Goodbye, Rick, sort of

3 comments on Goodbye, Rick, sort of
3 minutes

Down the Road is on hiatus. New posts resume on Monday! Here’s one last rerun, one that’s special to me. I’m happy to run it again because the first time around (July of 2008) this blog was barely a year old and had few readers.

My brother and I didn’t see eye to eye on most things when we were kids. We didn’t hate each other, we just found each other to be extremely frustrating. We could make each other really mad with very little effort. The house rule was that whoever hit first was punished, so I knew I had really pushed Rick’s buttons when he pointed to his chin and said, “Hit me. Right there. Please.”

The man in earlier days

After I left our hometown for college, I didn’t see Rick except on holidays. He moved to my town eleven years ago, but I still barely saw him except on holidays. Our holiday times together were always fine, but somehow we seldom phoned and never dropped by.

But Rick was the first person I called when my now ex-wife wanted us to separate. He let me stay with him for a month, and he was a source of real strength as I started to recover from that horrible situation.

And then a couple years ago I ended up getting a job at the small software company where he worked. Understand that I’d spent my whole career, 17 years at the time, in software development. I even got my degree in mathematics and computer science, right up my career’s alley. But Rick got a degree in psychology, then worked seven years as a preperator in a museum and four in mortgage banking before making another big career change to come here. Both our careers had led to software quality assurance, his just through a very indirect route. We even reported to the same boss. And for the first time in our lives, my younger brother preceded me, and I lived in his shadow a little bit.

It has been great. Where daily childhood life emphasized our differences, adult work life has emphasized our similarities. We both like to think things through and do a thorough job. We both actively try to solve the problems we see. We both want to build team processes that make everybody more effective. We both want our teams’ efforts to bring more value to the company. So we regularly bounced ideas off each other, discussed thorny problems, and encouraged each other through challenges. I don’t think either of us knew the other had it in him.

It has long been clear, though, that Rick has grown about as much as he can at our company and was losing his enthusiasm. He needed new challenges – to learn new technologies and software development processes – to get his fire back. And so when I come back from vacation a week from Monday his cubicle will be empty. He’ll have a new job at a place that he thinks will provide the spark.

For the first time in my life, I’m going to miss my brother. Now that we have some momentum going, maybe we’ll call each other sometimes.

I’m happy to report, eight years later, that Rick and I have become very close. We still both test software for a living and swap war stories. And he’s still one of the first people I call when I need someone to talk to.


3 responses to “Goodbye, Rick, sort of”

  1. kidmc2014 Avatar

    Hello Jim
    New follower here…
    Glad that this comment line isn’t about something tragic.
    Congratulations to both you and your brother, and best of blessings.

    I found your blog about CBS Late Movie, while searching for the possibility of Mort Stevens’ “So Old, So Young”
    I wanted to come to the assistance of Lucia, who asked about a featured film on CBS Late Movie, but alas, the comment line has been closed.

    The question doesn’t seem to have been answered as of closing, and I just wanted to help.

    The film was “Daddy, I don’t Like It Like This” with Doug McKeon and Talia Shire. If you could get this info to Lucia, or show me how to I would be grateful.
    I joined your blog, because of our shared love of CBS Late Movie and Summer memories of watching them til dawn.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Hi! I don’t have a way to contact the person you want to reply to. But I just reopened comments on that post so you can reply yourself.

      1. kidmc2014 Avatar

        Thank you Jim!
        Have a nice weekend

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: