Chapter 1: My Corporate Idolatry Part 8
Change is often painful, and this was no exception. Doing my part to help other people, and to help the group, is important to me. I wondered if I were being selfish by pulling back from the company. Messages at work about being a team player, reinforced this notion. Doing less for the company meant doing less for the people on my team. Somehow, it didn’t seem right, until I came across the following, written by Rabbi Hillel ~2,000 years ago[1. Pirkei Avot 1:14]. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?”
This was like a lightning bolt – of course I have a right to take care of myself. And my life got better. When I cut back on my devotion to the company, it gave me space to allow many positive things to happen.
And, I was mentally prepared when I was laid off a year later. If I had still been caught up in the company, I would have been devastated. But I was exhilarated and my wife was thrilled. I packed up my stuff, said a few goodbyes and drove up the Central Expressway to the Peninsula Creamery, where I had a burger medium rare and a milkshake with coffee ice cream and hot fudge.
The next two months were great, a paid vacation. I went to the gym every morning, came home for lunch, took a nap, watched Star Trek and cooked dinner. Not only was my blood pressure down, but life was much less stressful for my wife and kids too.