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Saturday, October 02, 2010

My farewell email at XM

September 30, 2010 marked my last day at XM Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. As is a sort-of tradition there, I sent this farewell email. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent. Also, some parts have been censored due to company confidentiality issues.

Subject: [HR] Yu Hui will be out of office... forever!

It's 10pm as I write this email. T's lurking somewhere, but otherwise, I'm spending my last day at XM alone.

Usually, when one resigns, you get less and less work towards your final day. But I've had more and more! Such that I thought I wouldn't have time to compose a meaningful final email. So I've written this over the last few days. It sums up my thoughts and feelings of my experience at XM.

Please pardon its length.


I've been at XM for 4 1/2 years. 1/2 more year, and I would've got a 5-year award. As M said, "So sad!"

I only felt sad when people whom I thought would be at XM forever left for other pastures. It's true what they say: the people make XM the place to work at.

I've had 5 bosses, 8 department colleagues, 6 different desks (+1 roaming when the new desk hadn't arrived), working in a department that is at its biggest now with 5 people, but soon shrinking to 3. Some may consider it the passing of an era at XM. I prefer to think more realistically in that demand (for analysts) outstrips supply.

When people ask me what account I work on, I say, "All of them!" <censored list of clients> If any of those sound alien to you, don't worry, you'll collect some of your own if you stay as long too. M and V and S have probably collected many many more.

I was pretty much the only reporting monkey for about 2 to 2.5 years. And when I was forced to deliver on my own without any real guidance, it made me grow up professionally very quickly. When everyone depends on you for answers, "I don't know" quickly becomes interpreted as "This person is an idiot".

Every report became an experiment in new reporting techniques, new format/structure, new metrics, new ideas.

Which probably explains why when someone asked me for a reporting template, I was at a loss to produce one!


Save your files to the network. Attachments kill email and version control.

On the other hand, remember not to <censored>. True story from <censored>.


I still think of the days back at Shaw Towers with fondness.

When we were spoiled for choice for lunch.

When there were little boys and "Hello" ghosts.

When thunderstorms appeared as beautiful curtains of rain.

When I could hear the horns of delivery vehicles from Suntec City about every 3 months (IT fair!).

When the Xbox was fully utilized during lunch and after work. When I brought my Wii and we played late into the night.

When K was tied to her chair, wheeled into the lift, and sent to the first floor. (XM was on the 26th floor.)

When we walked down 52 flights of stairs in one day. (26 floors x 2 earthquake tremors = tired legs)

When we only had client A and client B. Heck, when client B meant the business unit 1 and the business unit 2, not this business unit 3 that I keep hearing about.

Good times.




Client C is scary to work with, but in a good way.


I believe in mobile. Throw away your iPhones and Androids and buy lower-end 3G phones. Then surf the web with the built-in browsers or Opera Mini. It'll blow your mind away.


I hate site revamps.



Sleeping at your desk doesn't mean you're lazy. It means you're overworked and over-tired.

And if you're further sleep-deprived, you can't function at your best. And then XM suffers. And clients scream. And take their money away. And XM goes bankrupt. And then you don't get your bonus. And then you're laid off. And then your house mortgage is due.

So you have to sleep in the streets.

When all you needed was an afternoon nap at your desk.




Contrary to popular opinion… having a blog (and one that is rarely updated!) does not make me a social media guru.


To those whom I've frustrated over the years... comfort yourself with knowing that you have one less idiot to work with.


XM should just merge with Agency A and be done with it. This competition, this "I'm better than you" thing that's going on is ridiculous. Less patting self on the back, more using of limited resources efficiently.


There are times when I think XM should do <censored> because they make sense.

Like when I <censored> in a campaign site. Though that turned out to be a flop because <censored>.


Now that I'm gone, someone else will need to take over the responsibility of switching off the meeting room and bathroom lights when they're not in use. Though 50 Scotts Road is a "green" building, you can save more energy by switching off.

Please don't leave your computer and monitor on throughout the night or weekend.


It's the 21st century. Time for Flash to die.

I had wanted to do a HTML5 version of a Flash animation. Alas, my canvas and SVG skillz were not up to par.


Some personal words of wisdom that I had compiled in December 2009:
  • Eight hours a day is the maximum, not minimum.
  • Self-improvement is always at your own time and effort.
  • Bring your children to work. If nothing else, they will lighten the mood in the office.
  • Bring your parents to work. If nothing else, they will scold the person who keeps you working late in the office.
  • Take full advantage of available discounts provided by XM and WPP.
  • Taxi fare claims, meal expenses, lucky draw prizes and performance bonuses are not overtime pay.

I don't know what the procedure is for changing desks here at XM. But if anyone wants a dusty table, a chair that has some flecks of dandruff, with a tin of tea from when I joined in 2006 and a cake from 30 Nov 2009, surrounded by Creatives at one end and Suits at the other... please, make yourself at home.

Stay in touch! My email address is on the Internet.

For the last time,

Yu Hui
[standard XM official signature]