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The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations Read Today's Bugler       Read current Blogging News: BERT

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Kennedy Presentation: Adventures In Search Video.

Presentation from John Sumser, Recruiting Is A Conversation is available for download.


(April 18, 2007) On Monday, they found my brother-in-law, Greg, on the floor of his house. He was 52. He'd suffered a heart attack. It was extremely unexpected. I've known him for 34 years.

There's a time, in an unexpected tragedy, between the actual event and the emergence of a plan. It always takes however long it takes. Waiting to discover the outlines of what to do is a gut wrenching time that feels out of control. It's the plan and ritual that give meaning and purpose.

It takes a while for the machinery to kick in.

My daughters and I huddled together doing what you do while you wait. We cried, hugged, cried some more, ate and told stories about Uncle Greg. We talked with Ray (who is on the East Coast). We waited and finally went to sleep, late and exhausted.

Greg had a gruff exterior. Those armaments are generally worn by poets who, like T. S. Elliot, toil in occupations other than poet. It was easy to see the gruff stuff; seeing the poet required a closer, gentler look.

He was an Irishman. It seemed like the further he went in life, the closer to Ireland he got. For his entire life, he sailed from the port of Annapolis. An Irish sailor in an Irish town. He  had a cackle that made you certain that the revolution was imminent.

He had thick strawberry blonde hair, everywhere. He moved through the world in a way that let you see the jig he would be dancing. But gruff, always gruff. His sense of humor was so dry that most people saw it as just more gruffness.

Greg was my college room-mate. Although I am barely a month older, Greg was always more experienced. I learned the ways of the world through his friendship.

Greg saved my life on more than one occasion.

The best story involves a small sailboat on a stormy day. It was my first ever sail. Anxious to get me comfortable with the tiller, Greg handed it to me. I immediately swung it too far and flipped the boat far enough to throw me into the water.

It turned out that there were small craft advisories on the Chesapeake Bay that day. By the time the boat was under control, it was a long way away. I was underwater and in trouble.

Quick thinking Greg grabbed a rope when he saw me go over. As I came up for air, frightened and gasping, he grabbed me (he was a lifeguard) and hauled me back to the boat.

The other times are not as glamorous and tend to involve late nights after the bars had closed on Capitol Hill. He got me my first bartending job at the Hawk and Dove, a DC landmark. Let's just say that the stories are colorful.

Greg never forgave me for moving to the West Coast. He believed that family was supposed to stay together. I knew that my team needed different experiences. The years passed and we talked less and less.

I thought about calling him on Sunday, he'd been on my mind. I was too absorbed in a bit of business intrigue to pay attention to my intuition. It would have been a good move.

The only meaning that I take away from this unexpected death of a young man is that it's silly to bank on some future. Greg lived hard, sought intense experience and went early. It's worth living as if you are going to go early.

I loved my brother-in-law and will miss him.

john at johnsumser.com . - . Permalink . - . Today's Bugler. - . Send To a Friend

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