Friday, January 23, 2009

How Soon We Forget

They were doing some work on my computer today at the office. I had to get up from my seat to make room for the “IT Guy,” a nice guy named Jonathon. As I eyed the room, I saw several available chairs in which to sit. I saw a spot recently vacated by Amanda. Amanda had been at the company for about 6 months, and left on short notice. I thought I’d go sit at her spot and absorb some of her energy, maybe remember her for a while. I had helped train her when she started. She had been a nice girl, though a little hard to get to know.

When I sat down at her desk, among the disconnected computer wires and the dust, I saw a notepad and a pen. I began to read her notes. She’s like me, can’t break the habit of pen and paper, little tangible reminders. The notes on the pages of the pad, as I flipped them back, went on for months. One of the little lists had the following:

*Ask Ryota about the Adwords macro
*Do my budget tracker
*Do research for creative call with client
*Bring Thanksgiving food for the party

Certain things were highlighted, checked off, scratched through; Something that I would, that most of us, might do. Upon reading the list and thinking of the human, yet mundane, reality of it all, especially the last note, a tear came to my eye. No, Thanksgiving food doesn’t usually make me cry, but what did I really know about this girl? What did any of us? We had worked with her daily for many months, interacting. Now she’s off to Dallas, or wherever she said…

Now Jonathon, the “IT Guy,” he’s a real nice guy, he’s asking me a question:

“Do I know, what is it you say, the path I had taken to retrieve the file?” That was my reply, in the form of a question.

“No, John, I just know that my shit’s gone. All the stuff, my desktop, it’s missing.” That was my answer. I added it for emphasis, for clarification.

The notes on Amandas checklist had hit home with me. Item #1, we all do that. Ryota is a genius in his own right and we all ask him for things. Item #2, as a marketing specialist, I do this regularly. Same with #3. Now #4, all Americans who have ever attended a work related Holiday function, have penciled such notes to themselves.

I thought of what it must have been like for Amanda when she started working with us. Had she learned all she needed about the job? Had we made her feel comfortable, made her feel “at home?” She’s gone now, so who knows. I thought of all the others who had recently left our little, rapidly growing company. I have reminders of each one.

“Charles, I have your expensive and fancy desk clock, that to this day doesn’t work.”

“Marie, I have the Cookie jar, keeping it safe. No cookies in it STILL!”

“Bianca, I have a little stuffed, quite dusty, dog.”

“Karen, I have a couple of your clients, just launched the campaigns; Doing Great!”

“Christina, I have the big gold letters the client sent you. I kept the ‘O’ and the ‘K’, hoping everything is OK with you.”

There are others who have left us, job-wise anyway, and I have little things I inherited from them too, or otherwise pilfered from their desks. Hee-hee. But to Amanda, I say

“I have your notepad. I started scrawling out this little essay, while sitting at your desk. I’m transcribing from it now. I’ll keep it safe and, believe me, well used.”

Take care, all of you. Stay in touch. Facebook, Twitter, whatever. See you on the Net.


  1. You are a very thoughtful and sensitive man. How refreshing...

  2. You always make me smile, Derek. :)

  3. I see why you wanted me to post put my rambles to shame! :)

  4. Isn't it funny how we feel obligated to honor people by keeping their cast off or forgotten stuff?
    I see in your future a post about de-cluttering your life. I'll check back. I need that one.