Lunch With Friends

I enjoyed lunch yesterday with my, very, good friends, Ryan and Elizabeth, and I wondered why I had long to enjoy their company.

I had the pleasure of working alongside both of my friends, prior to my retirement.


What lovely and hard working people they are!

I had the opportunity to meet their three sons, and I am not referring to the ‘oldies’ television show that I watched in its first run when I was a boy, but three of the most polite and well mannered young men that it has been my privilege to meet…in many years.

Have you ever known people that were simply the salt of the earth and backbone of any organization?  You have if you have met, Ryan and Elizabeth.

When I retired, almost eight years ago, and I was certain that I did not want a retirement reception…but rather to exit as I had entered…with no one aware of me or who I was.  My Director, Phil, told me that Elizabeth would not hear of me not having a reception and that she would be extremely disappointed if I did not submit!

I submitted.

As the years go by…I am glad that I did submit, as I walk through the Student Center several times per week and look at the Old Main Lounge, where my reception was held, and I always smile and reflect on the gracious people that took time out of the busy day…to bid me farewell.

Every-time that I speak with Ryan, I am struck with how considerate and thoughtful and wise that he is.  He is a quiet and unassuming person that thinks about what he says and, when you listen, every word is true.

As we reflected on the, now long past, of when I worked with them, I thought what an honor it is to have these two wonderful people…desire to have lunch with me…and I was humbled.

As we spoke I reflected on the past and my management style, of which I received my share of criticism, was to put people first…and excellent work will follow, I believed that if my wonderful staff felt that I cared about them that they would feel comfortable in producing an innovative and exciting and pristine work product that would resound to the entire university’s benefit.

I used to examine my management style and priorities…at least on an annual basis.  I would disclose to my wife some of the criticisms that I was receiving…and she told me that your management philosophy has worked for you for many years and do not change it now.

I never believed that the strong manager was the manager that blustered and criticized their staff for show and drama and to enhance their own image.

A great manager is behind the scenes and quick to give others the credit and a leader who no one knows, but the person that is being counseled, that constructive criticism was affected in order to enhance the professionalism and career of a vital colleague.

Many, when they knew of my retirement, told me that they were certain that the university would be seeking my opinion and my consulate, when I knew the truth…that they did not realize…and that was that the Building Services staff were my primary priority for over 32 years…and they are who I think about up unto and including this minute.


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