My Husband’s Boss

Posted on September 30, 2016


My husband has been working for the consulting practice of a Big-4 firm since 2011. He first came in contact with his current boss, JD*, in 2013 while attempting to transfer from the US practice to Canada.

JD is a partner at said firm. He has at least three decades worth of experience in the consulting sector and teaches at a b-school. Even during the early days in the Canadian practice, Sid talked about how level-headed, mature and benevolent his new boss was. And very soon, I got to experience all of these firsthand.

In 2014, I began looking for a job as a social worker in the non-profit sector. After months of futile applying and getting no interviews, I was beginning to lose faith in myself and the universe. We had made the move from the US to Canada just so that I could follow my dreams. Alas, the dream was eluding me and I spent hours each day wallowing in my miseries. Sid happened to mention this to JD in passing one day. JD asked Sid to forward my resume to him.

Two days later, at 8.30AM, while I was still in bed as an unemployed person with nowhere to go, my cell rang. It was JD. Needless to say, I jumped up. JD asked me if I had a few minutes to talk – he wanted to give me a few tips to customize my resume for the Canadian market. Before I could respond, he proceeded very humbly to say that his learnings come from working in the sector for over thirty years and that his wife is on the board for several non-profits. I was blown away by this humility – it was like he was trying to give me an explanation as to why I ought to take his advice. He waited patiently as I started my laptop and spent 40 minutes with me giving me some very relevant recommendations.

I made the changes and sent him the resume for a last look. And what he told me really moved me. He told me that I needed to add the line – “Completed degree while serving as primary caregiver to my mother with Young Onset Alzheimer’s” – he said he thought it was important for it to be on my resume to convey with conviction what I believe in!

He also gave me some very practical advice. He told me to make a list of all the organizations that I would love to work for and apply to jobs only in those agencies. He encouraged me to volunteer with a couple of causes of my choice. And last but not the least, he told me, “I have seen your resume. It’s not you. It’s the market. You will find a job soon. Just get your foot in the door – with some Canadian experience, you are bound to find success soon.”

These were prophetic words. The day I sent out my new-improved resume, I got an interview. I kid you not. I bombed that interview, but I got several more soon and in a two months, I had a job – a job in my field, but not at the level I needed to be at. I let JD know and he was very happy for me, but told me that it was just the beginning for me.

At their office Christmas party (2014), we were seated with many of Sid’s colleagues. Sid told them how JD had helped me, and we heard so many more of his generosity and kindness towards employees and their families. All of them looked proud to be working for a partner like JD. As a boss, he leads by example even at the workplace, as I have heard.

Based on his advice, I began volunteering with two organizations – Distress Centers of Toronto (to get clinical experience) and the Alzheimer Society (well, it’s my dream job!). In six more months, I got a job at the Alzheimer Society as a social worker (woohoo!!) and  the Program Manager from Distress Centers gave me a glowing recommendation!

I did not think to let JD know. But Sid saw him briefly and just happened to mention it to him. What do you know, he emailed met to congratulate me! He said that he was very excited for me to have landed my dream job! This man moves me to tears.

Needless to say, I have passed on JD’s resume recommendations and career advice to several people since then. I hadn’t met him till the Christmas party last year (2015), six months after I started at the Alzheimer Society. I went upto him, introduced myself and extended my hand to greet him, he opened his arms to hug me instead; “We’re way past handshakes,” he said!

I agree!

Thank you, JD (whose name I have changed to protect privacy,) not only for your help, but teaching all those you connect with about being a good person, especially in the corporate world!

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