The Long Term

DSC_0312Last Friday the kids and I joined Kevin at a New Balance event hosted in Fenway Park’s 600 club. They had the three World Series Trophies on display and we couldn’t resist grabbing a family photo.

Speaking to the group that night was decorated NCAA champion Abbey D’Agostino who recently signed with New Balance as a professional athlete. She spoke to the group about some of her past races and what it is like to be a New Balance athlete now. She received offers from other companies but in the end chose New Balance.

(I paraphrase) She felt that New Balance valued her as a entire person not just as an athlete or a commodity. She had been especially appreciative of this because she had recently been injured. (Newly signed and injured – a stressful position.) She told us that the person in charge of signing athletes at New Balance called to encourage her to “get healthy and rest – we think long term”. Seemingly simple statements can lift mountains of weight.

Her talk resonated with me. When Kevin was hired by New Balance he was saddled with of a year long noncompete from his prior employer. The terms stipulated that he could not be rehired within the same industry within one year. That is an immeasurably long time when supporting a family in a lack luster job market. New Balance agreed to hire Kevin despite this contract and Kevin gave his notice. We waited in good faith that New Balance would be there to meet us on the other side.

Although it was tight financially, it was a great career move and a wonderful opportunity for him to spend time with our family. But about a week into this new arrangement I had a minor panic attack. What if New Balance decided Kevin wasn’t worth the wait? What if they needed to move faster and fill the position sooner? What would we do? We had taken a huge risk. What were we thinking?!!!

As I was fretting, Kevin handed me his cell phone. “You should listen to this voice mail from my future boss.”

Again paraphrasing…..

Kevin I know this is probably an anxious time for you and your family as you wait out your noncompete contract. You’re probably asking yourself “what have I done?” We want you to know that New Balance is looking forward to having you. We believe that life is a marathon not a sprint and we are willing to wait for you to get the right talent in the right job. Please enjoy this time with your family. We’ll be in touch.  

I stood there teary-eyed and unbelievably grateful. I had just received a gift of unsolicited reassurance. We were going to be alright. In this age of “instant everything” it is hard to believe there is still such a thing as “the longterm”. I am forever grateful to New Balance for hiring and waiting for Kevin and I’m grateful they still employ a longterm vision. We’ll be rooting for you Abbey D’Agostino ….. for a long time!