard drive. From as far as 2011 when FV was still planting seeds. Oh man… I couldn’t do it in one shot because the walk down memory lane was too much for me to handle in one seating. I revisited moments when we had our first ever order, when our kitchen flooded because a pipe burst, moments where all the Muslim FV peeps pray together and someone snapped a photo, when we moved furniture on our bright red carpet, our lunches together, everything!
I was in the office when I did this today and as I looked up, there were those same beautiful faces from the photos (well, some aged haha) and there were a lot more new ones to start taking photos and capture moments of.
It’s such a funny position to be in; the boss. Ultimately it’s your company and you won’t be leaving. So people come and go, but you’re left standing there through it all. I’ve made such wonderful friendships with all of the FV peeps, ex and current, and each and everyone of them taught me things in life I will cherish forever. Even if people have left FV, they constantly come back to work on projects with us or just to join us for lunch. The FV spirit I hope will never die in them.
Now, we’ve got someone handling HR and recruitment so any issues are solved like a machine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get affected when another person leaves FV due to family commitments, geographical moves, or just anything at all. As any business owner knows, that’s just the nature of it; some people will leave and move on, some people will stay for decades and grow with your company, some people might even lead your company one day! You might be super sad inside when an employee says they want to move on, that’s completely normal. But paths are different for everyone, so we always have to wish each other well. Sorry for being emo, but you try going through years of memories and tell me you don’t feel a twinge of nostalgia!
As FV grows and grows, I have to admit it’s getting harder to keep the close knit culture alive. It was easier when the team was small, everyone was sitting at the same big table, everyone can have lunch together. Now, we have more departments, more floors, we’re even in the midst of getting another warehouse, and restaurants can’t take a party of 30 for lunch without their waiters panicking. As expected, there are small pockets of people who spend more time with each other and office politics, though not that bad, will eventually happen. I’ve had my fair share of lessons I’ve learnt over the years and frustrations trying to handle all these while still remaining neutral and calm. As a leader, you cannot break. You need to focus and keep the spirit alive. Not an easy task and I’m learning everyday. What helps? Speaking to other business owners and older people who have been through it all.
At the end of the day, it’s all a learning curve and you have to be prepared to enjoy the ride. Keep your eyes focused on the prize, don’t forget the people who helped you get there, and especially love those who stood by you throughout the whole journey.