I sent an email yesterday to my old boss, Dave, at Motorola in Seattle to say hello to him. I had been meaning to send him an email for a long time, but I kept getting sidetracked by my health or treatments. Yesterday's email came back undeliverable, which made me wonder, because I know his email address like the back of my hand.
This week I was making plans to return to Minnesota sometime in January rather than stay the whole winter in California. I wanted to take the northern route to pass through Seattle to visit with him.
Dave was a huge help to me as I dealt with my first bout with cancer in 2007, since he himself had gone through cancer treatments a few years earlier. He totally understood what I was going through, and made sure to support me in any way he could. When I returned to work after my first round of treatments in the summer of 2007, I told him that I don't know what is around the corner in life, but I know that moving to Minnesota would be the best place for my family, especially if cancer came back. So he pushed to get me to Minnesota and still be able to keep my job with Motorola.
I was shocked this morning to find out the bad news. His cancer had returned soon after we moved to Minnesota. It turns out that he passed away last month.
When I first interviewed with Dave for a job in his office, I told him that I was going to get married pretty soon. As a good boss he was often thinking about the quality of my personal life, so he said to me, " Then we better fly Grace up here as well for a weekend, because if you're going to be successful, its going to be with the support of your wife."
When I first started working for Dave I was a proud, naive college graduate, but he bore with me and helped me develop despite all my flaws. In the coming years Dave continued to help me flourish as a young man and engineer. He had a profound impact on my life to say the least.
Things I learned from Dave:
1) Don't eat too many Yakima cherries at one time, they're explosive if you know what I mean.
2) Take your your work seriously, not your boss.
3) Work with the utmost integrity. It may not get you a bigger bonus or the next promotion, but its just the right thing to do.
4) To some work is their life. Dave always taught me that work is a part of life. Enjoy life and you'll enjoy work.