Dennis was one of the boldest, in your face coworkers I’ve ever known. Dennis was an undergraduate student at Stanford when Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto, California hired him as a part-time maintenance staffer. He was an exceptionally curious young man, with charisma, and an arresting sense of humor.
Dennis learned how to maintain fluorescent light fixtures on his first day. Soon, he was eager to learn more about the H.P. Building 17’s electrical map. Our graveyard shift supervisor was not authorized to grant Dennis access to the building’s blueprints and other documents. So Dennis leap-frogged the supervisor’s authority and contacted the division manager at the main plant on “the hill”.
Not only did the company give Dennis permission to examine the blueprints and electrical layout of Building 17, he was promoted to full-time status. This caused no small amount of friction between himself and our supervisor. No boss ever likes to be overruled, especially by newly hired part-time employees. Regardless of the ill-will, the two men managed to work out a truce to enable a semi-cordial, professional relationship.
Even though Dennis excelled at his job, we fellow staffers knew he was restless and wanted to move on. Our hunches were proven correct after Dennis announced that he had been transferred to work on the hill. He had negotiated with higher ups to work as an apprentice under the instruction of the corporation’s home office’s head electrician.
Dennis kept in touch with some of us in Building 17. Sometimes we ate breakfast together in downtown Palo Alto after our shifts ended. The comradery was all-around jovial and friendly. We were mutually supportive when one or another experienced problems or enjoyed successes. One morning, about a year after Dennis was hired, he told us that he had been offered a lucrative position at H.P.’s Fort Collins, Colorado division. He was scheduled to move following his graduation from Stanford.
We lost track of Dennis after he left the San Francisco Bay Area. We heard rumors, that he had been transferred to research and development and was involved in some federal defense contract projects. Even though we knew Dennis was destined for great things, none of us predicted such a swift climb up the corporate ladder.
Many years later, I wonder what Dennis is doing now. Is he still in Colorado? Is he still working for H.P.? I wouldn’t be too surprised if he had returned to “the hill” as a vice-president or some other position in corporate upper management. Perhaps he has a position at a different company. Maybe he has become an entrepreneur and has his own company. Has he left the corporate world behind and involved himself in some other venture?
If he is reading this, it would be great if he’d touch base with me in the comments area. I’d love to catch up and find out how his life is going. Is Dennis as audacious now as when he was a college student? I’m guessing that he is.