Saturday, September 26, 2015

Doing the Right Thing

There's an old maxim that many try to live their lives by, "If you do the right things...for the right reasons...the right things will eventually happen."

I learned this life-long lesson early in my career. Back in the early 1990s the economy was in a serious recession, the first Gulf War had just ended, and after more than a decade of heavy defense spending under Reagan and Bush 41, the government was cutting back. Many experienced engineers found themselves unemployed and had to take humiliating jobs working at Radio Shack; so I was lucky just to get the low-paying engineering job that I did.

The company I went to work for - LORAL - was notoriously one of the worst in the defense industry. They were cheap-skates! Nevertheless, the job was interesting and challenging, and I had one of the best managers I've ever worked for. I learned a lot in that job, but I had a family to support and left for a better paying job after a year-and-a-half.

About a year after leaving LORAL, I got a call from a lawyer asking me questions about my old boss. After I left LORAL, the company tried to hire my replacement. An experienced African-American engineer applied, but the company's managers blatantly discriminated against him. My old boss rightfully tried to expose their wrongdoing internally and they retaliated against him by firing him. Eventually, his lawsuit against LORAL for wrongful termination was settled out-of-court, and the case was dismissed with prejudice by the judge. My old boss just couldn't afford the legal battle with LORAL.

I'd like to tell you that the story of my old boss losing his job for doing the right thing had a happy ending. Unfortunately, he never really recovered professionally from his setback. But I can assure you that he has treasures stored up in heaven, and he made a lasting impression on me about doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Years later, I too had to make a choice similar to his that cost me my job with another company.

Often times when we try to do the right thing...for the right reasons...the right things don't always happen. More often than not, the world doesn't reward us for doing the right thing. But I can assure you that God will reward us: if not in this life then in the next.

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