‘it’s not about me, dear’

it was Sunday morning towards noon when she woke up and found him busy with spreadsheets and pen and papers. the wife —herself a woman with professional career— started a conversation with the husband, a young manager in a company he had been working for a little more than few years.

“what are you doing?”

he replied that he was doing some work with regard to personal development and performance plan for his team members at work.

“it’s not a manager’s job to work on weekend, you know,”

it’s not like that, the husband said. it’s that there was more to it, that his work wasn’t necessarily about the company or the performance targets or even promotions and paychecks.

“there is more to that,” he said. “it’s not about me, it’s about the people I’m working with, dear.”

the wife, curious with the statement, asked what could that mean and how it’s not about the company or even himself. in the end, corporates are always first about growth and profit, and working on employee performance plan on Sunday doesn’t seem to reflect an altruistic behavior, she argued.

but then came the answer which reminded her how she fell in love with the man sitting in front of her. (by the way: ‘I like how you argue about many things’, he said)

“it’s not always like that, dear. I’m not doing this for the company. I’m doing this for them, the people I’m working with. they are people, just like you and me, coming from places, backgrounds, and somehow, right now, I’m responsible for their performance and development, as professionals at least. but it can and will go a long way, isn’t it?

“I think how you go about it matters. like, if you are able to work with sense of purpose, you’ve got good performance, you are happier in general, it has impacts to the families as well. they may or may not be with me after two or three years, but I believe we have role for others, sometimes to open the doors for people, to equip them with something —soft and hard skills, insights and mindsets, anything— so that in turn, they would be able to grow, then to afford a little more for themselves and their families. maybe for a little better houses, maybe for a little better schools, maybe, I don’t know.

“but it starts right here, right? on your first jobs in your career, on your development, both personal and professional. if I could get that right, who knows? perhaps they’ll soar and make better life, but at the very least, I hope they’ll have it a little better than when they started.”

then he smiled, and as far as she was concerned, maybe seeing him doing some work on Sunday morning was never something really bad to begin with.