I work in an office setting with about 50 other people. We sit at computers most of the day. We’re networked – or more exactly, our computers are networked. We can share files and printers and occasional emails. We know as much about each other as most other people in office settings do. “Hello, how you doing? Tired of this weather? How did the (fill in the blank with a sports team name) do yesterday? Did your kid finish (fill in the blank with a grade level)? Nice car, where did you get it? I like your (shirt, tie, new shoes, scarf, etc.) How’s your (son, mother, wife, daughter, girlfriend, boyfriend) doing?”
I am fairly certain that each person who works here takes pride in the work he or she does. Not everyday, and not every assignment. But everyone finds pride in something he or she has done. I know this is true because if I went around telling people they did a bad job yesterday, I’d hurt a lot of feelings. If I instead went around and told my colleagues what a good job they are doing, I’d create a lot of happy feelings.
I have a secret pride. No one has ever complimented me on the source of this pride. It’s a small thing in the big picture of the universe. But maybe it’s not. I am proud of the way I have raised 27 chickens. These chickens have had pretty good lives. They are moved to clean pasture every morning and night. They have fresh water, good feed and plenty of insects to eat. I respect them, or more exactly, I respect their nature. Or even more exactly, the way I treat these chickens is a reflection of the way I try to live – respectful of this pretty universe that I have been born into.
The chickens are what they are – poultry that will shortly be headed to my dinner table. Unlike industrial farm-raised chickens, these are raised under the sky, not cramped in a confined feeding operation with thousands of other animals. Mine don’t require antibiotics in their feed because they live in a setting that is conducive to health, not disease. When mine are butchered, they will be processed in a setting that respects the people who butcher them.
I understand that some people have strong beliefs about not eating animals. I have made a decision to eat animals that are raised and butchered in ways respectful of the animal. I figure that if it weren’t for the fact that I ordered the hatchery to hatch these chicks, they would never have been created and might have ended up as omelettes before getting a chance to be chickens.
Anyway, the moral of this story is this: a good way to get to know the people you work with is to ask them what they take pride in. You just might be surprised.