November 28th, 2022
I always get sappy and emotional this time of year (“How is that different than usual?” you ask; “Shut up,” I reply) as an important anniversary in early December comes up.
In business, you can make decisions based on common sense and objective financial goals, or you can make them based on compassion and morality.
A good professional will tell you to choose the business.
A good person will tell you to choose the people.
Almost six years ago, I got a new job. During that time, I was in a very bad place personally. My co-workers noticed. They fired me.
I want to stress something at this point: they didn’t know me. They had no reason to want to help me, beyond basic human empathy. But they had no obligation to me, nor do I believe they are bad people for cutting me loose. In fact, I think most people would have cut me loose. At the time, I would have cut me loose.
That being said, I went back to the job that I had left for the new one.
There, I had a boss who gave me too many chances. I don’t think I’m a special case; I think that’s just who he is. I don’t know if I did anything to deserve more than one opportunity, but I was given them.
At some point, during my second run at this job, I did the unimaginable:
I got better.
I was able to get closer to the thing that I wanted to be as opposed to thing that I was. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t easy, some days I want to burn myself to the ground, but I’m here, and it’s because someone cared enough about me to invest in the idea that I could be something more.
There are a few of those people in my life, but I know that at a job it is a rare thing to choose people over business and I exist because someone did.
That’s a gift and all I can do is try to give people the same time of day in the hopes that they believe in themselves enough to give themselves a chance.
As I get closer to another year of being this me, I reflect on how I got here. It wasn’t by accident. It isn’t coincidence.
It is the intentional spirit of human compassion and the belief in our community, the people who exist directly around us every day.
And I am thankful that, no matter what you read on the internet, that spirit survives.
Just like I did.