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I’ve always been the one to up and leave my co-workers, moving on to a new job or new home far away. The farewells and good-byes were never easy for me when a good friend was concerned. Maybe the good-byes were more difficult for the ones I left behind? I don't know. Now, for the first time, I’m on the receiving end.
My friend at the office, a highly skilled police officer and trainer, will retire next week and pursue a training company of his own. We’ve worked closely for three years - close enough that we can finish sentences for each other and often don’t need words to speak. He helped me overcome my fear of motorcycles and took me for a ride, slowly around the parking lot once. Sure, he’ll return occasionally to visit or teach but I’ll miss our daily laughs and his greeting every morning. I'm already missing him before he is gone.
Another gentleman at the college is getting ready to retire and should be leaving his office any day now, after forty-something years of service. I’ve never met him but a few days ago he sent a college-wide e-mail that contained a poem that is so meaningful to me right now. When asked why he continued to work for so long, he offered this to all.
Sometimes you just connect,
No big thing maybe
but sometimes beyond the usual business stuff.
It comes and goes quickly
so you have to pay attention.
A change in the eyes
when you ask about the family,
a pain flickering behind the statistics
about a boy and a girl in school,
or about seeing them every other Sunday.
An older guy talks about his bride,
a little affectation after twenty-five years.
A hot-eyed achiever laughs before you want him to.
Someone tells about his wife’s job
or why she quit working to stay home.
An old joker needs another laugh on the way
A woman says she spends a lot of her salary
on an au pair
and a good one is hard to find
but worth it because there’s nothing more important
than the baby.
In every office
you hear the threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know that connecting those threads
is what you are supposed to do
and business takes care of itself.
Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership by James A. Autry
In the building next door there works a sweet lady who had to leave the office and check herself into a hospital last week. She’s wearing a heart monitor now. It’s the job, you know? And everything else in life that complicates. We’ve mentioned getting away for lunch together … always too busy … never came up for air to do it.
11 hours ago