Colleagues in Leagues of Our Own?

I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. One of my colleagues spent the weekend at a wedding in Seattle, and I want to hear all about it.

Seattle’s not far from here: forty-minute ferry ride, ninety-minute drive. But for this colleague, spending a night in Seattle is equivalent to me flying across the country. Except that it’s maybe a bigger deal.

Teachers tend to be middle class folks. During all my years of teaching, I could generally expect to hear from my peers about their holiday trips to Hawaii or Disneyland, or to family back east. Worth photo-sharing, but hardly the trip of a lifetime.

But in my island bakery? Few as they are, my colleagues now span a startlingly large income range, from going on assistance in the winter when the bakery closes, to heading off for a college career already paid for by family money, and everything in between.

It makes for interesting conversations.

Feel like complaining because two different friends have scheduled a wedding and a memorial service on the same weekend in two different states? Want to vent about the lack of legroom on airplanes these days?

Does the term “first world problems” mean anything to you?

(orig. image courtesy Pinterest)

(orig. image courtesy Pinterest)

When I hear about people’s problems, I always want to try to help, try to brainstorm solutions. But what’s the solution to a crappy landlord? What’s the solution to lack of full-time work with benefits in a small island community, or to crippling student loans preventing further education? Those are a little beyond me.

This post isn’t intended as a complaint. It’s more of a observation: I don’t think very many of us work many hours with folks whose financial context is vastly different from our own, at either end of the scale. And a question: when we do, how is it?

Me–I like it. Even when I can’t solve my colleagues’ problems. I still get a lot out of listening. And we work harder to come up with topics we can all share in, like family, or movies, or books. Or our customers. 🙂

How about you? Unless you work from home, are your co-workers more of less in your economic sphere, or not? How does that feel?



4 thoughts on “Colleagues in Leagues of Our Own?

  1. When I worked in Yellowstone, we had summer employees from all walks of life, all economic ranges, and from around the world.

    Sometimes there was even a significant language barrier.

    I loved the experience, even when it was frustrating. My world became wider, and my understanding of what makes us all human deeper. I saw into other places and ways of being, and it’s made me a better and more understanding human.

    This is a thought-provoking post. Sometimes the best answer is empathy and trying to find common ground, because there aren’t any easy answers.

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