Saw my boss today…

January 7, 2009

…That is, the one who laid me off. I happened to be at Adobe to meet Chris for lunch, but before he came down, there was a gathering of managers from my division. They seemed happy to see me, asking how the job search was going. Then lo and behold, along comes my former boss.

What was I to do? I smiled and shook his hand warmly, and let him know I was waiting to hear back from Google.

I wasn’t about to ask him how the work was going. That would have been too cynical. Ah, but that didn’t stop him! He asked, “Can I ask you a question, if you remember? That server you were setting up… which machine was it, the one in your office or the one in Rick’s office?”

Again, what was I to do? I answered his questions. The one in my office. It’s the Mac sitting by the PC, across from the door. No, I hadn’t set up a static IP address yet, you’ll have to do that. No, you don’t need to start Apache, because I set it up to start automatically at power-up. I offered all this with a helpful smile. I even offered to send him my work-related to-do list.

I do believe God has a sense of humor. This was also an opportunity for me to get over my anger. Still, I had to laugh as I walked away with Chris and he whispered, “Awkward!”

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

7 responses to Saw my boss today…

  1. Hi Jon! A voice from the past — remember me from Bloomington? I stumbled onto your website and was so excited to see the Christmas picture of you, Kay, and the kids! May God provide a new job for you and prove once again His faithfulness as He has so many times before. I still remember the kindness you and Kay showed me every time I pull out the rice cooker you gave so long ago with the provision that it be used to feed many … and it has!

  2. I was called several times after I quit before being laid off. What was the status of this client? Where is the file? Do you remember the password for the Google Analytics account for the website. I said, I’m sorry, I’m no longer an employee of the company. You’re on your own. The CEO didn’t treat me with respect and I certainly wasn’t going to help his business.

  3. You’re such a good person, Jon. When faced with a difficult situation, you NATURALLY do the right thing. I don’t know if I could’ve been as civil…

  4. Tonya, come by again — you know where to find me now! And I can put you in touch with Webbie Dood if you aren’t already.
    Dave, I think some people are missing the respect gene. But why do such people often end up in positions of authority? Do nice guys really finish last?
    Yellow, I had been fantasizing that after securing a better job, I would visit Adobe, walk by his office, share my good news, and add, “Oh, and this is for you,” giving him a big finger right in his face. So maybe I pass the test.

  5. what made it awkward for me was the perfunctory pleasantries that always led up to the real question(s). when a relationship is awkward/broken, i prefer for people to get down to their real questions rather than pretending things are great and that this is a conversation devoid of emotion.

  6. Frances, I wouldn’t mind perfunctory pleasantries if they weren’t so alliterative!
    A certain amount of pretending may be necessary if it helps pave the way. But you’re right, there is no real reconciliation without acknowledging the emotional toll. TIme heals a lot, and I have found that it is possible to have a genuinely civil relationship with people who once stabbed me in the back. But that is not the same thing as reconciliation.
    I can also say, “I don’t trust that person to work with them again,” without questioning their integrity. It is more a statement that our values and practices are incompatible than a judgement that they are evil.
    Except for my last boss. He’s evil.
    (Agh! Calm down, Jon. Humility, humility.)

  7. I realized something after my last comment: It is possible to be reconciled without ever dealing with the pain of the past. Kay & I talk about “the emotional bank account” where you make deposits and withdrawals. If you are able to make enough deposits to overcome the emotional deficit, you can be reconciled. But you can’t do this if the relationship was severed.