This week I learned something about “work-family.”
Yes, work is not family–it’s your job.
But on the job we meet people that influence us, change us, and sometimes inspire us.
Not everyone has a positive impact on us–some people we work with are bad, unbalanced, selfish, biased, and abusive–they bring their personal craziness into the office.
But some are truly good people out there–and they leave a lasting impact.
This week was the first time I experienced someone in my group passing away suddenly.
She was at work Monday and Tuesday–we had talked and joked.
I remember she wore pink on Tuesday and it matched a pink stuffed animal on her desk–she looked happy or at peace.
By early Wednesday morning, I was getting texts then calls that she had passed away (I simultaneously let my boss know).
One day she was there in the office (and had been for some 30 years) and the next day she was gone.
But there was something special about this lady and how she interacted with the team.
She seemed to touch people far and wide with her outreach, caring for others, joking around, and good spirit despite whatever challenges she herself may have been going through.
When she passed this week, people were in my office and the halls crying–they loved this lady, their coworker and friend.
At 9 AM, I gathered the broader team to announce her passing. “One of our own has passed.” I spoke and then went around offering others to say a few words, which some surely did.
At 10 AM, I sent a notification of the passing to the people in the entire building (and others associated).
Later in the day, there was a toast to her and more speeches from up and down the chain to remember this good lady as well as to pull together as a team to support each other.
By the next day, things had quickly moved to care for the family, packing her office things and memorializing her, as well as provisions for some grief counseling.
[Note: I am blessed with an extraordinary high-performance team, and this passing was not only a shock but added to the intensity of the work we do and how much of it there is.]
Once we have all the funeral arrangements, then next up is sending out an broader department-wide notice–and a large attendance for her is expected.
What I learned is that while work itself can be productive and meaningful, through doing good to others and sincere personal interactions on the job, there can be bonds formed that can have a personal impact on people and bring tears to their eyes. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)