A fortnight before going to Hong Kong, I had been on a management development course. Amongst other things, it was explained that as good managers, we needed to learn the art of managing other people's expectations.
And now, with Maggie, I had to put this into practice.
I had led her to believe that I would be returning to Hong Kong, when I had concluded my work in Shanghai. I hadn't put a date on this, but it was obvious that she expected to see me in the next week or so. This however, was never going to happen, my flight from Shanghai to UK had
been booked several weeks ago, for the following Friday. There was never any likelihood that I could change this.
And now it was Wednesday, two days before the flight.
I decided to do it in stages.
That night, as we talked, I simply said that my company had requested that I return to the UK for a few days for an urgent review of a particular project I'd had some responsibility for in the past. I said I was waiting to be advised when the review would take place.
Then the following morning I sent her a note saying that I'd received an email overnight requesting my immediate return, and that my flight was booked for the following morning.
That night, I told her that after my trip to UK, I would be returning directly to Hong Kong.
She simply said 'Ok honey, I will be waiting, work is very important for a man'