So when I lived my corporate life, well before my great kid was born, I worked so much overtime each week and took so many taxis home from work at 11:00 pm that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. Of course I was 100 years younger than I am now with lots more energy and a youthful belief that hard work, commitment and dedication to one’s job always counted for something. I had been in the same position for a few years during a troubled time when the senior person overseeing our department was very ill and the person who reported to him was carrying on inappropriately with a staff member. A hotshot person in the company was brought in to raise the flagging morale of the staff and to shake things up and get things back on track.
After a few months on the job, this hotshot asked me to consider switching to a different position to try to rebrand, energize and breathe some life back into a division that had come under scrutiny for a number of unfortunate decisions. I accepted, albeit reluctantly, but felt with a little time and patience I could master the new job. I learned quickly that my confidence was probably overstated.
Within days I felt overwhelmed. Not so much from the challenge but because the learning curve on the project seemed insurmountable. I was out of my element. I was ready to go back to the hotshot and tell him he’d made a mistake picking me. But the night before I was going to do that, I called my work mentor, my dearest friend, my consigliere and poured my heart out to him. I’m in over my head, I told him. I feel like I’m never going to get it, I cried. I’m a failure before I begin, I said.
This man who was a role model for me as to what a good and kind and caring man should be counseled me and basically said “You’ve got this”. He told me he would be by my side as I navigated these unfamiliar waters and wouldn’t let me sink. His very words, his confidence in me, his belief in my abilities to not only learn but excel at the new job were like a life-preserver thrown to me. I was renewed with the knowledge that I could handle the new job.
And I did. I managed in about 2 years to turn the situation around and right the ship. The mistakes that had been made were corrected, the staff I was able to assemble was top-notch, the hotshot gave me free rein to lead the team in the right direction. Not only was it the most confidence-building experience of my life, I ended up winning a Presidential award that year for what had been accomplished.
One of the things my mother always instilled in me from the time I was young was that when someone gives you something or does a kindness for you that you write that person a thank you note. So after I won this award I wrote the President of the company a thank you note for acknowledging my work, and my team’s work. But I made sure in that note to single out my friend, my mentor, my hero, Tom Packert. Because I could not have taken a single step nor succeeded in any way if he had not been there with me.
To this day, next to my darling Dad he is the finest man I have ever known. Although we have both moved on to different chapters in our lives, I carry the gift of his friendship in my heart every day. Thank you, Mr. Packert. You are the best and always will be.