North Carolina

The privilege of work that matters

November 20, 2013

Work as a privilege

I’m sorry to be late in writing this week. My 36 hours traveling to Japan for 1.5 days there took a toll. I really admire my colleagues who seem to be able to travel around the world effortlessly.

A colleague from the School and I were talking about what a privilege it is to work somewhere—here—where every day we come to do work we really care about, work that can make a positive difference and in a place where our values are consistent with the organization’s mission. In a world where the majority of people do repetitive, often dangerous work that isn’t of their choosing for wages that are impossibly low in conditions that are too often demeaning, restrictive and unsafe, we are privileged. As Thanksgiving approaches, it is one of many blessings for which I am grateful.

Congratulations, Dean Smith

freedommedalIt’s wonderful that Dean Smith is being awarded this country’s Medal of Freedom today (although he is unable to attend), not just for his work but for what he did to break down color barriers in this community where I live and work. People who were here then talk about what a different place it was, and how Dean Smith treated everyone decently, without regard to color or other differences. Because of his success on the court as a coach, winning two NCAA championships, what Dean Smith did off the court had even greater impact. People have told me how he invited African-Americans to eat with him at formerly segregated restaurants. That changed everything. One man who did the right thing every day helped to change a team and a town, and the changes reverberated even further. Congratulations, Dean Smith.


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The views expressed in this blog are Barbara Rimer’s alone and do not represent the views and policies of The University of North Carolina or the Gillings School.