Over the last few weeks, an individual in my life has launched a serious campaign of hatred against me. These messages started out with simple feelings of discontent; but, over the last week or two, these feelings have escalated to extreme and very explicit feelings of hatred. I tried ignored all of these messages, hoping that the hatred would simply subside. But then, the situation finally culminated with a message over the weekend that I felt I had to view as a threat of physical violence. At this point, I responded with legal counsel in tow and asked never to be contacted again.
At first, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. But, as I began to think about it, I started to feel that I did not act well.
Here at work, we strongly believe in giving people a "chance not to be fired." By that, I mean that if we have someone who is not performing, we never fire them right away. Rather, we discuss with them where their efforts are falling short and we give them a chance to change their ways; in essence, we are give them a chance not to be fired. We have this catchy, zen-like phrase for it, but really it is just another label for "communication;" we have a framework here at work in which proper communication channels are encouraged.
The reason we have this mentality in place is because we don't want to make assumptions. Yes, we'd like to believe that every developer wants to turn in top quality work. Yes, we'd like to believe that every developer knows how to test their own code. Yes, we'd like to believe that every developer knows how to do a thorough job. But, the fact is, we cannot make the assumption that what is considered "good" or "bad" or "obvious" by our own value system is also considered "good" or "bad" or "obvious" by the value systems of those around us.
In the way of the warrior, the 3rd agreement is to never make assumptions. We, as warriors, do this because we understand that we each see the world through our own eyes and through the context of our own truth systems. Therefore, we understand that it is not right to judge people with the assumption that their beliefs align properly with ours.
In the matter of the person who has taken such a malicious attitude towards me, I realize that this agreement is where I have failed to act well. I ignored this person's messages of hatred thinking that they would go away. I never once spoke up and said that what they were doing was wildly inappropriate and must stop. I assumed that this person's value system was equal to that of mine and therefore I judged this person based on what I know to be true. And, because I made this assumption, I did not give this person "a chance not to be fired."
Furthermore, I realize that I have also acted out of fear. I did not speak up sooner because part of me was afraid to be a bad friend. Part of me was afraid to hurt this person's feelings. Part of me was afraid that this person's emotions were a valid reflection of my own true character. Then, my final act was done out of fear of violence. All of my actions with this person have been made out of fear. But, a warrior never acts out of fear. A warrior acts out of love. And, the most loving action that I should have taken would have been to communicate with this person and give them a chance not to be fired.
I did not act in the way of the warrior; I did not act out of love. I let my emotions control the situation. But, at least I am now reflecting on it and can take steps to make sure that this does not happen again. A warrior always does his best.