Confucius Was Right

 

There is an old Chinese proverb that shares a very clever curse.  Word on the street is that is was our old friend Confucius that shared it.

“May you live in interesting times.”

Sounds innocuous enough, right?  Who wants to live in a boring world?

This weekend was, once emotion is sifted out, interesting for sure.  Two events that really resonated for me:

Hundreds wed in New York.  Same sex couples, that is.  I’m sure there are a lot of weddings each weekend under normal circumstances.  But this was a celebration of a triumph in civil rights.  A celebration of love and commitment for those who for two long have been denied that right.  The world needs the positive vibes this brings, regardless of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that may come from the caveman crowd.

On the other side of the ledger and the other side of the world, we have the events in Norway.  I won’t even try to wrap my head around what happened, nor give you a summary.  If you don’t know,move out of your cave and follow the link.  Having just visited friends in Norway last month, and finding they were in downtown Oslo less than an hour before the blast is not only sobering, but a reminder of how fragile our peace and happiness can be.  My heart breaks for the victims, their families and their country.

The two events are great examples of the bipolar nature of our lives.  Highs and lows.  You need them both if you are to appreciate either.  As HR professionals, it is often our role to smooth out the valley and amplify the peaks.  But we all know that isn’t always possible.  Whether is it fear of backlash for supporting a joyous event that goes against someone’s moral compass, or trying support the victims of a tragedy that no one understands, or any of a hundred other events that make up the lives of our teams, we are faced with the task of giving perspective where often it is not welcome.  A difficult place for a practitioner to live, and it’s the world so many of us live in every day.

Confucius was right.  Interesting times, indeed.

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