20 minutes from writing this I stop calling Jeff Rummer my "boss/friend Jeff" and go back to just calling him "Rummer". Or "Rum & Coke." Or "Rumblerooski" Or "Rummerstiltskin." You get the point. Anyway, Jeff is exiting stage right for some new career opportunities and the challenges that go with them. As much as I'm holding a tear back while I write this I'm thrilled for what's ahead for him. But believe me. I'm holding some tears back.
I met Jeff Rummer nearly 10 years ago. He quickly became someone I looked up to and related to in my life passions. We shared many conversations over burritos at Chipotle or Illegal Pete's in Boulder. Many times Jeff sat across the table from a younger-than-now Coate who refused to talk about his personal life and refused to shutup about his next business concept, creative project or crazy idea. Jeff wasn't there just to humor me, though. He shared many of his ideas too and helped make mine better. When Jeff became the Creative Director of a church he often called me into help on projects. We made a great team. It became a dream of mine to work with him professionally some day.
Just over a year ago that dream came true. While in Chicago for a conference in late October 2011, Jeff, his coworker/friend Gabe and I met up for some drinks. I hadn't seen Jeff for a while but it was a blast to catch up. The next night I took them to Lou Malnatti's pizza for the best deep dish they'd ever had, some 312s, and - little did I know - a conversation that would change my life swiftly and for the better.
I expressed career angst, filled them in on my struggles over the past 5 years and suddenly Jeff recommended I look into working for the company, as they had a Chicago office. Later that night I went home and applied for a job. In Boulder, CO. Less than two weeks later I was on the road to Boulder to start that job, with Jeff as my boss. Surprise! And...AWESOME.
Over the past year we've lived that dream of mine. We've worked on so many projects together that I am absolutely proud to have my name attached to, and thrilled that his name is right there too. Add Gabe to the equation and we formed the Three-Legged-Stool-of-Awesomeness (for all our creativity we never came up with a better nickname, did we, guys?)
Jeff's departure from us certainly leaves a gap in our company and in my daily office life. But recently I've realized that over the past year, I've gotten to be that Coate that sat across from tables and refused to talk about my personal life, but refused to shut up about my next business concept, creative project or crazy idea. I've realized how much I've grown this past year and how much I have Jeff to thank. His departure can't take that away from me. And maybe in many ways Jeff moving on to explore growth in his life gives me the opportunity to do the same. Maybe what's next for me is stepping up...using what I've learned in my year working with Jeff to keep the growth going. Maybe I have Jeff to thank for helping me get on the right path and maybe now I can confidently step forward along it.
So while that tear is still forming it's not necessarily one of sadness but just of sincere appreciation for the time I had having my friend/brother alongside me in the workplace, and for the realization that that dream from years ago really did come true.
Congratulations Jeff. And thanks.
Now that's all the sentiment you get.
Finish your burrito.