Remember What’s Important

It took me a while today to figure out exactly what I wanted to write, and I kept coming back to a conversation I had this morning with a friend of mine.

We were talking about some changes at her current employer, and how some of the transition they are going through really negatively impacted staffing to where it was also impacting the way they could serve their customers.  To say that it was not well-planned would be an understatement.  She brought up to me how she was going to be going in late today because she was on the way to pick up her son at the airport.  He is a Marine who is coming home on leave, and she has not seen him since November.  When her direct manager reported up the chain that they would need staffing help this morning, he was basically told to inform her that this morning was “blocked off” for people being out; he responded to her in the about the same way I would have, and told his boss that, “life goes on.”

And that’s when it hit me.  Too often, we all tend to forget what is really important in life.  To my friend, seeing her son for the first time in four months was the most important thing about today, and rightfully so.  I would have done the same thing.  To her employer, her family was at best secondary to them.  That is not how she operates, and that is not how I operate.

Anybody that knows me, or has worked with me, knows one thing about me, and that is that my family comes first.  I live by that rule, and I expect those who work for/with me to live by that rule as well.  As a supervisor, that is probably one of my top 5 rules, and it is one that is not subject to negotiation.  Ever.

I was telling Amber about my conversation over lunch today, and she mentioned that she knows of a person who would not work well for or with me.  That is the case for several reasons, but one of them is that this person does not seem to understand the importance of family.  They get to work at 7am, and stay until 8pm, and make their family secondary to work.  That cannot be a key to a successful family life.

One of the key factors for me on the occasions where I have been searching for a job has been how they view families.  There has to be a sense that it is known that family comes first.  For as long as I can remember, one of the deciding factors in where I work is how comfortable Amber felt with where I was working or where I was thinking about working; if she did not get the sense that I would not be working somewhere that understands the importance of family, I would start the search for a new job (I think part of it for her is knowing that I am working with people who will “keep me in line” during the day.).

I am happy that my friend stood by her belief that her family comes first, and the most important thing about today was that her Marine son was coming home.  I can only imagine the scene at the airport (even though she claims to be tough, I know better, and I know she cried a little), and I also know she would have lived with regret if she had decided that her job was more important than her son.

 

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