When the office dad leaves

Today, the head of our office announced that he is leaving our company. It comes as a semi-shock given that we were very far from hitting our number last quarter, but it still was a crushing announcement nonetheless. You could tell after the announcement was made that the office mood completely shifted. It was somber, upsetting, as though someone had  just died.

In today’s world, it’s easy to think of work as just work. So many people are miserable at their day jobs. They’re there for the paycheck, the benefits, the perks. They don’t have much work integrity or loyalty. And why should they, right? Loyalty in the work sense is pretty much dead given that pensions are almost nonexistent in most jobs, and loyalty doesn’t really seem to pay off from a financial standpoint because it’s easier to get a pay bump by hopping to another company. But I was really upset by the news. I’d come to regard our office lead as not just the head of regional sales, but as the office “dad,” a mentor, and someone who genuinely cared about me and my well being. He’d often check up on me 1 on 1 to see how things were going, ask me what he could do to help, and when there were times I actually did need help, he took action. He gave me advice when I wasn’t having the greatest relationships with certain people in the organization, and he was always deliberate and well thought out in everything he had to say. It feels rare to meet sales people who have that level of empathy, care, and integrity. But he has it. And he’s leaving us.

I saw him after the announcement, and he gave me a heartbroken smile and gave me a big bear hug. “This is not what I wanted,” he said.

“I’m going to miss you,” I said to him solemnly.

“I’m not dying, you know,” he half smiled.

“I can still miss you even though you’re not dead. That’s a normal sentiment, is it not?” I said back.

“Okay, that’s the learning of the day: you can still miss someone even though he isn’t dead,” he chuckled.

This is the kind of banter I will miss, to say the least.

 

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