Saturday, March 16, 2013

Family emergencies: If you have to go, go.

My husband's mother just died a few days ago, and it's been a tough few days. We'll miss a few days of work next week attending her funeral out of town, and we're not missing a moment of sleep about that. I've blogged a lot lately about needing to help your team and firm out by working extra, but the other side of that coin is know that work will always be there, and sometimes you really need to be with your family.

A new coworker of mine had a family emergency on her second day of work at my firm. She got a call from her mother that her father had been taken to the emergency room with chest pains, and she began to wonder: well crap, it's my second day of a new job and I'm about to leave all of a sudden? Well, maybe it's not that serious....  She mentioned it to her project manager, who immediately said "OMFG go to your dad right now! We'll be here when you're able to come back!" My coworker went to be by her dad's side (he ended up being fine eventually), and she returned to work the next day. 

My husband's mother called him early in the morning from the hospital to say that she didn't think she had long, and she needed him to come that very day. He bought a $500 plane ticket and flew to her side that day--the deadlines and emails and meeting notes cold wait. He spent the evening with her in the hospital, talking and eventually saying goodbye.  The next morning, she had become unresponsive, and by the end of the day she was gone.  When he returned, he said he was glad he'd left when he did: "Best $500 I've ever spent."

When real life or tragedy intervenes and things get scary or tough, it's okay to leave the office and tend to those matters.  The work will be there when you're ready and able.

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