I’m friends with a firefighter who shared the concept of “glass babies” with me this week. The idea is that no firefighter wants to get hurt because they don’t want to be babied or treated like they’re made of glass. They don’t want to be a glass baby.
Often times, one of their biggest fears is letting other people down. So when one of their own was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, his first thought was, “Don’t make me the glass baby.”
What was he really saying? Don’t take care of me. I’m going to take this on alone. I don’t want to hold you back.
I know you’re waiting for a “you’re never alone” motivational speech, but it’s not coming. It’s understandable that this firefighter, and a lot of us, would resist help. As you age, you know the truth. The majority of your path through hard things in life will be done all by yourself. Through grit. Determination. Persistence. Characteristics you often discover about yourself for the first time only in the exact moment you need them.
That doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. It doesn’t mean you can’t accept help. My firefighter friend said it best. “Take the extra courtesy with grace, and let us think we are in this with you. It gives us the illusion that we helped.”
There’s no point in being strong or resisting these small gestures of love. If we’re all being honest, the last thing anyone wants as they approach hard things is to be alone or forgotten. Let people love you through small gestures and the belief they’re helping you.
The connection is part of our makeup and our survival. We, as humans, so desperately need to feel connected. To feel remembered. Often when you work remotely, that link isn’t there. You wonder if anyone cares as you sit alone in your house listening to hold music.
But everyone glorifies remote work. Sweatpants! Mid-day laundry! There’s good and bad to remote workplaces, and I wrote about how to find (and post) remote jobs in this week’s post.
Just remember this as you think about that remote work. If we want workplaces to be exceptional, we need to make it more connected and stop arguing about whether we sit together or not. Remember that working remotely is always an option, connection is not. Because, while the pursuit of hard things in our lives is often solitary, finding your life’s purpose rarely is.
CEO, Three Ears Media