Green Bagels

One of my favorite St. Patrick's Day memories is of green bagels.  I'm not talking about moldy bagels.  I'm talking about Kelly green colored bagels that many shops now put out around St. Patrick's Day.

I realize there is nothing inherently Irish about bagels, no matter what color they might be, but corned beef and cabbage isn't usually a breakfast food.  (Although I would have no problem eating it at any time of day.)  Plus transporting a hot meal isn't the easiest thing to do.  Picking up a half a dozen green bagels, plus a variety of "normal" bagels along with butter, cream cheese and juice is much more doable.

I haven't bought green bagels in six years.  Yet I still have the receipt for this purchase in the pocket of the green stripped jacket I wore the day I picked them up.  (It must have been warm that year if I was only wearing a blazer and not a heavy coat.)  It was back when I worked for a company that no longer exists (or no longer exists as it once did).  We worked hard and the director of our division, Stephanie, recognized that.  And that's what kept morale up in our division.  She knew the work was difficult and often meant long hours and abbreviated lunch breaks and so she made sure that our hard work was rewarded.

To that end, usually once a month we had an early morning breakfast to celebrate those who had birthdays that month.  It was a simple affair with bagels and/or donuts.  There were candy treats on Halloween, a departmental Thanksgiving Feast (a week before the event), a holiday lunch in December (which included a "Dirty" Santa gift exchange which was hysterical), sweet treats on Valentine's Day and of course, green bagels on St. Patrick's.  There were other events as well, but the green bagels stand out in my mind.  Probably because they were green (which caught everyone's attention; very few were willing to try) and because I volunteered to pick them up.

I wanted to pick them up (not that it was a hard task).  I wanted help out Stephanie.  Why wouldn't I? She recognized hard work and applauded it.  She recognized people's strengths and played to them.  She made sure everyone was aware of what was going on; her door was open and there were no secrets.  She wasn't perfect, but she was fair. In short, she was a woman I wanted to work for.  I wanted to go the extra mile for her because she made me feel valued.

Sadly, after about a year with the company, changes were made and she was no longer my manager.  Eventually she left the company.  But that time, although in the overall scheme of my career, was brief, she made a great impact on me.  She made me not only a better employee, but a better person overall.

And every year when St. Patrick's Day rolls around and I see green bagels, I think of Stephanie.  And this year, I'm writing this blog to do what I perhaps should have done sooner, to say thank you.

Thank you Stephanie.  Thank you for the green bagels and for the year of mentoring.  I wish everyone I've worked for (past, present and future) would realize that nurturing and respecting subordinates, co-workers and upper management can lead to great things.


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