Pete had forgotten.
It took him 34 years to get to his current role of SVP of Operations and he didn’t regret any of it. He deserved it. After all who cared more about the organization?
But now a weird feeling was creeping in. What was that? Was it compassion? Was he sad?
Every time a department or one of his employees tried to put themselves ahead of the company claiming to want more flexibility, he pushed back. He knew that their productivity would fall and had the numbers to prove it.
A couple years Tony, who was a couple years out of college came into his office with a pitch to work from home two days per week. Pete stood his ground. How would their teammates be able to count on them? What if he needed him in a crisis? Not to mention the inevitable slippery slope that would follow.
It seemed people didn’t get it anymore. Erica recently came into his office asking for some time off and he told her to toughen up before running through his “war stories” of the early 90s.
“If only you knew what I had to put up with in the old days! This is what is supposed to be like…if you want to one day be in my position that is.”
Yet there was always a weird feeling that he couldn’t get to shut up. Okay, maybe after a few rolling rocks, but never at work.
He couldn’t push it away. When he saw the images from China he dismissed them. But now he saw the images from Italy, the homeland of his grandmother and it tore him up a little.
“What am I doing here? Why do I pretend like this fictional company is more important than everything else?”
He wasn’t sure where he was headed but he knew that he had to ignore those old voices.
He started typing.
“Everyone go work from home. Take care of yourself and the people that need you. If you can’t do your best work right now that’s okay.
Put your life first. I never did.”
He hit send as a tear came down his cheek.
He wasn’t sure what was next but he knew what he had forgotten.