All I remember is how incredibly cautious he was. Not that he wasn't decisive, just that he avoided making controversial decisions or doing anything controversial at all.

His e-mails were never more than a few words. He liked it that way: Avoided any nasty paper trail that way.

In fact, he left virtually no trail. No voicemail. No mail, period.

He was Teflon — a leader who moved up because he never jotted anything down.

No memos from his office, save the occasional congratulations for someone he promoted from his office.

He never bantered or gossiped or joked.

He was vanilla. And he liked being vanilla: dull — but reliable.

The worst I heard of him was that he was "workman-like" — like I have any idea what that means.

He was so afraid of offending anyone that rarely did he handle his most important assignments "with" anyone. The fewer to offend, I suspect. The more to impress, I really suspect.

So I suspect it must have come as a complete shock to him to hear he was being let go.

The good soldier was being fired. Ironically replaced by a guy who wrote very long e-mails and left very memorable voicemails and used, let's say, not-so-vanilla language.

Vanilla wasn't cutting it now.

And suddenly this man who had avoided offending anyone or leaving a paper trail that would alarm anyone, now soon to be forgotten by everyone.

Just like that.

He and his entire department wiped out — just like that. Something about a "new direction" for the company.

And to make matters worse, he got the news, not via even a terse phone call, but an e-mail. And worse yet, a group e-mail.

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