Sunday, 8 January 2017

On a young man’s departure

Not the best start into 2017. On Monday I learnt from we ex-workmates from The Employer our colleague Krzysiek had passed away aged 31 on New Year’s Eve, thus eventually losing a half-year battle against cancer.

I first met Krzysiek in early 2011 when I joined The Employer as a full-time analyst. He had worked there for some three years and despite being only 25 had been promoted twice by then. As a definitely talented up-and-coming relationship manager, he was entrusted taking charge of the most promising prospective accounts.

He has not let down senior managers who had put a lot of faith and trust in his skills. In 2012 thanks to his determination, patience and negotiation skills he won the biggest deals in the history of The Employer. I was proud to participate in this success as I handled those clients on analytical coverage side. Though our styles or work differed and personally we were not on the same wavelength, we were always able to overcome different approaches to many issues and teamed up to pursue common goals. Our professional ties loosened up in late 2013 when The Employer decided to give up on the biggest accounts and part of business winding-down strategy. Since mid-2014 when I left The Employer we talked twice or maybe three times when we ran across each other in town.

Around the end of summer holidays I was told Krzysiek had been fighting brutal cancer for a few weeks and that the disease was ruthlessly spreading across his body. He went on a sick leave in September and was admitted to a hospice in November.

Farewell mass was administered on Wednesday in Warsaw and urn with Krzysiek’s ashes was buried on Thursday in his hometown. The very farewell, including priest’s sermon was touching and poignant. I counted around 300 people inside the church, including family, neighbours and friends from his hometown, schoolmates, fellow football fans, workmates and even CFOs of companies he had had relationships with.

Oddly enough, several people with whom he had worked until his last days in the office, did not turn up at the church. Sadly, no one from my team did not participate in the farewell as well, though they had worked with Krzysiek longer than me.

This sad event was a heart-rending reminder how fragile human life is. A year ago Krzysiek was a healthy young man with future wide open ahead of him. I would depart from the truth if I told Krzysiek had been my friend, he had been my workmate, yet his departure is a milestone in my life, as this is the first decease of somebody of my age I knew well. Until last days, in my narrow perception death would strike only people far older than me.

Besides my previous workplace is falling apart. The Employer, taken over by its competitor last year, is now seeing its workforce decimated. Several people with who I worked and whom I owe a lot have been laid off or are likely to be given the sack by the end of January.

But as it turns out again, every cloud has a silver lining. Had it not been for the farewell, I would not have met several people I had not seen for months. The sad gathering proved to be an occasion to renew old comradeships. Yesterday, despite the middle of the long weekend, we met up, not to foster memory of Krzysiek but to talk over what was going on in our lives.

With such starting point, I suppose things I poised to get only better.

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