Father Knows Best

[This is an entry in my project to write something every day in the 100 days before my retirement, reflecting on my career and life]

85 Days

June 7, 2018

I was doing a quick inventory of the crap in my office today, wondering if I will need a moving truck, a box, or just a plastic bag for what I will eventually take home with me when I retire.  Several months ago I cleaned out the bookcase and gave all of the “business” types books to my successor and every morning I throw at least one file into the shredding box.  That’s how I’m dealing with the business side of things. 

A few weeks back I took home my favourite mementoes, including my “flying pigs,” the subject of another story some day. Tacky service awards I have received over the years are collecting dust and I’m planning a covert operation for their disposal as they have no sentimental value to me. 

What remains are photos, so I won’t need that moving truck after all.  There are a few school pictures of the grandkids, some family pictures of my children, and my favourite photo, the one of my dad and his dog Barclay, sitting in his golf cart at Circle Pine Golf Course.

This photo sits in a cheap dollar-store frame, beside my computer monitor. It’s the first thing I look at every morning when I arrive at the office, and I say good-bye to it at the end of the day. (See, I am sentimental, but about real things, not tacky, pressboard service awards.)  Sometimes, for good luck, or strength, or when I’m feeling especially emotional, I rub my thumb on the picture.  

Dad was a stalwart supporter of mine.  When it came to my career, he was my number one cheerleader, and I’d like to think that I have made him proud.  My mother was just as supportive but it’s my dad who gave me my ‘work persona.’  I think I am just like him in how I deal with people and how I tackle problems.  It would be mathematically impossible to count how many times in my 45 years of working I have thought of, spoken or practiced one of his maxims.  Here are a few examples:

On accepting responsibility for the job: “Delegate the duty, not the responsibility.” I love this one.  

When someone is getting a little too big for their britches, or, why it’s not a good thing to be friends with co-workers because one day you may be their boss: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Oh yeah.

A backhanded way of telling someone that they are the poster child for the Peter Principle (which states that people in a hierarchy rise to their level of incompetence): “You are Officer material.” Sarcasm? Yes. But they seldom get it.

Trying something out before setting it in stone: “Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”  So very, very true.

When you need to ‘mix it up’, do things differently, keep ‘em guessing: “Use your anti-ambush drills, never take the same route twice.” 

Dad’s influence on me has been long-lasting and having his picture on my desk is a constant reminder of his wisdom, his loyalty, and most of all, his sense of humour.  Years ago, before women were accepted into combat infantry roles, he told me, “Rosemarie, you are the only woman I know who would have made a great Regimental Sergeant Major”.  Best compliment I ever received!  

His picture will go home with me and take up its new place where I will see it every day.  Likely in my home office.