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Sacrificing for others

March 13, 2009

I like articles like this one. Too often all I see in the world around me is greed and selfishness and while I try not to pay too close attention, it’s difficult and it sometimes becomes oppressive. I see it everywhere, not just on the news, but in my own life when people I know, people I work with and people I respect, choose to fulfill their own desires, wants, what have you, over the needs of others. I’m not saying that doing things and getting things for ourselves is bad or that we need to stop doing for ourselves for some greater good, just that we share our lives and our spot in this world with a lot of different people and I think we have an obligation to help others around us when we can and to the best of our abilities. Not to the extent that we have to deny ourselves, but just to the extent that we comfortably can.

I don’t know much about doctors or hospital administration, but I think Paul Levy and the staff of Beth Israel are people who are on the right track. By working to make bad things better by looking out for others in need, they make things better for everyone. They don’t do it because they were asked or because they were forced, but because they felt it was the right thing to do and because it was something within their means to do.

The threat of layoffs is a very real fear today and I’ve talked with people who, despite facing that threat, refuse to agree to concessions and I don’t understand this. The staff of Beth Israel is willing to act selflessly and make concessions so others can keep their jobs, but what about people who refuse to make concessions to save their own job? Can you make sense of that for me.

Just yesterday I was talking with someone who told me he might be faced with the possibility of losing two hours per week and he thought that was unacceptable because his employer couldn’t guarantee his health insurance wouldn’t rise and he was concered that while he was losing two hours of pay per week, prices on everything around him would continue to rise. Certainly valid concerns, but I don’t understand why a concession to get paid for 38 hours of work per week, when it means saving your job,  is worse than working zero hours per week. Is it arrogance or something else I’m missing?

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