Do you know how to forgive? I didn’t until 2 months ago when I ran into my old boss at BJ’s Wholesale. I had no time to think, but all the time in the world to consciously react the way a seasoned business professional and mature “adult” should.
Here I am going to get groceries and lunch meat at the deli one morning after the gym when directly in front of me was my old boss. I thought he was the coolest guy ever until time went on. He did things I didn’t agree with and he treated us (the younger salesforce collectively) in a very controlling manner. Needless to say no one liked it. But he was still very cool. For that reason many of us “put up” with it for a while. My while lasted almost 2 years. I’ll never forget the day I stood in the kitchen of my parents house and told my mom and olde sister that I was going to quit my job… TOMORROW… and I had no plan. I was young enough so it really didn’t matter, plus I wasn’t making much money at the time (justified in my own head). The next day can and at 9am when he came in I went into his office and said, “I’ve thought long and hard about this and it’s time for me to move on. IMMEDIATELY.” I was angry, I was emotional, I was hurt, and felt betrayed or even used. People say time heals. I didn’t believe it one bit because I was so let down and pissed.
A little more background before I forgive…
I avoided a favorite restaurant of mine so I didn’t run into him. I had a close friend, someone in my wedding, that still talked to him and would give me updates. WHY??? not sure but I think I just wanted to know that his life was OK or that he felt bad for the way he treated his employees (me). Needless to say I wasted a lot of energy being mad and frustrated for something that actually taught me MANY lessons in life and more importantly in BUSINESS. ok now it’s time to get into the “encounter”.
Fast forward to when I grew up and got a chance to forgive (for him and I)
Ok, so I’m pushing the shopping cart to the deli counter and there he is, my old boss. I did it, I actually thought about turning around but it was way too close and I would have been seen. I said to myself, have some guts (“you only have to be gutsy 1 second at a time”). At this point, whether I wanted to say hello or not I went right in and committed to the confident hello and the typical business BS that follows. I felt awkward and I’m sure he did too and that made me even more comfortable. All of a sudden it hit me (like a fortune cookie)…
He was still that cool guy, he was no longer my boss, and I am in a better place than when I was working for him. We talked, he asked about me and my family. He knew I got married and I told him I had a daughter (1 year old). He told me that everyone will probably give advice and to take it for what it’s worth and he told me something his father told him. He said, “no matter how much your back hurts and pain you have you never give up a chance to carry your children when they want to be held.” WOW, the guy that I was so enamored with when I started 10 years ago is still that guy. Caring, loving, and a family guy. Maybe he wasn’t the greatest boss but he is a cool guy and he has a big heart. He also forced me to grow up and taught me how to forgive. You know who you are and thank you! Give me a ring and let’s play some golf; I’m much better than I used to be. I may even beat you!