Someone quietly pulled me aside in the hallway this morning.
“Did you hear about Jared Budge?”
“No. Oh, god. Did he quit?” (Inner monologue: “Man, I hope he didn’t quit, he’s awesome.”)
“He passed away in a car accident last night.”
Last night?? Last night??? But he was JUST white boarding out a new idea for how we could do a better job at delivering better leads for his team. But he was JUST smacking the table and smiling because his brand new sales team was going to make their quota this quarter. But he was JUST standing in the hallway, talking with the guys about the trials and tribulations of being a former “Baseball Dad”. But he was JUST telling us about his son that came home from an LDS mission last weekend. But he was JUST getting excited about his first grandchild, expected to arrive sometime this week.
I haven’t worked at this company very long and I hadn’t worked with Jared very long. But HE.WAS.AWESOME. I have been so saddened by this news today. I’ve tried to put my finger on why this loss of someone that I’ve only worked with for a few months will leave such a huge, gaping hole on our team.
Jared was just a fascinating, charismatic person. A few weeks ago we got an email from him, letting us know that he was going to be on the David Letterman show. And sure enough, there he was, out in the audience, being called a “smart-ass Mormon” by David Letterman.
He was a techie, a programmer, a product developer, and an entrepreneur. He was a sales guru and a team leader and a motivator. He was a problem solver and a critical thinker. He had high expectations of his team and of us. He was challenging and constantly raised the bar. He also ran a honey company that had been in his family for generations. (Yes, honey. I know? How random is that?? And the honey is delicious. We have jars of it in our break room and I have it in my Tazo orange tea at work every day.) And Jared had a beautiful family that he adored. And he had a sports car and a motorcycle and was an avid cyclist. Oh yeah, and he was in a band. (I know, right??) And did I mention he had only just joined the company and that his sales team, who are all also brand new to the company, in a brand new role for the company, made their quota last quarter, their FIRST QUARTER as a team?
Here is where I think Jared got his magic: He was PRESENT. Whatever you were talking about, Jared was THERE, fully engaged in the conversation. We all knew that he had this incredible world outside of the office, but he had this amazing ability to bottle up all of that passion and lust for life, and apply it at the end of a long day, at the end of a long week, on a white board, talking about a new idea to deliver better leads.
I am SO GRATEFUL that I got the chance to work with him. I will never forget:
1. YOU CAN LIVE A BIG LIFE. BIGGER THAN YOU THINK YOU HAVE TIME FOR. DREAM BIG.WILD.RIDICULOUS DREAMS AND THEN GO.FOR.THEM. YOU CAN HAVE A WIFE AND FIVE KIDS AND A GRAND-BABY ON THE WAY AND A SPORTS CAR AND A MOTORCYCLE AND BE SUCCESSFUL AT YOUR JOB AND RUN A PROFITABLE SMALL BUSINESS ON THE SIDE. OH YEAH, AND YOU CAN BE IN A BAND TOO.
3. BE PRESENT.
4. LIFE IS SHORT. OH, SO VERY SHORT.
5. PUT HONEY IN YOUR TEA. (PREFERABLY, BUDGE’S HONEY.)