My uncle Richard was born in 1954. He was only half a generation older than me – my mother’s much younger brother. He died in a car accident when he was a bit younger than I am now, and every now and again I am reminded of the loss of potential. If Richard was alive now, I imagine he would be very successful in whatever field he was in – perhaps not quite the White House Director of Communications, but that’s hard to top from New Zealand. He topped New Zealand in his final year of school, and was just as successful at university.
I last saw him just as I was starting my career. Because we lived in different countries, I have quite distinct memories of conversations with him, very different to each other, as they were separated by 2 years each time, which for me particularly, meant big changes in how I was thinking, and what I was doing at the time.
Alone of anyone in my extended family (my brothers and cousin came later), he was in the corporate world, and successfully. I was just starting out, and I still remember him casually asking me questions about my job, and the company I worked for, and how my career path might move. That conversation opened my eyes to the much bigger picture of corporate life that existed outside the narrow confines of an actuarial department.
I imagine that if he was alive today we would have a lot to talk about, and I would have a huge amount to learn from him.
This post is about Richard at work; there was far more to him than that; but imagining him the same age as Toby Ziegler made me wonder, as I often do when I see someone successful that age, what Richard would have done had he lived.