One winter night I had to make a run to my local CVS to pick-up a prescription. I pulled into the parking lot where I saw a young mother struggling in the middle of the parking lot after her cart of goods had tipped-over and her young son had fallen from the cart as well. I quickly parked my car, ran over to help. The picture with this post is the actual parking lot where it happened.
Luckily, her son wasn’t hurt. She was incredibly thankful as we got all the contents back into the cart. It was then that I noticed two adults parked and sitting in a car about 15 feet away and facing the young mother. They had been sitting and watching everything unfold before I arrived and while I was helping. I asked the young mother “Have those people been watching you the whole time? Did they even offer help?” She smiled and said “Um, no.”
I was pretty angry and started walking towards the car of adults but said to myself “Ron, forget it. It’s not worth it.”
The same things happen all the time at work. I bet you can identify someone who’s struggling to belong, to get solid footing with their job, falling-behind on a project. Do we look the other way when we see this? Do we pretend we don’t notice? Do we say “not my problem?”.
Everyone, everywhere needs to go home at the end of the day feeling consequential, knowing that what they do at work is valued and that people truly depend on them.
Struggling on the job can lead to incredible feelings of self-doubt, sadness, isolation, hopelessness. That’s where inviting someone to lunch comes in. That’s where asking people how they’re doing comes in. That’s where patterning good work behaviors comes in. That’s where mentoring comes in.
I’m not sure that I buy-in to the idea that we all need a best friend at work but we all need to know that our co-workers care enough about us to help when we’re struggling.