Character(s)

Characters

There are some real doozies out in the world, aren’t there? Guess it is a matter of opinion, kind of like beauty.

As I start this, I am thinking of my very first job. It was 1971. My senior year in high school. I was in a program called CBE. Cooperative Business Education.

The school found you an office job. You went to school in the mornings. You went to work after lunch.

My general office job was with Joe B. Klay & Sons, Inc. It was a small commercial printing company. The father and two sons owned and operated it.

Mr. Klay, Sr. was a bit much and didn’t self-censor.

How Short is Too Short for a Skirt at Work? The Skirt Length POLL!
Corporette.com

He once told me I wore my dresses too short. “Your knees are showing. And your knees look like saucers.” Appreciate the critique.

He and the missus came into the office almost daily for a couple of hours. Just long enough to say something irritating now and then. They were a sweet couple otherwise.

The sons were my bosses along with an older lady in the office. Bruce, the oldest, oversaw the plant in the back. He stood at the cutter and cut paper almost all day.

Jody worked more directly with the customers in his office, but also maintained a presence in the plant.

A bunch of ladies worked in the bindery. They loved Jody. He was a fun guy, personality plus, but his mind drifted to things not work-related.

Jody said a lot of things then which I doubt he could get away with now.

I was young and innocent. I couldn’t believe the things these ladies would say — or do for that matter.

I tried to stay away from the bindery. Don’t get me wrong, they were as nice as they could be.

It was Jody’s birthday. They made him a distasteful birthday cake. OMG! I can still see it. This was like a reverse Me Too situation.

These were some characters for sure. I learned a lot which had nothing to do with work.

Then there was a weird bird of a client I had to interact with once when I was new to the legal field.

He was a mess of a man and uncouth. He once said to me, “You have the a__ of a Missouri mule.” Pardon me? To whom are you speaking?

Why did this guy think he had a right to say something like this to someone? I didn’t even know him. Some people really have nerve.

Absolutely disgusting and quite a character.

Character

Fast forward to 1998. There’s characters and then there are people who epitomize character. This would be Andy Scott. He is on The List.

When I started working for PaulHastings it was a temporary assignment. This arrangement suited me best. Hopefully you perform well enough and they may offer you a job.

I started out in the Immigration Department. It was challenging work which involved umpteen details. I consider myself detail-oriented, but even this was too much for me.

After three months, I called the temp agency and said I wanted out. I wanted to go someplace else.

I didn’t feel like racking my brain over this day after day. It did get my foot in the door, however.

As it turned out, the Corporate Department at PH had an opening. I started temping in that spot and ended up getting hired.

I was starting a new chapter in my worklife. Andy was my new boss. He was the best boss ever.

I had worked for a few other really fine attorneys, but Andy exceeded all expectations. I couldn’t believe my luck as the years ticked by.

Before law, Andy served active duty for almost nine years in the U.S. Navy. Then he served in the Navy Reserves and ended with 24 years of service.

Andy was a fighter pilot. He flew a F-4 Phantom. He has some stories.

McDonnell F-4B Phantom II - USA - Navy | Aviation Photo #1069129 |  Airliners.net
Airliners.net

He’s been known on occasion to remark, “Few things are as difficult as landing a F-4 on an aircraft carrier in deep seas on a moonless night.” He did this with regularity.

He was on a mission once when a fuel cell exploded in his Phantom. The aircraft was engulfed in flames. He ejected over the Pacific.

The weather was calm. Cool that Andy is, he landed his parachute in the raft he had dropped from the air. Get this — he didn’t even get his hair wet.

He waited for rescue. A helicopter pilot pulled him out of the water with a horse collar. It’s a rescue sling-type device.

Soon afterwards he gave the pilot a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black as an appreciation and thank you for the rescue.

He also dropped in to see the para-riggers, the people who pack parachutes. He gave them a huge Thank You.

You never know who’s packing your parachute.

More to Andy

To me, Andy wasn’t a fighter pilot. He was my boss. He came in in the mornings saying, “It’s another day to excel.”

Andy treated me with respect. I tell people you never know how you have been led until you’ve been led well. Andy was that leader. He knows how to treat people.

One of the things I admired about Andy is he could tell time. He knew when it was 5:00. That magical time of day when I could go home.

Andy rarely asked me to work overtime — maybe you could count the times on three or four fingers.

Andy understood this and respected my time. See what a great boss he was!

I certainly didn’t mind staying a little longer if necessary. He asked only when it was genuinely needed.

This was one problem I had working in law firms. I was not eager to work overtime.

I never wanted to work overtime, but in a majority of firms it was pretty much a must.

Money was not my motivator. I would rather be at home watching Gilligan’s Island. I treasured my personal time.

