Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?
We are often left with moments like these. Sometimes we are caught between doing what is popular and what is right. We may have a principle we feel impelled to stick to in the face of much opposition. It may call for action or inaction. It may call for the truth when the lie is more convenient and expedient.
It may mean acknowledging a personal fault or that of others. Friendships, reputations, business opportunities may suffer or be extinguished.
For me, personally, I wish it could be said I have always done the appropriate and right thing. Often times my own personal shortcomings and prejudices have been in the way of good judgment or apposite conduct or actions.
They are moments you wished could be erased, but to erase them would leave you open to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Many years ago my company asked me to be a part of a taskforce to improve the efficiency of our department. I accepted.
What hung in the balance was our company remaining competitive.
I worked in a union shop. Things like this proposed by the company always signals the possibility of losing union jobs because of becoming more efficient; greater efficiency sometimes means less workers.
To me is was obvious if our department did not become more efficient business would be lost. There was no way we could keep the business and number of employees we currently had by maintaining the status quo.
Nearly every person in our department shunned me and spoke disparagingly of me behind my back.
I remained in the department until all projects were in place and all efficiency measures were implemented.
I transferred to another department where I became a pariah of sorts. I was looked upon with suspicion and distrust. People were afraid to speak with me. Conversations stopped as I approached. Those things were nearly intolerable at times. It lasted for nearly 15 years.
During that period of time my old department flourished, the work force was maintained and even increased.
The day I retired the same processes and improvements were in place that were implemented by the taskforce 20 years earlier.
What I did was unpopular, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
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