Saturday, February 10, 2018

Never Waste Something Special

I realize that some days I go a little bit off topic, but when I get moved by a memory or a thought about something, I enjoy sharing it with the blog readers.

I ran a warehouse in Pa. for about 5 years.  And trust me when I say this, I had NO IDEA what I was in for when I accepted the job.  But I did know that I had a cast of people around me that I genuinely liked and was excited to do good things for.  What was so special was that they made it clear that they believed in each other and that they believed in me.  So from the first day that I took over I felt as though we had something unique, perhaps so unique that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Shona was my Receiving Supervisor, but most importantly she was the heart of the group.  She was like the mom that a lot of us needed to have, even as grown men and women ourselves.  I'm very fortunate to run into her often, and when we do its as though we never left each others side.  She always told my real wife that she took pride in being my "work wife" making sure I took care of myself, and that I was always okay.  She is such a special person and hard worker that if I opened a business tomorrow I would call her instantly.

Jimmy was the Inventory Control Supervisor and my eventual successor there.  I'm fortunate to say that he also remains a good friend to this day.  Honest, smart, fun, and would have protected us no matter what.

Dave was a guy who was trying to figure out how to take all of the wonderful tools that he had and get them to work all together.  Hardworking, smart, and always with the right intentions.  The kind of guy any business would be proud to have.

Bert.  Oh Bert.  Bert was the class clown of the group.  You would never accuse Bert of working too hard and yet he was there for you every day, and he gave you what he had.  Bert is also extremely smart and an amazing wit.  Behind the rough exterior Bert has a big heart and a kindness that shows up almost every time you talk to him.  If we only cared about productivity Bert would not have lasted very long.  In fact, there was pressure on me from above to replace Bert because his numbers were lackluster.  But I always made the case for him that he was there every day, on time, he cared about his coworkers, his coworkers enjoyed him tremendously, and he could do everything in the building without errors or carelessness.  His value was far greater than simply speed.  Bert never left us.  In fact, when our operation relocated to NJ, Bert worked as long as he could until he was no longer needed.  I will never forget the day we finally told him it was over...he cried.  He cared so much for what he was doing and who he did it for, that he didn't want it to end.

We had other characters like Buffalo Bob, Kim, Deb (who was my enforcer and would have literally pushed me away to jump on a grenade), Ken, Paul (our talented DJ), Darryl (who said exactly 5 words per week), and on and on.  

The point of all of this is, we had a group that truly cared and respected each other.  Each with very different backgrounds and personalities, and yet we looked out for every one of us.  It was the most special 5 years of my career.  What makes me even more blessed was that I KNEW at the time that we had something amazing.  This helped me to make the most of it, and cherish it.  We took every opportunity to have fun with it, and help each other grow.

Hopefully most of these misfits (we affectionately called ourselves "the land of misfit toys) would say that they left that period of time having learned a lot about how people can and should treat each other.  I further hope that most of them would look at those 5 years with the great affection that I do.  

That experience taught me that when you have something very special, make the most of it.  Make it joyous and unforgettable.  It also taught me that each person is different, but no less valuable than the next.  Each person brings something very unique to the table and if you can celebrate it, it can add value to your life.  

I will likely never have a situation and a crew like that again.  But fortunately I have some lifelong friendships that will help me hold it close to my heart.

Be well and God bless.    Tom  

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