Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Making It

by Rob Watson

Some years back a co-worker became my boss for a short time. He was intelligent and knowledgeable, but we didn't get along that well. We worked together long enough that I witnessed his entry to his mid-life crisis. He divorced his wife of several years, quit his job, and wandered off to start his own business. Fortunately, he was good enough at what he did, at our company, that he left behind some good connections.

After two years or so, I saw him walking down the hall at work. "Say, Les, You back working here again?" His reply was a simple "Yes."

I came back with "What's the matter, couldn't you make it out there in the real world?" He gave no response immediately. Just looked as if I had slapped him in the face. (Which, of course, is exactly what I had done, verbally.) My comment had frozen him in his place. After several seconds he responded "Yes, I guess that's correct." then he went on his way.

A couple of hours later I was in the company lunchroom eating. Les came out of the food line and started to walk my way, until he saw me. He stopped, but before he looked away I waved him over and invited him to sit with me. He came and sat down opposite me.

"Come on now and tell me what happened."

" I tried to do too many things. I never got good enough at any of them to be noticed or build a reputation."

After a couple of years one of the guardian angels moved to a fast growing company. This man took Les and another highly skilled software type over to it. They developed a less expensive way of servicing broken computer systems and an innovative database. Last I heard they were all doing very well. Next time you ask for an auto part, and the clerk looks it up on his computer, think of Les. He was 1/3 of the team that made it happen. ( well, make that 1/2 the team. The guardian angel was the idea man but he couldn't keep his "input file" and "output file" strait. He was constantly copying the old file over the new file and erasing a weeks worth of my work.)

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