Working as a real estate agent can be difficult. It’s harder still when you suffer from clinical depression. I changed offices in June 2002, expecting to move with a business partner. The partner didn’t work out and I was on my own.
For the first three months I did well, but then things went sour. Bill collectors started to call, my parents listed their home with another agent, and my medications stopped working properly. I hit a black hole. One night I was ready to give up. I sent an email message to my parents asking them to contact Colin, my boss, after I was gone.
Somehow, with the help of friends I called on the phone, I found the strength to get through the night. In the morning I realized I had better call my boss. He needed to know why he might get a strange call from my father.
Then I decided I needed to see Colin face to face, to show him that I wasn’t crazy, and to apologize for putting him in an awkward position with a new employee. No boss needs that, especially with more than 135 people in the company.
Colin immediately said I should come see him. He looked at me and offered to call my parents, which I said was not a good idea, then asked if I needed a loan. I told him $500 would help, and he insisted on giving me $1000. Then he invited me to the company Christmas party. I turned him down because I couldn’t afford it, but he gave me one ticket for myself, and another for my best friend. He did this without any hesitation, even though my best friend is a male-to-female transsexual, which is difficult for some people to understand or accept.
He then took 15 minutes to tell me what a good agent I am, and that my luck would come back. He had absolute faith in me, he said, and was proud of the guts I showed in continuing to get up and fight.
Two days after that devastating night, I was back at work. Colin was surprised to see me there, but he was the main reason I came back so soon. He helped keep me going in the short term by lending me money, and helped me get back on track by restoring my self respect. He offered financial and emotional support when I needed them both.
Some bosses take advantage of employees, but mine went out of his way to help a new employee in a tough business. When I believed that everything had gone bad, Colin gave me a new determination to succeed. He took me from despair to hope. He went far beyond the traditional role of a boss, and I’m so grateful for his confidence and generosity.