SCARLET LETTER MOMENTS
Posted by Sarah Cunningham:
Several years ago, while working for an organization that employed hundreds of people, one of my co-workers got himself into hot water. Make that scalding hot water.
During a rocky stretch of life, the guy stepped outside of behavioral norms. So much so that his career and personal life ended up in the headlines of a local paper.
This, of course, was the beginning of the end. As you know, newspaper headlines can be the Scarlet Letters of our culture. They brand people with labels the community will have trouble erasing long after the paper itself has been discarded.
Unsurprisingly, not long after the article ran, the employee left our organization under a giant corporate hush.
AND I NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN.
Even though I barely knew this man, something haunted me about the entire sequence of events. The memory of him became a sad reflection of a larger story: the story of the human tendency to divide ourselves from people during the unadmirable (and toughest) moments of their lives.
That gut wrench hung in with me long enough that later, when a similar situation unfolded--and another co-worker"s personal life ended up in the papers--I decided to do something that might"ve been frowned upon.
As the controversy swirled, I awkwardly stumbled across the growing divide of ilmainen kasino public opinion and made contact over email.
I didn"t know exactly what to say. It was sticky. I choked out words that went something like this:
Hey. I"m not always sure which is worse--pretending you don"t know anything is going on or acknowledging that you do. And I"m worried that anything I say is going to come off awkward or trite.
I know I don"t understand what you"re going through, but I"m sorry to hear about this whole mess. I want you to know there are plenty of people still asserting what a good person you"ve been to them and listing off ways you"ve contributed to our community. We"ve always appreciated the good you"ve brought to us. Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help.
After I sent that email, two or three days of silence went by. I felt naively stupid for that 48 hours and was sure the person deleted it in fury or uncomfortableness...until I got a message back that said: I finally worked up the nerve to read my emails and I am so glad yours was among them.
The emails back and forth didn"t change anything of course. They didn"t change the drama that had landed the person in the papers and they didn"t change how my organization responded. But I like to think what it might"ve changed is that person"s sense of welcome to remain a part of community even in moments of imperfection. I like to think that the email was a small step toward becoming the person I"m trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to be--a person who invites others beyond their Scarlet Letter moments into something better.