Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2011

I passed you, coming out of the morning meeting.  You weren’t supposed to be there. You were on your phone; still said “hi” as I went by.  I figured that you were just checking in. I wish you’d said something then, but that really wasn’t ever your way of doing things.  Later on, you were gone, with the message in my inbox that you’d resigned.  I know some of the whys and wherefores, and there’s a lot that I don’t know.  I do know that there are some things that I need to tell you. It’s part and parcel of what we talked about in terms of many other people and situations as I tried to help you as we worked together. We just never really talked about what you’ve done for me.

You took action on my behalf at a time when I was out of options. I was out of ideas; mostly I was out of hope. I was hope-less. Trapped from any of the thousand ways I tried to look at it, resigned to a crumbling future. I was beyond hating my job, hating those around me, beyond sick and tired. I was numb.  It was not “acceptance,” it was despair. What you gave me - and it was truly a gift – was an opportunity. We both know that it was also good for the company. What you did that others would not was to recognize this and do something about it. I would hope that you could consider this a success. As we discussed, many times, success in your particular position was often very difficult to measure. One of the things you understood was that success as a leader could be measured in human terms, usually ‘off the books’, even when others might not understand. I enjoyed those conversations very much. You most certainly achieved that with and for me. Thank you.

It didn’t mean that I liked my assignments. Not at first, and some of them I will never enjoy. You did, however, treat my attitude and frustrations with a compassion that amazes me, still.  These last few years have not been easy for anyone at our workplace, and you were often pretty near the end of that wagging dog’s tail. Though we (ok, me mostly) made fun of some of your statements (“It is what it is”), there was no mistaking that it was what it was, and it likely wasn’t getting any better. You encouraged, cajoled, moved stuff around, didn’t run certain reports at different times, and did your best to make it work. Often, you looked bad for our sake. Some of us recognized that.  Thank you.

The opportunities that you provided me have given me quite an education into an aspect of my career that I never thought I’d receive.  You have increased my value at least threefold; to Mercy, to myself, and hope-fully, to my future.  You’ve helped improved my home and family life – I’m a little easier to live with than I was in my six years in “The Pit.” I actually look forward to going to work, every now and then. Just don’t tell anyone – I have a reputation to maintain.  Thank you.

Thank you for looking me in the eye. Thank you for letting me rant when I needed to, to say the wrong thing, to accept my apologies for doing both. Thank you for valuing my opinions. For listening. For your confidences, which I keep. It meant that you valued the ‘working’ me, something that had been taken away.  You allowed me to do, to make a difference, to work through a new challenge to the other side, to make something better, not just fill time on the train to oblivion.

I don’t know what the future holds for either of us. I hope what you told me, the last time we talked about it, continues to be true. I know that you’ll be successful and make a difference, whatever happens, because that’s what you do. I’m just thinking about you on this Thanksgiving eve.

Thank you.