I’ll be honest, there was a time I dreaded your very presence in the cubical next to mine. It was probably [mostly] unwarranted, but it was true.
When the Absent Minded CFO fired The Beast and hired you (or re-hired as was pretty much the case) in her place, I was a little excited. Working for The Beast had been a nightmare. And being under the “management” of my sister was probably one of the dumbest moves ever made. I wasn’t at all worried when the Absent Minded CFO added you as one of my direct supervisors. I was promised spread sheets with macros and simplification and streamlining of a lot of processes that had been a hot mess for a lot of years.
I started to learn…fairly quickly…that your method of streamlining and simplifying often meant over-complicating everything. The macro-driven spread sheets were nice and all, but there was entirely too much production involved every time we wanted to change or even use one of these modern marvels.
I started to dislike you. You started to drive me crazy. I dubbed you P.I.M.A. (Pain In My Ass). In hindsight, I can’t quite remember what it was that got my ire up on a daily basis with you. I know there are a lot of documented tirades in my old blog. And if I wanted to dredge up more unsettling memories of the Toxic Shit Hole I might just go read up on what it was that made me want to junk-punch you multiple times a day.
It didn’t help, I suppose, that you were in charge of some of the most infuriating development projects in company history. (I still can’t drive past the Groveland site without giving it the stink-eye and the finger.) And all of these projects were headed by the most infuriating executive in the world—who was not, surprisingly, the Absent Minded CFO. They were a source of great stress for both of us, and fueled my disdain for you like no other.
I don’t quite remember when things started to change. But they did start to change. I could venture to guess it was not long after I started getting help for my mental illness. Because as I got sicker, I started to appreciate you as my boss more and more.
You had first hand experience with the shitstorm that is depression and anxiety. You knew what I was going through. And with that connection…you became my sole ally in that company. Not once did you ever accuse me of being a fraud (unlike…everybody else). Not once did you make me feel like I had to justify my diagnosis.
You became my friend.
You saw me cry more times than I can even count.
You had gotten fed up with the bullshit of the Absent Minded CFO and the Most Infuriating Executive Ever and the Toxic Shit Hole in general. You found a better job, with better pay, in a better environment, and you quit.
You were still tied in with a few behind the scenes workings, as you had been for years after you quit the first time. But your long and frustrating relationship with that company was almost severed completely.
I felt a little abandoned, to be honest. My sole ally had left me alone. I had no one left on my side, to help with my defense, whenever I was called in on the carpet and accused—often indirectly but never subtlety—of being a fraud.
The last time I remember seeing you was shortly after I met Bob. You had come into the office after hours when there were still quite a few people around. Apparently you had been talking to one of the big-mouths because you stopped by my desk and asked me when the wedding was.
It wasn’t very long after that, that the Absent Minded CFO fired me.
I wished you had been there—been the one to help me pack up my desk…after nine years of occupancy…been the one to walk me to my car. But at the same time, I was glad you weren’t, because it probably would have been that much harder knowing that the one person I could trust had been forced to concede my defeat.
What I really wanted to say in all of this is Thank You.
Thank you for being my friend when I needed one.
Thank you for believing my illness was real, when no one else did.
Thank you for understanding, being a shoulder to cry on, and for just being there.
I appreciate all of it more than you’ll ever know. And more than words can adequately express.