Betrayal of A Company Man
Published on: Feb 06, 2017

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Started like a month ago...forward, never straight...

Last Friday was my 58th Birthday and I awoke feeling a bit down as I awoke alone as I have now been single for the past 30 years, nose to the grindstone, working 16+ hours a day, six days a week, for 40 years (199,680 hours) on multiple projects for multiple companies for multiple decades in multiple industries in multiple cities yet still alone and with not much to show for it really due to my rather hedonistic "cart before the horse" , "rob peter to pay paul" or "ten cent millionaire" lifestyle as my late father used to call it. He and I were on two different planets I used to think and with him being born in 1922 part of "the greatest generation" and I at the tail end of the "baby boomer generation" having been born in 1958 I guess we pretty much were. Now that was a huge "generation gap" as it was called and reported back then but when I look at the difference between myself and my son born in 1985 part of the Y section of the Millennials is it any different or perhaps even more of a "gap"? My son and I were pretty close as he was growing up even though I did not raise him yet we are estranged now and I've yet to meet my 3 year old grandson and 1 year old granddaughter, a fact that knaws on my soul to no end every day of my life but I am respecting his wishes and staying away, something my Dad would not have done I can tell you that! Or else I have more guilt than my Dad did lingering out there. I was late or didn't show/call on more than one weekend in his life, every time with a different car and new stepmom and yet another "ceo" of a one man company business card ...I was taught to fake it till ya make it what can I say?

My Pop, a WWII Army Air Corps P-51 Mustang pilot from Altoona, PA study organic chemistry and thermal "goddamnics" (dynamics) by day put himself through school by working nights up in the steel mills of Pittsburg then attending classes by day at St. Vincent's College while his 17 year old bride (mom) lived with his parents back in Altoona with their newborn son (brother Chuck) and he'd take the train home on weekends to be with them. After a brief stint at The Rand Corportion in New Jersey he accepted a position as a research chemist in Rochester, NY at the Eastman Kodak Company. Being a "company man" he toiled away in the chemistry labs of Building 59 in the sprawling Kodak Park campus for 36 years until his retirement in 1984, a year before my son was born. Pop produced over 200 US Patents during his years at Kodak, selling his rights away to the company for $1.00 legal tender in exchange for the promise of a good retirement package and medical benefits for life. He also invested his annual bonus into Kodak stock instead of buying new cars, color TV's and whatever that the entire city seemed to do every spring. He eventually became the director of the research labs then finally Corporate Director of Information Sevices worldwide for Kodak and was responsible for their vast catalog of patents and integrating their many research libraries around the globe via this new thing called the internet.

He was a good father, strict but loving and I, being the youngest, grew up in a much more affuent family than my brother 14 years my senior. My dad and I shared the love of alpine skiing and he supported my very expensive participation in ski racing and even bought a second home in the Lake Placid area so I could train at the US Olympic Training Center at Whiteface Mountain with hopes of competing in the 1980 Olympics there. Well, somewhere along the way I picked up the nasty habit of smoking cigarretes and other combustables and he began travelling to Germany, France & England quite a bit for work and my Olympic dreams literally went up in smoke although I did attend them and was in the arena the night Team USA beat Finland for the gold medal in hockey...a night I'll never forget. My Pop and I got along pretty good except that night before my 1st wedding but I was so drunk on Jim Beam I had to swing at something and Pop was the one in my face saying how irresponsible it was to get drunk the night before my Church wedding and I took a pop or two at him...big deal..

until next time...



About the author

Stephen G. Barr

Senior Advisor, Mentor, Author, Publisher, Angel Investor

United States,Los Angeles

Advisor to 62 startups over the past 5 years as listed on Angel List. Currently seeking advisory positions at startups. I can assist you with product development, fundraising, strategic alliances, setting up and administering an advisory board and more.

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