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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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a good turn for an old buddy
Got a call yesterday- someone doing a reference check on A. a former co-worker of mine. I'm happy to say I was able to give him a glowing reference- the caller's last question was "would you rehire him?" My answer: "Absolutely."

A. was pure gold around here. An omnicompetent sysop and techie, unflappable and possessed of a puckish sense of humor coupled with an amazing poker face. The kind of guy who would solemnly tell a clueless user "you've got water in your system," and then run the old DOS "Drain" prank program, just to see their faces. The kind of person who, when told "I've got a bug in my computer," would ask innocently, "Like this?" and hit a button that would send character-graphic ants scuttling across his screen.

He was a hard worker but also a realist, someone who would work overtime when needed, but always put his family first. One of those quiet but essential people who keep an organization running, day in and day out. A good "work friend"- we were enough in accord that we were friendly at work, but not really personally close. There was a comfort level and an ease in our work together, and that was what counted.

Then came 9/11. Our financial situation went into the tank, and there was a lot of belt-tightening- including a round of layoffs. Even though we were short-staffed already in MIS, we had to drop a position. No, let's be blunt- my boss had to fire somebody, turn him loose into a local economy that was running scared. A. drew the short straw.

Damn, that hurt. I'd worked with him for twelve years, been through an office move and a system upgrade; we'd lost D- the manager who'd hired us both, a great-souled and unique man- to cancer; I'd gotten married, bought a house, seen the pictures of his kids change as they grew...

He survived- his wife was in the thriving local real-estate business, and I think he got involved in that, too. He always seemed to be OK when he checked in with us. But he didn't find another job in the tech field, and I think he missed that.

We survived- J. devolved most of the programming on me, and took up the sysadmin and tech stuff, sharing a lot of it with C. when we hired her. We faltered, but persevered. We're a four-person shop now, way too small for the tasks at hand, but we manage.

I don't know what job he's applying for, but I hope it goes well for him. And I hope they know what a treasure they're getting if they hire him.

I miss him here…