Friday, Aug. 23, 2019 @ 9:53 am
Lunch with the President
The company president sends me a message, asking if I’m available to meet with him. I respond with an invite for coffee, which he turns into a lunch date.
I try to not think about it beyond what I wish to learn from my time with him. In a company of five hundred people, it’s a rare gift to have the undivided attention of the leader of the organization. But of course, I am nervous. The night before, I am up at one o’clock in the morning, standing in front of the stove, eating an entire bag of chips until they are gone. Eating doesn’t help fill the abyss of anxiety. I wish that Russell were here with me, to hold me tightly until I stop shaking and sag into sleep.
We meet in the lobby of the office. He is a tall man, and I find myself standing very straight when beside him in the elevator. I lead us to a restaurant with a shady patio.
“I came down here to connect with you. I met with a partner last week and asked who was performing lately, and your name was mentioned. You are doing excellent work. We need you, we need your approach. You are approachable, relatable, and honest. You also see the bigger picture, and you can see systems. You are also a great coach, better than many of our coaches that have been trained for the role. We see you as being influential in branch leadership and improving the morale in the South Coast branch. I hear snippets of great feedback about you; everyone enjoys working with you.”
The lunch progresses. I slowly eat from my plate of prawns and grilled cherry tomatoes. I listen to him tell me the feedback that he hears about me, and my face reddens a shade darker with each passing moment.
I ask him for advice on how to navigate the next phase of my career here. He responds easily and at length.
“You have three tracks that you can take here, and I think that, based on your strengths, that you are well-positioned to follow them all simultaneously. The first track is technical ability: project leadership, design expertise, and construction management. This track is your lunch ticket; you are already in high demand for this part of your skillset. The second track is coaching, which you have already shown a natural aptitude for. You have the ability to make people feel welcome and cared for, and in doing so you are shaping the culture in the branch. The third track is client development. My observation is that people who are good coaches are also great with clients. You listen, you have empathy, and you understand the needs of others. Advocate for yourself here - get in front of clients and see how you like it.”
An hour and a half later, we walk back to the office. His long stride and the brick sidewalks.
I don’t deserve this. I’ve spent the summer being selfish, reveling in sex and adventure and privelige.
I have a purpose here, a calling that I have been taking for granted. This meeting was a wake-up call to not let all of this slide through my fingers.
We walk out of the elevator and into the lobby.
“Thank you for your advice. Thank you for coaching me through my move to Revelstoke. You asked me hard questions when nobody else was. I appreciated that. I appreciate you taking the time to coach me. Thank you.”