I said goodbye to a former supervisor, the kind of goodbye you say when you’ve known someone for a very long time that is leaving your life, possibly never to return again. I hadn’t really thought about how she had influenced my life until now.
Although I’ve worked for her a number of different times through the years in one capacity of another, I couldn’t think of a single anecdote to tell on the spur of the moment at her going away party. Now that it’s too late, I can think of a dozen.
She is someone who always has a good attitude and a sense of humor about life. I attribute one of my most frequently quoted sayings to her. Once when she was rebuked by the “powers that be” for being overly enthusiastic, she replied, “What good is life if you can’t have fun?”
She probably doesn’t even remember that she said it, but I do and it had a profound affect on my life. Whenever anyone criticizes my sense of humor or wonders why I write silliness instead of engaging in more worthwhile endeavors, I remember her words.
Although we traveled in different directions, somehow our paths seemed to cross through the years. I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on her. She was in the office of my then current boss, scattering papers left and right looking for something.
“Who is she?” I asked one of my co-workers. We finally found out that she knew the my boss well and they had even written a book together. I guess she never knew how close I was to calling the security guard to throw her out that day.
Eventually she transferred and came to the office where I worked, the folks at her old office gave her the telephone receiver to bring with her, saying she was going to miss it too much to leave it behind. She talked a lot. The receiver hung on the wall of her new office like a trophy for a long time.
I remember that she once wrote a memo to the Director of Budget asking for something or another that she thought was needed. She addressed it to “Queen of the Purse Strings.” The reference was squashed somewhere in the approval process. I don’t know if the Queen would have found it funny or not, but the Director of Budget was forever privately known as Queen of the Purse Strings after that.
When her supervisor, left for a different job, we had a little party with cake and punch. She was asked to say a few words about what a good boss he was and so on. After saying the expected things about how much he would be missed, she couldn’t resist adding that he would be most remembered for forgetting to give breaks in his meetings, which were so long that participants should be issued catheters.
She played Christmas music on a keyboard for our office Christmas parties, but was also a respected professional in her field. She was self-assured and we always knew that she could do whatever she needed to do and could handle any situation that came up and do it well.
I guess she was what some people might call a “character.” She received a better offer from a company on the other side of the state and decided to move. It was an opportunity too good to refuse. We miss her, but our loss is someone else’s gain.
Probably she influenced my philosophy of life as much as anyone ever has. I wish I could have thought of all this stuff to say before she left. Why is it that your mind goes blank and you can’t think of a single funny story when you need one?
I know she will be a dedicated professional but also continue spreading smiles and laughter wherever she goes because she always does. And as she always says, “What good is life if you can’t have fun?”