Thursday, January 24, 2019

The place is now just a little bit worse...

Patty, a colleague at work, died this past week.  The details of her passing aren't all that important, other than the fact that she knew it was coming.  Like all things Patty, I have no doubt she was her own wonderful self up until the end.

To explain even why I'm writing this posting I first need to go back to February of 2017.  I was starting a new job with a new company.  This was the first "new" company I had worked for in over 28 years.  Having spent those 28 years thoroughly dipped in the culture of one organization, I didn't know what to expect on my first "new job" day.  Fortunately for me, I knew one or two people there, and there also happened to be some folks who were simply kind to me from day one.

The latter was Patty.

I am not exaggerating when I say that Patty was just about the kindest human being I have ever metWhile we didn't work together, we worked in the same office area, which afforded me the possibility of getting, for the benefit of my own sanity and soul, a daily dose of Patty.  That almost always came just as I was nearing the end of some rope, with my usual way of dealing with professional stressors mainly consisting of going for a walk.  There was a routine to my walk:  Before heading out, I always checked with Patty first*.   On the surface, my checking in with her was to see what the weather was like outside.  About 2 millimeters below the surface?  I just needed a dose of Patty's kindness and optimism.  Even when the weather was bad and I had to partake of an indoor walk, I still always tried to check with Patty first.  Instead of "what's it like outside Patty?" my banter was more along the lines of "did you go for a walk today Patty?".  It never mattered specifically what Patty told me on those days; it was all just about getting that daily dose of kindness and optimism.

It was a jolt to all of us at work when Patty became ill.  After she left for medical care I found myself still looking towards her office, almost reflexively.  Intellectually I knew she wasn't there, but part of me still needed that daily dose of kindness and optimism.  I still need it, maybe even more than before.

Now?  Things are challenging at work.  That's not a criticism, but rather a statement of fact that almost all of my co-workers would admit to if given the opportunity.  Those challenges are independent of Patty, but yet since she left, well, the place is now just a little bit worse.

If there is a moral to all of this, well, I think it's this: All of us spend an awful lot of time dealing with the "anti-Patty" types of this world.  This includes the complainers, the mean-spirited, the negative, and the unkind.  Maybe, just maybe, we need to spend more time dealing with the Pattys instead.  Better yet?  Maybe we all need to be more Patty-like ourselves.

Rest in Peace Patty.  





(*) In addition to being one of the kindest human beings on the planet, she was also very healthy, always encouraging her co-workers to eat well and exercise. 

No comments: