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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mixing Business With Pleasure

It was time to quit living the dream and step back into reality. I started my job at automotive plant, which happens to be the largest manufacturing truck plant in North America. It employed roughly 6,000 employees. In the beginning, I was hired on as a Launch Coordinator – basically, a fancy name for a Secretary. The Launch Team was a group of people from all over, mostly Michigan, who would engineer and design future model vehicles. There was never really a dull moment. My friend, Dee, whom I worked with at the manufacturing company, had been there for some time and was able to show me the ins and outs. My boss was this little, short man who packed a powerful punch. Everyone respected him and we got along great and he kind of took me under his wing. The economy started its downfall and he realized in order to keep my position, he would need to add a little security. Therefore, he spoke with the Executives and was able to land me the position of the Management Lease Program. In Laymen terms that meant my work load doubled and my salary was split between the Launch Team and the Plant. The lady that trained me was so sweet. The last thing she gave me was a pile of paperwork. Managers were able to lease a new company vehicle every year as a perk to their position. She explained to me that it was the information for one of the Engineers transferring from one of the Michigan Plants. His name was Brent Lyons and I needed to put his vehicle into service that following Monday. Getting used to this new workload was a bit challenging, but I managed to prioritize and get everything accomplished in a timely manner. About four months later, I realized I let something slip through the crack. Thinking I could get away with it, I logged into the system and back dated Mr. Lyons vehicle. It wasn’t long after, he approached my desk and introduced himself and explained his paycheck arrived minus the four payments. He wasn’t angry more so concerned than anything, and just seemed overly friendly. I didn’t want to let him down, so I told him that I would investigate it with the Vehicle Program department in Detroit and get back with him. I know it wasn’t the right thing to do, but there was something about him that kind of sparked my interest.

Quitting time came around that day and my Launch friend, Nick, invited me to join him and some others for a drink after work. Well, guess who happened to be part of this crowd at the local watering hole?!? You got it, Mr. Brent Lyons. Quickly getting my ducks in a row, I told him there was a system error and assured him the monthly payments would be deducted accordingly from now on. He bought it and ended up buying me a beer. Bottoms up!

My mom always preached to us two things. (1) When you tell one lie, you’ll have to tell another and another to keep the original one straight. So, you’re better off to tell the truth from the get go. And (2) tell me who you hang with and I’ll tell you who you are. Liars, cheaters, and thieves always walk hand and hand. To clear my conscience, I ended up telling Mr. Lyons the truth – sure, it was a couple years down the road. But, the important thing was that I told him. Right!!!

Our meetings started to become more frequent and a friendship started to blossom. We could talk for hours about anything and everything. I would tell him all about “Soldier Boy” and at times he would tease me about it, but it was all in good humor. The strange thing is he didn’t start talking about his relationships until later on down the road.

I’ll never forget it he showed up at work and seemed very distressed. He told me this horrible story that one of his friends in Michigan committed suicide and he had to be up there over the weekend and would drive back to Kentucky on Sunday, which happened to be his birthday. I felt so bad for him, but didn’t think there was anything I could do or say that would change the mood.

Upon his arrival, we made plans to meet up and try to celebrate his birthday. But, that was the moment he had another bomb to drop – his home life situation. He told me that he got married at a young age. His wife was a stay-at-home mother of their two children, Alex and Maci. Alex was diagnosed Autistic and had many other issues. Their relationship started to fail about the same time he was transferred to Kentucky. He feared if he filed for divorce that it would put a major wedge between him and his children, so he did what he thought was best for his family and moved them all with him and hoped for a fresh start. It still didn’t seem to be in the cards for the unhappy couple and they decided to proceed with a divorce. He explained how difficult it was and it was starting to turn into a bitter process.

It wasn’t long after that he started to date – one time it was the waitress at the bar, another one was an Engineer from work, and then there was this one from the Launch Team. I felt it was my obligation as his friend to tell him what I knew about the latest fling and asked if the two of us could meet up after work. He agreed and I explained to him that the whole Launch team knew details of said relationship. The lady, if that’s what you want to call her, had just returned to work from her honeymoon (yes, I said honeymoon) and not even two weeks into the marriage she was already hopping into bed with someone else. His reaction was less then surprised and he proceeded to tell me that he and this classy broad had a past. In fact, they used to live together before he married his current wife. I’m not one to judge, but he felt it was important to explain he knew it was the wrong thing to do, but since the Family Court Judge finalized his divorce that day – he turned to her and she took advantage. Likely excuse, right!

That whole story weighed heavy on my mind and I ended up having some weird dream that Brent and I hooked up and started to look at him in a whole new light. I guess you could say I realized maybe I felt more then friendship for this guy.

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