You never know the impact you may have.

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Yesterday I was cleaning up my to-do list at work and I received an email from someone I haven’t worked with in a long time. She’d received a survey asking her to rate the effectiveness of the field IT support staff she had interacted with in the past. She’s an HQ employee now (has been for several years). She sent me this:

Somehow I’m still on the NER DL, and honestly it’s fine with me because it lets me keep in touch with what’s going on in the real world….and today it let me fill out a survey on your behalf. I have met many helpful people in BIS/IT over the years but you are by far the gold standard when it comes to knowing the business, understanding our needs and having the technical expertise to fix/address it all. Thank you!”

Now, this may sound like a real “pat myself on the back” moment. But it’s not. I’ve been suffering an enormous crisis of confidence lately. My latest intimate relationship has crashed and burned. I’m mostly checked out in my job, waiting for summer, when I can take my pension and leave the corporate world. I don’t feel particularly useful, needed or wanted by anyone, anywhere.

Financially, I’m going to be in a precarious situation in retirement unless I do something significant. I’ve been concerned about it and that worry has impacted all of my relationships. I’ll be trading financial security and stability for freedom. And yet my intuition says I MUST do this. Or die with regrets.

So, over the last several days I’ve been trying to approach the impending life changes from a little more positive direction. When I received the email above I sent one back, asking if she’d be willing to be a reference for me should I find an opportunity that aligns better with where I want to go in life.

The response was enlightening and unexpected to me. She not only agreed but she described, in detail, two instances I had long forgotten, in which my efforts had positively impacted her work life. Here’s the one that really brightened my day:

“When the kids were young you worked a flex schedule and usually came in around lunch. I had left you a message around 9 in the morning, also during AOP, that something wasn’t working and could you swing by when you got in...twenty minutes later you were walking down the hall with three of the kids in tow. When I asked why you came in you said “you sounded a little panicked and I wanted to make sure you were ok to work on Plan” I was fine, and certainly would have been ok until you got there, but who else would do that?!”

Now, I have always had enormous respect for this woman (that’s why I asked her to be a reference). But really, I was only doing my job. At least that’s how I saw it. And now, I’ve been given a little peek into how someone I have interacted with on a professional level sees me. The confidence those two emails have given me make my decision about leaving my corporate position a whole lot easier.

I touched her life. In a positive way. Without even realizing it. And here I am, probably fifteen years later, being given the gift of wings by her. I’m sure she has no idea how much those words mean to me today.

Never underestimate the power of a good deed. Or the impact of what may seem like a little thing to you. It can change someone’s entire outlook on life in the blink of an eye.

Thank you for reading.

Written by

father, motorcyclist, old retired guy who’s just a little lost on a blue marble corkscrewing its way to oblivion

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