the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle
a writer, a leader and a lover
He exclaimed in his trademark gruff voice, "You need to broaden your experience, so that you have what it takes to be a good manager!," his last word ringing like a death knell.
Standing before a friend, a mentor, and a First VP at this Fortune 100 company and behind the closed door of his office, this executive was pontificating an impassioned and improvised bit of advice. Until he rang the alarm with "manager," I had been an eager and earnest listener. After the dreaded word though, his lecture became a drone and I desperately sought a way out. Fortunately, fate knew I was in straits and stepped in to relieve me. For suddenly, a phone call interrupted and informed him that he was late for a lunch appointment.
Ranked in the top 5 of this department of 1200 people, I recognized that this luminary was being genuinely benevolent to someone who clung, barely, to the bottom rung of the ladder. Hence, my inclination to heed the wisdom hidden inside the soliloquy. However, when he summed it all up with a word that haunted me, I was intractably ill-put and uneased.
For more than anything, within the confines of this conservative corporate culture, in the suppressing arms of society, and during my lifetime, I do not want to end up being merely a MANAGER. Synonymous with doom, I do not care to ever officially manage anything or anyone.
If there is work to be done, let it be me who accomplishes the task, let me get my hands dirty doing it.
When he began the second part of the "conversation" by asking me what I was looking to achieve here under the gold dome where the vast majority of this hive's drones spend more than half their adult lives, I immediately stumbled and stalled for an appropriate answer. Because, I was not about to tell him what I really thought.
For the truth is, amidst two other important aspirations, I want to be first and foremost a writer—and my current position as director of communications is as close as I am going to get to matching this dream with a job in this company.
So, with the utmost sincerity I conveyed that I was happy with the status quo, but he quickly dismissed my complacency and said I should never get too comfortable. Rather, he strongly advised seeking opportunities and experience throughout the IT shop. As a result, I might have a chance at becoming well-rounded and astute enough to run a large chunk of the operation as he does.
Being that he was obviously expressing a little hubris along with a sincere concern for my future welfare, I did not have the heart, the courage, nor the gall to tell him upfront that my future was headed elsewhere. Considering that I see a lot of my dear father in him, I cannot help but at least listen whenever he rambles an opinion, but this time proved the exception.
If anything, if I would like to be a leader—not a manager. Managers simply enact the corporate will, leaders forge it. They also take risks where managers are most afraid to; they aren't hesitant to voice their opinions, when all others cower; they envision a future, when everyone else follows a script; and they see possibilities where most just see someone breaking protocol.
So, even as bold as I know this VP to be himself, truly a leader in his own right, I, the little i, did not have the might or audacity to tell him honestly what I prefer to strive to be: a writer and a leader.
There is one more aspiration which I held back. One which no longer has, if ever had, a position in the workplace. I desire to be—a lover.
A lover who loves to love the mystery and minutiae of life; a lover who loves a woman and marvels in every detail of her delight; a lover who embraces the light: the hue, harmony, undulating lambency, synchronous brush, grit, tingle, incubus gravity, ethereal levity, lush euphony, sibilance, silence, resonance, redolence, relish, and sapor of everything that makes me sense mortal glory and justifies my existence.
Alas, I also aspire to be a lover who leads others down a different road, ultimately inspiring them to tell their own story. Stories that are more meaningful and survive anything either a simple minion or a corporate executive can manage to do along their predestined paths to the end.
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