It was a long day yesterday. Back to work after a long weekend, most people did not look like themselves including me. For me it was worse because not only was it back to work after a long weekend, mine had been a busy one with my test and stressful family dinners and I was getting back on a deadline day. I had a report to compile by the end of the day, a report for my team of six people out of which only half had submitted it by morning. I had to get through the rest of the day getting the reports without you know biting anyone’s head off. The last part is the trickiest.
To add to all that chaos, I had a colleague from another team who once again flouted protocol and informed me last minute of a requirement from my team. Breathe in, breathe out I told myself and asked her to send me an email for the same. By afternoon, another colleague came to me with something similar, but this time when I told her to send me the requirement for the same, a weird thing happened. She burst out crying and left.
I just stood there for a moment. Had I said anything? Was it me? I realized my boss was standing right beside me and had seen the entire incident unfold.
Sometime later, another team member I had allocated to a task looked like she was wiping her tears. Dreading what was going to follow, I asked her if she was okay. Her tears began flowing profusely and she asked me amidst sobs if it is ok that she does not do the particular task that day. I reassured her and say of course it is ok, but is she alright. She asks to talk to me in private for a few minutes which extend into forty five.
In those forty five minutes, she tells me her money problems back home. Her father has defaulted on a loan and their family is now being asked to vacate the home they live in by the bank and they have no place really to go. Her father’s business hadn’t been doing too well in the past four years or so. She kept feeling it will get better but now that they have to vacate their home she does not know where this is going and what she will do.
I consoled her as best I could. Shared some experiences of my own. Asked her to think about how to help her father through these tough times. And I left from there feeling humbled. I had a flashback of all the money problems we had throughout my childhood and I felt gratitude for the kindness life is showing now. This is exactly what I fear about business, the instability, the lack that almost definitely follows the flourish and what it does to one’s loved ones. It is for me a big price to pay, one that I may never agree to pay.