This morning our class was held at an offsite location. Since none of us have been there before, several of us decided to take the subway together. Safety in numbers, right? It works for the antelopes on the African savanna, right?
There were about 12 of us, and we all made it onto the train without any trouble. The train car was crowded, though, and we somehow became split up into two groups. One group at the front of the car, the other toward the back. One of the people in my group said that we had to get out at the Foggy Bottom stop. When we got to that stop, our group hopped off the train. But from the platform, I could see through the train car’s windows that the other group didn’t get off. I tapped on the window, and gestured to them that we had to get off here.
They gestured back that we had to get off at the NEXT stop, not Foggy Bottom. Just then, the train’s chime sounded, signaling that the doors were about to close. I turned to the rest of my group to tell them to jump back onto the train, but they were out of earshot by then, and couldn’t hear me.
I had a split second to decide what to do. I summoned my ninja skills and leapt back onto the train just as the doors closed.
Immediately, I realized that I made a mistake. I abandoned my group. I am a terrible person.
The other group said that the place we were going to is actually between the stops, so we could have gotten off at either one.
But I didn’t know that when I abandoned my group. I am still a terrible person.
This wasn’t leadership. A good team player would stick with his group, and work together to get through the problem as a team. I should have stayed with my group, and figured out a way to get to the destination together. A team player wouldn’t behave as if it were every man for himself. I was not a team player. I was a terrible person.
I felt guilty all the way to the offsite location. A few minutes after we arrived, the other group arrived. I apologized to them for abandoning them, offering to buy them all a coffee as a peace offering.
They seemed a little surprised by my apology. Why would I feel bad for getting back on the train? they seemed to wonder.
Then I realized that they didn’t see me as their leader. They saw me as a person that was with them for a while, then happened to go a different way from them.
I am not only a terrible person. I’m an egotistical and self-centered terrible person.
So I obviously didn’t offend anyone in the group. They didn’t feel betrayed. Still, my reaction means something. Even though this wasn’t a real situation, I think that I should reflect on how I reacted, and how I made that split-second decision. Why did I leave the group? Do I not see this class as my team, and see myself as part of the team? It would be even worse if I did see them as my team, yet I still chose to abandon them.
I disappointed myself today. I have to work on this.