My comrade and senior employee, Charles Fisher, retired this week. We had a great party for him. We kept it light and funny because that is how he rolls “literally.” We put him in a wheel chair and rolled him to the honoree position for a full-on roasting ceremony. After 25 years, we had a lot to say. Many of AFB’s former employees came to his celebration and made the day even larger and fuller. Thank you to all of them.
Now all I do is think about him and what his retirement means to me. It’s mostly vane stuff like how it moves me up a notch to senior citizen status at AFB, as I am now the second -oldest staff member. And with whom can I talk, since he was my number one confidant for employee and business issues? And my gosh, the man is funny. Who will make me laugh now?
There is also a flood of memories that make me tear up every time I try to expound on them at company meetings or his roast. So I have saved my sentimental thoughts for this blog, where I can tear up in private.
We all have people in our life that leave a profound impact on us. Some of them are glaring warnings of what NOT to be and others are shining examples of HOW to be. Charles Fisher has been the latter to me. Many of the things I learned from him were related to business, like inventory control, streamline shipping, expedite invoicing, manage employees and lead by example.
When Charles had his first heart attack while still in his 50’s, I selfishly thought, “What am I going to do without him?” I was in my late 30’s and had yet to earn respect from my colleagues or hone my management skills. I saw him every day and often had to ask his advice. What Charles did after his heart attack taught me what it meant to lead by example.
Charles could have easily retired right then and there, in his late 50s. He had a big pension from his career job as Safeway store manager. If he coupled that with disability and his military service “ boom, early retirement.” But instead he did what the doctor told him to do: exercise, lose weight and stop drinking.
I’ve never really understood the old adage, “You’ve got to love yourself before anybody else will.” What does that even mean? Well this is what it means:
Charles cared enough for his wife Joyce, his coworkers and AFB to take care of himself. Even though the doctor gave him a six-week pass from work, he began his slow comeback after only four weeks. He started walking two miles each day, quit drinking and trimmed his weight to the doctor’s recommendation. By loving himself, he showed that he loved us too.
We are gonna miss you, ole goat.