Get Your Priorities Straight

My brother got married a few years back. The week of the wedding my family was pretty much abuzz with finalizing plans for the wedding. My mom can get pretty tense when it comes to planning things. She likes things planned out pretty much to the minute and any deviation in those plans is not only frowned upon but likely to bring about some kind of verbal tongue-lashing. So, the emphasis put on me that week was simple, don’t do ANYTHING that might upset the wedding. I thought I was safe.

This was back when I was working with the worst company that ever has or ever will exist in the history of this or any universe, Aon Consulting (please, never use them for anything. Find out who their biggest competitor is and then use them for your business needs). I had just moved into a new department that consisted of two insanely dedicated people and myself. I was still wavering on the fence between devoting myself to my career at this company and wondering if I should be looking elsewhere. Fortunately I had a boss named Larry and he pretty much helped me decide what I needed to do. I needed to get the hell out of there.

Larry came to me about Monday of that week. He announced that we would all be spending the better part of that week experiencing some kind of training on this new product the company was introducing and would need to get that training at the company location in Winston-Salem North Carolina.

Oh no, thought I. I had been watching the news. I knew a hurricane was likely to come into the Florida region that week. It was predicted to miss North Carolina entirely, but those darn hurricanes have this tendency not to do what they are predicted to do. Plus, I new that this meant the storm would likely break apart and then extend itself from Florida and directly across our flight path from North Carolina to Chicago. Such things can cause flights to be delayed, was my concern. I tried to plead my case.

“I have a wedding this weekend,” I said to Larry. “I don’t think I should go on this trip. I have to be back, one way or another, by Friday and I can’t risk getting stranded in North Carolina.”

I received no pity. Instead it was as if Larry could not possibly understand why I would be putting some sort of family function before my job? This was, it turns out, the basic fundamental difference between my beliefs and those of Aon Consulting (the worst company in the history of this or any universe throughout the span of time). Aon was the kind of place where you expected to put the company first and yourself and everyone around you second or third. It was like some bizarre Communist hold-out where you were supposed to put the party’s needs ahead of your own.

I was never able to reconcile that. I got lucky and got home in time for the wedding, but Larry and I never did see eye to eye. Once he decided to write me up for making a mistake on a project I knew my time at Aon was limited. I did manage to last about another year, but only did so by transferring away from Ol’ Uncle Lar and working somewhere else that turns out to be even worse. A company that will not let you make mistakes, like a human being, is one that should not be taken seriously and deserves to go out of business, it’s management drawn and quartered and their bodies hung upside down in a public square to be torn apart by the public and various vermin and birds. That’s just my opinion, anyway.

I have talked about this before but it seems to be something that comes up a lot. We have our priorities around here a little out of whack. Your job should be what you do to pay bills. Never, ever, ever, ever should it be something that comes before your family. It shouldn’t come before your friends. It should be down around 5 or 6 on your priority scale.

My scale goes something like: family, friends, pet, writing, housing, job� Notice I put writing in there. Writing is my passion. Yes, I would like it to be my job and, yes, I do get paid to write from time to time. Doing your passion is something that should take priority. However, I am willing to bet that most of your out there are not doing your passion as your job. If you are, then you are in a different situation than I am talking about.

Even so, your passions should not take the place of family and friends. Nothing should take the place of your family and friends. These are the people who are going to stick by you through the thick and the thin. These are the people who still want to be around you even when you screw up and suck at whatever it was you just did. These are the people you should be willing to stay up until all hours of the night to help or talk to rather than anything related to your job. Yeah, Larry was also the guy who once came into the office at 2:30 in the morning on a Sunday to make sure something got done for a client. The same man who had a wife and child.

It’s epidemic. People seem to be confused about this. They spend so much of their time locked in a cubicle, staring at a computer screen that seems to be sending out some kind of will-sapping rays that they put the company before their own personal needs. This is wrong and this needs to change.

No company is worth that. Ever. Nothing you sacrifice should be sacrificed because of a soulless company. Sacrificing for a friend or loved one is noble and a good thing. Sacrificing for a faceless corporation is just outright stupid and it achieves nothing.

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