I have worked for several of the world’s worst bosses.
I have also worked for several of its best.
George, the VP of Sales that told me to hang on, that help was coming, the man I regularly sprung from over-long meetings, the man who taught my son a trick sure to win him bar bets and thus cut down his entertainment expenses in college, was one of the best.
I brought the boy, a precocious 10 years old, to work one day.
There was meaningful eye contact made between us before I introduced him to my boss. “Offer him your hand when I introduce you. Look him in the eye and be pleasant. This is the man who signs my paycheck. Do not shame me.”
Dylan grinned, a crooked, self-assured smile. “Would I do that?”
“Dylan!” booms George, emerging from the corner office. “I’ve heard many things about you.”
“All good, I hope,” Dylan says, holding out his hand.
George smiles, invites him into his office.
I tag along.
“So you’ll be going to college, I hope?”
Dylan, my little A-student, believes college is for suckers. “Yes, sir,” he says.
“Good boy. Have you been saving money to attend?”
Dylan looks at me and I look away. There's $25 a month that goes into a mutual fund, but...
George stands up, all six foot four of him, goes to his desk. “I’m going to teach you something,” he says, rooting around in one of the drawers, “something that will cut your beer costs in half.” He snaps out a length of white rope. “Because when you’re in college –“ and here he gives Dylan a sharp look – “and you’ve done your work, then you get to play.”
George smiles. “You know how to play, don’t you?”
Dylan smiles back. “Yes, sir.”
George says, “if you’d be so kind – “ And it is here that he waves at me, waves
me toward his office door.
I’ve been dismissed.
I leave his office as he hands Dylan the rope, shows him the proper way to hold his hands…
“Mom. Mom. Mother. Mom.” I look up from my desk to see my son approaching. “Mom.”
“What? What? What?”
“George just taught me how to put a knot in a rope with one hand.”
“In under a second,” George says, appearing behind him. “That part’s important.”
I squint, cock my head at him.
“You belly up to the bar,” George says, grinning, “and you say, “Who here wants to bet me a beer that I can tie a knot in this rope in under a second?”
Dylan grins. “Mom, I am going to drink so much free beer.”
“That’s awesome,” I say, smiling at George. “What a great skill you’ve learned today.”
“You work on that,” says George, "and you'll never have to buy another beer in your life." He grins at me. "Don't you just love Bring Your Kid to Work Day?"
Come back tomorrow for Part II!