Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Office

The NIKE Greater China offices will be moving to a newly built campus setting in the Yanpu District of Shanghai. We move the first week of April. I’ll miss my 4 block walk to and from work. 

I’ve seen and had some interesting experiences on my walk. I introduced you to The Music Man and by the way, he’s still blasting the same  two songs.

I’ve enjoyed the guy who arrives every morning on his scooter with his cat riding on the back seat like royalty. He has Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits softly playing from his scooter stereo. He parks near a bench, visiting with friends while the cat remains perched on the royal throne.

I’ve played mind games with the guard who stands outside “The White House”, a name Greg and I have given a building that somewhat resembles the U.S. White House.

The building itself is hidden at street level. You can’t see through or above the shrubs surrounding the perimeter. Occasionally one can get a glimpse of the front of the building when the gates open to let very official looking cars enter or exit through the intimidating, secured gates.

We have a top down view from our apartment into the entire “White House” complex. Can’t tell what goes on there but I can tell you it’s just as uninviting from our kitchen window as it is from the street.

The White House

Each day, as I passed the “White House” the guard standing at the gate would just stare, watching me with a straight, stern and judgmental look on his face. I would quickly look away. As time went on, I decided I was going to break through with him so I stopped looking away.

The next week, I added a smile. Still nothing. A couple weeks later I added a friendly “Ni Hao” “Hello.” I got a smile.  I did it. I broke through with the crabby old guard but that wasn’t enough for me. The next week I threw out “Zao Shang Hao” “Good Morning.” This time, I got a smile that showed teeth and a nod. Now, every morning as I walk past the “White House” I get a “Good Morning” in english, from my friend the guard.

So now, the first of April, Kenny will pick me up each morning for a :30 minute drive to the new, NIKE China headquarters. The planning for this campus has been a multi-year project and the excitement and anxiety is growing around the office.

Last week, while I was in Oregon for meetings at NIKE, I received an email from Evie, my assistant, that stated the following:

Hi Rosemary,

The campus team was very kind to give me a note that I should pass on to you. It’s about the Feng Shun of your new office 7056. The Feng Shun Master pointed out that despite its good view, the office is facing the river going downward, meaning the office is watching fortune flow away. As you know, some people are firm believers in this, some do not take it seriously at all, I’m not sure how you feel about Feng Shui, so I thought I’d bring this up and get your thoughts. If you decide not to move into 7056, we can change you to offices on the other side. Could you let me know what you think?

Thank you.


Um. What’s that? “Watching fortune flow away?” Personal or Professional? Does it matter? Are they not tied together? This is a dilemma.

Months ago, as we sat in update meetings about the campus, listening to how we had hired a Feng Shun Master to work with NIKE on the building to ensure that we achieve balance and harmony, I joked when asked did I want to sit on the “power” side of the building or the “fortune” side. I stated with confidence “I want the office on the corner of power and fortune.” And so now, all joking aside, I’m faced with this dilemma.

When I was a kid, I imagined a huge Indian Chief stood outside my bedroom door, arms crossed, standing guard over me at night. My dad was a big fan of The Old West and often shared stories of Great Native Americans from the Northwest and they all seemed larger than life when he told their stories. I felt safer knowing he was there, just outside my door.

If the Indian Chief and my two sisters, we all shared a room, weren’t enough to make me feel safe there was plenty of Catholic representation scattered around the room. A crucifix on the wall, statues of Mary and a photo of The Guardian Angel that was given to me at my baptism. And, I’m sure there was more than one “lucky rabbit foot” keychain and maybe a horseshoe or two in our room. All icons of protection and good luck.

So my response to Evie and the campus team? I’ll take the view of the river flowing away from the building. I’m protected. I’ve got an imaginary Indian Chief watching over me, my Catholic upbringing, a lucky rabbit foot keychain in my pocket and If needed, I’ll nail up a horseshoe over my office door.

NIKE Greater China HQ

And if that doesn’t work, and the business starts to decline and my checking account becomes overdrawn, I’ll pack up my things and move two offices away towards the “power” side of the building.

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