Saturday, January 17, 2009

I heard him before I saw him....

While out running errands today, Chuck and I stopped at a local bakery/restaurant for lunch. We were finished with our meal and waiting for the waitress to bring our ticket. Another group was being seated behind us ....and while I was aware of this, I had my back to the table and was not looking at them.

Their waiter approached them and I heard this voice say,"We're doing good, how 'bout you?"

And I turned around because I knew that voice. An older man was looking at me and I quickly turned back towards my table. But then the few neuro transmitters that still work in my brain were telling me look know that man. So I turned around again and he was looking at me again. On my way back to facing forward, I glanced at the lady beside him and that's when I knew. I knew that was my old boss.

My old boss. The one I haven't seen in 21 years. The one who I didn't say goodbye to on my last day of working for him for 10 + years because of all that had taken place in the last year of my working there.

I started working for this mortgage company when I was 20 years old...back in '78. I remember the day of my interview thinking I could hang in anywhere for 3 why not give it a go. Dan asked me in the interview if I could do a 10 key. I said sure.........I had no idea what a 10 key was, but I knew "sure" was the answer he was looking for. I got the job.

Within a matter of days, my direct supervisor called me in and said he noticed I wasn't very fast on a 10 key. By now, I knew it was a 10 key adding machine and everyone around me were very, very efficient on them. I acted like I didn't know they needed me to go fast. So he took a few minutes to show me how to hold my hand on the keyboard and I soon became a speed demon.

I worked at this place from the age of 20 until the age of 30. Through my single days of late nights and hangovers, dating and getting married, and having my first child....and up until right before my second child was born. So it is very hard for me to think about my 20's without the thought of this placed intertwined in the memory.

I was the boss' pet for the first few years and then my sister got a job there....and she became the pet. We were both hard workers but she was his actual secretary. We had a very good relationship with our boss.........but he was a nerd, so he was more like a father-type figure. Although he was only 34 when I was 20, I can remember thinking he was very old. hahaha.

Around 1987, the president and higher ups in the company got into some trouble selling loan packages to more than one bank. Over and over again. Lots of closed door meetings and rumors started happening. And before long, the company filed bankruptcy and the lay-offs began. Because my sister and I were in the "accounting department" we were some of last to go as we were needed for the auditors.

The last year was a complete hell. Morale was low, good friends had been let go, and there was no work to do. Everything was "frozen." I can remember one day that the only thing I did was type one check. One check. That's all. Just sat there. All Day. While my toddler was at the babysitter's and I had loads of laundry waiting to be done at home. This was not an unusual day but for some reason this is the day I check. No work to be done.

Chuck and I had gotten down to one car/one car payment in order to prepare for me being laid off. We rode to work together that last year. We would drop Jordan off at the babysitter, then he would drop me off, then he would head to his office. In the afternoons, he would pick me up first, then we would pick up Jordan. While it was a very stressful time with our financial worries, I do cherish those months of commuting together with Jordan in the car with us.

I started begging my boss to lay me off. Begging. BEGGING. He wouldn't. Begging some more. BEGGING some MORE. He said no. You see I needed him to lay me off so I could collect unemployment. I wasn't trying to work the system really but I knew Chuck would not understand me just quitting when I could get unemployment if I got laid off.

Then one day, in a hormonal rage (I was 7 months pregnant with my second daughter), I went into Dan's office, closed the door and said "God (Cuss Word), Lay Me OFF!" He said okay. Then he left to go to a meeting and I went home at 5:00 pm and we never said goodbye.

So I saw him today and we had a quick Hi How Are You.....blah, blah, blah. He just turned 65. We talked about how he was, where he was working.......then I hugged him goodbye and told him I had always thought of him fondly.

He was probably thinking, "Get away from me you rabid bitch." As that is what I was the last day he saw me at the mortgage company. Maybe after today, he will be able to think of me like he used to....when I was the boss' pet.

What I should have said the last day ........but didn't..........

Goodbye and thank you for being a great boss.

Goodbye and thank you for being there for me through my 20's.

Goodbye and thank you for giving me a raise over and over and over...which equaled a very nice salary for a young girl without a college degree.

Goodbye and thank you for paying for me to take college classes at night.

Goodbye and thank you for teaching me so much about accounting and financial statements and analysis and auditing.

Goodbye and thank you for telling me to go and handing me $500.00 out of petty cash when I got the phone call from my mother that my father was in Philadelphia, PA, and had just had a massive heart attack....I was 21. She and I got on the next plane out of Houston. He deducted the money out of my next several paychecks. NO questions asked. I took off 10 days and he didn't make me use any of my vacation days.

Goodbye and thank you.


  1. Okay - thanks for getting me choked up on a Sat night.

  2. Oh you made me get teary eyed! It is always strange to me how people come into and out of our lives and help us in ways more profound than we understand sometimes. I bet that you touch lives just like that every day in your line of work.

  3. Julia- I loved reading your story. I want to know what happens next. Maybe you can start writing your life story on here one post at a time. Hugs, Jen

  4. Goodbye and thank you for hiring my sister so we could go eat lunch/shop together everyday!

    I don't think he knew how to say goodbye back in 1987 either ... that's why you had to beg ... that's why he wasn't in the building when you left work on your last day there. He was good for us and to us back then. Time and experience has allowed you (us)to recognize the value he added to our lives.

    (Remember though, he wasn't perfect. He hired HH! I'm not sure he should ever be forgiven for that decision!)

  5. HAHA!! He asked me if I could balance a checkbook....I said yes...and I knew I didn't have a clue...LOL...I have to agree with Catha...HH...scary mistake!!!!! I guess he needed someone to go to lunch with....Hahahahhaha!!!

  6. Gosh..we all have our stories don't we! The twenties...the wild twenties....ahhhh youth.... I'm lucky to be alive.

  7. I'm sure there is a long list of things he could thank you for also, like coming to work everyday(hungover and in yesterday's clothes even) and working hard which I know is what you do. I'm sure it worked both ways. I agree with Catha, he couldn't bare to see you go. Was HH the one that used to say, "Well smell this..."? It does sound like you might have gotten some closure after all these years; an added benefit for both of you.