At 4:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon in September, my department gathered together in the boardroom for a meeting. We didn’t have a clue as to why we had all been called together, but everyone in the room knew that it was going to be one of those meetings, one at which something momentous was going to be announced. The cryptic email announcing the meeting had offered no hint (which was telling enough in itself), but the 4:00 p.m. Friday meeting time left no doubt. There’s an unwritten rule in corporate America that reserves the 4:00 p.m. Friday meeting slot for the announcement of hirings, firings, reorganizations, and resignations.
It turned out to be the latter. After confirming that we were all present, and that the offsite people on the phone were all dialed in on the speakerphone, our long-time Senior Director got right to the point, and announced that he was leaving the company. Out of all of the scenarios that I had envisioned, this was not among them. My boss had not only led our department over the last decade, he had come to embody our department. After a round of forced smiles and congratulatory handshakes, we all filed out of the boardroom and returned to our offices and cubicles, wondering “what next?”
Six weeks later, we’re still wondering, to a certain extent. I don’t think that anyone really appreciated how much we had come to rely on his leadership, until we were faced with the prospect of carrying on without him. But, it will all work out. We have a talented group of people and we’ll figure out a way to make it work.
I just hope that we don’t have any more 4:00 p.m. Friday meetings for a while. Which reminds me, tomorrow’s Friday. I’d better doublecheck my calendar….