Loving the Job and Starting a New Chapter

Witnessing someone leave a job they truly love is always emotional. This past Friday I listened in on this exit and it was sad. But this wasn’t a layoff, this person was leaving of their own accord.

Sports is one of my passions. I live in Charlotte which has the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, the Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA, a triple-A baseball team, numerous college sports associations, and a unique position as the home to NASCAR race teams. The city carries a certain amount of prominence on the national stage, but isn’t quite big time either. To match that charm was the Morning Sports Page on the AM channel WFNZ. It was mainly two guys bantering back and forth the sports scene, both local and national. Jim Celania and Gary Williams are their names. Jim is the older of the two and tends to cut through the BS since he’s been there and done that. Gary is the up and comer who maintains the professionalism and keeps the show moving along. Jim, although often crass in delivery, is wise and you can tell that Gary eats up the perspective and learns from it. Jim has a self confidence that allows him to be the butt of the joke at times – he can laugh at himself. It is an endearing quality and everyone that listens knows it.

And here is where the sadness came in. Gary left the program on Friday (1/30/09) to take a national job at Sirius radio. During his last segment he thanked the producers and began to breakdown. He then mustered a wavering “And you…” which tailed off. He was referring to Jim. I don’t know what Jim’s reaction was, it was radio. Gary through one last sobbing breath thanked the city of tremendous opportunity for him, Charlotte.

This chapter for Gary has ended. He moves on to other endeavors in his life and he will learn from other coworkers. But in closing this chapter he knows that a certain part of his professional/personal life can never be unknown again. He is more likely to be the teacher than the student. It’s the trappings of wisdom – responsibility, hard choices, and age.

In a world of no sure things, it is nice to know that there are still people who feel so strongly about their craft, their mentors, and their city to publicly display an emotional good bye.


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