Today I had an appointment with my GP. It was a routine appointment required by my employer, as I am on a graduated return to work. It hasn’t been as easy as I thought, getting back to work on a full time basis. Fortunately, I have a good employer and I know it. This was part of the conversation that I had with the GP today. I realized, however, that it’s not really the employer that I am referring to when I speak about a good return to work experience. In my case, my employer employs thousands of people, and is simply the larger body that holds the policies. My return to work has been ‘good’ because my immediate manager has people skills. In my working life I have had good managers and not-so-good managers; at this point in my work life I have good managers. It makes all the difference.
It’s a two-way street, this street that I am on – from manager to employee as well as employee to manager. This is where the Lessons From Kevin that I am so familiar with have become invaluable. Throughout our marriage there were several maxims that prevailed and could be applied to just about any situation:
- Never assume anything. Ask questions until you get all the information you need to make an informed decision. If you don’t then you have only failed yourself.
- If it’s important, then let me know. Any communication, good or bad, is better than none.
- Most things in life don’t go away if you ignore them, deal with it before it really becomes a problem.
- Don’t test me. If I don’t know what you want, how can I possibly deliver? You set yourself up for disappointment and me for failure.
- Family comes first – always. Work may pay the bills, but you only get one family.
It’s not hard to transfer these rules to my workplace. Number 5 may seem disconnected but it actually guides all my decisions. It is my responsibility to look after myself to ensure I am healthy and well and here for my family. All the others are self-evident and can really be distilled down to effective communication and personal responsibility. (He was a teacher after all….)
I miss him. He had a line for everything under the sun. ‘I’d read your mind but I can’t read print that small.’ Have a problem, deal with it – ‘don’t make your problem my problem’. When he was caught violating one of his own principles he’d shrug it off and say, ‘So? I believe in hypocrisy.’ He was shameless. Life was to be lived. He could push too hard sometimes, but somehow he’d be able to make things right. He was predictably unpredictable, something he delighted in – you want off the wall, he’d deliver. Ultimately he was faithful, to himself and to others. His classic signature line was ‘love and peace’ and his most often delivered counsel to the children growing up was ‘love is the answer’. How could I not miss him?