I Live Four Lives at a Time
by Alice Thompson
My job itself is a reaffirmation of that by which I live. Very early in my working life, I was a small cog in a big firm. Emerging from a tiny job, I found a strange frightening world. Superficially, everyone was friendly. But beneath the surface were raging suspicion, distrust; the hand ever ready to ward off—or deliver—the knife in the back. For years I thought I was in a world of monstrous people. Then I began to know the company’s president. What he had been I have no way of knowing. But at seventy, he was suspicious, distrusting, sure that no one was telling him the truth. He had developed a technique of pitting all of us against each other. Able to see the distortion he caused, I youthfully declared that if I every ran a business, it would be on the reverse principle.
For the last two years, I have had that opportunity, and had the joy of watching people—widely different people, too—learn to understand each other, accept each other, feel mutually responsible.
My trials and errors have really synthesized into one great belief, which is that I am not alone in my desire to reach my fellow man. I believe the human race is inherently cooperative and concerned about its brother.