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my boss

By 7:04 PM , , , , ,


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He resigned today.

He gathered the dept. for an impromptu mandatory meeting and before he even fully sat down at the head of the table, he cut to the chase.

"There's no sense beating around the bush. I gave my notice this morning and will be leaving the company. My last day will be April 6th."

We all took it as a joke, because he's done that before, albeit followed by a shit-eating grin. But when we saw him fighting back tears we knew it wasn't April Fool's come early. It was also clear why he had to get the news out fast. It had been an emotional decision.

I wasn't surprised by the what, but stunned by the when. I didn't think the what would happen so soon, so now, so two weeks. He made it clear that there was no job offer, no new venture. Just that he got honest and realized he had nothing more to give, at least for this run, and he's signaling a time-out to catch his breath.

I was traveling with him last week and sensed a melancholy keeping us company. It's been a rocky 18 months at work, so I chalked it up to just another rough patch. Well, that's not entirely true. I've desensitized myself to the dark cloud looming over him for some time now. I had to, because it personally depleted me and left me powerless. He used to be a joyous, curious person with limitless ambition and energy. But over the years he overextended himself in responsibility had become exhausted, embittered and stuck and people were starting to notice these effects. The worst part about this type of crisis is that the more you care about somebody, you're likely the best candidate to help, ironically, you are the last person from whom he can hear such feedback. This was one of the multitude of reasons why I've been wanting to leave this job. It had consumed both my friend and boss in a single gulp.

As we strolled down the tree-lined streets of the West Village last Thursday, it struck me when he said "I'd live here." They're only words to the untrained ear, but when you're close to someone, the significant words have a way of hitting you like a finger flick to the temple. He's uttered this phrase countless times before in other locales, but this time it was something other than a fluff wish. If the boy cried wolf in the past, this time he really saw one and was letting me know.

He brought me into our current company almost four years ago as he was building a team from scratch. Since then, four of the original six have voluntarily left during one of our country's worst economic climates without another job lined up, which speaks volumes for the greater mismanagement of human resources at our company. But unfortunately, when you work for a corporation, it's the direct manager that takes the heat for the company's shortcomings and he was getting beaten up at every twist and turn.

At our last place of employment, where we first met, we were two peas in a pod. Our boss at the time was an unstable tyrant (and probably still is) which is the kindest way I can put it. We became friends fast and conspired to make the great escape early on. Nine months later we each got separate job offers on the same morning, in fact, within the same hour. I remember taking a call from my future boss and pacing in the courtyard of our offices, when I looked up, he was on the other side of the fountain pacing just like I was as he closed the deal with his phone to his head. Twenty minutes later we both gave our two week notice and celebrated heavily. Another point toward his scoreboard of coincidences, that there are none in this world. We intend all things into our lives.

Now that my main reason for staying is packing up his bags, he's leaving the door wide open. This time around we will not have our exit interviews on the same date, and my target date of departure is imminent than ever before. I am so happy that he made this decision and that circumstances allowed him to move to action. This fills me with hope in so many ways.

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