When most people think about their co-workers, they think of the 2-3 people they love, the supervisor who makes them nuts, the office gossip, the mean girls’ clique, the weirdo with the terrible social skills and questionable hygiene, the cleavage-bearing “cougar,” and the skeevy wandering-eyed-guy who is a BIG fan of said cleavage-bearing cougar.
Or at least those are the types of workplace characters I’ve encountered throughout my life.
But at my current job I see none of that. I work with refreshingly nice and surprisingly normal people.
They are creative, insightful, and nurturing. All. The. Time.
And they make you feel like they’re on your side. They laugh easily. They’re great at their jobs. They never micromanage but they go out of their way to help you accomplish goals and finish projects.
Really…who are these people?!
I’ve pinpointed the cause of this unusual but lovely phenomenon. It boils down to the fact that everyone in the office shares a common interest: death and dying, and how these things affect living. It’s what brought us all to work in a hospice program in the first place.
I know. Death and dying. Gee. Fun.
Yet this willingness to support families under hospice care as they navigate through serious illness, death, and grief is what makes my co-workers so darn beautiful on the inside.
When you’re constantly reminded of both the finiteness and beauty of life, you live mindfully and with greater gratitude and joy, even at the office. You build incredible relationships. You do great work. You make brave choices.
Death changes your perspective on life.
A few weeks ago we had a huge staff meeting. Aside from going over business issues, the meeting involved meditation (What?! I know!), inspiring and funny guest speakers, and free bagels, compliments of our friendly neighborhood funeral home. (Which is kind of weird but the bagels tasted fine.)
Oh, and there was a screening of this video:
It’s a long video but it’s awesome. It’s heartwarming and profound. It’s the kind of film only someone with a graceful understanding of death and a healthy perspective on life shows to his staff.
We might be the only large non-profit organization whose business meetings often end in happy tears. But when death makes you more appreciative of life, that’s how you roll.