As many of you know, this year has been full of work travels. In an effort to make them more interesting (and I don't know why I didn't think of this before), I'm collecting anecdotes from the cab and Uber drivers along the way. The series is called ThinkCab. I hope you'll share it and let us know if you do.
Sunday night on my way to the hotel from O'Hare, I came across a particularly chatty cab driver. I had waited in what seemed like an endless line to get in the cab, so I welcomed the conversation.
Originally from Palestine, he had lived in Chicago for upwards of 35 years. He had arrived in the Windy City when he was 19 and he loved the cold weather. He was a Bears fan, had Sunday Night Football commentary going on the radio and asked if the Dolphins had won.
We somehow got to talking about work and travels and per diems. He was wondering why I was going to Oak Park and not downtown ChiTown. He suggested I get some dinner nearby.
"Don't cut from your happiness to make them happy," he said, referring to spending while on business trips. He said you'll nickel-and-dime 'em when, in the great scheme of things, it doesn't matter to the corporation.
I took it with a grain of salt. There are budgets to watch, but I knew where he was headed with his thinking.
His sister who had worked arduously at a bank for years, earning employee of the month time and time again, was laid off after her pregnancy complications. He said it didn't matter how great you were - "you could be employee of the YEAR!" - but if you messed up once, they would remember that mess up and not all of your successes.
To some degree, he was right. But what I liked most was his general message of selfishness (even though he didn't quite use that word).
We view selfishness negatively. But is it always such a bad thing?
We have to look out for ourselves first and foremost, and part of that means looking out for our happiness. The "you first" concept is difficult for many of us, but it's the ground for healthy relationships.
So if the only way to make "them" (whoever they are) happy is to drive yourself mad/sad/crazy, then screw it. They're not worth it.
I'm much less eloquent than my cab driver friend.