About 24 years ago this month, I got a new job. Little did I know when I started this new job that I was also embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
I was hired as a trainee for a large insurance company. I won’t tell you the name of the company because past experience has told me that if I mention it, some of you will stop reading and go to the comments to tell me how said company did you wrong. Let’s remain friends and leave the company’s name out of it.
In the course of my training, I was assigned to a unit in our Northland office. It was a bit of a drive, but I soon realized it was worth it. I felt like I’d come home when I started working with this group of people. We all shared the same sick sense of humor and you knew someone had your back whenever, wherever.
I really liked the boss. He was The Good Boss, by all accounts. He was a nice guy, early thirties, demanding of his employees but never in a belittling or demeaning way. He was easy on the eyes, too; but, alas, he was married. As a single gal, I had such a high respect for marriage that I never gave him or his nice looks another thought like that. That was just inconceivable to me.
Eventually, my temporary trainee assignment turned into a permanent claim representative assignment and life as an 8-to-5 corporate employee cranked on. I had a boyfriend or two, but nothing that really stuck. That was okay. I was content to work hard, laugh hard, and wait for the Mr. Right that God had planned for me.
About a year after I’d been toiling away, The Good Boss announced to us that he was soon to be single. His wife no longer wanted to be married and he had little choice in the matter. This came as a shock to everyone. What looked great from the outside wasn’t so much. We rallied around him, helped him move from his house to an apartment, and made sure he knew we had his back.
Months past. I was often in the habit of staying after hours in the office. I’m not a morning person and could get a lot more done after 5pm then I ever hoped to accomplish between 8 and 10am. Besides, I wasn’t dating anyone, I was living alone and didn’t so much as have a cat. So no one was waiting for me on the other side of my apartment door.
The Good Boss was staying late as well. I assumed since he was in the same single row boat as me, it made perfect sense. We’d chat after everyone left about what we’d be having for dinner. I’d tell him my plan was a) Lean Cuisine, or b) Cereal over the sink, or c) Pop Tarts and Diet Coke. (Actually, answer “c” was what I usually ate at my desk in the mornings for breakfast, much to his disgust).
He took some kind of personal offense to my dinner habits and would tell me I needed to eat a more healthy diet. He also mentioned something about needing some stuff for his apartment but not really knowing his way around the local Wal-Mart. So one night, as we were standing in the parking lot, chatting about eating more fish and retail therapy, he said, “Why don’t you go to Wal-Mart with me and then I’ll fix us dinner?”
So that was that. Our first date. Yes, to Wal-Mart. We bought an ironing board and a lot of other stuff. And about thirty minutes into it, I realized I was crazy about this guy. Yes, I was falling for The Good Boss. Cue the ominous music, please.
We started dating on the sly. Well, we thought we were dating on the sly, but I think our co-workers knew from day one because we couldn’t really contain our giddy happiness. After a few months, we decided to go public. I’ll never forget what he told me: “If they fire you, I’ll help you however you need it until you get another job.” He had my back.
Our bosses were great; they recognized that happy people make happy employees and moved me to another building and another claim unit. That date to Wal-Mart set in motion quite a commotion. But everyone involved was truly happy for us and very supportive. You guessed it. They had our backs.
Twenty-one years ago this Friday, October 12th, The Good Boss and I got married. No, we didn’t hold the reception at Wal-Mart. But he still works for the same company, we still shop at Wal-Mart, and we eat a lot of fish. And this I know for sure: He still has my back.