I’ve pretty much worked or gone to school or both for 46 years now. I’ve met a lot of amazing people that way. Some have become lifelong friends. Some have taught me some pretty profound life lessons. All have shown me the diversity of humanity.
It is a shame that not every teacher in one’s life will teach by example. Once in a while I’ll come across a coworker who has been so insufferable, hostile and incompetent that no one in the workplace can tolerate that individual. These people are incapable of decent communication and respect, and their default position seems to be one of disdain and fury. They are generally avoided by staff whenever possible.
When this type of person goes on holiday, the mood in the workplace lightens, and productivity increases. Suddenly people enjoy coming to work again. And when these people retire, quit, or are finally fired, I’ve actually witnessed people dancing down the hallways singing, “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead.”
And therein lies the most valuable lesson of all; the lesson of how not to be, how not to treat others. I don’t want people to be singing in the hallways when it’s my turn to leave. I want them to be sorry to see me go. I want them to remember me fondly. I want to be hard to replace.
If you do nothing else, try to live your life in such a way that people will feel as if they’re better for having known you. When all is said and done, there is no better scale by which to be weighed.