One downside to the English degree.

An editor who works for me sent me an e-mail today, apologizing for taking two hours to respond to a message. Her reason? She’s at her parents’ home, providing respite care for her Alzheimer’s-addled father while her mother takes a few much-needed days away. And her father had a psychotic episode, pulling the editor’s hair, punching her and threatening her with a knife.

She wrote me that she realized that her English degree didn’t leave her properly equipped to deal with the situation. And so, her father was committed. And she was sorry it had taken a few extra hours to respond to my e-mail, but what could she do to help?

Despite my own personal actions to the contrary, I know that nothing we do at Corporate Behemoth is anywhere near as important as our personal lives. This is especially true in times of crisis, or when we are truly, deeply needed.

What do we do that’s truly important?

It’s a quiet day working from home, so I’m allowing myself to bask in this question just a bit. I’m hoping it will provide a bit of clarity in my ongoing battle with workaholism.

Things I’ve done that are truly important:

  • I’ve physically cared for family members when they needed the help.
  • I’ve rescued an abused and abandoned animal.
  • I’ve made a child feel important.
  • I’ve been a good friend, even when it wasn’t convenient.
  • I’ve attempted to introduce humor into not-so-humorous situations.
  • I’ve been kind to strangers.
  • I’ve held my tongue, even when I really, really, really didn’t want to.

Not a comprehensive list, but not bad. And note to self: working, and Corporate Behemoth, its subsidiaries and clients are nowhere to be found on this list. Not that I don’t do good things for them … but because they aren’t important.

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