An Honorable Man

The saying goes that if you like where you’re at, you better enjoy it because it will soon change.

Well, I’ve enjoyed the past couple of years working for the same individual. In that time, I’ve taught a lot of classes, helped several hundred engineers do better with the company’s product than they might otherwise have done and, in the process, been to a lot of interesting places.

Whether or not those parts of my job will change or not, I can’t yet say.

But I do know that I’m not working for the same individual anymore, and that I will surely miss. I don’t know how the new boss will be but, taking nothing from him, it’ll be hard for him to beat the one I’m leaving.

You see, I’ve been in “the business” for a long time, more than three decades. And in that time, I’ve had a lot of bosses. Indeed, at one employer I had eleven different bosses in a single twelve month span but, as you might imagine, that company had problems. I’ve had bad bosses, indifferent bosses, bosses who didn’t show up, bosses who would stab their employees in the back if it worked to their advantage. And I’ve had bosses that were OK, that channeled the work and collected status reports and followed the rules but weren’t ever really interested in what they were doing.

And rarely, oh so very rarely, I’ve had bosses that were trying to make a difference in the world, not just a profit, and not just to keep the paycheck going. Those latter two goals, profit and paycheck, are important because if you don’t keep them going, you don’t get to go after the first, making a difference.

And the best bosses have been the ones – I can count them on one hand with a couple of fingers missing – that did all that and, while they were at it, dealt straight with everyone, demanded the same in return, were smart enough to recognize when they needed to get people to hunker down and take shelter from the incoming rounds, and they stood by their people when things went sour as they surely will in this complicated world.

The boss I leave behind is one such individual. Oh, I’ll still be interacting with him in the future as our jobs still overlap, but he won’t be calling my shots. Someone else will now expect, and get, my allegiance.

My former boss has earned my utmost respect.

He is an honorable man.

And on this Veteran’s Day, I am pleased to add that he’s a U. S. Marine.

Thanks, Ken.

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