Thursday, May 29, 2008

Life Lessons

So, smart people learn from their mistakes and really smart people learn from other people's mistakes.

My friend and co-worker lost his job yesterday and I saw it coming. For about two years.
My job is to help people be successful in their jobs, but I'm not anyone's boss, so my influence has to be subtle. Subtle didn't work with my friend. I was supportive, coached, suggested, occasionally became cross, but I didn't get the chance to tell him if he didn't get his stuff together, he'd be fired. Then he was.

I couldn't help but reflect on my own mistakes - it was so familiar watching his self-destruction. We're a lot alike, he and I - and even shared the same birthday. He worked for my company for a really long time - clearly too long - and he knew his strengths, but refused to work on his weaknesses. I think in the back of his mind, he believed that if he just didn't do a good job on certain tasks, they would be reassigned and he wouldn't have to do them anymore. He acted like a victim, got lazy, had righteous indignation and didn't believe it would happen.

So what is this about us, that we do this to ourselves. I have an amazing capacity for convincing myself I'm right when I'm wrong (though I'm working on being better about that) and my friend did too. But what he didn't do was face his challenges and deal with them. He would rather duck and cover rather than confront someone face-to-face and he risked and lost his job because of it.

I want to learn something from this. I wanted to be a better support to him, but he needed to decide for himself. I want to learn to be brave and confront challenges even when my whole body resists. I usually know what the right thing is - but I don't always make myself do it. I want to. And I want my friend to, too.

He's not returning my phone call -
I so hope he does.

1 comment:

Fred said...

I'm so sorry to do this, but I'm linking to you as part of an internet meme - now you have to list six random things about yourself.

Details here.

Again ... so very, very sorry!