Have you ever had the experience of some coworkers respecting you more than they needed to?
I have and it was touching. I was leaving one company because I had an offer I couldn’t refuse from another company and when I returned from lunch I found a cookie and a note on my desk. It said, “We love you Brian, and sad to see you go.” It had their names. I touched the note to my heart and thanked them. I never expected my kindness to resonate with them so deeply. The cookie was delicious as well.
As I thought back on the time I spent with them, I could see that they felt comfortable with me and liked me. I made them laugh like everyone I try to, and I helped one of them set up her wifi for the office computer we had given her. It was new so it was a very uncommon thing for people to have at the time. The other person I had once run into on the street and when I said hi to her she was very warm to me and gave me a big smile. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then I wondered if she liked me as well.
I have been very fortunate that after I have left companies, some people have wanted to continue to keep in touch with me. They looked me up here on LinkedIn and requested to join my network. I of course accept that and talk with them. It feels good that people remember how you made them feel, even if they don’t remember the specific things that you did for them.
I am not trying to brag here. I am just sharing that I am grateful that people have reacted to the kindness that I have shown them. It feels good that sometimes being kind feels pointless when people don’t perceive or understand it. I am not kind to get a benefit, but if kindness isn’t valued then you wonder why you should do it. I am kind because people struggle in life, and even if people don’t realize you were kind to them, you realize it and that is good enough.
So kindness is selfish, isn’t it?