Grown-Up Land

We were in the postholiday season of anxiety, boredom, and lake-effect snow. Unless you were an Eskimo, you weren’t spending any time outside, and that makes normal people edgy. It seemed as though the surreal Cleveland winter would never let go, and our business would never take hold.

That winter I was still old Crump’s senior VP of finance. I was lying low in my office on Cleveland Works’ version of Mahogany Row—pressed wood-grain paneling, plastic upholstery, sooty acoustic ceiling tiles—trying to come up with reasons to think well of myself, despite the apparent lack of impact I was having on the things I was being paid to have an impact on.

Sid Levine, the head HR guy for the last hundred or so years, rapped twice on my doorjamb and leaned in with his jaunty, practiced smile.

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