“When one person is missing the whole world seems empty” – Pat Schweibert

The time I got home, it was close to 2:00PM.  Kids were playing in the front garden with their new friends and Lynda was sitting in a garden chair and soaking in the sun.  As soon as she saw our car, she got up and came to see me.  I said did you guys have any lunch?  She said kids had something to eat but she was waiting for me.  She asked me how it went.  I said let’s go in the kitchen and talk.  I took my jacket off and sat at the table for lunch. I didn’t go into who said what but told her that I am starting a new job on Monday with little bit more money than what I was making.  She was totally surprised that I am going to work for a woman.  I don’t think I got too many choices at the moment, I said.  She wanted to know more about Mrs. Benda and I said she’s probably in her fifties and seemed to be very energetic for her age.  I said, by the way her husband is the VP of Marketing, reporting to her along with me and another VP.

The office was located going pass the Bathurst Street in Toronto which was approximately 30 miles on the highway 401 from Pickering where we used to live.  In order to avoid morning traffic jams, I left home early and got to the office around 8:00AM on Monday.  There were a couple of cars already parked in the parking lot.  I parked my car and walked around to the main entrance and when I entered the building, I saw Sandy, Mrs. Benda’s secretary, sitting on her desk.  I said good morning and asked if I am too early.  She said, no, and she said she will get me a set of keys right away.  I entered in my new office and was pleasantly surprised to see that John had cleared his junk pilled on the chairs.  As soon as I put my briefcase aside and sat down in my chair, Sandy came in with a cup of coffee as well as a set of keys for the office.  She also said Lew would like to see you when you are ready.  I said who’s Lew?  She said he is the Executive Vice-President.   I asked her if Mrs. Benda will be in today.  She said yes but she never gets in before 10:00AM.

I came out from my office to look for Lew’s office.  His office was in the other corner of the office which I didn’t even notice the other day when I was here to meet with Mrs. Brenda.  Anyway, I knocked on his door and he came out to meet me.  He said welcome onboard, Mir.  He said I didn’t get a chance to say hello to you the other day when you were here but I spoke to John about your background and drafted a letter of appointment.  He presented me with a letter which I browsed very quickly and said thank you for your kind words.  He said we need somebody like you to keep everything under control here. I said I will do my best, Lew.  He said do you mind giving me a copy of your resume just for our file, Mir.  I said just a minute and went back to my office and open my brief case to fetch a copy of my resume for Lew.

On my way back from Lew’s office, I grabbed another cup of coffee and sat in my office until 9:00AM to meet my staff.  When I came out from my office, I asked Sandy to introduce me to my staff.  She said with pleasure.  We went in the computer room, data control section, data entry area, accounting and met everybody which only took us 20 minutes.  I asked heads of those areas to come and see me one at a time and educate me about the areas of their responsibilities.   Thanks to John that they all seemed to have an idea about my background.

We were in the middle of our chat with one of the section heads, when Mrs. Benda knocked the door before she entered the office and said, I am sorry Mir, I capitalized on your time the other day when you were here, and I should have introduced you to everybody before you left.  I said no harm’ done.  She also said I will be in my office if you would like to see me.  I said thank you and carried on our chat.  By the end of the morning, I had a pretty good idea about my responsibilities in the company.

Lynda had asked me before I left home, if I wanted to take a sandwich for lunch and I said, no as I wasn’t sure if I will have anytime for lunch.  In any case, right after 12:00PM, Sandy entered my office and said, Mrs. Benda had ordered all kind of sandwiches for everybody from a kosher restaurant for lunch, no, she’s not Jewish but she wanted you to come out and help yourself.  I went to the coffee room and found a number of folks were helping themselves with the sandwiches and drinks.  I grabbed a corned beef sandwich and coffee and moved to a relatively less crowded corner of the room.  As soon as I put down my coffee at the table nearby, a tall guy with a mild accent came and said to me, I am Joe and I am the VP of Marketing.  Suddenly, I realized that he must be Mrs. Benda’s husband.  I said, nice to meet you, Joe.  He said I wasn’t here the other day to meet you but John told me about you a bit.  I said I am looking forward to working with you, Joe.  

I met a couple of marketing representatives before I came back to my office.  I was just trying to process all the information in my mind when Mrs. Benda came in my office and said did you like the sandwiches.  I said how you knew that I liked corned beef sandwiches.  She said that’s my secret.  She said whenever you have a few minutes; please pop in my office and we can chat.

I grabbed a cup of fresh coffee and went to see Mrs. Benda in her beautiful office.  Once we were comfortable in our chairs, she said tell me about yourself.  I said nothing much to brag about.  I was born in India, came to Canada from Chicago in 1972, met Lynda, got married, we got three kids. She said sorry for saying this but what I don’t understand how you can have 3 kids in 5 years.  I said I am a lucky guy as Lynda had 2 girls from a previous marriage and we have a boy together.  She said WOW! I like to meet Lynda.  I said you will. 

She said it’s my turn now.  When she came to Canada from Poland with her husband, they had almost nothing with them.  Neither had they money nor any marketable qualifications.  Joe worked in the factories and she went around cleaning houses for the rich people.  They worked very hard until they came across some opportunities and they capitalized it.  What all I had said was WOW!

She asked me if I have any specific questions.  I said I do have a couple of questions but they can wait until you have some more time.  She said I got time now.  Let’s hear it.     

 I asked will I be reporting to you directly in this position.  She said, of course.  Why did you asked.  I thought we already decided that when you saw me the other day.  I said the letter of appointment that was given to me this morning was signed by Lew.  She said now I understand the reason for asking that question.  She said I am not good at writing letters. I get Lew to do that for me.  When he brought that letter to me, I agreed with the contents of the letter but also noticed that he had already signed that letter.  Instead of asking him to re-do it, I thought that should be okay.  She asked me if I wanted that letter to be signed by her.  I said no, now I understand the situation.    

 She said what else’s?  I said I was looking for a copy of the budget in John’s office but couldn’t find one.  She said we don’t have a formalized budget process in the company yet.  Every area has its own budget which wasn’t formalized or consolidated.   I said it would be difficult, if not impossible to control the budget when you don’t have a consolidated budget.   She said, Mir you will have to organize us.  John was good but he didn’t have that skills.  I said I will look into it. So I left her office.

Around 6:00PM, I was talking to one of my staff member about the current status of the maintenance of the computer system Mrs. Benda walked in my office and said what are you still doing here.  You came to work before 8:00AM this morning and you cannot work late on your first day.  Lynda wouldn’t like it.  I said I am wrapping up for the day.  She was holding a bag in her hand which she gave it to me and said this is for Lynda.  I was surprised and said thank you but what did I do to deserve it.  She said that’s not for you.

Our Story – Chapter 22