I have found lately that the world has become a very hard place. In all the necessity to multi-task, perform and produce beyond our abilities, and work outside the box -- a term I loathe -- we exert ourselves in order to prove our worth to the organization, but we have lost our humanity. We are beginning to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Deltas and Epsilons in "Brave New World". We are expected to be robotic, and not have lives outside of work, or -- God forbid -- human feelings.
Yesterday, a young man with whom I have worked for several years, stood up, put his access pass on his boss's desk, and walked out of the office. He had had enough, and in my heart I cheered for him. The young man, Robert* (*not his real name) had given his notice to quit a couple of weeks ago, and had been planning to go back to school. Just hours after he gave his notice, his father died. His father had also worked in our organization as a physician, and was loved and respected by everyone. Last weekend was his memorial service, and everyone turned out to pay their respects. As a result of his father's death, Robert felt a bit lost and decided going back to school at this time was more than he could handle. He approached his boss and asked if he could retract his notice to quit. After all, no one else had been hired for the job yet, in fact it had not even been posted. Robert's boss would have been happy to give him his job back. She likes him, he does a good job, and it would have saved her a lot of effort having to find someone to replace him. But the final word did not rest with her, and a "higher-up" said, "No, Robert could not have his job back."
I often use the phrase, "If I ruled the world..." when I see something with which I do not agree. In this case, if I ruled the world, Robert would have his job back, and he would have the opportunity to grieve his father's death with as little turmoil in his life as possible. But that, unfortunately, was not the case. He was made to serve the rest of his time at the job, in an office where his father also had worked. Robert now had not only lost his father, but he had lost his job, and his connection to his father and the folks who were part of his and his father's lives for such a long time. Can you even imagine the weight of the sorrow Robert is carrying?
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think there was a better way to handle this situation. Robert has worked at the organization for six years. He deserves better; he deserves to be treated like a human being, at the very least.
"When the individual feels, the community reels." Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World".
You must be very careful not to show your humanity; someone may be watching.