Mama Kat had several good writing prompts this week. The Random Number Generator handed me #3: Describe a time when you stuck up for a friend.
I recently got back in touch with someone who worked with me at Healthy Kids 15 years ago. We were catching up and reminiscing a bit via email, and she shared this sentiment:
I can imagine HK is very different now. We had such a great time and had such a close staff at the time. Being part of the start of something so positive was wonderful; I’m glad it’s still going and that you are a big part of it. I bet your Spanish is superb by now.
I’ll have to explain the Spanish reference to you in a different blog, but what my friend’s statement captures is what a small, energetic team we were – a team where employee/friend boundaries were quite porous.
Our Executive Director at the time, someone I am still friends with today, has a big personality. One of my biggest fears when I went to work for her, having heard the stories from previous employees of hers (including my husband) was that I would cry at work. (Hmm…is there a theme here? Read my “broken” post last week?) I don’t think I ever cried in front of her, even the time the suggestion box went flying across the room with the statement, “If people had something to say, they would say it to my face” accompanying the flying box.
I’d better get to the “standing up for someone” story before I lose you.
Back on June 24, 1997, I had a conversation with our ED about some personnel actions. One of them involved giving “Betty,” who had been working as a temporary employee (although she had previously worked for us as a salaried employee) a salaried position with a title of “X,” a salary of “X” amount, and benefits. I dutifully wrote this all down in my Daytimer. For the record, Betty had been a friend of mine before being hired by us and remained as firmly in the “friend” camp as in the “employee” camp.
When I typed up the letter for our Ed’s signature, to convey to “Betty” her new arrangement, the ED said, “I’m not paying her that much.” I backpedaled and tried to figure out what to do.
I don’t remember how much time elapsed, but eventually I went back to the ED and showed her this (yes, I do still have my notes from June 24, 1997):
I basically said, “my notes say we agreed to this” and she said, “if that’s what I said, I will agree to it.”
I suppose it was “extra” that Betty was a friend of mine too and I like to think I would have gone to bat for anyone. I’m not sure what I would have done if the ED had said, “I don’t care what you wrote down, I have changed the offer.”
I know it felt great reporting back to “Betty” that she was getting the original combination of title, salary, and benefits.
You know, the combination written down in the planner……..