Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Platinum Rule: Why it Pays to Be Nice

Today I found out that I was Terminated by Amazon because I was in the hospital getting care for physical and mental health issues for three weeks. They no longer have a spot for me and are not hiring until further notice. This was sort of um, a surprise. What I said to the nice HR Director/Recruiter lady was... "Huh."

So, technically, I am unemployed and still sitting on thousands of dollars of medical bills from breaking my wrist and from receiving regular therapy and psychiatric care.

Here's the weird thing: I'm not stressing.

Now, perhaps I am just exhausted from the start of IRONMAN training, or, maybe I am in denial, or sleep deprived, or just annoyed from the start of bad Minnesota Winter driving, but, I don't think so. I think - no - I know that I am going to be OK.

Last night I received a surprise email from a professor at Carnegie Mellon. I could not believe that he took the time to email me. It was just a brief, "Hey, I have not forgotten you." This particular faculty member has been super patient with me as I've peppered him with questions about Astrophysics and how I might pursue further education in that field.

And this evening I got a call from a new friend (we've only known each other a couple months) and he told me that I am motivating him to change his life for the better. When he said that, I got teary eyed but felt too tired to express my emotions to him over the phone.

What I find interesting is that, these two people were strangers to me less than half a year ago, and now just through some short communication in the past 24 hours, I feel better about myself and not so crummy about losing my job.

Here's another weird thing, and this might sting: Despite quite a bit of Social Media information I've pushed out there about the severity of my physical illness of the past several months, my own friends and family - some people I've known for decades, or at least several years, have been craptastic support. Like it's just so fascinating and curious to me - the concept of care from other human beings...

When I was young, my Dad always said to me, "Runsky, you need to follow something called The Platinum Rule. Not just The Golden Rule. In accordance with The Platinum Rule, you treat others how they want to be treated. And everyone wants to be treated differently."

I always was annoyed by this. My Dad - A master of Emotional Intelligence - knew how to treat others the way that they wanted to be treated. And because of this, his funeral was a fricken' rock concert. People still talk to me about my Dad and say, "Oh, Chuck Andersen, I loved him so much!" I often want to ask (but hold my tongue), "Um, did you ever tell him that??"

I knew my Dad better than anyone, and I know that he was a lonely man. He often reached out for help from friends in "his own way," and I now know, in my super sleuthing of his network post-mortem, that many of my father's "Friends" barely knew him as a human being. 

So, my advice to you tonight is this: Consider yourself a representative of the Human Race. And think about what that means to you. Do you care about how you treat other human beings? Your Friends? Your Family? Do you ever think about anyone besides yourself and your spouse and your own children and your own fur babies (dogs and cats)? 

Because, here's the thing. It really does pay to be kind to strangers. That professor is helping me on a long path toward a doctorate in Science and that New Friend has given me a partner in the Business of Music.

So just, Be Nice. Think about how other people inside and way outside of your life / your neighborhood / your country / your race / your religion, etc. might want to be treated. And then try your best (none of us will fail if we at least try our best) to treat those humans the way in which they want to be treated. 

You never know when you might need another Human Being's Help.

Susan M. Andersen
aka Susan B. Agony

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