Thanks for Talking to Me

Thanks for Still Talking to Me

The belief or attitude of considering oneself superior to others is often referred to as “arrogance,” “narcissism,” or having a “superiority complex.”

Alan and I had become pretty good friends since the first time I visited our Winfield, Kansas plant. He was a Plant Engineer and I was an Industrial Engineer working out of our corporate offices in Easton, Pennsylvania. My role was to help the plant with improving productivity and looking at needed capital improvements and Alan was one of my chief contacts.

He was very laid back as are most people in Kansas, especially in small towns like Winfield, seem to be. He was very smart and he could always be counted on to get things done, although in the Midwestern way which is slower than we Northeasterners were and are used to.

Over time I advanced up the ladder to Manager and ultimately Director. My visits to Winfield decreased, but when I was there we always got together, even if I didn’t have business to deal with him on.

One day as we were meeting, out of the clear blue, Alan said to me, “Thanks for still talking to me”. I was kind of stunned and didn’t know how to respond. I got my composure and replied, “What?”.

He matter-a-factly said, “Well when other people get promoted like you have, they forget about folks like me and stop talking to us”. I was to say the least, stunned. Alan was a great guy and I loved to be with him. We had become friends and no matter where we both were on the corporate chain, that would never change.

I told him that I wasn’t like other folks and that our relationship was important to me and would always be so. But I was saddened to think that  some people, any people would have such a callous attitude towards others.

It is unfathomable to me that you could do something like that to someone, especially a friend.

“Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.”
― Eckhart Tolle

As I continued my corporate journey, I came across the type people who Alan had spoken about. Probably not the same folks because most of them had nothing to do with Operations and the plant in Kansas. They played the same game but at the corporate offices. In fact I had it happen to me, even at the Director level.

When we attended a corporate function, they would try to be with and sit with others they felt were more highly thought than I, of in the executive ranks, trying to curry favor with them. They didn’t realize they were dealing with those who felt and acted the same as they did, so it was pretty funny to see them getting rejected, but that didn’t stop them. Actually it was funny and sad  at the same time.

“The games people play now. Every night and every day now. Never meaning what they say now. Never saying what they mean.” – The Games People Play by Joe South

I never understand what goes through people’s minds. How they can hope to elevate themselves by ignoring their past and the supposed friends they made along the way.

I have always been more comfortable with the so called ordinary people than those who hold higher level positions.

The ordinaries are real. They tell you what they think, straight out. The higher level couch what they say. You never quite know where they stand and what they stand for.

And they are not trustworthy. Things you may say in confidence somehow have a way of getting back to you. That should always give you pause about what you say and who you say it to.

So, to the Alans of the world, I am so sorry that you get crummy treatment from those who think they are above you because of a job title. One Alan is worth more than all of those folks combined. Alan and others like him that I know will always be friends no matter what positions we hold. And I will always consider them friends of the best kind.

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