A week and a half ago, one of my staff members, Joanne, lost her husband. He had cancer, and it took him from her when he was just 48 years old. Last week, there was a wake and funeral. The wake was on Wednesday, and the funeral was on Thursday. Everyone wanted to go to the wake. People could have gone in the evening instead of the afternoon, but so that everyone could go to the wake together and show Jo our complete support, I closed the department.
Today, a longtime employee of another department who has known Jo for years made a point of telling me how wonderful she thought it was that I did what I did. I know the look on my face had to be complete confusion. At first, when she mentioned what I did for Joanne, I honestly wasn't sure what she meant. Then she explained that she was talking about closing the department, adding that "everyone is talking about it, and is so impressed that you did that for her. And that you went to the funeral, too."
Are other bosses so cold-hearted that doing something so simple stands out? Really, what else would I have done? This is one of our own, and she suffered a horrible loss. The right place for all of us to be was by her side, and that meant me, too, both for the wake and the funeral. I'm just amazed that people were amazed. Am I not enough of a prick to be in my job? Sometimes I wonder. But I'm not changing. I will continue to do the right thing as I see it. In the end, I have to look at myself in the mirror, and I want to be happy with the man I see. It's unfortunate that an ordinary gesture of kindness is noteworthy. It really shouldn't be!