A story of someone setting out to give his salary increase to someone else

or what does a few hundred Euros have to do with personal honour

by M.H. Koop, Germany

“Well, what about honour then?” someone could cynically ask. Well, probably not much if that is the nature of approach. In the end each man and woman needs to decide for him or herself, what personal honour means to them! The following anecdote has been identified as an example of personal honour by some of the author’s friends, who also encouraged him to write it down...

We’re living in a time when, not only does money make most of the world go round, but also the need to earn a living can consume most of our time and energy. Well done if someone has managed to develop a great appreciation for his personal time - one of the most valuable things we’ve got as humans! In the face of all kinds of adversities (and in Europe we are quite well off by comparison!) there are more and more people trying to preserve some kind of an inner sanctuary for themselves, to give and have space for some of the things which might be really important; well-being, consciousness, free choice, contentment, harmonious relationships with others, being able to feel awe and wonder... And to keep up a connection to that which gave life to us humans and all things...
Phew – quite a long preface, and what’s all this to do with the title?

Well, in this world where, as mentioned, money is often the measure of all things, one day a rise in salary landed on the author’s table. Nothing enormous, maybe 100 € per month before taxes – but nevertheless! At around the same time there were thoughts of finding a new job arising in the recipient. Before signing any new contract, and for various reasons, he decided to give the bonus to a close colleague. One of the reasons was the chronic under-valuation or underpayment of the person concerned by the company. Another reason was the fact that the colleague had just become a father, and could certainly do with a little more money. Without further ado the decision was announced to the manager. Whether the new job would happen or no had no say in this matter.

Initial irritation in the company’s management, coupled with non-understanding, was, after a few weeks, followed up by a decision of the board; both employees should receive an increase in salary by the amount concerned! What a wise and eminent decision – if it stems out of humanity and not out of being patronising.

For me the matter of personal honour consists in how much of an issue I make out of this gift with my colleague or the management. And to forget about it right after it’s done, so it doesn’t exist as an unfortunate, unseen undercurrent in any future meetings with my colleague. In advance, to mentally reject any over-exaggerated gratitude. Or to ask myself the question, would I have done the same thing if there had been no considerations about changing my job...

Maybe for the company there’s also an aspect of honour in this, which is to not only talk but also do – which in the meantime has happened… and not to change its stance in the face of me now actually having handed in my notice.

There is an awareness in me that this kind of behaviour is rather unusual these days, which doesn’t mean ‘of no use’! For the honour which is connected to it (if it is) will also be credited to an “account”. An account that is personal and at the same time available for all those who are on the same wave-length, an account which, at the end of our earthly living, will be far more important than our bank-account!

For a little bit more honour and justice in the world.

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