Sometimes thank you cards just don’t provide enough space to fully express a person’s gratitude, or in my case, not near enough space to contain my long-windedness.
You might recall me mentioning one of my first recollections of working with you… In door four I found myself cross docking a trailer of packages destined to Edmonton. While sending the freight up the line, I had suggested you might help by going to tower one to send the packages down to door seven. Leary of my suggestion, you casually wondered aloud if I might be looking for a way to embarrass you, the new manager, in front of P____y, your trainer. I was dumb founded. The thought never crossed my mind, but afterwards, I wished I had thought of something similar and sooner.
My other earliest recollections of working with you include frantic moments where you rushed here, there, and everywhere. Half the time, you muttered under your breathe in the lovely language of French; the other half you swore, but again, in French.
Months and months later, your rag-tag Shift found its rhythm, the team gelled, and you, Boss, well you relaxed (just a wee bit). Magically, the Sort’s targets no longer seemed so very far away, package handlers worked together (almost team-like), and work became fun. The Purple Prison, my name for the Station, and the word fun seldom, if ever, had been mentioned together, at least as long as I’d worked there.
Fast-forward ahead a few more months: Your team not only had rhythm, but ran nearly like a well-oiled machine. Your once little lost group of misfits now seemed almost efficient; once considered an oxymoron for the Station’s night Shift. More time passed, and gradually, you won the hearts of your peers, specifically the Vampire (a.k.a. N__k) and Av_t_r. Your hands-on inclusive management style earned you new-found respect.
One of my own personal goals in life is to learn from all my experiences (work and otherwise). Often, this means I try to observe and learn from others, which often motivates me to revisit (and sometimes challenge) my own assumptions and opinions. There are many things that I learned while working with you. Please permit me to share a few…
People deserve a second chance. Apparently some people deserve a second, then third, and for very select cases, even a fourth (lethargic D_r_k comes to mind). I saw you work, and work diligently with co-workers, many of whom I had simply written-off. I was uncertain if you exhibited more patience or more persistence, but anyone who worked alongside you certainly had a very fair chance at success. Sadly, most of those fellows never appreciated, nor even realized, the investment you made in them.
Good managers, like good friends, find room for empathy. In my work life, I’ve experienced managers that definitely could learn a lot from you. You always demonstrated empathy when working through decisions with employees–you always factored in an employee’s situation, their needs, and their goals while you sought to balance the Station’s objectives. Sometimes you got burned, but more often than not, you gained loyalty and appreciation from your employees.
Hands-on managers greatly improve their chances of success. A couple of years ago, if someone mentioned that our Sort might take first place in anything for the corporation, I would have erupted in laughter. Much to my delight, you lead our team to number one in scanning compliance for Canada. What seemed once impossible became possible. I figured this happened because you coached everyone everyday, and you invested yourself with your hands-on approach.
Balance is a life-long pursuit. For me, balance in life and in work has always been a challenge. In my mind, I just figured that one day I would discover the secret. Working with you, it became apparent that balance is (and remains) a life-long pursuit; more a journey than a destination. On many days, I wondered why you stayed on our Sort. Fridays seemed like hell. Other entire weeks seemed like hell. Eventually it became apparent that immediate hardship would eventually lead to something, somewhere better. It’s a good reminder… the little unpleasantness today doesn’t mean a lifetime of unhappiness.
So, what else is there to say? I could go on some more, but I won’t. Instead, I want to express my gratitude for your generous spirit, both inside and outside of work. You’re amougst the most giving people I know, and a sharp contrast to the selfish attitude too often exhibited within our culture. You were never cheap to share treats, to lend an ear, to offer kudos, or to learn a bit about each person that worked alongside you.
The time we spent working together was never without rough spots, but those were definitely the exception. And even when there disagreement, it helped me to appreciate all the good days because, by far, the good outnumber the bad. Somehow, we always worked things out in the end.
The Station was very different before we met. Now that you’re gone, things are very different again. Rest assured, I certainly enjoy the time we did work together and often look back to those pleasant memories. My co-workers and I are a bit weary in spirit, wondering how the next manager will be different, and how he won’t be like “our” Guylaine. For certain, you leaving is our Station’s loss and Kelowna’s gain. Without a doubt, I’m confident you’ll be great, and do even greater things for the company and that location.
One last thing… It has been a pleasure and honor to work with you. I’ve heard it said, “Some people come in and out of our lives, but a select few leave fingerprints.” I’m grateful to have your fingerprints on this part of my life. Thanks for being a great manager and friend. All the best to you and your future endeavor!
With Kindest Regards,