And then there was…
Isn’t it everyone’s greatest wish that someone will look at us, not even look, just glance, and see our potential? To be judged, not by what we’ve achieved, but what we might achieve. It would be a blessing in any of life’s facets and I was fortunate to run across it, professionally, in May of 2004. It was then that I sat in a room, bruised and uncertain, and tried to talk three men into paying me money to do a job I was barely qualified to do. I didn’t think I had a chance and for that reason, I just went for it. I tried to exploit the few skills I did have, but when one question stumped me, answered, “I’m really looking forward to expanding my skillset enough to answer that with confidence.” I actually did a little dance (not joking) when the phone rang and I was offered the position as web manager, but then sat down with my new boss on my first day:
“listen, I know it’s a bit late for this, but I’m afraid I may have over-represented my skills.”God bless his soul, he said, “Do you love libraries?” “Yes.” “Do you have a vision for their future in the digital world?” “As a matter of fact I do.” “Do you want to learn how to do it?” “I would love to.” “Then you didn’t misrepresent a thing.”
And with that I became the forth member of the systems department. During the subsequent year the gentlemen I worked with treated me with kindness, patience, and respect that I’ve never known in a team before. At a time in my life when stability was simply non-existent, these men provided a firm foundation… professionally and personally.
Today was the end of an era, the final of the three’s last. Pete was my office gramp. He even supplied abundant quarters and small bills for the vending machine on trying days. He made me laugh when I got tense. He scoured the building for candy and treats and shared the spoils. A mere mention of a concern prompted phone calls, google searches, whatever he could do to solve a problem.
It wasn’t just me – this is just the kind of guys these are – they did these things, or things like them, for all the staff in the library. I’m awfully fortunate to have worked closely with them for awhile. They saw me as more than a resume and its contents, they gambled on me and while sad to see them go, with what they taught me I’m confident that I’ll have no trouble carrying on.
Pete insisted that he did not want a farewell party – he’s does not relish the spotlight. But that type of event is just as much for those being left as those leaving – it’s part of the process… So, last night I made super chocolatey, peanut butter cupcakes and left them in a high traffic area (read: NOT systems) with a note: ‘To ease the pain of Pete’s departure.”