Naturally, this tagged me with an attitude that could be improved upon.

Female office worker working at messy desk,... - Stock Illustration  [63557398] - PIXTA
pixtastock.com

It has been said that one reason legal secretaries are paid well is because it’s considered hazard pay. (See my previous post I Was a Legal Secretary, Archives, March 2021).

My heart went out to some of my co-workers who had really tough bosses to work for. I was so blessed. And so thankful.

There were bosses who were good to work for but I felt the luckiest.

If I happened to make a mistake (which was not too often), Andy never spoke down to me or berated me for my mistake.

He said I was already beating up on myself so, basically, why should he pile on. This is one of the things that makes Andy exemplary.

His generosity

On my 50th birthday Andy gave me a birthday card. It entitled Paul and me to stay at his cabin in Blue Ridge for my birthday. What a generous gesture.

Paul and I couldn’t believe our luck. We actually ended up going there more than once. I am still thanking Andy for the memories and his kindness.

Ending thoughts

Many people come and go throughout our lives.

Some of them are characters, some are of character (Andy), and unfortunately, some are negative.

This is why I have to have The List. I like thinking about these people. It feels good emotionally. I feel accepted, and it helps me to stay positive.

I appreciate these unwavering, impactful people helping me go through life without too much struggle.

People who make true, positive impacts are priceless. What would we do without them?

Namaste.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
–Eckhart Tolle

Colorful Parachute Stock Illustrations – 1,318 Colorful Parachute Stock  Illustrations, Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime
Dreamstime.com

Who’s helped you pack your parachute? Perhaps you are packing someone else’s. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a Comment. Thank you.

Sources
Georgia Super Lawyers 2004

Observances
July is American Artist Appreciation Month
July 7 is World Chocolate Day

8 comments

  1. Yes there are some people we encounter in the work field who leave a lasting impression. My boss at a major corporation here was such a kind, firm, respected boss. One thing she taught me that stays with me to this day… document everything! I have notes in my files, on my desk, behind photos… everywhere! Enjoyed lunch❤️

    1. What a great story, Beverly — and excellent advice from your boss. I think being a boss would be a challenge anyway but to lead well is a gift indeed. Thank you for leaving a comment — you know you didn’t have to do that. I am just thrilled that you are reading. Thank you. Yes, lunch was nice. Much love 🌻🌻

  2. Yes, law firms are tough! I am a 31 year survivor! I had the best and the not so good bosses. Retired once I no longer had the Best. I was spoiled.

    1. Hi Christie, I hadn’t quite thought of it that way, but yes I was spoiled too. You had such a tougher job than I did. No way could I have had as many chiefs telling me what they wanted. And then you were dealing with staff as well. Congratulations on being a 31-year survivor! Thank you for leaving a comment. 💗

      1. It makes me think of Karen, who worked insurance all her life! I rennet the printing shop and Andy! Great subjects ❤️ When you take us down your memory lane, we go down ours ❤️ Then, we can share those through your blog – awesomeness!! State of Florida steno pool for children services – not very glorious, Nell Streeter was supervisor. Moved up to a secretary I position which was more pay but he didn’t need a secretary. Very bored, read a book in drawer and called I sick on Monday – he thought I was an alcoholic and I went on to a CPA firm, Laeventhol and Horwath – very enlightening to say the least! Finally got into to lumber industry and stayed for many years. Some great empowering bosses, some not. Then roofing industry, same thing some great, so not. Funny story, Jim Mathieu with Tampa International Forest Products hired me as his secretary, not sure why – lol 😂 I was very young, if he had a “risqué “ letter, another lady sent it… They were lumber sales & he brought in a mini cannon (lol) and a whip! We got bonuses (I bought cowboy boots) 😊 I had a friend who was a great secretary too but boss did t like that she made mistakes in letters & had to “correct” them. So old school 😂 but it got me to Georgia Pacific & stability and a ton of life long friends ❤️❤️❤️ Tampa International Forest Products!! I loved it and all it’s worldly allure for an early 20 something year old!! Thanks Yvonne – LOVE your blog….. Locester, Lona, Earlene, John, JC, Gerald “Big G, Rhona… Nd so manny more I loved them all +++

        1. Wow Janine! I didn’t know you had so many experiences. I always knew you were a good hard worker that got things done. Great memories. Thank you for leaving a comment. Much love 🌷🌷

  3. Wonderful post! As always, you have given us much to think about…..makes me want to do a thorough job of packing someone else’s parachute.

    1. Charlotte, thank you for your kind comments. I know you are already doing a stupendous job of packing someone else’s parachute. Thank you for leaving a nice comment. Much love!

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