I am a firm believer that people come into your life for a reason. Regardless of whether it is a negative experience or a positive one with that person, you crossed paths with them for some reason. That reason may also not be very clear sometimes. Most times, it is probably as clear as mud or a thick pea soup. Over the weekend, I lost a mentor. It was a sudden unexpected loss and has hit me a lot harder than I thought. When I heard the news that my boss had passed away, I was in complete shock. I had just talked with him! We had meetings planned for the next week to continue my learning curve… what do you mean he’s gone??!! Then as the news slowly sunk in, it was devastating. I only knew this man for a short time; too short if you want my opinion. I had so much more to learn from him! So much more I wanted to pick his brain about! So much more knowledge I hoped to gain from him! He was not done teaching me everything he wanted to! I know this because we had meetings scheduled! Funny how the brain works with news you don’t want to hear. I mean, these were scheduled meetings! As in, I will see you next week to go over this stuff. As in, we will see you again!!
When I first met Glenn, he was a breath of fresh air. I met him because I had applied to a job that the company he was the General Manager for was looking for a Marketing Manager. A head-hunter actually contacted me about the position. I read over the job description and thought that sure, I would like to hear more. So the head-hunter and I went back and forth a couple of times before I actually met with Glenn. I arrived for that interview a little before him and was sitting in the room at the head hunter’s office waiting, wondering. Well, he came through that door with a confidence that was second to none. No cockiness about him. No pretenses. No airs. Just a confidence that exuded.
He was dressed in jeans and a dress shirt. Already my kinda boss! He shook my hand. A strong ‘how the hell are ya’ kind of handshake. He wasted no time. The position was out in a small community north of me and he looked me in the eye and asked me why the hell I would want to work in some Bug Fart small town. Yep, those were his words. I really REALLY liked him now! We talked back and forth. Never once did he refer to my resume. Never once did he look down at the notepad he had brought. I am not even sure he opened that notepad, thinking back on it. He told me his background, his philosophies, his way of thinking. Then he took a breath and asked me “What pisses Debbi off?” I think my eyes must have grown a little… was this really an interview I was in?? No bullshit he said, tell me what pisses Debbi off. I knew before I left that room, that I HAD to work for this man!
He was a tell it like it is, no bull shit, give me your reasons, kinda guy. He was smart, intelligent, and very knowledgeable about what he was doing. He was passionate about what he was doing! That caught my attention right away. Not only could he pick up on a pile of crap he was listening too, he would call you on it!
I waited not so patiently for a call back. I really wanted this job! I really wanted to work for this man! And soon enough, I got invited out to this small ‘Bug Fart’ town about 40 minutes from me for a second interview. I was ecstatic! I timed the drive on the way out. I went over in my head what he was like to meet with the first time. I wondered about the other 2 people I would be meeting as well that day. Would they be like him? Would I fit in? Would I be able to do this job?
The second interview went as smooth as the first. The other 2 ladies were great. They all assured me that when they came into this company they had no background knowledge of the industry either. I was very hopeful that I would be offered the position. And I was a couple of days later.
I arrived the first morning and walked in with my usual bubbly attitude. I walked through the doors and announced my arrival… I’M HERE! I heard Glenn’s chuckle from his office. He smiled at me, shaking his head slightly, as he came out of his office to tell me he expected nothing less from me than my grand entrance. He walked me around introducing me to everyone and everything. He handed me this enormous black binder and said it was my bible. Learn it. Know it. Ask questions. After the excitement of the first morning, I sat in my office and thought that yes indeed, this is where I belonged.
It was a very different environment for me. Glenn trusted me. Glenn wanted my opinion. Glenn included me in things that I would need to know and not in a ‘here is the information he had gathered and then told me’, but a ‘here is the problem, now go find a solution’ kinda way. It was amazing and very scary. I was coming from a job where my opinion counted for nothing. That I had to beg for information in order to do my job. This was a very big change for me. A good change. He believed in my abilities and me. He empowered all the staff. He was firm when he needed to be. He was just so damn incredible to work for.
He got this funny little smirk on his face when I would rush into his office…
“Got a min Chief?” I would ask. “Yup, what’s up?” was almost always his answer. Whatever I was struggling with, he would sit patiently waiting for me to talk it out. He would then get that little smirk and tell me to answer my own question. But, I came to YOU for the answer, was my thought. He would reassure me that I knew the answer, now answer it. And most times I would sigh in exasperation, walk out of his office, and think… damn it! How does he DO that??
The 3rd day I was here, he was leaving on a conference. He walked around the office, ensuring everyone didn’t have any questions, saying when he would be back. He poked his head in my office, looked right at me and said “You… YOU behave”. Yup day 3 and he had me figured out. No wait… what do you mean ‘behave’? He repeated that a number of times over the last couple of months. Thinking that by saying it out loud that I might actually behave. He also knew that there was not a chance in hell of that happening.
Glenn, you are very missed. I had so much more I wanted to learn from you. You were an amazing man with amazing insight and vision. You treated all of us with respect and had such a belief in us. I promise to do my very best with that trust. And as I sit here, looking at this stack of papers you left on my desk Friday afternoon with the promise of giving me direction in your hand written note, you already have.