Well hell. That was a bit of personal information she didn’t know if she needed. Sitting up straight in the chair and crossing her legs, Sam decided she had to appease him.
“I’m sorry to hear that. I didn’t understand the situation.” Sam stated directly, her eyes focused on the hard lines around his eyes and his mouth. The man looked as though he was under a tremendous amount of stress.
“I know you didn’t come here to listen to me whine, but I haven’t told anyone else. The closer I get to walking out that door for the last time, the harder it seems to get.” He took a deep breath and then collapsed into his desk chair. “I’ll be honest with you. I love my job, I love the… I even enjoy coming in every day. This has been my life for the last twenty years and apparently I have my priorities all wrong.”
Sam heard the sadness in his voice and could feel the underlying tension in Jeff’s words. He clearly was making a decision he didn’t feel was the best for him, but since she wasn’t in a position to help him, she wasn’t comfortable offering empty platitudes just for the sake of speaking.
“I appreciate your honesty. Have you spoken with Logan about this?” She asked, trying to indulge him a bit.
She felt genuinely sorry for this man and despite her need to get the information she had set out to get, Samantha wasn’t a robot. She couldn’t just jump right into the meat of the matter when he was so apparently distraught.
“I haven’t. I don’t want to burden him with my problems. Logan’s a great guy. He’d try his best to do something to fix this and I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the company for me to stay at this point.”
They had something in common. Always looking out for the best interests of others, despite the heavy load they might burden.
“I don’t know him all that well, but I urge you to at least share this with him. In the meantime, I’m grateful for your expertise and the opportunity to pick your brain before you leave.” Ok, just a little ego boost, and this time Sam definitely saw the lines in his face shift. “Since we’re officially starting over,” she followed that with a smile of encouragement, “maybe you could tell me about the people who work for you?”
The right buttons must’ve been pushed because Jeff began talking and he couldn’t seem to stop. He offered her his professional and personal opinion on the people that worked for him, sounding more and more like a proud parent.
According to him, they were the most competent group of people within the company. It didn’t hurt that he hired most of them himself. He didn’t just have praise; he also gave her some insight into the personal issues he would occasionally encounter with a few of them, but nothing she hadn’t already had experience with. New families, single employees who liked to party sometimes too much, one still in school trying to juggle too many things. Yep, she had seen these before.
They spent the next two hours outlining the projects, which manager owned each, as well as timelines and specific requirements. He saved the biggest for last, and just as he started to give her the details she’d been waiting patiently to hear, there was a knock on the door. Sam shifted in her chair to look behind her, and her heart almost leapt out of her chest.
“Excuse me. I didn’t mean to interrupt, but I wanted to see if I could borrow Ms. Kielty for a little while.”
“Yes, sir.” Jeff stated with less tension in his voice than he had just a couple of hours before. “Sam, I look forward to talking to you later. We’ll need some additional time to go over the upcoming project, but I think we can cover it in a couple of hours.”
“Thank you for your time this morning, Jeff. Will this afternoon work for you? I promise not to keep you too late.” She smiled back at him and noticed his eyes brighten a little. “Then, tomorrow you can introduce me to the team, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to go over some things with them.”
“I’ll make sure to set aside the time.” Jeff stood from his chair and took Sam’s outstretched hand, shaking it firmly. “I’ll see you this afternoon. She’s all yours, Logan.”
Oh hell. Sam felt her face redden from the comment even though Jeff had meant it in the most innocent of ways. She worked hard to get Jeff over his current anger and moving on to the task at hand, and she felt as though she had been successful, but the last comment wiped away all of her confidence in one fail swoop.
“Thanks, Jeff.” Logan motioned for Sam to precede him out of the office. As she headed toward his office, he cleared his throat causing her to turn to look at him.