Today was my last day of work at H&M and well, in general. Two days ago the full H&M Spain & Portugal expansion team (about 30 people) surprised me by taking me out to lunch at a Swedish restaurant in Barcelona, carefully selected to match the occasion. Our manager held a nice speech about how when he was part of my recruitment process six years ago I had already then mentioned my dreams of building something of my own one day, a day that is now here. Although my interaction and relationship with my colleagues has been limited to a professional level (mostly), it seems that the core essence of who I truly am has been intercepted quite nicely, which for me was a very glad surprise. I guess it shows that at some level I have managed to be myself at work, something I am really happy about as being oneself around people is a struggle for most. My manager mentioned how traveling with me for work is as much about exploring new places and traditions, as it is to evaluate commercial potential for H&M. The farewell gifts from my colleagues were a backpack for my adventures, accompanied by a candle with the text ”every adventure starts with a yes”, and a copy of Don Quijote. It could not have been a better reflection of who I am.
I joined H&M straight after graduation, and almost six years, 3 countries and an endless number of fantastic colleagues and friends all over the world later, it feels like a family (a huge, global one). It is the only more permanent professional life I have known and at the same time as I am exciting for what’s to come, it feels so strange to leave. H&M and the people in this company has sort of become a part of me and my own identity, and with all of its success I have throughout these years answered the question of what I do proudly. I have felt fortunate to be part of this journey that this massive company, that still feels like a small family run business, has gone through.
It’s a silly thing really, all the pressure and emotion that goes into the question “What do you do?”. It is the one question that defines us the most at a first encounter with strangers. I have been proud to associate myself with the success story of H&M and my own journey within it, but I cannot wait to have my own answer to that question. When I think about it, I guess it makes sense that with time, what you do for a living becomes part of who you are when you spend such a large share of your life doing it. All the more important that you feel that what you do, is truly who you want to be.
All love and no fear,