When I was in college, I had a teacher strike that lasted for several months and made me feel like I was wasting my time. After thinking it over and despite my family’s attempts to convince me otherwise, I decided to leave the university to go to another city to start living on my own to resume my studies as soon as I stabilized.
With vertigo and enthusiasm, at the age of 19, I settled in the new city and, with the support of my brothers, I began to work in anything that would allow me to generate an income and save to return to study; In the next two years I was a courier, door-to-door salesman, operator of a radio taxi service, paper cutter in a printing company, layout designer in a lithograph and final artwork maker in an advertising agency; in that last job I had the great fortune of living an experience that I want to tell you about today.
In 1995, the year of this history, very few organizations and individuals had access to the Internet. Due to life events, a dial-up account fell into my hands, and that changed my life. I started to connect as long as I could; I lived every day the magic of accessing all kinds of information and communicating with people in the United States, Spain, Mexico, Australia, and many other places at the same time. I started giving it recreational use, but I quickly changed the focus and became interested in learning how it worked. I started studying networks, protocols, telecommunications, scripts, and many other related things. I was happy learning, and going back to university was no longer the priority; The bad thing is that I used the company phone all the time for that.
I was so hooked that, although I was doing my job, my direct boss rebuked me several times because that behavior set a bad precedent for my colleagues. He even gave me the keys to the office so that I could keep learning in the evenings or weekends, but I kept going online every day all the time. The situation came to an inevitable and obvious result, and my boss fired me from work.
And here comes the learning. I was fully aware that I deserved it and, although I wouldn’t say I liked it, I knew that I had to bear the consequences of my actions. I was prepared to have a painful experience because I had been fired before, but my boss showed great mastery and humanity in handling the situation. He sat with me to talk from his heart, without judging me, he explained the reasons for making the decision, he showed me how the best thing for everyone was for me to follow another path, and he gave me almost two months to look for another job, with the freedom of going to interviews when necessary. In the end, I ended up getting a job where I had a better salary and could be connected to the Internet all the time. We all win.
These days, reviewing my experience of 20+ years working in corporate America, I realized that this boss left a deep impression on me, and that is why I still hold him in high esteem. I could never understand people who disrespected and abused their subordinates or, even worse, how certain companies let them continue and even rewarded those “good” managers because “they got results at any cost.” On the other hand, I like and admire “bad” managers, those anti-systems that, without pretending to be perfect leaders, resemble that great boss who could make decisions that his business required but put the human aspect of a professional relationship above everything else. Thank you, boss; I hope you read this message and receive my eternal gratitude.
If you have any comments or want to follow the conversation, I invite you to connect on Twitter @jorgelozanom