I recently quit my job and, in so doing, left a lot of people behind (which, I guess, is always the case when one leaves a job).
Upon the desk of one of my colleagues, I left a copy of the book I wrote a few years ago.
In short, the book is really about my philosophy on life. It contains my thoughts on nearly every issue people are known to discuss. It makes observations about people’s habits and examines how personality traits inform ones political decisions.
I left it on his desk because we often discuss politics and are usually on opposing sides of issues. Since I won’t be there to have those discussions, I thought this would allow him to not only replace me in that venture, but understand the entire worldview I represent.
Recently, I learned that he went into my old department, dropped the book in the middle of it and asked if anyone wanted the book because he did not.
I find this astonishing on several levels.
First, I have supported every form of art created by any and all of my coworkers and friends. Two of my copywriters, who I hired, in this past job are in bands. I purchased copies of work from both of them. One of my designers is an artist on the side, and I purchased a piece she created because she’s a very good and interesting illustrator. I can go down the line, but I find it always important to support the artistic expressions of people I know.
But second, and more importantly, art is an expression of one’s self, and if I have the opportunity to learn anything more about the people around me, I am always quick to do it.
In this particular case, I had hired most of the people on the creative side of the office and managed most of them at one point or another. When one of my Art Directors heard of the book a few years ago, he purchased it immediately and, upon reading it, referred to it as an instruction manual for understanding my approach to leadership, management and a host of other areas. Smart, on his part. I would have done the same.
If my manager wrote a book that explained how he or she thought about things and would give me insight on how best to work with them and learn from them, I would buy it and read it in a heartbeat.
Instead, the reaction of the room was apparently complete disinterest. No one cared, and I find the lack of curiosity surprising and disappointing.
If I’m ever given the opportunity to learn from, or more about, the people around me, I always take it. I guess I don’t understand those who don’t.