Recently I visited an old workplace and learned that a much admired former co-worker had died several months previously. This is a small industry and the man worked several other places over the course of a long and successful career. Some of you would recognize his name. Shame on me for not doing a better job of keeping in touch.
I fear becoming one of those old curmudgeons who start his day by checking the obituaries. The idea is too depressing and reduces contact with former coworkers to funeral attendance. This magazine has no “extra” space for death notices, although very prominent industry leaders have been memorialized in the past. We need to continue that practice in the future.
One possible solution would be social media pages for company alumni. Last year I was media director for our racing club, and it was not a pleasant experience due to the immaturity and poor manners of some members. We have had the same sort of trouble with this blog. Spammers and fake identities have ruined what was hoped to be a lively exchange of ideas.
Until another idea comes along, I hope to do a better job of checking in with people via e-mail. No one writes actual letters these days, depriving both the writer and the recipient of a chance to remember a highpoint in a relationship. Some years ago our pastor suggested we write to someone who mentored us through a difficult time. I wrote to an old supervisor and got back a short note of thanks. A year later I followed up with a birthday card and got a note back from his widow on how much that letter had meant to him while he fought a terminal illness. He apparently did not want to burden me with is prognosis.
We all would like to be ten-foot tall and bulletproof. Sadly, none of us are. If there are people you worked with that you haven’t interacted with in a while, why not drop them a line before the opportunity is forever lost?