She’s About to Embark to Denmark

Written by Paul Strack
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Owning a small family business is often quite the rollercoaster ride. And believe me, I do love rollercoasters. I enjoy the speed, the steep inclines and the sudden dips. I’ve never met a roller coaster that didn’t initially give me some butterflies in my stomach. Since 60% of our CustomXM team are immediate family members, the dips sometimes can come quicker than you expect. When Amanda approached me a few months back, after hours, with a request that she needed to talk to me “as her boss, and as her dad,” the butterflies in my stomach quickly returned.

Amanda has been in a relationship with a fine young man since her sophomore year at Arkansas State. Niko began his college career on the A-State Golf team. He is quite a golfer. Oh, and Niko is from Denmark. During their junior year, Niko transferred to a college in North Carolina. And not too long after that, Covid hit. And Niko found it best that he return home shortly thereafter.

And all during this time – for about 3 years and counting – Amanda and Niko have maintained an extraordinarily long, long-distance relationship. On the good years, they would see each other twice a year, visiting each other’s homeland during the major holidays or during the summer. Sometimes their schedules allowed for only one visit. Both were trying to find out what the “next step” was going to be. And where it was going to be.

So, when this “as a boss and as a dad” meeting request was made, I had a good idea of what was coming next. I braced myself as the rollercoaster began its slow ascent.

Amanda explained that to find out what is best for her and Niko, they need to spend more time together. Technology provides adequate opportunity to stay in touch with loved ones across the globe, but it doesn’t help relationships grow. She and Niko really needed to spend some quality time together to further define their next steps. And to do that, she wanted to go to Denmark. For two months!!!

And just like it does while riding some of my favorite roller coasters, my stomach dropped.

I wasn’t sure who should respond first – her Boss, or her dad. Both were a little nauseous at the moment.

Dad decided to go first. What could I say? Every parent wants the absolute best for their kids. And knowing how these two have remained together for so long while being apart (if that makes any sense at all), I knew this was coming. And this dad certainly hopes a trip to Denmark is in his future! So yes, I encouraged her to do this. It’s an opportunity and you’ve been wanting to figure this out for a while. So yes, as your dad, I say GO! (As I’m fighting back a few tears.)

Now it was the Boss’s turn. What could I say? We all know how hard it is to find good workers, right? And Amanda has really excelled in her role as office manager and CSR. Customers love her. So as her boss, this news hit especially hard. But a good employer wants their team to learn, grow and do what makes them happy, right? But honestly, as her boss, I hated hearing this news. The lump in my throat was more tangible than any recent roller coaster ride. But yes, as your Boss, I say GO! (As I’m fighting back a few tears.)

So now what??

Well, for two months , beginning January 4th, Amanda will be remote. Like in Denmark remote. Working remotely? Maybe, sort of, but yes, somewhat. But life goes on, and so do things here at CustomXM.

We do have a plan! And I think many of you may like this plan. Sandy Costello, who was in Amanda’s position for over 25 years prior to retirement, is temporarily returning to help fill this void. Yep, we are pulling her back in. She did require one condition that she will be able to retire once again on March 1, upon Amanda’s return. Fair enough.

And really, nothing will change for our customers, except the voice on the phone and the smiling face in the front office. Sandy will be responding to all Amanda’s emails, so nothing changes there. All routines, order processes, proof notices and everything else will be the same.

But for two months, a dad and a Boss may be just a tad bit off as the roller coaster ride continues.

Bon Voyage, Amanda!