On Friday, Jan. 16, 2014, after a hard, if-not, emotional day of dialing, I logged-off of my last interview at 5:49 pm; it was my last day at SSI. Our company has decided to downsize and they non-chalantly informed us of their decision just a short-time ago. By Friday evening, our office was down to the last 5 hangers-on. My feelings about this are still conflicted; I’m numb. My work ran the gamut from hospitals to politics to a large financial investment giant; with all-sorts of others thrown-in throughout my year and seven month employment there. I’m estimating, but I’ve made over a hundred and fifty thousand calls, and I’ve conducted thousands of interviews; not all of them were pleasant, but I’ve been told I’m very good at what I do.
Through it all, was my boss, Aimee Sermon-Marchant. Folks, I have been working, since I was 13 years old, and I have never worked under a finer leader, (indeed – one of the finest human-beings on this planet), than Aimee. Aimee came in during my orientation, introduced herself to ‘our’ group (as you can imagine, turnover is high in this field, as not everyone is cut-out for it); but Aimee told us her inspiring story, laid-out her expectations of us, and – in that moment, she very-much impressed me with her professional strength-of-character. Granted, I had just lost my son, Kent, only a month-prior to this meeting, and – I was quite nervous about this new journey I was embarking upon. Hell, I was scared to death! But, as I said, Aimee’s story was inspiring, so I took a deep breath and plunged-in.
This has not been an easy year and a half, for me, and I must admit, that Aimee has not caught me at my best. I know, I have disappointed her in many ways (and, I only have me to blame). However, despite this, Aimee had great faith in my abilities and she tapped me on many occasions to display my talents. She knew she could count on me to do my very best and be the upmost-professional when a client was monitoring our calls. Knowing what was at stake, I gave my best and seldom made her regret choosing me. If you’ve ever had a boss like Aimee, you can relate; not-only was my reputation on-the-line (pun intended), but – so was hers, and I would rather fight a pack of lions, than to ever let her down.
Because of Aimee, I pursued my writing career; indeed – because of her example, I applied to the Salt Lake Comic Con’s press corps. I was accepted and Aimee let me attend both – FanX in April, and – in September, at SLCC. I did not get a chance to tell her, but on Friday morning, I received my confirmation email for, yet-another press corps representation, at FanX15, at the end of this month. (I’m tearing-up, as I write this…)
I did not get a chance to say goodbye to Aimee, and it’s probably for the best (no one wants to depart on sad terms, eh? Especially, with an overly-emotional, teary-eyed ol’-man.) That’s not to say, that Aimee didn’t make me smile Friday (with, of-all-things, a can of Healthy Choice soup. #NoContextToYou); but THAT’S the Aimee I know, and have grown to love during my employment with SSI. She has been kind, always quick to smile, compassionate, fair, unbelievably patient and gracious, yet – firm, even intimidating, at times; never expecting anything-less than your best. And, she got it, time-and-again. I knew, without a shadow-of-doubt, that I could go to her office at any time and be treated with dignity and respect.
I’m sorry, that I let her down, on occasion, but I am so very-grateful to this lady, for all that she has done for me, and my daughter; and – for inspiring me that first day, with her success story. I will carry THAT to my grave… To sum it up, Aimee has been the greatest boss I have ever known, and – if asked, I could honestly say, I have been ‘very satisfied’ with her level of leadership, during my employment, under her.
Thank you, Aimee, and – so long, my friend. I will miss you dearly…
Eric GatorOne Cone