Some years ago, back in 2003 actually, I was fired. I know the reasons of why it happened but it still tore me up for a few years. That event is also why I realized a few life's lessons, like not taking on too many duties and asking for help sooner instead of quietly suffering. It was a hard lesson, painful actually, and it ended up me making a few bad decisions for employment in the following years.
I really beat myself up over the years about being fired. Between the need to change the Master Plan but also because I felt I let everyone down. All I could imagine was everyone hating me because of what I did. It didn't matter that they let a lot of people go after me, or that the company was trying to save money, it was that realization that I failed them.
When I started looking for a job earlier this year, I did the predictable action and updated all my various social networking sites that I don't really pay attention to otherwise. One of the people who responded was Stephen Coffman. He was the boss of my boss, and probably the person who made the final call to fire me five years ago.
... yeah, I screwed up that badly.
Naturally, I was surprised he even responded to me. What really floored me is that he offered to give me a recommendation for my next job. A recommendation? After years of beating myself up, thinking that everyone hated me, here was someone who realized that I screwed up with managing myself, not neolithic incompetence. And, well, actually he kind of said that too.
He gave me closure on a terrible part of my life. Not working with him, that part I loved, but the pain I went through afterwords. All those conversations in my head. I screwed up, but he didn't have the all-consuming hatred that I thought he would.
I never took him up on the offer, but after a few conversations, I learned that he started an organization called Unlocking Brain Tumors. I told him I would donate to it, because I usually donate a good-sized chunk of my income. That is where my entertainment budget usually goes. And then, well, everything went to hell and I haven't had a reasonable amount of money to donate to his foundation since I moved to Iowa. You know, that whole thing with the flood, living away from home, and everything else. It sounds like an empty promise, but its still on the top of my list for places to donate to.
Yesterday, I found out Steve died. Actually, he died last month, but I didn't find out until yesterday. It was... sad, mainly because he was a man I respected and someone who, probably without realizing it, give me something I needed.
I didn't know him very well, but I still wanted to give my thanks.
Thank you, Mr. Coffman.