Tragedy Creates Transcendent Work Moments

This post isn’t about marcom. It’s about the meaning of life.

My friend’s 11-year-old son is having a 10-hour brain surgery today: August 27, 2013—an otherwise normal Tuesday—and I’m having a little trouble focusing on work. Maybe you are, now, too.

When life throws us a hideous curveball, work can be a blessing. The blessing is not the distraction of work. It’s the kindness and support shown by the human beings we work with. Clients, partners, vendors, teammates—and people we might not even know very well. But when they hear of your suffering—and subsequent inability to work because someone you love is suffering—they do truly, oddly, deeply wonderful things that touch and lift you during tragedy.

I have been witness to some remarkable acts of generosity over the past month, since my friend’s son had a brain bleed while on vacation in Paris:

  • My team took all my work for a week, so I could go help in Paris. All. My. Work. As in, I only received three work emails that week—the ones with really good questions. The team did everything perfectly, as I knew they would. What a gift.
  • My former boss in Paris, Bernard, who didn’t know my friend or her son, was “with me” every minute in Paris, offering advice and logistical support, even though it was August and he was at his country house.
  • My clients forgave me when I missed meetings. Jill (and anyone else?), thank you for your compassion and forgiveness.
  • Many, many Content Bureau clients, partners, vendors, and teammates are reading Holden’s CaringBridge site, and asking me how he’s doing. Just yesterday, a client said, “Is there anything that people who don’t know Holden can do?”

Yes, there is. Just be your awesome, generous selves. Love each other. And if you feel inclined to send some good thoughts for Holden out into the universe today, we’ll take all we can get.


By Stacy Crinks