Back in the saddle
I’ll tell you what, it’s great to have a normal Friday morning. I’ve been back at work for a few weeks now, and I didn’t realize how much I missed hopping on the bus, stopping off at Dunkin Donuts (just about cried my first day back when the women at the Boston Ave. Dunkin Donuts saw me and remembered my regular order after I’d been away four months), and settling back in to all my projects.
One of my favorite moments that first day back was checking my voicemail and having a message from my printer’s rep, a natural salesmen who never lets on that he might actually have other customers. Every time he calls or stops by, we spend ten minutes catching up, usually by talking about the Sox, and then only at the end he asks, “Is there anything else we can do for you? Do you want to talk about timing for any publications you have coming up?” Salesman can get a rap, sometimes deserved, for disingenuous bonhomie—I saw plenty of it in the publishing industry, I mean, I’ve been to sales meetings where they train you in it. But in the voicemail, he wished me the best, having heard about my health issues from my boss, and he never mentioned business. When he stopped by two weeks ago, it was the same, right up until I told him that my fiancee was just about to start a new job at the big public TV station here in Boston. It was the first time he’d ever mentioned another client. “That’s great,” he said. “They’re one of our biggest customers. Give me her name—she’ll get a discount on everything.” He didn’t make her that promise because he’s trying to keep her organization’s business. He said it because she and I would be so touched by such a personal favor that we’d tell dozens of people about it. He’s a salesman and a humanist.
Anyway, work’s been great. I added code to our website that allows Google Analytics to track downloads, which was an essential improvement because most of our work is distributed as PDFs. I caught up on every old email, every site update, every outstanding promotional plan (like getting our RSS feeds added to Reuters AlertNet. . . the contract for that was the last thing I was working on before going out of the office in July). And H.R. has been more than understanding about my few remaining doctor’s appointments (most of which are an hour away by T at the Brigham), not to mention how supportive the rest of my office has been. It’s strange to say, but their actions have given me a dozen reasons to stay here forever, and those same reasons—in the context of having been ill, wanting to follow my office’s example, and knowing I want to do for my family what my family has done for me—get me thinking about some next step.