An issue popped up in my gym class today that really inspired me to write this article: I arrived right on time but didn’t get my weights prior to starting class. The first half of this class is aerobics and the second half involves use of some weights. After the initial exercises were finished, I went to retrieve the weights and all were taken. Then I noticed that one of the women had 3 sets – one set she’d brought from home plus 2 additional sets she planned to use in class. Now I assure you that for the 15 minutes we use weights these variations were totally unnecessary and extreme, so I asked her for one of the sets. Rather than simply comply she began to explain why she “required” these additional weights and if I didn’t have any, well that was my fault since I hadn’t “taken” them early enough. I was blown away by the arrogance and selfishness of this person which didn’t stop me from insisting that only one set per person was the allowance. Under extreme duress she gave in handing me one of the sets of weights to use for which I thanked her. Mind you, these weights belonged to the organization to which we were both paying the same fee to be in the class. I thought about the situation for a while and still was bothered by her attitude of “me and only me”, which is a totally foreign way of thinking in my world.
Wasn’t sharing one of those things we were supposed to learn in kindergarten? I can remember the teacher saying, “Now share your toys with the other kids….”, or your parents telling you to share with your brother or your sister. So why is it so unusual to share in the workplace? It seems to me that it should be a natural progression of a healthy personal development. If we learned to share when we were younger we found that others liked us and we were popular as a result. From there we had friends and so on. Can we also assume that when individuals don’t want to share that something went wrong in their upbringing? Perhaps they were an only child and their parents gave them so much that they just decided that the universe revolved around them; and, if they didn’t get what they wanted their parents got a lot of flak. So the tables were turned and these kids grew into bullies who believe that they should have whatever they want.
Ok, so why am I harping on this issue of sharing? Because anyone that has ever worked in an office knows that there are never enough resources to satisfy everyone. Thus, we have to share the resources available. So the next time someone asks you for something, think twice before you say “no, you didn’t get there first” since the tables might be turned next time. Always treat others as you want to be treated and in the end you will have support when you need it. One never knows when resources such as people, supplies or knowledge are required from another group, so be considerate and share what you have as much as possible. I’ve gotten new jobs, been asked to join other teams and gotten wonderful reviews for holding just this attitude. Let me know how it goes for you!