#1000Speak: Showing Compassion in the Office

#DailyWings: ʺIt is a wonderful seasoning of all enjoyments to think of those we love.ʺMolière

Since I jumped on the #1000Speak blogging wagon a couple weeks ago, it’s been one of the best and most inspiring blogging events I’ve been a part of! I’ve met so many people who have wide open hearts and extraordinary experiences. If you don’t know what #1000Speak is, it’s an online initiative to spread kindness and share stories of compassion. Back in February, I shared my thoughts on the Chapel Hill shooting, namely how it’s affected me, what the legacy of Deah, Yusor and Razan means for the rest of us and what we can learn as a society about tolerance and activism moving forward.

To me, compassion is about finding light at the end of the tunnel and providing support for the ones we love during hard times. Rather than use abstract words to try and explain what compassion is, however, I want to continue the #1000Speak trend by sharing another story of compassion, one that hits close to home for not only me but also a group of people that I work with every single day.

Many of you know that I work as a digital marketing specialist at a recruitment firm in Cary, N.C., called Personify. I’ve been working with this company since August, and it’s my first full-time job after college. If you’d told me four years ago that I would go into marketing and would soon be working in the recruitment field, I would have said, “LOL what’s recruiting.”

I get so many questions from friends who are still in college about what advice I have for entering the “adult world.” I always like to tell them, “Be open-minded and be willing to try new things – even if you’re scared.” That’s what I did when I decided to go to Personify, and I’m so glad because it’s a company like no other.

At Personify, we’re passionate not only about what we do, but also about our company culture. We have events every month that celebrate our PFY family, from “Personify Olympics” (which is exactly what it sounds like) and themed days of the week to our special Christmas party, where we celebrate our successes from the past 12 months and ring in the new year.

We’re passionate about our community, and collectively participate in events such as No-Shave November and the Salvation Army Toy Shop. We have a committee that’s specifically dedicated to getting our employees actively engaged in community service and volunteering.

Finally, we’re passionate about the people we work with every single day in our office. We meet as a company to celebrate birthdays each month. We rally together whenever an employee needs help with anything, and I literally mean anything – from moving day and new baby births to finding homes for pets and wedding planning and cheering employees on when they’re off at a USA Ultimate World Championship (*cough* Jessi *cough*).

One day during the summer of 2013, back when I was still just an intern at Personify, my entire apartment got flooded during a horrific storm in Chapel Hill. That day and for several days after, my inbox was filled with emails from colleagues offering to help move my stuff or even do my laundry at their homes. It was incredible, and not a gesture you see every day in the office.

At Personify, we’re behind each other 100 percent. We celebrate our achievements, motivate one another to do even better and provide mutual support – even during the tough times.

Joining Forces Against Cancer

Meet Christy and Nick Edwards. Christy is the e-Recruitment Manager at Personify, and she also leads our internship program. Her husband, Nick, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 18 years old and then again in May 2014. Both times, Nick (now 36) underwent intensive chemotherapy, and he’s had to do blood work and tests countless times over the years. Both times, he’s beaten the cancer.

Many of us at Personify, like thousands of other people in the world, have been directly affected by cancer in some way. We’ve either experienced it firsthand or know people who do. My dad, when he’s not teaching at the medical school, does a lot of research on prostate cancer. Some of you may remember that some of my older blog posts and online articles that talked about Laura Rozo, a TEDxUNC speaker and good friend of mine who had rhabdomyosarcoma. The founder of our company, Mike Carfley, battled a rare form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma. Four months ago for No-Shave November, we raised more than $3,500 to support cancer research and those who have been affected. At Personify, we are no stranger to this disease.

A few months ago, we received word from Christy and Nick that the cancer was back. There was a stunned silence, and then the response was immediate.

The cards, the text messages, a gift basket – anything we could do to let them know we want to support them every step of the way. My favorite part though?

We had more than 50 custom t-shirts made to say F*CK CANCER and then, right below that, #nickstrong. We ordered them secretly so Christy wouldn’t know about them. Finally, one day before she walked into the office, we all hurriedly took a company photo and then scrambled to our seats so we could surprise her.

Boy, did we surprise her!

PFY_cancer

If you look closely, then you’ll see that the shirts say, “F*CK CANCER. #NICKSTRONG.” If this isn’t compassion, I don’t know what is.

The thing is, we didn’t need to think twice about doing all of this (and we’re not done yet!). It only seemed natural, a necessary response and a way of showing Nick and Christy that we are there for them. They’re two of the strongest people I know, and Christy is the kind of sweet-spirited, positive hard worker that I aspire to be like both in and outside of the office.

I know I’m really lucky to be working at a company that shows this much compassion on a daily basis. As we continue to think about the meaning of #1000Speak, consider what are some of the places you spend the majority of your time during the day. If it’s at home with your children or at school with students (if you’re a teacher), what are some little ways in which you can be more compassionate toward them? If you work 9-to-5 at an office like I do, what are some ways you can instill more compassion into your company culture? What acts of compassion have you witnessed or experienced that compel you to be a better person?

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Thank you, Christy and Nick, for letting me share your story!

13 responses to “#1000Speak: Showing Compassion in the Office”

  1. Charli Mills says:

    What a great organization to end up at!

  2. Nick Edwards says:

    No, Thank YOU Wendy, & everyone at #PersonifyNation!!

  3. Isn’t it just one of the best things in the world to work at a place you can be passionate about? Camaraderie with coworkers and looking forward to starting your work day when you wake up in the morning can make all the difference in living a fulfilling life. What you did for Nick and Christy is absolutely amazing! Best wishes to Nick as he kick’s cancer’s ass one more time!

    • Wendy Lu says:

      Absolutely! The people you work with matter just as much as the job itself. I think all the people at Personify are pretty passionate about the company; we all work hard at what we do, but we make sure to have downtime as well :)

  4. Galit Breen says:

    What a wonderful organization to be a part of! I’m a big believer that you end up being and acting like the people you spend the most time with–it sounds like you’re golden in that department!

  5. Roshni says:

    Always lovely to hear about such organizations and their work!!

  6. I love hearing about such a close community – whether it’s at work or otherwise. Too often workplace relationships can be competitive and negative. I love that you support one another so well!

  7. ann bennett says:

    Super your first job is at such a supportive workplace. It took me a moment to find you in the picture; but I saw you. Looks like a great group.

    • Wendy Lu says:

      Haha thanks Ann :) This was taken at our headquarters in Cary, N.C. We have other offices in the Greater New York and Los Angeles areas – I wish we’d been able to get our “Personians” over there in the picture as well! #theyrethereinspirit

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