How I Learned What 'Taking One For The Team' Really Means
21st June 2021
< 1 min read
I’ll never regret willingly making the decision to wade through polluted, knee-high-and-rising, flood waters. It wasn’t the first time I had waded through floodwater to get somewhere. I grew up with typhoons and in my childhood, we had no choice but to do this after a couple of days in order to get to school. The difference was that this time, I wanted to, but I didn’t have to.
Late last year my family’s province was hit hard by Category Five Typhoon Goni —the strongest to hit the Philippines in 2020. The usual power outage ensued but I managed to keep going with our backup generator and a few charged power banks for a couple of days. Sadly, they couldn’t cope with the constant use and packed up pretty quickly - the worst possible timing in the most crucial period of a project we were working on for a global airport management company. I’d already missed two days of work and I just couldn’t let my colleagues down. We were on a super-tight deadline and they (and our client) were relying on me.
Living in the catch basin of the floods meant that it was only a matter of time until the excess water reached us. I lost very little time in deciding to hit the road by foot (with my Mom and two younger brothers in tow) to get to our family’s apartment in Manila. The rising water wasn’t super deep but the roads were impassable to vehicles. We packed up a few belongings and started out on the journey—making it there in roughly three hours—so it really wasn’t that long and arduous. It’s not much fun getting down and dirty with floodwaters but I didn’t concentrate on this, the important thing was to get out of the area—and back to work—as soon as I possibly could.
My story is a simple one but I wanted to share it to illustrate how I came to realize just how important camaraderie is with the people you work with. We spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our family or friends after all. The support I received from my teammates was amazing. I was under no pressure to return to work until I was able to. When the going got tough I realized where my priorities really lay: in doing my best and most meaningful work and honouring the bond I have built with the people I work with every day. ‘Taking One For The Team’ never meant so much.
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