It's Just Business Isn't It?
by Jack Rabbit

The other day I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine. He was telling me
about recent business dealings he had been having with a long time business partner. He
was very frustrated with the way his partner had been behaving in these dealings. They had
grown up together and he liked to think of him as a close friend. I ask him if he had
discussed his feelings with his partner and voiced his frustrations since he had a "good"
relationship with him. He then made the following statement to me; "I make it a point to
not discuss business and friendship at the same time." This got me started thinking about
this issue. How many times has business been the first consideration and the human beings
involved considered as second?

In my past, I would not hesitate to relocate a family, terminate someone or get down and
dirty as needed to win the sale or bring more money to the bottom line. In short, I was the
epitome of  "efficient", non-personal business management. I can not begin to list the
things I have done in the name of " it's just business." The worst part is knowing I was in
no way unique in this. There are so many people very similar to my former self it is
absolutely terrifying. As I contemplated this issue, I began to have random thoughts about
my own family and their views on this subject. Can you believe, I was considered as the
son who was living life as it should be? My family was constantly congratulating me for
being so successful. At the same time, they were ever more berating my brother for not
being as stable, successful or "aggressive" as me! Here was my brother, moving through
his life with more grace than I could even begin to contemplate at the time. But, yet there
he was, the proverbial black sheep. You know the type. He changes jobs fairly regularly
but always seems to get by. He goes fishing on a more than regular basis and enjoys every
moment of it. He has more children than the rest of the family feels like he can afford. Yet,
he obviously loves them dearly and they certainly appear to eat very well. He is a big man
with a big heart but he just doesn't play the "game" according to my family's acceptable
rules and procedures. In short, he lives life to its' fullest in each and every moment and just
drives the rest of my family nuts.

As a society when did it become acceptable to be a "machine" versus a living Human
Being?  I was the example many unenlightened people would use to make the point,
"Look at Jack, he drives a nice car, lives in a large home, and takes vacations anytime he
wants." You should be more like him. The funny thing is, they never mentioned I was
working 70-80 hours per week, taking enough stomach medication to keep a small
pharmacy going, physically ill constantly and had no idea of the harm I was causing to the
environment around me. I caution you, please do not misinterpret what I am saying.
Money and material things are neither good nor evil. They are just tools to be used as each
of us see fit. If we make them all-important, then that is exactly what they will become.
Rest assured, I have a considerable amount of "wants" and "things" which I like and enjoy;
my computer, color television, a good steak now and again, etc... But, I am humble in my
realization that I do not "need" any of them. There is nothing wrong with owning and
enjoying nice "things". Just know them for what they are, and do not let them dominate
your thoughts if they were to suddenly disappear from your life.  I have learned to be very
wary of individuals who place a lot of "value" into inanimate objects. I find it   difficult to
find common ground with an individual who places more value on some "machine" than
on the Human Being who "owns", built or operates it.

I no longer use the expression it is just business. I no longer separate the human beings
from the business dealings I take part in. This is not to say, I do not occasionally find
myself in a situation where I am not very comfortable doing what is necessary to provide
for my family. But, I do so now very conscious of the "wake" I leave behind as I move
through the waters of life. I place a considerable amount of thought into a much broader
range of topics before I make changes in my current business. Anytime I can be of true
benefit to a Human Being, conducting business is much more friendly transaction. I still
have many instances when I disagree with someone else's viewpoint. I just have the insight
to know it is perfectly acceptable for each to be correct from the others point of view.  I
have yet to meet a person whom I have not been able to learn something about myself
from. Most of what we really think we see in others is just a reflection of ourselves. Next
time you find yourself in a disagreement with someone on an issue ask yourself, "Why am
I holding onto my particular point of view so strongly?" You may just find that you do not
have a good answer. If you do, then you have nothing to fear. Either way you are the only
person you really have to answer to.

Believe it or not, I still hold the same position with the same company that I had back
when all of this started. But, I have made a few "adjustments" in my life. I hardly ever
work more than 45-50 hours per week and I have made the necessary "sacrifices" to spend
real quality time with my family and the few close friends I have. In my work place, I take
the time to really listen to my coworkers on issues, which may affect them. On a more
personal note, I also take just little time now and again for my SELF. Since making these
changes,  I have not taken medication for anything in over a year and I have learned to pay
attention to my environment and make the "conscious" effort to improve it. As for my
brother, I would like to let you all in on a little secret. I make it a point to pay much closer
attention to him these days. I have learned much more from him than anyone in my family
ever thought he could teach.

(c) 2000 by Jack Rabbit, all rights reserved.

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