How goodwill can shape reality

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This is a story that happened in my life, though I'll be a bit skimpy on details here and there. It is about a friend and co-worker. Him and I constituted a team of sorts, or rather the remnants of one. After prolonging his contract as a freelancer, the company let him go shortly thereafter.

He is a young guy, younger than me in fact, and his prospects are good I'd say. Still, letting a young guy go caused sadness among us others. We always feel "left behind" as slowly the life is drained from our branch of the company. The money "saved" here - which drains our ability to be productive for the overall company - is then ill-spent somewhere else, looking for the cheapest employment opportunities (something that so far hasn't benefitted the company at all, but I digress). I had even been barred from giving him a glowing reference as the company has a policy in place against giving references for freelancers (it's a legal thing).

Far from being angry with the people, he threw a big party to say goodbye to all those he had come in touch with - even the manager that in the end chose him for the downsizing. Several things happened at the party - people showed that they care about him in many ways, like also talking to one higher level manager if we could hire him back later as an internal employee. And another freelancer asked me about my estimation of his skill and professionality.

As the evening moved on, he had that one drink too much that made us think he shouldn't drive anymore, but he wasn't easily swayed. I pulled in a very convincing co-worker, and together we talked him out of that plan, arranged a bed to sleep for him and took him out to the bars since he couldn't drive anymore anyways. Already I was delighted that all these people had come together to form a small group of friends that cared enough to throw out their plans for the night, pool their money for treating him to drinks and making sure he wouldn't risk his license and probably his or someone else's life by driving under the influence.

Tell you what, we had fun. It was a nice evening and I was glad for it. I like these people and meet up with them every week. But even I had to overcome my own laziness, decided to meddle with his affairs and prodded everybody a bit so that we wouldn't just give in, myself included. It wasn't much, but it is sometimes way too easy not to do the right thing and regret it a lot later.

But the goodwill of the people didn't end there. The other freelancer had taken my word as a glowing reference and tomorrow my co-worker is invited for an interview with the boss of his agency. The reference I had been barred from giving him officially could not have counted as much as my vouching for him with a guy who knows me and respects my assessment enough to rely on it.

All over people had moved just a little, but to me it means we all did the right thing and made the world - including his - a little better that day. Everybody had been willing to sacrifice a little, or to trust, or to go a bit of that extra mile for another. That makes me smile.

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Tags: goodwill


  1. CFTraveler's Avatar
    This made me smile.
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