As I sat in the rusty colored booth with my once pristine silk shirt, I anxiously opened up my fortune cookie. Who actually believed in these things anyway? Oh yeah, I did.
I cracked the cookie and there laid the words, “Be tactful: what goes around comes around.” Interesting, … I thought and that was it. My friend had called yesterday and asked me for lunch, busy but willing to squeeze in the time given the urgency of her voice. We agreed to meet at the Thai Box which was just across the street from my office. I listened to her intently, though admittedly I was preoccupied wondering if the stains would come out of my $300 silk shirt and whether I was to start looking for a new job though I had just started one, what a bizaare morning. Okay, so maybe the shirt didn’t cost me $300 but it was at one time listed at that much when I bought it for $50 at the second hand store. My mind wandered to my friend Lilli … she had helped me pick out the shirt, where was she, what was she doing…. would she be disappointed I had ruined the shirt?
Focus, Sue is telling you some heart felt information on the choice she made given the difficult decision she had in front of her. To stay in this country and build up a career or to go back to her home country and support her husband. Why was I so stupid to think I could master chop sticks again after so little practice. Urgh, the reason for the stains on my shirt. The decision was made Sue would rent her house and return to China. If things were to go as planned with her husband in a few years they would land in America. Apparently her grandmother’s trip to Canada was what as needed to help move her decision along.
I couldn’t help wondering through our discussions over the past year whether I had helped or hindered her, $5000 hardly seems worth the lesson she endured, but the best lessons in life come from experience. You see I actively recruited Sue to come work for the company I was at, the bonus system in place was set up that I would receive 2500 if she stayed for 6 months and 2500 if she stayed for a year. I stayed at the company just long enough to collect the bonus and then left. What a mirage. I honestly could not believe after working there for 1 year how the management style and culture was so far from what I was promised and lead to believe.
Sue worked hard, she worked more hours than any other person I knew there. She took at pay cut to come work there for the promises made to her. She had her first baby when she started and even brought her mother and father in law to Canada to help her so she could work more.
I felt responsible for the imbalance in her personal life. Sure I got $5000 bonus, but I took responsibility for looking out for her and as adults people have there own choices. When I left the company, I made the call to try to get her in touch with a competitor thinking the atmosphere would be better.
This is why we were meeting today, she wanted to tell me that she pursued the opportunity with the competitor company, but in the end had decided to pursue a family life and was hopeful of the things that would bring.
As I walked back to my office, it occurred to me the message in the fortune cookie. Yesterday, a bizarre string of emails went back and forth after I sent my draft report for review to a few people in the department. It was my first assignment I had in the 2 weeks I was there and did not anticipate what followed. Basically, I was caught in the middle of a territory war between my boss and another senior official. Prior to going for lunch with Sue, my boss and I met, she was sorry for recruiting me from another company and due to the recent events suggested I apply for different jobs, she offered to help me find one.
Great, just when I start to get in a groove … and then the cookie. I did the same thing with Sue, I actively recruited her and even thought it didn’t turn out I watched out for her. Truly, what goes around comes around. I was saved. Let’s hope my shirt is to0!