The Shaman in Francesco

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The Shaman in Francesco

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When I went to work at Ernst and Young, I thought partners were going to figure out in a New York minute that I didn’t belong there because I lacked the intellectual curiosity, problem-solving talent, communication ability, or any of these characteristics of a professional consultant. I was extremely anxious on my first day. When I entered the Orange County office with its oil paintings hanging in the entryway and its staircase connecting the floor on which consulting Partners had offices to the floor on which audit Partners resided, I knew I didn’t belong there. Then I met Francesco; he was a shaman bearing wise council. I felt at ease instantly. Francesco’s friendship and advice were just what the doctor ordered. On the first project I managed, Francesco worked for me as a member of the consulting team. The Partner we reported to did not like Francesco. He didn’t like his style of communication, his style of dress, nor his accent–Francesco was Chinese-Indonesian. I gave up my integrity by sharing in the Partner’s dislike of Francesco. But my opinion was dishonest. He had been my savior, after all. Role forward six years, and Francesco now works for a small consulting firm I own. Francesco is a loyal consultant in which I confide my innermost emotions. Unfortunately, my consulting firm went through a period of contraction that meant Francesco had to find employment elsewhere. Still, we met regularly to explore opportunities to grow my company so that Francesco and I could work on the same team again. As always, Francesco was a source of limitless ideas and friendship. Francesco passed away on September 2nd, 2020. He was taken from humanity at much too young of an age. He did not succumb to COVID. I don’t even remember how COVID affected me at the time because I was so distraught over Francesco’s passing. I didn’t lose a colleague. I lost a friend.

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This item was submitted on January 21, 2023 by William L. Weeks using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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