A few years ago, I had a discussion with my boss about the direction the company was headed. It was a good discussion. It gave me hope. And I told him so in an email afterwards. He sent me a response in the form of this quote.
If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
I want to think he meant well at the time, that he could not know the direction the company was actually headed in would turn the company into a horrendously inefficient mess. But if I am to be realistic about what he was actually telling me back then, it was a false hope he had given me and to all the others that worked in this company. But still I cling to hope that things might get better. It is a bitter hope though because I realize that my boss reports to his boss. And his boss reports to his or her boss. And somewhere up at the top, THE BOSS is making decisions about the company without understanding the programs that are being effected. And my boss may have lost hope just as much as everyone else who reports to him. Because it was a good company. We did good things and we still do. But the ship is sinking. Those who have lost all hope have moved on to other companies. Those who have remained, generally fall into two categories: They have lost hope but can’t move on for whatever reason or, They still cling to a bitter hope that the company can improve. I personally don’t think the company will improve. My hope now, is that things don’t get worse. Because if everyone abandoned the sinking ship, then the ship will surely flounder, but if enough of us have hope, we can perhaps bail out the water, keep the ship afloat long enough to patch up the holes and then, maybe we can think about improving it. Perhaps I am fooling myself with more false hope, just like my boss a few years ago. But I cannot live without hope, even if it is bitter hope.