#angles #miracles #corporatelife
Angels exist. They are among us. You probably have one in your life and don’t know it. You probably see one every day but fail to recognize him or her. Why? Because angels are not as you have been led to believe. They are not the angels of legend who belong the heavenly hosts that descended upon the shepherds to announce the birth of the Savior and then vanished into the night sky singing Gloria in excelsis Deo. Those angels may or not exist. It is not my place to contend one way or another. All I know is that it is highly unlikely that you will ever see one from those ranks. If you want to see angels, you need to learn how to look for them. I assure you that many move among us right here on earth,
Angels are probably mortal. Their lives are subject to the same twists and turns that destiny has in store for all of us. Angels work miracles, however. Nothing flashy, understand. Their miracles are quiet, ordinary gestures of understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, and kindness. And what is so surprising about the miracles angels work in the lives of others is that they have no reason to do the things they do. They do not seek praise. They do not seek wealth. They can even be embarrassed if the beneficiary of one of the unselfish acts tries to thank them.
Angels, thus, are usually not a member of a person’s immediate member. Family members always are expected to act in the generous and loving way. That they often fail in this simple assignment is grist for the counselor, or failing that, the divorce attorney. If you have an angel in your life, you cannot shake him or her off. The angel is there until such time as fate declares that your relationship is concluded.
How Angels Operate . . .
Perhaps it would be best to illustrate how an angel operates and you will get a better understanding of how to look for one in your life. Angels do not like public recognition, so the names of those who have graced my life have been changed to protect their identities. There was Zacharias. He was my boss at one time. Shortly after I went to work for him, my marriage collapsed. I struggled to maintain my concentration in my work. I’m a pretty emotional guy. I wasn’t handling the crisis very well. I was doing so badly, in fact, I thought that I could die from the stress. I told Zacharias that I was having a difficult time. Things were so bad that I could not keep my mind on my work for more than a few seconds at a time. He understood. He accepted everything I said to be true as it felt for me. He told me not to worry and sent me home to rest. I did. Finding myself refreshed, I returned to work the next day. Zacharias didn’t mention it again.
Next came Noah. Noah was a redheaded gregarious southerner who was hired into a position that made him my boss. At the time, I was supervising a unit that reconciled money market trading accounts every working day. Nothing in my background qualified me for the position. I have never liked supervising people. I have never been skilled at bookkeeping chores. The bank frequently promoted people into position as managers who had no experience with the processes some of their subordinate supervisors were required to oversee. My boss, in other words, could not offer me technical help.
The decision was made, the lack of competence at every level notwithstanding, to bring in a new computer-based accounting system for a special client who had millions of dollars in an account in my department. Trouble was, the software purchased was for short term investments and could not accommodate anything that had a maturity date longer than 31 days. The client had notes and other commercial paper with maturities stretching out more than six months. My department was asked to cram everything into the new software whether it fit or not, something roughly akin to stuffing three cups of peanut butter into a thimble. Of course it didn’t work. Everything spun wildly out of control when the first 30 day period passed. Notes with distant maturities still in the system came tumbling out of the system like so many potatoes from a ripped gunny sack.
Keep a Lid on It and Make It Work . . .
I discussed the problem with the systems people. They didn’t want to admit a mistake had been made in acquiring the program. “You can make it work,” they insisted. Yeah! That’s right. They asked me, an English major, to do it and keep a lid on everything . Well, guess what. I did. I create a subroutine to keep track of all of the longer maturing securities. I worked weekends and got everything reconciled with the help of an intern so that I could produce a credible report. Then it happened.
I came in one Monday morning and all the detail that I had created in the subroutine had been dumped. Lost. Gone forever. Backup and all. Out with the bath water. Systems people were sorry, but nothing could be done. No recovery was possible. Management could not understand why there had been a problem in the first place. After all, nobody had told them anything earlier about the trouble brewing. Someone, of course, had to be to blame. Raise your hand, John. Enter Noah.
“No way,” Noah said in my defense. He had only been working with me for about three weeks at the time. “John’s doing a yeoman’s job,” he said in my defense. Then with more than two decades of experience in funds management, he was able to demonstrate that everything would come out just fine as the notes in the account matured. I can’t explain his solution now. I didn’t even understand it at the time. But Noah saved my job. I had two kids in college at the time. I had never been fired. Noah, for reasons I didn’t hear about until years later, didn’t last long in his job. His formula was correct. Everything turned out just as he said it would. But he was gone before I realized what he had done for me and could turn around to say “Thanks.” Angels are like that.
Worst of All . . .
Then there was Ezekiel. I finally moved out of the accounting job at the bank into a marketing and sales position. But I soon found myself stuck again. (I’ve never done well in corporate life.) A merger with another bank had me reporting to Dye Job, a man comically obvious in his obsequious maneuvering to advance up the ranks. You remember Dye Job. He’s the guy who always sat in meetings with his elbow on the conference table, forearm upright with his sleeve pulled back so that his Rolex would be visible to everyone in the room. Hands down, Dye Job was the worst boss I ever had. I hung of for two years, feeling doomed to working for this vanity crippled bore until retirement. At least I had a predictable income.
Along came Ezekiel. Mind you, 51 is hardly the age to consider changing careers. But Ezekiel wanted me to consider a position open with his company. We knew each other from the YMCA. I went through all the motions of applying for the job, the interviews, the tests, etc. When everything was wrapped up, Ezekiel offered me a job at a commensurate salary that would become a commissioned sales position in two years with the security of a salary advance. I hesitated. Ezekiel assured me that he wouldn’t let me fail. I resigned from the bank and spent the next 15 years of my working life in the most gratifying job I have ever held. Ezekiel made sure that I was assigned a secure base of accounts when an older salesperson retired. I was on my way. I never looked back. For his part, Ezekiel resigned his management post shortly after I was securely established in my position. I tried to thank him. “You earned it,” he insisted. I really didn’t earn it. In fact he may have bent the rules a little to help me out. His confidence in me was not misplaced, however. I made sure of that.
I was in my new job for about four months, when Gideon called me and asked me to look at his account. It was a large one. He had no reason to believe that I had developed the experience necessary for managing it. Yet he hired me. When he did, I was on the map with my company. Gideon left his account with me until weeks before my retirement when he called to say he was transferring it. I was disappointed, but he said my retiring was part of his decision. I told him that his account established me nationally with my company. He insisted he benefited far more than I from his decision to place it with me.
Angels come and go. I tried to thank them all, but each refused to accept my gratitude. I benefited from having angels in my life when I needed one the most. Look around. You might find one close at hand.
If you have enjoyed this article, I invite you to look through the other pages of my web site. Please feel free to enter a comment in the area provided below. My novel, Deadly Portfolio: A Killing in Hedge Funds, is available on Amazon in paperback and the Kindle version. It is also available in all ebook formats. What for the sequel, Breached, which is due out next month.