This summer, I have had the privilege to work with some absolutely amazing coworkers. And just like any job we have, the end goal is to look back and have something to take with you going forward. There are many things I can take from this summer; and many of them aren’t environmental engineering-related at all. And that’s the beauty of these past few months. I will be applying so much of the lessons I’ve learned in any path I may choose to take going forward. And here’s one that I have to pass along to you, my friends and family.

About a month ago, my supervisor held a “Lunch and Learn” session for the engineering, environmental, and health and safety team. In the middle of a busy time for him and the group, he ordered us pizza and paid us our hourly pay for the time we spent with him in the company’s conference room. The whole reason for this special meeting, was to take time to watch a video and reflect on how we were living our lives outside of work.

In my four summers of working, I’ve been privileged to have great bosses. I look back at all of them and see many great traits that I admire and want to embody myself. But this decision to invest in the lives of your coworkers as a leader is the most memorable from this summer (so far). Everyone in my department was really touched by his act of taking time to invest in their lives. People are always more important than any piece of equipment, meeting a quota, or any amount of profit. Yes, these must be pursued in business, but he realized that what is most important is taking a little time to step back and refocus on what life’s all about.

He decided to share this video with us and I encourage you to watch it. It’s Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon. He has terminal cancer and shares many of his life lessons in his last opportunity to speak wisdom into those closest and most important to him. This story had really impacted my boss and sharing this  with us, was his way of showing us that he cared.

So please take some time to watch this. You won’t regret it. And think to yourself, “Is there a way I can show my care and concern for those I lead?” I can attest to it personally, that it fosters the relationship and could be exactly what they need from you.

And if you enjoy this, I highly suggest reading the book “The Last Lecture.” It has several additional stories and lessons that we’re not included in his recorded lecture.

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