So, I’m probably writing this from a slanted perspective last night, having spent the last two weeks at home with only my dogs for company, and yet still had to endure two hours of drama created by a person that I have made every effort to distance myself from. My efforts have included leaving my job AND cutting people I value out of my social life purely as a way to safeguard myself from my personal information reaching this individual. Yes, it might seem drastic, and it probably is. However, having spent years working in one of the most dramatic offices I have heard of, I learned just how damaging and enduring this type of environment is.
I’m not a thin-skinned person. I moved from England to the United States when I was 23, leaving all my friends and family behind. I endured wide-spread prejudice against foreign people in the down economy, and applied for literally thousands of jobs before I was able to find one in my field. This job gave me a lot of skills and great experiences, but at the cost of watching people I cared about routinely fired for no longer matching the company vision. However, I loved my company and I loved my job, and never thought that I would leave it willingly. I saw a lot of excellent qualities in the people I worked with: determination, intelligence, strength, insightfulness, and drive. All in abundance. These were incredibly smart, professional, people.
The one quality that lacked was genuine kindness. For years I missed the absence of this, happily blinded and distracted by success and shiny new phones and computers. However, at the time that I faced a time that kindness was needed – when I faced personal victimization from a fellow colleague – it was nowhere to be found.
Many Americans have struggled to understand why this is a good reason to leave a high paying job, my husband included. I will say this, that I don’t want to become the type of person that doesn’t care if kindness doesn’t exist, and is desensitized to workplace bullying. To me, the most important thing for me as a person is to keep my integrity. It is more important to me than money, success, even my marriage. When I have children I will tell them that the biggest achievement they can strive for is to be a good person, a kind person, someone that wants to help others in need.
To me, that’s the most desirable quality another person can have – for me, and for my children, and for any of my friends or family. Kindness transcends all languages, all cultures, and all borders. I hope that I never lose my pursuit of kindness, or that I never learn to devalue it in favour of money, popularity, or success.