She said she had meant to call or send a card countless times but that something for work always got in the way.
Her remorse was obvious.
What resonated so much was being able to identify with how her good intentions had gotten lost in the swirl of appointments; to do lists; and grumpy, impatient bosses addicted to impossibly short deadlines.
I’d been there.
One scenario that still haunts me is a friend whose long-time husband asked for a divorce. She thought they were happily married and was dumbfounded to discover he’d been seeing someone for over a year. My friend’s ordeal was happening at the same time my job was operating at warp speed—my employer was in the process of a merger and I was the HR/OD point person. A workday of less than 14 hours was a treat.
Along with hubby time, exercise, gardening, and sleep, time with her sadly took a backseat to work demands. Our friendship was never the same. She couldn’t forgive me for not being there anytime she needed support. Her partial withdrawal hurt, but I understood. I’d let work become my number one priority and wasn’t there for her.
Was that the right thing to have done?
I know my boss and employer would say it was. Others would rightly disagree.
We all get to decide what’s important to us. Where we spend our time. Who we spend it with. What boundaries we set. What master we choose to serve.
And my choice back then was wrong.
That boss and employer are part of my past. They sure didn’t send me a get well card this summer. In fact, they didn’t even say thank you for the merger that was so well-received by the employees of both companies.
I made an either/or choice when it should have been a both/and one. I should have figured out how to carve out some quality time for my friend while handling my work.
I should have been courageous enough to tell my boss that I was going to do a better job of managing all my priorities, not just the work-related ones.
Today I have that courage. Just wish I’d found it sooner.
Image source before quote: morgueFile.com