To My Great Mentor: You Will Be Missed -Greatly- In My Professional Ambience

The last two weeks have been an emotional wreck in all the senses available, possibles, and imaginable. I know, I am always here to rant my life out but never -in the history of MY writing- have I ever post anything positive, honestly, barely anything good comes to my plate unless it has a side of negativity. I just learned to cope with it as a professional and let it slide over a butter bath. This time has a whole new aura, which I am still trying to figure out how will I ever pick up myself from the dungeon intact.

For those who know me, I have been working with GUESS Inc -on and off- since 2014; a year after moving to Miami, Florida, for the same reasons we all get a job, I need it money to cover my University expenses. It was the holiday season, a catastrophic scenario full of magic, cheerfulness, me knowing basic English and my first job experience far from home. I took the job behind my mom’s back -even though she was far, far away, I had so much respect for her- and only did it because I felt like a burden asking her for money when I knew I could get it my own. I got hired because they needed personnel not because I was an outstanding candidate.

When hired, everything was so frightening, I did not know how to sell but made sure I helped people as much as I could so at least I could have a couple of sales and not get fired. Favourably, I did make some decent sales placing me on the top spots as a salesperson. Did I felt like an overachiever with my results and motivated to continue improving? Yes! I wanted to keep my job, even after the holiday season. Fast-forward and beyond my excitement, my mom called me asking me to come home for the holidays, mind you, I took the job behind her back so, I could not say no to her. I told her so many excuses as in why I was unable to travel until I came clean, it went down the spiral, and I knew my word was not as powerful as her. I had to quit my first job with only less than one month.

I grab all the courage and ask my boss to speak with him to tell him what you already know to this point -AKA- I needed to resign. It did not go how I expected. I remember his words with a blur: “you prove to be a strong salesperson with a strong work ethic. Call me when you come back to Miami.” Scared of having my heart shattered, it turned out even better than I could predict! Not only I was able to prove myself worthy of an employee worth keeping -even though I was resigning in a crucial season for the retail industry overall- but I manage to keep my job. I express to him -my boss- how grateful I was for such an opportunity, that he could count with me for anything he needed it. That was exactly how it happened; I came back to my job and was even more enthusiastic than ever before he considered me and gave me an opportunity that probably no one else would.

I had the utmost respect for him even when at the moment I could not speak English properly he would find ways to make sure our communication was not poorly, yet, direct, and easy for me to understand. Of course, the more classes I took at Uni, the more improvement I gain, the more I was able to communicate fluently with my peers, classmates and customers. He was so righteous and humble; it was so easy to work alongside him.

At the moment, I relied on public transportation or walking to make it to work, so every night that we had to stay longer recovering the store. I had to come to my dorms walking because there were no other options and Lyft and Uber were not existent at this time. It was dark, and solitary around some areas, me being a skinny girl, defenceless, and with no family living in the State, made me super vulnerable, and an easy target. I remember one night Ross -my boss- was driving by, recognized me, and gave me a ride home. At the moment we lived a few blocks apart, ever since then, he made sure to drop me off when we closed together. Adding to his list of personality traits, he was caring.

Some time passed, I was close to graduation and needed a full-time job if I wanted to stay in the city. He gave me a tool I would never forget. He told me that I had a chance to become an assistant manager but that I had to break my shell and quit being shy. I follow his advise, quit being shy, and work myself to be the next candidate for assistant manager. Under his mentorship, I knew I could get the position easily. I cannot recall how it happened, at some point -when I was waiting for the position to happen- I was close to graduation, the clock was ticking faster for me, and having a full-time job was a must. I found another job opportunity and gave Ross my two-week notice. Obviously, he was not going to give up that easily and called me before my two-week period was over to let me know I got my position as an Assistant Manager. Best day of my life!

Less than a year later, Ross got promoted to another store. I cried as if I would never see him again it was -awfully- devastating. A year after, I decided to give my resignation and moved on to another company. I still in contact with him through social media and whatnot. He is one of my favourite people in the entire planet, an example, and my mentor. After jumping to three different companies, there was a position open at GUESS Inc in the same location as him, I interviewed, and I got it. The position was not in the same store, but I got to be close to him until -right before the start of quarantine- I got a transfer to work with him again. Forget that BS that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, working with Ross was the best thing ever!

As he often mentions, everything has an expiration date. He resigns months after my transfer. I made a joke about how I mourn him once but not twice. In reality, I am shattered, senseless, in a deep funk; my role model is leaving me again, for good, and I could not be happier for his decision. Shit, I am even proud he took this larger than life step. I cannot cope with the idea that he is gone this next Saturday. We are neighbours, friends, and surely will see each other often, but I remain numb.

I pretend to be happy at work like nothing is going through my mind. Every single day at night, I cry in the shower because -for some reason- this is something I cannot overcome easily. He has not died; he is healthy and very alive, ready for his new step in life. It is hard letting go of the image of having such professional as your boss, someone with a human touch rather than a dictator…

Ross, if you are reading this, I want you to know I will be okay, and strong, and of course, my jolly self at work, but deep inside, I will miss and cry you like hell. I know I will continue to see you and travel with you, and even more shenanigans. No one will replace your professional presence in my heart, no one is as great as you, and I tell you this from experience, you already know what I am talking about.

Anyways, I wish you the best sincerely and much, much good energy and love!

P.S., when are we going to cook together?