A Final Salute

I have finally said goodbye to a man whom I have spent the past eight years of my life with... and no it is not my husband. Only another secretary or personal assistant will understand the relationship that I've had with this man. He was my "boss" and I spent eight hours of most every working day for the past eight years with him.
Over a period of twenty odd years, I have been taught that my first loyalty as a secretary in a military unit must always be to the "Office of the Officer Commanding"... irrespective of who occupies that office at any given time. My job description is quite simple: managing the diary, handling telephone calls, assisting with correspondence, filing, etc., but those are only words typed on a sheet of paper, the real job entails so much more.

In the "real job" you share in the very life of your Officer Commanding. You become his shoulder to cry on when life treats him harshly, his ear to listen when he dare not voice concerns that must never be repeated, his soundboard for difficult decisions, his shield against unfair criticism from people who only see part of the painting but appoint themselves as qualified art critics, often his mentor in areas where you have more experience than him and also his comfort and encouragement on the occasions when he climbs out of his Superman suit and just become a husband, son, father or friend to those he cares about.

Well for the past eight years I have shared in the life of HPL, and now it is over. On Monday he will start a new chapter of his life without me in it and I will start the first paragraph of a new chapter with a new "boss" in it. Only an opening paragraph as the "boss" is only in there temporarily. Towards the end of the year a new Officer Commanding will be appointed and who that will be is still an open question.

I will miss HPL, how could I not? It was not always easy working for/with him. We certainly had our moments of disagreement and conflict, but we always managed to look past the situation and circumstance and concentrate on the one goal that we shared - the good of the unit and its people.

As with every previous Officer Commanding in the history of our unit, there are those who are sad to see him go, and there are those who are happy to see him go. I am one of those who are happy to see him go, but, I believe, for the right reasons. After so many years of living within the constraints of the military, he deserves to live his life free of policies, directives and prescripts. He can now enjoy the freedom of concentrating on himself and his family outside the searing spotlight of being the Officer Commanding. He has all the qualities and abilities necessary to succeed in "civvie" street. He has already started a business of his own which so far has succeeded remarkably and I wish him only happiness and success in this new chapter of his life.

As for myself, well we will just have to wait and see what surprises the future holds. It is said that "life is a song" and whatever music the future will be played out on, I will face it. I can only hope that it will be a beautiful ballad and not some dreadful punk rock!


DUTA said...

Beautifully written! You do have a magic way with words.
I believe that you too deserve something better. I know nothing about officers in your country, but in my country most of them are spoilt, arrogant,demanding, not very bright, and sometimes corrupted.

A human kind of human said...

Thanks for the kind words Duta. This one was not one of those. Hoewever, what I will get next is, as I said, an open question.

Argent said...

This is a lovely piece of writing. It's funny how you get really quite close to someone even though you're not related or attached romantically. I once had a boss that was a real friend as well, we shared in each other's lives and doings and I really miss that. I hope you new OCs - the paragraph and what comes after - will be as rewarding for you to work with as the outgoing one.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

This is beautiful and touching. I certainly hope he sees it some day.