Finding a Common Bond

September 29, 2016

Recently, I attended the 40th reunion of a group individuals that had gone to Fribourg, Switzerland together in the 1976-77 school year. We were from five different colleges. The group of 70+ spent anywhere from six to 10 months together. I was fortunate to be part of this group. Being in a town with a population of 35,000, who were speaking French and German, with different cultures caused us to become very close. Most of us lived by ourselves in houses and apartments, we were not part of the families but rather were just renting a room. All of us students were our own support system.

At the reunion, which we have tried to have every ten years, 35+ individuals attended. It was interesting to meet at the reunion where at first a lot of the stories were reminiscing about the past. Our adventures and misadventures. Looking at old photos and trying to remember, who was who and where we were.  Then we easily moved on to the present. What are you doing today? How many kids? Grandchildren? Where are you living? And then as we progressed further into the next two days we began to talk about the future. As some of us looked at approaching retirement the questions and conversations changed. What was the next chapter?  What do you want to do next?

It was very interesting and quite heartwarming how we formed such strong connections over that short 6 to 10 months. Thinking that all the while we were over there, having a hard time on a budget of $20 a week for food, having a good time at the local café, having learning experiences traveling in other cultures and having some painful experiences on some good ideas gone wrong, we were a family, we were a team.

So why do I mention all this?  This group of students formed bonds to survive together. That is what working on a team in the business world is like. If we have a project with a common goal, we try to meet that goal. Are there individual differences amongst the group? Yes. Are we not different people who have different experiences? Yes. But if we bring respect, inquisitiveness, helpfulness and support (areas that I experienced when I was in Europe with this fantastic group!) to the table we will be successful. We at Sea-Land Chemical Co. are all part of an Employee Stock Ownership Program. We are grateful to have a common goal that we can all work towards.

At the reunion, one very smart individual said, “When we were in Europe did we ever think we would be meeting together 40 years in the future enjoying each other’s company and discussing our lives and families?”  Being older and a little wiser I believe all of us should look within ourselves to see what we are doing at this moment.  When that one day comes where we look back on our accomplishments, on the people that we were fortunate to work with, and the times we were part of a team, we will want to joyfully remember those moments and the common bonds that brought us together as team and a family.

So what is your common bond?
All the Best,

Joe and the rest of the Great Sea-Land Team!!