My coworker, MC is leaving. In the year and a half we’ve worked together, I’ve learned enough about him to know that he doesn’t stay with any one employer for very long. He tends to be the person who is hired for a very specific purpose, usually doing very difficult work for which few possess just the right skill set to manage. Once the job is accomplished, it’s time for him to move on. And now is that time.
MC dug right in as soon as he was hired. He brought in his own ergonomic chair to accommodate his sometimes bad back. He learned the business in record time and soon was the subject matter expert on what seemed like almost everything. He surrounded his work space with white boards which were eternally filled with colorful writing. He was constantly jotting down thoughts, problems and formulas.
I’ll be sad to see MC go. He made an impact on me. He’s genius smart (though he’ll deny it if you say so to his face.) During the time we’ve worked together, I’ve learned so much from him. I’ve learned things that I thought were completely out of my grasp. MC is a data guy. And while working with him, I realized that I had an interest in “data stuff” too. He quickly became the team lead in our department and often allowed me to explore areas that piqued my interest. He was patient enough to show me the ins and outs of various subjects until I could competently and confidently assist him with some of the aspects of his “data guy” responsibilities. Now that he’s leaving, it looks like I’ll get to take a more active role with some of this stuff. I have him to thank for that.
More importantly than what MC helped me learn, is the fact that he helped me realize I am still learning. Not long ago, I would have limited myself in my goals, because of what I have done to this point in life and maybe more so because of what I have not done by this point in my life. By allowing me to do things that stretched beyond my perceived self-limits, MC showed me that it’s never too late and you’re never too old. I learned some things about myself through my connection with MC. I love a puzzle and the process of solving it. Tell me something is impossible to figure out or not worth the effort and I want nothing more than to prove you wrong.
MC is driven and he sees the big picture in any situation. It is a pleasure to work with someone who is passionate about their work even though sometimes that passion can feel very frustrating. Very few people make such a positive and powerful impact as they come and go in the lives of others. MC does. I had to tell him so. I wanted him to know that he lit a fire under me and my coworkers. No matter what he felt he did or didn’t accomplish, he most definitely accomplished good things while he was with the company. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.
He was a little speechless over my thanks, and we laughed about the fact that speechlessness is a rare thing for MC. He’s not an emotional guy. He’s matter-of-fact. But I told him I was old enough and had learned by now that sometimes it’s important to tell people thank you and acknowledge when they’ve done something generous. He is moving on. It is unlikely I will see much of MC again. I wanted him to know that I am grateful to him for helping me see things in myself that I didn’t know were there.
At lunchtime today, I went outside with some coworkers. We made a couple of laps around the pond to stretch our legs and enjoy the sun. Break time was over too soon.
I returned to my desk and jumped on a call with a client. I was feeling overwhelmed today and as soon as my call was over, I dove into another task, but not before I realized something didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first and asked a few people if they had seen anyone at my desk while I was away. No one seemed to know anything. I was stumped… and a little bit annoyed, until I had an inkling.
I got up from my desk and walked over to MC’s desk. He had gone home for the day when I poked my head in his doorway and my suspicions were confirmed. There at MC’s desk was my company-issued chair. I walked back to my desk and it all made sense. My annoyance faded away. MC had given me his own chair as a parting gift!