Thursday, May 13, 2010

Urging acts of kindness during the not-so-fun times

Ever notice how people -- people everywhere -- are quick to acknowledge and celebrate the good, fun, happy times? But the minute something not-so-fun, something serious, something a little scary shows up -- everyone's mum and all of a sudden they've got work to do?

Yeah, I've seen it a ton. And it pisses me off.

I'm thinking about office environments, but this extends to social circles as well.

Everywhere I've worked -- offices, restaurants, swimming pools -- everyone jumps up to celebrate the good times: birthdays, pregnancies, new jobs, marriages. Cake, cards, and parties abound.

But the minute someone has a health problem? Or goes on medical leave? Or has a death in the family? It's like, "Who? Suzie? Does she even work here?"

I'm sure many of you have workplaces where everyone's like family, they bought you flowers when you were in the hospital, yadda yadda. (If so, PLEASE tell me about it in the comments or email me. I wanna know.)

So far (I'm lucky) I've only had to deal with the death of a loved one twice in my life.

Both times the response from my workplace-at-the-time was, "When are you coming back?"

Not one sympathy card. Not one "I'm sorry." No one came to the wake, either time. And that shit sucks.

I'm thinking of this now because lately Dear Amy has had a rash of, "I was out with major surgery and not one person from work asked how I was or sent a card" letters.

And I'm so with them. I am of the belief that work buddies are just that -- work buddies. Not that you can't make friends, perhaps even good, true friends, at work. I've seen it happen. Just not to me or anyone I'm close to.

Whether you love your co-workers or not, 40 hours a week is a lot to spend with someone. Work is very important to most people. Some people are so defined by it that any little shake up at work shakes up their whole world.

So if you've got a co worker who was seriously ill (not the flu, I mean hospitalized), had surgery, just experienced a death in the family, any thing kinda sucky -- buy them a damn 99 cent card, get the office to sign it, and toss it on his/her desk. Sincere or not, the gesture will be appreciated.

Of course, you could always sing your co-worker a song: