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The Boss

Every time I saw National Boss’s Day on the calendar, I tried to plan something special—at least a nice note and a sweet treat on his desk. I knew my boss didn’t have an easy job.

And throughout my career I had the same boss—who doubled as my husband after hours.

Not only was he the boss and owner of his business, but he was also the daily operator of all its activities. I had a front row seat in the marketing circus of Washington State apples. High octane on most days with telephone and fax lines in use ten hours straight.

Weekends off? Not really. He spent half of Saturday mopping up all the business paperwork and Sunday night was the revered time to put together new weekly price sheets for the buyers.

I admired my boss. He was dutifully at his desk and didn’t mind tackling two phone calls at once. As the cell phone improved connectivity, he was always available. He’d answer every call with a jovial voice, a lighthearted comment, and was able to memorize more fruit sizes and quantities than I thought any human mind could possibly hold.

I listened to thousands of conversations and admired his ability to know his buyers—to actually care about their lives outside of work. He tracked birthdays, holidays, the kids, and grandkids of all his buyers and sellers for over three decades.

I doubt any sales industry career would be considered easy work. One of his loyal buyers was fond of saying, “You’re only as good as your last order.” Hence, the need to constantly be on top of the business demands.

My handsome boss did it all faithfully and expertly. I clearly never lived with his incredible stress load, nor was I ever on the listening end of heated discussions that arose from bad fruit deliveries. I was just grateful to be his sales assistant and learn the industry from one of the best.

So, for my friends who are working, honoring your boss on Monday, October 16, would be a reminder to them that you see some of what they do and appreciate their efforts.

As for me and my retired boss? Perhaps we’ll plan a hike someplace where the phone won’t ring.


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