The other day something happened to me at work that has been bothering me. I was on the job in Ely, and went to a store to buy something I needed for work. I work for a government agency, which I …
The other day something happened to me at work that has been bothering me. I was on the job in Ely, and went to a store to buy something I needed for work. I work for a government agency, which I will leave out of the story. When I was paying for the item the young man behind the counter was having trouble finding the correct office name to charge it to, when an older gentleman also behind the counter walked over and said the code number to the fella ringing me up, and ended the sentence with...”the enemy”. He was referring to me. There were three or four of his co-workers within earshot of this comment, and not one seemed to bat an eye. Apparently at this store, this is a completely acceptable attitude and behavior. I did not respond, as his motivation was purely political, and I am prohibited by workplace rules from engaging in those issues, not only while at work, but certainly in uniform and with the public.
I had never met this man before, as I am from Cook. But somehow, just because of who employs me, this man considers me his enemy...possibly hates me even. I would hope not. My mother made very clear to me as a young child that “you do NOT hate anyone”. But even still, I am his enemy. How did this happen?
Did I become this man’s enemy the one day at work when my friend and co-worker was killed? I was the last person he spoke to before his accident. Was it during one of the many times I have missed my wife and kid’s birthdays, because I was dealing with a critical work assignment that had to take priority? I will also never get back any of those many missed Mother’s Days, Memorial Days, 4th of July’s, Labor Days, or first day of a kid’s new grade, and I am someone’s enemy for this?
Is it for the people I have given medical aid to, as an EMT or First Responder in the northern Minnesota communities I have lived in? Does that activity offend this man? Was his ire raised by the many hundreds of trees I have cut off of roads after storms while at my job, or the hundreds of hazardous trees I have cut down in public areas in the name of public safety? I have taken those risks onto my self for the sake of his community, and others around this state and country for over 20 years.
In 2006, I was on a work assignment in Montana, when I was literally threatened by a United States Senator (Conrad Burns), while on the clock, in travel status and in uniform. Just because I was a government employee. Was this about the place in time that this Ely man also decided that government employees could just be his “enemy”?
It was hard for me later to explain to my co-worker who was with me at the time. A 23-year-old young lady from rural northern Minnesota, who just wants to become a professional in our field. That she could be another’s enemy just for having the job that has been her dream since she roamed the woods of her family’s farm as a kid, not so many years ago, was a very new reality for her. I just don’t get it. My pastor tells us regularly to forgive one another and try to understand others. I can forgive, but this is difficult to understand.